A pair of American League powers improved their outlook for the short team following a three-team deal that landed righthander Jake Peavy with the Red Sox and shortstop Jose Iglesias with the Tigers. The third party, the White Sox, received four prospects for a rebuilding effort that officially began earlier this month with the trades of relievers Matt Thornton (also to the Red Sox) and Jesse Crain (Rays).
Headed to Chicago are Triple-A outfielder Avisail Garcia, a tooled-up 22-year-old who appeared on all three Tigers’ postseason rosters last year, and a trio of lower-level prospects from the Red Sox system: low Class A Greenville righthanders Francellis Montas and J.B. Wendelken and short-season Lowell middle infielder Cleuluis Rondon.
The Red Sox also receive 26-year-old reliever Brayan Villarreal from the Tigers. In 73 big league appearances he has a strikeout rate of 10.3 per nine innings but also a 1.51 WHIP and high walk rate (5.5 BB/9).
|White Sox Acquire|
Avisail Garcia, cf
Age: 22 Bats: R
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Tigers, July 6, 2007
The centerpiece of the deal for the White Sox, Garcia rocketed up prospect lists with an outstanding 2012 season and has done nothing to diminish his stock this year. Considering his proximity to the majors and recent minor league track record, Garcia is ready to help the White Sox now. A similar frame, stance and swing as Miguel Cabrera earned him the nickname “Little Miggy” from Tigers teammates last season, though Garcia’s game isn’t centered entirely on his bat. He’s a five-tool talent who runs, throws and defends enough to handle center field in his youth and right field down the line. He’ll never draw a ton of walks, but Garcia has enhanced his pitch recognition in recent years and doesn’t swing and miss excessively for a young power hitter. Expect him to eclipse his career high for home runs (17 last year) within the next few seasons because he drives the ball with authority to all fields—and it won’t hurt that Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field is a friendly place for righthanded power.
Francellis Montas, rhp
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Red Sox, Dec. 14, 2009
Incredible arm strength—he bumped 100 mph in the Dominican Summer League after signing—helped Montas stand out as an amateur, but inconsistent command and unrefined secondary pitches hold him back as a starter in low Class A. He pitches at 92-95 mph, sinking the ball to his arm side or cutting it in on the hands of lefties, though his mid-80s breaking ball lacks shape and finish. A wide, mature frame and max-effort delivery probably consign him to a future in the bullpen, but he has the fastball for such a role.
Cleuluis Rondon, 2b/ss
Age: 19 Bats: R
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Red Sox, Nov. 19, 2010
A career .216/.315/.304 hitter at three short-season stops, Rondon offers plus range and hands at either shortstop or second base, but international scouts never were convinced he would hit.
J.B. Wendelken, rhp
Career Transactions: Selected by Red Sox in 13th round of 2012 draft; signed June 19, 2012
Signed for $100,000 out of Middle Georgia JC, Wendelken has the lowest ceiling of the prospects acquired by the White Sox, with an average, low-90s sinker and substandard secondary stuff. All 40 of his career appearances have come in relief.
Jose Iglesias, ss
Age: 23 Bats: R
Career Transactions: Signed as international free agent by Red Sox, Sept. 30, 2009
Scouting reports for Iglesias have remained constant since he signed as a Cuban defector four years ago: great glove, suspect bat. The Tigers developed an intense interest in his services as they hedge against a lengthy suspension for shortstop Jhonny Peralta, a pending free agent who might be unavailable for the postseaosn if he doesn’t appeal his penalty. With his lightning-quick feet, sure hands and rocket arm, Iglesias would surely be a defensive upgrade over Peralta, though he’s a career .244/.296/.292 hitter at the Triple-A level (916 plate appearances) with no secondary skills to speak of.
|Red Sox Acquire|
Jake Peavy, rhp
Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $14.5 million salary for 2013, then $14.5 million for 2014, followed by a conditional player option worth $15 million for 2015. Details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
By adding Peavy, Boston keeps pace with the Rangers, who picked up Matt Garza last week. He provides the Red Sox with a veteran starter who can miss bats and would not look out of place at the top of a playoff rotation, especially as Clay Buchholz attempts to come back from a shoulder injury and John Lackey works deep into his first season since having Tommy John surgery.
Brayan Villarreal, rhp
Remaining Commitment: Under club control for five more seasons, but out of minor league options beginning in 2014.