Those precious prospects. Teams are reluctant to trade the blue chippers. But the reality is that few of those ballyhooed kids pan out.
Check out the Boston Red Sox. Over the last few years third baseman Will Middlebrooks and shortstop Xander Bogaerts were untouchables. The Sox wouldn’t deal the bandied about kids and well, it doesn’t appear to be working out in the Hub for the young prospects.
Bogaerts hit .240 in his first full season as the Red Sox shortstop. The free swinger, who had only 39 walks in 594 at-bats, which is Ben Revere-esque, failed to impress.
Middlebrooks struggled mightily. He hit an anemic .191 and had little pop. His OPS was a paltry .522.
Bogaerts, 22 and Middlebrooks, 26, were the crown jewels of the Red Sox farm system. But top prospects don’t always succeed. If Bogaerts and/ or Middlebrooks did live up to their reputation, the Red Sox wouldn’t have paid a fortune to sign third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
The Red Sox also have an outfield so deep that it makes the Los Angeles Dodgers crowded outfield look empty.
If the players the Red Sox thought would represent the left side of their infield for the next generation played good consistent baseball, Boston could have easily re-signed Jon Lester.
But that’s in doubt, which brings the Red Sox to Cole Hamels. Rumors are running rampant that the Sox and Phillies will make a deal involving several prospects and Cole Hamels, since Boston desperately needs starting pitching.
Will the Sox give Amaro, who reportedly wants a considerable haul, what he wants.
“It appears that Boston will not give up its top prospects for Hamels,” a NL scout said. “But Boston has so many outfielders that perhaps a deal without the top prospects can happen since the Phillies could use some good young outfielders and a young replacement for Hamels.”
That’s especially so since the Phillies most productive outfielder, Marlon Byrd, is a good bet to be dealt sooner than later. The Phillies apparently will not obtain the Red Sox top young player, Mookie Betts, but would a package that includes pitcher Henry Owens, who projects to a solid number three in the rotation and young outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
“Owens could become a good one, even though he lacks velocity,” a NL scout said. “That’s the kind of deal that Amaro will probably get. But you can’t blame him if he turns it down since Hamels is a special pitcher entering his prime who is under contract for reasonable dollars. Amaro can hold out for more or simply keep Hamels and hope to build around him in the future.”
Giving up Hamels for middling prospects might haunt the Phillies, just like the Curt Schilling deal and the Cliff Lee trade. Otherwise, Amaro might be helping the Red Sox go from worst to first again.
“If they keep Hamels, at least you have a reason to watch the Phillies every fifth day,” a NL scout said.