The Red Sox are now in prime position to acquire Cole Hamels.
Any way you slice it, they have the prospects to satisfy Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies front office with an offer for the left-handed ace.
With the signing of 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to a $31.5 million bonus, Boston not only solidified their infield for the future, but also solidified the opportunity to acquire one of the primer pitchers in baseball. And it may not even take that much of a hit to their farm system. But how is that possible?
The Phillies have demanded at least one blue-chip prospect from any team that has wanted to acquire Hamels. The Padres were rumored to have shown interest, but a deal is likely not going to be completed due to that reason. They do not have the blue-chip prospects that the Phillies covet.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, do. With the signing of Moncada, they now have the flexibility to move shortstop/third baseman Xander Bogaerts in any Hamels deal. If they do, Boston could move Hanley Ramirez back to shortstop (his natural position) and still have three viable options in the outfield, playing any three of their many outfielders, which include Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Daniel Nava. All six of those options are good enough to start.
Boston could use Ramirez at shortstop until Moncada is ready for the big leagues, which may not be until 2017 or 2018. If, by then, he has outgrown the position, the Red Sox could slide him into third base, moving Pablo Sandoval to first base or designated hitter (if David Ortiz is retired by that time).
The Phillies seem to have their eyes set on Blake Swihart, a 22-year-old catcher and the Red Sox first round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. Swihart has drawn comparisons to Buster Posey, being praised for a great bat and plus defense. Instead of Swihart, the Red Sox could offer the likes of Christian Vazquez, a 24-year-old catcher and former 9th round pick, to Philadelphia. If this deal takes place at the trade deadline, Boston could call-up Swihart directly from the minor leagues, as he may be MLB ready then.
Since the Red Sox have already given the blue-chip prospect the Phillies have coveted in Bogaerts, due to the fact that they may have a better option in a few years, then they will not need to give up Swihart in any deal. It could be a nice compromise that ends up working out for both sides.
Then, the Red Sox may give up one or two red-chip prospects in the deal to Philadelphia. Overall, the deal premises are Bogaerts, Vazquez, and one or two others for Cole Hamels. Would that be a fair deal? I would think yes. Yoan Moncada's signing opened this door for Boston and could be a huge development in the talks throughout the season.