We certainly expected the Red Sox to be active before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
What to do with Boston’s four trades? You couldn’t say any of it was expected. It’s also impossible to know for sure when and how the franchise could be better.
First base and both outfield spots will be manned more often by players traditionally trained at those positions — which should count as a win. The Red Sox are arguably worse at catcher and brought no pitching help for a staff that struggled in July – which looks like a pair of losses. Perhaps more importantly, Boston eased the tension in a club that feared many of its veteran pieces would be moved for a mix of prospects and fringe additions — which could pay dividends over the next couple of months.
How do the Red Sox go from here and make a credible run at an American League playoff spot? Let’s take a look at what each trade means for the roster now and going forward.
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First up is Eric Hosmer
1B Eric Hosmer, minor league IF Max Ferguson, minor league Corey Rosier and cash bills from the Padres for minor league LHP Jay Groome
This deal doesn’t come without a blockbuster earlier in the day. The Padres acquired Juan Soto and Josh Bell from the Nationals sellers for a slew of prospects — and, for a few hours, a veteran first baseman. Hosmer had Washington on a 10-team no-trade list, which threatened to freeze the deal.
Luke Voight was the late replacement from San Diego, and the Red Sox got a whiff of payroll. The Padres will pay about $44 million owed to Hosmer through 2025 – he’ll get the veteran’s minimum from Boston or any other club that employs him. This will make it rather easy to hold or flip in another future trade.
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Hosmer seemed to be making his way out of the Gaslamp Quarter one way or another, and the Red Sox filled a hole at first base that had been present since they traded Mitch Moreland in a fire sale in 2020. Francie Cordero was a colossal disaster. with the glove and Bobby Dahlbeck was too inconsistent with the bat to pull off the full-time job. Hosmer is a veteran, a World Series winner and a player deemed worthy of an eight-year, $144 million deal in free agency when he left the Royals.
Make no mistake – Hosmer will not block a potential call for Triston Casas. According to FanGraphs, he’s worth 0.3 WAR since the start of 2018 – Dalbec, for all his stops and starts, was worth 0.5 WAR in 2021 alone. Hosmer is 15th in defensive runs saved and 16th in defensive runs above average among all qualified first basemen in that time frame – in short, he’s not a necessary player at the position.
Skill was what Boston was after, along with a good presence in the clubhouse and a potential mentor for Casas – drafted 10 years after Hosmer out of the same Florida high school. Ferguson and Rozier are both lottery picks who haven’t pitched above Class A. Groome was a 2016 first-round pick who underwent Tommy John surgery and saw his velocity drop significantly – now showing as a potential major league reliever.
Christian Vazquez departs
Minor league IF Enmanuel Valdez and minor league OF Wilyer Abreu from Astros for C Christian Vazquez
This was the least popular deal in the Red Sox clubhouse by some distance. Boston — as it did in right field during the offseason — demonstrably worsened a certain position for what the front office perceived as future gain.
Vasquez has been with the Red Sox since being drafted in 2008. He has a pair of World Series rings with the club, including the 2018 edition against the Dodgers, where he emerged as the backbone of the lineup in the postseason. His knowledge of the pitching staff, reasonable offensive contributions and close relationships with several teammates are tangible and intangible out the door before free agency in the offseason.
Valdez is an improved no-hitter who will start at Triple-A Worcester. Abreu is an outfielder with some speed who has a swing-and-miss to his game and hasn’t pitched above Double-A. Both will enter the back end of the club’s top 30 prospects per MLB.com.
Tommy Pham for overseas help
OF Tommy Pham from the Reds for a player to be named later or cash accounts
Boston wasted four months trying to put Christian Arroyo in a right field lineup with Jackie Bradley Jr. Arroyo is a career player who struggles to stay healthy. It seems like someone like Pham could have been signed relatively cheaply in the offseason and paired with Bradley to replace Hunter Renfroe, whose power and defensive ability were lost in 2022.
This is the second time baseball manager Chaim Bloom has acquired Pham – the first came in a 2018 trade from the Cardinals to the Rays. He was eventually shipped to San Diego less than 18 months later in a five-player deal. Pham has a mutual option for $6 million next season after signing a one-year deal with the Reds.
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There are some off-field concerns here. Pham was stabbed in an altercation outside a San Diego gentlemen’s club in October 2020 and received approximately 200 stitches. He also slapped compatriot Joc Pederson in the face off the field during a public altercation in May over a fantasy football championship and was suspended for three games.
Reese McGuire for Jake Diekman
C Reese McGuire and a player to be named or money from the White Sox for LHP Jake Diekman
This is classic modern trade focused on prior evaluation, player control and salary structure. It pays little attention to performance or character.
McGuire was the 14th overall pick by the Pirates in the 2014 draft. Since then, he has been traded three times, designated for assignment by the Blue Jays and arrested in February 2020 for masturbating in his vehicle in a Florida parking lot. You could make the case that he would be out of baseball if he was picked somewhere in the double digits eight years ago.
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It takes binoculars to see it all, but here’s what Boston can see — a player once viewed industry-wide as a top talent, a 27-year-old at a thin defensive position and a controlled asset who doesn’t hit free agency until 2026. The Red Sox agreed to McGuire and others to move on from Diekman just four months into his two-year contract. His tendency to play with gas off the Boston bat and his penchant for walking opposing hitters in multiples won’t be missed.
On Twitter: @BillKoch25
This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Here are the pros and cons of Red Sox trade deadline deals