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Friday, June 23, 2017

Minor Moves

With the draft over the Sox are in the business of shuttling their various draftees to new locales while at the same time putting some players already in the system in motion.  One thing the Sox did during the Cherington era is generally leave players at one level throughout the season.  It didn’t appear to be a hard and fast rule but there wasn’t the internal movement we often saw during the Epstein era.  Let’s just take a quick gander at a few notable moves (and one particularly notable non-move);

Pawtucket - Maybe the biggest bit of news here is that Kyle Kendrick has been punted from the 40 man roster.  This is kind of interesting to me because there is no obvious need for it.  The Sox now have 39 men on the 40 man roster (players on the 60 day DL don’t count) and while presumably the hope is that a Carson Smith activation in the next 3-4 weeks might be the driver I’m not sure what is up here.  I wonder if this is just a mechanism to clear some space if Dombrowski wants to make a move.

One thing I have seen mentioned in a few places is some puzzlement over the Sox not taking a look at Rusney Castillo at third base.  I have to admit while I would love to see it (he was an infielder in Cuba) he hasn’t played the infield in several years.  Still, with third being a black hole for this team why not give him a look and if he can do it give him a try.  If he doesn’t pan out you punt and make a deal somewhere but why not explore internal options first?

Portland - The Sox made a couple of moves here promoting infielders Chad De La Guerra and Michael Chavis.  De La Guerra is an interesting dude to me, he reminds me a bit of former prospect Carlos Asuaje.  From what little I’ve seen of him he is just a reliable line drive machine.  Chavis has had a breakout season in Salem capping it with an All Star Game MVP performance.  His K rate is still rather troubling (57 K/19 BB in Hi A) and that jump to AA is always a grinder.  He is only 21 so there is time.

Of course the big issue at Portland is the other third baseman; Rafael Devers.  The Sox are being patient with him. Alex Speier noted that Devers and Chavis shared time at third a couple years ago in Greenville and both players progressed despite (or perhaps because of) the time share.  The Eastern League All Star Game is July 9, I wonder if the Sox are going to let Devers take a bow in that game then move to Pawtucket at that time.

Salem - The Sox have filled out the roster a bit by adding pitcher Stephen Nogosek.  Chris Hatfield of SoxProspects notes that Nogosek has been used as a traditional closer in the low minors and that this is an unusual approach for the Sox.  Nogosek was drafted with this in mind so the Sox seem to be just getting a jump on the role I guess.  He is a bit older (22) so the 2016 draftee was always seen as a potential quick mover.  It won’t be a surprise if Nogosek is working his way to being in the bullpen mix in Boston by the middle of next year.

In slightly dated news Shaun Anderson (RHP) was promoted a few weeks ago.  Anderson, like Nogosek, is a bit older (also 22) and after carving up the Sally League earned promotion to Salem. He was pounded for seven runs in his first start but since then has pitched reasonably well.

Greenville - First half champs! Congrats to the Drive who among other things have a nice little ballpark that I heartily recommend visiting.  As for moves well it seems a bit quiet at the moment. The two biggest prospects at Greenville in theory are CJ Chatham and Jay Groome both of whom have been injured much of the year.

Lowell - The Spinners got underway this week and they will be busy.  Groome’s first start was cut short by rain but he threw well according to all reports and he is expected to make one more start this weekend before returning to Greenville.  Start times are 5:35 both Saturday and Sunday if you are in the area.  LeLacheur Park is a great facility and the Spinners just extended their lease by ten years.  Our own Dillon Gee Escape Plan shared this link at Over the Monster tracking signings.  First rounder Tanner Houck is signed and has been officially assigned to Lowell.

Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: June 23, 2017 at 07:43 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: June 23, 2017 at 09:03 AM (#5481466)
One thing I have seen mentioned in a few places is some puzzlement over the Sox not taking a look at Rusney Castillo at third base. I have to admit while I would love to see it (he was an infielder in Cuba) he hasn’t played the infield in several years. Still, with third being a black hole for this team why not give him a look and if he can do it give him a try. If he doesn’t pan out you punt and make a deal somewhere but why not explore internal options first?
I would rather they try him than Vazquez. But yeah, unless they think they have a chance to trade him they should see if he can handle a position of need.
   2. villageidiom Posted: June 23, 2017 at 02:29 PM (#5481784)
Maybe the biggest bit of news here is that Kyle Kendrick has been punted from the 40 man roster.  This is kind of interesting to me because there is no obvious need for it.  The Sox now have 39 men on the 40 man roster (players on the 60 day DL don’t count) and while presumably the hope is that a Carson Smith activation in the next 3-4 weeks might be the driver I’m not sure what is up here.  I wonder if this is just a mechanism to clear some space if Dombrowski wants to make a move.
...such as claiming Doug Fister.
   3. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: June 23, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5481791)
Huh, that's an interesting one. Any idea why he hadn't really gotten a look? He wasn't great last year but he was far from pitching batting practice.
   4. villageidiom Posted: June 23, 2017 at 02:45 PM (#5481801)
Any idea why he hadn't really gotten a look?
Walks and home runs were trending toward the sucks. Not great for a sinkerballer.

It seems he's more worth a roster spot than Kendrick, though.
   5. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: June 25, 2017 at 10:26 PM (#5482565)
Speaking of moves the Sox have apparently signed Johnny Peralta to a minor league deal.
   6. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: June 25, 2017 at 11:31 PM (#5482591)
Speaking of moves the Sox have apparently signed Johnny Peralta to a minor league deal.

Red Sox are pretty well equipped for a run in 2014.
   7. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: June 30, 2017 at 01:04 AM (#5485815)
Groome pitched five no hit innings for Lowell on Friday.
   8. villageidiom Posted: June 30, 2017 at 08:57 AM (#5485857)
Pablo Sandoval is 5-for-12 on his rehab stint in Pawtucket.
   9. villageidiom Posted: July 03, 2017 at 09:17 AM (#5487092)
Per soxprospects.com, Boston...
Traded Nick Longhi to Cincinnati for international signing bonus pool space. Traded Imeldo Diaz and Stanley Espinal to St. Louis for international signing bonus pool space. Agreed to terms with international free agents Daniel Flores, Danny Diaz, Antoni Flores, Nelfy Abreu, and Denny Daza.


This came on the day their one-year ban on international signings was lifted. I know nothing about any of these guys. OK, I know something about Longhi, whose defense was limited to 1B or corner OF, but simply didn't develop the kind of power one would expect to see at those positions.

Someone tell me these international free agents were worth it. Please.
   10. villageidiom Posted: July 03, 2017 at 09:54 AM (#5487105)
To follow up my own post...

1. Per this helpful article from Baseball America, Boston has a $4.75 million bonus pool for signing international free agents in the next 12 months, but are allowed to trade with other teams to acquire up to 75% more (or another $3.56 million) in bonus space.

2. Apparently they got $2.75 million from the Reds for Longhi. We can safely assume Boston didn't get more than $810k from the Cardinals in the other transaction.

3. Even though in the new CBA the system changed and penalties are no longer what they were, penalties incurred from the prior CBA carry over to this and next year. Both the Cardinals and Reds are restricted in the next two years, and cannot spend more than $300k from their bonus pools on any one player. Realistically neither team would be able to spend their bonus pool completely.

Again from soxprospects, for reference here are the players Boston signed for more than $300k in the last few years, with this year's crop bolded:

Moncada $31.50m 2014
Iglesias $6.25m 2009
Castillo $5.40m 2014
Hinojosa $4.00m 2013
D. Flores $3.10m 2017

Lin $2.00m 2011
Vinicio $1.95m 2009
A. Espinoza $1.80m 2014
Diaz $1.60m 2017
Acosta $1.50m 2014
Devers $1.50m 2013
A. Flores $1.40m 2017

Flores $0.90m 2011
Margot $0.80m 2011
Mercedes $0.80m 2011
De Jesus $0.79m 2013
Linares $0.75m 2010
Ibarra $0.75m 2010

Almonte $0.61m 2012
Diaz $0.60m 2013
Romero $0.60m 2011
Rijo $0.58m 2012
Bogaerts $0.51m 2009

Basabe $0.45 2012
Basabe $0.45 2012 (his brother)
Abreu $0.45m 2017
Aybar $0.40m 2013
J. Espinoza $0.40m 2014
McGrath $0.40m 2011
Padron $0.35m 2009

So these seem like "we think these are good players" bonuses, but not at the "highest bonus ever WTF are they thinking" level.
   11. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: July 03, 2017 at 10:01 AM (#5487106)
Baseball America has Daniel flores as the number two overall player and Diaz as number seven.
   12. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: July 03, 2017 at 10:10 AM (#5487111)
   13. villageidiom Posted: July 03, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5487113)
Baseball America has Daniel flores as the number two overall player and Diaz as number seven.
I just saw that! And the other Flores is at 35.

Assuming Boston traded to get the maximum, they would have $8.31m to spend in total, and would have $1.76m left to spend after the above signings. Two players in the top 15 (Salinas at #10, Cabello at #15) have not yet committed to a team. While it might help them to sign many more players at lower levels, and Bogaerts has shown there is value down there, taking a good chunk of change and landing Salinas might be better.

...What am I saying?? They landed 2 of the top 7, and I'm angling for 3 of the top 15. I should be content with what they got already.
   14. villageidiom Posted: July 03, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5487120)
Daniel Flores from the International Showcase in the DR
Switch-hitting catcher! By my untrained eye, good mechanics in his swing and his throw, although the throws probably got some benefit from a series of glove-side high pitches.

BA also has a video of Diaz, but it's all batting-practice hitting. Lots of movement in his swing. No video of SS defense.
   15. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: July 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5487142)
Baseball America calls Flores the best catching prospect since Sanchez. That's kind of nice.
   16. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: July 04, 2017 at 07:49 PM (#5487688)
Henry's first start in Portland was not encouraging. He continues to do his best Daniel Bard impression, now at 25 walks in his last 16.1 innings.

0.2 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 6 BB, 0 K, 42 pitches (15 strikes)

Also, I just noticed the Sox have a minor league pitcher named Kutter Crawford. That's a great name for a pitcher.
   17. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: July 06, 2017 at 11:32 AM (#5488486)
BP's midseason top 50 is out. They have Devers at #5 and Groome at #43.

Speaking of Groome, he looked very good in his return to Greenville (5 IP, 1 H (an infield bunt), 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K). Here's a video of his rehab starts.
   18. villageidiom Posted: July 06, 2017 at 02:36 PM (#5488679)
BP's midseason top 50 is out. They have Devers at #5 and Groome at #43.


1. Moncada
Why He Might Fail: Moncada may end up more of a four-tool player, and when the missing tool is hit, the profile can get volatile. There’s potential for a lot of swing-and-miss here, and while a .230 or .240 hitting second baseman with pop is still a regular, it’s not an impact one.


25. Kopech
Why He Might Fail: He does need a change and command bump though. And while you don’t need to be too fine with 100-mph gas, Kopech has struggled to throw strikes with his arsenal and has already set a career high for IP in a season in 2017. There’s legitimate questions about his ability to start, and 100 mph and a plus slider isn’t as special in the pen as it was even five years ago.
   19. Norcan Posted: July 15, 2017 at 02:12 PM (#5494042)
Bryan Mata is looking oh so promising. Just turned 18 in March and pitching extremely well in Low-A ball. Like every other international player, he's much heavier than his listed weight of 160 because he's not 16 anymore. He's actually pretty sturdy looking. Stuff-wise, some of the reports from spring training and early in his debut cast his stuff as okay but not overly exciting but I think that may be outdated. He was hitting 96 according to the announcer in his last start and blowing those fastballs by hitters. His curveball looked sharp and he had control over his change. He's not getting it done with smoke and mirrors. As far as him versus Groome, I'd say it's hard to call despite Groome's "pedigree" versus Mata's pedigree which involves a 25 K signing bonus. Mata has better velocity and a easier delivery; Groome a better breaking ball, lefthandedness and height.
   20. villageidiom Posted: July 20, 2017 at 03:43 PM (#5496994)
Blake Swihart's days as catcher might be ending. He injured his left ankle again, and reports are that he aggravated it simply by playing catcher.

Obviously one might argue that his left ankle would be fine today if he'd never played anything but catcher - that ankle having been injured while he played LF. But that's the past. Looking forward, if he can't stay healthy at catcher he'll need a new position. And he only has a short time to adjust to a new position because after he gets off the DL (a) he'll have at best a month and a half left to the season and (b) if I counted it correctly he's out of options after this season. That gives him about 6 weeks, plus spring training, to adjust to a new position and demonstrate that he can play it at the major-league level.

Fellas, this might be the end of the road for Swihart in a Red Sox uniform.
   21. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: July 20, 2017 at 03:47 PM (#5496996)
I've been a big Swihart fan for a long time but at this point it's time to move on. I think the Sox ###### up with him but the why isn't relevant at this point, he just isn't someone to be counted on.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: July 20, 2017 at 04:00 PM (#5497014)
I've been a big Swihart fan for a long time but at this point it's time to move on.
Well, to be literal, the time to move on is next year at the end of spring training if he isn't worth a roster spot.
   23. Textbook Editor Posted: July 20, 2017 at 04:05 PM (#5497025)
Fellas, this might be the end of the road for Swihart in a Red Sox uniform.


vi--does him being in the minors all season this year burn an option year for Swihart? I'm always confused on this point.

This would be an absolutely awful end to what should have been a Varitek-lite career at worst.

My guess is he's a candidate for winter ball and could--perhaps--be seen as depth at 3B/1B/C, assuming Moreland walks after this season. If Vasquez did 75% of the C and Swihart 25%, you'd be asking him to C maybe 35-40 games.

The problem with Swihart is that his bat doesn't really play at any position other than C (well, it would at 3B in Boston because 3B is a train wreck this season)... I mean, if he's healthy and shows an adaptability to playing corner OF + corner IF and maybe catching 20-30 games (once a week), you could almost sort of see him as a cheaper version of Brock Holt potentially... but Holt is still pretty cheap too.

This is really depressing. And just profoundly dumb. I really wish we knew what the hell happened the first week of last season, which is what started this whole train wreck in the first place. How the hell do you go from opening day catcher to the minors like 10 days later? That whole thing has just never been explained fully...
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: July 20, 2017 at 04:22 PM (#5497045)
vi--does him being in the minors all season this year burn an option year for Swihart? I'm always confused on this point.
I think it does. It's when you are in the majors all season that it doesn't count as an option year.
   25. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: July 20, 2017 at 04:27 PM (#5497053)
Right. At some point towards the end of spring training players are sent to the minors. For guys on the 40 man roster that burns an option.
   26. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: July 20, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5497058)
This is really depressing. And just profoundly dumb. I really wish we knew what the hell happened the first week of last season, which is what started this whole train wreck in the first place. How the hell do you go from opening day catcher to the minors like 10 days later? That whole thing has just never been explained fully...


The Sox panicked. Yeah he had a couple of mistakes (dropping the pop up the big one) but really, they didn't need to send him down. On top of that they then rushed him to left field in response to a short term need. They blew it. Maybe he wouldn't have panned out but a former high pick who hit at every level...I mean why screw around?
   27. Textbook Editor Posted: July 20, 2017 at 05:08 PM (#5497093)
#26--So, Jose, who is that on? Because to me, that's on Dombrowski, and it doesn't really reflect well on him. It's not his most high-profile bad move to date, but a healthy Vasquez/Swihart tandem at C this year would have likely been far better than the Vasquez/Leon tandem we do have.

   28. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: July 20, 2017 at 09:49 PM (#5497238)
I think Dombrowski with a bit of Farrell. After two last place finishes and the acquisitions of Price and Kimbrel the Sox were planning to contend and Farrell's seat had to be a bit warm. I have a feeling Farrell has a bit of the Scioscia in him when it comes to catchers and wanted defense over offense and probably went to DD and said "I'm not taking the blame for a guy who can't catch the ####### ball."
   29. Textbook Editor Posted: July 23, 2017 at 07:06 PM (#5498542)
Devers getting called up, will start Tuesday. Whee!
   30. John DiFool2 Posted: July 23, 2017 at 09:57 PM (#5498609)
Yahoo. About bloody time. "Oh, we'll damage his development forever!"

It may be that he has nothing left to learn in the minors.
   31. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: July 24, 2017 at 08:12 AM (#5498665)
Devers getting called up, will start Tuesday. Whee!


"Welcome to the Majors, this pitcher is named Felix Hernandez, piece of cake."

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