By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
Before everyone rips their hair out, stomps their feet, and starts pouting… It’s important to remember that the Red Sox have a very short window. The focus should be on 2018 & 2019.
If you look at the 2004 World Series team, were Millar, Damon, Mueller, Nixon, Bellhorn, or Pedro still with Boston when they won it again in 2007? How about the core of players who won it all in 2013? Victorino, Napoli, Ellsbury, Lackey, and Uehara were all gone shortly after.
Looking ahead after the next few seasons, Red Sox fans will likely struggle mightily over the fact Chris Sale, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr, Xander Bogaerts and Craig Kimbrel won’t likely still be on the roster. One or two might stay, but Boston definitely can’t afford to re-sign them all. So it’s important to make the necessary moves NOW while they are still on the roster, as well as to justify the moves that brought them here.
If the Red Sox decide they have had enough with the J.D. Martinez drama, here are some last minute moves they could make to immediately improve the team. Most of these moves will have little long term consequences.
Jackie Bradley Jr (BOS) for Charlie Blackmon (COL)
Before Giancarlo Stanton went crazy with his 59 home runs last season, Blackmon was the early front runner for NL MVP, and ended the season with a .331/.399./601 slashline to go along with his 37 home runs and 104 RBI’s. He is entering his age 32 season in the final year of his contract. Bradley would look attractive to Colorado since he is significantly more inexpensive, and has two extra years of control beyond the 2018 season. Boston would have a decent shot to extend Blackmon since he is a little older (though very durable). Most teams will be focused on the bigger free agents next off season. Bradley is a career .239/.318/.407 hitter who is more expendable than many Red Sox fans will ever admit.
Low Level Prospects for Miguel Cabrera (DET)
I would only take this deal if the Tigers were willing to eat HALF of Cabrera’s $30M annual salary for the remaining six seasons. That would mean the slugger would only cost the Red Sox “Pedroia Money,” which ironically was about what David Ortiz made the last few seasons of his career. Miggy would assume the DH role which they already had planned for J.D. Martinez. Detroit would be plenty motivated to move him, since they would run the risk of losing all of Cabrera’s value. Similarly, the Yankees lost all of Ellsbury’s. Of the $68M owed to the former Fenway centerfielder, New York is expected to eat at least $55M. Most Red Sox fans would prefer to stay away from the soon to be 35 year old Cabrera, but it’s a low risk situation. He is the greatest hitter of our generation, has great leadership ability, and I would support this trade. As a DH, his health would be preserved, and the 11-time all star would thrive in Boston.
Low Level Prospect(s) for Mark Trumbo (BAL)
This would be a little more outside of the box, but I have felt for a couple years Trumbo’s right handed power would play very well at Fenway Park. He hit 23 home runs, and 65 RBI’s last season after leading the American League in 2016 with 47 home runs. His career .301 OBP leaves a little to be desired, but his contract is very affordable and is very low risk. Trumbo can also play 1B as well as either corner outfield positions. Baltimore would probably be happy to save the remaining $26M from his contract. The move can’t haunt Baltimore since they will not likely be competitive these next couple of seasons anyway.
Basically nothing for Matt Kemp (LAD)
Many of you will not like this deal, and if I’m being completely honest, I do not like it either. However, Kemp is a right handed power bat who is available on the super cheap since the Dodgers will eat nearly all of his contract. Kemp has been hampered by ankle injuries, and would only play DH. He belted 19 home runs and 64 RBI’s last season for an Atlanta team who was in the midst of a rebuild. The Dodgers re-acquired him last December in a deal that was merely just a “salary exchange” with Atlanta. LA may end up outright releasing him. If nothing else, the Red Sox could pick him up, and tread water with him until the July 31 deadline. At which point they can pursue someone else, or improve the team in other areas should Kemp be productive. Value can come from the most unlikely of areas.
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