2017 Topps Now Andrew Benintendi Baseball Rookie Card

Today’s post, “Braves and Red Sox Hypothetical Trades”, is part 9 in our series focusing on teams that could be sellers or have some expiring contracts that could be attractive options for the Braves. If you’re just catching up, here are the previous 8 pieces:

It takes a lot of hard work to be worse than the Orioles, yet the Red Sox did just that in 2020. With a record of 24-36, they won the race to worst by one game. There are still some talented players on this team in Chris Sale, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Christian Vazquez, and Rafael Devers, but the talent pool fades fairly fast and there’s not many reinforcements in the minors as their farm system is ranked between 22nd and 26th on most major outlets. While I don’t expect the Red Sox to trade most of their core, I do think they are seeing what the Blue Jays are doing and knowing what the Yankees and Rays have already on their teams, and accepting fate of a 3rd place finish, at best, in 2021.

Trade Value of Christian Vazquez

Vazquez is under contract for 2021 at $6.25MM and has an option for 2022 for $7MM. He’s a good catcher with good framing rates and provides just as much value behind the plate as he does with the stick. Grabbing a guy like Vazquez would likely only happen if Braves were assured they’d be a DH in 2021. With the team control for 2 years and reasonable contract, Vazquez has quite a lot of surplus value, coming in at $21MM.

Trade Value of Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi was the opposite of good in 2020. He’s been the opposite of good in the field for his entire career. While the defense isn’t likely to improve, his BABIP of .181 in 2020 shows he had terrible luck. It was a small sample as he was injured for most of the year so I wouldn’t read too much into it. Still, he has real pedigree, will only be 26, and it’s quite possible his best years are ahead of him. Let’s not oversell him though as he’s an .800ish OPS hitter with poor defense.

As far as trade value is concerned, it’s quite low, coming in at $5.3MM. I’m not sure I buy that it’s THAT low, so I’m going to push it to $9MM. He’s under contract for $6.6MM in 2021 and comes with another year of control.

Trade Value of Matt Barnes

Like Adam Dunn, the Barnes of 2020 was also a “3 True Outcome” player. He was either going to give up a walk, record a strikeout or let the hitter jog around the bases slowly. He’s the Red Sox version of Luke Jackson, except his weapon is the curve, not the slider. Barnes is under contract for $4.5MM in 2021 and will be a free agent in 2022. His trade value comes in at $1.5MM.

Trade Number 1

Breakdown: A proven catcher for a good catching prospect.

Trade Number 2

Breakdown: I’m going to give myself a little credit here…this feels like a very real deal that both teams would consider.

Trade Number 3

Breakdown: Braves get a reliever with control issues but dominant stuff. Newcomb returns to his home to see if he can get his career back on track.

Conclusion: I’m not over the moon about any of these fake deals. Oddly enough, if I had to choose one, I’d go with #3. The Benintendi trade feels the most realistic, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I guess the real issue is none of these deals really move the needle much and feel secondary to what’s already on the market with the exception being Vazquez.

Thanks for reading Braves and Red Sox Hypothetical Trades. Thoughts?