By: Jake Perda
We are officially 2 weeks away from the MLB trade deadline, and with that in mind, I’d like to pose a question. Does Dave Dombrowski have any tricks left up his sleeve? No, I’m not talking about A-Rod’s speculations of Dombrowski pulling off a blockbuster deal to pry Miguel Cabrera away from Detroit. But the trades I’m talking about could be nearly as impactful.
In 2016, when the Red Sox traded for Brad Ziegler, it seemed pretty out of the blue. Aside from the fact that the deal was made at about 1:45am eastern time, nobody had really pointed to Ziegler as a trade target, or even knew he was available for that matter. Nonetheless, Ziegler turned out to be a huge addition for the Sox as he pitched in numerous high leverage situations down the stretch, including taking over as the team's closer while Craig Kimbrel recovered from a knee injury. Regardless of Ziegler being brutally mismanaged by John Farrell, he provided a huge boost to the back end of the bullpen at the measly cost of the worse Basabe brother.
After betraying myself and the rest of #TeamTzunami by optioning Tzu-Wei Lin to Pawtucket, the Red Sox will certainly look to make an upgrade at the third base position. Additionally, after Joe Kelly and Blaine Boyer both had to be placed on the 10-Day Disabled List, Dombrowski will surely pursue some sort of reinforcement(s) in the bullpen. So, what does that mean for this years squad?
The obvious answers here are Todd Frazier and Pat Neshek. Despite his low batting average and mediocre defense, Frazier possesses the power that this offense has lacked throughout the first half of the season. As for Neshek, he’s basically the same person as Brad Ziegler. He’s old like Ziegler. He’s a rental like Ziegler. And he relies on deception like Ziegler. But doesn’t that almost seem too obvious? Dave Dombrowski is one of the least predictable people on earth. He doesn’t like anything he does to make too much sense, so let’s think outside the box for a second.
Josh Harrison is an interesting option. The Pirates sit 6 games back in the NL Central, and it’s not hard to tell that the Cubs (and even the Brewers) are leaps and bounds ahead of them. If they decide to sell off some of their players in exchange for prospects, Harrison could very well be one of the guys that goes. While I would hope Dombrowski isn’t going to sell off Rafael Devers or Jay Groome for a guy who hits in the mid .270’s, the Red Sox still have a few pieces to work with if they wanted to get this deal done. Harrison has a little more pop than any of the Sox other third basemen, and he even has some speed to go along with it (10 SB). I like Harrison as a more moderate option as opposed to Frazier. He isn’t a 40 HR threat like Frazier, but he’s also not hitting .207 like Todd Frazier is. We haven’t heard anything about a potential Harrison deal yet, but don’t sleep on the Pirates All-Star.
If not Frazier, Harrison, or anyone else that is known to be available, perhaps Dealin’ Dave makes a call to the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels are in 4th place in the American League West, 17 games back in the division, and they don’t appear to be making a run at a World Series any time soon. With this in mind, they have a pretty solid third basemen in Yunel Escobar who is hitting right around .300 for the third straight season. He may not be the best defensive third basemen, but neither is Todd Frazier. Escobar could be a nice addition to the offense, and since he would be rental, he shouldn’t be attached to any sort of massive price tag.
NOTE: I have not heard anything suggesting that the Red Sox have inquired about a deal for Escobar, but it looks like it could be a decent fit to me.
If there’s one thing that we’ve learned in the 2 years that Dave Dombrowski has been at the helm, it’s that he gets stuff done. If there’s a need, he fills it, and he fills it with the best available option. So going into the 2017 MLB trade deadline, Red Sox fans will once again be forced to sit back and keep the mentality of “In Dave We Trust”.
(Photo: Boston Herald)