Before the season, few would have expected the Boston Red Sox to be genuine playoff contenders. Most trade deadline predictions would have had Boston as sellers rather than buyers. But the Red Sox are neck and neck with the Rays in the AL East, which means all of the Red Sox trade rumors revolving around the team getting better rather than selling pieces.
Of course, there should be little question that the Red Sox will need some help during the second half of the season if they’re going to reach the postseason. The Rays will be tough to beat while the Yankees and Blue Jays aren’t going anywhere. But what can the Red Sox do at the trade deadline to put them over the top and reach the 2021 postseason?
Red Sox trade rumors 2021
On paper, the Red Sox appear to be one ace short of being a serious contender. The pitching staff has been much better than expected, although they are still lacking that one elite starter to lead the way. Of course, Chris Sale is coming back from Tommy John surgery and could be back by the trade deadline.
But if the Red Sox aren’t confident he’ll be back to being an elite pitcher, it could impact the Red Sox trade targets at the deadline.
On the other hand, the Red Sox could also look to supplement their lineup. The trio of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers has been tremendous. But Boston will need more than those three to win a championship.
JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo are finalists for the 2021 MLB All Star game.
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) June 27, 2021
Of course, outside of third base, shortstop, and the DH spot, there are few positions in Boston’s lineup that are written in stone, which will give the Red Sox plenty of flexibility at the trade deadline.
Red Sox trade targets
Among the Red Sox trade targets, the leadoff spot might be the biggest need.
After all, somebody needs to get on base to set the table for Martinez, Bogaerts, and Devers. Detroit’s Robbie Grossman and Pittsburgh’s Adam Frazier could both fit that role. Frazier, in particular, would be the better option because he comes with more defensive versatility, potentially filling in at second base or in the outfield.
At the same time, there’s no harm in the Red Sox adding to the middle part of their order either.
— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) June 27, 2021
Miami’s Jesus Aguilar has been connected to the team among Red Sox trade targets. Boston should at least be a little disappointed with young first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who’s barely hitting .200 and has an OPS under .700. Aguilar could take over at first base for the rest of the season, adding another home run hitter to the heart of Boston’s lineup.
On the pitching front, the Red Sox need to be shopping at the top rather than relying on Sale to come back at full strength.
Colorado’s Jon Gray might be the best available, although he’s pitched well at Coors Field this year and struggled on the road. Meanwhile, Kyle Gibson of the Rangers is another starter who’s looked like an ace this season. He would surely fill a spot at the top of the Boston rotation.
Short of those two pitchers, Detroit’s Matthew Boyd would be a nice addition to the middle of Boston’s rotation, helping ensure the Red Sox have enough depth to get through 162 games.