5 players Red Sox must target ahead of 2021 MLB trade deadline
The Boston Red Sox have been among the best teams in baseball in the 2021 season with a 60-39 record (tied for second in the MLB) entering play Sunday. While the Red Sox have been a great team, there are holes both in their lineup and in their rotation that need to be filled in order to compete for a world series. If the Red Sox completed one of the five following moves, it could be just what they need to move into true contention.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
The biggest hole in the lineup and defense is at first base. While Bobby Dalbec has shown flashes of the player he could one day be (Eight home runs, .359 OBP, .959 OPS in 23 games in 2020), he has been underwhelming this year to say the least (10 home runs, .259 OBP, .656 OPS in 79 games in 2021).
The Red Sox have tried to fill the hole at first with Michael Chavis and Christian Arroyo, but each come with their own pitfalls at the position as Chavis has struggled with the bat and this is Arroyo’s first year playing first base.
This is why the Red Sox need to target Anthony Rizzo.
The Chicago Cubs are in complete sell mode after having a terrible stretch of games to put them out of contention. With their three biggest stars (Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez) all hitting free agency at the end of the 2021 season, they are looking to get pieces for the future. If the Red Sox could pick up Rizzo it would solve both their defensive troubles (Rizzo is a four-time Gold Glove winner) and would add a much-needed left-handed power bat in the lineup.
As Rizzo is on an expiring contract, the Cubs will be looking for whatever they can get. A combination of two Red Sox prospects ranked in the 15-30 range could get the deal done.
José Berríos, SP, Minnesota Twins
Over the past five seasons, Jose Berrios has been one of the more consistent starters in all of baseball. Over that stretch of time, Berrios has not missed one start and has pitched to a career 4.08 ERA (3.48 ERA in 2021). Berrios is a free agent at the end of this season but is arbitration eligible for the 2022 season.
With Berrios being so young (27) and being able to have him under contract for 2022, the Red Sox would need to give up a lot in order to acquire him. A mixture of two Red Sox prospects in the 10-30 range and some international signing money may be able to get this trade done, but this is the least likely to happen out of the five scenarios.
Jon Gray, SP, Colorado Rockies
Coors Field in Denver, Colorado is infamous for its high offensive environment due to the elevation and the effects (or lack there of) that it has on the ball. Due to this environment, Coors is one of the most difficult places to pitch in MLB, which only makes what Jon Gray is doing that much more impressive.
Over 17 starts this season, Gray has gone 6-6 with a 3.68 ERA and 87 strikeouts on the season. Gray is a free agent at the end of the season, which should make acquiring him a lot easier. A Red Sox prospect ranked 20-30 and some international signing money should get the deal done.
Kyle Gibson, SP, Texas Rangers
Kyle Gibson is having a huge breakout year for the Texas Rangers, as he has pitched to a 2.87 ERA with 94 strikeouts over his 19 starts this season, earned him his first All-Star nod of his career. This breakout comes at a perfect time for the Rangers, as they are looking to rebuild and Gibson’s value has never been higher.
Gibson is signed through 2022 on a team-friendly contract (three-year, $28 million deal), which adds to the haul that the Rangers would need to receive in order to pry him away. While Gibson would be a huge game-changer for the Red Sox, Gibson’s teammate and the final player on this list might be an even bigger get.
Joey Gallo, OF/1B, Texas Rangers
Joey Gallo is one of the best left-handed power bats you can find in MLB today. He has hit 24 home runs through 93 games this season and leads the league with 74 walks, which gives him an elite OBP of .384 and an OPS of .874. This was enough to give Gallo his second All-Star nod of his career and has brought him to the top of almost every team’s trade targets list.
The ideal trade that the Red Sox should make with the Rangers is for both Gallo and Gibson. This would most likely take at least one of Boston’s top-five prospects, along with one to two more top-20 prospects. Recent Red Sox call-up Jarren Duran would likely be part of the deal with either Nick Yorke or Blaze Jordan. It’s a lot to give up, but if the trade is completed it would put the Red Sox in a solid position to be the American League representative in the World Series.