With the recent injury to Ryan Kalish, the Boston Red Sox have intensified their search for a left-handed first baseman that can also help out in the outfield. They’ve spent time exploring a trade for the Seattle Mariners’ Justin Smoak, and they’ve looked at aging free agents Casey Kotchman and Nick Johnson. Ultimately, though, they ended up settling on 36-year-old Lyle Overbay. But that doesn’t address Boston’s outfield problem, so right now, their best bet might be revisiting an old friend, Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington.
The Pirates have made it no secret that they will entertain offers for outfielder Garrett Jones. As of now, Jones is penciled in as Pittsburgh’s starting first baseman, but the Pirates have such a deep farm system—some say the best farm system in baseball—that they can make such a trade without missing a beat. Jones just signed a one-year, $4.45 million deal to avoid arbitration.
Jones has had decent stats during his time in Pittsburgh, hitting 87 home runs in the last four years. He had his best season just last year, with a .274 average, 27 homers, and 86 RBI. And he bets left-handed. Jones would be a perfect fit for the Red Sox, especially due to the health concerns with first baseman Mike Napoli and the fact that left fielder Jonny Gomes struggles mightily at the plate against right-handers.
Pittsburgh has expressed interest on multiple occasions in Red Sox slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias, and Boston should jump at the chance to trade him. It will probably cost Boston another medium level prospect to make a deal happen, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent. The Red Sox need Jones, and they need him now.
If and when the Pirates do unload the slugger, whose contract expires at season’s end, youngsters Jerry Sands and Travis Snider would see extended playing time right away. That’s not a bad thing for Pittsburgh, as both players should be capable of contributing to a team on the rise. Sands is a top prospect that has crushed minor league pitching at all levels, and Snider is a 24-year-old former top prospect that has nearly 1,000 at-bats in the big leagues already.
The Pirates are open to trading Jones, and the Red Sox should be more than willing to unload Iglasias. Each team has what the other wants, so there’s no reason why this deal shouldn’t happen. All it’ll take is for one of these two GMs to just make the phone call.