The Major League Baseball trade deadline is three weeks away, meaning the market still has time to materialize, but the Boston Red Sox’s strengths and weaknesses are fairly obvious as they defend their 2018 World Series title.
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle broke down this season’s deadline buyers and sellers in an article published Wednesday. The Red Sox (49-41) are considered buyers, according to Doolittle, despite sitting nine games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East and two games back of the AL’s second wild-card spot.
Doolittle assigned an “aggressiveness rating” of “7” to the Red Sox, who have a 36.1 percent chance of reaching the playoffs and a 3.1 percent chance of winning the division. He also pointed to a “No. 5 starter” as Boston’s “big need.”
Here’s what Doolittle wrote:
Hopefully the Red Sox will know by the deadline if Nathan Eovaldi can hold down a ninth-inning role, which leaves one more starter as Boston’s major need for the second half.
It’s hard to argue with Doolittle’s logic, although the Red Sox certainly could use bullpen help regardless of how Eovaldi fares in his transition to the closer’s role upon returning from the injured list sometime after the All-Star break. The No. 5 spot in Boston’s rotation has been a mess, and it would behoove Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to address the issue with Eovaldi converting to a reliever down the stretch.
The Red Sox have been linked to New York Mets starter Zack Wheeler in trade rumors this week, and Doolittle listed the hard-throwing right-hander as one pitcher Boston could target before the July 31 deadline. Doolittle also cited Lance Lynn and Mike Minor as options, but the Texas Rangers (48-42) are right behind the Red Sox in the AL standings and therefore might not be inclined to trade either hurler.