The Boston Red Sox have traded Garin Cecchini to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for cash considerations.
For a prime example of the risks of putting too much stock into the value of prospects, look no further than Garin Cecchini. It wasn’t long ago that the third baseman was considered one of the top prospects in the organization, yet now the Boston Red Sox are practically giving him away.
The Red Sox announced on Thursday that Cecchini has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for cash considerations. A deal was hardly unexpected after Cecchini was designated for assignment last week to open a spot on the 40-man roster for David Price, but the minimal return shows just how far the prospect’s value had fallen.
"“It was shocking, honestly,” Cecchini told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “But you can’t expect anything. Your job is always in jeopardy, no matter what you’re doing. You always have to perform.”"
Cecchini did perform early in his professional career and was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Red Sox organization by MLB.com as recently as 2014. He proved to be a very productive hitter in the lower levels of the minor league system, impressing scouts with his plate discipline and bat control. By 2013 he had been projected as the Red Sox third baseman of the future after hitting .322/.443/.471 during stints split between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland.
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The biggest issue that kept Cecchini from breaking through that glass ceiling to become a regular at the major league level was his defense. The Red Sox didn’t deem his glove to be ready to handle the third base job on an everyday basis, even when a spot opened up during the 2014 season. The Red Sox signing of Pablo Sandoval to a long-term free agent deal last winter signaled that Cecchini’s path to the big leagues would be blocked for the foreseeable future.
The team tried using him at first base and left field down in Pawtucket last season, but he failed to impress at those positions while his bat continued to regress. Cecchini finished his 2015 campaign hitting a dismal .213 in 117 games for Pawtucket.
Cecchini has seen some brief stints in the majors over the past two years, but managed to do little with those opportunities. He is a mere 8-for-25 (.229) at the plate in his career at the major league level with 14 strikeouts and only 3 walks. While he was as baffled as anyone by the steep slide in his production, Cecchini remains confident that he can bounce back.
"“It wasn’t me. That’s really all I can say,” explained Cecchini. “It was as shocking to me as it was to you all. Will it happen again? I don’t know. Do I expect it to happen again? Nope, because I feel really good. At the very end of the season, I got back to what made Garin Cecchini Garin Cecchini. I’ve said that before, but honestly I felt good and I was making adjustments. It was one of those years, but it happened for a reason. All I have to do is learn from it, because I can learn a lot from that season.”"
He’s still only 24 years old, so Cecchini still has time to bounce back and prove he has what it takes to make it at the major league level. He’ll just have to do it in the Brewers’ organization.
As for the Red Sox, it came down to a numbers crunch. Someone needed to be taken off the 40-man roster, so with Cecchini’s path to Boston blocked he became the odd man out. His plummeting production allowed Travis Shaw to surpass him in the team’s organizational hierarchy, while Rafael Devers presents a more promising long-term solution.
What a difference from a year ago. Had the Red Sox traded Cecchini last winter they may have had a chance at a promising return. Instead all they will get is cash for owner John Henry’s wallet to help replenish some of the funds spent on the free agent pitcher that will take Cecchini’s roster spot.