The Boston Red Sox made a move today in an attempt to bolster their starting rotation, in a year or two. The club didn’t sign Roy Oswalt or trade for Gavin Floyd, Matt Garza or even Joe Blanton. Rather the club signed Dominican native and multiple named, Simon Mercedes; or Jeffrey Tapia as you may formerly have known him as. Yes it is a weird story, one that involves many legal issues before Mercedes will become declared eligible to join the Red Sox.
Ben Badler of Baseball America outlines the messy situation surrounding Mercedes. The coles notes version is this:
- Mercedes signed with the San Francisco Giants in early 2011, under the name Jeffrey Tapia.
- Shortly after, the fraudulent name and a faulty age was discovered and MLB suspended Mercedes for one year.
- The ban was lifted on Wednesday and Mercedes was quick to jump at the Red Sox offer of $800,000.
Badler goes on to discuss the legal parameters that Mercedes must clear before being declared MLB eligible again including acquiring a VISA, confirming the correct name and age. This guy sounds like a real winner, one who comes with the potential of a tremendous amount of baggage. Do the Red Sox really need this mess in a year or two?
The report on Mercedes is positive when it comes to his pitching abilities. Badler states that many scouts have reported the 6-foot-4, 220 pounder to have a power arm with his fastball ranging from 92-96 mph while being complimented by an above average breaking ball.
If this kid can get his head glued on straight he could end up being a quality arm that just might be able to contribute to the Red Sox starting rotation. Just don’t expect it to be this year.