The Boston Red Sox operated with prudence at the Major League Baseball trading deadline.
Boston made four trades in the days leading up to the 4 p.m. August 31 trade deadline.
- Red Sox trade outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later and cash considerations (August 31)
- Red Sox trade left-hander Josh Osich to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later (August 31)
- Red Sox trade Mitch Moreland to the San Diego Padres for infielder Hudson Potts and outfielder Jeisson Rosario (August 30)
- Red Sox trade relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Philadelphia Phillies for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold (August 21)
None of these trades are helping the Red Sox right the ship on a 12-25 season. They’re also not significantly enhancing their future. That said, they all have a common theme: shipping out players who aren’t indispensable pieces to the future for value and projects.
Pillar, 31, was playing on a one-year deal, and the Red Sox have JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, and Jackie Bradley Jr. in their outfield rotation; Michael Chavis is the future at first base, therefore leading the Red Sox to capitalize on Moreland’s astounding season (he totaled 21 RBIs while recording a .328 batting average and a 1.177 OPS across 22 games for the Red Sox); bad teams should take advantage of a market for their relievers, as they can utilize young pitchers as relievers when they come up to the majors, which Boston did by moving Workman, Hembree, and Osich.
The Red Sox have been lacking in organizational depth compared to the rest of the sport, and they added youth in these trades. These transactions aren’t drastic, rather mature moves for a retooling team.
They didn’t make Hail Mary moves in hopes of clawing their way into one of the two AL Wild Card seeds. Boston accepted they’re not a playoff team, adding players who bring youth to both the big-league squad and farm system.
Another prospect of these trades is the opportunity for players to prove themselves and/or turn their careers around.
Pivetta is a perfect example, as he struggled to turn a corner in his three full seasons with the Phillies. Maybe a change of scenery brings a new version of Pivetta to life? Chances are he’ll get a few starts this month, and progression from the 27-year-old would give manager Ron Roenicke and friends an arm to be optimistic about (Boston’s 6.18 team ERA is 30th in MLB).
The Red Sox will be better next season.
Now, the AL East is undoubtedly working against such a comeback. The Tampa Bay Rays’ core has come into its own, and they own the best record in the AL; the New York Yankees are a perennial contender; the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles have each made considerable progress.
A healthy Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez adds respectability and two top-of-the-rotation arms to the mix. An offense that features the likes of Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Benintendi, Alex Verdugo, and Christian Vazquez is among the deepest units in the sport. The Red Sox have the talent to bounce back.
Of course, the Mookie Betts trade will hang over this organization for years to come. That said, it’s not as if they got back dirt and change for the 2018 AL Most Valuable Player. Jeter Downs has been one of the top infield prospects in baseball over the last few years, and Verdugo is a young, improving outfielder; the latter sports a .315 batting average and a .904 OPS this season.
Chaim Bloom, Boston’s Chief Baseball Officer, made decisions that were in the best interest of the Boston Red Sox moving forward, not for the next two months. That’s impressive for one of the richest franchises in professional sports known to wheel and deal for short-term benefit.
Bloom was one of the brains behind the crafty ways of the rival Rays, as he was their Vice President of Baseball Operations from 2014-19. They’re not going to remake Tampa Bay, but Boston is showing humility with their current status. That’s a step towards getting back in contention.