Who Else Might The Purple Sox Goal In Trades?

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When Wil Myers’ identify surfaced in commerce rumblings surrounding the Padres, Purple Sox and Mookie Betts, it appeared like a reasonably simple thought course of. The Padres needed to amass a star (Betts), had been looking for to jettison a few of Myers’ contract and didn’t wish to pay each Myers’ $20MM wage and Betts’ $27MM wage. However when the Myers-to-Purple Sox rumors reemerged even after Betts had been traded to the Dodgers, that was extra shocking. Ultimately, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported that the Sox’ intention in these talks was to make use of a few of their newfound payroll area and luxurious tax respiration room to successfully buy some younger pitching from the Padres. The fundamental premise: tackle half of Myers’ contract and likewise purchase a pitcher corresponding to Cal Quantrill to right away plug into the combination on the MLB degree. Nonetheless, per Speier, there’s not a lot optimism for the time being that such a deal will come collectively.
However does that imply the Purple Sox ought to abandon the technique solely? Properly, why would they? There are dozens of undesirable contracts all through MLB, and plenty of golf equipment on the hook for these offers have pitching expertise with which they might conceivably half.
Nonetheless, it’s not so simple as simply selecting out a big-time contract and saying, “Let’s dump this on the Purple Sox together with [Player X]!” Myers’ contract was one thing of a really perfect match for the Sox. The Padres aggressively backloaded his six-year, $83MM deal to the purpose that Myers earned solely $7MM in salaries from 2017-19 (along with a weighty $15MM signing bonus). That’s notable for the Purple Sox as a result of they’re nonetheless “solely” about $12-13MM shy of the posh barrier. Taking over a foul contract with a $20MM+ annual wage over its full time period — the related information level from a aggressive steadiness tax perspective — would put them proper again into the tax territory that possession insisted on escaping erm, was … comfortable to flee as an ancillary good thing about constructing a aggressive window … or nevertheless they select to attempt to spin it.
Myers got here with a $13.8MM luxurious hit — and the money the Padres would’ve included within the deal (a reported $30MM or so) would’ve primarily dropped Boston’s luxurious obligation to $3.8MM. That’s a really perfect steadiness of flexing the membership’s deep pockets with out working the danger of even approaching the posh barrier. It’s straightforward to counsel Albert Pujols ($24MM AAV), Justin Upton ($23MM), Jason Heyward ($23MM), Chris Davis ($23MM), Matt Carpenter ($18.5MM) and loads of others as a believable match, however Myers offered Boston with the uncommon alternative to soak up half of a participant’s remaining contract (and greater than 36 p.c of the whole worth) whereas solely rising their luxurious payroll by about 1.9 p.c. That’s not going to be the case with such high-AAV gamers.
Preparations just like the Myers deal are robust to seek out. Myers might nicely have been the one greatest goal for this prospect-purchasing gambit — however he’s not the one one. Let’s take a speculative take a look at who else the Purple Sox might inquire on in an effort to pursue the same template however with a special commerce point of interest:
Rougned Odor, Rangers, 2B (three years, $36MM remaining on six-year, $49.5MM deal)
Odor’s contract solely comes with an $8.25MM luxurious hit within the first place, which the Purple Sox might match into their present price range even when Texas doesn’t embrace any money. Add in even a couple of million {dollars} from the Rangers, and the Sox could be nicely shy of working into the edge. To say the Odor extension hasn’t labored out for the Rangers could be placing issues mildly; he’s hit .219/.285/.419 since placing pen to paper three years in the past, and the majority of the assure is but to be paid out
The Rangers aren’t actually maxed out by way of payroll, however they’re additionally enjoying one of many recreation’s prime second base prospects in heart discipline — absolutely partially as a result of Odor’s presence on the roster. Texas additionally added three starters with a number of years of management this winter (Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles), making it simpler to soak up the blow of buying and selling a big-league-ready arm. Perhaps they wouldn’t be eager on utilizing Kolby Allard (or somebody related) to rid themselves of the Odor contract, however should you’re the Purple Sox, that’s an avenue to discover. It’s not like second base is a place of nice certainty in Boston for the time being, anyhow.
Kyle Seager, Mariners, 3B (two years, $37MM remaining on seven-year, $100MM deal*)
The asterisk subsequent to Odor’s identify is necessitated by his contract’s “poison capsule” — i.e. a $15MM membership possibility that turns right into a participant possibility within the occasion of a commerce. He’s at two years and $37MM solely whereas donning a Mariners jersey; the second he’s traded, that successfully turns into three years and $52MM. That wrinkle wouldn’t instantly affect his luxurious tax hit although (and solely minimally impacts it if/when he does set off the choice, as the present mark is $14.29MM).
The Purple Sox are set at third base with Rafael Devers, however such a commerce isn’t actually about positional want (and Seager might maybe work at second base anyhow). The Mariners’ rebuild/”reimagining”/no matter they like to name it’s nearing the purpose the place GM Jerry Dipoto goes to wish to complement his rising core with free agent acquisitions. Dropping a notable portion of the $19MM owed to Seager in 2020 and, maybe extra importantly, the $18MM owed to him in 2021 will support in that effort.
Dee Gordon, Mariners, 2B/OF (one 12 months, $14.5MM remaining on five-year, $50MM deal)
Identical idea as Seager however with barely completely different particulars. Gordon is a person and not using a place in Seattle and a free agent at season’s finish. Gordon’s deal comes with a $10MM luxurious hit that the Sox might shoehorn into their ledger with out going over the barrier, however they’d have minimal respiration room. Gordon might step in as the first second baseman with Dustin Pedroia on the shelf, pushing Jose Peraza to a extra acquainted utility position. And the Mariners would absolutely love to make use of that roster spot to get a take a look at a youthful participant whereas saving $14MM to spend on supplementing their core.
Randal Grichuk, Blue Jays, OF (4 years, $43MM remaining on five-year, $52MM deal)
It’s exhausting to not marvel if the Jays would love a mulligan on final spring’s extension after Grichuk slashed .232/.280/.457 in 2019, successfully enjoying at substitute degree. Then once more, the Grichuk deal was a head-scratching transfer for many onlookers (myself included), as he didn’t seem like a transparent extension candidate. That 2019 slash appears awfully just like Grichuk’s mixed manufacturing from 2016-18 (.241/.292/.485), so maybe the Jays are content material with what he’s bringing to the desk… however $43MM over the subsequent 4 seasons nonetheless feels fairly steep.
If the Jays are certainly on the lookout for a option to again out of the deal, the group is teeming with usable however unspectacular arms within the higher minors because it awaits the rise of higher-end prospects. The Sox aren’t getting Nate Pearson or anybody near that caliber out of this deal, however paying a very good chunk Grichuk’s deal in an effort to amass a controllable fourth/fifth starter could be lots defensible.
Ian Desmond, Rockies, INF/OF (two years, $26MM remaining on five-year, $70MM deal)
The Desmond deal has been a bust for the Rockies, who not also have a clear place to play certainly one of their most extremely compensated gamers. Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and Sam Hilliard are all extra deserving of appears within the outfield. Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon are within the combine at second base. McMahon might additionally play first, the place the Rockies have one other underperforming veteran in Daniel Murphy (although he’s solely signed by 2020).
Colorado proprietor Dick Monfort opened the season by declaring an absence of payroll flexibility (and, after a winter of inactivity, bizarrely proclaimed that the identical Rockies membership that misplaced 91 video games in 2019 would win 94 video games in 2020). The Rockies aren’t precisely teeming with high-end pitching expertise — therefore the 91 losses in 2019 — however they’ve seven or eight starters on the 40-man roster and in Triple-A behind German Marquez, Jon Grey and Kyle Freeland. This kind of commerce doesn’t actually really feel like Colorado’s model — usually, the Rockies aren’t extremely energetic on the commerce market — but when the Sox are fascinated about a kind of back-of-the-rotation arms, it’s not exhausting to see the framework of a speculative deal.

As this train exhibits, it’s not precisely straightforward to construction a deal on this kind of premise — largely as a result of there simply aren’t that many appropriate contracts. And few golf equipment have the abundance of upper-level expertise (with related 40-man roster pressures) of the Padres. Nonetheless, the Purple Sox absolutely will hold exploring avenues to place their pockets to work whereas nonetheless ducking underneath the posh line.

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