The Boston Red Sox have blown preseason expectations out of the water this season.
After 42 games, the 25-17 Red Sox sit atop the American League East and are tied with four other MLB teams for the most wins in baseball.
The hot start has almost certainly ensured that Boston will be buying at the trade deadline, but what holes do they need to fill?
Truthfully, there are several areas that could use reinforcements, mainly in the bullpen and in the outfield.
Here are two players that the Red Sox should trade for this season.
Josh Hader – LHP
To put it simply, the Red Sox desperately need a reliable left-handed option in their bullpen.
Boston has developed some solid options for late-inning situations, but they’re all righties.
RHP Matt Barnes is working on the best season of his career, with a 2.66 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 20.1 innings.
But that’s about as far as the bullpen depth goes (at least in terms of reliable arms), and we’ve yet to mention a lefty.
The Milwaukee Brewers are in an interesting situation with Josh Hader.
The 27-year-old has established himself as one of the most dominant relievers in the game.
Over five seasons at the Major League level, Hader has a 2.44 ERA, a 0.89 FIP, a 0.89 WHIP and 408 strikeouts in 239.1 innings.
Josh Hader – 230 innings pitched
393 Strikeouts pic.twitter.com/2owsniRh3e
— CirclinTheBases (@CirclinTheBases) April 28, 2021
This season, Hader has a 1.15 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 15.2 innings.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting: the Brewers could contend this season.
No contending team is going to happily trade away its star closer.
The issue for Milwaukee is that they can’t financially afford to hold on to Hader for much longer.
Most projections expect Hader to make somewhere in the ballpark of $9-10 million next season via arbitration.
Since the second-place Brewers are in the playoff mix right now, it’s safe to assume that the asking price for Hader would be mighty high.
Chaim Bloom has done a nice job replenishing Boston’s farm system, so there are some assets to deal.
Granted, Bloom is not the type to sell the farm for one big league arm.
Regardless, Hader would fill a gaping hole in the Boston roster and would take the team to the next level this season.
Joc Pederson – OF
Joc Pederson is in the midst of a team-friendly one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, which makes him a great candidate to trade away as a rental.
The asking price would presumably be reasonable, as Pederson has been slightly underwhelming this season with a .253 batting average and a .674 OPS.
Joc had some great seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including three seasons with an OPS over .800, so we know what he can be, and the Red Sox could use another outfielder.
Bad enough he's 1 for 35 with 17 Ks in his last 14 games, Franchy Cordero just misplayed a ball in LF to let two runners move up.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) May 6, 2021
Pederson, a reigning World Series champion, would bring a veteran presence to the team and provide some depth in the outfield.NEXT: 3 Questions Surrounding Boston Red Sox In 2021 (Breakdown)