John Tomase

Five Red Sox thoughts as MLB trade deadline day arrives

The next few hours could go a long way in determining the Red Sox' future.

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Five Red Sox thoughts as we await the official arrival of the trade deadline on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET:

1. Why aren't they linked to anyone?

Every Red Sox rumor for the past week has revolved around whom they might trade. Could they sell high on James Paxton? Move on from Alex Verdugo? Maximize this year's solid free agent class by trading Adam Duvall, Justin Turner, or maybe even Kenley Jansen for players who can help in 2025?

Absent from those lists is a single name of someone they're pursuing. Instead, we're left with the generic need for a fourth or fifth starter and perhaps a right-handed reliever.

It really feels like the Red Sox are simply waiting on the returns of Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, and Trevor Story and hoping that's enough. Meanwhile, the Orioles are linked to Justin Verlander, the Blue Jays acquired Aaron Hicks, and the Rays landed Aaron Civale. Tough to sell standing pat to the clubhouse and fans.

2. Speaking of Verlander...

There's little chance the future Hall of Famer would waive his no-trade clause to come to a team that's not even in possession of a wild card spot, and it's equally unlikely the Red Sox would assume what could be more than $80 million remaining on his contract.

But it would be nice if the Red Sox at least inquired on the ageless right-hander, who seems likely to join Max Scherzer as part of the Mets' fire sale. Instead, he'll likely return to Houston, join the Dodgers, or maybe even bolster the Orioles.

3. What is Verdugo's future?

There have been conflicting reports about Chaim Bloom's willingness to deal his starting right fielder, but here's all you need to know about Verdugo's place in the organization: The Red Sox haven't held extension talks with him.

That's courtesy of's Rob Bradford, and it suggests that Verdugo doesn't have a home in Boston beyond next season, his last in arbitration. If the Red Sox wanted Verdugo, they'd be talking extension. Since they're not, they should see what they can get for him now.

An outfield of Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran, and Adam Duvall, with Rob Refsnyder and perhaps even Ceddanne Rafaela in reserve, should be enough to reach the finish line, especially if Verdugo can be used to acquire a starting pitcher.

4. Better extension candidate: Justin Turner

One move the Red Sox nailed this winter was effectively swapping DHs with the Dodgers. Bloom replaced J.D. Martinez with Turner, and the 38-year-old has proven invaluable not only offensively, where he's been on a weeks-long tear, but with his versatility in the infield, as well as his clubhouse leadership.

Turner holds a player option for next season that would bring the total value of his current deal to roughly $22 million, but given his strong season, he's likely to opt out and see if he can find two years. The Red Sox should give it to him to keep his bat and presence in the organization, where he could be an invaluable resource to the next generation of young hitters like Duran, Triston Casas, and eventually top prospect Marcelo Mayer.

5. It's OK to trade prospects

With Tampa's rotation decimated and the Guardians emerging as surprising sellers, the Rays didn't mess around. They traded their No. 4 overall prospect, slugging first baseman Kyle Manzardo, to Cleveland for Civale, a legit No. 3 starter with two more years of team control.

The Red Sox have become such hoarders of prospects, it's hard to imagine them making a similar deal involving their own No. 4 farmhand, breakout outfielder Roman Anthony. And yet the Rays did not hesitate to move their second-round pick from the 2021 draft for a proven starter with one of the lowest ERAs in baseball.

Anthony checks in at No. 94 on MLB Pipeline's prospect list, while Manzardo is ranked 37th. Would Anthony have been too steep a price to pay for a starter of Civale's pedigree with two-plus years of control? Sounds fair to me, but by the team's current approach, prospects like Anthony are basically off the table.

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