Red Sox make a deal for an outfielder after the trade deadline
The Boston Red Sox have traded for outfielder Delino DeShields
Wasn’t the MLB trade deadline supposed to be last week? Apparently nobody told the Boston Red Sox since they went out and acquired outfielder Delino DeShields from the Texas Rangers on Thursday, according to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.
There are no August waiver wire deals anymore but this move is an exception. DeShields was eligible to be traded since he’s on a minor league contract and hasn’t appeared in the majors this season. The Red Sox are sending cash to the Rangers and assigning DeShields to Triple-A Worcester.
The 28-year-old has been toiling away in the minors this year but he has six years of major league experience under his belt. DeShields spent his first five seasons with the Rangers plus a brief year in Cleveland after he was dealt in the Corey Kluber trade.
DeShields owns a career .246/.326/.340 line. There is minimal power in his bat and his 76 OPS+ indicates he’s about 24 percent worse than league-average at the plate.
His track record is underwhelming but DeShields is having a solid season in Triple-A, batting .263/.392/.368 with five homers, nine doubles, a triple and 16 stolen bases. He’s no stranger to strikeouts with a 20.3 K% but DeShields has offset that concern with a strong 16.4 BB% this season.
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While he’s hardly intimidating with a bat in his hands, DeShields can be a threat on the base paths. The speedy outfielder has swiped 20+ bags four times in his career. His speed could make DeShields an interesting candidate to earn a spot when rosters expand to 28 in September, providing manager Alex Cora with an option to pinch-run with.
DeShields can also provide above-average value with his glove, producing 23 defensive runs saved as a center fielder between 2018-2019. He only played 35 games in the outfield for Cleveland during last year’s shortened season but was at least average in center.
Jarren Duran has been a bit overwhelmed in his first taste of major league action and if the top outfield prospect continues to struggle, DeShields could provide a veteran presence to fill in. A brief demotion for Duran probably pushes Kike Hernandez back to center field but DeShields would be a reliable backup who can also play the position when Hernandez is needed at second base.
It’s possible that DeShields never makes it to the Red Sox roster but they gave up next to nothing to acquire him. With the trade deadline now in the rear view mirror, this is the type of low-risk move they are still able to pull off. DeShields won’t be a big impact player but every little bit he adds with his speed or defense can make a difference in a tight division race.