SoxProspects News

December 11, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Red Sox reportedly trade Cespedes, Wilson, Speier for Rick Porcello


The Red Sox have reportedly traded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, reliever Alex Wilson (pictured), and left-hander Gabe Speier to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for right-hander Rick Porcello. The deal was first reported by CJ Nitkowski of Fox Sports, and the inclusion of Wilson and Speier was first reported by WEEI.com's Alex Speier.

28-year-old Wilson was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Texas A&M University and began his professional career that same year at Lowell. Wilson's prospect status peaked in 2011 when he made 25 starts with a 3.11 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 123 strikeouts over 133 innings between Portland and Pawtucket. He got lots of hardware for that season, including Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year, SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Year, and both SoxProspects.com and Eastern League All-Star honors. However, that would be his last full year as a starter, because after making three starts to begin 2012, he was converted to a reliever and has not made a start since. On April 11, 2013, he made his major league debut, and has been up and down between Pawtucket and Boston over the last two season. He has now thrown a total of 56 innings  in the majors with a 3.38 ERA, and was projected on the SoxProspects.com roster projections to begin 2015 as a member of the major league bullpen.

Speier has pitched for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox for the last two season after being selected in the 13th round in the 2013 draft out of Dos Pueblos High School in California. At the end of 2013, it was determined that he would need to undergo Tommy John surgery, which the Red Sox had known to be probable at the time they drafted. After a ten-month rehab, he threw 29 innings this past July and August in the GCL, with a 1.55 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over the very small sample. Reports have the six-footer throwing a four pitch mix with a slider, curveball and changeup to go along with his 90 mph fastball.

Porcello was drafted by Detroit with the 27th overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, New Jersey, and signed a four-year major league deal for $7.285 million with two club options. Going into his first professional season, he was ranked the 21st best prospect in the game by Baseball America, and he lived up to those lofty expectations, posting a 2.66 ERA over 125 innings for the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers. After a strong preseason, he won a spot in the major league starting rotation to begin the 2009 season despite being only 20 years old. Over the first six years of his major league career, Porcello has started 80 games with a 4.30 ERA while mostly pitching in front of a below-average defense, an issue for a ground ball-inducing pitcher like him. 2014 was the 25 year-old's best season, starting 31 games with a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 204 2/3 innings, all career bests that were likely due in part to a much-improved infield defense for the Tigers.

Acquired last season in a trade that sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to Oakland, Cespedes played in only 51 games during his brief time in Boston, hitting .269/.296/.423. The Red Sox willingness to deal him was likely influenced by their glut of outfielders, which includes Mookie BettsRusney CastilloShane VictorinoAllen CraigJackie Bradley, and newly-signed Hanley Ramirez.

Both Porcello and Cespedes will be free agents after the 2015 season, but Porcello is eligible to receive a qualifying offer while Cespedes is not due to a release clause in his contract.

Photo Credit: Alex Wilson by Kelly O'Connor

Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.


 
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