'Tis the season.
There is no more popular sport than baseball offseason, especially once the rumors start flying. It's why the Bradfo Sho podcast has devoted to "Who Says No?" episodes, with the latest incorporating four different voices.
Who says no to these Red Sox trades?
We will be surfacing all the trade ideas from the podcast, with the first one coming from Nat Gordon (@BOSSportsGordo):
Trade No. 1:
Outside the box concept here!
Red Sox Receive:
Jarred Kelenic (6 years of control)
Alex Verdugo (2 years of control)
Mariners are reportedly looking to add another outfielder even after acquiring Teoscar Hernandez (via Morosi). Verdugo would be a great fit with the vibrant Mariners clubhouse. He's a very nice player who has talent and potential but won't cost them a monster package like they just sent for Luis Castillo. If they are planning to add another outfielder, Jarred Kelenic's won't have a realistic path for ABs. Could this be the time they recoup as much value for him as they can? Verdugo could not only be a valuable piece for them now, but could grow into a building block like the Red Sox acquired him to be in the Mookie trade.
Red Sox Perspective:
I don't love the idea of trading Verdugo. One of my favorite players on the team. But if the Red Sox front office has fears that he might not be able to take that next step in the coming season, the time to sell is now while he has two years of control. And in this case, you'd get Jarred Kelenic. Many have lost faith in the kid, but the fact of the matter is he's just 23 years old, is controllable through the 2028 season, and his AAA numbers over the past two seasons have been great. He had a .534 OPS in the majors last year but had a .922 in AAA in twice as many plate appearances. In 2021, he had a .615 OPS in the majors but a 1.016 in the minors. It's been ugly at the big league level so far, but there could definitely still be something there.
And in the meantime, swapping Verdugo for Kelenic opens up some money. The Red Sox would need to sign an additional outfielder to replace Verdugo. Kelenic may need to begin the year in AAA, and you don't want to be hung out to try if he doesn't pay dividends immediately. Don't want to be stuck in the outfield like they were with Dalbec at 1B last year. Could Haniger make sense? Michael Conforto? A trade for Bryan Reynolds? An expanded trade to include Jesse Winker, who is also potentially on the move? There are tons of possibilities, but if the Red Sox think they can sign a guy like AJ Pollock for the same money or slightly more than Verdugo will make, then it could make sense to turn Verdugo into a longer-term chip.
Question for all:
- If both sides were into the concept, which side needs to add to this to close the deal? How low has Kelenic’s value sunk?
Predicting where the free agents are going
Trade No. 2:
Red Sox Get:
Lucas Giolito (final arb year, MLBTR proj $10.8M)Joe Kelly ($9M, $9.5M team option with $1M buyout)
White Sox Get:
Nick Pivetta (2 arb years left)Brandon Walter (SP #8)Jeter Downs (SP #24)
Red Sox perspective:
Perfect opportunity to buy low on Giolito coming off a down year. He has multiple ace-caliber years under his belt and is entering a contract year. Good bet that with some tweaks, he can bounce back. He will certainly be motivated.His whiff and K rates were still above league average despite the down year. If the Red Sox want to have a shot at an ace without paying big financial or prospect capital, Giolito is someone they should definitely call about. Joe Kelly is coming off a down year and he's expensive, but if there were ever a team to take on the final year of his contract, it's the Red Sox. We have seen them do this multiple times. The Sox need arms in the pen, and Joe Kelly, despite his 6.08 ERA, had a 3.06 FIP in 2022. It would be taking on an expensive contract, but it helps you get Giolito and could turn into a much-needed arm in the bullpen. Parting with lesser prospect capital because of the money. Jeter Downs is a potential DFA candidate as the offseason moves along. Including him opens up a 40-man spot that they will likely need to open up anyway later on
White Sox perspective:
The team was super expensive in 2022. Way more expensive than they've ever been, and they missed the playoffs. Change is inevitable. They already got off of Pollock and could let Jose Abreu walk, so that's some salary coming off the board. But this would be another chance for them to offload a contract they would probably like to get rid of. Giolito has one year left and letting it ride could prove risky if he doesn't bounce back. Take this opportunity to shed some salary and get some legitimate player/prospect value for both the present and future. Pivetta has shown some flashes, particularly outside the AL East. He also has an additional year of control compared to Giolito. Walter is highly valued both inside and outside the Red Sox organization. If healthy, he could provide some real value to CWS, not to mention he would give them a quality upper-minors SP, which they do not have at the moment. Jeter Downs is a dart throw. See if you can work with him to tap into the potential everyone once saw.