By: Tom Cloutier
Dealin' Dave Dombrowski is gearing up for another offseason. In the last two years, he went big and acquired some of the best pitchers in the league in the form of David Price and Chris Sale. With the Sox getting bounced out of the playoffs in the first round for the second consecutive season, more moves need to be made in order to move from playoff contender to World Series contender. Pieces are going to be shifted and after last year, I'm not sure if anyone is safe from the trading block. Here is a ranking of the Red Sox' starting position players I'm willing to give up the most.
Hanley Ramirez - Get him the hell out of here. Hands down the most over paid payer on the team. 2016 was his only half way decent year in Boston, when they had a top ranked offense. In his other two years with the Red Sox he had a negative WAR. When the DH can barely drives in 60 runs all year, it's time to move on.
Dustin Pedroia - this one comes with aneacy heart, but it's clear his best years are behind him. He just turned 34 at the end of an injury plagued season and likely only has a few seasons left in him. It may be time to seriously think about adding him to the trading block.
Christian Vasquez - He's fairly young and still on his rookie contract, so there's no issue of cap space for the Red Sox. Conversely, this means dealing him now will be met with more interest from other teams interested in keeping their pay roll low.
Jackie Bradley Jr - Of the killer B's, Bradley would be the one I'm most interested in trading. He's recently been linked to the San Francisco Giants as a possible trade option. He's on of the best defensive outfielders in the league and being left of the Gold Glove finalists list this season was absute blasphemy. His offensive production has been inconsistent during his time with Red Sox. It has yet to be seen if he can really put it all together at the players for the course of an entire season.
Andrew Benintendi - This is where the decisions start to get really difficult. I love everything about Benny Biceps. The bat. The glove. The hair. The swagger. His rookie campaign was a solid performance, albeit a notch below where everyone thought it could be and completely eclipsed by Aaron Judge's historic rookie performance. Dealing Benny would get the Red Sox a solid return. He can't be traded straight up for an established star like Stanton, but he can fetch a higher price than many of the other players on the team.
Xander Bogaerts - I may look crazy for wantjng to trade Benintendi more than Bogaerts, but hear me out. The most basic principle of investing is buy low, sell high. Bogaerts was a silver slugger in 2015 & 2016, but his offense regressed last season to much more average numbers. He's only 25 and one mediocre season shouldn't be indicitave of his career trajectory. Yet that's exactly how it will be received on the open market. Trading him now will get a lower return than his true value.
Mookie Betts - Mookie followed the same trend as the rest of the Red Sox offense this year. After a phenomenal 2016 season, he too saw his production at the plate wane in 2017. Mookie is the best player on the team and everyone hopes he can't rebound back to his stellar 2016 numbers. It is a bit concerning that even Mookie isn't confident he can reach that peak again. In an interview with WEEI, Mookie said, "Last year could arguably be the best I have in my career...I'm a realist and I know it ain't getting much better than that." Hopefully Cora can inspire Mookie to find it within himself to get back to MVP level.
Rafael Devers - This kid could be the future. His glove needs serious work, but his bat looks hot. He hit a game winning home run off against the hardest throwing closer in the game, Ardis Chapman, on the fastest pitch ever recorded for a home run. Oh, and he was only 20 when he did it. He did also commit the fourth most errors by an AL thirdbaseman while only playing in 58 games. On a Red Sox offense that struggled to put up runs in this record setting juiced ball era, Devers bat might be the answer.