While a trade for Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell seems like an obvious fit for the Boston Red Sox, it’s now been reported that they do indeed have interest. Jim Bowden of The Athletic listed the Red Sox as one team that’s interested in the switch hitter.
The big question surrounding what Boston does at the trade is if it buys or sells. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom answered on the NESN pregame before Tuesday night’s matchup against the Cleveland Guardians.
“We’re trying to make the postseason,” Bloom said. “So, whatever that means — we’re going to explore a lot of stuff. Some of them might be things people expect, some of them might not be. But you know, we want to get this group into the postseason.”
It’s a complete crap shoot trying to guess what the Red Sox will do leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Bell makes a ton of sense as a one-year rental with Boston’s current first basemen playing the way they are and prospect Triston Casas just coming back from injury and giving him the rest of the season to develop.
Here’s a look at Bell’s statistics this season in comparison to Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero, who currently split first baseman duties:
Bell: .304 average, .882 OPS, 13 home runs, 53 RBI’s, 55 strikeouts and 3.4 WAR
Dalbec: .200 average, .618 OPS, eight home runs, 23 RBI’s, 87 strikeouts and -1.3 WAR
Cordero: .218 average, .658 OPS, four home runs, 24 RBI’s 74 strikeouts and -0.3 WAR
Neither Dalbec or Cordero played in as many games as Bell to this point, but even combining their home runs (12) and RBIs (47) in 155 games isn’t as much as Bell in his 98 games.
It’s not pretty.
Because Bell is on the last year of his contract, the compensation won’t cost any top prospects or valuable players. Look at last year’s trade for Kyle Schwarber as an example. All Boston gave up in return was pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez, who currently ranks 10th in the Nationals farm system. It’s the same exact team who could do a very similar rental deal this season.
If Bloom stays true to his word, the next six days are going to be very interesting to follow. Multiple reporters think that if the Red Sox can’t put together wins before the trade deadline, they will deal away some of its best players. Ace pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and designated hitter J.D. Martinez are the two most common players brought up as pieces Boston could sell at the deadline.
Both Bloom and Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts won’t be traded at the deadline.
“We haven’t had any discussions internally or with any other club about them,” Bloom said on NESN’s pregame show. “We don’t plan to.”
The competition won’t be easy leading up to the deadline, either. After two more games against the Guardians (49-47) it’s three games against the Milwaukee Brewers (54-44) and then two road games against the Houston Astros (64-34).
It should be a fun next six days.