Boston Red Sox Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction
Boston's World Series title defense hasn't gone quite as anyone anticipated, as the Red Sox have been outscored by the opposition and sit with a losing record on the outskirts of the playoff picture in the American League.
But the club remains within striking distance of a postseason berth, and between the talent level of the active roster and a deep minor league system with quality prospects at nearly every level, this is a team you simply cannot count out of contention at the beginning of July.
That said, the Red Sox could be buyers or sellers as the trade deadline draws near.
General manager Ben Cherington could look to fill some of the holes on the roster with an eye toward making a run at a wide-open AL East, or he could look to sell off some of his veteran pieces (starter Jake Peavy, for example) and retool on the fly with an eye toward reclaiming the division in 2015.
Whatever the Red Sox wind up doing, you can be sure the rumor mill will be spinning furiously as reports come out about the goings-on in Beantown.
Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Red Sox along with analysis and everything else that comes with it.
While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as Boston tries to figure out exactly what it is.
July 30: Traded LHP Felix Doubront to Chicago (NL) for a player-to-be-named-later
July 31: Traded SS Stephen Drew to New York (AL), return unknown.
July 31: Acquired 1B/OF Allen Craig and RHP Joe Kelly
2014 Stats: 97 G, .237/.291/.346, 25 XBH (7 HR), 44 RBI, 1-for-2 SB
Contract Status: Three years, $25.5 million left ($13 million team option/$1 million buyout in 2018)
2014 Stats: 7 GS (2 QS), 2-2, 4.37 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 6.4 K/9
While neither Allen Craig nor Joe Kelly have great statistics in 2014, the Red Sox landed a pair of quality players that are legitimate candidates to bounce back with a change of scenery.
A career .306/.358/.492 hitter heading into the season, Craig has struggled to find his stroke and looked lost at the plate for much of the season. Versatile enough to play first base or a corner outfield spot, he gives John Farrell some flexibility when filling out the lineup card.
If the Red Sox can get him swinging the bat as he has in the past—Craig was a Top-20 finisher in the NL MVP voting in both 2012 and 2013—they'll have added yet another quality bat with power to the middle of the lineup.
Kelly battled injury for much of the year and, over the course of his career, has bounced between the bullpen and rotation and been equally effective in either role.
Armed with a mid-90s fastball and three breaking balls, Kelly projects to be a solid mid-rotation arm for the Red Sox moving forward.
Not a bad haul at all.
July 31: Acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes from Oakland
2014 Stats: .256/.303/.464, 46 XBH (17 HR), 67 RBI, 3-for-5 SB
Contract Status: One year, $10.5 million left on deal
Nobody likes to see Jon Lester leave Boston, but the Red Sox couldn't have asked for a much better return than what they've got in Yoenis Cespedes.
The Cuban-born slugger is in the prime of his career and provides the Red Sox with an explosive right-handed bat to plug into the middle of the lineup.
While he's struggled to hit for average or get on base with any consistency this year, he's shown that he's capable of doing both in the past, hitting .292 with a .356 OBP during his rookie season in 2012.
An above-average defensive left fielder, Cespedes has the athleticsm to get to balls that others can't and the arm to gun down anyone foolish enough to try and run on him, as evidenced by his 12 outfield assists, tied with Jackie Bradley Jr. for the most among outfielders this season.
That the Red Sox were able to get a super-athletic, explosive outfielder in exchange for a two-month rental—even one as talented as Lester—is impressive.
A side note, from Tim Britton of The Providence Journal: Cespedes' contract calls for him to either be extended or declared a free agent when his deal expires after 2015. He can not be tendered a qualifying offer, which means that Boston can not receive a compensatory draft pick if he leaves as a free agent.
July 31: Acquired LHP Eduardo Rodriguez from Baltimore
Stats (Double-A): 16 GS, 3-7, 4.79 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 82.2 IP, 90 H, 3.2 BB/9, 9.5 K/9
Contract Status: Yet to make his MLB debut
In exchange for two months of work from a middle reliever, the Red Sox landed a highly-touted southpaw that was ranked as Baltimore's third-best prospect heading into the season by Baseball America.
With a fastball that sits in the mid-90s that he can throw with confidence to both sides of the plate and a pair of above-average secondary offerings, Rodriguez projects to be a solid No. 3 starter in a major league rotation once he works out the kinks in his delivery, which he's had trouble repeating.
Red Sox Shopping All Pending Free Agents Except One
Update: Monday, July 28 at 4:55 p.m. ET
Uehara is the only soon-to-be free agent on Boston's roster that isn't being actively shopped, sources tell ESPN's Jayson Stark.
Aside from the already discussed Jon Lester and Andrew Miller, that list includes relievers Burke Badenhop and Craig Breslow, shortstop Stephen Drew and outfielder Jonny Gomes.
While all of those players are sure to draw interest from contenders, Boston isn't the only team shopping similar pieces and could fall into the trap of overvaluing their own talent.
--End of Update--
Update: Sunday, July 20 at 2:31 p.m. ET
While teams keep calling Boston about Uehara's availability, the team's preference remains to keep their closer, tweets The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.
--End of Update--
If the Red Sox decide to start selling off pieces, look for the Los Angeles Dodgers to be one of the first teams in line.
The Dodgers, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, would have interest in trading for no fewer than four current members of Boston's bullpen: Burke Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara.
Of the four, only one, Breslow, is potentially under team control in 2015, due a $100,000 buyout of a $4 million team option that isn't likely to be picked up by Boston or anyone else.
Red Sox Interested in Matt Kemp...Again?
Update: Saturday, July 26 at 8:08 p.m. ET
--End of Update--
Saturday, July 26 at 5:26 p.m. ET
The Red Sox are one of two teams (along with the Seattle Mariners) that has reached out to the Dodgers about a possible trade for former All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (video link).
Talks are said to have not gone far and Los Angeles is unlikely to deal the 29-year-old, but Kemp seems to be growing increasingly disillusioned with his lack of consistent playing time in a crowded Dodgers outfield.
This isn't the first time that Boston has reached out to Los Angeles about Kemp, with the two teams having spoken about a potential deal back in December before the Sox ultimately decided Kemp wasn't a fit.
Mike Carp Has Asked for a Trade
Update: Saturday, July 26 at 6:14 p.m. ET
Carp is hopeful that the Red Sox will honor his request, as he explained to Mass Live's Jason Mastrodonato: "We've gone worst to first, first to worst and really nothing has changed."
While it's understandable that Carp would like to go to a team with which he could get more regular playing time, his play this season hasn't exactly helped to raise his value around the league.
--End of Update--
Saturday, July 26 at 5:03 p.m. ET
Mike Carp has asked the Red Sox to trade him, tweets Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.
A valuable bench player for Boston during its run to a World Series crown in 2013, as Abraham notes, the 28-year-old first baseman/outfielder has struggled in limited playing time this year, hitting only .215 with six extra-base hits, nine RBI and a .641 OPS over 39 games.
Detroit, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh all expressed interest in Carp during the spring (h/t The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo), and it's possible that all three clubs would still like to add his left-handed bat to the mix for the stretch run.
July 26: Acquired LHP Edwin Escobar and RHP Heath Hembree from San Francisco
2014 Stats (Triple-A): 20 GS, 3-8, 5.11 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 111 IP, 128 H, 3.0 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
2014 Stats (Triple-A): 41 G, 1-3, 3.89 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 39.1 IP, 40 H, 3.0 BB/9, 10.5 K/9, 18 SV
It's fair to say that Boston did quite well for itself in trading Jake Peavy, who the team had no intention of re-signing after the season, for two of San Francisco's top 10 prospects (per Baseball America), even if both have delivered less-than-stellar performances this season.
Escobar, ranked as San Francisco's second-best prospect, has a live fastball that sits in the low to mid-90s and a sinker and changeup that both look like plus offerings on some nights but as works in progress on others.
He projects to be a solid mid-rotation arm if he can throw his breaking ball and off-speed stuff with more consistency and as a potential shutdown reliever if he continues to struggle with his secondary offerings.
Hembree, the Giants' No. 7 prospect heading into the season, has already gotten a taste of big league action, tossing 7.2 scoreless innings of relief down the stretch for San Francisco last season, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out 12.
His fastball has touched 98 mph in the past but seems to be more effective when he dials it back a bit into the 92-95 mph range, and his power slider has shown to be an effective strikeout pitch when he has command over it.
Baseball America (subscription required) compared him to former big league reliever Bob Howry, who enjoyed a 13-year career as a late-inning reliever for a number of teams, including the Red Sox in 2002 and 2003.
Mike Napoli Drawing Interest from Contenders
While he's not having the kind of season that earned him a two-year, $32 million deal this past winter, Mike Napoli has drawn interest from a number of teams, sources tell The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.
Napoli, 32, is hitting .262 with 10 home runs, 34 RBI and a .820 OPS, solid but unspectacular numbers, especially when you consider his contract. After hitting .259 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI in 2013, Napoli is on pace for only 17 long balls and 54 RBI this season, a significant drop in production.
Diagnosed with a degenerative condition in both hips—the same ailment that ultimately ended Bo Jackson's career—interested parties are certain to be looking for the Red Sox to pick up some of the money remaining on his deal.
While Boston has options to replace Napoli at first base should the team decide to move him (Will Middlebrooks is a man without a position, at the moment), there's been no indication as to whether the Red Sox are seriously considering unloading him or not.
Will Middlebrooks: Not Available?
Currently working his way back from a fractured finger, Will Middlebrooks has drawn interest from a number of teams, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, despite not being able to play the field due to continued swelling in the injured digit, per NESN's Andrew Battifarano.
But Heyman says that the Red Sox aren't looking to move him, despite not having regular playing time available for him on the major league roster upon his return, with Xander Bogaerts the team's starting third baseman and David Ortiz entrenched as the designated hitter.
Part of that could be because the team plans on sliding Boagerts back to shortstop in 2015, opening up the hot corner for the 25-year-old. Or, as Heyman speculates, it could be because the team wants to use him as part of a bigger deal, perhaps one that would land it Miami's Giancarlo Stanton.
(It should be noted that there has been no indication that the Marlins are willing to discuss trading Stanton.)
Power, especially from the right side of the plate, is at a premium, so you can't necessarily blame the Red Sox for wanting to hang on to Middlebrooks, especially if the interested teams are trying to buy low on a player who still has considerable upside.