A Mets-Red Sox trade to improve both contenders' rosters

A simple starting pitcher for a reliever trade between a pair of teams with some surplus.
Houston Astros v New York Mets
Houston Astros v New York Mets / Luke Hales/GettyImages

The New York Mets and Boston Red Sox have been building up for a more significant trade. This summer’s trade deadline could be the perfect opportunity for the pair of contenders to come together and help each other out again.

David Stearns and Craig Breslow have made multiple trades with each other. Many were player for cash considerations deals.

This Mets-Red Sox trade is a bit different. It addresses a need for both ball clubs while subtracting from a place where each has some surplus.

Red Sox trade

Why this Mets-Red Sox trade could work

The Mets subtract from their starting pitching surplus by getting rid of Jose Quintana. He is replaceable on the roster by Christian Scott or Jose Butto. With the team demoting Tylor Megill after his most recent start, the need to keep Quintana has grown only slightly. Those thoughts quickly dissipate once Kodai Senga finally returns from his season-long IL stint.

About the only thing the Mets could conceivably get for Quintana is a relief pitcher without options and heading into free agency. Chris Martin fits this. The 38-year-old is merely a rental and has been one of the less successful pitchers in the Red Sox bullpen albeit they’ve had some guys performing very well.

One could argue that Martin is a better reliever than Quintana is a starting pitcher. To offset this, the Mets pay the remainder of Quintana’s salary and allow the Red Sox to pick up what’s left for Martin. Quintana is making $13 million this year with Martin at $9.5 million. Whatever remains at the time of a trade like this would be less significant but a requirement for the Red Sox to agree to.

The best element Martin brings to the Mets is the ability to avoid walks. A plague on the pitching staff this year, Martin has issued only 2 walks in 25.1 innings. One of his walks was intentional. He owns a 3.55 ERA which is good yet one of the weaker ones on the Red Sox staff.

Quintana will give the Red Sox a left-handed starter, something they lack. They’d need to remove someone from the rotation. A demotion for Brayan Bello or a shift for Nick Pivetta to the bullpen would be what makes the most sense. It might actually help get more out of Pivetta. He’d be someone who could slot in to replace Martin.

What’s standing in the way of a trade like this happening?

The Mets do lose starting pitching depth and only get one reliever who some might feel is too much on the path toward becoming another Adam Ottavino. The loss of an optional spot in the bullpen hurts a little, but they wouldn’t have had it if Drew Smith was around anyway.

The Red Sox might prefer to add someone with a bit more talent than Quintana. As underwhelming as he has been this year, Quintana was effective for the Mets last season and even before coming to New York was terrific as a mercenary in 2022 with the St. Louis Cardinals post-trade deadline. 

This trade scenario could use a little work. Would Sean Manaea instead of Quintana be enough for Boston? Would the Red Sox need to add something minor for that to then become a more appealing deal for the Mets?

If neither team wants to give up prospects to improve the roster, a trade like this could help each club. The Mets get a veteran bullpen piece with no commitment beyond this season. The Red Sox add a lefty starting pitcher who’d be an improvement over some other players. Because of the money involved, the payroll wouldn’t be stretched further either.