By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
If you look at the history of Dave Dombrowski, when he needs to make an acquisition, he goes “all in.” Two off seasons ago, David Price & Craig Kimbrel were the VERY best available pitchers in their respective capacities. Last off season Chris Sale was the absolute best player available that could be traded for. He settles for nothing but the best, and is not one for making a deal that will be less than impactful.
The question Dombrowski is faced with is: Can we afford to stand pat? The Yankees loaded up with Todd Frazier and two solid relievers. The Rays in their typical fashion made some solid under-the-radar moves with acquisitions of Trevor Plouffe & Adeiney Hechevarria. The Rays are also in talks with the Tigers in regards to top reliever Alex Wilson in hopes of beefing up their bullpen. GM’s are working feverishly around the league to improve their teams.
Both Miguel Cabrera or Giancarlo Stanton all by themselves can be had for a package that would NOT require elite prospects. Detroit knows Cabrera’s contract is the elephant on their books, and would love to free themselves of it. The Marlins have similar motives for dealing Stanton. However, another ulterior they have is that trading him would drastically help expedite/facilitate the sale of their team, which several investors are currently pursuing.
If the Red Sox decided to explore a blockbuster deal with the Marlins, they could also acquire Martin Prado & David Phelps in addition to Stanton. Prado essentially has no trade value whatsoever anymore. He’s back on the DL and would essentially be just a “throw in,” but could be worth taking a flyer on. David Phelps is controllable through next season, and has generated widespread interest from other teams looking for a solid reliever. Groome & Chavis would likely be the centerpieces of this deal as well as a couple lower level prospects.
If the Red Sox want to explore an even bigger blockbuster deal with the Tigers, they could acquire Nick Castellanos & Alex Wilson in addition to Miguel Cabrera. Both Wilson & Castellanos are controllable through 2019. If Dombrowski were to facilitate this trade, he would have to be willing to part with literally anyone, including Devers.
Both trade scenarios above could also be revised down to just two players. Obviously this would potentially retain an extra prospect.
But how could the Red Sox afford all this extra payroll? Along with their respective prospect packages, the Tigers or Marlins would have to take on the contracts of BOTH Pablo Sandoval & Hanley Ramirez to off set the money. As bad as that sounds, both teams will be done with both players after three years as opposed to several years with Stanton & Cabrera. AND would still save several million dollars.
The Red Sox seem to be hanging onto Sandoval for a reason. When a player gets designated for assignment, a team has ten days to trade or release him. He has almost certainly cleared waivers and could have been released by now. So I strongly suspect that Dombrowski wants to retain Sandoval the entire ten days to facilitate a trade.
Why trade Hanley when he’s finally heating up at the plate? As good as he is, he’s a pain in the ass, and we have far more upside with Stanton or Cabrera. Not to mention we have no choice but to give up extra payroll.
The stakes are high for Dombrowski. His job is safe after this season no matter what. However, the moves he makes or does NOT make this season could result in him getting fired after NEXT season.
With players like Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, and Joe Kelly breaking down physically, one has to wonder: Have the Red Sox already peaked for 2017? Probably so. Injuries are increasing, and run production is decreasing. That’s a terrible feeling with several teams around us getting stronger.
I don’t have a dog in this fight. Nor do I have strong feelings about either of the above trades coming to fruition. But if neither actually do, what other meaningful move can be made at this point? It’s either blockbuster or season buster.
What a mess….