By Jim Callis
July 31, 2002
The Red Sox couldn’t find the starting pitcher they wanted before the trade deadline, but they did bolster their bullpen Wednesday afternoon. Boston acquired Bobby Howry from the White Sox for two high Class A pitchers, Franklin Francisco and Byeong An.
Howry, a 28-year-old righthander, gives the Red Sox a fallback option if all-star closer Ugueth Urbina can’t snap out of his recent funk. Howry closed for the White Sox in 1999 before being supplanted by Keith Foulke and settling in as a setup man. His main pitch is a low-90s fastball, and he also works with a curveball and changeup. This year, Howry has gone 2-2, 3.91 in 47 games, limiting lefthanders to a .221 average. For his career, he’s 13-17, 3.74 with 49 saves in 294 games, and 286 strikeouts in 322 innings. He makes $1.2 million this year and $2 million in 2003 as part of a two-year contract that also includes a club option for 2004.
Francisco, a 22-year-old righthander, had his age revised upward nine months during the offseason. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1996, he missed all of 1997 and all but one game in 2000, but blossomed at low Class A Augusta in 2001 following elbow surgery. He has a 92-95 mph fastball and a 78-80 mph curveball, though he has struggled to develop a changeup. Francisco opened the season at Double-A Trenton, where he got hammered for a 5.63 ERA in nine appearances. Since his demotion to Sarasota, he has gone 1-5, 2.55 in 16 games (10 starts), with 58 strikeouts and 27 walks in 53 innings. Command has been an issue for Francisco throughout his career, but Florida State League hitters have batted just .185 against him.
An, a 22-year-old lefthander, is the third Korean traded in the last two days by the Red Sox. He follows Seung Song and Sun-Woo Kim, who went to Montreal in the Cliff Floyd deal. Signed for $750,000 in January 2001, An went 2-8, 3.62 as a starter at Sarasota in his pro debut but has struggled mightily there as a swingman in 2002. An has gone just 4-7, 5.33 with only 58 strikeouts in 98 innings. He throws a high-80s fastball, a slurvy breaking ball and a changeup.