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SoxProspects News

August 2, 2022 at 12:00 PM

Minor Notes: Vázquez traded to Astros for pair of prospects, Northcut promoted to Portland


While the deadline for clubs to sign the majority of their draft picks has passed, MLB trade deadline day is now upon us. The Red Sox were able to sign 18 of their 21 selections from last month's draft. Two of the three who did not sign (13th rounder Gavin Kilen and 14th rounder Travis Sanders) will honor their commitments to their respective colleges. Austin Ehrlicher, selected in the 18th round, has until next July to sign since he is a JuCo product who was taken after the 10th round and is therefore a draft-and-follow player. 

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Transactions

Vazquez traded to Astros for pair of prospects
The longest tenured member of the Red Sox organization was traded to the Astros for a pair of minor-leaguers on Monday night. Christian Vazquez (pictured, right), who Boston selected in the ninth round of the 2008 amateur draft, was dealt to Houston for infielder/outfielder Enmanuel Valdez and outfielder Wilyer Abreu


Valdez, 23, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Houston's farm system. The left-handed hitter batted .327/.410/.606 with with 21 homers, 77 RBIs, 66 runs scored, and five stolen bases over 82 games (378 plate appearances) between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land this season. 

Abreu, also 23, was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Houston's farm system. The left-handed hitter slashed .249/.399/.459 with 15 home runs, 54 RBIs, 81 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases across 89 games (411 plate appearances) with Corpus Christi this season.

Both Valdez and Abreu can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter if they are not added to Boston's 40-man roster by the November deadline. 

Diekman dealt to White Sox for Reese McGuire
Just four-plus months after signing him to a two-year, $8 million deal, the Red Sox traded veteran reliever Jake Diekman to the White Sox on Monday night. In exchange for the left-hander, Boston acquired catcher Reese McGuire and a player to be named later or cash considerations from Chicago.

Diekman, 35, posted a 4.23 ERA and 4.97 FIP with 50 strikeouts to 30 walks over 44 relief appearances totaling 38 1/3 innings of work for the Red Sox this season. McGuire, a former first-round pick of the Pirates, batted .225/.261/.285 with nine doubles, 10 RBIs, 12 runs scored, six walks, and 33 strikeouts over 53 games (166 plate appearances) with the South Siders this season. The 27-year-old backstop is under club control through 2025.

Pham acquired from Reds for PTBNL
To further bolster their outfield depth, the Red Sox acquired veteran outfielder Tommy Pham from the Reds in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations on Monday night. According to The Boston Globe's Alex Speier, the player going from Boston to Cincinnati is not expected to be a prominent prospect.

Pham, 34, signed a one-year, $6 million contract with Cincinnati back in March that includes a mutual option for 2023. In 91 games with the Redlegs this season, the right-handed hitter slashed .238/.320/.374 (92 wRC+) with 11 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 39 RBIs, 57 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 42 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 387 plate appearances. All of his playing time came in left field.

Hernandez recalled from Worcester, Hill activated from injured list
In the wake of Monday's madness, catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Worcester to take Christian Vazquez's place on the major-league roster. Hernandez spent one day on the big-league roster back in April but did not get into a game. His second stint of the season could also be a short one if McGuire is activated on Tuesday. 

To take the place of Diekman on the active roster, fellow southpaw Rich Hill was activated from the 15-day injured list. Hill, who had been sidelined since July 2 with a left knee sprain, made one rehab start for Double-A Portland in Hartford last Thursday. The 42-year-old hurler allowed one run on four hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over three innings.  

Arroyo activated from injured list, Downs optioned
The Red Sox activated utility man Christian Arroyo from the 10-day injured list ahead of Saturday's game against the Brewers at Fenway Park. Arroyo missed the previous three weeks because of a left groin strain and appeared in two games for the Portland Sea Dogs during their series in Hartford last week. Since returning to Boston's lineup, the 27-year-old has reached base in seven of his eight trips to the plate. Arroyo's return comes at a crucial time for the Red Sox, who will be without second baseman Trevor Story (small hairline fracture near right wrist) for the foreseeable future.

Jeter Downs, meanwhile, has struggled to find his footing at the major-league level. In his two stints with the Red Sox dating back to late June, the right-handed hitting infielder has batted just .154/.171/.256 while striking out in more than half (51.2%) of his plate appearances. With the WooSox this season, Downs is slashing .213/.335/.464 with 16 home runs, 32 RBIs, 52 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases over 68 games. The recently-turned 24-year-old is the No. 21 prospect in the organization.

Peraza, Santana return on minor-league deals
Within the last week, the Red Sox brought back old friends Jose Peraza and Danny Santana on minor-league contracts. Peraza, who appeared in 34 games for Boston during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, became a free-agent after opting out of his minors pact with the Yankees last month. The 28-year-old has been assigned to Worcester and has already made his WooSox debut in Buffalo.

Santana, on the other hand, has not played affiliated ball this season after being handed down an 80-game suspension for a positive PED test back in April. Santana, who appeared in 38 games for Boston last year, has been assigned to the Red Sox' Florida Complex League affiliate in Fort Myers but is expected to join Peraza in Worcester before long.

Northcut promoted to Portland
The Red Sox promoted power-hitting prospect Nick Northcut from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland on Tuesday. Northcut, who currently leads all Boston minor-leaguers in home runs (28), is batting .176 with two homers and three RBIs in four games with the Sea Dogs thus far. Despite the impressive power numbers, the 23-year-old is not currently regarded as one of the top 60 prospects in the organization.

Other moves
Phillips Valdez was claimed off waiver by the Mariners on Friday. The right-handed reliever lost his spot on the Red Sox' 40-man roster when Josh Winckowski was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list last Tuesday. Merfy Andrew, one of several free agents Boston signed in the wake of the five-round 2020 draft, was released on Saturday.

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Key Links

On the latest installment of the SoxProspects Podcast, Chris Hatfield and Ian Cundall discuss the aforementioned draft signing and trade deadlines while also answering more listener emails.

Brainer Bonaci made MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week after driving in a career-high seven RBIs last Tuesday.

On Monday night, MassLive.com's Christopher Smith took a detailed look at what the Red Sox got from the Astros in return for Christian Vazquez.

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Where are they now?

Frankie Montas, who the Red Sox originally signed as an international free-agent in December 2009, was traded from the Athletics to the Yankees on Monday. Cole Brannen, who the Red Sox selected in the second round of the 2017 amateur draft, has stolen the second-most bases (31) in the Frontier League so far this season. 

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Players of the Week:

Brainer Bonaci, IF, Salem Red Sox
5 G, 18 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 2 R, 11 RBI, .444/.500/1.000

As mentioned above, Bonaci (pictured, left) enjoyed a career week with Salem during its series in Fredericksburg to wrap up a solid month of July. The switch-hitting 20-year-old batted a stout .324/.448/.581 (178 wRC+) to go along with nine doubles, two triples, those two homers, 15 RBIs, 19 runs scored, and six stolen bases over 23 games (74 plate appearances). He is currently the 26th-ranked prospect in the organization. 

Brian Keller, RHP, Worcester Red Sox
1 G, 1-0, 5 IP, 1.80 ERA, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K

In his lone start against the Buffalo Bisons last week, Keller yielded just one run on three hits and two walks to go along with seven punchouts over five strong innings of work. Like Bonaci, Keller also impressed in the month of July by posting a 1.23 ERA and 2.43 FIP across five starts (22 innings). The 28-year-old righty was acquired from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of last December's Rule 5 Draft.

Photo Credit: Christian Vazquez and Brainer Bonaci by Kelly O'Connor