The Boston Red Sox have endured a topsy-turvy 2022 season so far. Boston went from a 13-21 start to the 43-34 record they currently own. With rumors swirling around the contract extensions– or lack thereof- for Red Sox stars Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, there were talks of the Red Sox possibly being sellers at the MLB trade deadline.
However, powered by one of the league's best offenses, the Red Sox are right back in the thick of the postseason race, as they are in position for a Wild-Card spot, along with the division-rival Toronto Blue Jays. Now, one could- and probably should- make the case that the Red Sox should be buyers.
Armed with MLB.com's 14th-ranked farm system from the preseason, Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom certainly has plenty of ammunition at his disposal to go out and make a few moves for the club.
But what should Bloom be looking to do? Well, the Red Sox rotation, which should be getting ace Chris Sale back from Tommy John surgery rehab soon, could use an extra starter at the top. The bullpen, which ranks just 18th in team Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs, could also do with an upgrade.
With those areas in mind, here are three MLB trades the Red Sox must make at the 2022 deadline.
3 MLB Trades Red Sox Must Make At 2022 Deadline
3. Trade for Pittsburgh Pirates RP David Bednar
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 31-46 and well on their way to their fourth straight losing season. They also happen to have some trade assets, such as outfielder Bryan Reynolds and relief pitcher David Bednar, who could be moved at the trade deadline.
That makes them the perfect trade partner with the Red Sox. Pittsburgh's farm system could use a face lift- and Boston just so happens to have four prospects in the top-100. It likely wouldn't take a massive haul for the Red Sox to acquire Bednar.
However, he's 27, pitching great after a strong 2021, and has three years of arbitration left. The Pirates aren't just going to give him away for nothing.
Perhaps a trade package centered around right-handers Josh Winckowski and Thad Ward would get the job done. They're each ranked outside of Boston's top-10 prospects.
However, both would be close to helping Pittsburgh turn their shaky pitching situation around. Meanwhile, Boston gets another reliever to add to their ‘pen.
With Tanner Houck angering the fanbase for his vaccination status, Boston could plug Bednar into the closer role. Either way, a team can never have too many relievers and the Pirates' closer would help them make a playoff push.
2. Trade for Washington Nationals 1B Josh Bell
The Washington Nationals are 29-50 and need to be sellers at the trade deadline if they want to convince Juan Soto to stick around. The team needs talent, yet they don't seem to want to deal Soto (naturally). That leaves first baseman Josh Bell as their best possible trade chip.
Bell, 29, is currently batting .321 with 11 homers, 46 RBI, and 42 runs scored. The Nationals first baseman has suddenly turned himself into a more disciplined hitter in his walk year, sure to earn him a nice payday this winter.
However, it's also ensuring that his name pops up in MLB rumors. Bell would also be a perfect match for the Red Sox, who have gotten almost zero production out of incumbent Bobby Dalbec.
The Red Sox lineup ranks first in batting average and in the bottom-10 in strikeouts. They're a disciplined bunch. Adding Bell to the mix as a rental bat would make them downright dangerous.
He won't come cheap. Any trade talks would likely begin with one of Boston's top-five prospects, such as first baseman Triston Casas or right-handed pitcher Brayan Bello.
That would be a steep price for the Red Sox to pay. However, inserting Bell into a batting order with Bogaerts, Devers, Trevor Story and J.D. Martinez would be worth it.
1. Trade for Cincinnati Reds SP Luis Castillo
This would be a blockbuster trade for the Red Sox. Reds ace Luis Castillo is already popping up in MLB rumors- and figures to be the grand prize of the 2022 deadline.
Castillo, 29, has pitched to a 3.32 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched. He has looked more like the pitcher who was an All-Star back in 2019 than the one who looked lost in the first half of 2021.
That's great news for his trade value. The Reds, who dealt pitcher Sonny Gray, outfielder Jesse Winker and watched star outfielder Nick Castellanos walk as a free agent this offseason, are in a rebuild.
Trading Castillo, who will likely cost at least four prospects, would kick-start such a rebuild. Boston needs to be among the suitors for Castillo.
Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Whitlock are currently on the injured list. Sale will be back soon. Still, as presently constructed, the Red Sox rotation isn't built to compete with the mighty Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams they'll have to go through if they make the postseason.
The Red Sox saw firsthand just how good Castillo, who fanned 10 batters in six innings at Fenway Park earlier this year, can be. A 1-2-3 of Sale, Castill0 and Eovaldi would be formidable for Boston.
Considering how good Castillo has been, he would likely command two or three prospects inside Boston's top-10. Any of the likes of Marcelo Mayer, Nick Yorke and Blaze Jordan would be on the table.
It would be up to the Red Sox if they want to take this big of a swing at the trade deadline.