One of the most interesting pieces of news to come out of the trade deadline emerged today. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times blogged that the Red Sox tried to put two blockbusters together to obtain Felix Hernandez. According to Baker, Boston initially offered the Mariners their choice of five players from a list of eight: lefthanders Felix Doubront and Nick Hagadone; righthanders Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Clay Bucholz and Justin Masterson; shortstop Yamaico Navarro; and outfielder Josh Reddick.
When that didn't work, the Red Sox tried to get the Padres involved. Boston would have wound up with Hernandez; Seattle would have landed Adrian Gonzalez, Buchholz and two more Red Sox prospects; and San Diego would have come away with righthanders Phillippe Aumont and Brandon Morrow plus infielder Carlos Triunfel from the Mariners, in addition to two Red Sox prospects.
Hernandez doesn't become a free agent until after the 2011 season, so it makes sense that the Mariners turned down those proposals.
BA assistant editor Ben Badler also makes the point that it's very interesting to note which prospects weren't on Boston's available list: righthanders Casey Kelly and Junichi Tazawa; first baseman Lars Anderson; and outfielder Ryan Westmoreland. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that those are the four young players whom the Red Sox value the most.
As I wrote in a column posted earlier today , I wouldn't have made the Lee trade if I were running the Indians. He's still a very good value for 2010 at $9 million and Cleveland could have contended for the American League Central title. Carrasco (No. 2 on our Phillies Top 30 in the 2009 Prospect Handbook), Marson (No. 3) and Donald (No. 4) have lost some luster in Triple-A, and Knapp (No. 10) has passed them all. Only Knapp and Carrasco would crack my updated Indians Top 10:
1. Carlos Santana, c
Stolen from the Dodgers last summer in the Casey Blake trade.
2. Matt LaPorta, of
Scouts are cooling a little on the centerpiece of the C.C. Sabathia trade.
3. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b
Surprise 2008 first-rounder is hitting just like the Indians hoped.
4. Jason Knapp, rhp
One of the hardest throwers in the lower minors is out with shoulder fatigue
5. Nick Hagadone, lhp
Has regained power stuff after Tommy John surgery, might be a reliever.
6. Alex White, rhp
Tremendous value pick at 15th overall in the 2009 draft, though still unsigned.
7. Nick Weglarz, of
Lefthanded version of LaPorta with a chance to surpass him down the road.
8. Hector Rondon, rhp
He and Weglarz are the only guys on this list who were Indians before June 2008.
9. T.J. House, lhp
Signed for $750,000 as a 16th-round pick in 2008.
10. Carlos Carrasco, rhp
What he has in stuff he has lacked in poise and results in the upper minors.
(White hasn't signed, but I expect him to do so at the Aug. 17 deadline, so I've included him here. I'll take the same liberties with prominent unsigned draft picks with the Pirates and Phillies below.)
To be fair, several of the youngsters the Pirates acquired in this year's trades and last year's for Jason Bay, Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady no longer qualify as prospects. But it's still telling that only two trade acquisitions crack my Pirates Top 10 below, and those two (Tim Alderson and Gorkys Hernandez) are far from sure things. Pittsburgh has acquired a lot more quantity than quality. There are no obvious cornerstones to build around other than Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez, and amassing depth in complementary players isn't going to lead the Pirates to their first winning season since 1992.
We ranked Pittsburgh 18th among the 30 farm systems coming into 2009, and that evaluation doesn't figure to change dramatically when we evaluate organization talent again this offseason. The Pirates remain the favorites to sign Sano, though there are questions about his age. If they do land him, he'd rank right behind Alvarez on the list below.
1. Pedro Alvarez, 3b
Heating up in Double-A, showing why he got a $6 million bonus.
2. Brad Lincoln, rhp
Has put Tommy John surgery behind him, jumped to Triple-A.
3. Tony Sanchez, c
Hitting .341 in pro debut, but Pirates could have done better with No. 4 overall pick.
4. Tim Alderson, rhp
Scouts question his stuff and delivery, don't love him as much as fans do.
5. Jose Tabata, of
Remains an enigma, and questions about his physique and true age linger.
6. Gorkys Hernandez, of
Won't play center with McCutchen in Pittsburgh, and his bat doesn't profile on a corner.
7. Rudy Owens, lhp
28th-round draft-and-follow used solid stuff, savvy to fashion 32-inning scoreless streak.
8. Zack Von Rosenberg, rhp
Unsigned sixth-round pick had borderline first-round talent.
9. Robbie Grossman, of
2008 sixth-rounder who signed for $1 million is having just a so-so first full season.
10. Starling Marte, of
Previously unknown Dominican has hit .345 with 16 steals in first month in low Class A.
Though the Phillies decimated their Top 10 to acquire Cliff Lee, it's hard not to love a deal that brought them a reigning Cy Young Award winner without costing them Happ, who's been pitching over his head in Philadelphia, or any of their most valued prospects: outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, and righthander Kyle Drabek. You could rank those three in any order and defend it.
Before the Lee trade, those three and Knapp had separated themselves form the rest of the prospects in the system. There's an even steeper dropoff now after the big three, but it was worth the major upgrade to the big league rotation.
1. Dominic Brown, of
He's not doing anything to dispel the Darryl Strawberry comparisons.
2. Kyle Drabek, rhp
Tommy John surgery helped him mature, and his stuff hasn't suffered.
3. Michael Taylor, of
Has proven his 2008 breakout was no fluke by tearing up Double-A.
4. Travis d'Arnaud, c
Some talent evaluators would have taken him over Marson in the Lee trade.
5. Sebastian Valle, c
Wasn't ready for low Class A at age 18 but is destroying short-season pitching.
6. Trevor May, rhp
The latest product of the Phillies' extensive scouting efforts in the Pacific Northwest.
7. Anthony Gose, of
Speedster is coming on after scuffling in his first two months in low Class A.
8. Yohan Flande, lhp
The lone 2009 Futures Gamer who wasn't written up in the Prospect Handbook.
9. Brody Colvin, rhp
The most talented Phillies 2009 draftee slid to the seventh round, remains unsigned.
10. Antonio Bastardo, lhp
Struggled in his big league debut before going on the DL with a shoulder strain.