The Red Sox could use a trade to upgrade the top of their lineup
The Boston Red Sox have a powerful lineup but it will be difficult for this offense to maintain their place among the best if they continue to use their worst hitters at the top of the order.
Boston enters the day ranked second in the American League in runs scored but there is room for improvement at the top. Red Sox leadoff hitters are 26th in the majors with a .230 AVG and 29th with a .287 OBP. The top spot in the order has produced a .293 wOBA and 82 wRC+, both of which rank last in the majors.
Kike Hernandez has been the primarily culprit. He’s batting .224/.279/.371 in 205 at-bats, most of which have come as a leadoff hitter. Hernandez still provides value with the versatility to play center field and second base. While the results from this year’s small sample haven’t shown it, he’s historically been an asset against left-handed pitching. There’s a place for Hernandez on this team but there’s no reason why a player with his meager results at the plate should be in the leadoff role.
The MLB trade deadline is still about six weeks away but a Red Sox club caught in a tight division race can’t afford to wait that long to address a glaring need. They need to start evaluating the trade market for an upgrade in the leadoff spot.
Many of the game’s best leadoff hitters won’t be available in a trade. Either they play for another contender, the team isn’t inclined to sell a player with several years of control remaining or the price is too high for the Red Sox to consider.
Instead, we’ll focus on realistic targets who can upgrade the top of Boston’s batting order. Chaim Bloom isn’t fond of giving up assets for rentals so we would expect him to prioritize options the Red Sox can control beyond this year while staying within a reasonable budget.