Are things about to get interesting? What was once thought to be a quiet Winter Meetings has turned into a frenzy for the Boston Red Sox. Both Bob Nightengale and Ken Rosenthal have confirmed that the Boston Red Sox are looking to cut payroll in order to ensure that they do not go over the luxury tax threshold. According to reports, the Red Sox have been open to the idea of trading Rick Porcello, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts, among others.
Rick Porcello is coming off of a decent season in which he went 17-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 191.1 innings. All in all, the former Cy Young winner has regressed since winning the award. Prior to pitching for the Red Sox, Porcello signed a contract extension that has him signed through the 2019 season. Looking back on his four-year, $82.5 million contract, he appears to have been a success in this city. However, with one year remaining on his contract and little chance of him re-signing with a plethora of guys in need of new contracts, Porcello could be the odd man out. I do not think Porcello could get the Red Sox a king's ransom, but it would definitely be a step in the right direction to re-stocking the farm system or perhaps netting a solid bullpen arm. In his final year under contract, Porcello is owed $21 million.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has become one of the most tantalizing figures on the Red Sox since he came on to the scene in 2013. The sure-handed center fielder will be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season and will be in the market for a massive contract. While he did win the ALCS MVP award this past season, he is a career .238 hitter and a .185 hitter in the playoffs. He does have the occasional power surge, but he is essentially a non-factor at the plate 95% of the time. Given his mild success in the 2018 postseason, it will be interesting to see if the Red Sox sell high on a guy that still has some life on his contract. This year, JBJ is slated to make roughly $9 million.
Perhaps the most interesting name on this list was that of Xander Bogaerts. Conveniently enough, he may also get the Red Sox the most in a return. The all star shortstop is coming off a great season, where he hit .288 with 23 home runs and 103 RBI and even saw himself get some MVP votes. Over his six-year career, Bogaerts is hitting .284, provides solid defense, and looks to be finally getting into the prime of his career at the age of 26. Bogaerts will be looking at an absurd deal in the offseason, where he could sign something in the neighborhood of $25 million per year.
Losing each of these guys in a deal would have obvious benefits and detriments to the team. Trading Porcello makes a lot of sense, although I would love to see him stay in Boston for the rest of his career. He has a great attitude and can obviously work effectively here. However, he could be the odd man out in this rotation if the Red Sox plan on signing Chris Sale after this season. It would be interesting to see what the Red Sox could get for him, given he is a free agent after this season and has the largest contract of the three guys mentioned. Because of his contract size, the Red Sox may be most interested in trading him this offseason. Dealing JBJ also makes a lot of sense because of his impending big pay day and his awful offense. The Red Sox wouldn't really be losing anything at the plate, could easily fix their outfield when he is gone, and not take that much off the big league club. I wouldn't overly want to mess with the outfield because it is the best in the game, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a team overspend on JBJ, as he sinks away into obscurity.
Bogaerts gets his own separate paragraph because I think he is that important to this team. He is a two-time World Series Champion, has been great at the plate, and is a solid defender, but I feel that he has still underperformed for his career thus far. His numbers won't show it, but I feel that Bogaerts could be a potential MVP candidate. I simply don't think he has the right mindset to be one of the best players in baseball, although I think he is capable of it. My guess is Bogaerts could net the Red Sox a massive return. If they do not think they can re-sign him, trading him may be the best move. The Red Sox could use any number of the utility infielders they have on the roster to replace Bogaerts, or perhaps they could sign a guy in free agency. Maybe the recently released Troy Tulowitzki?
This team has an incredible lineup, so they can afford to lose one of these guys and they will still be more than okay. Furthermore, if Sale is right, then losing Porcello after re-signing Nathan Eovaldi is also not that big of a deal. The Red Sox are a team rich with talent, but their farm system needs to be replenished and they desperately need arms in the bullpen. These are only rumors, but it is interesting to see the Red Sox not staying complacent after winning a World Series. I think Dave Dombrowski knows this team cannot keep everyone and wants to do as much as he can to milk one more championship out of this core before they all go their separate ways.