It’s been an odd season for the Boston Red Sox, but if things go south, selling might be on the table.
For weeks now, Red Sox fans have been flooded with the “it’s time to sell”, or “trade everyone” talks. Typically, these type of conversations are disregarded as illegitimate and overreactions; however over the past few days there have been reputable sources such as the Boston Globe and MassLive that have begun to speculate on that exact conversation.
Personally, I’d weigh on the side of caution, but the Red Sox have a huge tide-turning week full of seven games against the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees. If all goes according to plan, the Sox will be right back in the thick of a postseason race, but if the season continues to coast around .500 or if the mediocre Boston Red Sox show up – Dave Dombrowski could and should take a look at selling assets.
Realistically, there’s a difference between a “fire sale” and a calculated dealing of expiring assets. Dave Dombrowski, though ridiculed by the Boston fanbase, is a veteran GM that will attempt to put the defending champions in a position to compete in the future. If things go south for the Red Sox, they should explore moving each of the following assets.
There’s no easy way to begin a list like this for Red Sox fans, as there’s sentimental values attached to each of the mentioned players. In a strictly business decision, the Front Office should be willing to listen to offers on the beloved centerfielder. JBJ’s contract is set to expire in 2021, and out of the three starting outfielders, it would make the most sense to let his deal expire.
While he’s known for Gold Glove caliber defense, his bat has been noticeably streaky over his Red Sox career. An inquiring team would be receiving a bat that has postseason experience (and accolades), while maintaining a couple of seasons before his deal expires.
By no means should the Red Sox be actively shopping JBJ, but if the Sox are able to receive a highly touted prospect or package of young controllable assets, it may be worth it.
2019 has been a rough season for many, certainly including Rick Porcello. He’s struggled to the tune of a 5.61 ERA and truly hasn’t performed anywhere near his Cy Young winning season, over the last few seasons. It speaks volumes that the Red Sox seemed uninterested in working through an extension over the offseason, and are very likely to let his contract expire after this season.
In regards to his value, he won’t carry a high price tag due to a poor season and being deemed a “rental piece.” However, an inquiring team may attribute his lack of production to the fact that he’s pitching in the AL East and faces the Yankees and Rays – two of the best teams in baseball – on a regular basis.
A National League team such as the Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers, or Philadelphia Phillies may make sense if the Red Sox were going to move Porcello. If the Sox are going to sell, you can bet that the struggling starter will be atop a list of players they’d be interested in moving.
Simply put, this would be a move to capitalize on existing value. Marco Hernandez’ value has never been higher due to being a controllable, cheap asset, possessing positional versatility, and producing offensively. A utility man that can produce off the bench, or fill in a variety of roles, is a sought after asset for a contending team.
Hernandez has been excellent, and Eduardo Nunez jettison was certainly in part due to his success, but the Red Sox do possess Brock Holt and Michael Chavis as MLB-ready players to handle the position. The Sox received Hernandez as a PTBNL in a deal and could seek to double his value in a trade.
There’s no need to move the productive utility man, but again, if the price is right it makes sense for the Red Sox to explore a deal.
The Entire Red Sox Bullpen…minus a few
There aren’t a lot of desirable assets out of the middling Red Sox bullpen; however there are a few pieces that contending teams may inquire on. Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski would certainly like to keep Matt Barnes, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor while the majority of the others should be available to an inquiring team.
Brandon Workman has been the Red Sox most effective reliever this season, but as a 30 year old with a contract set to expire in 2021, it would be worth listening to offers. He’s in the midst of a breakout campaign and hasn’t possessed higher value than right now. Darwinzon Hernandez, Tanner Houck, and Durbin Feltman figure to be in the running for the Sox closer of the future – and with help available in the future Dave Dombrowski should be willing to move Workman.
Heath Hembree would be another potential reliever on the move. He’s had a career year, but is in the midst of injury limbo. Lately there’s been diminished velocity, effectiveness, and control that may limit a potential suitor’s interest. If all of that is squared away, it would be wise to listen to offers on the very much up-and-down reliever.
There’s no guarantee that the Boston Red Sox would become sellers, or even listen to offers, if this week goes poorly but it would be prudent to do so. A team such as the New York Yankees was able to stock up on young talent during a similar situation, and has paid great dividends. I certainly hope that it doesn’t get to this point, but if it does, they should listen to offers for each of the mentioned players.