It’s that time of the year and the Boston Red Sox figure to be active in the trade market.
As it has been reported by a variety of news sources from Boston to New York, the Boston Red Sox are engaged in trade talks for Mets’ starter, Zack Wheeler.
While it should not come as a surprise to see Dave Dombrowski active well before the Trade Deadline, it may be slightly new to see the interest in a starting pitcher. As Nathan Eovaldi figures to slide into the temporary closer’s role and Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson have struggled as long term options, the Red Sox are pursuing outside reinforcements to bolster their rotation.
Last season, the bullpen was the primary concern of Red Sox fans and Dombrowski added Eovaldi, proving to be a huge move for the club. In 2019, it appears it will be more of the same. Wheeler is in the midst of a contract year, playing on a team that may very well combust internally.
While it has been a down year (4.69 ERA), Wheeler flashes intriguing potential. There’s no denial of his pure stuff, as he flashes a mid-to-high 90’s fastball mixed with a very solid breaking ball – both of which rank above league average in spin rate. He’s a very comparable arm to Nathan Eovaldi in the sense that he’s been highly injury prone throughout his career, but has the arsenal to become an above average starter in baseball, if put in the right situation.
Zack Wheeler would be a tremendous addition to the Red Sox pitching staff, but they should seek to add an additional arm to the deal – Seth Lugo. In his first year as a full time reliever, Lugo has been very solid posting a 3.35 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He’s been used as a starter throughout his career and could serve a variety of different roles in a bullpen that needs more than one role fixed.
As mentioned before, Lugo fits the Red Sox archetype of a bullpen arm with elite spin rate. An additional bonus would be his inexpensive contract that wouldn’t be set to expire until 2023. Of course, with the added benefit of a controllable arm, it would increase the Mets’ asking price, but the Red Sox have a clear need and can take care of two of them with one trade.
What Would It Take?
As a team, the New York Mets have just three players in double digits for homeruns. Todd Frazier is showing signs of slowing down, as a corner infielder, and the Red Sox have a logjam of talent at the same position…welcome Bobby Dalbec. At this point, the power hitting corner infielder doesn’t have a path to the big leagues with the Boston Red Sox.
Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis, and Triston Casas are likely to fill the future void, leaving Dalbec as the odd man out. The former Arizona Wildcat has launched 19 bombs in Portland this season and will slot nicely into a lineup that has struggled to get much power output this season. Adding Seth Lugo to the deal will increase the asking price, likely yielding another top 10 or 15 prospect out of the Sox system as well as a “fringe prospect.”
If the Red Sox get into a bidding war, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them seek assistance elsewhere, but adding Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo would be a solid start to the Trade Deadline season. For the New York Mets and Brodie Van Wagenen, the thought of pairing Peter Alonso with Bobby Dalbec for years to come may be tantalizing.
A deal centered around Dalbec, and others, may be enough to get a deal done with the struggling New York Mets, though the asking price may increase as more teams begin to inquire.