TRADE - Kutter Crawford, RHP
Like many of their other pitchers, the Red Sox used Crawford out of the bullpen and as a starter in 2023. And Red Sox Nation believes he's trending up. But Boston's rotation could use a lefty, and trading Crawford could be the best way to secure one.
Crawford, 27, likely has many years ahead of him in MLB. In 2023, he showed improvements in his ERA, K rate and walk rate, which would place his 2024 value the highest it's ever been. Crawford also touts a deceptive fastball with surprisingly low velocity — his spin rate is in the 95th percentile in the league.
Other teams would definitely be interested in Crawford. He's above average in the league in whiff, contact and chase rates, and he's under contract through 2028, giving teams many years of control. There would be no harm in the Sox keeping him, but it also wouldn't hurt to test the market for his value.
TRADE - Tanner Houck, RHP
Houck is a ground-ball pitcher with an arsenal of impressive breaking pitches, and he ranks nicely in breaking run value and whiff rate.
Houck has had his ups and downs in the major leagues. It's been four years since his debut and he's only played in 74 games. He has a 3.86 ERA for his career, but his 2023 numbers weren't his best. Houck let up 104 hits and 41 walks in 106 innings while striking out just 99 batters.
The righty would be an appealing trade candidate due to the years of control he carries. Like Crawford, Houck is just 27 years old and is signed through 2028. In that time, another team could help him improve his control and command, as either a starter or reliever.
There was a suspicious drop in his K/9 rate in 2022 that continued into 2023 — if a team can unlock the reason for the drop, Houck could be a fine reliever for another team. Getting Houck out of the picture would just help the Red Sox better solidify their pitching staff without having to bounce him in between roles, all the while trying to foster his development. They might already be at the point of no return there.