The Red Sox have swung a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for two prospects
Apparently, Red Sox operations frontman Chaim Bloom wastes no time getting to work for the day, as news of a trade involving two recently designated pitchers being sent to the Rays broke earlier this morning. The Red Sox have sent pitchers Chris Mazza and Jeffrey Springs, and cash to the Rays in exchange for minor leaguers Nick Sogard and Ronaldo Hernandez.
Sogard is a middle infielder selected in the 12th round of the MLB’s 2019 draft. The 23-year-old made it to Low A that year before 2020 prevented minor leaguers from playing all season. Having just a little under a year of his experience under his belt as a professional (63 games), he is more than likely to spend more time in the lower levels of the minors and continue to develop.
The other piece in the trade is the same age as Sogard and appears to have a much closer timeline to making an impact on a major league roster. Hernandez, a catcher by trade, was already a member of the Rays’ 40-man roster so Boston must make a corresponding move in the wake of the acquisition. He had been affiliated with the Rays since 2015, playing for the team’s Foreign Rookie League affiliate as a 17-year-old.
MLB.com had Hernandez ranked as Tampa Bay’s 14th best prospect. Rays beat reporter Marc Topkin noted his surprise in the front office’s decision to include the catcher in the trade, noting that he still has plenty of potential even after a down 2019. He had been added to the taxi squad last season, ready to make an impact at the big league level at any time.
When taking a look back to evaluate what it cost to bring Mazza and Springs on, to begin with, it goes to show how little transactions like the two Bloom made last season can pay big dividends. Mazza was claimed off of waivers after the Mets designated him for assignment in late 2019 whereas Springs was traded to Boston in a one-for-one deal for then-Red Sox first baseman Sam Travis in January 2020.
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The transactions that brought these two players to Boston in the first place will likely be overshadowed by what they were turned into–a player that gives some much-needed depth at a position with little to look forward to.
Just like that, Bloom managed to turn two fringe roster players from last season’s team (who pitched to varying success) into the No. 14 ranked prospect from the league’s No. 1 ranked farm system. The team made a corresponding move in placing Kevin Plawecki on the COVID-19 injured list. For now, the other two players on the 40-man roster are safe, at least until recently-signed Marwin Gonzalez’s contract is announced. The Red Sox will eventually carry four catchers on the 40-man roster.
While this might seem like a minor transaction at the moment, it was one that was clearly a no-brainer for Boston’s front office. Rather than lose both these pitchers for next to nothing, Bloom managed to turn both of them into a player with serious upside, with his former employer nonetheless. If anyone knows the return coming to the Red Sox, it’s Bloom.