It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox have made acquiring a power bat this off season’s number one priority as they’ve been linked to hot names like Giancarlo Stanton, JD Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and most recently, Jose Abreu.
Each of those players comes with potentially crippling financial attachments, and in the case of Stanton / Abreu, a few highly regarded prospects.
There are some second tier options out there if they choose to stay away from commitments in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Let’s take a look a few players that aren’t known to be firmly available via trade, but that can be potentially pried away under the right circumstances:
Let’s go Fishing…
The Red Sox should absolutely engage the Marlins in trade talks for Stanton, but if they opt to look elsewhere, there are solid secondary options.
Marcell Ozuna – Marlins OF
The 2017 NL All Star put up an outstanding .312 / 37 / 124 slash line with a 5.8 WAR in 2017.
The only way a season like that can be overlooked is if the guy in front of you in the lineup hits 59 HR and knocks in 132 runs – *cough* Giancarlo Stanton. Ozuna has two years of team control left before becoming a free agent and projects to be paid around $10 million this upcoming season through arbitration. He’s got serious pop from the right side and also was a 2017 NL Gold Glove recipient.
Obviously, in order to bring his bat into the lineup the Red Sox would have to find a place for him in the outfield. I’m not sure there is a direct match in trading him to Miami, as a logical piece to move on the surface would be Jackie Bradley.
Despite the interest, JBJ and Ozuna are similar financially and wouldn’t make sense unless it was a larger deal.
Justin Bour – Marlins 1B
Bour missed nearly six weeks of the 2017 season dealing with a lingering foot issue, but still managed to put up a .289 / 25 / 83 / .902 OPS season in just 108 games.
He’s not a household name, but put up an epic 22 HR performance against Aaron Judge in the first round of the Home Run Derby in his home ballpark. He’s a bit of a late bloomer, and he’ll turn 30 just before Opening Day, but he’s still under team control for several years and is entering his first season of arbitration eligibility.
That’s actually the type of player the Marlins are looking to acquire, so in order to get a player like Bour the Red Sox may have to take on a terrible contract like Martin Prado’s to get Miami to part with him.
The Marlins have made no secret of their desire to get Prado’s contract off the books, so a player like Bour can be had under the right circumstances…
Miguel Cabrera – Tigers 1B / 3B / DH
While Cabrera had an uncharacteristic 2017 campaign (-.08 WAR), he’s only a year removed from a .316 / 38 HR / 108 RBI season.
Like Stanton, Cabrera comes with a huge chunk of money owed to him ($186M thru 2025), but unlike Stanton he’ll be 35 next season. The heavy contract makes sense for the Tigers to try and move Cabrera while he still has some hope to be a productive player moving forward.
With a downward turn in his production, the Tigers are less likely to receive a large prospect package and may have to take on some of the salary hit.
Dave Dombrowski acquired Cabrera years ago and may look to add a huge power threat and veteran leader to bolster the Red Sox in 2018.
Wil Myers – Padres 1B / OF
Myers is coming off a season where he hit 30 home runs for the first time in his young career.
The former top prospect is an athletic first baseman, stealing over 20 bases over the past two seasons. He’ll play the 2018 – 2019 seasons at a combined $10 Million, but after that he’s scheduled to make $22.5 Million per season from 2020 – 2022 with a $20 million club option for 2023.
The Padres may look to get out from under that contract before they have to start shelling out the big bucks. While the Sox may not have the wealth of prospects they once had, San Diego is undoubtedly familiar with the Boston farm system and these front offices have come together several times over the last few years to put together some pretty big trades.
There is no doubt that the Red Sox are going to make a move – and soon.