Prospects in the Erik Bedard Trade
In a complicated three-way trade involving the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston Red Sox, the Red Sox receive southpaw Erik Bedard and right-hander Josh Fields from Seattle, the Dodgers receive catcher Tim Federowicz, right-hander Stephen Fife and right-hander Juan Rodriguez from Boston, and the Mariners receive outfielders Trayvon Robinson (Dodgers) and Chih-Hsien Chiang (Red Sox).
Chih-Hsien Chiang, OF: The Red Sox signed Chiang as a free agent out of Taiwan in 2005. A diabetic, his pro performance was mediocre until this year, when better nutrition got him into better physical condition and enabled him to manage his health issues more effectively. He's broken out for Double-A Portland, hitting .340/.402/.648 with 18 homers, 25 walks, and 61 strikeouts in 321 at-bats. A 23-year-old left-handed hitter, his other tools aren't spectacular and his plate discipline needs work, but scouts like his swing. His grade would be somewhere somewhere on the C+/B- cusp.
Tim Federowicz, C: Boston drafted Federowicz in the seventh round in 2008, from the University of North Carolina. A top-flight defensive catcher, he has a strong throwing arm, plenty of mobility, and excellent leadership skills behind the plate. A weak stick has kept him off prospect lists. He's hitting .275/.337/.397 this year for Double-A Portland, with 32 walks and 62 strikeouts in 335 at-bats. He probably won't hit enough to be a major league regular, but he could last a long time as a defense-oriented reserve. He turns 24 this week. Grade C.
Josh Fields, RHP: The Mariners drafted Fields in the first round in 2008, 20th overall, from the University of Georgia. There's nothing wrong with his stuff: he can hit the mid-90s and his breaking ball has bite, but poor command has kept him from consistent professional success. This year he had a 2.77 ERA with a 26/19 K/BB in 26 innings for Double-A Jackson (note the high walk rate), but a 6.23 ERA with a 13/13 K/BB in 13 innings for Triple-A Tacoma. He turns 26 later this month. He could be a fine reliever, if he ever learns to harness his stuff, which is a big if. Grade C.
Stephen Fife, RHP: A 24-year-old right-hander, Fife was drafted by the Red Sox in the third round in 2008, from the University of Utah. His stuff is average across the board: 88-92 MPH sinking fastball, average changeup and curveball, but he throws strikes and keeps the ball low in the zone. He has a 3.66 ERA with a 70/37 K/BB in 103 innings for Double-A Portland this year, with 107 hits allowed. In the majors, he projects as a fifth starter or more probably a long/middle reliever. I've see him as a sleeper in the past but he's never quite woken up. Grade C.
Trayvon Robinson, OF: The Dodgers drafted Robinson in the 10th round in 2005, out of high school in Los Angeles. He moved slowly at first, but began breaking out in 2009 and is having a fine (if somewhat deceptive) season this year for Triple-A Albuquerque, hitting .293/.375/.563 with 26 homers, 45 walks, and 122 strikeouts in 368 at-bats. A speed demon early in his career, he still runs well but is less aggressive on the bases these days, focusing more on power. He runs well enough to play center but his arm is best-suited for left. He strikes out a lot and his batting average may not be good initially, but he has a broad base of skills and tools. A 23-year-old switch-hitter, I gave him a Grade B pre-season and that still seems reasonable.
Juan Rodriguez, RHP: A 22-year-old right-hander signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, Rodriguez has a 5.19 ERA with an 88/32 K/BB in 59 innings for Low-A Greenville in the South Atlantic League, allowing 57 hits. His command is spotty and his slider is mediocre, but his 92-95 MPH fastball has movement and his K/IP ratio is excellent. He needs to sharpen up his command and add polish, but he's an interesting arm at least. Grade C, but has some upside.