With the dog days of summer looming in the distance and eventually knocking on baseball's door, it is never too early to talk MLB trade deadline. August 2nd is a little over 2 months away but that time is when fringe playoff teams and contenders make their last moves to strengthen for a run in October. Many big names are being talked about right now. From Frankie Montas to Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo there are plenty of trade pieces, but arguably the biggest name is Xander Bogaerts. With the Red Sox currently sitting 10 games behind in the AL East there have been rumors that Boston will part ways with their franchise shortstop. If the Red Sox do, here are 5 teams that I can see going after the star middle infielder...
1. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox, who are currently 21-20, are fresh off a double-header sweep of the Yankees. This is a team who has been bitten by the injury bug heavily with Lance Lynn and Eloy Jimenez, currently on the IL. However, what’s arguably hurting them the most is the lack of production from the 2nd base position. Currently, the White Sox are using a platoon of Leury Garcia and Josh Harrison, who are both below average at the position. The addition of Bogaerts makes this already dangerous lineup even better. This move would give the White Sox an opportunity to either move Xander or Tim Anderson to 2nd. Going to the Red Sox would be a package of either Harrison or Garcia. Garcia who has a lot of value as a utility player and potentially with a few of their prospects. This would allow the White Sox to finally make the deep playoff run fans on the South Side have been working for.
2. Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels currently sit atop the American League Wild Card race with a record of 26-17. The Angels are known for the all star trio of Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon. The largest hole they have in their lineup is at shortstop. Similar to the White Sox, the Angels are running a platoon of Andrew Velazquez and Tyler Wade. Velazquez, unlike the others is known for his plus glove but he swings a pool noodle (similar to there old shortstop Andrelton Simmons). The Angels are already known for out-hitting their opponents to win and praying the pitching they have can shut down opposing offenses. By adding one of the best offensive shortstops in the league, they could outhit any team in baseball. The package returning to Boston would likely consist of one of their current shortstops along with a few mid level prospects or one high level prospect like Jo Adell. The addition of Bogaerts would the Angels the best pure hitting team in the American League and prepare them for a deep playoff run.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
The St Louis Cardinals just finished a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they are sitting at a record of 23-18, which is good for 3 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL central. Coming into the season the Cardinals were in contention for the Trevor Story sweepstakes, but the organization decided to stick it out with Paul Dejong and Edmundo Sosa. The Cardinals have a history for deep playoff runs and the addition of Bogaerts would help this cause. The Cardinals' front office has slowly taken themselves out of the conversation by calling up their top prospect Nolan Gorman to slide in at 2nd and moved over gold glove second baseman Tommy Edman to shortstop. It’s looking less and less likely that the Cardinals will make a move for him, but never ever count out the Cardinals.
4. Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are 8.5 games back in a stacked NL East and 4.5 back in the wild card race with a record of 19-23. The Braves this year still have a very talented roster that is coming off a huge World Series win last year, but they have come out of the gates slow this season. One player in particular who is having the "World Series hangover" is Dansby Swanson who’s currently batting .236 with 5 homers and 20 RBI’s. With the departure of Freddie Freeman, Dansby is considered the heart and soul of this Braves team. No matter how important Swanson is to the culture, he is the definition of an average shortstop. The Braves proved last year that they will go out at the deadline or in the off-season and make big moves to win games. If the Braves want to make a big splash they need to move on from Dansby Swanson and go after Xander Bogaerts. The Braves are still a young team despite their championship experience from 2021. While Atlanta fans want to keep that trophy in town, the franchise may need to move on from Dansby and a mid level prospect for Xander. The Braves showed last year they will make the moves to win and this is a move that needs to be made.
5. San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are sitting 5.5 games back in a loaded NL West and currently hold one of the wild card spots. Similar to the White Sox and Angles the Giants are running two subpar 2nd basemen in Tommy La Stella and Wilmer Flores. The Giants are a team who are not afraid to make a big splash (including in McCovey Cove) at the deadline or in the offseason. In 2021, the front office went after Kris Bryant and over the offseason picked up Carlos Rodón. The Giants currently have a strong shortstop in Brandon Crawford but their 2nd base situation is rough. San Francisco just is not receiving the production they need from second base, if they want to compete for a championship. This is where the Giants could absolutely come out of nowhere and land Bogaerts. This does likely mean the Giants will have to package one of their big league pieces with a top prospect in the system, such as a Heliot Ramos or one of their top pitching prospects, to get the deal done. This is a sneaky dark horse team that I can see making a push for Xander. If they do, this move may put them as a World Series favorite in the National League.
The Xander Bogaerts sweepstakes isn’t being discussed much currently, but as the trade deadline approaches closer and closer do not be surprised if it is rumored that these teams are in the running for a generational shortstop that can help push them to a playoff berth and beyond.