Rumors of an impending trade between the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants heated up Thursday, after Giants outfielder Hunter Pence suffered a broken left arm when he was hit by a pitch in Thursday’s spring training game against the Chicago Cubs.
Pence will reportedly need to miss as much as the first two months of the 2015 season, which leaves the Giants one outfielder short. Of course, as Red Sox fans are acutely aware, Boston is in the midst of an outfielder glut, and even with Cuban prospect Rusney Castillo out for an undetermined length of time with a strained oblique muscle, the Red Sox will still need to shed an outfielder or two before Opening Day in Philadelphia on April 6.
Would the Red Sox be willing to deal one of those surplus outfielders to the Giants? If so — assuming San Francisco General Manager Brian Sabean is even interested — which one of the Boston outfield corps could be wearing orange and black by April?
The obvious candidate to be shipped out is righty power hitter Allen Craig.
“The Red Sox are trying to find a buyer for Allen Craig — the odd man out of a crowded outfield/first base situation — and a destination spot may have opened up on Thursday,” the Comcast Sports Net Boston site wrote on Friday. “Craig is a known commodity and is familiar with the National League, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Sox and Giants at least had a conversation in light of Pence’s injury.”
Veteran baseball writer Bob Nightengale also thought of a Craig deal right away.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 5, 2015
But Craig is coming off a year when a foot injury held him to dismal.425 OPS after arriving in Boston at the trade deadline in a deal that sent Red Sox pitcher John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals. Craig went an equally dismal 0-4 with a pair of Ks in Thursday’s spring training opener against the Minnesota Twins.
The fact that Boston owes Craig $26.5 million over the upcoming two seasons adds a little extra motivation to send him on his way.
The Red Sox also have Shane Victorino, whom manager John Farrell has already tabbed as his Opening Day right fielder, along with promising youngster Jackie Bradley, either of whom could be available in a deal.
But who do the Red Sox get back?
According to speculation from FanSided blog Rick McNair, 35-year-old middle reliever Jeremy Affeldt could be on his way to Boston if any deal were to take place, as the Red Sox look to fill the middle innings hole left by the departure of Burke Badenhop to Cincinnati as a free agent last month.
Affeldt posted a 2.28 ERA in 2015, his best since 2009, which was the southpaw’s first year in San Francisco — but of course, it remains to be seen whether the only two teams to claim three World Series titles in the 21st Century will be willing to make a deal with each other this spring.
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