Three Buy Low Targets for Boston
Before you start I just want to give a shout-out to @BallParkBuzz for writing this piece. He put a lot of time into it, and it shows. Make sure to go check out his Twitter page and give him a follow to see more of his work.
Major League Baseball’s off-season is always a blast with all of the speculation and mock trades. So far, the trading block has been relatively quiet as there have only been a handful of trades made this off-season but it is starting to heat up. With almost all of the impact-free agents off of the board, trades are the only option now. Chaim Bloom has stated that he has been aggressively navigating the trade market, although he has not yet pulled the trigger on a deal.
It has been reported that the Red Sox would like to keep their top prospects in their system and not involve them in a trade package. By limiting the types of offers the Red Sox can make, it can be difficult to acquire impact players via trade. I tried my best to come up with 3 players the Red Sox could try to acquire without parting with their top 3-4 prospects. Obviously, I am just speculating as my mock trades could be very underwhelming and may need a higher tier prospect to get the deal done. It’s always difficult to predict how teams value different players.
All 3 of these players are “buy low” targets with significant upside. There are definite risks with acquiring any of these players, but again, if you want to hold onto your top prospects, you have to take some risks to try to acquire possible impact players.
Last off-season, the asking price was steep as Márquez was coming off of a strong season in which he was an all-star and had 2 seasons of cheap team control with a team option for a third year of control. Fast forward 1 year, Marquez is coming off of a season in which he had a 4.95 ERA and allowed 30 home runs. Márquez still has potentially 2 years of team control left so acquiring a player like Márquez is not an easy task. There is one reason as to why every baseball fan should still be high on the soon-to-be 28 year-old: home and road splits.
You can find hundreds of baseball articles talking about how difficult it is to pitch in Colorado and it’s just a fact. Breaking pitches don’t spin the same in the high elevation. Their outfield is the size of the Atlantic Ocean. And the ball just flies. Márquez is practically 2 different pitchers depending on where he pitches.
At home, Márquez’s stats represent a pitcher who does not belong in professional baseball. His statistics on the road suggest he is a potential all-star caliber pitcher.
I don’t always buy the Coors effect for hitters, but I do believe it is a real thing for pitchers. Márquez’s pitching style is being wasted in Colorado.
Another reason to trade for Márquez is his durability. Since his first full season in 2017, he’s made the 4th most starts and thrown the 6th most innings in all of baseball. Durability is a valuable skill and one the current Red Sox rotation does not have other than Pivetta.
If I were Bloom, I would try to acquire Márquez and then try to extend him for an additional 2-3 years. The Colorado right-hander is a perfect player to acquire now while the team is retooling for the next contending Red Sox team.
There was a time when Laureano would have been one of the most desired trade chips on the market. Because Oakland is a dumpster fire of an organization, there is no reason he would not be available. A scenario I could see is Oakland not wanting to trade him now because he is coming off of a couple of down seasons and his value is not at its peak. But I do believe that Boston should contact Oakland to find out what the price is, especially after the Trevor Story news. With Boston not having a shortstop, Kiké Hernandez may need to move into the infield to play shortstop leaving a glaring hole in centerfield. This is where Laureano comes into play.
Buying in on Laureano will take some convincing. When Laureano broke into the show, he put up some big offensive numbers in his first season and a half.
Then, the weird Covid season happened, a steroid suspension in 2021, and a struggle of a season last year would make any Red Sox fan wonder what type of player the Red Sox would be getting if they did acquire Laureano. From 2020-2022, the numbers are ugly.
So why Laureano?
For one, Laureano is cheap. He is only becoming arbitration eligible in 2023 and has 3 years of team control. Laureano is coming off of a season in which he played for a team that was destined for a 100+ loss season before the season even started, and they accomplished that embarrassing task (102 losses). And his home ballpark is ranked as the 3rd worst hitters’ park in baseball. The goal would be for Laureano to feel reinvigorated in a new place and rediscover his 2019 form. If that were to happen, Boston would have 2 more years of team control and could move him for assets or look to make him a part of the next contending team starting in 2024.
Trading with teams that have no desire to win anytime soon may be the safest route to go. Because the Colorado Rockies do not have a clear window in the next 2-3 seasons, you can potentially sell higher upside prospects that are further away from the big leagues. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Rockies will still want almost-ready MLB talent. Everyone on the Rockies should be available and I think Brendan Rodgers is a great option for Boston. Rodgers will become arbitration eligible in 23’ and has three years of team control.
For Rodgers, he earned his first significant playing time in 21’ and played 132 games in 22’. The former top 10 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com has become a solid contact hitter (17.4% K-rate) and had a slash line of .266 / .325 / .408. Rodgers has some power (15 home runs in 22’) but at only 26, I think Rodgers could still come into some more power.
Rodgers is an elite defender as he won the Gold Glove at 2B last year with 22 DRS, which was 6 more than any other second baseman in all of baseball. Rodgers was drafted as a shortstop and due to his incredible glove at second base, it begs to wonder if he could handle shortstop. With Trevor Story out and Boston not having a shortstop option, could Rodgers be a possible solution?
All 3 of the names listed above have risks but significant upsides as well. All 3 also have the ability to impact the Red Sox roster beyond 2023. With the current state of the Red Sox roster, trading for a stopgap shortstop while using significant prospect capital doesn’t make a lot of sense. I also don’t believe in waiting until the next off-season to acquire players to impact the roster. Making a deal now for a piece and either utilizing their remaining team control or extending them once they are acquired is the ideal scenario.
It takes a few years to build a contending team. Bloom and Boston should be thinking about who could be a potential trade piece that could still be in Boston when the next great Red Sox team is ready to compete.
PHOTO COPYRIGHT: (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)