The Boston Red Sox would be wise to make a move to upgrade their bullpen before the July 31 MLB trade deadline. The problem for the defending World Series champions is they aren't the only team with that need.
San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith is among the best trade targets for contending teams to pursue as the deadline approaches. The 30-year-old left-hander has 24 saves, a 2.55 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings for the Giants this year. He also was named to the National League team at the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. Smith's contract expires after this season, so he would most likely be a rental for any team acquiring him.
The Red Sox have had conversations with the Giants regarding Smith, per The Athletic's Jim Bowden, but so have many other teams.
The Giants are probably the most intriguing team right now because how they play over the next nine days is expected to help determine whether they decide to sell on Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson. Smith has been one of the most in-demand relievers so far this summer, as the Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Astros and Twins have all had conversations with the Giants about him. Several of those teams have realized that Watson makes for a strong fallback position for contenders who will need that sixth-to-eighth-inning lefty for October.
The roadblock for the Red Sox, and any other team interested in trading for a Giants pitcher, is that San Francisco might not become a seller at the trade deadline. The Giants are 9-1 in their last 10 games and sit just two games behind the second wild-card playoff spot in the National League entering Tuesday. Trading these pitchers would be a hard sell to the fanbase unless the team goes into a huge slump over the next week.
The Red Sox already have made one trade, acquiring veteran starter Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month. Making a bigger deal for a bullpen upgrade likely won't be easy for the Sox. Boston's farm system lacks elite talent and depth, and outside of the top prospects (and that list is small), there aren't many names for sellers to get excited about.
The Red Sox should at least try to make some sort of bullpen deal. They sit just two games behind a wild-card spot in the American League entering Tuesday, and they have invested way too much money into their roster to become sellers or stand pat at the trade deadline.
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