Things can happen.
Every Red Sox fan should remember this as we enter the Dog Days of the baseball season. The team is out of it, players don't really seem to care and the management and coaching staff know they will be closely evaluated at the end of the year.
But this is when players can shine.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Rusney Castillo, Blake Swihart and all of the young guys now have time to test things out at the big league level. But, the Red Sox should not just stand pat for the rest of the season. Trades can happen. Don't believe me? Look at the 2012 Adrian Gonzalez deal. A 9-player trade occurred, where the Dodgers took on more than $250 million.
Its a normality that almost every is put on waivers, but who could actually be claimed and traded? Lets take a look at some of the names that we could see not wearing a Red Sox uniform come September:
Out of everyone on our list, I am the most reluctant to trade Hanley Ramirez. And, truthfully, I think the Red Sox are pretty reluctant to trade him as well. I know that he dogs it at times and is an absolute disaster in left field, but his bat makes you want to keep him on your team. If it wasn't for David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez would be the DH for this team for the rest of his career. However, I don't see Ortiz leaving this team before he gets 500 home runs, which is going to take at least another season, maybe two. I just think of Hanley only having to hit and absolutely mashing the baseball.
Its sad, really. Napoli was such as focal point in the 2013 season, much like Shane Victorino, and has struggled mightily this season. In 96 games, Napoli is hitting .211 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. While his numbers are anything but stellar, he has started to heat up as of late. If he continues this run for another couple of weeks, a contending team could be interested in using him off the bench. While Napoli would have to adjust, winning another World Series could sway his attitude.
What?!?! Not Mookie Betts!!! I have heard from more than one person that the Red Sox are more willing to trade Mookie Betts than any of their other prized young prospects. While this doesn't mean that they are chomping at the bit, I would guess that they are taking phone calls. And truthfully, they should. While Mookie is a unique talent, answer me this: would you rather have an above average center fielder or a young ace at the front of your pitching staff for multiple years? I'd take the latter every time. In my opinion, the Red Sox would only do this for a player like Sonny Gray. If he is available and the Red Sox throw a bunch of prospects at Billy Beane, it could happen.
Its always a tough situation when trading a player that you just signed in the previous offseason. The main problem for the Red Sox is that I'm not sure anyone wants Sandoval right now. There was a time when he was one of the most touted free agents in baseball, but after a terrible season, he can barely get on the field now. There were rumblings of a trade that involved Padres' starter James Shields, but those seemed to have dissipated. Hopefully Pablo can figure it out because it looks like he is here for the long haul. We all know Sandoval is heavy, but he has gotten noticeably larger since the start of the season. If he loses a couple pounds and puts his head in the game, he will be just fine. Unlike most players on this team, Pablo cares.
I feel like I've written this 100 times, but Koji has to get traded, right? The 40 year old closer has had another good season, posting a 2.33 ERA in 41 games. If a contending team is looking to fortify their bullpen, Koji could be their man. I just feel that if this team wants to contend in 2016, they will need to bring in younger arms that can actually throw over 90 mph. Nothing against Koji, but he is not the type of closer that I want. I feel as if at any moment he is going to lose the movement on his splitter and get absolutely shelled over the monster.
Make no mistake about it, the Red Sox are not really that far off from being a contending team. With the young arms of Brian Johnson, Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens all getting chances to pitch at the major league level, the Red Sox could find their 2-3-4 starters for the next 10 years. However, they are still missing a #1 and won't be anywhere near the top until they get him.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS