In a recent report from Sean McAdam of Boston Sports Journal, he writes that the Boston Red Sox “made inquiries” regarding Miami Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper. Cooper enjoyed the healthiest season of his career in 2022, playing a personal-best 119 games. He peaked during a red-hot June (.378/.418/.511/.929/2 HR/16 RBI) and made his first All-Star Game. Unfortunately, Cooper was not as productive in the second half of the year and he suffered a season-ending left fifth metacarpal fracture in late September.
The Red Sox are coming off a disappointing season, winning only 78 games after reaching the playoffs in 2021. Just like the Marlins, they are looking to add more offense this winter and have fallen short in bidding for several free agent bats.
At first glance, Cooper seems like an odd fit in Boston where they have Eric Hosmer, Bobby Dalbec and top prospect Tristan Casas as options to play first base and DH. But McAdam reports that Dalbec is a trade candidate, and he notes how Cooper played some outfield in previous seasons. Also, with Cooper being a right-handed hitter while Hosmer and Casas are left-handed, this could be a platoon situation.
To be clear, Miami would not deal Cooper unless the team signed or traded for another first baseman. It is a thin position now that Jesús Aguilar and Lewin Díaz are no longer with the organization. In my last article, I mentioned the possibility of the Marlins acquiring Luis Arráez. If that happened, Cooper could be exchanged for pieces with more years of club control (Cooper is eligible for free agency after next season).
Do the Marlins and the Red Sox pair up well enough the make a Garrett Cooper trade?
Looking at the Red Sox roster, it’s unclear what the Marlins would be looking to get in return for Cooper. One possibility is Alex Verdugo. Verdugo slashed .280/.328/.405/.732/11 HR/74 RBI. This was considered a down year for the talented outfielder as he slashed a lot better in 2021 and received AL MVP votes in 2020. It probably wouldn’t be a one-for-one trade—the Marlins would have to give up a little more than Cooper alone—but Verdugo makes sense as the team’s main left fielder with Jorge Soler expected to transition to DH in 2023. Verdugo comes with two years of club control.
Another name to consider is Jarren Duran. Although Duran’s numbers in the majors so far haven’t been the best—.219/.269/.354/.622/5 HR/29 RBI—there is hope that he can improve. Most outlets rated him as a MLB Top 100 prospect entering last year. Coming up through the minors, Duran looked like a possible speedy, top-of-the-order hitter. Duran is also a primary center fielder which is a huge need for Miami. There is the risk that the 26-year-old never figures out how to hit at the highest level, but with the right adjustments, he could be a valuable long-term piece.
These teams have made trades with each other before, but only one in the last decade. Three years ago, the Marlins sent Austin Brice to Boston in exchange for Angeudis Santos, who is still developing in their farm system.
Remember that any trade involving Garrett Cooper depends on the Marlins making a corresponding move for a usable replacement at first base. Options include trade targets Luis Arráez and Christian Walker, and free agents Brandon Belt, Yuli Gurriel, and Trey Mancini.
Other than the Red Sox, what landing spots make sense for Cooper? Let us know in the comments.