BOSTON (CBS) — The seesaw Red Sox are back to their losing ways after getting swept by the Cleveland Indians, and it might be time for them to make a move to improve their historically bad outfield.
Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. are batting a whopping .217 heading into this weekend’s three-game series in Detroit, and Shane Victorino is on the disabled list nursing a hamstring injury. Daniel Nava was recently called up, but he’s batting just .136 in his limited playing time.
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Is it time to make a move and hope for a quick fix, and is it possible to do so without giving up key prospects? The Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber joined The Adam Jones Show on Thursday night and said the trade market should open up as soon as the MLB Draft concludes this weekend, and the Red Sox will likely be able to hold on to their top prospects.
“You do reach a point where you say prospects are there sometimes to be dealt away. They’re reaching a point with some of their prospects where they have to decide who is worth holding onto, and who is worth sacrificing to make your big league team better,” said Lauber. “Once we get passed the draft, it will become more trading season. If they saw any kind of a move they could make right now to make the team better, they would make that move. The thing is most teams are not in trade mode yet and wont be until they get passed the draft.”
Lauber said don’t expect prospect Mookie Betts, who was just called up to Triple-A Pawtucket after a successful stint in Portland, to be the answer as he is still transitioning to the outfield. Ben Cherington and his staff don’t want to expose Betts at the major league level until he’s comfortable with the position change, for fear he could lose any confidence he gained down in Double-A.
Because of that, they’ll have to look outside the organization for help in the outfield.
“Internally, the options are really not there. In order to improve this outfield, they’re going to have to look outside and look at players who aren’t on the market right now,” said Lauber. “That market hasn’t really defined itself, but I spoke to someone today that said they expect Josh Willingham to be available. That may be a guy who is out there on July 1st, and would only cost you a B-level prospect and not your top prospects. He’ll be a rental for a couple months and you hope to get some production out of him and it helps the outfield.”
Willingham is batting .320 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 17 games for the Twins this season. He is a career .252 hitter who averages 28 homers over a 162-game season.