As the Jake Peavy trade took form last night, Red Sox fans obsessed over the smallest moves in the minor league games of the night. Jackie Bradley was pinch hit for? Anthony Ranaudo pulled, even after 98 pitches? Surely they had to be involved!
As it turned out, they were not. The Red Sox, in fact, were not on the line for any of their top prospects, but rather a set of obscure low-level players who most fans have never even heard of. Low-level, however, does not mean low-quality. Every top prospect has to start somewhere, after all, and for most that's at the bottom of the farm system.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the three players the Sox sent along with Iglesias.
There's no question who the biggest loss of the trio is, at least for now. Francellis Montas is a big arm, capable of hitting triple digits with his fastball, if little else at the moment. That velocity hasn't helped him much in Greenville, however, with likewise inexperienced hitters having pushed his ERA all the way up to 5.70 in spite of some massive strikeout numbers.
If a high-90's fastball is not unique anymore, and if the recent history of the minors is littered with pitchers who couldn't take advantage of their sheer stuff, there's still no denying the potential of any pitcher who throws one. He's a long way off from being a successful major leaguer, but if he makes it, he could be quite valuable indeed.
Jose Iglesias wasn't the only glove-first shortstop the Red Sox lost Tuesday night. But if that's the best description of Rondon, it doesn't make him Iglesias by any other name. That level of defense is a rare thing indeed, and without it Rondon is going to need his bat to develop well beyond its current state--a .276/.326/.350 line at short-season Lowell does not project terribly well--to be more than a defensive replacement type of player at the major league level.
A bullpen arm with big numbers in rookie ball--28 strikeouts, three walks, and a 1.27 ERA in 13 appearances for the GCL Red Sox--that have ticked down in his first exposure to full-season ball at Greenville. Even as a twelfth-round pick in 2012, Wendelken garnered a $100,000 signing bonus, and has a decent enough mix of pitches, so there is something there. But he's going to need to keep his strikeouts up given his tendency for fly balls, and even if he does, it's hard to imagine Wendelken amounting to much beyond a middle reliever. Perfectly useful, but not someone to lament losing.
Of the three, Montas is really the only one that might give a Red Sox fan any pause. But if there's any sting there, it's mitigated greatly by the names the Red Sox didn't surrender. With so much talent stacked at he top of the farm system, it's a wonder that Boston was able to keep all of their best minor leaguers, losing out on only a low-A player like Montas (in addition to Iglesias, of course), ranked #36 by SoxProspects.com.
It's always possible one of these days we'll hear the name Montas, Wendelken, or even (not Bruce) Rondon and look back at this trade with a frown. But that's the nature of any trade. For Boston's part, they've gotten away from this one giving up a trio of players that does not seem that likely to provide a source of buyer's remorse in the future.
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