Red Sox Trade Targets: Should These Players Be On Boston’s Radar?

Should the Sox make calls on any of these players?


Jun 22, 2021

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is just over a month away, and the Boston Red Sox find themselves in the thick of a division race. Should Chaim Bloom and Co. be looking to make upgrades?

The Sox open a pivotal three-game set in southwestern Florida on Tuesday night when they tangle with the Tampa Bay Rays. The two teams are in a virtual tie for first place with Boston just a half-game ahead, and the outlook of the American League East race looks a little different now than it did two weeks ago with the injury to Tampa Bay ace Tyler Glasnow.

It’s certainly there for the taking for Alex Cora’s team. A strong showing this week would confirm what most have started to believe: The Red Sox are pretty good. Whether they’re good enough to chip away at an improving farm system will be a worthwhile discussion leading up to the July 30 deadline.

As that deadline nears, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, a former general manager, looked at the 75 top trade targets who could be available. Before we get into the players, let’s identify a few potential needs for the Red Sox.

In no particular order: First base, outfield, starting pitching and relief pitching (because you can always use more bullpen arms)

Here are the players with whom he attached to the Red Sox as potential suitors.

1B/OF Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
Mancini’s story is fabulous. He beat cancer, and now he’s beating up again on American League pitching. The Orioles slugger entered play Tuesday with 14 home runs and a 127 OPS+. He’s no stranger to Boston and has very good career numbers at Fenway Park, hitting .348 with a .996 OPS in 30 career games. The Red Sox also have been league-average vs. left-handed pitching, and Mancini would be an instant upgrade in that regard. In a pinch, he technically could play outfield, although he hasn’t done so since 2019. He’s also under contract through next season, which makes him a more valuable trade chip. Bowden noted it’s possible the Orioles give him a contract extension before the deadline. If he’s made available, though, and the Red Sox believe Bobby Dalbec’s recent run (13-for-34 in his last nine games) is the aberration, Mancini is worth a call.

OF/1B Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
Do the Red Sox have enough sluggers who strike out a ton? If they ultimately answer “no” to that question, Gallo makes all the sense in the world. He has legitimate 80-grade power, as evidenced by a home run-to-fly ball ratio that ranks seventh among all qualified hitters since the beginning of the 2017 season. The swing-and-miss is undeniable, but he has cut down on his strikeout rate (32 percent down from a 37 percent career rate), and his 19 percent walk rate — he leads baseball with 55 walks — would be the best of his career. Like Mancini, he’s signed through next year.

OF Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners
People forget: Haniger finished 11th in American League MVP voting in 2018, the lone All-Star campaign of his career. He’s a fairly free-swinging middle-of-the-order bat, who has 16 home runs but just 41 RBIs as one of the lone threats in a bad Seattle lineup. He, too, comes with an additional year of team control beyond 2021. He might not present the name value of a Gallo or even Mancini, but he’s certainly capable of producing offense. Worth noting: Seattle has used him primarily as a right fielder this season. Whether he could patrol right field at Fenway is a different story.

OF/2B Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks
If there’s a player for whom the Red Sox should actually consider parting with top prospects, it might be Marte. He’s two years removed from a sensational 2019 campaign in which he finished fourth in MVP voting with 32 home runs and 92 RBIs while also hitting .329. The numbers haven’t been quite as good since, especially in the power department, but the .361 batting average (in just 35 games) jumps off the page. Acquiring Marte would prompt a fascinating debate for the Red Sox: Does he play the outfield or second base? Arizona has primarily used him in the outfield this season, but he played almost all of last season at second base. It might not be the best defensive middle infield of all time, but good luck finding a better offensive duo up the middle than Marte and Xander Bogaerts. The price will be high, though. The Diamondbacks are awful and in the midst of a rebuild, and Marte is their most valuable trade chip. They’ll probably need a haul to move him.

OF Starling Marte, Miami Marlins
Marte’s production has never really matched the tools, at least not until this year. That could be good news for the Marlins, should they try to trade the 32-year-old. Marte’s .320 batting average this year is 30 points above his career mark, and the .933 OPS is more than 100 points better than what he’s been his entire career. Defensively, the two-time Gold Glove winner can still go get it in center field, and his 10 stolen bases in just 35 games are proof of his ability on the basepaths. He’s a rental, which should lower his price.

You might have noticed no pitchers made the list. Bowden did include 18 starting pitchers on his list, but he didn’t connect them to any teams. If there end up being close to 20 arms available, the Red Sox definitely should be in the hunt for those, too.

Thumbnail photo via Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports Images
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