December 17, 2014 at 12:00 PM
We normally run a notes column at the beginning of every month in the offseason, but with this December being completely crazy, we will break this month up into two parts. Here are the notes for the first half of December:
- In a trade that took a couple days to complete, the Red Sox sent Rubby De La Rosa (pictured), Allen Webster, and Raymel Flores to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Wade Miley. SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall and Assistant Director of Scouting Chaz Fiorino teamed up to analyze all four players in the trade, with Fiorino offering a detailed report on Miley for the fans who are unfamiliar with him.
- In a separate trade with the Diamondbacks, the Red Sox acquired Zeke Spruill for Myles Smith. Spruill was one of the players the Braves traded to Arizona for Justin Upton, but he was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on December 8. The right-hander still has one option left, so he may see time in Pawtucket in 2015.
- Arguably the largest trade, though with the major chips being big league talent, was Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier moving to the Tigers, with Rick Porcello coming to Boston. Cundall offered in-depth reports on Wilson and Speier, with Wilson possibly being a contributor to the Tigers bullpen this year, and Speier showing some potential after coming back from Tommy John Surgery.
- The Rule 5 draft was relatively quiet this year, with the Red Sox losing Jason Garcia to the Astros (who flipped him to the Orioles), while selecting Jandel Gustave, only to trade him to the Royals for cash considerations. The Red Sox should get some chances to face Garcia in spring training when they match up against Baltimore.
- If you are looking for the best recap of all these moves, look no further than our most recent Podcast, as Executive Editor Chris Hatfield and Managing Editor Matt Huegel discuss everything above and more, including the defensive prowess of Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.
- The player-to-be-named-later in the Felix Doubront trade was finally named, with the Red Sox receiving shortstop Marco Hernandez from the Cubs. Hernandez was eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but after he went unselected, the trade was finalized. Hernandez has been ranked in the Cubs Top 20 prospects lists in both 2011 and 2012 by Baseball America, and most scouting reports agree that he has the defensive chops to stay at shortstop.
- Boston made a few other minor moves recently, signing right-handers Nestor Molina and Jorge Marban, as well as catcher Luke Montz. Molina came up as an infielder, but converted to pitching in 2008. He spent last year in Double-A with the White Sox, going 7-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 61 1/3 innings.
- Marban spent the last three years playing in the Frontier League, and before that he was in Low A Hickory with the Texas Rangers. He has a 2.84 ERA over his last three years in the Independent baseball league, with 169 strikeouts in 142 2/3 innings.
- Montz was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos, and spent most of his career with the Nationals before bouncing around the last four years. He has had a cup of coffee in the majors in 2008 and 2013, and he will provide depth in the minor leagues after Carson Blair signed with Oakland earlier in the offseason.
- The Red Sox also lost another player who caught some games last year, as Ryan Lavarnway (pictured) was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers, and they subsequently designated him for assignment on December 11. Lavarnway, who was designated for assignment after Pablo Sandoval signed, had been in the system since 2008. Staff Writer Will Woodward recapped Lavarnway's time in the system after he was DFA'd.
- With players like Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Deven Marrero, Sean Coyle, and Travis Shaw, everyone knew this year's Portland Sea Dogs team was stacked. Baseball America recently named them the Minor League Team of the Year, the first Red Sox affiliate to win the award since 1999.
- In what was a terrible year for the big league club, the Red Sox somehow won the Topps Organization of the Year award for the first time in team history. The press release states that the award "highlights the Major League team that has shown outstanding performance, depth and talent throughout their Major and Minor League teams." It goes on to mention only minor league success, so it is safe to assume that is weighed more heavily than what happens in the majors.
- The PawSox were honored by Minor League Baseball, as they were the recipients of the second annual John Henry Moss Community Service Award. The article on MILB.com cites many specific examples, including the fact that the Pawtucket Red Sox Charitable Trust has donated more than $250,000 over the last five years.
- The PawSox stayed busy, unveiling new uniforms and a new logo for the 2015 season. The polar bear mascot is more prominently featured, and the color scheme has changed as well.
- Two regulars from Pawtucket last year will be playing elsewhere in 2015, as Corey Brown signed with Tampa Bay, and Brayan Villareal signed with the Twins.
- It has been a bittersweet week for Red Sox fans, especially the long-time followers of this site. Jon Lester signed with the Cubs after there was some hope that he would return to Boston, while Justin Masterson returned to the Red Sox on a one-year deal. These two were the most recent focus of our Player Retrospectives, with James Dunne discussing how Lester became a $155 million man, while I focused on Masterson, who went from a nearly unknown prospect in college to major leaguer in less than three years.
Photo Credit: Rubby De La Rosa and Ryan Lavarnway by Kelly O'Connor