Potential Yankees Business Partner: Boston Red Sox

Negative 54.

In losing five consecutive games to the Yankees and Blue Jays, the Red Sox have given up 54 more times than they scored. This running difference is the worst, for any team, in any five-game playing period, since 1901, which wasn’t a real baseball game. Add to that that all five games came against divisional competitors, in a division where we thought a month ago that four teams would come out as playoff seeds, and you have the argument that those five games were the worst back-to-back stretch any baseball team has ever come through.

Boston were headed for 5-15 games last night against the Cleveland Guardians, a stretch that virtually wiped out a hot month of June and blew up their playoff chances — on July 10, the FanGraphs gave them a 75 percent chance of making it to October, at 8 a.m. yesterday. This was down to 25 percent. Chris Seal is out for anywhere from four to eight weeks. Raphael Devers is in IL and has a hamstring problem. It is, frankly, a bleak time for our friends in Massachusetts.

And it might be time for the Yankees to go shopping.

I think we can guess a few things about Haim Blum, the potential next Red Sox engineer. He learned the game on Andrew Friedman’s knee, helped turn the Rays into one of sports’ most innovative and unpredictable franchises, and he’s trying to do the same with this Boston team. I don’t think Bloom is particularly focused on any one season, and I don’t think he wants to stake the future of the Foundation on a chance to possibly play one wild card tour. I also think it’s possible that these two things make it non-tradable within the department.

The Red Sox roster has a whole bunch of rentals, the kind of guys I think Bloom would be open to dealing with depending on the yield. Cristian Vazquez is a free agent at the end of the year if the Yankees want to consider an offensive upgrade in the catch – he’s hitting exactly like Jose Trevino this season, and while he doesn’t have the goodwill of defensively Trevino, he’d a good slot in a backup role on Kyle Higashioka – Michael Wacha was annoyingly good at the spinning depth role, and to me, Matt Strahm screams Yankee acquisition: a slightly underutilized relief jug that has to be better. I’m not saying Matt Blake could take his 27.1 percent strike rate and add a few points, but we’ve seen Blake do it before.

The three guys mentioned above are all rentals, won’t cost much in potential revenue, and aren’t big enough names that the Red Sox will care too much about split trades. Take buy them for example. The Yankees and Sox are playing nine more times against each other this season – if Strahm traded, would he realistically be throwing more than three or four rounds against his former team? The effect on the opponent is not so great.

Then there are the whales, the two big bats in the middle of the Red Sox lineup, neither of which will be around on opening day next year. JD Martinez doesn’t really have a fit for this team, too many semi-experienced players who are already used to DH. That leaves only Xander Bogaerts, the upcoming opt-out, a 30-year-old short positioner with 134 wRC+ (that’s as good as DJ LeMahieu).

Much has been achieved for the Yankees who used a “temporary hiatus” last winter, a waiting period to buy time for Anthony Volpi or Oswald Perazza to develop enough to take on the big league job. I made no secret of my hatred for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but whatever it was, I put up with it for half a year. But just close your eyes, and imagine no IKF in this group – instead, the new temporary Yankee Shortstop adds about 200 OPS to the list.

Bogarts is, to me, the perfect vehicle for those who don’t want to screw up the system for Juan Soto, or think the team can make strides to support multiple sites simultaneously. The Bogaerts choose to come out in October, so there’s no delay in the schedules for Volpe or Peraza. He comes in, hits like he does, adds rounds to the lineup, the team is a lot better, and then another team signs him for the big deal. The last time this formula was applied, the Dodgers traded in favor of Mane Machado.

That deal saw only one of the Dodgers’ top five players return to Baltimore, defensive player Yosel Diaz, who turns 26 in October and has yet to make it to the majors. In fact, the only prospect who ever made any impact was Dean Kremer, who took four years to reach major league level, racked up 53.2 shots of terrible, and 47 rounds of good shots. Meanwhile, all Machado in Dodger blue has done is add a short 0.830 OPS limit to an already imposing lineup — does it sound familiar?

I think the underlying prospect should be a little better than Diaz in order to facilitate trade within the division, but we can look at the Machado deal as an example of how to handle the future gains of the current buttons really well for the acquisition team. Getting Bogart into the Bronx will be harder than getting Machado into Chavez Raven, but if the gains are a deeper, stronger and more disciplined squad — Zander makes about 20 percent of the time, which is ninth higher than we’d like. Consider Yankees “regulars” – it’s worth it.

The Red Sox’s roster is in a weird place, and this definitely feels like the last round with so many major faces this window. It didn’t work out for them, but there is a shiny arm and one short game on the market, both of which fit in with what the Yankees need in 2022.

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