This mailbag question comes courtesy of longtime reader Frank:
This morning I read that Epstein has made it known that the Sox will be “active” at the deadline. I think the Yanks will block any trade that involves a pitcher, especially a reliever, and I don’t see Epstein getting anything more than a 4 or 5 starter. What does worry me is SS. Although the Mets would obviously love to keep Reyes, it seems the logical move is the traditional trade deadline dump and get as many prospects as possible. I view the Sox as the best landing spot for him. He’d be a great leadoff man in that lineup and a huge upgrade over Scutaro. Just wondering your thoughts.
Although this is a Yankee blog, it is always interesting to get into the mind of the opposition. At present, there is a lot of conflicting information about what the Red Sox will be up to up to at the deadline. Peter Gammons recently reported that the Sox had no room to add payroll, while recent comments by Theo Epstein suggest that the Red Sox will be aggressive. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. The Red Sox will certainly be active in an attempt to improve their team in areas where there are weaknesses, but I don’t necessarily see them wanting to spend the money/trade chips to bring in a marquee piece. As Frank mentioned, their biggest needs are probably at shortstop and pitcher. I agree that they may look for a back-end starter with Buchholz and Lackey on the DL, and Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller occupying rotation spots.
As for shortstops, the best one in the major leagues, in the form of Jose Reyes, could be on the trade market, and would fit nicely in the Boston lineup (or really any lineup). But would the Red Sox pull the trigger on him? I just don’t see it. There are a number of reasons:
The first reason is that I imagine the Mets would have to demand a high price in prospects to justify trading their star and franchise player, and the Boston farm system is significantly weakened following the Adrian Gonzalez trade. The Mets would likely need some advanced prospects, and Boston’s system doesn’t offer much beyond smooth-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias (with a AAA OPS around .500) and hardthrowing righty Anthony Ranaudo (putting up solid numbers in high-A). The Mets will almost certainly receive a higher offer for Reyes if the Red Sox are unwilling to give up Ranaudo or Iglesias (though I’m not sure how much value he has with his offensive struggles), and Boston might very well be outbid even if they do offer one of those guys.
The Gonzalez trade probably has implications for Boston’s finances as well. They traditionally like to stay just below the luxury tax threshold, and Gonzalez’s new contract is going to put them right around the limit. I don’t see Boston being able to blow Reyes away with the Carl Crawford money he likely wants to sign an extension, and I also don’t see them giving up good prospects for a rental if Reyes won’t sign an extension. I could see Reyes being interested in playing for a contender like Boston, but given the likely price of acquiring Reyes, I don’t see Boston biting.
It will be very interesting to see where Reyes ends up, but ultimately, I’m not sure he gets dealt. I don’t know that the Mets will get a good enough deal to warrant trading their superstar and franchise icon, and with potential new ownership coming in, I could see them making a big run to resign Reyes in the offseason.
To get back to the Yankees briefly, it will be very interesting to see how they approach the trade deadline. The surprising acceptability of Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova, the awesomeness of Bartolo Colon, and hopefully, a rejuvenated Phil Hughes could very well keep the Yankees from needing to add a starting pitcher at the deadline. I’m sure they will keep their ears open if a frontline starter is made available (or even a #2-3 type), but there’s likely not going to be a good value out there. There will likely be some minor deals for bullpen help (a lefty if Boone Logan continues to struggle) and bench players, but as Brian Cashman has said, the Yankees’ trade deadline acquisitions will be the hopefully healthy returns of Hughes, Colon, and Soriano.
Thanks for the question Frank. If anyone else has questions that they would like to ask for a future mailbag, feel free to email us using the “contact us” button above (or email us at TheYankeeAnalysts at gmail dot com).
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