MLB Trade Deadline: What Red Sox, other teams should do

The Red Sox return to the field to this weekend following a boycott due to longstanding systemic racism in America. But they may be in their final days before some significant changes to their roster. The MLB trade deadline is coming up, and as a 10-21 team, the Red Sox are likely to be one of a handful of sellers. However, the Red Sox are in a different situation compared to other teams with a similar record.

Teams like the Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Giants, and Pirates are in the midst of multi-year rebuilding phases. Teams like the Angels and Red Sox, who are also struggling mightily, are likely out of contention for this year, but could contend in the near future if they make some moves to put them in that position. No, I’m not suggesting the Red Sox should buy at the deadline. But there’s a certain way to go about selling that could allow the Sox to contend in the next year or two.

Chaim Bloom is not new to situations like this. He rebuilt the Rays very quickly, in just a couple of years, by trading older players for underrated players on the verge of cracking the majors, also known as 4A players.

Next year, the Red Sox will have Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez back to join Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez. In addition, prospects like Jeter Downs, Bobby Dalbec, Jarren Duran, Tanner Houck, and Bryan Mata are on the cusp of cracking the majors. With a couple good trades, the Red Sox can keep the future bright by adding some younger players in exchange for older players with soon expiring contracts.

I think the team needs to build around four players, and it appears that the front office agrees. These four players are SS Xander Bogaerts, 3B Rafael Devers, OF Alex Verdugo, and C Christian Vazquez. Devers and Verdugo are younger players who can contribute a lot to this lineup for years to come. Bogaerts is our superstar, and he’s in his second year of an 8 year contract. Vazquez is a top 5 catcher in this league, and would be hard to replace.

You could make a case to trade OF/DH J.D. Martinez, as he has a player option at the end of the season. He’ll likely want to stick with his $22 million per year contract though, and he can put up good production for this lineup in 2021 and 2022. It would also be unwise to trade starting pitchers, as starting pitching has been our downfall.

But there are a handful of players we could trade. Below I have proposed two trades the Red Sox should make at this year’s deadline:

Red Sox: Mitch Moreland is making the best out of the MLB shutdown
1B Mitch Moreland could be traded by the Red Sox at this year’s deadline.

  • Twins get: 1B Mitch Moreland
  • Red Sox get: SP Devin Smeltzer, MiLB P Dakota Chalmers

  • Padres get: OF Jackie Bradley Jr.
  • Red Sox get: RP Adrian Morejon, MiLB OF Jeisson Rosario

I’ll explain each of these trades. So, the Twins are legitimate World Series contenders with a pretty balanced roster. However, they have needed to use a platoon of other infielders at first base, including Miguel Sano and Marwin Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a utility guy, and Sano could be used at third base until Josh Donaldson returns. Donaldson and Gonzalez also both have experience at second base, where youngster Luis Arraez starts most days. Having a true first baseman like Moreland adds more depth to this Twins lineup and allows them more flexibility. Moreland is under contract for this year and he has a club option for next year too.

In return, I have the Red Sox receiving SP Devin Smeltzer and pitching prospect Dakota Chalmers. The Twins have a lot of young pitching talent, a group that is headlined by Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, and prospects Jhoan Duran and Lewis Thorpe. They can afford to give up Smeltzer, who is a capable mid to back end starter but likely no more than that. Him and Chalmers are valuable for the Sox though, who are in desperate need of pitching depth. Smeltzer could be given his chance in the Sox rotation right away and be considered for the #5 spot next year when Sale and E-Rod return. Chalmers is a longer term investment but should be ready for 2021.

The second trade is a smaller one, in which the Red Sox send OF Jackie Bradley Jr. to the Padres. With Tommy Pham hurt, the Padres could use more OF depth. In turn, they can give Boston young reliever Adrian Morejon as well as OF prospect Jeisson Rosario. Rosario, however, would have to be classified as a player to be named later, since he is not in the Padres 60-man player pool.

With JBJ leaving, the Sox still have Kevin Pillar for the rest of the year. But they could try and work current OF prospect Jarren Duran into the mix. For San Diego, these are both expendable players, so the trade would be worth it for both sides. The Sox can start Michael Chavis at first down the road while using Jose Peraza among others at second. Soon, they’ll also have Downs and Dalbec to work with in this infield, and there’s no harm in giving them some MLB experience this year if need be. I could also see pitching prospect Tanner Houck making his debut.

I’ve also included three other potential trades that could happen around the league:

1. Braves acquire SP Kevin Gausman

  • Braves get: SP Kevin Gausman
  • Giants get: C Alex Jackson, MiLB P Daysbel Hernandez, MiLB OF Greyson Jenista

Like Rosario in the Sox-Padres deal, Hernandez and Jenista would need to be classified as players to be named later. But the Braves could absolutely contend for a title with some more starting pitchers, and they are familiar with Gausman, who’s one of the better options on the In return, the Giants get three young players, including C Alex Jackson. With Buster Posey getting older by the day, the Giants would be smart to add more young catching options alongisde Joey Bart. The Giants could theoretically buy at the deadline, but I don’t see them as being in a good spot to make the playoffs, and Gausman is in a contract year so he’s somewhat expendable, especially with all the young pitching talent in the Giants system right now.

2. Dodgers acquire 2B Jonathan Schoop

  • Dodgers get: 2B Jonathan Schoop
  • Tigers get: MiLB OF D.J. Peters, MiLB P Edwin Uceta, MiLB P Brett de Geus

The Dodgers haven’t gotten much production out of 2B Gavin Lux, and it seems he needs more time to develop. Acquiring a rental second baseman would not be a bad idea for the Dodgers. In return, the Tigers get three lower end prospects, one of which (de Geus) would need to be a player to be named later. Peters could contribute right away for Detroit, while the others would need more development.

3. Brewers upgrade rotation, catching staff

  • Brewers get: SP Julio Teheran, C Jason Castro
  • Angels get: 2B Luis Urias, MiLB P Trey Supak, MiLB P Zack Brown, MiLB C Payton Henry, MiLB P Alec Bettinger

The Brewers are right around .500 right now. If they want to contend, they need to upgrade their starting rotation. Teheran has struggled this year, but a change of scenery might be what he needs to bounce back. I also have the Brewers getting Castro here, as C Omar Narvaez has not lived up to expectations at the plate. In turn, I have the Angels getting a package of 5 young players, all of which are ready or almost ready to play in the majors and are in Milwaukee’s player pool. Urias will be joining his third team in two years, adding depth to the infield. Supak, Brown, and Bettinger will help brighten the Angels future as they could all be future rotation contributors. Henry is a longer term catching option for the Angels, and he’s not even Milwaukee’s top catching prospect so he’s expendable.

That’s all for my coverage of this year’s trade deadline. I’m intrigued to see what the Red Sox and other teams will do, and I’m intrigued to see what will differ from normal at the deadline in this unique season. Be sure to check out my updated MLB power rankings and MLB update podcast from last week.

Update on the MLB 15-20 Games in: Podcast, Power Rankings

We’re about a third of the way through this shortened baseball season, and already, the contenders are separating themselves from the pretenders. I went on another episode of my cousin Michael Philipkosky’s podcast, “The Master Plan”, to discuss the state of each MLB team at this point in the season and talk about teams that have surprised us. Teams like the Rockies have exceeded our expectations, while teams like the Angels and our hometown Red Sox have struggled more than we expected. You can listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify with the links below:



I’ve also included my current MLB power rankings. These rankings are a combo of my updated projections and my reaction to the performance of teams so far this year. Check them out below:

Note: Records as of August 18, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST

New York Yankees
They got off to a really strong start. Despite injuries to Stanton, Judge, and LeMahieu after dominance at the plate, they’ve won 6 in a row to stay comfortably atop the AL East and remain one of the top teams in the league.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw came back from his injury looking good as new, and Dustin May is also throwing the ball very well. Bellinger has struggled all year, but the rest of the lineup has made up for it. Betts, Seager, Pollock, and Turner led this team to surge to the top of the NL West this past week.
Minnesota Twins
The Twins have one of the most balanced rosters in the league, but their success has been driven by a few surprise standouts. Nelson Cruz has been playing as if he’s in his prime, and starters Randy Dobnak and Kenta Maeda have performed surprisingly well.
The Braves have been very streaky, losing 4 in a row before taking their last 3. The team has been hitting the ball very well, and Swanson is having a career year. The rotation has been riddled by injuries, but Max Fried has been dominant so far, and they’ll be better if they can get similar success from other pitchers.
Chicago Cubs
Despite losing Quintana and Chatwood to injury, the rotation has been on fire. In addition, OF Ian Happ is having a breakout year. This has led the Cubs to what’s arguably their best season since 2016.
This team started slow but they are 13-3 since the start of August. Much of last year’s core has struggled but Grossman, Laureano, and Canha have had career years. Meanwhile, Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt have led a strong rotation filled with young talent.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have taken 9 of their last 10, a stretch that included a sweep of the Red Sox. Brandon Lowe has only improved upon his strong rookie year, and fellow infielder Willy Adames has also been hitting well. The rotation struggles have held them back though.
Cleveland Indians (13-9)
The White Sox have been streaky, and Detroit came back down to Earth after a strong start. This allowed Cleveland to take second place in the division. Shane Bieber has led the pitching staff to dominance. Lindor has struggled at the plate, but power hitters Franmil Reyes and Jose Ramirez are making up for it.
Chicago White Sox
They started slow but are starting to put things together after a big off-season. Young stars Moncada, Jimenez, and Robert are starting to hit the ball well. Keuchel has proven to be a worthwhile addition, and Giolito and Cease have pitched well despite occassional rough days.
Houston Astros
They were never punished for cheating, but they have been hit by a lot of pitches and got into two bench clearing brawls. Correa and Gurriel are still hitting well, but much of this lineup has struggled after the scandal. The rotation is lacking depth despite the success of Greinke and Framber Valdez.
New York Mets
We hear the same story year after year here: tons of talent, lack of execution. This team has hit the ball rather well, and the young David Peterson has made for a dynamic rotation duo with deGrom. But the Mets have blown many games this year, and rotation depth is a concern too. They have had a tough schedule though, and that will get easier.
San Diego
Fernando Tatis Jr. has had an MVP-caliber year so far, and Wil Myers and Trent Grisham have backed him up in the lineup. The young rotation has also met expectations. They did recently lose 5 in a row though, which was because of bullpen struggles without closer Kirby Yates and a good stretch by the D-Backs.
St. Louis Cardinals (5-5)
The Cardinals are behind schedule this season due to a COVID outbreak, but they’ve done alright in the games they have played. The rotation has a good balance of youth and experience, and Paul Goldschmidt has returned to prominence at the plate. They’ll be competing for second place in their division.
Cincinnati Reds
They made some serious upgrades this off-season, and it hasn’t made a huge difference so far but this team has showed promise. Winker and newcomer Nick Castellanos have led the lineup. The rotation has done well, but its inconsistencies has held the team back. Eugenio Suarez’s slump has also been a major setback.
Colorado Rockies (13-9)
So far, everything has gone right for Colorado. The young rotation is playing to the best of their ability. Arenado and Story have been strong as usual at the plate, and Blackmon has done especially well, batting .429. The question is whether they can keep this up, as they fell apart late into last season.
Arizona Diamondbacks (12-11)
The D-Backs have played some very competitive baseball. But they’re stuck in a division with the Dodgers, Padres, and Rockies who are all performing well too. All three starting outfielders (Marte, Peralta, and Calhoun) have hit the ball well, and the young Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have been near unstoppable on the mound.
Washington Nationals
The problems here go beyond the absences of Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg. Soto has mashed 7 homers since his return, and Scherzer and Corbin have pitched well with Strasburg out. Rotation depth is a growing concern, and with Rendon gone the Nats lack other good bats around Soto.
Texas Rangers (10-11)
Everyone knew Lance Lynn could pitch well, but he’s been unbelievably good. However, their other pitchers are struggling and aside from Gallo, the lineup has underperformed. This team has been a .500 team so far, as I expected. But their season could go in either direction from here.
Milwaukee Brewers
Yelich is starting to rebound from early struggles, and the rotation has done better than I expected. But Milwaukee will need to continue to impress if they want to secure a playoff spot.
Los Angeles Angels (8-15)
Trout and Rendon have been living up to expectations, and the rotation is a bit better than last year. But a bad bullpen and inconsistent pitching as a whole has led this team to a rough start that has included some embarrassing losses.
Toronto Blue Jays (8-11)
The Blue Jays lineup is loaded with young talent. Grichuk, Biggio, Hernandez, and Bichette have led them. Pitching is still a concern though. Ryu has been good but was better in LA. Pearson had a nice debut but hasn’t been able to replicate it.
Philadelphia Phillies (8-9)
Bryce Harper is finally playing like a $30 million/year player, and J.T. Realmuto has done just as well. Nola and Wheeler are a nice duo atop the rotation. But this team is seriously lacking in the depth department, and won’t contend unless that improves.
Boston Red Sox (6-17)
The rotation has been among the league’s worst since Sale and E-Rod are out for the year. The lineup has showed promise, but Devers has failed to replicate his 2019 success. Despite the talent of Moreland, Verdugo, and Bogaerts, execution has been a problem. Putting together a good season with this bad a rotation takes even better hitting and better execution.
Miami Marlins (9-7)
Despite being sidelined with a COVID outbreak, Miami has been surprisingly good so far. However, they haven’t beaten out any top teams, and nearly half of their wins came against Baltimore. Don’t let the early success and the strong record mislead you. Starters Elieser Hernandez and Pablo Lopez have been pleasant surprises, but I’m not buying this team as a contending team yet.
Detroit Tigers
They fought for second place in their division after giving the Reds a very hard time. They’ve seen OF JaCoby Jones and SP Spencer Turnbull break out. I think they’ll beat out Kansas City, but can’t see them contending quite yet, even after the Mize call-up.
Kansas City Royals (9-14)
The Royals have essentially performed how most expected them to. They’ve had their moments despite overall struggles. They did give the Twins a good challenge, but I don’t see any reason to move them higher than this.
San Francisco Giants (9-16)
Like the Royals, the Giants have had their moments. But every other team in their division has the capacity to contend for a playoff spot. Even with Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano posting career years, I expect the Giants to remain in the division’s basement.
Baltimore Orioles (12-10)
Don’t let Baltimore’s record fool you. The best team they’ve succeeded against is Washington, and that was when Soto and Strasburg were both out. They were swept in a 4 game series by the Marlins, and that’s not a good sign. I don’t think they’ll be anywhere close to contention by the end of August.
Seattle Mariners
I didn’t expect much from Seattle this year, and they haven’t done much as they’re in the midst of a rebuild. Kyle Seager has been good, and Kyle Lewis, Dylan Moore, and Marco Gonzales have showed promise. But this team just doesn’t have many proven players yet.
Pittsburgh Pirates (4-14)
I thought Josh Bell would be a bright spot for this team, but he’s struggled to repeat his 2019 numbers. The rotation is banged up and the lineup just doesn’t have much talent, so I can’t see the Pirates doing much of anything this year.

That’s all for my latest update on this MLB season. The first quarter of the season is complete, and it’s starting to become clear who will buy and who will sell at the deadline. Stay tuned for my article about the strategy the Red Sox and other selling teams in their position should go through with.

No Tuukka, No Problem: Why the Bruins could still win it all

This morning, the Bruins announced that Tuukka Rask would be opting out of the remainder of the playoffs in order to spend time with family. The team will have to rely on Jaroslav Halak at goalie for the rest of the playoffs. With Rask out and David Pastrnak day-to-day, I was skeptical of Boston’s chances to win it all. But today, the Bruins proved that they still have a shot, as they took down Carolina 3-1 with Halak in the net and Pasta out of the lineup for the second straight game. The Bruins now lead the series 2-1.

Charlie Coyle stepped up for two points as he played with the first line in Pastrnak’s place for a good portion of the game. Coyle, like Pastrnak, is a great finisher, so he’s an underrated player that can at least help fill the gap Pastrnak leaves. Brad Marchand and David Krejci also had two points of their own.

Jaroslav Halak was pretty good in Rask’s place. The one mistake he did make led to Carolina’s only goal. Halak was out of the net, and used his stick attempting to air the puck out. Instead, he shot it close to the net, where Hurricanes forward Nino Niederreiter was waiting and scored.

The Bruins’ third goal was an empty net goal by Brad Marchand. In addition to the empty netter, there was one power play goal and one shorthanded goal scored on Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek.

Late in the game, the Hurricanes lost forward Andrei Svechnikov, one of their top goal scorers, and the Bruins should have Pasta back soon. So I think the Bruins should be able to finish this series on top. Their success from that point on could depend on their opponents. If the Lightning and Capitals are both eliminated, the Bruins have a good shot to return to the Stanley Cup Final. But facing the Lightning might be tough without Rask. The good news is, they proved today that they can win games without Rask. Halak’s struggles against Philly concerned me, but the Bruins are clearly getting back into playoff form, so I’m not giving up hope yet.