Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Spring Training Trades

The Red Sox made an interesting move yesterday that probably won't register as a headline, but bears some attention. They traded Adam Hyzdu, who is 33 years old and doesn't really have much to offer the Red Sox this year (hot spring training stretch aside) for Blaine Neal, a pitcher from the San Diego Padres. Neal had a 4.07 ERA last year in 42 IP, with a 36:11 K:BB ratio. He also put up some good looking numbers in Portland in the Pacific Coast League, sporting a 1.86 ERA in 38.7 IP with no homeruns allowed (6 at the major league level though). This looks like a good deal from the outset, without too much in depth analysis, since the Sox traded someone they are not planning on using for someone who they will use a roster spot on. Also, the move assures me that Kevin Youkilis will make the team, and I don't have to go on a hunger strike outside the stadium now.

I decided to take a look at Blaine Neal's PECOTA Card at in order to see where he was on a list of comparables, and what the Sox could expect from him this season. The first name that jumps out at me is the 2002 version of Braden Looper, who is second on the list. Looper that year sported a 3.14 ERA with a 55:28 K:BB ratio, so as far as getting a free productive reliever goes, the Sox win on this one. Neal's breakout rate is also over 46%, so I'm hopeful he does just that and the Sox get a great reliever to ease the burden on the aging Timlin/Embree combo.

I'm very happy with the Red Sox roster so far, and I really feel they have the best team in baseball this year. Of course, that means nothing if your team falls apart for a week in October, but it at least makes me feel good going into the season. Maybe they can win a division at some point soon, and end that mini-drought.

I'm a big fan of this big a fan as someone can be of a trade this minor. I was actually hoping the Sox pulled something like this off for Doug Mientkiewicz. To get a major league arm in return for a AAAA player to me seems like a good deal.
I minor league players given up for live arms are great ways to snag what is essentially free talent.

No offense to Hyzdu or his abilities, but to the Red Sox he is a warm body that was traded for something useful. The combination of cheap talent and expensive acquisitions are what makes the Sox a difficult team to beat.
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