Ivan De Jesus Jr. was a small part of a big trade. Will he even make it to 2013 with his new team?
Ivan De Jesus Jr. has a 40-man spot and zero options left. That means he's either going to be the utility infielder for 2013, or more likely, somewhere else.
When the Red Sox agreed to send Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, Sox fans were shocked not simply by the fact that the team had managed to get out from underneath such a large amount of money, but also that the return from the Dodgers had been as good as it was. But, as with the package sent to Los Angeles, the package headed to Boston was massively top-heavy. On the one hand: Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, two very impressive pitchers likely to highlight top prospect lists (depending on Rubby's eligibility). On the other, a somewhat expensive first baseman with no bat in James Loney, and a Nick Punto replacement in Ivan De Jesus.
Oh, and Jerry Sands, who nobody is really sure where to place.
To be fair to De Jesus, he is not a carbon copy of Punto. Where Punto is a known quantity, De Jesus is not. Punto is never going to hit in any significant sample size, and while he provides a decent glove at a few positions that's just not enough to really warrant much consideration. And likely that's exactly the sort of player Ivan De Jesus will become--that's almost exactly the scouting report on him--but he at least has the benefit of being young and untested.
On the one hand this could mean that he won't e able to play at Punto's level and eke out a quiet but lucrative career. In that aspect, Ivan De Jesus would probably prefer to be Punto right now. On the other hand, though, there's still some slight possibility that he could become something more. The "diamond in the rough" scenario does not happen often, but it does happen. With players like Nick Punto being a dime a dozen, that makes De Jesus potentially more interesting to the right team.
The Red Sox, however, are probably not that team. De Jesus managed to look really bad in his eight major league trips to the plate this year, and was only decent at Triple-A despite his (relatively) advanced age. If they had nobody else to put there, maybe they'd have Ivan De Jesus stick with the big league team rather than, say, bring Jose Iglesias up. But when it comes to filling the roster spot De Jesus would fill, they've already got Pedro Ciriaco, who has possibly flashed some of that upside and, even if that was all just an illusion, provides a base-stealing ability De Jesus does not. Add in the pro-Pedro sentiment held by the fan base, and it seems like an easy choice for the Red Sox to make.
The real question for Ivan De Jesus is whether or not a team will be interested in picking him up off of waivers. That the Red Sox were interested enough to give him a 40-man spot in the big trade may be a sign that he'll at least get some looks from bottom-tier teams, there are certainly no guarantees for 25-year-old Quadruple-A utility players. If he doesn't, then the Sox will not complain that they get to keep that sort of depth in their system just in case.