The Big Picture
The Red Sox season has been a mess. Check that – the Red Sox season, offseason and end of last season has been a Hoarders
-episode-sized mess. There was last September’s meltdown, firing the coach, firing/losing their GM, naming a new GM, overruling the GM about the new coach, who then alienates several team leaders one of whom ends up being traded….
And they’re still just one game out of BOTH wild card spots.
There are a lot of desperate people in Bosox management who are feeling some heat right now. I can’t imagine a group-think that would be riper for a desperate, possibly stupid, trade.
Why They Will Trade With The Twins
The Red Sox starting pitching is 27th
in ERA. Sure enough, the rumor mill has them pursuing several pitchers, including a report from CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman
that links them to Francisco Liriano. Liriano makes sense, both because he’s someone they could leverage this year but also because they certainly have the means to entice him to stick around if things work. One could also imagine a sabrmetrically inclined organization coveting Liriano’s 3.62 xFIP.
As for the lineup, they're likely set. They rank second in the majors in runs scored and Jacoby Ellsbury just returned. The Red Sox could certainly find room for Denard Span in one of the outfield corners, but if Ellsbury is healthy, they already have an elite leadoff hitter. Their focus is going to be on the rotation.
Why They Won’t Trade With The Twins
They might have a different starting pitcher at the top of their list. Yesterday ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted
that the Red Sox were “aggressive in the pursuit of Ryan Dempster,” the Cubs right-hander who will be a free agent this offseason. Dempster makes sense for the Red Sox – he’s a veteran having an outstanding year, and the Cubs GM is Theo Epstein, who was the GM of the Red Sox last year.
That means the management of these two teams knows each other, which is both good and bad for making a trade. On the one hand, Epstein certainly knows the prospects he would be chasing, and the Red Sox probably have a good idea which of their prospects Epstein likes best. On the other hand, this wasn’t the cleanest breakup in the world. The Red Sox also might be hesitant to deal with a GM that knows their strengths and weaknesses as well as Epstein.
You can certainly add the Red Sox to the list of possible suitors for Liriano. And even if they do match up better with the Cubs and end up with Dempster, that’s not bad news for the Twins. It means one less high upside pitcher on the trade market, without appreciably shrinking the teams looking for one.
Xander Bogaerts – SS
It’s unlikely the Twins will land Bogaerts, the top prospect in Boston’s organization, but they’ll ask, and I don’t put anything past Boston’s management team given their recent track record. Bogaerts is as highly touted – maybe even higher – as Miguel Sano. He’s 19 years old, he’s already in High A ball and he’s doing well (.287, 12 HR) there. Plus, he’s a shortstop. He would be a GREAT get.
Ryan Lavarnway – C/DH
The Red Sox have a 27-year-old catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has already slugged 17 home runs. They also have a promising AAA 24-year-old catcher available. Lavarnway looks like an IDEAL complement to Joe Mauer. He’s right-handed and has hit for a ton of power (34 HR last year between AA, AAA and the majors). Much the way Doumit has, Lavanrway could play catcher when necessary, but his bat could play anyplace when Mauer is catching.
Matt Barnes – RHP
Drafted last year, the 22-year-old Barnes has already made his way through Low A and is starting at High A. Even at that level he has 63 K vs 15 BB in 59.1 IP. He’s considered polished with a 93-95 mph fastball and three other pitches.
Anthony Ranaudo – RHP
Ranaudo deserves mention because he’s 22 years old, put up decent stats in A Ball last year and is arguably the Red Sox second best pitching prospect. But he’s struggled this year and been shut down with shoulder fatigue, so it’s unlikely he would be someone the Twins would (or should) gamble on.
Henry Owens – LHP
He’s left-handed, 6’ 7”, 19 years old and has 97 K in 68.2 IP in Low A ball. He’s inconsistent, resulting in a 4.72 ERA, but there is a lot of upside here. It would only be fitting if he was part of the package the Twins received for the enigmatic Liriano.