The Red Sox have been linked to various permutations of trades involving Padres outfielder Wil Myers this offseason — including as recently as last week. However, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe now reports that the two sides are “unlikely” to line up on an agreement. The Red Sox’ interest in working out a trade was largely a means of attempting to purchase some minor league and/or controllable MLB talent by absorbing part of the remaining three years and $61MM on Myers’ contract.
It’s not a surprise to see the Red Sox seeking creative ways to bolster their farm and their stock of MLB-ready rotation options. Boston’s farm landed 22nd of 30 in Baseball America’s February ranking of the game’s best minor league systems, and the back of their rotation looks perilously thin. Beyond Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi, the Red Sox will likely rely on reclamation project Martin Perez and an unproven internal option (or options).
Among the candidates vying for the fifth starter’s job are Hector Velazquez, Matt Hall, Chris Mazza, Mike Shawaryn, Ryan Weber and Kyle Hart. A clear winner might not be declared, as the Sox could shuffle a number of names through that spot or even deploy an opener every fifth day. And, of course, Sale and Eovaldi were far from 100 percent healthy in 2019. The added depth such a move would bring about would be particularly valuable in Boston.
As for the Padres, while it’s logical that they’d want to get out from some of the remaining Myers money, Speier indicates that the club isn’t interested in depleting its depth just to save money at this time. Shipping a Cal Quantrill or Joey Lucchesi to Boston thins out their starting depth, and there’s no real means of improving the roster quality right now outside of an additional trade. Bringing a third club into the mix — as has been previously rumored — would give the Padres more options but obviously comes with additional layers of complexity. With Opening Day just one month away, the time to put together a deal of that magnitude is waning. (Not that Opening Day is a deadline, per se, but notable trades early in the regular season are a rarity.)
Even if Myers remains in San Diego to begin the season, rumors centering around the former Rookie of the Year will surely persist into the summer. The Padres’ outfield will consist of Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham and Franchy Cordero. Myers, Josh Naylor and non-roster invitee Juan Lagares are on hand as additional options, and the club also has yet-to-debut outfielders Edward Olivares and Jorge Ona on the 40-man roster — though neither has played above Double-A. The outfield has been something of a revolving door in San Diego over the past couple of seasons, but the team’s depth remains strong, and Myers is very arguably superfluous — particularly given his significant salary.
With the Friars set to open the year at a club-record $153MM payroll, it stands to reason that a successful jettison of even part of Myers’ salary would give general manager A.J. Preller additional room to improve the club this summer and to make further additions next offseason. As evidenced by the apparently unproductive talks with the Red Sox and the lack of success in prior efforts to deal Myers, however, bringing that idea into actuality is a rather challenging task.