The Red Sox made two trades during deadline weekend, and as predicted, the pool of players that Boston traded consisted of Rule 5 eligible, B-level prospects and C-level relievers.
In the first deal of the weekend, the Red Sox sent INF Yamaico Navarro and RHP Kendal Volz to Kansas City for INF Mike Aviles. In the second trade, Boston acquired RHP Erik Bedard and RHP Josh Fields for OF Chih-Hsien Chiang, C Tim Federowicz, RHP Stephen Fife, and RHP Juan Rodriguez.
Navarro was on Boston’s 40-man roster prior to the deal, while Chiang, Federowicz and Fife all would have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter. The Sox likely would not have had room to protect the latter three on the 40-man roster come December, thus risked losing them for essentially nothing in the Rule 5 draft.
Here’s a breakdown of the players that the Sox traded this weekend:
Yamaico Navarro, INF, Boston (23 years old)
Stats: .216/.275/.351 with Boston; .258/.362.469 with Triple-A Pawtucket
Scouting report: Not initially a heralded signing, Navarro impressed the Sox brass with his tools during his rise up the organizational ladder. He has an athletic build for a shortstop, with a little bit of bulk. At the plate, he makes good contact and generates great loft off his bat, resulting in a lot of hard liners. He has above-average power for a middle infielder. Quick wrists, nice bat speed, great balance. Hits fastballs well, but will struggle with major league breaking balls. A little too aggressive at the plate, could stand to be more selective. Average speed. Has the tools to be a plus defender at shortstop and third base, also has some experience at second. Sure glove, above-average arm, excellent fluidity. Focus and effort are often lacking on defense, which became a concern toward the end of his time in the organization. He has also had some problems with executing double plays, but that seems to be improving. Entertaining to watch, turns a lot of gems in the field with an Ozzie Smith-like electricity. To expand his versatility, the front office began giving Navarro reps at all three outfield positions. Projects as a utility player with the ceiling to become an average starter for a small-market team.
Kendal Volz , RHP, High-A Salem (23)
Stats: 2-3, 3.33 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 56 strikeouts, 12 walks in 51.1 IP
Scouting report: Volz possesses a heavy 88-91 m.p.h. fastball that he tries to work down in the strike zone. His fastball shows late finish and downward action. It’s at its best when spotted low on the corners and out of the middle of the plate. After experiencing some mechanical problems, Volz has cleaned up his delivery to reduce strain on his arm. He also uses a 77-81 m.p.h. slider to generate swings and misses later in the count. Currently an average offering, but the potential is there for him to sharpen it into more of a power slider. Also sprinkles in a low-80s straight changeup to keep batters honest. After being stretched out in first professional season as a starter, the organization moved Volz into a bullpen role in 2011, where his stuff plays up much better. He has the potential to be a sixth-inning-type reliever if he’s able to sharpen his arsenal and command.
Chih-Hsien Chiang, OF, Double-A Portland (23)
Stats: .340/.402/.648 with 18 home runs
Scouting report: Chiang is a good offensive player with a really nice left-handed swing. He has the potential to hit for both average and power; he makes great contact and hits the ball hard. Pure hitter, but he really needs to work on his patience at the plate. Signed out of Taiwan as a second baseman, his defense in the infield was below average, so Chiang was converted to the outfield in the 2008-09 offseason. On the positive side, he has average-to-above-average range and a strong arm. Still, he's had some fundamental lapses in the field, commits a lot of errors, and his hands aren't all that great. He has been well ahead of the track agewise during his rise through the Sox system. His 2011 numbers with Portland have been ridiculous, but many scouts and analysts, myself included, believe that his performance has been an aberration. In my opinion, he projects as a fourth outfielder.
Tim Federowicz, C, Portland (23)
Stats: .277/.338/.407 with 8 home runs
Scouting report: Intelligent catcher with a great frame and a strong core. Line drive hitter. Average power potential, as his swing is on the flat side. Profiles to have gap-to-gap power, possibly a .240 hitter in the majors. Makes his best contact on balls down and out over the plate. At times struggles to get his hands above the baseball on higher velocity, elevated fastballs. Good pitch recognition skills, but at times chases hard breaking balls off the plate. Improving plate discipline. Behind the dish, Federowicz is above-average defensively. Plus, accurate arm with a fluid release. He struggles with his grip when throwing, which causes the ball to tail into runners during stretches. Outstanding instincts and reflexes. Excels at staying square to the ball with both his body and glove. Fluid footwork, especially when blocking pitches in the dirt. Solid game management skills, he takes charge of the pitching staff well. Below-average speed, but heady on the base paths. He projects as an above-average major league backup catcher, with potential as a second division starter.
Stephen Fife, RHP, Portland (24)
Stats: 11-4, 3.66 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 70 strikeouts, 37 walks in 103.1 IP
Scouting report: Great pitcher's frame. Somewhat jerky delivery with a lot of torque -- snaps the ball as it comes out of his hand. At Utah, Fife worked middle relief in 2007 and earned a rotation spot for 2008. Two-seam fastball sits between 88-91 m.p.h. Has a four-seamer with more velocity, but doesn't feature it. Great movement on his two-seamer, tailing down and in on righties. Also works in a biting 76-79 m.p.h. curveball and an improving 79-81 m.p.h. changeup. Relies mostly on his fastball, but has gone to his curveball as his out pitch on occasion. Working on improving the command of his curve, but has outstanding control overall. Really pounds the strike zone. Fife also has a slider in his arsenal that has been put on the shelf while he works on his curveball. Extreme groundball pitcher. Fares better against righties. Workhorse, went deep into games in college, maintaining velocity well. Fife is fringy in terms of major-league potential, but could be a middle-inning reliever if he’s able to hone one of his secondary pitches.
Juan Rodriguez, RHP, Low-A Greenville (22)
Stats: 2-4, 5.19 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 88 strikeouts, 32 walks in 59.0 IP
Scouting report: Large-framed righty dominated the Dominican Summer League in 2009, but was old for the league. Mechanics can use some fine tuning, but he has a very live arm and really attacks hitters. His fastball sits in the 92-95 m.p.h. range and shows more life (96-98 m.p.h.) in short blasts. Also throws a 79-81 m.p.h. slurve that has some potential if he can sharpen it and get it up in the mid-80s. Lots of projection, but he's behind the age scale because he signed at 19, unlike many other Latin prospects who sign at 16. He posted extremely impressive strikeout numbers during his time with the Sox, which is often a harbinger of future success. Ultimately, he’s a lottery-ticket-type prospect who could develop into a closer at the major league level or could never make it above A-ball. Neither would be that surprising.