|Minor Details: Keith Law on Sox trade chips||11.19.10 at 3:22 am ET|
Keith Law of ESPN.com joined this week’s installment of Minor Details. The weekly podcast, which examines the shape of the Red Sox farm system, focused this week on how well positioned the Red Sox are to make trades this winter now that the Hot Stove season seems to have been ignited.
Law touched on a number of topics, including:
–Is it worth trading top prospects for a one-year rental such as Adrian Gonzalez? Law suggested that while he thinks that the Padres superstar first baseman would thrive outside of Petco Park, the fact that he is only signed through 2011 means that the Red Sox should not deal a top prospect — such as Casey Kelly — for him.
“In the Red Sox’ division, I wonder if they’re ever really high enough of a probability of making the playoffs that it’s worth giving up prospect depth,” said Law. “You could probably look at Kelly and say he could be in the big leagues in 2012. Maybe not with the Red Sox, but he’s not that far away. … Casey Kelly is not untouchable for me, but he’s pretty darn close to it. I don’t think I’d trade Casey Kelly for one year of Adrian Gonzalez, and I love Adrian Gonzalez.”
–Do the Red Sox have the pieces to trade for superstars such as Justin Upton this offseason? For many teams, Law believes the answer is yes. There might be some clubs that are looking for what he described as the “country strong,” light-up-the-radar gun pitching prospect who is not to be found in the upper levels of the Red Sox system. But for most clubs, the array and depth of prospects the Sox feature create the basis for deal.
“Your currency may not be good at all 29 banks in the trade market,” said Law. “It might be good at 20 of them. That’s good enough in most cases.”
–Whether there are untouchables in the Red Sox system?
–The trade value of Felix Doubront, whom Law described as a valuable secondary component to a deal because he is big league ready and capable of either taking a spot in the back of the rotation or filling a bullpen role right now.
“He’s valuable as a chip because he’s a big league-ready arm in some role … who will make no money,” said Law. “That’s tremendous value. … You can’t build a deal around Felix Doubront, but he has a lot of value as the second or even third player in a larger deal because he delivers value to the acquiring club from day one.”
Law described Doubront as being a great fit for teams like the Padres and Pirates.
–How the Sox might view the possibility of trading either Lars Anderson or Anthony Rizzo, based on their relative values, their potential and the fact that the team has some redundancy at first base. Law describes Rizzo as potentially having 30-35 home run power, making him “the more valuable property,” although he also noted that Anderson could play first base for a major league club on opening day.
–Does Jose Iglesias make Jed Lowrie expendable? Does Jed Lowrie make Jose Iglesias expendable? Law described Lowrie as being, like Doubront, a very valuable secondary piece to a deal, a major league-ready piece but someone who does not anchor a deal. Iglesias — about whose defense Law raved — might have more trade value, or value to the Red Sox.
–At what position do the Red Sox possess the greatest surplus for a deal?
–Why did Andrew Miller project to be a star in college, and why does he now represent a project hoping to salvage his career.
–How are Red Sox prospects such as Ryan Lavarnway and some Rule 5-eligible relievers performing in the Arizona Fall League?
To listen to the podcast, click here.
To listen to the first episode of the podcast, discussing Baseball America’s list of the Top 10 Red Sox prospects with Sox farm director Mike Hazen and Baseball America’s Jim Callis, click here.
To send feedback or suggestions for future episodes, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|GM meetings recap: What Wednesday meant to the Red Sox||11.18.10 at 7:35 am ET|
Wednesday marked the second full day of the GM meetings in Orlando. For a look back at Day 1, click here.
In 2008, there was not a single transaction that occurred at the GM meetings. In that context, two years seems like quite a long time ago.
This year’s GM meetings feel less as if they are transpiring in the shadow of Disney as much as they are in the middle of a bazaar. There’s been plenty of activity, both real and stage-setting.
While Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told reporters that he did not anticipate that the club would do anything of note before leaving Orlando, three notable transactions took place to further shape the market for offseason deals:
–The Tigers signed free agent Joaquin Benoit, an outstanding performer for the Rays in a huge bounceback 2010 season, to a somewhat staggering three-year, $16.5 million contract. Benoit had a 1.34 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 60 innings while pitching on an incentive-laden deal for the Rays in 2010. Implications for the Red Sox: The Sox are no fans of multi-year deals for relievers, and while they were prepared to bite the bullet on a deal spanning multiple seasons for relief arms, this deal — for a middle reliever — will no doubt embolden pitchers like Scott Downs and Brian Fuentes to shoot very high. With three years now a baseline for the relief market (for a pitcher who is one year removed from missing an entire season), the Sox’ task of adding bullpen arms became more challenging, especially with the top 2010 performer no longer available.
–The Blue Jays acquired outfielder Rajai Davis from the Athletics in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Implications for the Red Sox: Limited, especially since the Blue Jays were not expected to be major players for the outfielders (such as Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth) whom the Sox are more likely targeting.
–The Chibe Lotte Marines of the NPB will make shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka available to Major League Baseball clubs via the posting process. Implications for the Red Sox: Assuming that the 26-year-old, who led the Pacific League with a .346 average, is acquired and signed by a major league team other than the Red Sox, it could take away a potential suitor should the Sox decide to try to move either Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie. Alternately, the Sox could make a bid for Nishioka, in which case the club could more freely market Scutaro or Lowrie (much as the A’s did by acquiring pitcher Hishasi Hiwakuma and then dealing starter Vin Mazzaro to the Royals as part of the deal for outfielder David DeJesus).
While those were the deals that actually got done, there was yet another wave of rumors and statements to help illuminate where the Red Sox stand in the offseason. Here, broken down by area, were the major developments from Wednesday.
OWNERSHIP, PAYROLL AND OVERALL OFFSEASON STRATEGY
–Red Sox chairman Tom Werner appeared on The Big Show and shed light on the Sox’ commitment to return to the postseason next year. (For a transcript of his remarks, click here.) He observed that the Sox had the second highest payroll in the majors last year, and that they anticipated “a robust payroll, probably as high as last year if not higher.” He also suggested that the team will move aggressively to improve its roster, and made clear that he and Sox ownership have no intentions of treating 2011 as a “bridge year.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Minor Details Podcast, Ep. 1||11.10.10 at 12:17 pm ET|
This week marks the debut of the Minor Details podcast, a regular look at the players and state of the Red Sox farm system. This week’s episode focuses on the recent Baseball America list of the Top 10 prospects in the Sox system.
The podcast is joined by WEEI.com colleague Rob Bradford for the introductory segment, Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen (who joins at the 9:25 mark), and Baseball America Executive Editor Jim Callis (31:56). The process of assembling the Top 10 list is discussed, as is the significance of the list to a baseball organization.
Players discussed include Casey Kelly, Jose Iglesias, Anthony Rizzo, Anthony Ranaudo, Garin Cecchini (after much bungling of the pronunciation, for the record, we wanted to clarify: Cheh-Key-Nee), Lars Anderson, Ryan Lavarnway and Ryan Westmoreland, among others. The outrageously awesome musical introduction is by The Porch Cops, featuring members of Tallahassee.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
For suggestions for future podcast topics and guests, or to offer feedback (good or hate-filled), email me at email@example.com or contact me via Twitter.
|Casey Kelly named top Red Sox prospect||11.03.10 at 12:10 pm ET|
Baseball America, in its Top 10 ranking of the Red Sox farm system, named pitcher Casey Kelly as the organization’s top prospect.
Kelly just concluded his Arizona Fall League season, and between Double-A Portland and the AFL, he threw 111 innings, going 4-5 with a 5.51 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 39 walks.
Kelly, who was ranked No. 2 in the system behind Ryan Westmoreland after the 2009 season, showed the potential for three plus-pitches, with a mid-90s fastball that sat at 90-94 and a swing-and-miss change and curve. His command, which had been exceptional with his fastball and changeup in 2009, faltered, a byproduct, the Sox believe, of his still-growing frame.
But the Sox still see a potential front-of-the-rotation pitcher, and Baseball America concurs that the 2008 first-rounder has a big ceiling:
“It’s easy to forget that 2010 was Kelly’s first full year as a pitcher, after he split time between hitting and pitching in 2009, and his learning curve against Double-A hitters was steep. The Red Sox aren’t worried about his less-than-gaudy statistics, still envisioning him becoming a frontline starter with three possible plus pitches and above-average command. He should reach Triple-A Pawtucket at some point in 2011, perhaps even to start the season, and his big league ETA is 2012.”
Kelly was followed in the system by shortstop Jose Iglesias (just named to the Rising Stars team in the Arizona Fall League), first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 2010 draftee Anthony Ranaudo (who has yet to play in a professional game, but did dominate in the Cape League after being drafted) and left-hander Drake Britton, a power lefty who bounced back from Tommy John surgery to strike out 78 in 76 innings with Single-A Greenville.
There was a fairly stunning omission from the Top 10. First baseman Lars Anderson, who made his major league debut in 2010, was not on the list. Before the 2009 season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect in all of baseball.
Here is Baseball America’s full Top 10, with related content from WEEI.com for each:
1. Kelly, RHP
2. Iglesias, SS
3. Rizzo, 1B
4. Ranaudo, RHP
5. Britton, LHP
6. Reymond Fuentes, OF
7. Josh Reddick, OF
8. Felix Doubront, LHP
9. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
10. Garin Cecchini, 3B
|Casey Kelly’s Arizona Fall League season concludes||10.31.10 at 10:27 am ET|
The line score was fine. In his final start of the Arizona Fall League season, Red Sox top prospect Casey Kelly allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings. He gave up one homer, walked one and struck out three.
But while that line might not exactly turn heads, Kelly finished the season flashing the sort of stuff that convinced the Sox that he had a very strong developmental year. His fastball topped out at 94 mph, and he showed a swing-and-miss curve and changeup. (Of Kelly’s 78 pitches, he elicited eight swings and misses, with five on curveballs and three on changeups.) As has been the case throughout this year, his mistakes were on fastballs up and over the plate, and against advanced hitters, that proved costly. All the same, it was a solid performance, giving Kelly three solid to strong outings (of his four starts) in Arizona.
Kelly’s AFL season is now over, and with it, so, too, is a 2010 campaign that was his first as a full-time pitcher. Between Double-A Portland and his time with the Peoria Javelinas of the AFL, Kelly logged 111 innings, going 4-5 with a 5.51 ERA, 92 strikeouts (7.5 per nine innings) and 39 walks (3.2 per nine innings).
While his 6.75 ERA in 16 innings in the AFL is gaudy, that was largely the byproduct of one terrible start (a two-inning, eight-run stinker) among his four outings. Otherwise, Kelly showed good stuff in Arizona and, perhaps more importantly, he was aggressive throwing strikes, walking just four in his 16 innings and allowing a pair of homers. (Both solid totals, considering the hitter-friendly environment of the AFL.) Considering that he was the second youngest pitcher in the fall league for top prospects (Kelly turned 21 on Oct. 4), he carried himself well, and he accomplished what he went to Arizona to do, tacking on 15-20 innings to his season to build his workload.
Now, with 2010 behind him, and the experience of a full season as a professional pitcher on his resume, Kelly is set up for a significant 2011 season. The Sox, with good reason, emphasized the fact that his stuff was better than his results in 2010.
Given that Kelly was dealing with youth (he was among the youngest pitchers in both the AFL and Double-A) and inexperience (he had 95 pro innings as a pitcher prior to this year), and that he was adjusting to physical development that took him from being a command pitcher to more of a power pitcher, it seems far to conclude that the numbers did not tell the whole story of his 2010 season.
But in 2011, with several of those adjustments having occurred, performance will likely be used as a meaningful barometer of his prospect status. If the physical gains of 2010 can translate into results, then his top-prospect status will be cemented further. If not, then there will be questions about whether he has been overhyped.
But, for now, such questions seem premature. This season was one of challenges, adversity and — the Sox believe — progress and development for a pitcher whose talent and makeup were both prominently on display throughout the year. For now, the numbers mean less in 2010 than the development that occurred for a young pitcher whose future, the Sox believe, remains extremely bright.
|Kelly gets shelled in Arizona Fall League start||10.26.10 at 2:00 am ET|
Top Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly was hit hard in his Monday outing in the Arizona Fall League, allowing eight runs on eight hits in just two innings of work for the Peoria Javelinas. Kelly struck out two, walked one and allowed a homer. Kelly threw 46 pitches, 28 for strikes.
The outing represented a dramatic departure for Kelly, who had excelled in his first two AFL outings. Prior to Monday, he’d allowed three runs (one earned) in nine innings while allowing six hits, walking two and striking out six.
Despite the tough outing, Kelly sounded an upbeat note on his twitter page.
“Its games like these that make you a better player. Adversity is a great thing really shows what kinda player you are,” he wrote.
Kelly is expected to throw 15-20 innings in the AFL in order to make up the innings that he missed at the end of his season with Double-A Portland due to a strained lat muscle.
|Kelly, Iglesias and other Sox prospects set to start Arizona Fall League||10.12.10 at 1:14 pm ET|
The Arizona Fall League, a training ground for top prospects, opens on Tuesday, and the Red Sox will feature eight players on the Peoria Javelias, including a few of their top prospects. Both Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias will play in the AFL for the second straight season, primarily in order to make up some of the time that each missed due to injury this year.
Kelly threw 95 innings for Double-A Portland after being shut down late in the Eastern League season with a strained lat. After taking part in the AFL as a position player last year in the AFL, he will conclude his first full year as a pitcher by throwing 15-20 innings in Arizona. He will make his first start on Wednesday.
Iglesias missed almost two months due to a broken index finger that limited him to 57 games with Portland. After dazzling in spring training, he hit .285/.315/.357/.672 for Portland (and .350/.458/.500/.958 in a 13-game rehab assignment in Lowell). While the Sox view him as a shortstop, he will play both short and third base in the AFL, owing to the fact that he was not designated the “priority” AFL roster member by the Sox. As such, he is required to play multiple positions. Iglesias spent part of the just-completed Florida Instructional League working out at third to prepare for the stint.
Catcher Ryan Lavarnway is also on the Peoria roster, after a year in which he vaulted himself into prospect status by hitting .288/.393/.489/.882 with 22 homers and 102 RBI while splitting time between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. While the Sox raved about the defensive strides that he made behind the plate, Lavarnway caught in just 53 of the 126 games he played this year, and so the opportunity to spend more time behind the dish was a major factor in the team’s desire to send the Yale product to Arizona.
Other Sox minor leaguers taking part in the AFL are:
Seth Garrison: The right-hander was 1-1 with a 4.28 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings spanning 13 appearances for Salem after missing the first half of the season with an elbow injury. Prior to the injury, he had a strong showing in Salem in 2009, going 8-11 with a 3.90 ERA in 25 starts, and a 2.99 ERA from June through the end of the year.
Eammon Portice: A right-hander who was converted to the bullpen this year, Portice had a 3-7 record and 4.65 ERA for Double-A Portland, but he struck out more than a batter an inning (96 punchouts in 93 innings) while walking just 25. He is Rule 5 eligible this coming offseason, so a strong performance in the AFL could make him a consideration for the 40-man roster.
Jason Rice: Like Portice, Rice spent the year in the Portland bullpen, going 3-2 with a 2.85 ERA and striking out 71 (while walking 30) in 60 innings. Opponents hit just .211 against him. The 24-year-old was selected from the White Sox in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft in 2008. He is Rule 5 eligible this offseason.
Daniel Turpen: Turpen was the pitcher whom the Red Sox acquired from the Giants in exchange for Ramon Ramirez at the trade deadline. The right-handed reliever made a dozen appearances with the Sea Dogs, forging a 4.91 ERA while striking out nearly a batter an inning (18 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings) and walking nine.
Juan Carlos Linares: The 26-year-old outfielder, who defected from Cuba, was signed by the Sox this year. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, he showed a mix of power and patience as well as defensive skill in Cuba. He hit .239/.271/.391/.662 in 13 games with Portland this year.
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