Starting pitching was an issue for the Red Sox last season, ranking 22nd in team ERA (4.49). The Red Sox have done little to address that shortcoming, losing free agents Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill while taking a one-year flyer on former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. What’s left is a rotation littered with question marks, from injury-prone ace Chris Sale to converted starter Garrett Whitlock, not to mention James Paxton, who spent all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The Marlins, meanwhile, are flush with starting pitching, boasting one of baseball’s deepest rotations led by reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, hard-throwing southpaw Jesus Luzardo and the criminally underrated Pablo Lopez. Miami, however, isn’t as well-stocked offensively, squandering its dominant starting pitching with a tepid lineup of fringe big-leaguers. Among other deficiencies, the Marlins are in desperate need of power, with only Jesus Aguilar (15), Jazz Chisholm (14), Jorge Soler (13), Jesus Sanchez (13) and Bryan De La Cruz (13) reaching double-digit homers last season.
Which is why the Marlins, according to Craig Mish and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, are infatuated with Red Sox slugger Triston Casas, who debuted with five homers in 27 games as a rookie in 2022. The Red Sox are known to be high on Casas, believing so strongly in his development that they were willing—probably against their better judgment—to move on from veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer, despite the Padres essentially comping his entire salary. That would seem counterproductive, particularly with the Red Sox beginning to sour on Bobby Dalbec (who struck out in over 33 percent of his at-bats last season), though Miami’s treasure trove of arms could threaten to change that calculus.
The Sox have already been sniffing around utility man Joey Wendle (a favorite of Chaim Bloom throughout his Rays tenure), who the Marlins likely see as expendable following their recent acquisition of All-Star second baseman Jean Segura. Cody Williams of FanSided proposed an intriguing scenario that would have the Red Sox trading Casas, Zack Kelly and Christian Koss for Lopez and Wendle. Boston Globe reporter Alex Speier would consider that a stretch, indicating the Red Sox are reluctant to jettison Casas, who they view as a middle-of-the-order lynchpin with All-Star potential. Still, the clubs match up well on paper with only Alcantara seen as “untouchable.”
If it’s not Casas, other machinations of a Boston/Miami swap could include Tanner Houck, who began last year in the Red Sox’s rotation before pivoting to the bullpen, ultimately recording eight saves in that capacity. Trevor Rogers and Edward Cabrera could also be of interest to the Red Sox, with the latter posting an impressive 3.01 ERA over 71 2/3 innings last season. Admittedly, those names aren’t as sexy as some of the ones Boston was linked to earlier this winter (Carlos Rodon, Kodai Senga, Zach Eflin, etc.), but with fan resentment nearing an all-time high (owner John Henry was heckled early and often during Monday’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park), the Red Sox can’t afford to stand idly by, making little effort to improve while others around them continue to get better.