The Boston Red Sox will be sending right-hander Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named later to the San Diego Padres in exchange for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pending a physical and a possible contract extension for Gonzalez, according to sources. Here’s a look at the players the Red Sox are giving up as part of the deal.
Kelly, 21, is widely regarded as the top prospect in the Boston system. Selected in the first round (30th overall) of the 2008 draft, Kelly was a highly regarded two-way player out of Sarasota High School in Florida. He went 8-1 with a 1.16 ERA and hit .473 during his senior season. After signing in July 2008, he spent the final six weeks of the 2008 season as a shortstop with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox and the short-season Lowell Spinners. Kelly hit just .215 in 36 games.
Following an agreement with the front office, Kelly then spent the fist half of the 2009 season as a starting pitcher and the second half at shortstop, ending the campaign with far greater results on the mound. At just 19, he mowed down A-Ball competition, putting up a 1.12 ERA in 9 starts with Low-A Greenville and a 3.09 ERA in 8 starts with High-A Salem. However, at the plate he hit just .222 in 162 at-bats between the GCL and Greenville. Following the 2009 season, Kelly made the decision to continue his career solely on the mound.
In 2010, the right-hander spent the entire season in Double-A Portland, as the youngest player in the Eastern League. While he showed flashes of brilliance and increased the speed on his fastball, he definitely had some struggles with controlling that newfound velocity. He ended the season with at 3-5 with a 5.31 ERA, and followed that up with a mediocre performance in the Arizona Fall League.
Despite the less-than-stellar statistical line in 2010, most scouts still project Kelly to be a second to third starter on a competitive club down the line. He could make his MLB debut as early as late 2011. Here’s the SoxProspects.com scouting report:
Athletic frame with smooth agility and a tremendous feel for pitching. Sound, smooth mechanics. Kelly was a two-way player in high school, excelling at both shortstop and as a pitcher. He was also a highly-touted quarterback recruit for Tennessee before signing with the Sox. Kelly's pitching skills are quite advanced for his age, mixing in three plus pitches: a low-90s fastball, a hard 12-to-6 curveball, and an above-average changeup. Early in his career, he demonstrated outstanding command and control, but as his velocity has increased he has lost some touch on his fastball. Fastball has excellent downward movement, and generally sits between 90 and 93 mph, getting up to 96 mph on occasion. Many scouts project that he'll sit in the 92-95 mph range after he fills out. Curveball has the potential to become a plus-plus wipeout pitch. It sits around 76-79 mph, but he tends to show it a little too much at times. Kelly's changeup sits around 84 mph with a lot of sink. For the most part, he keeps the ball low in the zone, but he's hittable when he leaves it up. He can also overuse his fastball. Very good mound presence. Kelly had the makings of an elite defensive shortstop before converting to pitching full time, so he should be an excellent pitcher defensively.
Rizzo, 21, was selected by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2007 draft out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Like Kelly, Rizzo has been quite advanced in terms of age during his ascent through the minors. He began the 2008 season at Greenville, where he hit .373 in 21 games to start the season before he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in May 2008. He missed the remainder of the 2008 season in recovery, but after receiving chemotherapy over the next seven months, he was declared cancer-free in November 2008.
Against the odds, Rizzo returned to hit .260/.334/.480 in 132 games between Greenville and Salem in 2009. He then spent a month back in Salem to start the 2010 season before receiving a promotion to Portland on May 10. Over the course of 2010 -- his age-20 season -- Rizzo hit .260 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs in 136 games at two levels. His 2010 line proved to be one of the most impressive power displays in recent memory in the Red Sox minor league system.
Rizzo projects as a solid major leaguer down the line, and he has some All-Star level potential. He could be major league ready in 2012. Here’s the SoxProspects.com scouting report:
Tough-as-nails first baseman with an excellent build. Rizzo has a solid overall approach at the plate, with a good batting eye, quick bat speed, and impressive timing. He could stand to improve protecting the plate deeper in counts. Above-average present power with plus power potential to all fields. Power should develop even more with improving strength. Tends to struggle with advanced breaking stuff, resulting in a lot of strikeouts. He’s an excellent defender with a solid arm and surprising lateral quickness for his size. Outstanding instincts and fundamentals. Team leader and a popular teammate.
Fuentes, 20, was selected in the first round (28th overall) by Boston in the 2009 draft, out of Callejo High School in Puerto Rico. A cousin of Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, Fuentes spent the 2009 season in rookie ball, where he hit .290 for the GCL Red Sox. He then spent the entire 2010 season with Greenville, where he hit .270/.328/.377 and stole 42 bases in 204 games.
Fuentes is several years away from the majors, and many scouts are split on how he projects, with some scouts thinking he has a ceiling similar to Beltran while others project him more as a pesky No. 8 hitter for a National League team at best. Here’s the SoxProspects.com scouting report:
Athletic center fielder plays the game at full tilt. He’s the type of player that will make a lot of highlight reels. Wiry frame. Line drive hitter, makes excellent contact. Good bat speed. Turns on inside pitches well. Excellent swing mechanics. Still working on pitch recognition. Minimal present power. He projects as a gap-to-gap hitter at higher levels. Plus plus speed. He has excellent range and a solid glove in the outfield, and should be able to stay in center. Solid defensive instincts. Fluid, gets good jumps on the ball. Well below-average arm.
As far as the player to be named later, the speculation is that it will not be a top prospect. It’s possible that it could be a player eligible for next week’s Rule 5 Draft, a 2010 draftee or just one player from a group of prospects that San Diego intends to follow this spring. As far as Rule 5 eligible players are concerned, the most intriguing names are reliever Jason Rice, reliever Dan Turpen and first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez.
In the 2010 draft pick category, those players cannot be traded until one year from the time they sign, meaning June 2011 at the earliest. While some draftees could be put in the trade as a player to be named later, as early as next week (players to be named later must be named within six months of the trade), the player would need to remain in Boston’s system until next June, when the trade could be completed. There’s not a lot of precedent for keeping a player in limbo for that long.
More than likely, Padres general manager Jed Hoyer has a few players in mind from his time serving as assistant general manager in the Red Sox system.