Saturday, July 30, 2011
Red Sox acquire Mike Aviles
By Gordon Edes
CHICAGO -- The Boston Red Sox's first trading-deadline deal this year did not involve a pitcher, but a utility infielder.
The Red Sox acquired veteran infielder Mike Aviles from the Kansas City Royals for infielder Yamaico Navarro and minor league pitcher Kendal Volz, the Royals announced Saturday afternoon. Navarro left U.S. Cellular Field by taxi at about 2:15 p.m., headed to join the Royals.
Aviles finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, when he batted .325 for the Royals. But he strained his forearm playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and underwent Tommy John elbow surgery after the 2009 season. He rebounded to bat .304 in 110 games for the Royals last season, when he played primarily second base, but this year found playing time tough to come by, as he played behind Chris Getz at second, Alcides Escobar at short and Mike Moustakas at third.
The Red Sox view Aviles as veteran infield insurance, and it signals that they have some doubts about when Jed Lowrie will be back, and how effective he will be when he returns. Aviles was batting just .222/.261/.395 for the Royals, but in limited action had good numbers against lefties, batting .309 (17-for-55) while slugging .600.
"A guy I think our organization has kinda liked from afar for a while," Boston manager Terry Francona said of Aviles.
"He's that guy who can really hit left-handers, actually both, but the ability to play short, second, third. ... He can run, hit the ball out of the ballpark. How we would use him, I don't know. Some of this is probably going to depend on Jed because Jed isn't too far away," Francona added. "But he seems excited to be here and we're happy to have him. At some point, I think we'd like to get him to the outfield because I think we think he can do it. He hasn't done that yet, but we'll see."
Navarro hit .216 in 16 games for the Red Sox.
"He has a chance to be a good everyday player," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "We got him for his upside in the bat. He's 23 years old and he can play short, third and occasionally second."
"Some people think his best position might be second base, but we've got to look at him and find out," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
Francona said Navarro was surprised to hear he'd been dealt.
"I think it's good for him because he'll probably get a chance to play more than he would here. We certainly wish him well. These things happen quick and he was just taken by surprise a little bit," Francona said. "He was more worried about 'What do I do with my clothes that are in Boston?' and things you probably forget about that guys have to contend with."
Volz, a right-hander, was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.33 ERA in 31 relief appearances for Class A Salem. He will report to Class A Wilmington.
Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.