Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox Complete Nine-Player Trade
As every baseball fan knows by now, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox completed a gigantic trade this morning. The Red Sox shipped first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford, and infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers, receiving in exchange first baseman James Loney, OF/1B Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan De Jesus, and pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster.
Here is a look at the prospects received by the Red Sox.
Ivan De Jesus, INF: De Jesus was a second round pick in 2005 from high school in Puerto Rico. The son of former major league shortstop Ivan De Jesus, this infielder is a 5-11, 200 pound right-handed hitter, born May 1, 1987. Originally a shortstop, his physical tools fit best at second base, where he's developed into a reliable presence. The Dodgers were grooming him for a utility role. Offensively, he's a line drive hitter with limited power, a career .301/.354/.416 hitter in 1144 Triple-A at-bats, all for Albuquerque. I'd rate him a Grade C prospect.
Rubby De La Rosa, RHP: Not technically a prospect, De La Rosa posted a 3.71 ERA with a 60/31 K/BB in 61 innings for the Dodgers in 2011, exceeding rookie qualifications. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and has pitched 12 innings in the minors this year as part of his rehab work, posting a 0.00 ERA with a 12/3 K/BB and just five hits allowed, pitching for the Arizona Rookie League Dodgers and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the High-A California League. A healthy De La Rosa features a mid-90s fastball, with a slider and changeup. The 23-year-old can develop into a number three starter, perhaps a two if he really maxes out. If durability becomes a concern, he can be a fireballing reliever. I would give him a Grade B+ if he was still a prospect.
Jerry Sands, OF-1B: The 24-year-old Sands exceeded rookie qualifications in 2011, hitting .253/.338/.389 in 198 at-bats for the Dodgers. He's hit well in Triple-A, including a .303/.380/.531 mark this year with 24 homers for the Albuquerque Isotopes, although the park/league environment boosts his raw stats. Sands has legitimate sock in his bat, although he doesn't project as a star player given his limits to the corners defensively. I think he can be a useful role player. Grade C/C+ type.
Allen Webster, RHP: The key rookie in the trade, Webster was drafted in the 18th round in 2008, from high school in Madison, North Carolina. Primarily an infielder as a prep, he made a successful transition to full-time mound work in the minors. He had an excellent 2010 season in the Low-A Midwest League, but was erratic in 2011. 2012 has been more successful, with a 3.55 ERA and a 117/57 K/BB in 122 innings for Double-A Chattanooga.
Webster is listed at 6-3, 185, born February 18, 1990. He has a mid-90s sinker that helped him post a 2.05 GO/AO ratio this year, allowing only one home run. His improvement this year results from greater consistency with his curveball, slider, and changeup. He's been very effective of late, with a 2.08 ERA in his last 12 starts with a 64/35 K/BB in 65 innings.
Webster's command still needs some work, but he has the natural ability to be a number two starter if everything comes together. I'd rate him a Grade B+.
In exchange for enormous salary relief and a fresh start, the Red Sox received a disappointing veteran first baseman, two pitchers with a decent chance to perform well in a major league rotation, a guy with a solid role-playing power bat, and a guy who can be a solid utility infielder. Ultimately I think it is the development of De La Rosa and Webster that matters most, plus the financial flexibility offered by the salary re-set.
For the Dodgers, this trade puts them even more fully into "win now" mode, while putting more gaps in the farm system.