The Red Sox have traded outfielder Alejandro De Aza to the San Francisco Giants for left-handed minor league reliever Luis Ysla.
A trade of De Aza seemed inevitable at the non-waiver deadline, and when it didn't happen then, it was all-but-guaranteed to come before the waiver deadline passed on Monday night. After all, De Aza, who had hit just .214/.277/.359 for the Orioles when the Red Sox traded for him, proceeded to go on a tear upon joining the Sox. He did not finish strong, exactly, but still carries a 122 OPS+ in his time here, bringing his season totals above league average as well. If De Aza is no star, he has something to offer a contender looking for outfield depth.
So what do the Red Sox get out of this? Taken as a whole, the picture looks a little bleak, to be honest. They traded for De Aza when, at 25-31, most were already moving on from the idea of contention. Sure, at that point the Red Sox could conceivably have climbed back in, but there was nothing about their performance that suggested they would. De Aza, certainly, was not going to make the difference, making the decision to acquire him in the first place a bit odd. Honestly, when it comes down to it, you could make the argument that De Aza's presence kept certain other outfielders from getting an extended, consistent chance to prove themselves sooner.
For all that, they gave up...well, Joe Gunkel, a right-handed pitcher who still resides in Double-A. That he has proceeded to rattle off 97 innings of 2.77 ERA ball with the Orioles doesn't look great for the Red Sox, but at the end of the day this is still just a 23-year-old with average stuff who has generally profiled as middle relief. Maybe the Orioles won the lottery, but obsessing over that relatively slim chance is a quick road to madness best not taken.
And they gained...Luis Ysla, a 23-year-old who has yet to reach Double-A and has a 6.21 ERA in the High-A California league. He can throw some heat, is relatively raw, and has success in his past. But if Joe Gunkel is a lottery ticket, Ysla is a raffle entry to win a lottery ticket. It seems like a downgrade, especially looking at those numbers, but the kind that will almost always be washed away and forgotten as history proves these to be trades with no big winners.