My guest blogger: My son Leor Shugerman Handelsman, 15-year old Shugerblog Sports Correspondent on the Red Sox moves this week:
This Monday, the Boston Red Sox made a blockbuster deal, trading away future stud, Yoan Moncada, along with two other prospects, while receiving one of the best pitchers in the league, Chris Sale. The Red Sox organization used this trade to make one big statement: The Red Sox are are willing to do whatever it takes to win a ring in the next couple of years.
Ever since March 12th, 2015, when the Red Sox signed Yoan Moncada, Boston baseball fans had high hopes for the up and coming superstar. The 19 year Old Cuban infielder was ranked as a top-15 prospect by four different sites at the time of the signing, but since then, Yoan Moncada has climbed up the ranks to arguably be the number one prospect in baseball.
According to MLB.com, in an article written in 2012, the top ten prospects in the league were the following: 1. Jurickson Profar 2. Dylan Bundy 3. Wil Myers 4. Taijuan Walker 5. Trevor Bauer 6. Zach Wheeler 7. Gerrit Cole 8. Danny Hultzen 9. Tyler Skaggs 10. Nick Castellanos. Most of those players all turned out to be busts, and none of them lived out to their hype (so far). In baseball there is no guarantee that the top prospects will make it, and that does not exclude Moncada.
On the other side of the deal, Chris Sale will instantly help out our already very good rotation, without a doubt. The 27 year old has been an all star for each of the last five years, and has an extremely high floor, with little risk. In his seven year career, Sale has a 3.00 ERA, and batters have a .224 batting average against him. He also has an incredibly low salary, and is on contract for the next five years, which is a huge plus.
When it comes down to the decision on if the Red Sox did the right thing to pull the trigger on this trade, the real question is, “Is Moncada worth the risk of either becoming one of the best players in baseball, or busting like the 2012 class of bums?” My answer is no, he’s not. There is no guarantee that Moncada can boost our shot at winning it all, while Sale will make difference the second he steps onto the field. Papi’s retirement shouldn’t send us into rebuild mode. We still have many valuable assets like Bogaerts, Betts, and Bradley that can lead us to a championship, and thanks to Dave Dombrowski, we can add Chris Sale to that list of assets.
On the same day that we traded for Sale, we also signed designated hitter Mitch Moreland, and traded for former Brewers closer, Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg had a huge breakout season last year as a closer in Milwaukee. But Since the Red Sox already have Craig Kimbrel, the best reliever in the game, I imagine that they will use Thornburg as a set up man. Boston experimented with a lot of guys to set up Kimbrel last year, (for example: Koji, Abad, Ziegler, Tazawa, and Ross) but none of them ended up working out as a long term answer. Only time will tell how well Thornburg will fit into the Red Sox system, but he has the talent to make a difference. There was a big question about who will replace Ortiz at DH this year, and it seems like Mitch Moreland will answer that question. Moreland’s .233 batting average last year was not ideal at all, but I can’t really complain about his 22 home runs or his gold glove award. (Even though that award isn’t a huge deal for first basemen). His numbers weren’t great, but he looks to me like he could fit the role of Mike Napoli in our 2013 run. Both Moreland and Thornburg’s contracts expire at the end of the year, but they both look like solid short term pickups. I am very excited to see Chris Sale in a Red Sox uniform, and am even more excited for the 2017 baseball season. In conclusion, I feel very lucky to be a Boston sports fan right now.
— Leor Shugerman Handelsman