Three Crucial Trade Options for the Boston Red Sox

by Will Hyland | Posted on Monday, June 27th, 2016
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Rafael Devers, the current #3 Red Sox prospect and potential trade target, while playing for the Greenville Drive (A) in 2016.

Rafael Devers, the current #3 Red Sox prospect and potential trade target, while playing for the Greenville Drive (A) in 2016.

Since finishing the month of May at 32-20, the Boston Red Sox have begun to leak oil, going 9-14 in the month of June, and dropping to four games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles while holding on to a lead in the Wild Card race.

Now as Dave Dombrowski and Co. approach the trading deadline, it is clear that a move or two needs to be made. Boston has a plethora of young talent in their farm system that one day will compliment the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts at Fenway. But for now, there are only so many spots up for grabs as the Red Sox build around their cornerstones.

Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada are among the organizations top talents, currently playing alongside each other in Double-A for the Portland Sea Dogs. But in addition, the Red Sox have other highly regarded prospects like Rafael Devers, Anderson Espinoza, and Sam Travis*, who are also catching attention nationwide.

In order to stay afloat down the stretch in August and September, Boston needs to acquire either a front of the rotation starter, a strong bullpen arm, or better yet, both.

For the Red Sox to make any big move for either one of these necessities, they’ll need to part with at least one of their top four prospects as well as a second tier prospect and a major league-ready player. The current question marks at third base and left field lead me to believe that Boston will want Moncada and Benintendi to be there respectively. Subsequently, I believe the Red Sox will be reluctant to move those two, and instead, sell out on their other prospects if possible – much like they did with Bogaerts and Bradley in 2013.

Without further ado, here are three trade “musts” for the Sox in the coming month.

 Rafael Devers (INF), Henry Owens (LHP), Pat Light (RHP), and Sam Travis (1B) to Oakland for Sonny Gray (RHP), Danny Valencia (3B), and John Axford (RHP)

Devers is one of the best infield prospects in all of baseball. Although he’s only batting .239 at High-A Salem, scouts believe that Devers possesses plus bat speed and an advanced approach for his age and All-Star potential regardless of position due to his value at the plate. Additionally, scouts see Travis as a second division regular and acknowledge room for improvement in his bat, though his current injury diminishes his value. Pat Light and Henry Owens are respectable arms that can be deposited at the major league level, especially in Oakland. Owens was once a highly-regarded prospect himself, but his mechanics have slowed his progression. Either way, the two may be developmental major-league ready pieces for Billy Beane to use or barter.

Letting go of Devers will have to be the catalyst in this trade because Oakland will want a top tier prospect in return for Gray and Valencia. Gray will be able to fill the Sox need for a starting pitcher and Valencia will be a respectable placeholder until Moncada is ready, especially considering the recent struggles of Travis Shaw. The interesting piece is Axford, who I see as a veteran throw-in to a blockbuster that will still add some depth and experience in the Boston bullpen.

Anderson Espinoza (RHP), Travis Lakins (RHP), and Marco Hernandez (INF) to Atlanta for Julio Teheran (RHP) and Arodys Vizcaino (RHP)

The Braves look to be huge sellers this deadline, as they frantically try to rebuild their franchise before moving into a new stadium. There is no question that many will see this move as an Espinoza for Teheran trade which it will be in all seriousness. Scouts say that Espinoza, even at the ripe age of 18, has ace potential and a fastball already reaching 94-97 MPH. Lakins is the the Red Sox #8 overall prospect and will help get the deal done, especially with the inclusion of Vizcaino on the Boston end. He currently has a 1.62 WHIP through 60+ innings in Single-A. Hernandez, currently a bench player at the major league level in Boston, will be a valuable piece because of his readiness in the big leagues.

For Boston, Teheran will become the #2 starter behind David Price and a key piece down the stretch. Through 16 starts with Atlanta he is 3-7 with a 2.46 ERA and a .183 BAA. Don’t let the win-loss record fool you as the Braves are one of the MLB’s worst teams. Vizcaino has a 1.93 ERA in 34 games this year, and will definitely help the Red Sox inconsistent bullpen.

Bryce Brentz (OF), Michael Kopech (RHP), Pat Light (RHP), and Luis Alexander Basabe (OF) to San Diego for Drew Pomeranz (RHP) and Carlos Villanueva (RHP)

Part of the reason that Brentz has been getting playing time lately is because of Boston’s recent injury woes in left field. However, I think the situation doubles as a perfect chance to build his trade value. The once top prospect has since become an afterthought in many minds around New England. For the Padres, he will be a major-league ready player if need be. San Diego, though, will be reluctant to trade Pomeranz for just anybody due to his outstanding 2016 campaign so far. But I believe the additions of Kopech and Light could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Say what you want about Kopech’s off the field issues, but scouts acknowledge his wide variety of pitches and his top of the rotation potential. At age 20, he already has a fastball in the mid-90’s and a 87 MPH slider with wipeout ability. Light, who I mentioned earlier, is also a flamethrower, who touched 100 with Pawtucket and looks to be a future closer or set-up man. Basabe is a mostly unknown prospect because of low name recognition and high risk, but his potential is that of a first division player. He also has plus-speed and raw power, a rare combination. Through 56 games in Single-A Greenville, Basabe has 46 hits.

That four-man combination should get the deal done considering both Pomeranz and Villanueva aren’t going to get much better than what they are showing right now. If insisted, Boston could add another MLB ready player player like Deven Marrero to the trade. Dombrowski should be careful not to let San Diego over-value the pair during trade talks. But even so, Pomeranz and Villanueva could be what the doctor ordered for Boston in terms of short term effectiveness. Pomeranz is 7-7 with a 2.76 ERA this season and Villanueva has only walked six in 45 innings this season. They might not be outstanding pieces like Gray or Teheran, but still a heck of a lot better than Clay Buchholz. Can I get an amen?

Bottom line: for the Red Sox to hold on to any chance of being a contender, they’ll need to take advantage of their farm system and make one of these three moves to compliment their strong offense.

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Will Hyland
About the Author

Will Hyland is a proud Mainer with a strong passion for the game of baseball. He is a sophomore at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, where he does play-by-play for the Chargers baseball and hockey teams. Other work can be found at Boston's TitleTownTalk and the Bangor Daily News. Follow him on twitter @willhyland.

  • norman

    Do you even follow other teams? The Braves are totally OVERLOADED with top pitchers.
    The Braves also stated that they are done acquiring prospects. They will NOT be working a deal for 3 RedSox pitching prospects.
    Since Coppy stated hes done acquiring prospects and doesnt have to trade a very TEAM friendly Teheran contract , hes probably working a deal involving Moncada or Benintendi OR both and Vizcaino will be involved then.
    If the Braves dont get Moncada and/or Benintendi . I bet Teheran stays in Atlanta.
    I know i said Coppy said no more prospects . But he cannot turn down 2 of the best hitting prospects who are pretty close to ready.

    • Ryan Waggoner

      Moncada + Espinoza + Raudes + Light. That’s the least the Braves would take IMO

      • Crusader10

        Then you can forget that. Moncada, for one, isn’t going anywhere, and I doubt Espinoza is either. A top prospect (He’ll be THE top prospect in baseball by the next report), and a future ace for a mid-rotation pitcher? If Dombrowski makes that deal, I’ll be leading the charge to get him fired.

        • Will Hyland

          Yeah, Espinoza is legit right now. But how long are the Sox willing to wait? The guy is 18. He won’t be MLB ready for another three years or so. Fans in Boston are getting impatient.

          • Crusader10

            To that, my response is: They were impatient and gave away Curt Schilling and Jeff Bagwell. It may take a few years for Espinoza to be ready, but he could be very special. Trading him for what’s out there would be like the Tigers trading Smoltz for Doyle Alexander. Impatience causes some very poor decisions to be made.

          • John Camp

            See my post above. You are not wrong. It simply is the case that you will not be competitive this year unless you are willing to move your talented prospects. So what you are saying is: bank on the future, and let the team slide to the cellar Papi’s last season. That is a completely reasonable position.

          • Will Hyland

            I agree John. They have Ortiz and Pedroia in the twilight. Their cornerstone pieces (Bogaerts, Bradley, Betts, etc.) will be there. But the guessing game usually leads you to three/four last place finishes – as we have seen here.

          • John Camp

            Same for stop gap measures. Too often teams go out and get journeyman, over the hill, has been, never was, borderline bum arms. The result is that a guy with a career ERA of 4.43 will at best preform at that same level for a half season. There is a good chance they will have an ERA over 5. Right now that might actually be an improvement, but just enough to stay around .500.

          • Will Hyland

            For sure. Good example of that was the 2011 Phillies. Had Oswalt, Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. Now look where they are. No backup plan then led them to four lost years of Ryan Howard as your 1B.

          • Crusader10

            I would love to see Papi win once more but the long term future of the team is more important. Al Davis wanted to win one more time and look at the mess that put the Raiders in. I would not be averse to a fair trade for a Sonny Gray, or a Teheran, but the key word is fair.

            As for being competitive, this team is a lot better than what they have been playing like the past week or two. They hit a cold spell. They will hit a hot streak. That is the nature of the game. They are, and will be, competitive. Someone out of the group of Buccholtz, Rodriguez, Kelly, and Elias will do something, and if they don’t, well, so be it.

            Teheran is way overvalued at this point, and has been VERY lucky in batting avg. on balls in play. Right now, those balls are finding gloves. Eventually, they will find holes.

          • John Camp

            You are right. They will play better. But, two or three more weeks of anything like this and it will not matter. Teheran is not over valued by the way. I read that all the time. BABIP and FIP are the cornerstones of the argument that he will regress. Statistically this is nonsense. ERA is a descriptive statistic, meaning it just tells you what is there. The sabermetric stats like FIP, xFIP, and BABIP however are inferential statistics, meaning they are used to predict future performance. Inferential statistics come with very strict rules of interpretation.

            The assumption that he has been lucky is based on the intended measure of those stats. They try to remove aspects of ERA that are outside of the pitchers control. People that understand what FIP is know that it SHOULD resemble ERA, and if it does not then the pitcher has been lucky – FIP higher than ERA, or unlucky – FIP lower than ERA. The assumption then is that as the sample size increases – in other words more innings are pitched – a pitcher’s ERA will eventually align with his FIP. That assumption only holds however when there is fluctuation in the gap between ERA and FIP. Teheran has ALWAYS “out pitched” his FIP and BABIP. With more than 700 innings pitched I think we can safely say the sample is sufficiently large. The ONLY responsible statistical interpretation is that there is nothing wrong with Teheran, but there is something wrong with the measure. Remember, these stats are only estimates of players’ productivity. They are a shorthand way to record and compare players. They leave out much more than they include. So, some aspect of pitching performance is not being captured by these statistics. Whatever it is that is not being measured, Teheran has in abundance. Therefor, there is absolutely no justification in the argument that he will regress, and there is EVERY reason to expect that Teheran will continue to “out pitch” his peripheral statistics.

            Eventually a modified FIP will capture the missing piece and we will then apply that stat to Teheran’s career numbers. Then you will say: “If I had known this in 2016 we could have won the World Series.”

          • Crusader10

            I don’t think things like BAPIP and FIP should be taken lightly. That said, a team’s defense has something to do with that. A fly ball hit to Willie Mays is more likely to be caught than one hit to Dave Kingman. That said, Teheran’s BAPIP is at just over 2, while the league average is about 3. That is a HUGE discrepancy and it would portend to his ERA rising. Not to mention facing AL lineups on a more regular basis.

            BTW, while Teheran would certainly help, I see him as a luxury item. I would love to have a Porsche in my driveway, but I am not willing to go into debt or eat ramen noodles every night to buy it. Now, if I got a good deal on it, that’s a different story.

          • John Camp

            Whaaatt? When did a solid rotation become a luxury item?

          • rundmc1981

            Crusader10, you’re basing your argument presumably on stats that undervalue Teheran (FIP, BABIP) which gives value to strikeouts, which hasn’t been a part of Teheran’s until this year. Teheran has had 2 seasons with an ERA under 3.20 and one season of it north of 4.00, which also happened to be ATL’s worst season in years, yet do you think that was a mirage for him and the standard. Teheran is now 25, into his prime and has the best strikeouts and walk rates of his career, and still his FIP is still far off from his ERA. Just think how much better it would be with competent defenders behind him like Simmons and JHey. Teheran will have some bad outings, like any pitcher (did you see ATL just hang 9 ER on Jose Fernandez on SAT?), but he will give you 200 IP of an ERA hovering around 3.00, if not better. And his strikeout rates look to be only getting better. If BOS doesn’t want to overpay, then go shopping somewhere else. ATL is just fine with keeping him until 2020 and benefitting from that production.

          • Crusader10

            I don’t think Teheran is a bad pitcher. I am just saying that he isn’t worth Moncada, Benintendi, or Espinosa to them. No, the team is not playing very well now, and yes, they could use another arm, but what they need isn’t a top of the rotation pitcher. They have that. They need a back end arm. I also would not be all that upset if they don’t win it this year. This is a team built for a long haul, with a great core of young players and top prospects coming up through their system. Why throw that away for a one year run?

          • John Camp

            You are right about that. This really is not an issue of player and prospect value. It is an issue of “Do you want to win NOW?” Will Teheran, Viscaino, Krol, Markakis make Boston a better team? Yes. Will they be good enough to catch Baltimore? Maybe, if they make the trade now. They certainly would be favorites for the wild card and competitive in the post season. But, if the Yankees start to close on Baltimore, then they will be buyers. Judge, Sanchez, and Andujar. For the Red Sox fans that do not think much of Teheran, imagine him wearing pin stripes. For a shot at a ring, the Yankees would do that deal before lunch.

        • Ryan Waggoner

          Well, Espinoza was expendable. Now, we’ll see Dombrowski’s resolve over Moncada.

          • Crusader10

            That really surprised me. And worries me. I think (hope?) the trade was made because of the success of Kopech this year, and the signing of Groome. I still don’t like trading away a kid like Espinoza for someone with, basically, a half year as a good pitcher. Time will tell whether this trade is good, bad, or ugly, and for whom.

    • Will Hyland

      I do follow other teams, which is why I know that Atlanta is the worst team in the entire MLB. And they are not about to give up their only top end starter for peanuts. And I can probably guarantee that the Red Sox won’t trade Benintendi and Moncada in the same deal unless it’s for Jose Fernandez. That is nearly a fact.

      • rundmc1981

        Will, with all due respect, you don’t know ATL well enough to presume what they would do. You’re not going to replace Teheran with Espinoza. We’ve got a farm stocked with high-end arms that would eventually replace Teheran, but the main parts of the deal would need to be Benintendi/Moncada. Travis is 1B where we have our franchise player (Freeman) and Devers is struggling in low-minors with a lot of supposed potential. Yes, he’s only 19, but don’t forget ATL just signed the top international prospect (16, Kevin Maitan) who has been compared to Chipper and Miggy. I don’t think they would give full value to Devers either. Benintendi and Moncada are close enough to the majors and fill the needs ATL has. Teheran does not need to moved and put us at risk of needing more pitching at the major league level without a significant overpay — Travis, Devers are not that.

    • redsoxu571

      I agree with you. A Teheran deal to Boston will never happen, because Boston isn’t trading Benintendi or Moncada in such a deal and Atlanta doesn’t have any reason to do a deal without at least one of them. Unless a huuuuuge package built around Devers happens, it just isn’t happening.

      • John Camp

        I am not so sure. I really do not know, but Dombrowski has already made some big moves. The Price thing might not be what he hoped, but he has a team that could win it all IF he had some quality starting pitching and another late inning reliever. He is GM who is not afraid to pull the trigger and I would bet he would not have taken the job if he was not going to have the authority to make any deal he thought best.

        No doubt he would catch hell for making the deal. He is going to catch more hell if but if the Sox keep falling like this. He can sit tight and hope his rotation gets better than terrible, he can trade for some bargain basement arms and hope they are better than terrible, or he can give the whole minor league system for a year or two of Fernandez, or he can acquire Teheran and his friends. If the Sox win the series, or are at least competitive because Teheran and friends make the difference, then he is a genius.

        Now I am leaning more towards the trade will happen. He has to do something.

  • John Camp

    Not so sure about your suggested Braves trade. The Braves are loaded with pitching prospects. They might be interested in Espinoza, but not as the center piece of a deal. They need bats. They need big league ready, or nearly ready prospects, at 3rd, catcher, and outfield. They need corner outfielders with pop. Devers is a good prospect, but he still needs time to develop. So, it Boston wont give up one of their young major league bats, the Braves will want Moncada and Benintendi.

    A “fair” trade based on current and discounted future value would be something like Moncada plus a B+ prospect just to get Teheran. Vizcaino would merit a B+ prospect and maybe a mid level prospect or two. So, that would be something along the line of Moncada, Devers, Espinoza, Basabe, Ockimey. But, if a trade happens it will not be viewed as “fair ” by Boston fans. It will be fair because the Braves are THE seller in a seller’s market. Blame Adam Smith if you do not like supply and demand. If Boston wants Teheran and Vizcaino “translate as: if Boston wants a shot a ring this year”, then they will have to give up Moncada, Benintendi, either Devers or Espinoza, and a couple of prospects in the Basabe to Ockimey range. The Braves will likely include another solid reliever like Krol and maybe Markakis. The usual back and forth and salary dump will balance stuff out.

    • Will Hyland

      Atlanta is definitely a seller for prospects, I agree. But I’m not sure that the Red Sox would deal Benintendi and Moncada together unless it was for Jose Fernandez. Maybe a more fair trade between Boston and Atlanta would be Devers, Espinoza, and Hernandez for Teheran and Vizcaino. But I honestly don’t see Dombrowski letting go of the top two considering they already have viable big league spots lined up for them.

      • John Camp

        Will, I appreciate the civil and reasonable conversation. It is hard to find these days. Devers, Epsinoza, and Hernandez is very close value wise. Devers, although struggling in the lower minors, is a top 3b prospect. Espinoza looks to be a future front line starter, and I really like Hernandez. The problem with the package is that it does not meet the Braves needs. Devers fits the need, but we have a 3b prospect at single A already in Austin Riley. MLP pipeline has Riley at 6 among 3rd baseman and of course Devers at number 2. We want guys that will be ready opening day 2017 because of our new 1.1 billion dollar stadium. Espinoza would be great, but we have so many big pitching prospects now that you can not keep up with them. Hernandez is major league ready, and would be a great addition. Problem is we are loaded with quality middle infielders. Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Jace Peterson, with Gordan Bekham and Chase d’Arnaud backing them up. If the Braves can not get Moncada – to play 3rd – it is unlikely the trade happens.

        As to your statement about Fernandez. Yes, he is better than Teheran, but if you let the Fish haul all those prospects to Miami you will keep paying that price. Fernandez will be a FA after next year. Question: “Who is player’s agent General managers hate most to deal with?” Survey says: Scott Boras -100%. He is also Fernandez’s agent, so you will either pay 200 + million, or lose Fernandez after a year and a half. Compare that to Teheran for 4.5 years and only 37 mil.

        • thickage

          I would agree on Fernandez and the Boras representation and go one higher and state that he’s going to be seeking close to Giancarlo Stanton money – I would bet Boras will be seeking $300 mn (he’s going to get more than David Price $ and might “settle” in for something higher than Kershaw money at ~$31mn/season x 7 seasons or so). JoFer is 5 years younger than Kershaw and we know Boras will play that to his advantage. I think he’ll get $275-300 mn from a team named the LA Dodgers; they are flush with cash and the NL team would be a good fit.

          That strengthens your point about dealing prospects away for him, as Boston is not likely to take on that kind of contract with Price’s contract on the books for several more years.

          Teheran seems like a good future play – I would think Benintendi could help seal the deal, but Moncada won’t be going anywhere.

          • John Camp

            I know the Braves want Moncada for third. They also want Bregman, but so far Houston has refused to bite. But they also need corner outfielders.They want right handed power in those spots, but a talent like Benintendi is not available every day (or every year). Benintendi, Devers and Teheran, Vizcaino as the center pieces might happen. There of course would be other prospects, relievers, veterans, and the usual salary dumps to satisfy both teams, but that might happen.

          • Will Hyland

            Totally accurate there.
            Red Sox will need to watch that too since Xander Bogaerts is a client of his as well.

          • John Camp

            No one has brought this up (no one anywhere that I have seen), but there is one other Red Sox prospect that certainly would interest the Braves. Assuming he signs, Groome would be hard to turn away. You can not trade the draft picks until next year, but they can be the PTBNL. Of course he does not meet the Braves immediate needs, but plans can change.

          • thickage

            Braves drafted another HS pitcher ahead of Groome even though they had the #3 pick – I don’t know the details on who ATL chose, but I think the consensus was that Groome’s stock fell based on his “personal” issues. How familiar are you with the guy ATL picked #3 ahead of Groome? Just wondering if they have already passed on Groome…

          • John Camp

            They took left hander Ian Anderson (Not the epic flute solo guy from Jethro Tull). Anderson was around 8 – 12 on the board depending on which service you trust. But apparently the Braves were big on him all along. They say now they believed he was the best pitcher available. But, picking Anderson was the start of some shrewd trickeration. They cut a deal with Anderson before the draft. He signed for $4 mil of the slots allowed $6.5 mil. They used the extra 2.5 mil to entice their next two draft pics, both high school pitchers, to sign. Both had strong college commitments so they had sign-ability issues. Fear they would not sign allowed them to hang on the draft board. They took Joey Wentz, ranked 16th by pipeline with the 40th overall pick and Kyle Muller, ranked 24th with the 44th pick. The extra million each was enough to get them on board. They got three of the top 24 players and top 13 pitchers with the 3rd, 40th, and 44th picks. Sneaky.

            So, they could not have done that if they had taken Groome, who still has not signed with Boston.

          • rundmc1981

            ATL passed on Groome – as well as many other teams – moreso because of the difficulty in signing him – something that is proving true in that he’s not signed yet. He’s made a last-minute move and decided to forgo Vandy (a baseball pitching powerhouse) for Chipola CC presumably with the intention of reentering the MLB Draft in 2017 if he did not like contract offers from the drafting team (BOS, in this case). Groome is expecting to be paid like a top-3 pick, and ATL’s draft plans were all based on drafting guys that were signable. Ian Anderson was rated around #18 on many draft boards, but he would sign under-slot so they could sign someone (Joey Wentz) that is a 1st-rd talent that fell because of signability concerns. I believe Wentz was the key to ATL’s entire draft strategy personally. They’ve been connected to him for some time and rated him just as high as Jason Groome. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wentz a top-of-the-rotation option barring injuries/issues down the road.

          • rundmc1981

            Goome isn’t even signed yet and it’s possible they don’t sign him (they have until 7/15). ATL and every other MLB team would want Moncada/Benintendi, even if they have their roster full. Both are beasts and between Austin Meadows and Lewis Brinson, I don’t see another OF prospect better than Benintendi personally.

          • John Camp

            You are right. I have since also learn that new draft picks can not be the PTBNL. Teheran’s numbers did not look good in his last outing, but he did pitch well. I think at this point with the all that has transpired in the last couple of weeks, Teheran’s price has gone up considerably. Kershaw went down, Bud Norris is off the market, Perez and Gant are injured, Aaron Blair is back in Gwinnett, Houston picked up two games on the Rangers, Boston is getting humiliated, Detroit is surging and both the Tigers and Astros are closing on Boston in the Wildcard. These are either very good reasons for Atlanta to keep Teheran or very good reasons for Boston, Texas, Houston, and now maybe Detroit to acquire him. NL teams could want him as well. Bud Norris is having the time of his life, but even that will not replace Kershaw in a rotation that already needed help. San Francisco might be interested as well.

            I think now that it will take 2 of: Moncada, Benintendi, Bogaerts, Betts, Bradley, and one of Devers, Espinoza, Swihart. I would assume the Braves would give up Vizcaino, another reliever, and a pitching prospect as well, but I do not know. Markakis and probably Mallex Smith or Inciarte could be available as well. Point though is that if the trade happens, the Braves will be filling at least two of their primary position player needs. Moncada would play 3rd and Beintendi would play RF.

        • Will Hyland

          Thanks, I appreciate it. And now that you point out the several legit prospects that Atlanta has, it makes sense. Part of me still thinks they’d want to take Espinoza if given the chance.

          And yes, Boras is a pain in the rear end. Red Sox will need to figure out what they want to give up for their long term goals.

          As it stands today, they’re all set in their lineup, it’s the pitching that needs work.

          • John Camp

            Yes they would want Espinoza, as he would be the highest rated right hander in the system. We have 4 left handers that would be higher rated however. You are correct that usually the Braves, or any team, would want to replace their veteran with a quality prospect playing the same position. Not here. The Braves blew up the team after 2014 and since have garnered through trades the number 1 pitching prospects from Houston, Saint Louis, Arizona twice, the number 1 and 2 prospects from both San Diego and Anaheim. On top of that they went all in on pitching in both the 2015 and 2016 drafts. In 2015 they took 23 pitchers including 12 of their first 14 picks. This year they took 24 pitchers including 3 in the first 44 picks overall. The plan now is to develop these prospects and essentially flip them at various levels for the bats they need.

          • rundmc1981

            Will, you’re missing the point. Sure, they would take Espinoza, but Coppy said it himself that they’re done taking back prospects. What he meant was that they need to be closer to being ready than further along. With that said, Espinoza and Devers would not be the main points of the trade. They might have value with another team, but not with ATL that is stocked enough with lower-minor and high-end arms, not to trade for them with the little trade bait we have left. It’s going to take one of, if not both, Moncada and Benintendi. IF you’re not willing to do that, then there’s no deal. Both of them should net Vizcaino and Teheran – and I’d think many would oppose the deal – but what are BOS options right now? Your staff is TERRIBLE with your $200M man being shown up by a 32-year old knuckleballer whose bubble will soon burst, if his career numbers mean anything. BOS just got beat 21-2 by a last place Angels team — think about that. So now, what leverage does BOS have to say no? They can trade for 32-year old Rich Hill and hope he’s better than the first time around. They can trade for Drew Pomeranz is hope he’s not the pitcher he was in OAK. Or they can sit on their hands and not do anything and hope that any of these prospects would reap more down the road. There’s not a lot available in free agency, so good luck. Other teams are interested.

  • thickage

    Sox needs, in order:
    Starting Pitcher
    Bullpen Arm (8th inning guy)
    LF or 3B (prefer LF platoon for Chris Young) as Brock Holt > at 3B than he is in LF

    All interesting deals, but neither of those would have any shot of happening as stated. This is good armchair-GM talk and a worthy discussion.

    First off, Villanueva and Axford are garbage. Sox need an 8th inning guy as they are chock full of middle relievers.

    Valencia is an interesting add-in, but you’d effectively be giving up Travis Shaw for a subpar defender platoon guy. He’d be a nice fill-in for the next time Brock Holt misses over a month for a concussion (I mean, who misses THAT much time for a concussion? Not even in the NFL…), but he’s not worth including in a deal and giving up prospects as he’s a lateral move with horrible leather. If it’s a straight-cash consideration, maybe – you can only have so many guys on the roster, so where does Valencia fit when Holt and Swihart return? In Pawtucket, is the answer.

    Sox won’t give up Moncada for any deal – they’ve got $60mn tied up in him. I think they’d be more apt to deal Benintendi, lower level prospects, and eat tons of $. In that light, I believe San Diego is their best dance partner. Now’s a great chance for SD to dump Kemp, who is still due about $50mn on this contact (16-19:$21.5M/year). If I were Sox GM, I’d attempt a Pomeranz, Buchter, Kemp trade – one-stop shopping. Sox wouldn’t have to give up a ton in return as Pomeranz and Buchter only signed for 2016 and Sox would be eating Kemp’s contact. I could see Benintendi and a couple of lower prospects and/or a Buchholz/Erod/Joe Kelly type shipped back for that package.

    I love armchair GM!

    • Will Hyland

      The subpar average platoon player is doing better than Travis Shaw in my opinion. Shaw benefited from a bad Sandoval situation; that’s all.

      And yeah, Axford and Villanueva aren’t great. But does Koji Uehara have your complete confidence in the eighth? I don’t think so.

      • thickage

        Valencia is a career platoon guy. Has only sniffed 100+ games a couple times in his career to this point. I don’t believe you would see him taking on most of the ABs because his defense is a major liability (-1.2 dWAR); there’s a reason he’s a part time player. He’d be an upgrade offensively, potentially – he’s a .275/.316/.757OPS guy.

        The question is, is that worth burning a prospect for? Absolutely not. Holt will return this week and can plug in at 3B if necessary. Shaw earned the 3B spot in spring training, he didn’t benefit from Sandoval, so I’d have to disagree there.

        Koji has no confidence from me, which is why I laid out the order of need above: Starter, 8th inning guy, 3B or LF, in that order. Axford ERA last three years has been 3.95, 4.20 and 4.20, respectively). Villanueva can’t pitch in the AL and has a career 4.13 ERA. Neither of those guys are worth dealing prospects for. I’m not sure they’re even worth signing for straight up cash.

        It’s all opinion, of course. I applaud you for taking the time to write this piece, because is was worth the speculation. It’s also worth the debate. The Sox have some tough decisions to make on how many prospects they should part with. I suspect they won’t part with too many high level prospects and it would virtually be a lock that Moncada wouldn’t be dealt (unless we start talking Jose Fernandez!)….

        • Will Hyland

          I don’t think you understood me in that Axford and Valencia would be throw ins to that deal. Obviously you’re really getting Sonny Gray. In my opinion, though, Valencia is better than Shaw at this point. But I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          Axford and Villanueva aren’t great I know. But at this point, the bullpen just needs decent help period. I don’t really care who it is. Koji is 40+ with no bite on his splitter. You’re gonna keep losing games if you send him out there.

          But yes, thank you. It was time consuming and mostly outside the box thinking. And yeah, you’re right. It’s decision time.

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  • bravesfan22

    how bout Moncada Bennitendi Romanski and Swihart for Garcia Teheran and Vizcaino

    • redsoxu571

      How about no?

  • redsoxu571

    Two of the three names here are usual suspects, and while the suggested returns for them are more reasonable then usual (“the usual” being “gotta have Benintendi or Moncada of bleh bleh bleh” as if Boston has no other worthwhile prospects), they just aren’t the right names to pursue.

    If the idea is to help 2016, a Gray deal is off the table, because he still (rightfully) will cost a lot but looks pretty broken right now.

    There is also too much risk with the NL-to-Fenway Park transition for Teheran to make him a good option. Sure, if that EXACT offer were indeed the price tag it would be worth the risk, but I can’t imagine that being the actual price.

    The one here with some legs is a Pomeranz deal. He shouldn’t be as expensive, so the transition wouldn’t be filled with as much risk, but he does have suitable upside.

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