Red Sox connection to Astros star in trade rumors makes absolutely no sense

Oct 16, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) pitches in
Oct 16, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) pitches in / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Framber Valdez's name has been floated around in Houston Astros trade rumors this winter. But according to Sports Illustrated, the team hasn't received any trade offers for the lefty, just calls to see about his availability.

If there have been offers, they aren't making the rounds, so what Houston is expecting as a return for Valdez is nearly unknown. Bleacher Report posited that, since the Astros have one of the worst farm systems in the league, they would be looking for pieces to add to both major and minor league rosters in exchange for the ace.

Bleacher Report has also ranked the Red Sox as a top trade candidate for Valdez, but the reasons they offer show that he doesn't make much sense for Boston. (And, let's face it, why would the Astros trade him?!)

Valdez is a left-handed pitcher, which would fit him in well with the Sox's rotation, but that's the extent of Valdez's fit in Boston. The Astros would likely ask for prospects in exchange for their ace, and many of the Red Sox's top prospects can be described as "untouchable" after this offseason's activity. Why would the Red Sox surrender top young talent for two years of Valdez, who wouldn't even fit their current window? Boston will not be good until at least 2026 at this rate.

Framber Valdez isn't the best fit for the Red Sox rotation

Jarren Duran's name has surfaced in multiple trade proposals this offseason, but trading Duran doesn't make sense for Boston at the moment, either. In a roster that lacks power, Duran's ability to get on base and advance on the base paths is too important to sacrifice.

Wilyer Abreu would be a more likely trade candidate for Boston, and he meets Houston's needs as a young outfielder. But Red Sox chairman Tom Werner has already stated that he's excited to see Abreu get a full season of at-bats, so shopping him seems unlikely, as well. Also ... the Astros already traded Abreu to the Red Sox. They won't be looking to get an old prospect back in this manner.

Valdez is also a ground-ball pitcher, which would benefit any team playing half its games at Fenway Park, but the Red Sox's infield defense has been far from perfect in recent years. Boston's defense ranked dead last in outs-above-average last season, and though the infield has improved with Triston Casas showing promise and the acquisition of Vaughn Grissom, there hasn't been sufficient change to suspect the infield defense would improve dramatically enough to make Valdez a great fit.

The Red Sox do need someone who can eat innings in their perennially-injured starting rotation — and now that half of Boston's starters are actually just relievers, that need is becoming increasingly more pressing. If Valdez is anything, he's durable. In his two most recent seasons, he's thrown 201 1/3 and 198 innings. In 2022 and 2023, Valdez has pitched more innings than Tanner Houck, Kutter Crawford and Garrett Whitlock have each pitched in their respective careers.

There are pitchers on the market better suited to Boston than Valdez, too, with Jordan Montgomery chief among them. But, if it turns out that Houston can't find a suitor for Valdez before the beginning of the season and the Red Sox are contenders for a playoff spot at the trade deadline, a deal between the two teams would only then become a sensible idea.

For now, Boston is keeping to itself, and, by the sounds of it, it plans to stay that way. Chief baseball officer Craig Breslow has made comments that allude to the Sox's starting rotation being set. Barring an unforeseen change in the front office's plan, Valdez is likely not coming to Boston. And he's probably not going anywhere, for that matter.

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