October 23, 2013 at 6:16 PM
The Red Sox announced on Wednesday that they acquired the versatile Alex Castellanos from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker (pictured) and cash considerations. In order to make room for Castellanos on the 40-man roster, the club designated Pedro Beato for assignment. Castellanos could compete for a spot on Boston's bench in 2014, but he has one option remaining and could see time in Pawtucket as well.
Castellanos, 27, was designated for assignment on October 17. Originally drafted by, ironically, the St. Louis Cardinals in the 10th round of the 2008 draft, he was traded to Los Angeles at the trade deadline in 2011 in exchange for Rafael Furcal. He made his major league debut last season, and has hit just .171/.186/.390 in 43 plate appearances over 24 games. 2013 was a down season for Castellanos in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League as well, as he hit just .257/.347/.468, albeit with 19 home runs, in 439 plate appearances for Albuquerque after a pair of extremely successful minor league campaigns.
In 2011, he garnered the attention of the Dodgers by hitting .319/.379/.562 for Double-A Springfield as a 24-year-old, and he kept it up after the trade, hitting .342/.406/.603 after the deal in Double-A Chattanooga. Last year, moving up to the PCL, he continued to rake, putting up a .328/.420/.590 line with 17 home runs. Baseball America ranked him 19th in its 2012 list of Dodgers prospects, elevating him to 11th this past offseason.
Castellanos is primarily an outfielder, having only played the corners at the major league level. However, he was drafted as an infielder and has extensive minor league experience at both second and third base, as well as spot duty in center field and rare appearances at shortstop and first base. A right-handed hitter, he has shown a relatively pronounced reverse split the past two seasons in Triple-A, with his OPS dropping at least 200 points against southpaws. He has also shown a proclivity for striking out, whiffing at least 100 times in four of his five full minor league seasons.
Hazelbaker had been with the Red Sox since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft out of Ball State. A center fielder in college and early in his pro career, he moved almost exclusively to the corners in 2012 and 2013. Known for having perhaps the most intriguing power-speed tool combination in the system, Hazelbaker had only been able to flash them in spurts in the higher levels of the minors, mostly due to contact issues--he struck out at least 120 times in each of his four full seasons. He hit at least 10 home runs and stole at least 35 bases each year, leading the system with 63 steals while playing for Greenville in 2010.
Although Hazelbaker was not on the 40-man roster, he will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft for the second time this offseason. In the Boston system, he found himself behind Jackie Bradley, Jr., Bryce Brentz, and Alex Hassan on the outfield depth chart, as well as the potentially returning Ryan Kalish, who is projected to be healthy in time for spring training after cervical fusion surgery on his neck.
Beato split his season between Boston and Pawtucket. In 10 innings over 10 appearances at the major league level, he had a 3.60 ERA, allowing 12 hits and two walks while striking out five. In 34 games in Pawtucket, he posted a 2.98 ERA in 51 1/3 innings, striking out 45 and walking 24. He was designated him for assignment by the Red Sox last December and cleared waivers.
Photo credit: Jeremy Hazelbaker by Kelly O'Connor.
Chris Hatfield is Executive Editor of SoxProspects.com. You can follow him on Twitter @SPChrisHatfield.