The Red Sox have been holding discussions with other teams about a trade involving left fielder Andrew Benintendi, according to a report over the weekend. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The hot stove hasn’t been very hot. It’s been more like a lukewarm stove.

The good news for Red Sox fans is that Boston isn’t the only team moving slowly this offseason. According to the indispensable mlbtraderumors.com, only six of the top 30 free agents available had signed with a team as of Monday morning. There is plenty of talent out there, and plenty of teams moving at a glacial pace.

In fact, the biggest news in baseball this offseason has been provided by trades. The San Diego Padres swung deals for pitchers Blake Snell and Yu Darvish and finally seemed poised to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for National League West supremacy.

The New York Mets pulled off a blockbuster last week when they acquired Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians.

So it wasn’t a shock to see a report that the Red Sox have been holding discussions with others teams about a trade involving Andrew Benintendi. Jim Bowden of the Athletic broke the story over the weekend, saying the Sox were willing to move the left fielder in exchange for pitching and outfield prospects. Bowden said nothing was imminent, but that talks were “serious.”

Moving Benintendi, a former No. 1 prospect who has struggled for two straight seasons, wouldn’t exactly be selling high at this point. After a disappointing 2019 season, Benintendi played only 14 games in 2020, posting some of the worst offensive numbers in all of Major League Baseball in that small sample.

Meantime, the Sox – and the rest of Major League Baseball – struck out on star Japanese pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano last week. Sugano opted to re-sign with the Yomiuri Giants instead. It’s interesting to note his deal includes an opt-out clause after each season, so Sugano could kick the tires on coming to the U.S. next winter if the industry has stabilized.

He would’ve been a good fit for the Red Sox, but he won’t be coming any time soon.

With Sugano off the board, where does Chaim Bloom turn for pitching help? How about Trevor Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner who posted a YouTube video over the weekend talking about his pursuit of a free-agent contract.

In the video, Bauer said he wanted to go to an organization “that can give me information that I can learn from and increase my knowledge base and my understanding of the game.”

The Red Sox – a team that values advanced metrics and innovative approaches to information – would seem like a good fit. At least until Bauer continued saying “my career is too short to really be part of a rebuilding window. I just don’t want to do that.”

It would seem pretty clear that the Sox are right in the middle of such a window, unless Bloom could convince Bauer that the rebuilding will be done in time for the coming year. It’s unlikely the Sox could do that, or match the money other teams will offer him.

That leaves less-exciting names like Jake Odorizzi or Taijuan Walker or Corey Kluber to fill out a rotation that is still undermanned. It might take two of those pitchers just to get this team to a competitive level.

Chances are there will still be a few pitchers available as we creep closer to the start of spring training, whenever that is. So teams are looking at one another for talent first, knowing they can round out staffs and rosters when the trading is done.

That’s why it makes sense that Bloom is talking trades, be it Benintendi or anyone else. As we’ve seen over the past two weeks, the biggest moves have come from teams swapping players to one another. While the free agents wait by the phone, general managers have been calling one another instead.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column runs on Tuesdays in the Portland Press Herald.

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