Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The Red Sox made an interesting and high profile trade at the deadline, getting Eric Gagne from the Texas Rangers. Gagne had to OK the deal as he had a clause stating he could block a trade to a certain preset list of teams, which the Red Sox were included. According to NESN and Boston.com, Gagne did approve the deal to Boston.

This effectively gives the Red Sox three pitchers who can close, in Okajima, Papelbon, and now Gagne. Sunday notwithstanding, My Man Manny Delcarmen has pitched well this year too, and despite my protestations, the Red Sox somehow are getting effective if scary innings out of Mike Timlin. This deal really sets up the Red Sox bullpen to dominate potentially even more than it already has this season.

The Rangers didn't send Gagne over for free though. It seems the Red Sox gave up three players to get him. The first is Kason Gabbard, who has pitched quite well this season while filling in for the injured Curt Schilling. The return of Jon Lester made Gabbard available and while rarely mentioned among the premium prospects on the Red Sox, his age, left-handedness, and pronounced ground ball tendencies make him a good bet to succeed in the majors for a number of years.

He likely isn't going to develop into a number one or two, but he can definitely hold down a number four or five spot in the rotation. For Texas, he'll likely be a two or three for now.

The Sox also gave up former first rounder David Murphy. Murphy was unfortunately a bust. As Theo's first draft pick as Red Sox GM, he could have done much better than Murphy who simply never developed the power to start in the outfield at the major league level. Murphy can be a good fourth outfielder, but it was clear that there was no place for him in the Red Sox.

The last player the Sox sent to Texas for Gagne is seventeen year old outfield prospect Engel Beltre. At this stage, Beltre is nothing more than potential. He has the tools to develop into an all-star outfielder, but he is years away from that.

Ultimately, both teams got what they wanted. Other than Beltre, the Red Sox were able to obtain Gagne for what amounts to spare parts. Gagne steps into Boston's already strong bullpen and makes it ridiculously strong (which is stronger than just "already strong").

However, Boston's spare parts are Texas' starters. Gabbard and Murphy will likely move right into starting roles and Beltre, if he is able to develop could become a very valuable minor leaguer in a few years.

This deal also clears up the mystery of the Red Sox starting rotation. We now know the rotation will likely look like this:

1. Beckett
2. Schilling
3. Matsuzaka
4. Wakefield
5. Lester

There is also the possibility that the Red Sox will bring Clay Bucholz up for a September try-0ut in the bullpen. If you are playing the Red Sox, you better hope that you get the lead early because that door is shutting mighty quickly.

In other news...

The Red Sox finally traded Joel Piniero to the St. Louis Cardinals. They received a "player to be named later." The Cardinals lack of anything resembling a deep minor league system combined with Pineiro's suckitude means that if Theo was able to get a doughnut for Pineiro he should be in the running for Executive of the Year.

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