Red Sox as Buyers, In Season and Beyond?

Mods: Please move all of today's reasoned, sober trade deadline analysis to a new thread. Let's keep this one the dumpster fire born of panic and hysteria it was meant to be. Thank you.
Ehh, I'll just get out in front of this one and start a new thread on the topic.

In other threads we've seen some nice analysis of potential trade targets as well as outlines of how dire the FA class this offseason looks to be.

With that in mind, I'd like to point to catcher as a position that will definitely need filling and has some reasonable FA targets that could be significant upgrades.

If you look at fWAR from either 2021 to present or 2019 to present, three of the top 10 catchers in baseball will be available: Mike Zunino, Wilson Contreras, and Omar Narvaez. What order they are in depends on whether you are looking at 2019 or 2021 as the start point, but any way you slice it all three would provide a major upgrade over what we've got currently. It seems to me that this is likely the top place for the Sox to look in terms of improvement by free agency.
 

bsj

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For me, this team needs to get a few games over .500, AND Sale needs to come back healthy and effective, before I can begin thinking of this team, this year, as buyers. That being said, new threads are good, and I support this one.
 

Ragnar Danneskjöld

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They desperately need a first baseman.

If that replacement isn't a mid June Triston Casas then I'd like to see an upgrade here.

Bobby Dalbec -0.6 WAR, 17H, 1HR, .159BA, 12R, 6RBI isn't gonna cut it.
 

grimshaw

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They desperately need a first baseman.

If that replacement isn't a mid June Triston Casas then I'd like to see an upgrade here.

Bobby Dalbec -0.6 WAR, 17H, 1HR, .159BA, 12R, 6RBI isn't gonna cut it.
Despite all their success it would be nice to have consistent above average production at 1b for the first time since Mike Napoli.
Sox collective 1b since 2014: .241/.321/.432 wRC+100 which is 24th in MLB.
5 of the 6 teams below them are small market.
 

grimshaw

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It's tough to speculate what they would do because of who is producing, who isn't, and looming potential upgrades in the minors.

Duran being ready or not is holding them hostage a bit. He could very well play below average but still have more overall value than Hernandez and JBJ.

Franchy is succeeding at first for the time being, but it's not an ideal position for him, and I'd want to see more before deciding whether it's a break out or a hot streak, and where to put him on the diamond to maximize his value.

Other guys playing well in AAA - Downs (blocked), Bello (new to the level), and Casas, Seabold (injured) can't immediately contribute but could by July.

I would bring Duran up very soon and keep Winckowski up moving on from Sawamura or Robles. Either could be DFA'd and potentially clear waivers. They need more length.

Someone mentioned Happ in the other thread, and I think he'd be a great fit. Reliever wise, maybe make a run at Liam Hendricks if the White Sox keep struggling.
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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It's tough to speculate what they would do because of who is producing, who isn't, and looming potential upgrades in the minors.

Duran being ready or not is holding them hostage a bit. He could very well play below average but still have more overall value than Hernandez and JBJ.

Franchy is succeeding at first for the time being, but it's not an ideal position for him, and I'd want to see more before deciding whether it's a break out or a hot streak, and where to put him on the diamond to maximize his value.

Other guys playing well in AAA - Downs (blocked), Bello (new to the level), and Casas, Seabold (injured) can't immediately contribute but could by July.

I would bring Duran up very soon and keep Winckowski up moving on from Sawamura or Robles. Either could be DFA'd and potentially clear waivers. They need more length.

Someone mentioned Happ in the other thread, and I think he'd be a great fit. Reliever wise, maybe make a run at Liam Hendricks if the White Sox keep struggling.
Bolded---I'm not sure about Bello at this point. He may be pitching great but I'd take it slow with him.... there are likely other options that would be better.
Underlined--- Where are you seeing this? EDIT--- just saw he had a pectoral strain... doesn't seem serious.
Otherwise I agree. I've been bullish on Dalbec but am finally admitting that he's not ML quality. Perhaps a team like Oakland or Pittsburg would part with a low level prospect that Bloom spots some potential would take him? Casas comes up and splits time at 1B with Franchy. Outfield is Duran and Frenchy. I'd let Arroyo go also and then your middle IF replacement is Kike to 2B and Story to SS for breaks.

I wouldn't be opposed to a bullpen arm but I think the best solutions are trickle-down with Sale pushing Whitlock to the pen and then Paxton pushing Hill or Wacha there too, and also just minor league additions (Winckowski seems ideal) and Seabold.
 

chawson

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Arroyo seems like a good bet to be moved. He’s too good for this current role, backing up three all-star infielders, and not good enough of an outfielder to handle the RF platoon.

His bat had been pretty noodly in the past but he's barreling the ball much more this year. It hasn't translated into his batting line because he's hitting it in the air (line drives are where the hits are in 2022, and his LD% is very low). All those injuries last year means he's got a pretty low Arb1 baseline salary, so I gotta think someone out there would see him as a very cheap, potential average-plus starting 2B/SS who can pop 15 home runs or so, like a Starlin Castro or Asdrubal Cabrera type. I forget that he's the same age as Dalbec and Chavis.

Given how little he's playing, I'd rather see Arroyo get a shot on a team that could give him a starting job than collect 150 PAs a year here. I suspect that he's mostly still on the team as Xander insurance, in case we move Story to shortstop in 2023. But I'm sure Yolmer Sanchez or Downs or Fitzgerald or Araúz could do just fine in Arroyo's current limited role.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Arroyo seems like a good bet to be moved. He’s too good for this current role, backing up three all-star infielders, and not good enough of an outfielder to handle the RF platoon.

His bat had been pretty noodly in the past but he's barreling the ball much more this year. It hasn't translated into his batting line because he's hitting it in the air (line drives are where the hits are in 2022, and his LD% is very low). All those injuries last year means he's got a pretty low Arb1 baseline salary, so I gotta think someone out there would see him as a very cheap, potential average-plus starting 2B/SS who can pop 15 home runs or so, like a Starlin Castro or Asdrubal Cabrera type. I forget that he's the same age as Dalbec and Chavis.

Given how little he's playing, I'd rather see Arroyo get a shot on a team that could give him a starting job than collect 150 PAs a year here. I suspect that he's mostly still on the team as Xander insurance, in case we move Story to shortstop in 2023. But I'm sure Yolmer Sanchez or Downs or Fitzgerald or Araúz could do just fine in Arroyo's current limited role.
If that's the reason they're hanging on to him and otherwise they'd be trying to move him because he's "too good" for his current role, why not give him another shot at 1B? Let him be the RHH pair for Franchy and send Dalbec down to figure himself out or whatever. I know the answer to that question will probably be "because he got hurt that one time" but shit like that happens and it's a fluke, not a predictable outcome.

I think the truth is more likely that they like him and want someone "too good" for his role because if the worst happens, and one of those all star infielders goes down for a length of time, they want a guy who can handle himself to step in, not a AAA guy in over his head. Best analogy off the top of my head is to point out picking up Jose Iglesias last September because he was going to be a better 3-4 week fill in at 2B than Jack Lopez. Might have been the difference between making the playoffs and not. If they've got a guy at a low salary who can do that, a team with the Red Sox' aspirations and payroll is going to hang on to him.
 

chawson

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If that's the reason they're hanging on to him and otherwise they'd be trying to move him because he's "too good" for his current role, why not give him another shot at 1B? Let him be the RHH pair for Franchy and send Dalbec down to figure himself out or whatever. I know the answer to that question will probably be "because he got hurt that one time" but shit like that happens and it's a fluke, not a predictable outcome.

I think the truth is more likely that they like him and want someone "too good" for his role because if the worst happens, and one of those all star infielders goes down for a length of time, they want a guy who can handle himself to step in, not a AAA guy in over his head. Best analogy off the top of my head is to point out picking up Jose Iglesias last September because he was going to be a better 3-4 week fill in at 2B than Jack Lopez. Might have been the difference between making the playoffs and not. If they've got a guy at a low salary who can do that, a team with the Red Sox' aspirations and payroll is going to hang on to him.
Fair enough. I think if "the worst" happens — Xander, Story or Devers going down for a few months — we'd probably be out of it anyway, right? I'm ambivalent about the idea of platooning Arroyo at 1B. It'd be good to get Dalbec more PAs, but a good amount of Arroyo's value is ability to field those tough infield positions.

As a matter of strategy, I don't love the idea of putting a guy on his way up, like Arroyo seems to be right now, in a break-glass-if-emergency role like this. I think I prefer trading that guy for equivalent value elsewhere (if you can get it -- which, maybe you can't), and instead using a still-capable reclamation type like Yolmer Sanchez, who fits the description of a "guy who can handle himself to step in, not a AAA guy in over his head." The equivalent characters on other contending teams all seem to be perfectly capable utility men with no real upside left (Hanser Alberto on the Dodgers, Aledmys Diaz and Mauricio Dubon on the Astros, Tyler Wade on the Angels, Marwin Gonzalez on the Yankees, et al.). Of course, Arroyo himself was a reclamation type a couple years ago.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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In what way is Arroyo on his way up? He is a career 230/290/382 guy. He has a moderate amount of power but never walks. He strikes me as a perfectly serviceable utility infielder, but a likely candidate to be non-tendered in a year or two. Hell, he was waived a few years ago. What am I missing here?
 

chawson

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In what way is Arroyo on his way up? He is a career 230/290/382 guy. He has a moderate amount of power but never walks. He strikes me as a perfectly serviceable utility infielder, but a likely candidate to be non-tendered in a year or two. Hell, he was waived a few years ago. What am I missing here?
I am practically begging you to stop citing career numbers to predict future performance.

As I said earlier, Arroyo has the upside of a second-division starting 2B/SS. Age (he’s not yet 27) and pedigree (former first-round pick) are on his side. When he was claimed by the Sox in 2020, he had put up a 68 wRC+ in 228 PAs. He has since put up a 92 wRC+ — last year was 106, and his underlying stats this year are even more promising. His hard-hit rates have improved and he's no longer seen as a platoon guy -- he's got a .375 expected wOBA against RHP this year. He doesn't walk much, but his contact rate this year is comfortably above average, even for middle-infielders. He's arguably also proven he can play a credible shortstop, which was not true when we claimed him, and he's built a rep as a good clubhouse guy.

I don't think he's a budding star, but there are plenty of guys who make solid careers from where he's at right now, and that's a lot better than where he was at two years ago.
 
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Sin Duda

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If we cut bait with Arroyo (not saying we should), I'd like to see 28 y.o. Ryan Fitzgerald as our new BROCK HOLT! He's listed as 6'0", so taller than Arroyo, he's started working at 1B recently, and he has played every position but C this season. Of his fielding, SoxProspects says: Potential solid-average defender at short. Good range and soft hands. Smart, heads-up defender; gets himself in position to make plays. Comfortable throwing on the run and ranging to his right or left.

In 2021, he OPS'd over .860 at Portland (95 G) and Woo (13 G). He's older because he started in independent ball. Here is his 2022 line (and he impressed Cora during spring training):
51908
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Regardless of one’s opinion of Arroyo, what’s the upside to moving him? Can you really get help at a position of need in exchange? The team needs a decent backup infielder, which is he…and if he’s more than that, he could start next year. Him being “too good” to be a backup (which seems like a massive stretch to me) doesn’t seem like a real problem for the Red Sox. If there are other organizations that agree and want to make an offer to acquire him, sure…
 

Sad Sam Jones

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I am practically begging you to stop citing career numbers to predict future performance.

As I said earlier, Arroyo has the upside of a second-division starting 2B/SS. Age (he’s not yet 27) and pedigree (former first-round pick) are on his side. When he was claimed by the Sox in 2020, he had put up a 68 wRC+ in 228 PAs. He has since put up a 92 wRC+ — last year was 106, and his underlying stats this year are even more promising. His hard-hit rates have improved and he's no longer seen as a platoon guy -- he's got a .375 expected wOBA against RHP this year. He doesn't walk much, but his contact rate this year is comfortably above average, even for middle-infielders. He's arguably also proven he can play a credible shortstop, which was not true when we claimed him, and he's built a rep as a good clubhouse guy.

I don't think he's a budding star, but there are plenty of guys who make solid careers from where he's at right now, and that's a lot better than where he was at two years ago.
I am practically begging you to stop citing the "pedigree" of a 26-year-old in his 4th organization. No one can honestly think where a player was drafted nine years ago carries even comparable weight to his career stats.

As you say, there are plenty of guys who make solid careers from where he's at. There are plenty more former prospects who bounce around in utility roles. So why would any GM go out of their way to acquire Christian Arroyo to find out which group he falls into. He's shown some in some short stretches that he might be a stop-gap starting second baseman on a second division team, but no team is going to bank on that. Maybe he gets packaged with a couple of prospects to a rebuilding team in immediate need of a second baseman, but that doesn't bring any significant trade value.
 

Niastri

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The problem with having a backup that's "too good" to be a backup is that they are too expensive to be a backup on about 25 teams payrolls... The Red Sox are not one of those teams. Not weighing in on Arroyo particularly here. For must teams, If he is a good fielder at multiple positions and able to hit a plus 100 OPS+ (I don't know if he is or will be) then he would be too expensive to be a utility infielder and would need to start or be traded.

For the Sox, having that solid of a utility infielder is just another way to use their financial clout.

If he can give a day off to each infield spot and the right fielder every ten games or so, that's a good use for him.

Not that he's expensive yet.
 

chawson

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I am practically begging you to stop citing the "pedigree" of a 26-year-old in his 4th organization. No one can honestly think where a player was drafted nine years ago carries even comparable weight to his career stats.

As you say, there are plenty of guys who make solid careers from where he's at. There are plenty more former prospects who bounce around in utility roles. So why would any GM go out of their way to acquire Christian Arroyo to find out which group he falls into. He's shown some in some short stretches that he might be a stop-gap starting second baseman on a second division team, but no team is going to bank on that. Maybe he gets packaged with a couple of prospects to a rebuilding team in immediate need of a second baseman, but that doesn't bring any significant trade value.
Sure, and that's why I listed eight reasons besides pedigree. But for the record, I agree that that's kind of a weird term and I don't like using it. I was trying to say in shorthand the idea that teams may see Arroyo as "restored" to a level of offensive production that he once projected (or at least a smart team like the Giants projected him at) after early bad luck injuries, rather than a kind of flash-in-the-pan player.

My point is that Arroyo seems like a guy better suited for a different roster, whereas a guy of comparable value, like say Garrett Cooper or Lou Trivino, could fit ours better. Seems like a lateral trade I could see Bloom doing at some point, but let's move on.
 

nvalvo

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In connection to both SoxScout’s tweets and the Arroyo convo: I agree that it’s likely that we’ll have an unusual deadline that mixes some selling moves with some buying moves.

It’s hard to predict with any confidence, but it’s not hard to imagine a mid-season changing of the guard that saw some veteran players moved for young prospects (e.g. Kiké, Wacha, Robles, Dalbec, Arroyo, Vazquez), while also promoting guys like Duran, Downs, Casas and a few of our young pitchers, whip also bringing in a major new acquisition for the run and the future.

It is rare for a contending team to change catchers midseason, but sending out a prospect haul for, say, Murphy could actually make a ton of sense for this club.
 

RobertS975

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They desperately need a first baseman.

If that replacement isn't a mid June Triston Casas then I'd like to see an upgrade here.

Bobby Dalbec -0.6 WAR, 17H, 1HR, .159BA, 12R, 6RBI isn't gonna cut it.
We were all in agreement about needing a 1B....last year at this time!