|The Red Sox struck a last-minute deal for a starting pitcher, acquiring lefty Erik Bedard from the Mariners as part of a three-team deal that also involved the Dodgers. Seattle traded Bedard and Triple-A righty reliever Josh Fields to the Red Sox, with Double-A outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang going back the other way to Seattle. Acting as go-between, the Dodgers effectively traded Triple-A outfielder Trayvon Robinson to the Mariners and received three prospects from Boston: catcher Tim Federowicz and righthander Stephen Fife, both of whom played for Double-A Portland, and low Class A righty Juan Rodriguez.
The Red Sox nearly acquired Athletics righty Rich Harden on July 30, in exchange for Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named, but they tried to modify terms of the deal when Harden’s physical raised concerns. Oakland reportedly nixed the deal when Boston wanted to remove the PTBN from the mix.
|Trayvon Robinson, lf/cf
Age: 23. Position: LF (56 G), CF (48 G).
Born: Sept. 1, 1987 in Los Angeles.
Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 200. Bats: B. Throws: R.
School: Crenshaw HS, Los Angeles.
Career Transactions: Selected by Dodgers in 10th round of 2005 draft; signed June 13, 2005.
In the midst of a career year at Triple-A, Robinson obliterated his previous high for home runs (17) by smashing 26 in 100 games to rank third in the Pacific Coast League. He also ranked third with 122 strikeouts, as he’s swung for the fences with greater frequency this season. On a per at-bat basis, his strikeout rate has climbed to 29 percent this season after residing at 24 percent last year at Double-A. Robinson is a fundamentally-sound outfielder who lacks the arm to play right field but has the range to handle center. The Dodgers had been playing him in left to prepare him to fill their void at big league level. (Matt Kemp plays center, of course.) Though he played half his games in a launching pad in Albuquerque, Robinson performed nearly equally as well on the road, batting .280/.354/.537 with 12 of 26 homers in 175 at-bats. His feel for hitting and occasional power will make Robinson a challenger for an everyday job at the major league level, though set expectations for solid regular rather than star.
|Chih-Hsien Chiang, rf
Age: 23. Position: RF (70 G), LF (7 G).
Born: Feb. 21, 1988 in Taitung City, Taiwan.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 170. Bats: L. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Red Sox, Oct. 8, 2005.
When the season began, Chiang would have been a relatively insignificant complementary piece in any trade. A former infielder who signed with the Red Sox for $375,000 out of Taiwan in 2006, Chiang had shown little aptitude at the plate. But this year the Red Sox hooked Chiang up with a Chinese-speaking nutritionist, and that pairing enabled Chiang to get his diabetes under control. The results have been dramatic. After never slugging better than .459 in a full season—and even that comes with asterisk because it occurred at the launching pad of Lancaster—Chiang was leading the Eastern League in six categories at the time of his trade. Those EL-leading totals: .340 average, .648 slugging, 76 RBIs, 37 doubles, 59 extra-base hits and 68 runs. His exceptional raw power had never been transferred to game situations before, but this year Chiang has shown potential to be a slugging outfielder. He isn’t much of a runner and he’s average at best in the outfield, so his value is tied entirely to his bat. While Chiang is a 23-year-old repeating Double-A after repeating high Class A, his health and nutrition struggles provide a reasonable explanation for his previous struggles, making him a player worth taking a flier on.
|Tim Federowicz, c
Age: 23. Position: C (63 G).
Born: Aug. 5, 1987 in Erie, Pa.
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 200. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: North Carolina.
Career Transactions: Selected by Red Sox in seventh round of 2008 draft; signed July 7, 2008.
Federowicz was the best defensive catcher in the Red Sox system, with the catch-and-throw skills to be a big league regular. His pure arm strength is average, but it plays up because he has smooth footwork and a quick release. He has thrown out 36 percent of basestealers this year in Double-A, and also has shown off his receiving ability by committing just one passed ball. Federowicz’s bat will determine how much he plays when he gets to the majors. He ability to hit for average and control the strike zone is decent, and he has some gap power. He runs well for a catcher and has more athleticism than most backstops.
|Stephen Fife, rhp
Born: Oct. 4, 1986 in Boise, Idaho.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Red Sox in third round of 2008 draft; signed June 10, 2008.
Fife didn’t start pitching regularly until he was a high school senior, but after three years of college ball at Utah he worked himself into the third round of the 2008 draft. His best pitch is an 88-93 mph fastball that features good sink. He lacks an above-average secondary pitch, with his changeup (which has some splitter action) ranking ahead of his curveball. His control and command are average, and it’s more likely that he develops into a middle reliever than a starter.
|Juan Rodriguez, rhp
Born: Dec. 12, 1988 in Haina, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 195. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Red Sox, Feb. 27, 2008.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, Rodriguez made his full-season debut this year at low Class A Greenville. He still has room for projection in his 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame, and he already throws 93-95 mph coming out of the bullpen, enabling him to rank second among South Atlantic League relievers with 13.42 strikeouts per nine innings. There’s a good deal of effort in Rodriguez’s delivery, which hampers his control and command. His slider and changeup are fringy pitches, so his ceiling is as a late-inning reliever rather than as a starter.
|Red Sox Acquire|
|Erik Bedard, lhp
Age: 32. Remaining Commitment: Approximately $333,000 ($1 million salary for 2011; eligible for free agency after the season).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
|Josh Fields, rhp
Born: Aug. 19, 1985 in Hull, Ga..
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Mariners in first round (20th overall) of 2008 draft; signed Feb. 16, 2009.
If Fields had even average control, he’d likely already be a successful major league reliever. With a 92-96 mph fastball and a hard-breaking curveball, Fields has the stuff to be a big league closer, which explains why the Mariners selected him in the first round back in 2008. But even stretching back to his days at Georgia, Fields has always struggled to throw strikes consistently. In college, it didn’t matter as his stuff was good enough to force most hitters to chase pitches out of the zone. Fields has found professional hitters more discerning, which explains why walked 32 and struck out 39 in 39 innings this season as he reached Triple-A for the first time (and he turns 26 in a few weeks). Fields’ control problems may limit his upside, but his stuff gives him a chance to pitch in a big league bullpen, as he has one of the better arms in the minors. In 88 innings at the Double-A level, he struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings but also walked 6.0.