No trade imbalance for Sox in prospects-for-vets deals
The results should certainly interest Red Sox fans: Sox outfield prospect Andrew Benintendi was voted No. 1 and the recently traded Yoan Moncada was No. 2. Benintendi got 10 of the 20 votes cast, with five of the others going to Moncada. Dansby Swanson (Braves) was third and Gleyber Torres (Yankees) was fourth.
When the Red Sox traded Moncada in the package for Chris Sale, they parted with one of the top prospects in baseball while keeping another. While it will be a while before we know which of the two ends up the better MLB player, the rankings raise a good question: When the Red Sox have chosen to trade prospects in blockbuster deals, have they held onto the right ones?
Here’s a look at where some of the Red Sox’ prospects have ranked in the organization (per Baseball America’s rankings) and which players were similarly ranked at the time.
DECEMBER 2010: THE ADRIAN GONZALEZ TRADE
They traded: Casey Kelly (No. 1 prospect, per Baseball America), Anthony Rizzo (3), Reymond Fuentes (6), Eric Patterson
They kept: Jose Iglesias (2), Anthony Ranaudo (4), Drake Britton (5), Josh Reddick (7), Felix Doubront (8)
This was a whopper of a package at the time, with at least one of the players headed to San Diego expected to become a star. Kelly was the No. 24 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America, while Rizzo (at left) had just hit 20 homers in 107 games for Double-A Portland. Fuentes was the 28th overall pick just a year earlier.
HOW THE GONZALEZ TRADE ENDED UP
The headline here is that none of these guys ended up becoming studs for San Diego, but Rizzo is the one they’d obviously like to have back.
While Kelly struggled with injuries and saw both the Padres and Braves move on from him, the Padres traded Rizzo to the Cubs after two seasons and watched him hit 30 homers in three straight seasons. Fuentes, meanwhile, has played 36 games in the majors and is on his fourth organization.
As for the guys they kept, Ranaudo wasn’t eligible to be traded given that he’d been drafted that year, but he could be lumped in with Kelly and Fuentes as highly touted Red Sox prospects from that time who failed to pan out. After stints with the Red Sox, Rangers and White Sox, the 27-year-old currently pitches in South Korea’s KBO league.
The stock of Iglesias (at left) may have fluctuated a bit, but he was a valuable piece to keep when making the Gonzalez trade. The talented shortstop swung a hot enough bat to complement his heavily hyped fielding over parts of three seasons with Boston. The team eventually traded him in a deal that landed them Jake Peavy during their 2013 championship season.
JANUARY 2006: THE COCO CRISP TRADE
They traded: Andy Marte (1), Kelly Shoppach (7), Guillermo Mota
They kept: Jon Lester (2), Jonathan Papelbon (3), Craig Hansen (4), Dustin Pedroia (5), Jacoby Ellsbury (6)
Marte (at left) was the big get from that offseason’s Edgar Renteria trade with the Braves, as he was once considered the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball. Looking at the rest of Boston’s farm system at the time, it was a blessing the Sox chose to trade their top prospect over the other guys.
HOW THE CRISP TRADE ENDED UP
Man oh man. Even just looking at position players, what a blessing it was that the Sox traded Marte rather than somebody like Pedroia (at left).
Marte, projected to be a top-tier player, never played more than 81 games in any of his six seasons in Cleveland and had a career-high six homers in 2009.
It goes without saying what Pedroia became, but in case you stumbled upon this piece without ever following baseball, here you go: A.L. Rookie of the Year, A.L. MVP, four-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, four-time Gold Glove, two-time World Series champion.
NOVEMBER 2005: THE JOSH BECKETT TRADE
They traded: Hanley Ramirez (1), Anibal Sanchez (5), Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia
They kept: Jon Lester (2), Jonathan Papelbon (3), Craig Hansen (4)
This trade might be the biggest example of holding onto the right guy: Ramirez was going to be the centerpiece of the deal, but according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark at the time, the Marlins wanted Lester as the other component. The Red Sox reportedly agreed to add Delgado to the trade if the Marlins took Sanchez (at left) over Lester.
HOW THE BECKETT TRADE ENDED UP
Though Sanchez threw a no-hitter the very next season, keeping Lester (at left) over him was massive. Sanchez’ time in Florida was heavily derailed by injuries, as he threw 100 innings in just one of his first four seasons. He posted a shiny 3.86 ERA in the process, but it wasn’t until 2010 that he started throwing 190-plus innings a season, and he was traded to Detroit in 2012.
Lester, meanwhile, was a stud pretty much from the get-go. After overcoming lymphoma that was diagnosed in 2006, he won Game 4 of the 2007 World Series and topped 200 innings in six of the next seven seasons. By the time he was traded to Oakland in 2004, he had compiled a 3.64 ERA in Boston over nine seasons.
Not having the prime years of Ramirez stung Red Sox fans, but Beckett’s success (and another World Series title) made that much easier to swallow. And do the Sox win again in 2013 without Lester? Hell to the no. Lester very well could have been a more impactful player in Florida than Ramirez was, and that would have certainly changed the fate of both franchises.
Also, credit the Marlins for choosing the Sox’ offer over the Rangers’ offer of then 25-year-old slugger Hank Blalock, who never had another 20-homer season after hitting 29, 32, and 25 in his first three full seasons.
NOVEMBER 2003: THE CURT SCHILLING TRADE
They traded: Casey Fossum (their No. 5 prospect two years earlier who’d graduated to the majors), Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa (No. 9 prospect after 2002), Michael Goss
This one doesn’t really qualify because the centerpiece of the trade wasn’t really a prospect. That said, know who ended up being pretty damn good? Jorge De La Rosa. Fossum (at left) was a swing and a miss (not to be mean, but someone needs to write a book about why he was considered such a good prospect in previous years), but de la Rosa had four years of 149-plus innings, including three in a row with a cumulative 3.49 ERA.
The problem for the Diamondbacks? He never pitched a game for them because they flipped him in a trade for Richie Sexson a month after acquiring him. Sexson ended up playing 23 games for Arizona. Hilarious!
NOVEMBER 1997: THE PEDRO MARTINEZ TRADE
(All rankings per The Baseball Cube)
They traded: Carl Pavano (second in organization per The Baseball Cube), and Tony Armas Jr. (at left) for Martinez
They kept: Nomar Garciaparra (1), Brian Rose (3), Chris Reitsma (4)
Hey now. You’re going to want to besmirch Carl Pavano. You can do that, but just ease up a bit. He was a pretty good major-leaguer.
HOW THE MARTINEZ TRADE ENDED UP
Imagine how different things would have been if the Red Sox traded their top prospect instead of their second-best prospect. That would mean no Nomar (at left), which would mean Jimmy Fallon probably would have had a season or two on SNL as a featured player and then gone away. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? Fever Pitch was terrible, but I came around on him when he replaced Conan. I don’t know. I feel like the jury will always be out on Jimmy Fallon.
Back to the sports. It wasn’t that Pavano was a bad player (even if he didn’t become anything better than decent until he left Montreal); it was that he was the only guy who did anything. Rose never lived up to the billing created by his minor-league career (Internal League Rookie of the Year, Triple-A All-Star) and ended up pitching parts of five seasons in the majors.
Reitsma had a decent career as a reliever, though the most memorable part of it was probably when he gave up four earned runs in two thirds of an inning of the Astros’ series-clinching Game 5 win against Reitsma’s Braves in the 2004 NLDS.