Red Sox Urged to Fill ‘Glaring Need,’ Flip Top Prospects in Blockbuster Trade

Ceddanne Rafaela

Getty The Boston Red Sox may flip young talent like Ceddanne Rafaela in exchange for some rotation help for 2024.

The Boston Red Sox front office has been encouraged to do more to bolster the team’s roster by fans and their own stars alike.

And with starting pitching one of the outstanding concerns for the team — particularly after Chris Sale was traded to the Atlanta Braves — the Red Sox might be a landing spot for free agents Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell. Or, as Zachary Rotman projected for FanSided, it could mean landing Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease in a blockbuster trade.

“Boston entered the offseason with a glaring need to upgrade their rotation,” Rotman pointed out. “If the Red Sox are unwilling to splurge on pitchers like Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery, the trade market is something they should strongly consider. If this Red Sox team acquires Cease, a legitimate ace, they can at the very least be in the race for an AL Wild Card spot.”

Dylan Cease Upgrades the Boston Red Sox Rotation

Without a significant addition before the offseason’s imminent conclusion, the Red Sox stand to start Opening Day with a rotation led by Brayan Bello, Lucas Giolito, Nick Pivetta and Kutter Crawford. While there’s upside in Bello and Crawford, two starters with only five big-league seasons between them, Giolito and Pivetta are well-known commodities whose ceilings are significantly lower than Cease’s.

Cease is a 28-year-old with nasty stuff — on display last season in “swords,” or swings and whiffs that take batters well outside of their routine swings — who was a runner-up in the Cy Young Award chase in 2022. His numbers regressed last season but he still netted the eighth-most strikeouts in MLB at 214. 

Cease has also been front and center in trade talks, with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees reaching out to assess the White Sox’s asking price.

Rotman suggested the Red Sox have the trade capital to get a deal done, even if they want to keep their most promising youngsters.

“Boston happens to have a slew of prospects they can trade,” he wrote. “They’ve shown no willingness to move guys like Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony and Kyle Teel (and for good reason), but the Red Sox do have four prospects on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 list, as well as other young players like Jarren Duran who the White Sox could be interested in.”

Aside from Mayer, Anthony and Teel, Red Sox infield/outfield prospect Ceddanne Rafaela is on the top-100 list. A member of Curacao’s 2012 Little League World Series team, Rafaela had four hits and two stolen bases in a brief, 11 at-bat MLB debut last season.  

Duran, meanwhile, has a .258/.309./.420 line in a three-year MLB career.

Red Sox Might Prefer Trade to Free-Agent Signing

Based on an outspoken intention to go “full throttle” on improving the team versus the lack of marquee moves, it’s hard to say whether the Red Sox would rather increase payroll with a free agent or flip future potential for a star now — if the front office even does want to take a shot at playoff contention in 2024.

If nothing else, a trade for Cease would clear that up. It would likely appease some fans as well.

“At a time when the fan base’s confidence in the team’s leadership is wavering following consecutive last-place finishes in the AL East, securing a deal for Cease would better reflect the team’s stated intention of going ‘full throttle’ at the outset of the winter,” as Jordan Shusterman reported put it Fox Sports.

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