(Via Michael Chow/AZCentral Sports)
The Red Sox need to reload. And I can see why that statement wouldn't make sense given that they just won the third most games of any team in a full season (including the postseason), but in baseball nowadays it's all or nothing. They need to keep their foot on the gas and continue adding to their roster if they want to contend well into the future. So, who could they add?
Dee Gordon, Mariners 2B/SS/OF (2018: .268/.288/.349, .637 OPS, 79 OPS+, 30 SB, 12 CS, 0.6 WAR)
The Mariners are in a weird spot. They have the longest postseason drought in all of sports, and after coming up short in 2018, they blew it up this offseason. Despite being overshadowed by Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich in the Great Marlins Fire Sale of 2017, Gordon was actually a very productive member of the Marlins during his time there, going over 200 hits in both of his full seasons in Miami. In 2015, he was an NL All-Star and won the batting title. He stole 58 bases that season, then followed it up with 60 in 2017. He never really caught on in Seattle, bouncing around the infield and outfield and never really having a true position. Despite that, he still managed 30 steals and is versatile enough to help the Red Sox in multiple positions if need be.
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers RF (2018: .267/.327/.494, .820 OPS, 120 OPS+, 23 HR, 60 R, 2.7 WAR)
Yasiel Puig peaked as a rookie and fell far. However, after a stint in the minors in 2016, he's been up in the majors for good and a solid player at that. The Dodgers have made it clear they want to move either Puig or Matt Kemp, and the Red Sox could stand to upgrade their outfield. On the surface, it makes more sense to try and trade for Kemp. He was a 2018 All-Star starter after all. But despite that, Kemp has shown in 2018 that he's streaky at best. His OPS every month from April to September ranged from .935 to .577, which isn't great. Puig is also only 28, compared to Kemp being 34. But there's one thing stopping this trade from happening: Puig only plays right field, and the Red Sox have the second best player in the major leagues in right already.
JT Realmuto, Marlins C (2018: .277/.340/.484, .825 OPS, 131 OPS+, 21 HR, 74 R, 4.3 WAR)
After a breakout season in 2018, where he had career highs in several categories en route to an All-Star nod, Realmuto is likely the best catcher in the majors. Unlike several of his old Marlins teammates, he survived the Great Marlins Fire Sale of 2017, but much like one of those teammates, it seems like the entire offseason is waiting for Miami to move him. Thanks to Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, and Blake Swihart combining for -1.6 WAR, the Red Sox proved you don't need a good catcher to be great, but adding the best in the game certainly wouldn't hurt. However, not unlike that former teammate, Realmuto is likely heading to New York. Unlike that teammate though, it will probably be the Mets who make the trade this time.
Corey Kluber, Indians RHP (2018: 215.0 IP, 222 K, 2.89 ERA, 151 ERA+, 3.12 FIP, 0.991 WHIP)
The Indians believe trading their two best starters away is something that would help them, and the interest is there. Kluber has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons. He's won the Cy Young Award twice. Along with Chris Sale and Justin Verlander, he's a consensus top three starting pitcher in the American League. He's still a top five starter including the NL. Even with a “down year” in 2018, he still finished third in Cy Young voting behind Blake Snell and Verlander. An addition of Corey Kluber to the Red Sox rotation with Chris Sale, the resurgent David Price, and “Cy Young Winner” Rick Porcello would easily make them baseball's best rotation. However, it's still unclear whether the Indians will actually trade him. If they do though? There's no reason why the Red Sox can't at least make a call.
Trevor Bauer, Indians RHP (2018: 175.1 IP, 221 K, 2.21 ERA, 198 ERA+, 2.44 FIP, 1.089 WHIP)
While everyone knows Kluber’s pedigree, but in 2018, Bauer was statistically better, setting full season career lows in ERA and FIP (a stat he led the league in) as well as career highs in strikeouts, ERA, and ERA+. He was named to his first All-Star team this past year. For a pitcher, their prime is in their late 20’s to early 30’s. While Kluber is in his prime now, Bauer is just entering it. He's only 27. He's under team control until 2021, and has had no major injury history, with the exception of that one time with the drones. One thing that may scare teams away though is the fact he loves trolling on Twitter. Why is this a problem? Because it's showing a little personality, it's fun, and Major League Baseball is trying very hard to distance themselves from those two things.
Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks RHP (2018: 71.2 IP, 75 K, 3.64 ERA, 119 ERA+, 3.70 FIP, 1.144 WHIP)
A converted starter and former football player, Archie Bradley has become a lockdown relief ace for the Diamondbacks over the past two seasons. And while his 2017 was much, much better than his 2018, his follow-up to his breakout season wasn't exactly bad. Yes, while his ERA more than doubling is concerning, he's still worth the gamble that he could be even close to his 2017 season (and the highest postseason OPS of all time doesn't hurt either). The Diamondbacks are open to trading away their best players, trading the best position player in franchise history to the Cardinals earlier this offseason. Bradley's probably a better fit than Craig Kimbrel was, too. Relievers like Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, and Wade Davis are from a bygone era of baseball where ideally the game would get to a closer. Now, teams need guys like Bradley, Adam Ottavino, and Josh Hader who can come in whenever there's a jam and get out of it. And Bradley is pretty good at that.