Since the start of this year, the Boston Red Sox have been one of the major trade candidates for the Oakland Athletics’ phenom, Sonny Gray. If the Red Sox had made a deal at the beginning of this year for Gray, it probably might’ve included a current core-player.
But with Gray’s ERA for the year sitting at 5.03, the amount that the Red Sox would have to give up would become much less. Gray has brought his ERA down gradually, and has pitched well in June with a 3.23 ERA across five starts. His ugly 9.61 ERA in May was in part influenced by his ridiculously high .366 BAbip. The A’s have Gray locked up for three more seasons, and will still likely demand a king’s ransom for his services.
All five of those players are either struggling, injured, or both.
Rodriguez has an ERA of a whopping 8.59 while Owens has an ERA of 5.11. The velocities of both pitchers have plummeted this year and both were also regarded as aces of the future as recently as the beginning of this year.
Travis was hot in Spring Training and in the first two months of this year. However, in early June, he went down with a torn ACL.
On the other hand (you’ll get that pun in a second), Kopech broke his hand (see, there it is) in a fight with a teammate during Spring Training. He didn’t come back until recently and was also suspended 50 games in 2015 for PED-use.
If this trade were to actually happen, it makes sense in various ways.
For one, Travis and Kopech have both dealt with injuries this season yet still have a good shot at coming back to being the highly-regarded players that they were. Kopech could rise through the minor league system this year while Travis has a shot at an Opening Day Roster in 2017.
With regard to Rodriguez, even though this year has been a bad one after coming off of injury, he still went 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 21 starts last year. For Owens, he hasn’t had success in the big leagues just yet but that shouldn’t matter. Look at a guy like Jake Arrieta: his first few years were troublesome with the Baltimore Orioles. After being traded to the Chicago Cubs, he’s now a Cy Young-winner. The moral here is that Owens still has room for improvement and potential.
Gray would fill a slot in the Red Sox’ dying starting rotation and pitch behind David Price. With Gray, the Sox would have four legitimate starters and could rotate prospects through the fifth spot. The Red Sox also need four solid starters if they’d like to compete for a playoff spot.
Rodriguez, Owens, Kopech, and Travis would all give the A’s farm system a much-needed boost which would yield a much quicker rebuild. Rodriguez and Owens could go into their starting rotation as soon as the trade is final, while Kopech would be slotted into A-ball and Travis would be given time to recover.
Travis would also probably start at first base for the A’s next season.
Even though all players in this deal have some sort of current flaw, this deal evens out and somehow makes sense.
It’s an odd win-win situation and one we would be talking about for years to come.