While nothing appears imminent at this time, an industry source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the Red Sox are exploring the trade market for outfielders — particularly those that can provide some help in center field to remove some pressure from the struggling Jackie Bradley Jr.
One name that often surfaces on the rumor circuit when mentioning outfield trade candidates is the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier, but Bradford reports that he is not someone the Red Sox are interested in at this time. Including the remainder of the 2014 season and the $2.5MM buyout on his vesting option for the 2018 campaign, Ethier is still owed more than $66MM total.
Publicly, as Bradford notes, Cherington said to media members yesterday that it’s “a little bit early to think about trades because teams are not really of that mindset yet,” but that doesn’t mean the team is stating the same thing behind closed doors, of course. Bradley is batting just .193/.280/.283 and has fanned in 30 percent of his plate appearances. Shane Victorino, one logical alternative, is on the disabled list for the second time in 2014 already. And Grady Sizemore, who has played left field more than center field, is hitting just .221/.291/.353.
Cherington touched on the topic of Mookie Betts in the outfield during yesterday’s media session but said the top second base prospect is merely “starting to be exposed to the outfield,” and the GM doesn’t think that will be an option for the team at this point of the season. Betts is hitting .363/.451/.568 with six homers and 22 steals through 48 games at Double-A Portland, but he’s played just seven games in center field this season — the first seven of his pro career.