Somehow, the Red Sox are only 2.5 games out of the division. There's still plenty of time for the Red Sox to turn things around and get on track before the July 31st trade deadline, but barring a collapse before then, the Sox will look to make some moves before the deadline. Bleacher Report suggests 3 trades that could happen before the July 31st deadline.
1.) Christian Vazquez, Henry Owens, Devin Marrerro, and Bryce Brentz for Stephen Vogt and Scott Kazmir
Oakland is 14-28 and rapidly falling out of contention in the AL West. The A's also have a history of trading away major league talent for low-cost prospects.
Stephen Vogt is a 30-year-old catcher currently batting .307 with nine homers and 30 RBI. He's making just $512,500 this year and isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season. On Wednesday, ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney told WEEI in Boston that the Red Sox would be wise to make a play for Vogt, who could be a "tremendous stopgap" while they wait for Blake Swihart to develop.
Swihart is only in the majors because of injuries to Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan. The 23-year-old is batting .170 so far and could clearly benefit from more seasoning in Triple-A.
Me: I like what the Sox would get, but the price is too high, particularly the first 2 guys listed. Injuries aside, Christian Vazquez is the Red Sox catcher of the future, and giving him him up would be a terrible idea. Bleacher Report points out Swihart's average as part of the justification for this move, but catchers aren't always the strongest players offensively. Vogt has nice numbers, but I don't necessarily upgrading our offensive production at catcher is the answer - I think the answer on offense is everyone we currently have performing like they are capable of. As for Kazmir, there's no doubt we could benefit from having him on the staff, but the staff has been improving in the last few weeks. I still think we'll want to look into acquiring more pitching, but it's not as urgent as it was earlier.
2.) Garin Cecchini for Matt Garza:
Matt Garza signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Brewers before last season. Through eight starts in 2015, he's 2-5 with a 5.72 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman states that Milwaukee seems "especially interested" in trading Garza. Heyman also writes: "Garza is another veteran right-hander who could help someone, but with $35-million-plus to go through 2017, one rival exec says, 'I'm not sure anyone would want him.'" The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo believes the Brewers are "ready to sell" on Garza as well.
Considering his contract and Milwaukee's apparent eagerness to part ways, the price for Garza would not be high. In Garin Cecchini, the Red Sox possess a third-base prospect with nowhere to go behind Pablo Sandoval. On the other hand, the Brewers have 36-year-old Aramis Ramirez manning the position. Ramirez will also be a free agent at season's end.
Why, exactly, should the Red Sox have an interest in Garza? He was fairly decent in 2014, posting a 3.64 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .233 batting average. Garza is also only 31 years old and has proven he can succeed in the AL East. With the Tampa Bay Rays from 2008-2010, he went 34-31 with a 3.86 ERA in 94 starts.
Me: Maybe a change of scenery would benefit Garza, but I'm not sold on his numbers. At least Scott Kazmir's numbers are solid. Matt Garza has a 2-5 record and a 5.72 ERA. Not exactly Cy Young worthy. If the Red Sox are going to make a move for pitching (which as I said above, isn't as urgent of a need), they can do better.
3.) Shane Victorino to Houston for their best offer
The Astros are a shocking 27-14, the No. 1 record in the American League. They've managed to get there despite a .231 team batting average, the second-lowest in baseball. Right fielder George Springer is hitting .195, while designated hitter Evan Gattis is batting just .196. Shane Victorino could fill in at either position.
Among MLB's younger teams, Houston is a prime candidate to be in the market for a veteran leader with postseason experience. Victorino is in the final year of his contract, so the financial commitment for the Astros would be minimal—less than $5 million of his $13 million salary for this season.
While other trade scenarios involve the Red Sox focusing on this year at the expense of the future, this move might benefit them in both cases. At the moment, Cuban talent Rusney Castillo is toiling away in Pawtucket. Victorino's departure from Boston would clear room for Castillo to take over in right field, as well as likely bring a minor leaguer or two back to the organization in return.
Me: This would free up some of the clutter in the outfield and give Rusney Castillo an opportunity to strut his stuff, but what would we get for Victorino? The answer would be little to nothing because of his struggles and his inability to stay on the field on a consistent basis over the past 2 years. We got one good year out of Victorino when we won it all in 2013, but he's had his problems with injuries. Maybe the Sox could get a good young prospect from a team that could use the veteran leadership, as Bleacher Report mentions, but I have my doubts.
Thoughts? Leave a comment below. Stay tuned for more trade rumors as the deadline approaches!