SoxProspects handicaps trading chips

October, 28, 2012
10/28/12
12:35
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No player in the Red Sox system is untradeable. However, you can rest assured that there are several prospects that the club won't be "shopping" and won't be traded unless the team is overwhelmed. Players like Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, and Jackie Bradley are part of the team's future plans, and it remains highly unlikely that they'll be traded unless a cost-controlled, above-average regular is coming back in return. But if the organization wants to make a splash in the trade market this offseason, here's a look at some prospects whom the Sox might shop (together with SoxProspects.com ranking).

[+] EnlargeDe La Rosa
Jake Roth/US PresswireRubby De La Rosa hasn't thrown a pitch in the Sox organization, but he could bring value to Boston one way or another.
Rubby De La Rosa (5) -- Trading an advanced high-ceiling pitcher is not something that's high on Boston's to-do list -- particularly one who hasn't thrown an inning in the organization to this point. However, the team may have to package those types of prospects to get significant major league value in return. A 23-year-old starter who gained some major league experience in 2011, De La Rosa missed most of the 2012 season rehabbing from August 2011 Tommy John surgery. He throws a plus mid-to-high-90s fastball, a plus changeup, and a fringe-average slider. If he can refine his command and improve secondary pitches, he could develop into a No. 3 starter in the short-term. Even if he doesn't improve those aspects of his game, he still profiles as a high-leverage reliever. To find the last time the Red Sox flipped a trade acquisition before he played a game in the organization, you have to go all the way back to third baseman Andy Marte, who was acquired from Atlanta for Edgar Renteria in December 2005, and then traded to Cleveland in the Coco Crisp deal in January 2006.

Garin Cecchini (7) -- The 21-year-old third baseman might be expendable due to the presence of Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts in the organization (considering Bogaerts' possible move to third base somewhere down the line). Cecchini is a plus hitter with solid mechanics, impressive instincts, good plate discipline, slightly above-average power potential, and above-average speed. He hit .305/.394/.433 with 4 home runs and 51 stolen bases for Low-A Greenville in 2012. He also plays a decent third base with a strong arm. He's looking like he could develop into a major leaguer regular at this point, with the potential to be a long-term impact regular on a first-division club. He's still got some ways to go to reach his potential, but he'd be a very attractive trade chip.

Brandon Workman (12) -- Workman is a sell-high candidate coming off of a season in which he took home the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. He went 10-8, posting a 3.50 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, striking out 130, and walking just 25 batters in 138.2 innings between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. At 24, he has solid stuff, but his jerky mechanics may prevent him from sticking as a starter over the long term. However, some team may see the potential to correct those mechanical flaws and turn the native Texan into a No. 3 or No. 4 starter, in which case someone might be willing to give up decent value for Workman.

Alex Wilson (15) -- Converted to the bullpen in April, Wilson had an up-and-down season with Triple-A Pawtucket in 2012. While he had a few impressive stretches, his command was fairly inconsistent and he ended the season with a 3.72 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 78 strikeouts, and 33 walks in 72.2 innings. If he can hone his command a bit, he has the makings of a 7th-inning reliever, mostly due to his above-average fastball-slider combo. But he's yet to show that he's ready to make that jump. He probably wouldn't fetch a ton of return on his own, but he'd have some value as part of a larger package.

Keury De La Cruz (17) -- Another sell-high candidate, the 20-year-old outfielder is coming off of an excellent season in which he hit .307/.350/.533 with 20 home runs and 21 stolen bases between stops in Greenville and Salem. He has good all-around tools, but his approach could be challenged at higher levels. While it's not out of the question that he can develop into a major league regular, he profiles better as a reserve that can provide some power and speed off the bench.

Brandon Jacobs (18) -- A 21-year-old left fielder, Jacobs is a solid all-around athlete with a high power celling and decent speed. Like De La Cruz, his approach will likely be tested at higher levels. He has a long swing and struggles against inside fastballs, and advanced pitchers will take advantage of that in Double-A. However, Jacobs has a higher ceiling than De La Cruz, albeit with less of a chance of reaching it. His 2012 campaign was hampered by a wrist injury that affected his ability to make hard contact -- he ended the season hitting .252 with 13 home runs for Salem. But other scouts have noticed his long-term power potential, and that's what could bring some value in a trade.

Frank Montas (24) -- As a young, raw, Dominican flamethrower, Montas is the prototype prospect that Boston likes to package in larger deals. Recent examples include Raul Alcantara (Andrew Bailey trade), Juan Rodriguez (Erik Bedard trade), and Roman Mendez (Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade). Montas' four-seam fastball operates in the 96-100 mph range with late movement and below-average command and control. His secondary stuff isn't much to speak of at this stage, but he's still just 19. As a lottery-ticket prospect, Montas would be a nice trade package complement to a more advanced prospect.

Juan Carlos Linares (34) -- Heading into the offseason, the Red Sox have a logjam of outfielders competing for backup roles on the 25-man roster and/or spots with Pawtucket: Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Bryce Brentz, Linares, Alex Hassan, Jeremy Hazelbaker, and Jackie Bradley. Linares is the type of player that could probably be a passable starter for a small market team right now, but instead he's buried on Boston's depth chart. He hit .315/.363/.508 with Portland and Pawtucket in 2012, which was his first season that he had more than 150 professional at-bats. That being said, he's already 28, having not defected from Cuba until he was 24.

Ivan De Jesus (36) -- A versatile infielder acquired in the August megadeal with the Dodgers, De Jesus is out of options and likely would not clear waivers. The problem is that Pedro Ciriaco is in the same boat, and it seems unlikely that Boston would keep both players. Expect one to be traded this offseason and the other to begin the 2013 season on Boston's bench.

Josh Fields (38) -- Much like outfield, the organization has a bevy of decent relievers with back-end major league potential in Scott Atchison, Clay Mortensen, Chris Carpenter, Fields, Pedro Beato, Jose De La Torre, Sandy Rosario, David Carpenter, and Brock Huntzinger. And given the volatile nature of major league relievers, it's good to have a stockpile of arms that have some breakout potential. Fields may be the most intriguing of the bunch. A former first-round draft pick, Fields posted a 2.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP and struck out 78 batters in 58.1 innings with Portland and Pawtucket in 2012. While he's already 27, he could still develop into an 8th-inning reliever. Fields and the other pitchers listed above may all be trade candidates simply for roster space reasons.

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