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Inbox: Could Boston stars be traded for Manny?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers Red Sox fans' questions
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

Is it a long shot that the Red Sox would trade Jackie Bradley Jr.? Would they be willing to trade Bradley and Xander Bogaerts for Manny Machado? And are the Red Sox actually trying to trade for Machado, or are they just pursuing him to gain leverage against J.D. Martinez's agent, Scott Boras?
-- John L.

MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported recently that the Red Sox and Orioles have discussed a potential Machado trade. Whether or not these talks evolve into an actual trade, this much is clear: Anyone would love to have Machado. He is without question, one of the most impactful and exciting players in the game. And he is only 25 years old. In general, I really don't think the Red Sox want to trade Bradley or Bogaerts. But if there's a chance to get a player like Machado, you have to strongly consider anything. I think it would be a one or the other scenario, plus some other pieces, rather than both of those players.

Is it a long shot that the Red Sox would trade Jackie Bradley Jr.? Would they be willing to trade Bradley and Xander Bogaerts for Manny Machado? And are the Red Sox actually trying to trade for Machado, or are they just pursuing him to gain leverage against J.D. Martinez's agent, Scott Boras?
-- John L.

MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported recently that the Red Sox and Orioles have discussed a potential Machado trade. Whether or not these talks evolve into an actual trade, this much is clear: Anyone would love to have Machado. He is without question, one of the most impactful and exciting players in the game. And he is only 25 years old. In general, I really don't think the Red Sox want to trade Bradley or Bogaerts. But if there's a chance to get a player like Machado, you have to strongly consider anything. I think it would be a one or the other scenario, plus some other pieces, rather than both of those players.

If a Machado to Boston deal did become a reality, it wouldn't surprise me if it came at the expense of Bogaerts. Machado could replace Bogaerts at short in that scenario and the Red Sox would be able to keep promising slugger Rafael Devers at third. Though trading gifted defender Bradley would be a difficult pill for the Red Sox to swallow, they would at least have the luxury of moving Andrew Benintendi to center. The Orioles could also be looking for a top Boston prospect such as lefty Jay Groome or third baseman Michael Chavis.

Aside from the substantial acquisition cost, one risky element of a Machado trade is that he only has a year left on his contract. However, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has been known to be bold during his career. And if they were able to land him, the Red Sox would go all in on trying to sign him long term, much like they did -- and with a successful result -- after acquiring Pedro Martinez in a trade with the Expos in 1997.

You also asked if the Red Sox might be trying to leverage Boras in the Martinez negotiations by talking to the Orioles about Machado. It certainly doesn't hurt Boston to create other opportunities for themselves beyond Martinez.

Video: TB@BAL: Machado crushes a two-run homer to left field

:: Submit a question to the Red Sox Inbox ::

What is taking so long for the Red Sox to sign Martinez or any free agents?
-- Kenneth H., Leland, N.C.

Look at the entire market and you realize it isn't just the Red Sox. Carlos Santana (three years, $60 million with the Phillies) is the only free-agent hitter who has signed a big contract so far this offseason. Free agency is moving slowly this winter, especially when it comes to hitters. Teams are waiting for the prices to come down. Now that we're within six weeks of Spring Training, things should start moving soon because teams, players and agents are going to start getting antsy. If the Red Sox felt another team was close to signing Martinez, they would probably make their last, best offer. My sense is that things haven't escalated to that stage yet.

Video: SF@ARI: Martinez hits grand slam, drives in six

Are the Red Sox going to keep Devers at third, or pursue another third baseman?
-- Elias A., Santa Ana, Calif.

The Red Sox are all in on Devers as their third baseman of the present and future. He is 21 years old so the team isn't considering a position change for him at this time. Devers has the instincts and athleticism to be a solid third baseman. He just needs to gain a little more consistency, which usually comes with experience.

Who is going to fill in at second base until Dustin Pedroia is healthy? I think that Eduardo Nunez would be the perfect fit in the meantime. And then after Pedroia is ready, Nunez could go to shortstop to give Bogaerts a break if his offense isn't living up to expectations.
-- Shawn W., Arkoma, Okla.

The way the roster is presently constructed, there will be an open competition during Spring Training for the early-season at-bats at second base. Marco Hernandez is a player to keep an eye on. He consistently puts the bat on the ball and goes to all fields. He is also a solid defender. Brock Holt will be out to prove he can regain his form of 2014-15 after slumping and dealing with concussions and vertigo the last two years. Deven Marrero is a standout defensive player and you could him see against lefties. Tzu-Wei Lin was a sparkplug when given the opportunity last year.

You mentioned Nunez, but he is a free agent. I could see the Red Sox making a late offseason run for him if they don't end up acquiring a big bat. My sense is that the Red Sox feel they have enough internal solutions in the short term to fill in for Pedroia at second base, so they'd rather spend money on other areas of the club.

Do you think it's a possibility that the Red Sox are waiting for next year to try and get Bryce Harper since they missed out on a few deals already this year?
-- Mark H.

I think that is too dangerous a game to play. There are no guarantees they'll be able to sign Harper. The sweepstakes for his services will be among the most competitive in recent memory. If the Red Sox sign Harper, it would probably preclude them from being able to re-sign some of their own core players like Mookie Betts and Chris Sale. Harper is a long way off. The Red Sox are more focused on immediate needs.

Is there any chance we could see Chavis called up anytime this upcoming season, similar to the way Devers was? Maybe to face left-handed pitchers?
-- Jack P., Oberlin, Ohio

That's entirely dependent on two factors. The first is whether there is a need at the Major League level. Benintendi and Devers wouldn't have been called up the last two years if the Red Sox were getting production at the positions they play. The other factor is Chavis, and how he is developing. Benintendi and Devers clearly earned their callups by the swift rate that completed their development in '16 and '17, respectively. Chavis did get 274 at-bats at Double-A in '17 so he will definitely have a chance to get to Triple-A at some point in the coming season and perhaps Boston also.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

 

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