Red Sox eyeing young pitching at Deadline

August 30th, 2020

The Red Sox started facing setbacks before they even played a game this season. Chris Sale? Tommy John surgery and out for the season. Eduardo Rodriguez? COVID-19, and then Myocarditis. Out for the season.

Then the games started, and things didn’t get any better. The pitching has been depleted. The offense has underachieved.

Boston’s non-contender status has made the vision of the front office very clear. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will be looking at chances to upgrade his team for the future.

Already, the Red Sox traded two trusted relievers to the Phillies in Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree, receiving a pair of young righty starters in return in Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold.

On Sunday, first baseman Mitch Moreland was traded to the Padres in exchange for two prospects.

More moves could be in the works.

“We always want to stay active in conversation,” said Bloom. “I think really the goal should be to make sure that we are fully aware of all the opportunities that might be out there, anything that could be a chance to better our organization and help achieve our goals and make sure we're prepared to do something if we do find that opportunity out there.”

An important wrinkle to this year’s Trade Deadline is that teams can only trade players who are part of their 60-man player pool (assigned either to the big league team or the alternate training site). Clubs are permitted to include players to be named later in trades, however. Additionally, scouts have not been allowed to attend games in person, so all assessments of prospects have been done based on provided video and data and past knowledge.

Buy/sell/hold: The Red Sox are clearly in seller’s mode. With so many teams vying for a position in an expanded playoff format, Bloom is going to try to leverage that to his advantage by making it clear many of his established players are available. In his many years with the Rays, Bloom was part of a front office that always loved to be aggressive at the Trade Deadline. Expect that to carry over to the Red Sox this season.

What they want: Pitching, pitching, pitching. In case you haven’t heard, Boston is an organization in need of more young pitchers who are on the cusp of being ready for the Major Leagues. Expect Bloom to look long and hard for cost-controllable starting pitchers who can help as soon as next season. The club is also looking to bolster the farm system in any way possible.

What they have to offer: Slugger J.D. Martinez, who belted the most homers in the Major Leagues from 2017-19, could be the type of big bat that could put a contender over the top. Martinez has two more years left on his contract, but he also has an opt-out clause after this season and next. Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, and headed for free agency. He’d be a nice rental. Outfielder Kevin Pillar is a respected veteran with an expiring contract who has also been one of Boston’s best hitters this season. If the Red Sox want to get a starting pitcher who is ready to make an immediate impact, perhaps they could trade left fielder Andrew Benintendi, who has two years of club control left.

Chance of a deal: Let’s put it at 85 percent. Bloom isn’t going to sit still if there are opportunities to put the franchise in better shape for the future. Not only that, but he has the type of pieces that make Deadline deals feel realistic.