With Trevor Story set to miss a big chunk of the season following elbow surgery, the Boston Red Sox are theoretically on the lookout for a replacement infielder, either in the remainders of free agency or in trade. And with Xander Bogaerts having departed for San Diego, the Red Sox have the flexibility of adding at shortstop or second base to fill the Story hole, or even center field with guys like Enrique Hernández and Christian Arroyo moving around to fill in whatever gaps open up. So there are probably lots and lots of possible approaches for them, even if none are particularly exciting.
To that end, Chad Jennings writes at The Athletic about those many possible approaches, from trying to pull off a big and unlikely trade like Willy Adames or Ha-Seong Kim, to signing or trading for a mere complementary guy like Elvis Andrus or Jorge Mateo.
But then there’s another option: trying to land a high-risk, high-reward type in trade. Roll the dice. Take a chance. And that’s where the Cubs factor in:
It’s more speculative, but Cubs second baseman Nick Madrigal could fall into a similar category (he doesn’t have an obvious everyday job after the addition of Dansby Swanson), as could Mariners center fielder Jarred Kelenic (Seattle has Julio Rodriguez in center and acquired two corner outfielders this winter). It’s unknown whether the Red Sox have pursued either of those possibilities, or if they’re even reasonably available.
Ohhhh, I could guess that Madrigal is reasonably available.
Look, I’m not here to crap on Madrigal, whose very down season with the Cubs in 2022 was more about injuries than effectiveness (when he finally got healthy late in the year, he was pretty close to the guy he’d shown he could be with the White Sox). There’s a plausible path to him still getting enough playing time with the Cubs this year between DH and occasional starts at 2B (when either Nico Hoerner or Dansby Swanson need a day off) to bounce back to being an above-average hitter in his very unique way. Thrown in injury issues that inevitably arise, and the Cubs’ depth is still better having Madrigal than not.
Madrigal also – I’m just sayin’! – still has minor league options left. So even if he were squeezed off the roster to open the season, the Cubs wouldn’t HAVE TO lose him. I don’t think the Cubs should just toss Madrigal away or anything. He’s only 25, and you never know what might happen with a guy who has shown he can hit at every pro level.
That said, Jennings is right: there isn’t an obvious everyday spot for Nick Madrigal on the Cubs. If there was any value in trade from a team that wanted to take a chance on bouncing Madrigal back, then the Cubs would have to explore it. Maybe that team is the Red Sox. You won’t get a haul for Madrigal at this point, so keep that in mind. An interesting but very young non-40-man-roster prospect, perhaps? A useful 40-man-roster type who is getting close to being out of options? A decent arbitration-level reliever? That’s probably the realistic range.
Overall, I expect the Cubs are listening on Madrigal, but would be content to hit Spring Training with him still around – because, again, he’s shown some baseline of big league ability, he’s still young and controllable, and injuries happen. The Red Sox will also have loads and loads of options, so it’s not like it’s Madrigal or bust for them.
Still. His name came up, and there’s some logic there. Thought it worth sharing.