By Jim Callis
March 31, 2005
The Braves wanted another bullpen option while the Devil Rays were seeking another infielder, so it made sense that the two clubs got together for a trade on Thursday. Nick Green headed to Tampa Bay in exchange for Jorge Sosa.
Green, 26, made his big league debut last year, filling in admirably at second base for two months while Marcus Giles was sidelined with a broken clavicle. Green tailed off afterward in a reserve role and finished the season with .273/.313/.386 numbers plus three homers and 26 RBIs in 95 games. An overachiever, he made it to the majors after being drafted in the 32nd round in 1998 out of DeKalb (Ga.) JC and signing the following spring as a draft-and-follow. Green doesn’t have a standout tool, but he has good pop for a middle infielder and solid hands at second base. His plate discipline is iffy, so he never has hit for much of an average. Green probably will begin the season as the Devil Rays’ utilityman and is insurance in case young second baseman Jorge Cantu falters at the start of the year.
Sosa, a 27-year-old righthander, signed with the Rockies as an outfielder in 1995 but saw his career take off when the Mariners claimed him in the Triple-A phase of the 2000 Rule 5 draft and converted him to the mound. A year later, Tampa Bay took him in the major league Rule 5 draft, and he has spent most of the last three years in the majors. In 2004, he went 4-7, 5.53 in 43 games (eight starts) for the Rays. In 99 innings, he had a 94-54 strikeout-walk ratio, while opponents batted .259 with 17 homers against him. Sosa throws exceptionally hard, regularly working in the mid-90s, but he still lacks polish. His slider and splitter are inconsistent, as is his command. He has a career 11-26, 5.17 record in 103 big league games (41 starts).