As the Major League Baseball hot stove heats up, it’s time to start thinking about who the Boston Red Sox could acquire.
The Red Sox are on the rise and cementing their place among the rest of the contenders just in time to invest in some reinforcements.
There are three names already being linked to Boston:
Baltimore Orioles reliever Jorge López
“Given the volatility of relievers on a year-to-year basis, López’s strong season — he has a 0.75 ERA and 13 saves in 31 appearances — makes the 29-year-old journeyman a prime candidate for teams looking to bolster the bullpen,” MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand wrote Sunday.
It remains to be seen if the O’s would be willing to trade one of their key weapons with 2 1/2 years of team-control remaining to an American League East rival, but it would not make much sense to keep the right-hander in Baltimore.
López’s value is as high as it can be, and the Orioles are not expected to contend anytime soon. As far as the Red Sox are concerned, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has reported interest in acquiring a pair of right-handed relievers, and wants to make moves that will help the team win in the present and future. The addition of López would aid both of those ventures.
Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell
“Washington isn’t going anywhere this season, and while the Nationals might not be ready to entertain the idea of trading Juan Soto, Bell — who turns 30 on Aug. 14 — figures to draw plenty of attention from offense-needy teams,” Feinsand wrote.
Bell is not only a logical fit to join the Red Sox, but a realistic trade target for fans to route for. He would drastically increase Boston’s production out of the first base position, and add another powerful threat to the middle of the order. Offense is not the biggest need for the Sox, but Bell would be toward the top of the list of names who could add to their firepower.
Bell is hitting .308 with 35 extra-base hits, including 11 home runs in a league-leading 74 games played.
Cincinnati Reds starter Tyler Mahle
“Following his four-inning, eight-run outing on May 24, Mahle’s inconsistency left many wondering whether a contender might even want to deal for the 27-year-old righty,” Feinsand wrote. “Since then, Mahle has a 2.14 ERA in five starts, striking out 40 batters in 33 2/3 innings and reemerging as a trade option.”
The Red Sox have a group of starting pitchers making their way back onto the mound and into the mix of the rotation, headlined by Chris Sale. While it might not be the most likely scenario for Bloom to acquire even more depth, it might not be the best idea to rely on the health of Sale and a plethora of injured starters. That said, promising spot starts from the Red Sox stout Triple-A staff could be enough to ease the minds of the Boston faithful should injuries persist.
Mahle has a 4.53 ERA in 16 starts, but as Feinsand noted, he’s been hot as of late. The right-hander would be under team control in 2023 as well.