Red Sox Rumors: Reynolds, Senga, Murphy, Diamondbacks

The Red Sox are the latest club to show interest in Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier writes.  Reynolds is one of a few names on the trade radar for the Sox early in the offseason, as Speier reports that the Red Sox have looked into the Diamondbacks’ group of left-handed hitting outfielders, and Boston is also expected to again check in with the Athletics about catcher Sean Murphy.

Public defensive metrics were down (-3.2 UZR/150, -7 Outs Above Average, -14 Defensive Runs Saved) on Reynolds’ work in center field in 2022, yet with Enrique Hernandez perhaps lined up anyway as Boston’s top center field choice, the Sox could have an eye on moving Reynolds into a corner outfield spot at Fenway.  His bat should play anywhere, as Reynolds hit .262/.345/.461 with 27 homers over 614 plate appearances with the Pirates last season.  With the exception of the shortened 2020 season, Reynolds has been a decidedly above-average bat in his four years in the majors, even if his center field defense has been more of a mixed bag.

Adding Reynolds would be an ideal solution for a Red Sox team looking for more power in general, and with a specific need in the outfield.  Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, and journeyman Rob Refsnyder line up as the current starting outfield, with unproven prospect Jarren Duran and a few utility options as depth.  If Reynolds was obtained for a corner outfield spot, Refsnyder would likely be pushed to a bench spot; if Reynolds still played center field, the versatile Hernandez might be see more work at second base.  Since Verdugo has also been floated as a potential trade candidate, however, a bigger outfield shake-up could be a possibility.

Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho, Alek Thomas, and Jake McCarthy are all left-handed bats primed for regular duty in Arizona, creating a bit of a surplus the D’Backs could use to fill other roster needs.  Thomas and McCarthy are seen as the likeliest to be moved, though it isn’t known which names the Sox might have directly asked about.  None of the quartet are as established as Reynolds, yet all have shown intriguing potential either as prospects or early in their Major League careers.

D’Backs general manager Mike Hazen has stated that his team would want MLB-ready talent for any of the outfielders, yet the asking price for an Arizona outfielder wouldn’t be as cumbersome as the Pirates’ demands for Reynolds, which are known to be enormous.  It would only take one big offer to perhaps change the mind of Pirates GM Ben Cherington (who formerly ran Boston’s front office), and yet roughly half the teams in baseball have been linked to Reynolds over the last year-plus, with no movement on the trade front.  By this point, several pundits have opined that Reynolds won’t be dealt, as the Pirates hope to return to contention before Reynolds hits free agency following the 2025 season.

Murphy is in something of a similar situation, as he is also arb-controlled through the 2025 campaign.  While the A’s are in an earlier point in their latest rebuild and catching prospect Shea Langeliers is waiting in the wings, Oakland is under no direct pressure to move Murphy for anything less than a major trade package.  Speier cites Brayan Bello as the type of top-tier, MLB-ready younger player the Athletics want as the headliner in a Murphy trade, though it isn’t clear if the A’s wanted Bello specifically in any earlier talks between the Red Sox and A’s prior to the trade deadline.  If this was the case, that deal might be a no-go, as Speier writes that “Bello borders on untradeable” from Boston’s perspective.

Speaking of untouchable players, the Red Sox also inquired about Zac Gallen, but the Diamondbacks have told clubs that Gallen isn’t available.  Pitching is another need on Boston’s winter shopping list, and Speier figures the Sox to be among the many suitors for Kodai Senga since they “were among many teams to scout him heavily” in Japan.  The Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Padres, Cubs, and Angels have already been linked to Senga’s market, with MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweeting earlier today about the Angels’ interest.  Senga is free of his NPB commitments, so an interested Major League team can negotiate with him like any free agent, without the obstacle of the posting system.

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