The Boston Red Sox intend to be active at the MLB trade deadline
We’ve reached July, the point in the baseball calendar when teams need to make honest assessments of where they stand in the playoff hunt with the trade deadline looming at the end of the month. The Boston Red Sox are obvious buyers as they enter the month with a three-game lead in the AL East.
Boston can comfortably place themselves in the contender category at the midpoint of the season but they aren’t without their flaws. Upgrades will be necessary if they intend to retain their spot at the top of the division and make a deep postseason run.
While some of those upgrades can come internally, the trade market will also be extensively evaluated for potential options. During an appearance on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Morning Show,” on Thursday, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom indicated that he’s willing to make a deal if the right opportunities present themselves.
"“It wouldn’t be my preference (to be inactive) because you always want to make deals because it means you found something to improve your organization,” said Bloom. “Trades are one way to do that.“Obviously it takes two to tango, and it has to make sense,” he said. “That’s certainly a possibility we don’t end up doing anything, but if that happens, it will be because we had just as much conversation as if we were to make 10 different deals, we just didn’t find anything that we thought fit.”"
Bloom isn’t going to make a trade just for the sake of doing something. An upgrade at first base over the struggling Bobby Dalbec would be ideal but the Red Sox aren’t going to give up their future at the position by trading top prospect Triston Casas for a short-term fix. If they can find a more consistent bat to cover first base without using their best trade chips, Bloom absolutely will consider it.
Finding a new leadoff hitter should be among the priorities at this year’s deadline. The Red Sox have cycled through various options at the top of the order but haven’t found anyone who has acclimated well to the role. Boston is tied for 25th in the majors with a .230 batting average from their leadoff hitters and their 81 wRC+ ranks 29th.
There are a few appealing upgrades who might be attainable but their current teams need to make them available. Identifying a solution to a need is only half the battle, they still need to convince another team to surrender their target for a fair price. Some clubs aren’t ready to waive the white flag on this season yet. It could go down to the wire before Boston is able to pry away the upgrade they seek, if they are able make the deal at all.
The starting rotation has some question marks but how they address that concern will depend on the status of Chris Sale, who is inching closer to a return following his latest “eye-opening” simulated inning. A rehab assignment could begin soon, potentially putting the lefty on track to join the rotation in a few weeks. A healthy Sale is greater than any upgrade the Red Sox could find on the trade market. If he suffers a setback in the meantime, Boston could pivot toward making pitching their trade deadline priority.
Striking too soon to fill one of their other needs might not leave enough assets to address the bigger priority in the rotation in the (unlikely) event that Sale is unable to return to anything resembling his vintage form. Any injury to another key player could create a hole we don’t even know exists yet. Everyone is anxious for the Red Sox to make moves before they let their division lead slip away but some semblance of patience will be essential.
Bloom has stated time and time again that his goal is to create sustainable success. This is not the time to cash in all his chips to make a run at a championship this year at the expense of their future.
However, he has acknowledged that their current position in the standings warrants treating the deadline as an opportunity to find upgrades. Don’t expect him to surrender a massive haul for a star player or overpay for a rental but if he finds a good fit that can be acquired for expendable pieces or who comes with years of control beyond this season, Bloom will pull the trigger on a deal that improves the team’s chances at winning the World Series.