“We’re trying to make the postseason,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told NESN’s Tom Caron before Tuesday’s game (hat tip to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith). This statement, made a week before the trade deadline, apparently ended some speculation that the Red Sox would appear to be deadline sellers, although Bloom did offer his statement with some intriguing caveats: “So whatever that means, we’re going to explore a lot of things [at the trade deadline]. Some of them may be things people expect. Some of them may not be. But you know, we want to get this group into the postseason.”
It’s worth noting that the Sox lost to the Guardians on both Tuesday and Wednesday, putting Boston’s record at 49-50 for the season. With a 7-19 mark over their last 26 games, the Red Sox have gone from leading the wild card race to four games out of a wild card slot overall, and in last place in the competitive AL East.
If Boston can’t string together some wins quickly, it’s possible the Sox could go into more full-blown sell mode by the Aug. 2 deadline. However, Bloom’s comments seem to suggest that the team could try to thread the needle and both buy and sell at the same time — perhaps moving some pending free agents but adding long-term pieces that could also still provide some immediate help.
Beyond Bloom’s public comments, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier writes that when it comes to deadline plans, “ttypical responses from those inside and outside the organization have ranged from “everything is at stake” to “maybe both” to objections to the buy/sell dichotomy to uncertainty traits.Despite all these options, a truly major shakeup doesn’t appear to be in order, as both Bloom and (in an interview on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show ) team president/CEO Sam Kennedy ruled out the possibility of Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers is being treated.
“There have been no discussions or comments internally or externally about moves related to the trade deadline involving Xander, Raffy or anyone else as far as I know. At this point, we’re focused on getting back in this thing and winning“, Kennedy said. Not only have talks about the two All-Stars not taken place, “we don’t plan ithold such conversations, Bloom added.
Bogaerts can opt out of his contract after the season, and ever since Boston signed Trevor Story to a free agent deal, there has been a widespread feeling that Bogaerts will play elsewhere in 2023. Extension talks with both Bogaerts and Devers before the season led to no progress, which then led to increased speculation that Devers might also leave in free agency after the 2023 campaign.
If a demotion isn’t in order, and standing ovation doesn’t appear to be an option for a team with clear guard needs, it becomes a question of what types of upgrades the Red Sox will pursue by August 2nd. One obvious name on paper doesn’t appear to be a priority, as NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase reports the Sox have had only “perfunctory interest” in the Nationals’ first baseman Josh Bell. While the Sox have had some conversations about Bell, “their interest was described more as kicking the tires.”
First base has been a weak link for the Red Sox all year, and with Bell perhaps the most likely player to be moved before the deadline, the two sides seemed like a logical match. Bell would be a pure rental, as the slugger is set for free agency after the year, and the Nats would be in line to get back a compensatory pick if Bell left given that the qualifying offer system will again be in place for the 2022-23 offseason.
Therefore, whatever the Sox or other teams offer the Nationals for Bell must exceed the value of the compensatory pick for Washington to move forward with a deal. For a team like the Red Sox who might be on the fringes of contending, that might be too much to pay, while other known Bell suitors like the Astros, Mets or Brewers might be more receptive since Bell would increase their chances. to win a championship.