If Red Sox are sellers at trade deadline, these players could be moved

If Red Sox are sellers at trade deadline, these players could be moved originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It remains to be seen whether the Boston Red Sox will be buyers or sellers at this year’s trade deadline. They’re only 1.5 games behind the third Wild Card spot as of Tuesday, so their performance over the next couple of weeks will likely determine their fate.

We’ve covered some intriguing potential trade targets in case first-year chief baseball officer Craig Breslow opts to buy. However, Red Sox fans should prepare for an approach similar to recent deadlines under Chaim Bloom. It would not be a surprise if they continued to sell with their sights set on 2025 and beyond.

If that’s the route the Red Sox take, here are the five players most likely to be moved before July 30 at 6 p.m. ET.

The Red Sox acquired O’Neill in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals last December. That has turned out to be a shrewd move made by Craig Breslow in his first offseason as Boston’s CBO.

O’Neill has supplied the Red Sox’ lineup with much-needed right-handed power. Through 58 games played, he’s second on the team in home runs (16) with an impressive .876 OPS. His offensive numbers are on pace to be on par with his breakout 2021 campaign, when he placed eighth in National League MVP voting.

If Breslow and Co. add at the deadline, O’Neill will play a key role in the team’s hunt for a playoff spot over the final two months. But if they decide to sell, O’Neill is a prime candidate to be dealt with his contract set to expire at season’s end. He’d be a perfect rental for a contender looking to add thump to its offense.

The Chaim Bloom-led Red Sox acquired McGuire from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for reliever Jake Diekman at the 2022 trade deadline. Two years later, the veteran catcher could again be on the move.

McGuire is arbitration-eligible for 2025 and scheduled to become a free agent in 2026. With Kyle Teel tearing it up in the minors, a deadline deal could open the door for the top catching prospect to join the big-league club.

In 45 games as the Red Sox’ No. 2 catcher behind Connor Wong, McGuire is slashing .205/.289/.299 with three homers.

If the Red Sox part ways with Pivetta, they won’t be selling high. The 31-year-old righty has a 4.52 ERA through 12 starts. He has allowed 15 earned runs in 19.1 innings over his last four starts.

Still, pitching is a priority for most trade deadline buyers and Pivetta offers high upside. His stellar 2021 postseason performance could attract contenders looking for affordable starting pitching options.

Pivetta is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this winter.

Martin hasn’t put up the video game-like numbers he did last year in his debut Red Sox season, but he’s been rock-solid. The 38-year-old veteran owns a 3.55 ERA and 1.03 WHIP through 25 appearances (25.1 innings).

His continued success and postseason pedigree will make him an appealing target for teams in need of a bullpen boost. Scheduled to become a free agent after this season, Martin joins another key Red Sox reliever as a strong candidate to be dealt.

Jansen seems to be most likely to be traded among the five players listed. The Red Sox basically prepared themselves for that scenario when they inked fellow veteran closer Liam Hendriks to a two-year, $10 million contract this past offseason. Hendriks is expected to return from Tommy John recovery sometime in August.

The Red Sox should be able to fetch a decent return for Jansen, a four-time All-Star with 436 career saves. The 36-year-old has a 2.22 ERA and 1.02 WHIP through 28 appearances (28.1 innings) this season.

Jansen would be a rental as he’ll hit free agency after this season.

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