Almost two months into the season and the Boston Red Sox are tied for first, in a highly competitive American League East. The Sox high powered offense is ranked first in the MLB and has carried them to a 27-17 record, thus far. The Bo-Sox are hitting an astounding .296 as a team, which puts them way ahead the league average of .250. It is safe to say that the Red Sox offense can lead them well into September, but their pitching is not suited for October. Looking at the past World Series winners, pitching is what drives the ship. The 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals, ranked 10th in ERA. In 2014 the San Francisco Giants also ranked 10th in ERA on their road to becoming World Series Champions. The Sox currently rank 18th and are slightly above the league average ERA. When the weather gets cold and the lights get brighter, the Red Sox bats are bound to slow down. They are going to face better pitchers and it is not guaranteed that their offense is going to keep them in games. The Red Sox front office needs to get ahead of this problem. Acquiring a pitcher at the trade deadline may be the solution.
The Red Sox have a wealth of young talent that they could package together to get a trade done. Unfortunately, not many pitchers are going to be available on the open market. There is plenty of time for this to change, but the divisions throughout the league are all very competitive. All but seven teams in the league are within 6.5 games from their division leader. Seeing that this is the case, many teams won’t be willing to part ways with a top pitcher in their rotation by the trade deadline. Those seven teams that are not in contention and could be willing to make moves at the deadline all lack pitching talent. There is one team in particular that stands out to me.
The Oakland Athletics are currently 8 games back of the Seattle Mariners and have been on a 4 game losing skid as of late. The Athletics General Manager, Billy Beane is not one to shy away from a move. In recent years he has parted ways with 2015 Most Valuable Player, Josh Donaldson and athletic freak, Brett Lawrie. Is it time for another drastic move? The Athletics are sitting on a gold mine with their stud pitcher Sonny Gray. Teams in contention will flock to acquire the nasty righty and I think your Boston Red Sox could be the front runners to make the move.
Gray’s stock is currently on a downward trend. He recently has been sent to the 15-day disabled list with a strained right trapezius. Gray has also struggled to find what made him so successful last year. This season has been a grind. He has recorded a 3-5 record and an atrocious 6.19 ERA. Some people may ask why I would want this guy. Just look at his statistics from last year. The 26 year old finished third in the American League Cy Young voting. Gray compiled a record of 14-7 and an ERA of 2.73, for a team that seemed like they couldn’t get out of their own way. David Price followed by Gray in the rotation would be a strong 1-2 combination and would lift the Sox to World Series potential.
But who would the Red Sox part ways with in order to acquire the young righty? Blake Swihart should be the answer. The Sox have three strong backstops behind the plate. Christian Vazquez, Ryan Hannigan, and Swihart have split time throughout the year. Vazquez is Yadier Molina-esque behind the dish and could be suitable to be the everyday catcher for years to come. Swihart is one of the best hitting catchers in the game, which would bring a lot of interest from teams like the Athletics. If you were to package Swihart with a few other prospects and a major league caliber pitcher like Henry Owens, the Sox could pull off a blockbuster move that would lift them to contenders to take home the title. Gray could be just the gem to turn the Sox fortunes to gold.