By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
Mike Moustakas: Everyone has been saying the only two teams in the Mike Moustakas sweepstakes are the Red Sox and Yankees. But let’s face it, the Yankees have a much stronger need for a starting pitcher or they will miss the post season anyway. So they’re not going to waste a decent prospect for a third baseman who won’t ultimately help them regardless. Literally no other playoff calibur team has a need for a third basemen, which means the Royals will not be able to force the Red Sox into a bidding war with anyone else. This also means the Royals won’t be able to demand a huge haul for Moustakas. If the Royals don’t negotiate reasonably with the Red Sox, no deal will get made, Moustakas will then walk away into free agency this November, and Royals will get absolutely nothing for him. It would probably only take a top ten prospect, plus a lower level prospect. The only scenario that could conceivably prevent the Mike Moustakas from coming to the Red Sox is if the Royals climb back into contention, OR the Red Sox pursue a longer term option.
Josh Harrison: Pittsburgh might also be looking to blow up their team since they’re at the end of their window with most of their contracts. Harrison is intriguing to me. He’s controllable through 2019 for only $11M a year. Harrison is a very well rounded player, who would probably be considered a FIVE TOOL guy if he had a little bit more power, but has a ton of upside. Rafael Devers would likely be a sticking point in this deal, but if Dombrowski is shrewd, he might be able to center the deal around Michael Chavis and another heralded prospect. Harrison plays third base, BUT has played a lot of second base as well, which could serve as a nice insurance policy if Pedroia goes down with a long term injury.
Todd Frazier: God I hope not! Frazier has awesome power, but strikes out a shit ton. The Red Sox have been linked to Frazier as it seems Dombrowski has been in bed with the White Sox front office since the last trade deadline. But it could happen.
Eduardo Nunez: This would be an under the radar move. Nunez isn’t a household name, and San Francisco could not require a significant prospect haul. Nunez does hit for a solid .300 average, but doesn’t walk a lot. What is especially attractive about Nunez is that he does currently have 17 stolen bases on the season so far. Farrell seems to think base stealing is an actual felony, so it could be pointless. But I do feel as though Nunez is an viable upgrade over Devin Marrero.
LONG SHOT SCENARIOS:
Evan Longoria: This is somewhat of an “outside the box” scenario. The Red Sox would go over the luxury tax if they acquired Longoria since he is owed $76M through year 2022. But to skirt around this issue, in lieu of eating any money, Tampa could take the Pablo Sandoval contract off the Red Sox. Now before you lose your shit, it would be a lofty $40M savings for Tampa. Devers would almost certainly be involved as well as an additional decent prospect. Whether Sandoval gives them any performance value does not actually matter. Tampa could actually choose to release him immediately after acquiring him. Tampa saves a lot of money and has one of the top third base prospects in baseball, and Boston gets a top player for their “WIN NOW” movement. Both teams would potentially make out very well in this deal.
Miguel Cabrera: While Cabrera almost certainly won’t play third base, a similarly structured deal as I outlined above with Longoria could see him land as the Red Sox DH. Cabrera is currently owed $182M through year 2023. This is the one crippling contract that Detroit would DESPERATELY love to get out of. Detroit is essentially out of the playoff race this season, and will likely have a fire sale as the deadline approaches. If Detroit agreed to take BOTH Hanley & Sandoval ($81M), they would still save $100M overall. The Hanley/Sandoval deals expire in a few years, which could be perfectly timed for the end of Detroit’s “rebuild.” The Red Sox would have the most leverage, so it wouldn’t require a huge prospect package since Detroit would be getting a ton of payroll relief. This is obviously a big long shot. I hope it doesn’t happen, but it could.
In closing: Of all six scenarios listed above, I definitely feel like Mike Moustakas makes the most sense. But you never know…