Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

Much of the Red Sox reported trade interest this July has centered around bullpen arms, but that hasn’t stopped the team from apparently inquiring about one of the more notable bats on the market.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves have reportedly contacted the Kansas City Royals about third baseman Mike Moustakas ahead of the July 31 deadline.

Moustakas, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is batting .249 with 19 home runs this season for the lowly Royals.

It’s unclear how Moustakas would fit the Red Sox plans for the 2018 season. Rafael Devers (.241 batting average, 14 home runs) has had a disappointing sophomore campaign, but it would be surprising if the team wanted to move on from the 21-year-old in favor of an impending free agent.

It seems more plausible that a Moustakas move, however unlikely, would result in J.D. Martinez seeing more time in the outfield to open up the DH spot for Devers, who has committed 19 errors in 87 games at third base this year.

A trade for Moustakas seems unlikely at this point because it’s unknown what the Red Sox would be able to offer Kansas City for the 29-year-old power hitter. There is little talent in the Red Sox farm system, which entered the season ranked 24th by Baseball America and has seen its top two prospects, lefty Jay Groome and third baseman Michael Chavis, go down with Tommy John surgery and a PED suspension respectively.

Chavis returned to action at the beginning of the month and has gone 3-for-20 with one home run since being reassigned to Double-A Portland.

The Braves, on the other hand, would likely be able to offer a much more attractive package for Moustakas. Atlanta is widely considered to have one of the best farm systems in baseball and would probably not be opposed to trading a young prospect or two away to improve their club as they battle the Phillies for the N.L. East crown.

The Yankees are also rumored to have interest in Moustakas and, like the Braves, have a stable of talented players in the minor leagues from which they can deal.

If a bidding war develops for Moustakas, expect the Red Sox to end up out of the running.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.