July 30, 2011 at 3:27 PM
The Red Sox have acquired infielder Mike Aviles from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for utility infielder Yamaico Navarro and right-handed reliever Kendal Volz.
Aviles, 30, had been serving in a backup infielder role for the Royals, but had split his season between Kansas City, where he'd hit .222/.261/.395 in 53 games, and Triple-A Omaha, where he'd hit .307/.329/.586 in 35 games. Although he originally came up as a shortstop, he has seen most of his time at second and third base this year. He was perhaps acquired for his success against left-handed pitching, as the right-hand-hitting Aviles is hitting .309/.344/.600 against major league lefties this season and .296/.343/.464 against them for his career. However, it is noteworthy that Aviles recently expressed his displeasure with playing in a backup role to The Kansas City Star. Aviles was originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 draft by the Royals and finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2008. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009.
Navarro split his time between Boston and Pawtucket this season. The versatile Navarro, 23, can play second base, third base, shortstop, and both corner outfield positions. In 40 major league at-bats this season, he has hit .216/.275/.351, but in the minors he had hit to the tune of .258/.362/.469. He missed about five weeks earlier this season with a strained oblique and slumped terribly upon returning to the PawSox (5-for-43, .116/.208/.186), but was called up by the Sox on June 30 on the strength of his work earlier in the season and versatility. Navarro is solid defensively at the infield positions and is learning in the outfield, but can be prone to lapses in focus and effort. He can be a bit aggressive at the plate and can be prone to breaking balls, but has great balance and generates good bat speed. Navarro was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2005 for just $20,000. He received league all-star honors in the Dominican Summer League (2006), New York-Penn League (2007), and South Atlantic League (2008), and was named a SoxProspects.com All-Star by our readers at shortstop in 2008 and 2010.
Volz, a ninth-round draft pick out of Tulane in 2009, had been pitching out of the bullpen for High-A Salem. The big, 6'5" Texan had pitched 51.1 innings in 31 games, going 2-3 with 2 saves and a 3.33 ERA. Volz showed great control during his time in the system, striking out 150 hitters but walking just 26 in 167.2 innings. Volz gained his greatest notoriety as a draft prospect as the closer for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, which also featured top arms like Stephen Strasburg, Kyle Gibson, Mike Leake, and Mike Minor, allowing just 1 unearned run in 13 appearances. While a comparatively subpar year at Tulane as a junior dropped his draft stock some, the Sox gave him a $550,000 bonus to leave college early. Volz possesses a heavy 88-91 mph fastball, a 77-81 mph slider that he likes to use late in counts, and a low-80s changeup. The readership of SoxProspects.com voted Volz an all-star in 2010, when he went 6-5 as a starter for Low-A Greenville.