Red Sox

Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Red Sox and Yankees have made exactly two trades in the past 25 years. Chaim Bloom's Rays dealt with the Yankees twice in the past four.

Now that Bloom is running the Red Sox, could Boston and New York actually swing a trade?

Eh, probably not. But we asked Bloom and Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman about it anyway, because Boston's new baseball boss is a bit of a wild card as he takes over a team that plans on leaving no stone unturned this winter.

Speaking at the GM meetings at the Omni Resort, Bloom said it would be "irresponsible" to cross the Bombers off his list of trade partners, while Cashman noted that he'd be willing to deal with anybody if it would help his team.

"I've been around long enough to know that if it's something that benefits your franchise, you don't worry about anything else -- the public appearance of it or the fear factor," Cashman said. "Our job is to make difficult decisions to the benefit of your franchise. I'm not afraid to deal with anybody, whether it's the Mets, the Red Sox. It doesn't matter. If it makes sense to us and it makes sense to them, so be it. I'm open for business."

The last deal between the two clubs came at the trade deadline in 2014, when the Red Sox shipped shortstop Stephen Drew to New York for fellow infielder Kelly Johnson. Those Red Sox were mired in last place with a record of 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore (how times have changed) in the AL East. The Drew trade put the finishing touches on a two-week bloodletting that saw Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and A.J. Pierzynski jettisoned.

The last deal before that came in August of 1997, when another Red Sox team not in contention shipped catcher Mike Stanley to New York for a package that included Tony Armas, Jr., who'd be used four months later to help acquire Pedro Martinez from the Expos.

Each trade shared an important trait that made dealing between the two cities much easier.

"The best atmosphere is when one team is down and the other is up," Cashman said. "But when you're both in going-for-it-mode and you're both championship-caliber contending clubs, you're typically not in a position to swap players. So it just makes it harder. Atmosphere is important. The Red Sox and Yankees have been perennial playoff contenders year in and year out for a long time. So that's probably more of a hurdle and obstacle than anything else, especially since they're in your own division. That's probably it more than anything else."

That didn't stop the Yankees and Rays from pulling off a pair of recent deals. In February of 2018, they joined a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona and Brandon Drury to New York, among many other parts. Two years earlier on a much smaller scale, the Rays purchased catcher Carlos Corporan from New York, though he never appeared in a game for them.

Both Bloom and Cashman share a mutual respect and admiration, even if they're now on opposite sides of baseball's biggest rivalry.

"I think one of the great things about this business is you can be a rival professionally with someone and still respect them a lot, get along great with them personally," Bloom said. "You guys obviously have covered him for a long time and you know how easy he is to talk to.

"I think, in general, look, our job is to do what's best for the Boston Red Sox. There's a lot of considerations that go into that in any conversation. Some of them are true across all 30 clubs, some of them, there might be unique dynamics. Obviously I know the relationship between this organization and the Yankees is not like any other club. But really, at the end of the day, our job as a group … is to do what's best for the Red Sox and then make sure we're just factoring in everything appropriately."

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Travis Shaw says return to Boston Red Sox 'makes sense on paper'

Travis Shaw says return to Boston Red Sox 'makes sense on paper'

After being non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers, could a return to the Boston Red Sox be in order for Travis Shaw?

With Mitch Moreland hitting free agency, the Red Sox should be in the market for a left-handed-hitting first baseman. That makes Shaw an obvious fit, and the 29-year-old agrees a reunion with Boston would make sense.

Shaw discussed the situation with Rob Bradford on WEEI's Bradfo Sho podcast

"I got non-tendered this week. It was kind of a hard decision. The Brewers did offer me but I decided I kind of wanted a fresh start and was willing to risk to see what was out there free agent-wise," Shaw told Bradford. "Just wanted a fresh start after everything that happened last year. Like you said, [signing with the Red Sox] makes sense on paper now we’ll see with who else call or what other teams call. That’s kind of what we’re sorting through now. We’ve had quite a bit of interest so far over this week which is an encouraging sign for me. We’ll just go from there."

Before the 2017 season, the Red Sox traded Shaw to the Brewers in the deal that brought reliever Tyler Thornburg to Boston. In his first two years with Milwaukee, Shaw was an integral part of the offense with 30+ home runs and an OPS well above .800. Last season, however, Shaw missed some time with a wrist injury and saw his production dip significantly.

Assuming Shaw can return to the type of player we saw in '17 and '18, he makes for an intriguing option for Boston in free agency. Along with his potential at the plate, Shaw brings versatility to the table as he can adequately play multiple positions.

Right-handed sluggers Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec currently are the Red Sox' options at first base. Chavis was solid in his 2019 rookie campaign, and Dalbec enters 2020 as one of the organization's top prospects.

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MLB rumors: Winter meetings preview - Five Red Sox moves to watch as offseason begins in earnest

MLB rumors: Winter meetings preview - Five Red Sox moves to watch as offseason begins in earnest

The start of baseball's offseason has included some thank-the-lord movement, with a second-tier starter (Zack Wheeler) landing a $118 million deal from the Phillies and the hyperactive Rays dealing away a stalwart outfielder (Tommy Pham), much to the chagrin of ace Blake Snell.

With baseball's annual winter meetings beginning on Sunday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, all eyes will be on Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox, who have yet to make a major move, but will soon be on the clock.

So, what can we expect? Here are five areas of focus.

1. IS THERE A MOOKIE BETTS TRADE?

The Red Sox would be crazy not to consider deals for Betts if they believe he intends on reaching free agency, which he has made clear both publicly and privately over the last two years. They'd be crazier to give him away for nothing, however, and thus begins the dance of the offseason. The question they must answer is, "How much is too little?" and then draw a line in the warning-track sand. Potential trade partners like the White Sox and Braves have already spent aggressively, which means a Betts deal likely needs to happen sooner than later, since whomever acquires him must fit $28 million into their 2019 payroll and pretty soon that money will start disappearing. One team to watch: the Dodgers, who have money to spend, prospects to trade, and a World Series hill to climb after three straight near-misses.

2. DEALING DAVID PRICE

Chris Sale just started throwing, per WEEI.com, and his five-year, $145 million extension kicks in on Opening Day. Selling low on the potentially dominant left-hander is a recipe for regret, especially since his contract could end up being pretty reasonable if he returns to health. The better trade candidate is Price, who turns 35 in August and has three years and $96 million remaining on a contract that's more likely to provide diminishing returns, but paradoxically includes fewer short-term questions. We laid out the case for Price being an actual trade asset on Thursday; as free agent pitchers leave the market, someone will be left short, and maybe Price becomes a target.

3. FINDING A STARTER (OR TWO)

Trading Price may ease the financial crunch on a team hoping to drop below the $208 million luxury tax threshold, but it will blow another hole in a rotation that's already down one starter with the presumed departure of free agent Rick Porcello. The Red Sox obviously won't be in on Astros ace Gerrit Cole or Nationals World Series hero Stephen Strasburg. They also can't afford Madison Bumgarner or maybe even old friend Wade Miley. Will they go the opener route? Take a flier on a reclamation project like Felix Hernandez or Michael Wacha? Try to turn center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. into a starter? Here's where Bloom's creativity will be put to the test.

4. SURPRISE US

Until he starts dealing, Bloom remains an enigma. He's beholden to no one on the roster, a position which allowed predecessor Dave Dombrowski to cut ties with Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez while they were still owed money. Could Bloom decide a roster overhaul is in order and use a supposed foundational piece like All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts or outfielder Andrew Benintendi to swing a larger deal? We may start to get some clarity on his thoughts next week.

5. RIGHT SIDE OF THE INFIELD

At this time last year, the Red Sox were foolishly counting on 125 games out of second baseman Dustin Pedroia (he played six) and 162 out of a first base platoon of Mitch Moreland (91) and Steve Pearce (29). While some portion of either job could go to second-year slugger Michael Chavis, the Red Sox will be in the market for help at first and second, and this is a spot where Bloom helped unearth some legit finds in Tampa, from Carlos Pena to Logan Morrison to Ji-Man Choi. There should be no shortage of affordable options at first, in particular, from Justin Smoak to Travis Shaw to C.J. Cron.

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