Red Sox: 3 potential trade targets who could fill leadoff spot

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 10: Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom speaks during a press conference introducing Alex Cora as the manager of the Boston Red Sox on November 10, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 10: Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom speaks during a press conference introducing Alex Cora as the manager of the Boston Red Sox on November 10, 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 12: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals at bat against the San Francisco Giants during game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on June 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 12: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals at bat against the San Francisco Giants during game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on June 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Red Sox trade target – Trea Turner

This is the most ambitious target on the list but an option that would certainly be worth exploring. Trea Turner often gets lost in the shuffle when discussing the top options at a deep shortstop position but he puts up All-Star caliber numbers even if he hasn’t actually made the team yet in his career.

Turner is hitting .308 with 10 home runs, 11 doubles and an .825 OPS. His .352 OBP is almost identical to his career rate. While that’s not quite elite, it increases slightly to a .359 OBP in his 195 plate appearances batting at the top of the order, the 11th-highest among major league leadoff hitters (minimum 100 PA).

The Red Sox have a notable lack of speed on their roster that Turner would immediately upgrade with his league-leading 13 steals. Turner has always been among the best in that category, leading the league with 43 stolen bases in 2018 while swiping a career-high 46 the previous year. Boston hasn’t had a leadoff hitter with those wheels since Jacoby Ellsbury.

The obvious question when it comes to trading for Turner is where to put him on the field. Xander Bogaerts isn’t a great defensive shortstop but Boston won’t ask the face of their franchise to switch positions for Turner, who isn’t exactly Gold Glove material either. Turner played some second base and gained experience in center field early in his career. If he’s open to utilizing his versatility, the Red Sox can make it work.

The Washington Nationals are underachieving at 29-35 to fall 7.5 games out of a playoff spot. They probably need to sink even further before they consider themselves sellers at the deadline but it’s not an unfathomable outcome.

Turner is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season. Washington has talked about offering him an extension but the sides don’t appear close to a deal. The Nats want to make Turner and Juan Soto the building blocks of their organization but if they are further from contention than they thought, they might pivot toward prioritizing the latter while dealing the former while his value is high.

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Turner is earning a modest $13 million this season, which makes him a bargain based on his production but almost certainly pushes the Red Sox into luxury tax territory. It’s worth the price if they feel Turner is the missing piece that can put them over the top but the Red Sox might want to hold off to see how other holes are addressed before they consider themselves in that category.