Red Sox

Prospect-rich Padres have all the pieces to acquire Mookie Betts — if they want him

Prospect-rich Padres have all the pieces to acquire Mookie Betts — if they want him

After a quiet start to the offseason, some Mookie Betts rumors have started to percolate. Recent reports have linked him to the Padres and Dodgers, albeit in little more than an exploratory way.

We've already run through the Dodgers farm system to see what kind of prospects might come back to Boston in a Betts trade. We've done the same for the Braves.

Now it's the Padres' turn.

San Diego has quietly built one of the best farm systems in baseball over the last five years, and it still ranks near the top of most rankings despite the graduation of players like shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., right-hander Chris Paddack, and since-traded infielder Luis Urias to the big leagues in 2019. Per Baseball America, the Padres have six prospects among its most recent top 100, tied for most in the game.

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If there's one asset the Padres possess in abundance, it's pitching. Twelve of their top 30 prospects, per, are starting pitchers, including baseball's consensus No. 1 overall starter in left-hander MacKenzie Gore, who just led the minors in ERA (1.69) and isn't going anywhere.

He does help the Padres deal from a position of strength and depth, however. If the Red Sox need anything, it's young pitching, especially with the news that intriguing prospect Noah Song was denied a waiver by the Navy and must attend two years of flight school before exploring his baseball career.

With Gore off the table, the next brightest arm in the system belongs to Colombian right-hander Luis Patino, who pairs an upper-90s fastball with a power slider that earned him a promotion to Double A at only 19 years old. With a lifetime ERA of 2.35 and 10.7 strikeouts per nine in three seasons, he possesses some of the most overpowering stuff in the minors and could be the centerpiece of a trade for virtually any available star.

Next on the list is left-hander Adrian Morejon, a Cuban left-hander and consensus top-50 prospect. He made five appearances for the Padres last season, posting a 10.13 ERA at age 20 before shutting it down with shoulder pain. The Padres view him long-term as a starter, and he recently returned to action in the Arizona Fall League. He pairs a 94-98 mph fastball with a plus curve, though durability has been a concern.

Countryman Michel Baez ranked lower on most lists entering 2019, though he was still widely considered a top-100 prospect. The imposing 6-foot-8, 220-pounder experienced far more success than Morejon in his big league debut, posting a 3.03 ERA in 24 appearances and intriguing rival evaluators with an easy upper-90s fastball that suggests he has the stuff to be a future closer.

Next up is left-hander Ryan Weathers, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 draft and the son of former big leaguer David Weathers. The most common word to describe him is "polished," thanks to a three-pitch mix that may not be overpowering, but at the very least suggests a high floor.

The organization's best changeup belongs to left-hander Joey Cantillo, a 16th-round pick out of Hawaii in 2017. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, the former soccer player is athletic and projectable, and he dominated Low A at age 19 last year, going 9-3 with a 1.93 ERA before being promoted to High A. His fastball doesn't yet pop — he opened the year at 88-90 mph and ended it around 92 — but if he can add velocity, he'll climb the prospect rankings.

While a young arm would naturally serve as a starting point in any Betts deal, the Padres boast more than pitchers in their deep system.

Shortstop C.J. Abrams has emerged as the team's best position prospect, just months after being selected sixth overall in the draft. His calling card is game-changing speed, and he's a safe bet to steal 30 bases annually in the big leagues. He covers a lot of ground at shortstop and could even make the move to center field down the road, a la Betts shifting from second to right. He hit .393 in his debut and possesses exceptional bat-to-ball skills that make him a potential leadoff hitter.

If the Red Sox want an athletic outfielder, then Taylor Trammell could fill the bill. His performance has yet to match his tools, but even after taking a step back in 2019 — he started as a top-20 prospect and finished by hitting .234 between the Cincinnati and San Diego organizations — the speedy center fielder tantalizes with solid on-base skills and a plus makeup. A football recruit at Georgia Tech, the MVP of the 2018 Futures Game came to San Diego as part of the three-way trade that sent Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer to the Reds.

One final name to watch is Luis Campusano, a slugging catcher who blasted 15 homers at High A in a breakout campaign. A second round high schooler out of Georgia in 2017, Campusano hit .325 last year at age 20 while making defensive strides, establishing himself as one of the best catching prospects in baseball.

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Pedro Martinez relives glory days with iconic Sports Illustrated cover

Pedro Martinez relives glory days with iconic Sports Illustrated cover

Twenty years ago, the Boston Red Sox were in the 82nd year of the Curse of the Bambino. There was some hope, though, in the form of the most electric pitcher in baseball.

That pitcher, of course, was Pedro Martinez. The Red Sox legend was coming off a historic 1999 season in which he earned his second Cy Young Award and finished as the American League MVP runner-up. His 23 wins, 2.07 ERA, and 313 strikeouts topped the league, and he continued to exert his dominance over opposing hitters the following season.

Sports Illustrated previewed the 2000 campaign by featuring Martinez on their iconic cover. They even went as far as to predict the Red Sox would win a World Series title with Martinez leading the charge.

On Friday, Martinez took a trip down memory lane and posted the cover to Twitter.

How's that for nostalgia?

Obviously, the Red Sox had to wait four more years before they finally broke the curse. Still, that's a cover to hold on to if you still have some old Sports Illustrated magazines laying around your household.

In 2000, Martinez earned his third Cy Young, going 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA, 284 strikeouts, and an absurd 0.74 WHIP.

Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh shares adorable comic he made to cheer up nephew

File Photo

Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh shares adorable comic he made to cheer up nephew

Baseball's regular season was supposed to begin on Thursday. Alas, that didn't happen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The absence of baseball left many across the country a bit melancholy, including the nephew of recently signed Boston Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh. But McHugh did what he could to cheer him up.

As McHugh detailed on Twitter, he wrote a little comic for his nephew. He also took the time to share the wholesome comic so his fans could see it.

That's a kind gesture by McHugh and the comic itself is adorable. Let's hope it brightened his nephew's day a little bit.

McHugh joined the Red Sox late in the offseason after spending the previous six seasons with the Houston Astros. In 2019, he went 4-5 with a 4.70 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings.

McHugh was rehabbing an elbow injury that was expected to keep him sidelined to start the Red Sox season, but he was eventually expected to compete for a job in the bullpen or starting rotation.