By Jim Callis
July 30, 2002
Cliff Floyd’s second stay in Montreal didn’t last three weeks. After acquiring him from the Marlins on July 11, the Expos turned around and traded him Tuesday night, sending him to the Red Sox for minor league righthanders Seung Song and Sun-Woo Kim, plus a player to be named later.
Boston has gone just 10-10 since the all-star break, falling a game behind the Mariners in the American League wild-card race and five back of the Yankees in the AL East. Floyd’s arrival could push Manny Ramirez from left field to DH on a full-time basis, which would then allow Brian Daubach to take over the regular job at first base, where Tony Clark has struggled and the Red Sox have gotten less production than any other AL team.
Floyd, 29, was an all-star in 2001 and is having another strong season this year. The 14th overall pick in the 1991 draft by the Expos (going right after Ramirez went 13th to the Indians), Floyd is hitting .275-21-61 with 11 steals in 99 games. He already has set a career high with 64 walks, and his .394 on-base percentage is his best ever. He batted just .208-3-4 in his 15-game return to Montreal, but that was an aberration for a player expected to be one of the prizes on the free-agent market this season. Floyd is athletic and powerful, a basestealing threat and fine left fielder despite his 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame. He’s making $6.5 million this year, the final season on a four-year, $19 million contract, and the Red Sox quickly will try to sign him to an extension.
Though Montreal has sputtered at 7-12 since the break to drop to sixth in the National League wild-card standings, six games behind the Dodgers and Giants, general manager Omar Minaya told the Canadian Press that trading Floyd doesn’t mean his club has given up on the postseason. Minaya said the move saves the Expos $2 million, which they could use to pick up a pitcher for the stretch drive. Montreal hopes the deal works out as well as last July’s transaction between the two clubs, which saw Boston acquire Ugueth Urbina for minor league pitchers Tomo Ohka and Rich Rundles. Ohka has blossomed into a solid starter this year for the Expos, going 8-6, 3.77.
Song, 22, was the Red Sox’ best prospect and one of their few in the upper levels of the minors. He pitched Kyung Nam High to the Korean national title in 1998 before signing for $800,000 in February 1999. He led the short-season New York-Penn League in strikeouts in 2000, finished second to Josh Beckett for the minor league ERA title at 1.90 last year and has pitched in the last two Futures Games. Song went 7-7, 4.39 in 21 starts at Double-A Trenton in 2002, striking out 116 in 109 innings. He has good stuff with a low-90s fastball, a curveball that can be dominant and an effective changeup, but his intelligence and feel for pitching might be more impressive. Song always has been very stingy in terms of allowing walks and home runs. He could use a little more life on his pitches at times and likes to pitch up in the strike zone, which more advanced hitters may be able to take advantage of.
Kim, 24, also was a Korean pitching hero before signing with Boston. He led Korea to the 1994 World Junior Championships title and became his nation’s youngest baseball Olympian ever in 1996. He signed for $1 million in January 1998 and quickly emerged as one of the best arms in the Red Sox system, showing a riding fastball that can reach 94-95 mph, as well as a plus slider at times. But his mechanics and control have been inconsistent, and he was fast-tracked through the minors without ever having consistent success. Kim went 2-0, 7.45 in 15 games with Boston, boosting his career record to 2-2, 5.83 with a 45-28 strikeout-walk ratio in 71 innings over 35 games. He has been used primarily as a starter in the minors and went 4-2, 3.18 in eight games in that role at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was at the time of the trade.
The use of Song and Kim to acquire Floyd becomes easily the most significant contribution from the Red Sox’ repeated forays into Asia during the regime of previous GM Dan Duquette. Those efforts redirected money from the domestic signing budget, which led to a string of failed first-round picks and unsigned draftees that has had a profoundly negative affect on the Boston farm system.
August 6 update: The Boston Herald has reported that the player to be named in the trade will be low Class A Augusta righthander Dan Generelli. The Expos also have the option of declining Generelli and accepting $200,000 instead. Generelli, 20, is one of several Massachusetts natives drafted by the Red Sox in recent years. A native of Worcester, he signed as a 20th-round pick in 1999 out of Quinsigamond (Mass.) CC. Generelli has a strong arm, capable of throwing a low-90s fastball that has touched 93-94 mph on oaccasion. He also has a decent curveball and a changeup, though a lack of command has limited his effectiveness. Generelli has made 32 appearances (one start) for the GreenJackets this year, going 1-1, 4.32 with 54 strikeouts in 58 innings.
August 19 update: The Boston Herald jumped the gun on identifying Generelli. Rob Mueller, BA’s South Atlantic League correspondent, reports that Generelli is merely one player on a list from which the Expos can choose. They also can take the $200,000 if they prefer. Once the prospect is identified, we’ll offer a scouting report.
October 17 update: The trade has been completed with the Expos opting to take $200,000 in lieu of a third player.