Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Cleveland Indians are one of several teams trying to acquire one of the Boston Red Sox's young outfielders. The Indians have reportedly been 'pitching' a trade, but who exactly they are targeting is not clear. Mookie Betts would be the best get, but he is essentially untouchable.
With Mookie Betts likely off the table, that leaves Jackie Bradley Jr. as the most realistic target for the Tribe to go after. Bradley, who has failed to live up to expectations in his first three seasons, played well in his 74 games last season. He slashed .249/.335/.498 with 10 home runs while playing above-average defense.
Another potential target is 28-year-old Rusney Castillo who played in 80 games for the Sox last year and finished with a below-average 72 wRC+. The benefit with Castillo is that he would come significantly cheaper than Bradley Jr. and it may not be worth sending a lot of value away for a center fielder with Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier potentially debuting in the coming years.
Even after signing David Price to a massive deal earlier in the offseason, the Red Sox could still use more pitching. Chris Antonetti has been reluctant to deal a pitcher this offseason, but with Opening Day closing in and the outfield situation still looking abysmal, it could be time to pull the trigger, especially if he can wiggle Mookie Betts loose.
If the Indians do not acquire a new outfielder by April 4, they will head into the regular season with Rajai Davis, Marlon Byrd, Collin Cowgill, and Tyler Naquin fighting it out for a mix of playing time in center field.
The two teams talked about a similar trade at this year's Winter Meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. They reportedly met and discussed a potential trade, although nothing came of it.