Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Only once since 1997 have the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees been trade partners. That one deal: Stephen Drew was traded to the Yankees for infielder Kelly Johnson and $500K in 2014. The AL East rivals have not been trade bedfellows often over the last few decades, but could this year be the exception? The Red Sox need late-inning relief and the Yankees certainly have some to spare.

When looking back at the history of trading between these two clubs, it’s rare because both teams have to be going in opposite directions to make it work. When both teams are buyers, no one has anything to sell the other and visa versa. The only way a trade would even be discussed between the rivals is if one team was out of contention at the deadline and the other had a legitimate shot at the postseason. This year has the potential to fit that mold.

The Yankees are 38-39 on the season, 9 games back in the division (4th place) and 3.5 games back in the AL Wild Card. If they continue to struggle and a month from now are even further back, they could easily become sellers. The Yankees farm system is ok, but not great, so they could choose to move a bullpen piece like Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller for a top tier prospect like Andrew Benintendi or Yoan Moncada. Chapman is a free agent at the end of the season (making $11+ million this year), so might command less via trade, while Miller is locked up through 2018 at $9 million per year.

A fly in the ointment of this situation is that the Red Sox would need to remain atop the AL Wild Card or near the top of the AL East to be buyers and make a push (and be willing to part with a top prospect). If both of those things align naturally, the situation could result in a trade between AL East rivals. I have a hard time believing it will happen, but stranger things have happened!