A five-game losing skid that was snapped by his club’s 3-2 win on Sunday at Tampa Bay clinched the mindset of Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington in the final days leading to Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
On Saturday, the Red Sox made the first of several expected transactions when they traded veteran right-hander Jake Peavy to San Francisco for highly regarded left-handed starting pitching prospect Edwin Escobar and 25-year-old right-handed reliever Heath Hembree, who has been viewed as a potential future closer for the Giants.
Bringing aboard Escobar and Hembree should strengthen the depth of Boston’s farm system, which is already rated as one of the best in baseball. More top prospects could be added this week.
Boston reportedly prefers a trade centered around top outfield prospect Joc Pederson, but the Dodgers are reluctant to part ways with the 22-year-old left-hander power hitter who is presently batting .323 with 21 home runs, 53 RBI and a 1.042 OPS at Triple-A Albuquerque.
The National League MVP runner-up in 2011, Kemp’s stock has fallen over the last few years because of chronic injuries. He is signed through 2019 and has $107 million remaining on his contract, which is an obstacle for the Dodgers.
Teams do not find Kemp’s $21.5 million annual salary palatable since he is no longer producing MVP-caliber numbers and because of his injury history.
The Dodgers will have to pay a bulk of Kemp’s remaining contract to acquire premium starting pitcher like Lester, Edes believes.
That the Red Sox are linked to Kemp and Pederson is no surprise. The club has received little production from outfielders this season as Shane Victorino has been plagued with injuries, rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. has struggled and veterans Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp and Daniel Nava have performed below expectations.
Nava is expected to remain with the Red Sox, but the team is reportedly shopping Gomes and Carp.
Though there are so rumors of Boston shipping closer Koji Uehara elsewhere, the team is exploring a deal of veteran left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel.
Miller is having the best season of his nine-year Major League career. After tossing a scoreless frame on Sunday, the 29-year-old Miller has a 2.45 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 25 hits allowed in 40.1 innings. He is eligible for free agency at season’s end.
Another name who could be wearing a new uniform this week is shortstop Stephen Drew. With the Red Sox fading out of contention, they would benefit from returning rookie Xander Bogaerts to shortstop and calling up 25-year-old third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who has recovered from a hand injury and is getting regular at-bats at Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Red Sox believe Middlebrooks has the potential to post 30 home run, 100 RBI numbers, and with the scarcity of right-handed power in the majors, he is still in the club’s future plans.