By Jim Churchill
Maybe they didn’t come “out of nowhere”, but the Boston Red Sox certainly surprised the baseball world on Tuesday when they dealt for one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Red Sox sent consensus “best prospect in baseball” Yoan Moncada along with 3 other youngsters to the Chicago White Sox for perennial Cy Young contender Chris Sale.
Boston President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has been a deal maker since coming to the Red Sox organization about a year and a half ago. Whether it is signing a big-time free agent like David Price or swinging trades, you can’t fault Dealin’ Dave for a lack of aggressiveness. The Sale acquisition may be Dombrowski’s biggest deal, but he also completed a trade with the Padres last fall for Craig Kimbrel, one of the game’s best closers.
Dealin’ Dave came to the Red Sox with a reputation for having little trepidation when it came to trading minor league prospects for major league talent. He has not disappointed; trading 17 prospects away since joining the Sox last August.
The Red Sox have had one of baseball’s highest ranked minor league systems for the last several years. That will not be the case in 2016. Boston’s list of elite prospects is really down to three; third basemen Rafael Devers, first basemen Sam Travis and 2016 number one draft pick Jason Groome. Others may emerge over the course of the 2017 season, but there is no doubt that much of the developmental work done by Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington and Co. has been jettisoned by the POBO.
Dombrowski rightly points out that there is a lot of young talent already on the major league roster. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Andrew Benintendi, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez make up a solid core of young players.
I am not against the Sale trade per se. He is a tremendous pitcher with a team-friendly contract. The Red Sox on paper are probably the best team in the American League.
It is the compilation of these prospect deals by Dombrowski and the resulting inventory issue in the Red Sox system that makes me a little queasy. Moncada has the potential to be a .300 BA/20 HR/90 RBI/30 Steal player (or more) for 10 – 15 years. Michael Kopech, another minor leaguer going to the White Sox, was one of the top young players in the recently completed, talent-rich Arizona Fall League. Neither may amount to anything, but if they do Red Sox fans need to remember how they felt at this time.
The Sox are all in. They are “going for it.” Boston is the favorite to win the American League pennant. Red Sox principal owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner love to get that hype machine cranked up. It is good for business. Well, winning is the best thing for business and the Sox had better do a lot of it in the next few years or the sweet will turn to sour very quickly.
Why can’t we get players like this?
All of this wheeling and dealing by the Red Sox got me thinking. What would a “best of the lost Red Sox” look like? The answer – pretty darn good!
Here’s my Dearly Departed, Still Active, Former Red Sox 25 Man Roster. The rotation is a little thin, but this team would win some games!!
1b – Anthony Rizzo (Cubs)
2b – Yoan Moncada (White Sox)
SS – Jose Iglesius (Tigers)
3B – Adrian Beltre (Rangers)
LF – Yoenis Cespdes (Mets)
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees)
RF – Josh Reddick (Astros)
C – Victor Martinez (Tigers)…Victor is basically a DH these days, but I gotta fill my roster and he can still hit!
DH – Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers)
RES – Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Free-agent)
RES – Mike Napoli (Free-agent)
RES – Brandon Moss (Free-agent)
RES – Travis Shaw (Brewers)
RES – Coco Crisp (Free-agent)
SP – Jon Lester (Cubs)
SP – Rich Hill (Dodgers)
SP – John Lackey (Cubs)
SP – Bartolo Colon (Braves)
SP – Wade Miley (Mariners)
RP – Andrew Miller (Indians)
RP – Koji Uehara (Cubs)
RP – Alex Wilson (Tigers)
RP – Jonathan Papelbon (Free-agent)
RP – Javier Lopez (Free-agent)
CL – Mark Melancon (Giants)
Jim Churchill is the host of The Drive weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.