The 2022 Major League Baseball trade deadline has officially come to a close, with the Boston Red Sox taking an active and progressive approach at the same time.
The Red Sox entered Tuesday’s deadline at the bottom of the American League East division, yet still had a chance to contend in the AL Wild Card race. Many wondered how Boston would approach the trade market following a month of July where they went 8-19. Would Boston go with a buyer approach or sell amid a struggling season with various expiring contracts accompanying a team of veterans?
Prior to Tuesday, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom clarified the intentions of the front office despite a season full of struggles across the board. “We’re trying to make the postseason,” Bloom said — a goal well within reach if Boston manages to build enough momentum to stay in the hunt.
With the Red Sox three games behind the AL Wild Card race-leading Toronto Blue Jays, here are a trio of takeaways from Tuesday’s trade deadline:
1. Chaim Bloom acknowledges the first base issue
Both defensively and offensively, the Red Sox have struggled this season when it comes to consistency in production at first base. Nevertheless, Bloom’s most notable deal of the deadline addressed that with the acquisition of Eric Hosmer from the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
Hosmer — a household name in terms of big league first basemen — might not be the same hitter he once was in his heyday, however, he remains one of the best defenders available at the position. In 90 games played this season, Hosmer is hitting .272 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs.
He’s a veteran, left-handed bat that will give manager Alex Cora convenient lineup flexibility to possibly platoon him with right-hander Bobby Dalbec, depending on the pitching matchup.
“We struggled to find stability at first base this year. We think Eric will provide that. I think he’ll be helpful between the lines and in the clubhouse. We’re excited to get him here,” Bloom said.
2. MLB-level depth can’t be underappreciated, nor can the farm system
With a plethora of key veteran injuries being the primary issue that Cora has dealt with working around all season, the Red Sox addressed said issue with the acquisition of outfielder Tommy Pham.
Pham, a nine-year veteran big leaguer, delivers lineup versatility and roster stability. As opposed to resorting to inexperienced options, Pham allows the Red Sox to platoon the right-hander whenever needed — both in the lineup and off the bench. This season, in 91 games played with the Cincinnati Reds, Pham is hitting .238 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs.
Bloom also didn’t fail to make a few additions to Boston’s farm system while also addressing needs with the big league roster. On Monday, the Red Sox dealt the longest-tenured player on their roster in catcher Christian Vázquez. In exchange, Boston landed minor league infielder/outfielder Enmanuel Valdez and outfielder Wilyer Abreu from the Houston Astros. On Tuesday, Bloom added infielder Max Ferguson and outfielder Corey Rosier in the Hosmer trade.
3. The road ahead won’t be easy
The Red Sox are playing a game of catch-up, resulting from a first half deficit followed by a 4-11 second half start following the All-Star break. As Bloom stated, October baseball is the ultimate goal for this team down the line. With Boston still winless in series against the division, and a noteworthy amount of games still left (35) against those teams, the final stretch will be quite a challenge.
The New York Yankees didn’t go quietly at the trade deadline, acquiring outfielder Andrew Benintendi and pitcher Frankie Montas while sitting atop the AL East division. The Red Sox and Yankees have nine scheduled games left on the season, with Boston 4-6 in their previous 10 matchups.
Boston is currently 12-29 against all AL East opponents this season.