As the Red Sox continue to struggle, it seems increasingly likely that the team will be selling in some capacity at the trade deadline, even if the likes of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers aren’t going anywhere. Reports from earlier this week suggested that the Sox were already open to offers for J.D. Martinez, and The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier (Twitter links) hears from a National League evaluator that catcher Christian Vazquez could also be available. The Sox seem to be “listening on veterans” in general, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman tweets.
Both Martinez and Vazquez are free agents after the year, so it would seem natural that the Red Sox would first look to move these shorter-term players with the deadline looming. Other pending free agents include Jackie Bradley Jr. (whose mutual option for 2023 is likely to be declined), several injured players like Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, Enrique Hernandez, and Matt Strahm, plus the potential biggest trade chip of starter Nathan Eovaldi.
However, Speier writes that Boston “doesn’t seem motivated to deal Eovaldi, seeing him as part of any push to contend” into August, if the Red Sox can shake out of their slump. That said, if the Luis Castillo trade now becomes “an accelerant to the rest of the pitching market,” it is worth wondering if the Sox might see an opportunity to move Eovaldi for a big return.
Of note, the Mets had a scout at last night’s Red Sox game, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. The Mets are known to be looking at catching and lineup upgrades, so Vazquez and Martinez would each make sense — Martinez in particular could help the Mets solve their season-long lack of production at the DH spot. As to what New York could offer in return, Rosenthal notes that the Sox had a past interest in Dominic Smith, who would fit the team’s desire to land big leaguers back in trades (adding to the idea that Boston is still hoping to make a late playoff run).
A player on the cusp of the majors could also fit Boston’s model, with SNY’s Andy Martino suggesting that Mets infield prospect Mark Vientos could be of interest in trade talks. In fact, Martino reports that the Mets and Red Sox once “seriously discussed” a deal that would’ve sent Vazquez to Queens in exchange for a prospect package that included Vientos. The exact timing of these specific talks involving Vientos isn’t known, but the Mets reportedly looked into Vazquez prior to the 2020 trade deadline.
Vientos was a second-round pick for the Mets in the 2017 draft, and the 22-year-old has an impressive 21 home runs and a .263/.351/.516 slash line over 348 plate appearances at Triple-A Syracuse. Baseball America ranks Vientos as the fourth-best prospect in New York’s farm system, praising his 60-grade power and throwing arm and noting that he has a chance to stick at third base, even if some evaluators think a move to first base will eventually be necessary.
For all of Vientos’ potential, he is generally seen as a step below the true upper tier of Mets prospects, so New York could perhaps be more apt to move him for immediate help (even for a rental like Martinez or Vazquez) given how aggressively the Mets are chasing a World Series title this year. It can’t be ruled out that some kind of multi-player agreement could be struck, with both Martinez and Vazquez heading to Queens in exchange for a better prospect return.