Boston Red Sox revamp team for next season with a bevy of trades and expensive international signing
The Boston Red Sox made a record signing last week by signing outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year deal worth $72.5 million dollars.
The deal is just one in a series of moves since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline that have signified the Red Sox intent on focusing on the future and giving up on the 2014 to 2015 season, as they currently hold a 56-74 record overall.
Runsey will join left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, acquired on July 31, in a revamped outfield when he joins the team later this year.
Cespedes was traded from the Oakland Athletics for starting pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to cap a hectic trade deadline that saw Boston trade away most of its starting rotation.
In addition to sending Lester to Oakland, starting pitcher John Lackey was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig.
Lackey, who clinched last year’s World Series for Boston, was traded to allow the Red Sox to have a younger core going into next year. Starting pitcher Felix Doubront, once considered the Red Sox top pitching prospect, was shipped off to the Chicago Cubs on July 30 for a player to be named later.
Pitcher Jake Peavy was traded to the San Francisco Giants on July 26 for a pair of pitchers—Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar.
Boston also traded away left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Miller to the division-rival Baltimore Orioles in exchange for pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. The 21-year-old left hander has spent most of the year playing at the AA-club Bowie Baysox and is not expected to join the big league club for a few years.
The moves over the past month signify a near complete retooling of the Red Sox roster for both next season and beyond.
Gone are four of the five members of a World Series winning rotation, shipped off for players that can help the team next year.
The outfield has only one member who was on the active roster on opening day, though outfielder Shane Victorino is currently on the 15-day disabled list.
Over the past month, the average age of a player on the Red Sox roster has dropped from 31 years to 29 years, transforming the team from one of the top-five oldest teams to one in the middle of the pack and will get younger when prospects like outfieders Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Mookie Betts are called up to the Red Sox.
No player recently acquired—spare Cespedes—has the same potential for stardom as Castillo. The power-hitting outfielder can play above-average defense in center field, bat leadoff and steal bases.
Castillo still needs to secure a work visa before he can take the field for the Red Sox and therefore is not expected to play an inning before mid-September. That did not stop Boston from giving him a contract through his season at age 34.
Cespedes, meanwhile, has lived up to his status as one of the top outfielders in Major League Baseball. In the 20 games since his trade, Cespedes has hit at a .455 slugging percentage, a .701 on base percentage and mashed four home runs, giving him 30 total for the season.
The outfielder made a name for himself while with Oakland by producing a number of stellar defensive plays in left field and cemented his status as a superstar by winning back-to-back home run derbys.
Boston has traded away the core of an aging team to retool for next year and beyond, snagging two top outfielders and a surplus of pitching and outfield talent that will help the club moving forward.
Though the Red Sox have confined themsleves to the cellar of the American League East Division this year, they have positioned themselves well to compete in the next few years.