The Red Sox can compete without making any splashy trades
As the MLB season passes the halfway point and approaches the All-Star break, it is natural to think of possible trades the Boston Red Sox could make. Some will argue that the team should add starting pitching, others think a fourth outfielder should be the number one priority, and others still suggest trading for a first baseman to shore up the lineup’s biggest weakness so far this year.
I have a different idea about what the team should do. I think the Red Sox should trade for absolutely no one.
That idea may seem crazy at first, but is it really? Entering play Saturday, Boston owns the best record in the American League and is tied for the most wins in MLB. They do not need to make a big splash in order to compete for a championship.
Of course, one may argue that there is always room to improve. The Sox could absolutely use another starting pitcher, another arm for their already overtaxed bullpen, and a fourth outfielder or a first baseman that can hit even a little bit. That said, filling these holes via trade will cost either prospects or other players, and the salaries of the acquisitions would have to fit under the luxury tax.
Also, these holes can all be filled by what the team already has. Chris Sale is coming back by, hopefully, the end of August. A rotation of Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Eduardo Rodriguez, and either Garrett Richards or Martín Pérez is extremely solid, possibly great. As if that isn’t enough, Tanner Houck is also on the verge of returning, and he could be slotted in either the rotation or as a long reliever similar to Garrett Whitlock.
What about a fourth outfielder? Jarren Duran has been absolutely tearing it up in AAA this season, slashing .279/.369/.581/.950 with 15 homers. He is going to be called up this season, the only question is when, and he has the potential to be awesome as a fourth outfielder. Additionally, old friend Franchy Cordero has been playing extremely well since being sent down, slashing .365/.452/.619/1.071 with 6 home runs in 33 games. He’s another option to fill the backup outfielder position.
Some people are concerned about the team’s lack of depth at second base. Christian Arroyo has been a welcome surprise, but he’s also been injured several times. Marwin Gonzalez has been the utility man this year and has played quality defense at multiple positions, but he hasn’t been producing offensively. No need to worry, however.
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With Duran and Franchy back on the Major League roster, Kiké Hernández is free to move back to second base, which is where he was originally intended to play every day. With Arroyo, Hernández, and Gonzalez, there is no reason to look to trade for another middle infielder.
First base does pose a few problems. Bobby Dalbec hasn’t lived up to expectations, and Danny Santana has been terrible. There are a few in-house options, however. Cordero has been playing some first base in the minors, and Marwin is capable of playing the position in a pinch. It’s also far too early to write off Dalbec, who could still turn back into the exciting slugger we saw in 2020.
First base is, without a doubt, the biggest potential problem. The cost of acquiring a first baseman via trade, however, is simply too high to justify. Having a light-hitting first baseman isn’t ideal, but if it’s the biggest problem you have, you’re in a great position. Boston can fill the needs at starting pitcher, reliever, outfielder, and middle-infielder without trading, and can potentially shore up first base without trading as well simply by calling up Cordero and hoping he and Dalbec can produce even a small amount.
Trading for a player will cost the team money and prospects. It is not worth it, even though it is fun to dream about blockbuster acquisitions. Boston has the most wins in baseball and is in a great position to compete without making any deadline moves. Chaim Bloom is well ahead of schedule on his reclamation of the Red Sox, and making a foolish trade now could derail his efforts.