Chaim Bloom likely thinks every day is important when it comes to improving the Red Sox, but the next few days are especially important for Boston’s chief baseball officer.
The MLB trade deadline is Friday afternoon, and Bloom’s Boston rebuild is flourishing, perhaps even ahead of schedule. The Red Sox have the best record in the American League, and they are legitimate World Series contenders.
Before the season, it was understandable to wonder whether the Red Sox would be sellers at the deadline. Now, there’s no question: Bloom and the Sox should be looking to improve before Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.
Not every team is lucky enough to be in that situation, though. There are plenty of sellers, and we did our best to not only pinpoint teams most likely to sell off pieces before Friday’s deadline, but we also picked one player from each who could be an intriguing Sox target.
Baltimore Orioles — 1B Trey Mancini
We tackled the Mancini subject earlier this week, as the All-Star makes all the sense in the world. Boston could use a first base upgrade, and Mancini is one of the best at the position. Makes a lot of sense, as long as Baltimore would be willing to send its feel-good franchise player to a division rival. Might be a pipe dream.
Cleveland Indians — RP Bryan Shaw
Cleveland is five back in the wild card, so it could make a run at it. But if the team seels, Shaw makes plenty of sense. Every contender could use bullpen reinforcements, and Shaw is a veteran reliever striking out a career-high 10.5 per nine innings. He’s also affordable and a pending free agent.
Detroit Tigers — 1B/2B Jonathan Schoop
Schoop is having his best season since an All-Star campaign in 2017. He would provide an offensive upgrade at first and some versatility. The defense is a bit of a question mark, though.
Kansas City Royals — 1B Carlos Santana
Probably a fall-back option at this point. Santana does have pop (17 home runs), although his batted-ball profile (lots of pulled fly balls) might not fit Fenway Park. The defense isn’t great, either, but he’s a left-handed bat who also is an offensive upgrade at the position.
Minnesota Twins — SP Michael Pineda
The Twins reportedly aren’t willing to trade controllable players, limiting the pool of targets. Even then, the asking price for someone like José Berríos might be too high. Pineda could be a solid rotation depth piece, who has allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of 14 starts.
Los Angeles Angels — SP Andrew Heaney
The Halos are another fringe seller, but Heaney and Alex Cobb are both starting pitching options if they sell. The 5.32 ERA isn’t pretty, but he strikes out a lot of guys and doesn’t walk many, and he’s a cheap free-agent-to-be.
Texas Rangers — RP Ian Kennedy
Joey Gallo is definitely the more interesting name (as is Kyle Gibson for that matter), but Kennedy — if he’s not packaged in something bigger — might be the most likely scenario. As the closer on a bad team, his work has been limited, but he hasn’t allowed a run in five July appearances.
Washington Nationals — RP Brad Hand
Max Scherzer seems unlikely given his reported West Coast preferences. Hand, meanwhile, doesn’t come as the same deadline splash he provided in 2018, but he’s still a fairly effective left-handed reliever. That still counts for something, right?
Miami Marlins — OF Starling Marte
If Bloom wants to go wild, Marte would be a huge move. Despite the current situation, letting Marte roam center field would be an instant upgrade, and you just kind of deal with everything else after that. Few moves would be more of an “all-in” signal than Marte. First baseman Jesús Aguilar could make sense, too.
Chicago Cubs — 1B Anthony Rizzo
Don’t look now, but Rizzo is coming alive, going 7-for-18 in his last five games with three home runs. He checks a bunch of boxes at first base, too, as a left-handed offensive upgrade who can pick it. He’s got some big postseason hits, too.
Pittsburgh Pirates — RP Richard Rodríguez
After allowing just one run in his first 19 appearances, Rodríguez has been touched up for seven runs in his last 11 games. That said, if you think he can regain some of his early-season form, he could bolster the bullpen.
Rockies — 1B C.J. Cron
Cron makes practically no money and is a rental, so there’s that. He’s also been one of the better-fielding first basemen in baseball. He does, however, hit from the right side, and there probably should be questions about his home-road splits: His OPS at Coors Field is 277 points higher than on the road. The defensive upgrade alone, though, might make it worth a move.
Arizona Diamondbacks — INF Eduardo Escobar
The Snakes are 40 games under .500, so finding useful talent is easier said than done. Ketel Marte is dealing with a hamstring injury, and he’s their most valuable trade piece … but it’s worth asking. Escobar doesn’t really address any perceived needs, but he brings the versatility Bloom covets and could be an important depth piece down the stretch.