RED SOX INSIDER

Tomase: Rebuilding of Sox continues with smart Mitch Moreland trade

RED SOX INSIDER
The first notable Red Sox trade before the deadline was moving Mitch Moreland to San Diego.
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Here's my rapid reaction to the Red Sox sending first baseman Mitch Moreland to the Padres for a pair of prospects.

First off, this is exactly the kind of trade Chaim Bloom was brought to Boston to make. He turned a veteran with no meaningful future in Boston into a former first-round pick and a highly regarded center fielder, both of whom ranked among San Diego's top 20 prospects, according to MLB.com.

Third baseman Hudson Potts is the former, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder with natural power drafted 24th overall by the Padres in 2016 out of Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas. Potts slammed 20 homers as an 18-year-old between two levels in 2017 and has advanced as far as Double A, where he hit 16 home runs last year despite being one of the youngest players in the Texas League.

Jeisson Rosario is the latter, a 20-year-old speedster and future leadoff hitter coming off a 2019 season that saw him lead all of High A in walks with 87. Potts ranked No. 16 on San Diego's prospect list, with Rosario coming in at No. 19.

"Both of these guys have a chance to be really exciting players," Bloom said. "Very high upside, both of them. Pretty accomplished minor league players at levels where they've been very young. Hudson Potts is primarily a third baseman, but he did see some time at second base last summer as well. A big, physical kid with a lot of power and a good arm. Really good tools. A chance, as he continues to develop his approach, that he can be a real asset with the bat and be able to play multiple positions.

 

"Jeisson Rosario is a top-flight athlete who profiles as a true center fielder and a true leadoff hitter. Plus-plus runner, really good athlete, very good ability in the outfield, has a really advanced feel for the strike zone at a young age and we're excited to see how he develops as he grows and adds strength, but he's got the upside to play center every day and hit at the top of the lineup."

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That's an impressive haul for a first baseman who turns 35 next week and is of little use to a Red Sox team that's hopelessly out of contention. The deal should also serve as a template for whatever else happens before 4 p.m. Monday, with Bloom primarily focused on restocking a barren farm system.

From Moreland's perspective, the veteran in the midst of a career season -- if we can apply that term to anything in 2020 -- jumps into a pennant race, where his experience will undoubtedly benefit a young San Diego club that's among the most exciting in baseball.

Moreland is hitting .328 with eight homers and 21 RBIs playing primarily against right-handers. His 1.177 OPS leads the American League and trails only Nationals wunderkind Juan Soto in all of baseball. With Tommy Pham on the IL, San Diego has an opening at DH to bolster a lineup built around superstars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, as well as veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder Wil Myers.

Moreland, whose pinch hit home run in Game 4 of the 2018 World Series changed the momentum of the series, leaves Boston with an All-Star berth and a ring.

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"We're going to miss him," said GM Brian O'Halloran. "He's been a tremendous player and person for us for almost four years now."

Moreland's departure creates an opportunity for prospect Bobby Dalbec, who has been summoned from the alternate site to replace him. Baseball America's No. 75 overall prospect entering the season, Dalbec possesses impressive power -- 59 home runs in the minors between 2018 and 2019 -- and an outstanding glove at first, with the ability to play third as well.

The next month will give the 25-year-old an opportunity to prove he's part of the future.

"It's exciting being able to give him an opportunity," Bloom said. "He's a guy who really has the ability to impact a major league team to do that on both sides of the ball, he's earned this opportunity and we're really excited to see what he can do."

The question now is how many more moves the Red Sox can make. Veterans Matt Barnes and Christian Vazquez are candidates to be traded, along with more complementary parts like outfielders Kevin Pillar and Jackie Bradley Jr. and reliever Ryan Brasier.

"We certainly expect to be very active in conversations between now and tomorrow afternoon," Bloom said. "We'll see what comes out of those conversations, but at this point, we don't have another one of these Zooms teed up right after this one, but we'll see what develops over the course of the next day-plus."

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