Red Sox

Red Sox land catching prospect from Cubs to finish Travis Lakins trade

Red Sox land catching prospect from Cubs to finish Travis Lakins trade

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped the Boston Red Sox from conducting business.

The Red Sox acquired catching prospect Jhonny Pereda from the Chicago Cubs on Monday to complete their January 21 trade of right-hander Travis Lakins.

That January deal involved Boston sending Lakins to Chicago for cash considerations or player to be named later -- and that player is Pereda, a 23-year-old prospect from Venezuela.

Pereda's offensive numbers aren't inspiring -- he slashed .248/.332/.319 for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies last season with two home runs and 39 RBIs in 98 games played -- but he boasts an elite glove.

Pereda won the minor leagues' Gold Glove award in 2019 as the best defensive catcher in Minor League Baseball after throwing out 44 attempted base-stealers in 132 chances, more than any catcher in Double- or Triple-A.

The young catcher will join an overhauled group of backstops behind starter Christian Vazquez that includes veterans Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy and recently-acquired prospect Connor Wong.

When we'll see Pereda remains unclear, though: MLB's season currently is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic with an unknown timetable for a return.

Who are the best center fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best center fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

The Red Sox have employed all manner of center fielders throughout their history.

Whereas left field has generally been home to run producers and right to all-around threats, the men in the middle have covered a wide range of styles. There are straight speedsters like Jacoby Ellsbury, defensive dynamos like Jackie Bradley Jr., fun-loving eccentric types like Johnny Damon, underappreciated standouts like Ellis Burks, and even plodding sluggers like Tony Armas.

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Only in recent years have the Red Sox consistently prioritized defense in the role, from Coco Crisp to Ellsbury to Bradley.

But that doesn't mean they haven't featured some talented players there, including a turn-of-century Hall of Famer, the younger brother of baseball royalty, and the one who fans over 50 still lament got away.

Click here for the Top 5 center fielders in Red Sox history.

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 100-76

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 100-76

There was once a time when a list of baseball's top 100 players would've been dominated by men in their 30s or even 40s. In 2004, for instance, the NL MVP was 39-year-old Barry Bonds and the Cy Young went to 41-year-old Roger Clemens. It was the seventh respective award for each.

We now can be almost certain that neither accomplishment was achieved without help, but if any good came from that era, it's that it forced baseball to address its PED problem, which means that a top 100 list now looks very different.

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Our list will reflect that shift. What it won't include are three pitchers guaranteed not to play in 2020 because of Tommy John surgery — Noah Syndergaard of the Mets, Luis Severino of the Yankees, and of course Chris Sale of the Red Sox.

Over the next four weeks, NBC Sports Boston will unveil its top 100 players, 25 at a time, and the list is dominated by youth. Never have young players been so essential to winning, whether it's 20-year-old Juan Soto helping lead the Nationals to last fall's shocking World Series title, or 23-year-old Cody Bellinger being named NL MVP.

Click here for Part 1: Players ranked 100th to 76th on our list.