The Red Sox suffered their 13th loss in 19 games on Thursday, dropping an embarrassing 17-8 decision to the Rays. Before that, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy joined The Greg Hill Show on WEEI and expressed optimism that the team could still compete for a playoff spot, saying (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com) that “you can run off three or four wins and all of a sudden you’re two or three games back in the American League East and anything can happen.”
Kennedy isn’t wrong, but realistically, this is not going to be a playoff year for the Red Sox, who sit dead last in the AL and are dealing with health issues and various roster flaws. So, with the Aug. 31 trade deadline looming, the Chaim Bloom-led Red Sox could look to sell instead of buy over the next couple weeks.
In regards to the deadline, Kennedy said of Boston’s front office that “there are conversations going on given the condensed season.” As far as possible trade chips go, Kennedy unsurprisingly noted that you’d “never label anyone untouchable,” but he expressed a reluctance toward dealing those “who have grown up in the system.”
Superstar outfielder Mookie Betts grew up in Boston’s system, yet the club traded him to the Dodgers during the offseason. However, he was only a year from free agency then (he has since signed a mega-extension with the Dodgers). Boston doesn’t have those types of concerns with its two best players, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers, whom the organization has developed into superb contributors. The Red Sox already inked Bogaerts to a six-year, $120MM contract before 2019, while Devers will enter arbitration for the first time during the offseason. Meanwhile, catcher Christian Vazquez – another homegrown product – has another two affordable seasons on his deal after this one.
Speculatively, designated hitter J.D. Martinez could make for a trade target for some teams, especially considering National League clubs are using the DH this season. Martinez is expensive, though, as he’s on a prorated $23.75MM salary this season and owed a combined $38.75MM from 2021-2022. And the fact that Martinez has an opt-out clause after this season could further complicate matters.
A Martinez trade doesn’t seem very likely, but the Red Sox have more obvious trade candidates in a couple pending free agents, reliever Brandon Workman and outfielder Kevin Pillar. One of Pillar’s fellow outfielders, Jackie Bradley Jr., could also wind up on the block, though he hasn’t done anything to boost his value during a miserable start to 2020.