Could Red Sox potentially acquire Braves ace Julio Teheran? (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)
Even before Eduardo Rodriguez allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings Monday night against the Rays, it was clear the Red Sox would need to add at least another starter to the rotation by next month’s trade deadline.
They have a loaded farm system with plenty of prospects to trade away, including top prospects Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada. It seems unlikely the organization would be willing to part ways with either player, but they will surely have their names come up in negotiations with other teams.
“The thing you have to remember is that you have two clubs to make a deal, and most clubs, as I’ve said all along and it hasn’t changed whatsoever, really are not prepared to move towards 2017 and be in a position where they’re willing to move,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said to reporters over the weekend. “There are probably five clubs that have been looking at that all year long, and I think those five clubs are the ones that remain.”
It’s likely those five teams are the Twins, Braves, Padres, Phillies and Reds, as those teams had their eyes set on 2017 even when 2016 got started and then the Athletics are now likely added to the mix given their start to the year.
Even though the trade deadline is just over a month away, here are five players the Red Sox could potentially trade for before the July 31 deadline.
Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves
The right-hander’s name has come up more than any other player of late. Despite a 3-7 record, he has a 2.46 ERA and in his last 11 starts has an ERA of just 1.71. He’s 25 years old and under team control until the end of the 2020 season. He’s arguably the best pitcher who will be made available across the league, which means the Braves will certainly get more than they should in return for him. For the Red Sox, it becomes a question of whether or not they would be willing to give up Moncada or Benintendi to get him.
Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics
With the way the Athletics are playing, it’s likely they are now shifting their focus towards the future and if they really wanted to make a big impact on that, they would deal Gray as that would yield them the most in return. Gray did miss some time this year with a strained right trapezius, but has seemed to turn things around after a rough start as he has a 3.23 ERA in his last five starts. Overall, for the year the 26-year-old is 3-6 with a 5.03 ERA. He too is under contract until the end of the 2020 season.
Rich Hill, LHP, Athletics
The Red Sox are very familiar with Hill as the 36-year-old went 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts with the team at the end of last season, which ultimately earned him a one-year, $6 million deal from the Athletics for this season. With him being a free agent after this season and currently working his way back from a groin strain, he won’t get as close to a return as Gray would. For the Red Sox, if they were to get Hill, they would likely need to acquire another starter as well because Hill likely wouldn’t be a huge difference maker.
Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Phillies
The Phillies are struggling of late and with their eyes set on the future, they would certainly be all ears for a trade involving prospects. Hellickson wouldn’t be a huge difference maker for the Red Sox — 5-6, 4.23 ERA this season — but he is an innings eater, which is something the team desperately needs right now. They would need to get someone else to go along with the righty to fully improve the rotation, but it wouldn’t take much to get him — perhaps a mid-level prospect or two. The 29-year-old has extensive experience pitching in the AL East as he spent his first five years in the majors with the Rays.
Chris Sale, LHP, White Sox
This one is a bit of a long-shot, especially with White Sox general manager Rick Hahn saying his ace would not be dealt, but if the White Sox continue to trend downwards like they have of late, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to dangle Sale. The Red Sox certainly have the prospects to get the White Sox’ attention as Benintendi or Moncada would have to be involved in the deal. Sale would be one of the few players many would be OK with dealing away one of those two players for because a proven ace who is 27 years old would be the return. It’s also worth noting Sale’s contract would make him under the Red Sox’ control until the end of the 2019 season, making him even more valuable.