Red Sox Rumors: ESPN links Boston to division-rival pitcher at trade deadline

Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians
Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox's trade deadline strategy is still uncertain, and it likely will be until July 30 nears.

Some MLB insiders have theorized that the Red Sox may opt to buy and sell before the deadline, which follows one of chief baseball officer Craig Breslow's priorities. He hopes to add a starting pitcher to bolster his squad's staff, and there may be one up for grabs in the division.

David Schoenfield of ESPN named Toronto Blue Jays hurler Yusei Kikuchi as an option for Boston. The Jays racked up a franchise-record payroll this winter, but it hasn't paid off for them as they've spent a lot of time at the bottom of the division this year.

Kikuchi will be a free agent at the end of the 2024 campaign, and Breslow is likely looking for a more long-term solution for the starting rotation — Nick Pivetta will also be a free agent in a few months and Garrett Whitlock's second Tommy John surgery will keep him sidelined well into 2025. But if the Red Sox stay hot and need to settle for a rental hurler for the postseason, Kikuchi could be a fine option.

ESPN names Red Sox as a possible location for Blue Jays' Yusei Kikuchi

Schoenfield described the Sox as "too good to punt," a statement with which certain members of the front office may take issue, but they should add if they can maintain their current level of play. Kikuchi would be a good, cheap option for Boston and a trade for him wouldn't jeopardize the future of the farm system.

Kikuchi is a lefty and he would bring much-needed diversity to the Red Sox's righty-dominant staff. He's pitched to a 4.18 ERA over 88.1 innings with Toronto, which is the second-best metric of his six-year MLB career, although the season isn't over yet.

If Boston opts to add a rental pitcher, Kikuchi would be a solid choice who wouldn't break the bank. Given Brayan Bello's recent struggles and Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford nearing career-high innings in a single slate, Kikuchi could stabilize the Red Sox's rotation as the postseason nears.

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