The Boston Red Sox traded De Aza, but they knew that a veteran presence was still required. Hence why free agent Chris Young was signed. A mistake or not?
With the Red Sox trading De Aza for a minor league pitcher named Luis Ysla, the team was able to obtain an asset on the cheap, instead of keeping a free agent whom was not in their future plans and would have to pay more money to keep around. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the New York Mets did De Aza that honor:
The former Red Sox outfielder played well enough in his contract year to get the big payoff, even if it’s only for one year. Christopher Smith of MassLive.com covered those stats: “With the Red Sox, [De Aza] hit .292/.347/.484/.831 with four homers, nine doubles, five triples and 25 RBIs in 60 games. Boston then traded him to the [San Francisco] Giants for minor league pitcher Luis Ysla on Aug. 31. He batted .262/.387/.361/.747 in 24 games for San Francisco.”
Not mind-blowing numbers, but solid play to put him into a good position in negotiations with the Mets.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox added veteran outfielding depth with Young, whom is actually a year older than De Aza. Young slugged .252/.320/.453, with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs, in 140 games for the New York Yankees.
It’s hard to say how numbers would compare for two players not on the same team. Judging solely on production rate, De Aza would have hit 58 RBIs if given the same amount of games as Young. However, with different batting lineups and different spots in the order, it’s impossible to say that De Aza would have been more productive with the Red Sox than Young.
Defensively, De Aza played every outfield position for the Red Sox flawlessly, earning a perfect fielding percentage. His all-purpose outfield range factor for his career is 2.20, his weakest position being right field (1.39). Young’s overall range factor is 2.32, with his weakest position also being right field (1.26). Both players’ best position is center field, with very little separating them in terms of statistics.
Financially, De Aza was the cheaper option. At $5.75 million for one year, even if that was doubled for two years it would still be less expensive than Young’s $13 million through 2017.
Baseball-Reference.com projects Young to hit .232 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs for the Red Sox, while projecting De Aza to hit .256 with 9 home runs and 40 RBIs. De Aza is expected to cross the plate 53 times for the Mets, while Young is expected to cross 52 times.
With not much difference between the two players, It’s a wonder why the Red Sox would think Young was the better option. At the time, the club wouldn’t know what position they’d be in to re-sign De Aza. However, the Mets already have six outfielders on their depth chart, so it’s not like they could offer him guaranteed starting time, the same as Young’s situation with the Red Sox. Maybe the Red Sox liked the two-year part of Young’s contract, although De Aza’s one-year contract would make more sense if Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts play to their potential and Andrew Benintendi continues to develop in the minors.
So, why did the Red Sox get rid of De Aza, again? The trade brought in a pitcher who posted a 3-6 record and a 5.85 ERA in 84.2 innings in Class A(Advanced). Not exactly a blockbuster of a move.
Well, at least Boston got something for De Aza, right?