Red Sox land Erik Bedard, prospect Josh Fields in three-team deal
|07.31.11 at 4:12 pm ET|
CHICAGO — The Red Sox got their starting pitcher.
Just before the 2011 trade deadline, the Red Sox acquired left-hander Erik Bedard and minor-league reliever Josh Fields from the Mariners as part of a three-team deal that sent Sox prospects Chih-Hsien Chiang and Juan Rodriguez to the Mariners and Tim Federowicz and Stephen Fife to the Dodgers, according to a major league source. News of the Bedard acquisition by the Sox was first reported by Gordon Edes of ESPN.com
Here’s a look at the players the Sox acquired and gave up:
THE RED SOX GOT …
– Eric Bedard had a disastrous return from the disabled list on Friday, allowing seven baserunners and lasting just 1 1/3 innings, the shortest stint of his career. But his fastball still was 91-93 mph, and for the year, he has a 4-7 record and 3.45 ERA. And while he has been oft-injured, he has also been very good at times when on the mound, having struck out 8.8 batters per nine innings in his career. His velocity this year, according to a talent evaluator, had been the same as it had been throughout his career.
Since the start of the 2006 season, among major leaguers who have thrown at least 500 innings, Bedard ranks 15th in ERA with a 3.41 mark, slightly ahead of Matt Cain (3.43), Dan Haren (3.44) and Zack Greinke (3.45), and just behind Cole Hamels (3.40).
Though he has had more than his fair share of struggles staying on the mound, making just 107 starts in the past six years (a low number, albeit 20 starts more than Rich Harden — whom the Sox nearly acquired on Saturday night — made in the same span), he has unquestionably featured excellent stuff when on it. Notably, he has had an ERA of 3.76 or lower in every year since 2006 (with the necessary disclaimer that he missed all of 2010).
Bedard is strictly a rental — he is under contract for the remainder of this year on a one-year, $1 million deal he signed with the Mariners. He is not expected to be a Type A or Type B free agent who would result in a draft pick if he declined an offer of salary arbitration.
– Josh Fields, 25, was a first-round pick of the Mariners (No. 20 overall) in the 2008 draft out of the University of Georgia. The 25-year-old reliever has struck out more than a batter an inning in his career, but he has also walked 6.4 per nine innings while forging a 4.54 ERA in three minor league seasons. He was pushed early in his pro career, making his debut in Double-A in 2009 and remaining at that level until a promotion to Triple-A earlier this month, where he had a 6.23 ERA in nine appearances. Fields does have impressive stuff, with one evaluator saying he throws a 90-95 mph fastball with a good curveball.
THE RED SOX PARTED WITH …
– Chih-Hsien Chiang, a 23-year-old outfielder, was enjoying a breakout season in Double-A Portland after improving his nutrition and attention to managing his Type 1 diabetes. Chiang was hitting .338 with a .399 OBP, .647 slugging mark, 1.046 OPS, 18 homers and 58 extra-base hits in 87 games.
‘Call him Video Game Chiang,’ Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks said of Portland teammate Chih-Hsieh Chiang at the All-Star Futures Game, where both players represented the Sox. ‘He hits the ball with video game pop. He hits the ball harder than anyone I’ve seen. He squares balls up. If he squares a ball up, and a guy is throwing hard, he’ll hit a ball 500 feet, no problem.’
— Tim Federowicz was regarded as the most defensively advanced catcher in the Red Sox system. His minor league offense had been inconsistent, but it had ticked up this year in Double-A Portland, where he was hitting .275 with a .337 OBP, .397 slugging mark, .734 OPS, seven homers and 50 RBI. Offense will likely determine whether his future is as a backup in the majors or if he can eventually emerge as a starter with above-average defense.
As a freshman, Federowicz was college teammates with Daniel Bard and Andrew Miller at the University of North Carolina when both were on the cusp of being taken in the first round. That experience was a formative one for him.
“It was a great learning experience for me. I came out of high school not catching guys who were throwing 90, then I get a chance to catch these flamethrowers. They were the best in the nation,” said Federowicz. “It was pretty exciting. I learned a lot from them. I learned a lot catching-wise, just how to handle stuff like that. Everyone after that was easy.”
He will end up in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.
– Juan Rodriguez is a lanky, towering, 6-foot-7 right-hander who throws hard and has a slider that has played as a swing-and-miss pitch this year in Single-A Greenville. Signed out of the Dominican for just $20,000 as an 18-year-old in 2007, he is 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA but 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
“He throws very hard, upper-90s. That’s kind of interesting. He comes in in the middle of the games. He throws really hard,” Greenville manager Billy McMillon said earlier this month. “That fastball is by a lot of guys. When it seems like guys are about to catch up, he throws his offsepeed pitches. He’s able to get guys way out in front. The fact that he throws hard has been a definite boost for him.”
Rodriguez will go to the Dodgers.
— Right-hander Stephen Fife had made his second straight All-Star team for Double-A Portland. In part on the strength of a pitcher’s duel with Stephen Strasburg, the right-hander was taken in the third round of the 2008 draft — the same round that netted the Sox Kyle Weiland — and has been described as rival talent evaluators as a solid bet to be a major leaguer, whether as a back of the rotation starter or bullpen guy.
Fife is 11-4 with a 3.66 ERA, 70 strikeouts and 37 walks for Portland this year. He will go to the Dodgers.
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