Yesterday the Red Sox acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Jeremias Pineda. Valencia was subsequently optioned to AAA Pawtucket. Valencia adds depth, but likely won’t be needed this year until rosters expand. He may have a shot at a roster spot next season.
photo credit MLB.com
In the past two days there’s been a flurry of roster moves made by the Red Sox in the past couple days. Yesterday the Red Sox said in a press release:
“BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox today placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his left hand and recalled both outfielder Ryan Kalish and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Pawtucket. Kalish and Mortensen will be active for tonight’s game against the Tigers at Fenway Park. Additionally, the club today activated right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket.”
Sweeney is likely done for the season if the Sox miss the playoffs, but he may return for the final games of the season. Kalish is returning to the Sox after a brief and largely unsuccessful stint in the majors earlier this year. Mortensen was called up to fill the open spot Albers left, until Craig Breslow arrived which was just a few minutes ago. Chris Carpenter has missed the entire year with a right elbow surgery. He was the compensation received by the Sox for Theo Epstein.
Now on to the trades. Yesterday the Sox made two trades. The first was the Sox acquiring lefty Craig Breslow from the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik. This move was made to give the Sox bullpen flexibility, so that Franklin Morales could be put back into the starting rotation. I like this move, because Morales had been very effective as a starter and I love that he’ll be returning to this role. Also the bullpen doesn’t lose anything, because Breslow is a great left reliever. I am a huge Albers and Podsednic fan, but there wasn’t a need for either of them (although you can never have enough pitching.)
The other trade was between the Cleveland Indians and the BoSox. The Sox acquired righty, knuckleballer Steven Wright for first baseman Lars Anderson. This a great move, because it brings everyone’s favorite pitch, the knuckleball. Also, Lars needed to be moved, because he had been blocked for a long while now and I’m glad they got a good return for him. Another great thing is that Tim Wakefield will work with Wright, so he’ll be taught well.
Today there were a few more roster moves that took place. Daniel Nava was placed on the DL with a sprained left wrist and able to be activated on Sunday August 12th. Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Pawtucket to take his place. Clayton Mortensen was optioned to AAA to make room for Craig Breslow who was added to the 25-man roster.
And with that, that’s all the Red Sox have done the past two days. Ben Cherrington is a very busy man.
First of all Happy Fourth to you all, as we all celebrate our countries birthday. Sadly, it was not a happy day for the Sox. The Oakland A’s completed a 3-game sweep of the Sox. And now on to the news from today.
After last nights loss to the A’s, the Sox did exactly what I said they wouldn’t. That was option Clayton Mortensen to AAA and recalled Justin Germano. He’s pitching fairly well in Pawtucket in 16 starts. With Morales working out of the pen today and scheduled to start in the series against the Yankees, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Germano take on the Yankees at some point.
Speaking of the devil, one of our own has joined the dark side. Darnell McDonald was claimed of waivers by the New York Yankees. He’ll join the team tomorrow for the series against the Red Sox. This move makes almost no sense as the Yankees already have a plethora outfielders who have all played better than McDonald. He may be a slight upgrade defensively to some guys, but not enough to want to play him over anyone. He also adds a little speed to the bench too, but not enough where they’d be compelled to DFA a reliever and overcrowd the bench. So what I’m getting at is this isn’t a baseball move, it’s just a big F U to the Red Sox from Brian Cashman. I wish Darnell the best, but I just hope he doesn’t help the Yankees too much.
Yesterday the Red Sox recalled Aaron Cook, Jose Iglesias, and Will Middlebrooks from AAA. They also optioned Junichi Tazawa and Lars Anderson to AAA and placed Kevin Youkilis on the DL. Will Middlebrooks is expected to play third base in the absence of Youk. If you don’t already know, Middlebrooks is the top prospect in the Sox’s farm system. He was tearing up AAA pitching is April and many fans have been hoping to see him called up. Although he’s only expected to stay until Youk is reinstated from the DL, but there’s reason to believe he might over stay his welcome.
Will Middlebrooks is a near complete hitter. He can hit to all fields, but has a lot more power to his pull field. He also tends to expand the strike zone and chase pitches, especially fastballs up. Yesterday, in his debut, he was able to show patience by drawing a walk so he might be more patient at the big league level when he knows he’s not going to be able to handle all of those pitches.
If Middlebrooks can consistently play like he did last night (2 for 3 with a walk) he could find himself staying on the big league roster for a long time. He could end up being very valuable in keeping Youk healthy by having a trusted bat slid into the lineup when Youk is taking an off day which will be frequent. Although Middlebrooks is over hyped, he does has the skill to develop into the player that many project he will be one day. He’s a reason now to get excited even if his first stay isn’t for long.
It’s no secret that the Red Sox bullpen has been bad. They need some type of quick fix to save the pen. As promised here’s my list of guys who can help save the bullpen by the end of May.
Huston Street RHP-SDP: I mentioned Street in my article yesterday. He’s currently the closer for the San Diego Padres. He doesn’t appear to be a trade candidate, because they just traded for him, but I’ve heard that they only got him to spin him off to another team, when his value got higher, for more. At this point the Sox may be reluctant to add a pricey closer, but at the same time you look at the problems with the bullpen you have to expand what you call too expensive. He can save the pen by bringing his closer experience along with some leadership. With a win-loss record of 30-21 with 179 saves and a career ERA of 3.09 he’s proven to be a quality arm over the past 8 years.
Jeff Gray RHP-MIN: Gray isn’t a name known by many and perhaps that benefits the Sox. Gray is a reliever for the Twins currently and has played for 5 different teams in his 4 year career. He hasn’t had too many chances to prove himself, but he ended last year strong and has started off this where he left off. The Twins don’t appear to be contenders this year and the asking price for Gray would likely be low and they might be able to get a quick and painless deal done.
Brandon Leauge RHP-SEA: Last year League established himself as an elite closer. Their Mariners were thrilled with his ability to step into the closer role in their time of need, but as a rebuilding team they entertained the idea of trading him this offseason. Hopefully the market for League is still open. It’s highly unlikely they’ll deal their closer within the first two months of the season, but everyone has their price. He’d be very valuable to the Sox, because of his AL East experience and his closer experience as well.
John Lannan LHP-WSH(AAA): Lannan’s situation in Washington is getting worse and worse and he wants out. Yes, Lannan is a starter, but he gives the Red Sox the option to send Bard back to bullpen which would obviously help the pen. Lannan would add a third lefty to the rotation which isn’t a bad thing, but it could lead to some match up problems with right-handed heavy lineups. I like the idea of adding Lannan, but I like the idea of putting Bard back into the pen a lot more.
Juan Carlos Oviedo RHP-MIA: I know the Red Sox don’t want another troubled reliever (Bobby Jenks) but Oviedo was pretty special when he was Leo Nunez. The Marlins considered non-tendering him in the winter, so we know they’ll be willing to part with him. Oviedo can still close games and a deal could be made.
Roberto Hernandez RHP-CLE: He’s a cross between Oviedo and Lannan a troubled starter. Formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez has had an up and down career. The Sox did make a push for him at the deadline and can rekindle talks at a lower price. He also gives them the option to move Bard back into the pen and he could pitch pretty well in the rotation. If the price is right the Sox can’t pass up this oppertunity.
Junichi Tazawa RHP-BOS: I know he’s already part of the pen, but he hasn’t pitched yet, so he’s still got a clean slate. In 2009 he was able to showcase his ability and he had some pretty good stuff. He was fantastic in his short stay. I saw his start against the Yankees and that’s when I was sold that he was going to be good. Lately he’s been sidelined with injuries, but now he has his chance to establish himself as a big leaguer.
Brandon Duckworth RHP-BOS (AAA): Duckworth is currently a righty pitching for the PawSox. He has some major league experience, and he could end up being a quality reliever in the pen. Key word is could though.
Clayton Mortenson RHP-BOS (AAA): We dealt Marco Scutaro for him so the former starter turned reliever can have an impact on this team. He’s not always dominate, so he might not be a quick fix, but he has potential and I can only hope he’ll live up to it.
This list isn’t really a star-studded list, but that’s not the point of it. These are guys who can be acquired (or called up) and have an impact. There are other guys out there, but I complied this list based off of a little research and my own personal knowledge. Feel free to add names or pick apart this list. If you want, send me a tweet @thebestsoxblog (or at least follow me). Personally I like all of these guys, some more than others, and I’d be thrilled in the Sox got any of the 6 not on the team.