With Theo Epstein making trades left and right, I was unable to really analyze all of the trades to their full extent because of how many occurred so quickly. I will examine all the trades that resulted in a lot of new faces to Red Sox Nation. Here is part one of the three part (maybe more, you never know) analysis.
This trade works well for both sides, but it benefits the Red Sox a lot more. The Red Sox receive 26 (27 on the sixth) year-old Blaine Neal, a flame throwing relief pitcher that has closer potential. The Padres receive 33 year-old Adam Hyzdu who some people refer to as an "AAAA-er." Meaning, he's a `tweener between Triple-A and the majors. He's very good in AAA, but can't quite translate into the majors as well.
Neal has a lot of interesting pitching statistics, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is his stats from 1998: zero's all across the board. He didn't pitch that season, and apparently the organization was attempting to turn Neal from a relief pitcher to a batter. That didn't work out to well (.190/.324/.223), because he was back pitching in 1999 for Kane County in the Midwest League.
It's scary to think of, but Neal may end up being an AAAA-er himself. He has potential, just like Hyzdu did at age 26, and has performed tremendously at the triple-A level, but hasn't quite shown what he has at the major league level. Neal is 23-14 with a 2.61 ERA in 234 minor league games. At the major league level, Neal is 4-1 with a 4.62 ERA in 94 games. It's not bad by any standards, but he just hasn't hit his stride in the majors yet. Hopefully, this will be the year he finds that stride.
Sox fans shouldn't worry about Neal just yet because unlike Hyzdu, Neal has many years ahead of him to prove what he can do.
By losing Hyzdu, the Sox don't give up much. The Sox lose, at the most, a fifth outfielder that could occasionally pinch-hit. He is pretty good defensively, but at this point in his career he isn't an everyday player. At worst, Hyzdu is a starting outfielder at the triple-A level who will hit at least 20 home runs for the ball club. If you want to see your triple-A team win, then Hyzdu is the man that will do it for you. If you want your big team to win, Hyzdu won't contribute much as far as every day goes.
Neal will be on the opening day 25 man roster and in uniform for Sunday night's game in New York to open the 2005 season.