Friday, July 31, 2009
Boston makes their movePosted by Alex Pedicini
Boston has come to terms with Cleveland in a deal that sends Victor Martinez to the Red Sox in return for Justin Masterson and a pair of pitching prospects.
Martinez fills a big void in Boston's lineup. His numbers on the year, .286/.368/.464, are nearly identical to his career averages. He also provides some flexibility defensively with the ability to catch when Varitek needs a rest and also play first in case Lowell gets re-injured. Martinez should provide exactly the boost the Sox need, a proven slugger to ease the struggle of designated hitter David Ortiz. Martinez is owed roughly two million for the rest of 2009 and has a club option for seven million in 2010.
Cleveland in return is getting a young but effective major league pitcher in Justin Masterson. Masterson is just 25 but already has 160.1 professional innings under his belt, including 15 starts. His FIP stands at a respectable 4.27. Masterson is best known for his sinker which he uses to induce ground balls at as impressive 52 percent rate in his career. He has struggled with his command at times (3.65 walks per nine innings) but his control in the minors was good and he is improving as he gains experience. Masterson has been used primarily as a reliever with Boston, coming in to get double-plays and ground outs, but he projects as a middle of the rotation starter.
Nick Hagadone is just a year removed from Tommy John surgery. A closer in college, Hagadone was a first round pick in 2007 and its easy to see why. This big lefty has immense potential with an overpowering fastball (clocked as high as 98 mph), a sharp breaking slider, and a developing change-up. Boston has been extremely cautious with his development as he has thrown just 25 innings so far this year. Although he has thrown just 59.1 innings in his three minor league seasons, he has averaged 11.73 strikeouts per nine innings. While he has struggled with his control with 28 walks in that span, he has simply overpowered batters in the low levels of the minors and has allowed just a single home run in parts of three seasons.
Bryan Price was taken in the first round in 2008 out of Rice. Just 22 years old, the talented right-hander began this season in Low-A where he earned a promotion after just eight starts. In 44 innings he struck out 40 batters and posted a strong 2.86 FIP. His numbers in Advanced-A are nearly as impressive. Despite a 6.54 ERA and 1-6 record, Price has struck out 57 in 52.1 innings and his FIP is 3.22. His numbers are inflated by a .390 BABIP and a 57 percent strand rate.
On paper this looks like a deal that benefits both teams. Boston and Cleveland each filled their needs, Boston with a bat and Cleveland with young pitching. Hagadone is the player that could swing this trade in either direction. If he develops and stays injury-free the Sox could be kicking themselves for giving him up.
Also worth noting is the second move the Red Sox made today, swapping first baseman with the Atlanta Braves. Boston sent recently acquired Adam LaRoche to the Braves for Casey Kotchman. Both players are pretty similar except that Kocthman is four years younger. Also, LaRoche becomes a free-agent at the end of the year, while Kotchman is under contract for two more seasons. Kotchman is expected to provide a left-handed bat off the bench.
Alex is a student in Boston. He welcomes all questions and comments here