Photo Credit: CBS Baltimore
As the Red Sox end the first half of the season with the best record in baseball, they figure to be active at the Trade Deadline.
There is little question as to whether, or not, the Red Sox will look to upgrade their current club. Dave Dombrowski has a reputation for being aggressive and a realistic shot at a World Series will only fuel his desire to become a juggernaut.
As it stands, the Sox don’t have an abundance of needs, but the bullpen is certainly an area that could be improved. Here are a couple of scenarios in which the Red Sox are able to upgrade without mortgaging the future.
1. Red Sox acquire Tony Watson from San Francisco Giants for Bobby Dalbec
In this scenario, the Sox acquire a left handed veteran that could have been had at an inexpensive rate during the offseason. Watson possesses a sterling 2.08 ERA and has been tough on both lefties and righties (.222 BAA against RHH & .227 BAA against LHH). It is worth noting that Red Sox left handed relievers possess a 4.81 ERA this season.
The San Francisco Giants are four games back in the NL West leaving no guarantee that they would entertain selling at the Trade Deadline. It will ultimately depend on whether, or not, their GM believes they can compete for a World Series title this season and if they’re properly enticed.
Dalbec has been the perfect storm for Dave Dombrowski. As most know, the Sox farm system is relatively depleted, but there may be rising interest in the University of Arizona product. Dalbec has blasted 23 homeruns this season in Salem and is likely to receive a promotion to Portland in the near future. The power hitting third baseman is largely blocked due to the emergence of Michael Chavis in Portland and Rafael Devers in Boston.
He’s currently the #12 prospect in the Red Sox system, but possesses a rising stock and could serve as a replacement for Evan Longoria in the long term.
2. Red Sox acquire Zach Britton from Baltimore Orioles for Sam Travis & Jalen Beeks.
There will be plenty of suitors for Britton as the Trade Deadline heats up, but it wouldn’t be unlikely for old friend, Dan Duquette, to assist the Red Sox in their effort to fight back the New York Yankees.
At this point, it is very possible that both Duquette and Buck Showalter are nearing the end of their tenure in Baltimore. The O’s are 40 games back (!!!) of the AL East lead at the All Star break and will surely send their big name players out of town in order to trigger a rebuild.
A deal of this magnitude has been documented between the two clubs as the Red Sox sent Andrew Miller to the Orioles in exchange for their #3 prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez in 2014. Miller was a rental and Duquette wanted to take a risk and solidify their bullpen in a push for the World Series.
In this scenario, the Red Sox would be sending #5 prospect Sam Travis and #15 Jalen Beeks to the Orioles in exchange for a rental in Britton. If this was last season, the heralded lefty would have commanded blue chip prospects due to his utter dominance; however the O’s closer may be a bit more affordable this season due to a somewhat modest 3.68 ERA.
The Orioles would receive two Major League-ready players that may blossom into mainstays within the lineup. Travis has showed the ability to produce, but has been blocked by Mitch Moreland, while Beeks has been dominant in Pawtucket and should prove to be a valuable back-end-of-the-rotation starter. They aren’t blue chip prospects, but have shown that they are ready to contribute at the Majoe League level.
Either of these trades would allow the Red Sox to acquire a proven left handed option that would solidify the bullpen.
Yes, there are potential upgrades that could be made. The Sox could figure to add another starting pitcher with Eduardo Rodriguez‘ ankle injury, or add catcher depth with the absence of Christian Vazquez; however the return in a trade for available players would either be too much, or not warrant the output of a player such as J.A. Happ, Michael Fulmer, or Zack Wheeler.
Additionally, a player such as Manny Machado would be more of a luxury than a necessity.
There are two weeks until the Deadline – be ready – there will be plenty of deals on the way.