As the Boston Red Sox pursue Edwin Diaz ahead of Wednesday's MLB trade deadline, they may have to consider parting with a core offensive player.
Speaking Tuesday morning on ESPN's "Get Up!", MLB reporter Buster Olney suggested the Mets are seeking an MLB-level player who can help them now in return for Diaz, their All-Star closer.
Olney mentioned the Red Sox as "a team to watch" in Diaz trade talks -- then dropped this interesting note:
I think the Red Sox, knowing the Mets are looking to add players who can help them in 2020, they may have to make a decision: Do we give up Andrew Benintendi, who is a true centerfielder, in a deal for Edwin Diaz? It'd be fascinating to see if the Mets were to get Benintendi and if the Red Sox can get Diaz.
Host Laura Rutledge (rightly) asked if the Red Sox really would trade Benintendi, one of their best young hitters and an expected cornerstone of their outfield for years to come.
"I don't know if they would," Olney responded, "but I think that's what the Mets' asking price is going to be."
Olney added the Red Sox have also discussed including center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. in a deal for Diaz instead of Benintendi.
Boston reportedly is hesitant to move top prospects Tristan Casas and Bobby Dalbec but desperately needs a closer as it enters the stretch run with the worst save percentage in baseball. Diaz also is 25 years old and on a favorable contract ($607,425 in 2019).
Still, giving up Benintendi seems like too steep a price for the Red Sox unless he was part of a larger deal that included another Mets position player. The Sox may even be wary of dealing Bradley, who's hitting .231 this season but thrived in the 2018 postseason and is a Gold Glove defender.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has options -- MLB.com's Mark Feinsand recently floated Michael Chavis as a potential trade chip for Diaz -- so it's a matter of how much he and the Red Sox believe in Diaz as the piece that can solve their bullpen puzzle.
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