Red Sox Trade Proposal Would Steal Pitching Target From Yankees

Sam Kennedy

Getty Boston Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy has been urged to do more to improve the roster before the 2024 season.

The Boston Red Sox had been hearing cries for more blockbuster acquisitions this offseason since well before rival New York Yankees’ pitcher Gerrit Cole suffered an injury that will keep him off the field for “one to two months.”

But now that the Yankees are in the market for a pitching acquisition — with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reporting that they have renewed negotiations for Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease — the Red Sox might have new reason to jump in and steal New York’s trade target away.

“It can be argued that no team in the majors needs pitching more than the Boston Red Sox,” Zachary Rotman wrote for FanSided. “What the Red Sox really should do is go out and sign one of Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery, but with the Red Sox pinching for every penny, who knows if that will happen. Instead, they can get Cease who is only making $8 million this season, and really upgrade their rotation for the next two years.”

Rotman proposed that the Red Sox send Ceddane Rafaela, Wilyer Abreu, Nick Yorke and Tanner Houck in a four-player package that nets Cease in return.

“The White Sox would probably ask for one of Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony or Kyle Teel, but chances are Boston won’t give any of those top three prospects up,” he added. “Even with that being said, the Red Sox can put together a competitive package.”

Dylan Cease Would Instantly Improve the Boston Red Sox Pitching Rotation

A lack of starting pitching talent seems to be the most concerning issue with the projected 2024 Red Sox roster.

After losing free-agent acquisition Lucas Giolito to a season-ending elbow injury before he ever took the mound, the Red Sox project to go with a starting staff led by Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta and Kutter Crawford.

The 24-year-old Bello looks set to be a staple of the rotation for years to come after earning a six-year, $55 million extension. He pitched for a 4.24 ERA in 157 innings in his first full big-league season last year.

Pivetta is a seven-year MLB veteran who bounced back after returning from a relegation to the bullpen last season, ending the year with a 4.04 ERA in 142.2 total innings. And Crawford pitched for a career-best 4.04 ERA in 129.1 innings last season.

Cease, meanwhile, flashed the makings of a franchise ace in 2022 with a 2.20 ERA in 184 innings, earning second-place in the Cy Young Award running. His numbers weren’t as impressive in 2023, as his ERA grew to 4.58, but he still demonstrated elite stuff.

The Boston Red Sox Can Leverage Some Prospect Depth for a Blockbuster Trade

Though the Red Sox would retain their most prized youngsters in Rotman’s projected trade, they would also be giving up a lot.

“Ceddanne Rafaela is a top 100 prospect according to MLB Pipeline and is MLB-ready,” Rotman noted. “He’d be the headliner. Another MLB-ready player could be thrown into the deal in Wilyer Abreu. Nick Yorke gained a ton of hype last season and would be a strong third piece.”

Houck’s big-league staying power is a little more uncertain. In four seasons with the Red Sox, he’s maintained a 3.86 ERA across 41 starts and 16 finishes, vacillating between the rotation and relief corps. The White Sox might see him as an upside gamble as they look toward the future by dealing Cease.

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