Boston’s sky is falling, as the Red Sox are 6-15 in July and have been outscored by 70 runs in those 21 games.
The Red Sox are three games out of the AL’s final wild-card spot, tied with the Guardians, with a record that has dropped to one game above.500. Perhaps more importantly, Boston is only a half-game out of last place in the extremely difficult AL East, a half-game ahead of the Orioles, and 17 games behind the first-place Yankees.
Bogaerts signed a six-year, $120 million contract extension in April 2019, with an opt-out clause after the 2022 season, his age 29 year. He had a.284/.343/.430 slash line in the five seasons prior to the trade, good for a.773 OPS. Since then, the shortstop has made every All-Star team and averaged a.305/.378/.507 slash line for an.885 OPS. That is a significant increase.
Martinez is no longer an MVP-candidate designated hitter at 34 years old — he turns 35 on Aug. 21 — but he’s still an excellent hitter who could help add some pop to a contender’s lineup. Especially when facing left-handed pitching. Martinez has a 1.065 OPS against lefties this season, which ranks fifth among the 144 players with at least 80 plate appearances against lefties. His OPS against right-handers is.789, but he has seven of his nine home runs this year. He’s struggled recently, but he still has a season slash line of.302/.368/.481.
After throwing an inning in Game 1 and another in Game 2, the right-hander will go down as a Boston postseason legend for his epic six-inning extra-innings relief effort in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series. Sure, the Red Sox lost that game, but Eovaldi saved the bullpen, and Boston went on to win the World Series in five games.
That offseason, the Red Sox signed him to a four-year, $68 million contract, which expires at the end of this season. There are no options for Martinez. Eovaldi dominated his first dozen starts, posting a 3.16 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings, but he was placed on the disabled list in early June due to a back injury. He was activated from the IL for one start before the All-Star break, and then he was blown out by the Blue Jays in his first start after the break. With nine earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, his ERA rose to 4.30. However, it was only the second time in 14 starts that he had allowed more than three earned runs.
With his ability to play multiple positions — though primarily an outfielder in Boston, he played all over the infield with the Dodgers — and extensive postseason experience, Hernandez would be a valuable addition to a contending team. The problem is that he’s on a 60-day IL with a hip injury and won’t be able to return until August 7 at the earliest. Hernandez was ready to start swinging a bat, according to Sox manager Alex Cora a few days ago.
Wacha was one of Boston’s best baseball stories this season, posting a 2.69 ERA in 13 starts before being placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. With a 2.3 bWAR, he ranks third behind Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Only three of his 13 starts saw him allow more than two runs, including a three-hit shutout of the Angels in his first June outing.
Although Wacha threw a simulated game on Monday, trading a starting pitcher on the IL is difficult. And if the Red Sox continue to lose, his return to the rotation could essentially be a showcase for interested teams. In the offseason, Wacha agreed to a one-year, $7 million contract.
Vazquez, like Martinez, Eovaldi, Hernandez, and Wacha, is a free agent at the end of the season. At 31 years old, he’s hitting.277/.321/.432 with eight homers, 39 RBIs, and 18 doubles in 78 games, which is slightly above his career averages. That’s solid offense behind the plate for a contender, whether a full-time starter or an above-average backup is required.