Two and a half years after acquiring reliever Franklin Morales from the Rockies, the Red Sox will be sending Morales right back to Colorado today. After showing promise in 2012, posting a 3.77 ERA in 37 games (9 starts), Morales endured a rough season in 2013, dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness– posting a 4.62 ERA in just 25.1 innings pitched. With a surplus in the bullpen and rotation, Morales would have been left without a real home in 2014 and thus, the Red Sox are parting ways with their live-armed lefty that is still only 27 years old.
Sep 19, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies second basemanJonathan Herrera
(18) fields a ground ball during the tenth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field. The Rockies won 7-6 in 15 innings. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
In return for Morales, the Red Sox will be able to check one of their remaining needs– a utility infielder– off of their wish list. Over the last four years, Herrera has played an important, if unheralded, role with the Rockies. He has moved around in the infield in his career, spending at least 188 innings at second base, shortstop, and third base, with most of his time coming up the middle.
Fangraphs rates Herrera as an above average second baseman and third baseman throughout his career, and he is only slightly below average at shortstop. Offensively, he provides decent production off of the bench, as he slashed .292/.336/.364 in his best offensive season in 2013. He is not great with the bat by any means, but for a utility infielder, he’s more than passable.
Herrera will likely make the 25-man roster as the utility infielder and probably work more on the left side of the infield as the Red Sox field two inexperienced players in Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts. He won’t be an ideal starter if either of the two struggle or are hurt, but he is certainly a better option than Brock Holt and at the cost, could be a valuable acquisition.