This was, uh, surprisingly to say the least. Right before the buzzer sounded and the lockout went into effect, Chaim Bloom dealt regular season fan favorite Hunter Renfroe to the Milwaukee Brewers for old friend Jackie Bradley, Jr., and two prospects. There's really three ways to look at this trade: 1) it was a move to sure up the Red Sox putrid 2021 defense; 2) it was a move to sell Renfroe for two prospects, further deepening the farm system that has been quickly replenished since Bloom's arrival in Boston; 3) it was actually both of those things.
So far I've seen people in both camps, but few believing that Chaim actually still thinks Jackie Bradley can play baseball. His '21 season was dreadful at the dish. A .163/.236/.261 triple slash is nothing to write home about by any means. However, if the Red Sox are going to score three total runs over the course of multiple elimination games with supposed better offensive players, they might as well tighten up the defensive side of the ball. I also found it interesting that Chaim said he believes Jackie and Kiké Hernandez could play in the outfield together. It's been apparent for some time now that the Red Sox really need two centerfielders in their every day lineup because of how preposterous right field is at Fenway Park. Renfroe, for how great his arm was, wasn't the best when it came to patrolling right field. Kiké proved last year that he's athletic enough, with a strong enough arm, to be a plus defensive outfielder, moving him to right doesn't feel like the worst idea. I find it especially intriguing that Chaim is alluding to both staying in the outfield when you consider who is still available on the open market once free agency opens back up.
I'm of the mind that Chaim is going to pursue the top two shortstops left on the board: Carlos Correa and Trevor Story. Correa is better, will command more years and require a larger contract than Story, and based on everything we've seen to this point there's not a lot of reason to believe he's coming here, but I do believe the Red Sox will be in on him in some regard. Story could work if he's willing to play second. I understand the criticisms of Xander Bogaerts' defense and you could easily build a case that moving him to second for a superior defender would strengthen this team ten-fold. I think, unless you have no plans on re-signing Bogaerts next winter, you can only move him off his position for a clear overall upgrade. You can make that case for Correa, you absolutely cannot for Story. So if he's willing to play second, and the money is right, it feels like a massive win and potentially the biggest steal of the winter. If he wants to stick at short, I'm all set. This isn't a Jeter-ARod situation and shouldn't be treated as such for anyone but Correa at this point.
As for the prospects, this is what Chaim does best. Some people view it as a negative which blows my mind. Yes, I love when the Red Sox play bully ball in free agency and throw money around. It's one of my favorite things in all of sports. I also love when we develop players and have the flexibility to acquire players on the trade block. Which is what feels like we're on the brink of the second the lockout ends. Boston's farm has depth, it has big pieces, it has lower ranked prospects with extreme upside, there's a multitude of deals and packages Chaim could put together for really any player he so desires. I still view Shane Bieber as a pitcher that could anchor this rotation along with Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi. I realize eventually we need to stop talking about prospects and flexibility but this offseason is far from over. We're not finished, we're just on pause, and I'd genuinely be shocked if this roster was all that close to being finalized.