Where do Red Sox stand after Trade Deadline?

August 5th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

To buy or to sell?

That was the question that faced Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom in the days and hours that led up to Tuesday’s Trade Deadline.

Considering that his team was injury-riddled, underperforming and in last place in the American League East, it was easy to envision a sale of veterans at the end of their contracts for prospects.

Seeing as how the Red Sox started the week just three games out in the AL Wild Card standings and had some important players coming back in the near future, it was easy to envision a buyer's approach toward some veterans who could fortify the team for another playoff run.

As it turns out, Bloom chose C, all of the above.

Sell: The Sox dealt catcher Christian Vázquez, the longest-tenured member of the organization, to the Astros for Minor Leaguers Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu, who became prospects No. 28 and 29, respectively, in Boston’s farm system, according to MLB Pipeline's new rankings.

Sell/Buy: Bloom traded veteran reliever Jake Diekman to the White Sox for catcher Reese McGuire. Given that Diekman is under contract for another season and is a setup man with a track record, this should mostly be viewed in the sell category. But the Red Sox did get back a cost-controllable backup catcher who will help fill the void left by Vázquez.

Buy: With the acquisition of outfielder Tommy Pham for a player to be named later or cash, Bloom was clearly supplementing his 2022 roster with an outfielder who, even after not homering for all of July, had still gone deep more times this season (11) than any other outfielder on Boston’s roster. A right-handed hitter, Pham is known for his competitive fire, something that can help a contender down the stretch.

With Pham in the fold and Kiké Hernández due back from the injured list at some point in August, Jackie Bradley Jr. became the odd man out in Boston's outfield.

Buy: Instead of trading off J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi in the hours that led up to the Deadline, Bloom added another veteran in first baseman Eric Hosmer in an interesting trade with the Padres. San Diego had included Hosmer in the initial blockbuster to the Nationals for Juan Soto. However, the Nationals were on Hosmer’s no-trade list, and he decided to keep it that way. Instead, the Padres sent Hosmer and the $44 million he's owed through 2025 to the Red Sox. Though this isn’t the Kansas City version of Hosmer anymore, he is much better than Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero, who were a first-base tandem (offensively and defensively) for Boston this season.

In addition, the sides swapped prospects -- Jay Groome to San Diego and Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier to Boston -- to complete the trade.

Are you dizzy yet?

So, what to make of it all? Bloom did show motivation to get his team to the playoffs by adding two veteran bats, but he also balanced it out by getting four prospects who might help the club in the future.

“We have had a lot of ups and downs this season,” said Bloom. “Even a month ago, we did not anticipate being in this position that we found ourselves in the days leading up to the Trade Deadline. I think you have to be on some level responsive to the position that you’re in and make sure you’re making the right decisions for the organization in both ways.

“I think chances to compete are precious, even if it’s not the chance we had a month ago. We still feel that it’s very doable and that we have the talent to do it, especially as we get healthier, that we have the talent to make a run at this, so we had to value that as well. This group looks a little different, but I don’t think it’s any less talented.”

There was a sense of relief within the Red Sox that the core -- other than Vázquez -- was left untouched.

“Well, I mean, it’s like on New Year’s Eve, 3, 2, 1, fireworks. We get a phone call [that the Deadline is past] and here we go. There’s a lot of excitement,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday. “For how down we were yesterday, there’s a lot of people excited in the clubhouse about keeping some of these guys to make a push. We trust the team. We trust this group. Been there, done that, and now we’ve just got to play good baseball for two and a half months.”