The Boston Red Sox have acquired first baseman/outfielder Eric Filia from the Seattle Mariners, completing a previous trade from April.
The Red Sox originally acquired Elias, along with Carson Smith, in a trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners. Elias was scarcely used during his short time in the organization before being sent back to Seattle. Smith was limited to a total of only 11 relief appearances during his first two seasons in Boston due to Tommy John surgery. He’s been shut down again in 2018 with season-ending shoulder surgery.
That left them with only the PTBNL to show for that 2015 trade, a player we now know is Filia.
The 25-year old has spent this year with the Arkansas Travelers, the Double-A affiliate of the Mariners. He’s hitting a blistering .426 with a 1.045 OPS. However, he’s been limited to only 13 games after serving a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
Filia is coming off a strong 2017 campaign in which he hit .326/.407/.434 in class A-Advanced ball, followed by an outstanding showing in the Arizona Fall League. He was ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the Mariners organization by MLB Pipeline.
Scouting Report, via MLB.com
"“Filia has one of the more advanced approaches among Minor League hitters, with outstanding pitch and zone recognition, plus bat-to-ball skills and innate feel to hit from line to line. He led the Northwest League in hitting (.362) and on-base percentage (.450) and won the short-season circuit’s MVP in his pro debut, and then ranked first in the California League in OBP (.407) and third in batting (.326) in his sophomore campaign. He encored with standout performance in the Arizona Fall League, where he saw time at both corner outfield positions as well as first base.Pure hitting ability and on-base skills — he accrued 20 more walks than strikeouts in 2017 — are Filia’s calling cards to the Major Leagues, as he otherwise possesses average-at-best tools. But while it may be easy to peg him as a future fourth or fifth outfielder, there’s something to be said about Filia’s track record of surpassing expectations.”"
While he’s seen time at both first base and the outfield during his minor league career, Filia has never been known for his glove at any position. His defense could hold him back from advancing through the system if he doesn’t improve in that area. Filia could potentially break into the big leagues as a designated hitter or bat off the bench but his ceiling would be limited in that capacity.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see Filia in Boston before 2019 at the earliest. If he makes it that far at all. His penchant for getting on base and ability to hit the ball to all fields makes him an enticing prospect to keep an eye on.
There may not be a clear path to the majors for Filia in the short term but he adds depth to a depleted farm system. Dave Dombrowski would always use another trade chip. If he continues the tear he’s been on this season he could rise quickly and provide value one way or another.