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July 31, 2011

Transaction Analysis

Bedard Off in Boston UPDATED

by Colin Wyers and Kevin Goldstein

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American League
National League

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired LHP Erik Bedard and RHP Josh Fields from the Mariners for OF-L Chih-Hsien Chiang. [7/31]
Traded C-R Tim Federowicz, RHP Stephen Fife, and RHP Juan Rodriguez to the Dodgers. [7/31]

After backing out of the Rich Harden sweepstakes due to concerns about his medicals, the Red Sox turned to… Erik Bedard. It’s unclear exactly how far the Red Sox read into Harden’s medical records (I’m guessing the medical staff raised serious red flags after reading the cover page, but it’s possible they actually read what was in the file). Bedard, who has made just one start after returning from a left knee sprain, has to have at least as many red flags.

The Red Sox also have to be looking past the results of that first start, which lasted only 1 1/3 innings but resulted in five runs. Pitchers as good as Bedard still have those kinds of starts every so often even when healthy, so it’s not necessarily a portent of doom, but it does little to give reassurance that he’s healthy again.

If healthy, Bedard can be an impressive pitcher, and with a fastball he can still run up to 93 mph, there’s still reason to think he can be that sort of pitcher. The Red Sox are taking a gamble here—to shore up a rotation littered with question marks (Buchholz and Matsuzaka are on the DL, while Lackey and Wakefield have been ineffective), they’ve added another question mark. With playoff odds just a tick off 100 percent, they can afford to gamble—at this point they are mostly jockeying for better seeding as the division leader and trying to assemble a rotation for the playoffs. —Colin Wyers

Josh Fields has had a strange professional career. Between being drafted as a college senior and a long holdout, he was nearly 24 years old when he threw his first professional pitch, and he's never regained the stuff that once projected him as a knock-out closer, nor the control, as evidenced by a career walk rate of 6.4 per nine. What was once a mid- to upper-90s fastball is now in the low- to mid-90s, and the wipeout slider that some scouts put the rare 80 on in college is now merely a plus pitch in terms of movement, and he has trouble keeping it in the strike zone. The pure stuff to get big-league hitters out is there, and the Red Sox love projects, so he at least has a fighting chance. —Kevin Goldstein

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Acquired OF-S Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers. [7/31]
Traded LHP Erik Bedard and RHP Josh Fields to the Red Sox for OF-L Chih-Hsien Chiang. [7/31]

Robinson is hitting .293/.375/.563 for Triple-A Albuquerque this year, but that is in one of the best ballparks to hit in. He's more of a 10-15 homer player in the big leagues, but he's also a plus runner who can steal bases and a patient hitter who knows how to get on base. The biggest concern for Robinson is a high strikeout rate, and Albuquerque was the worst park for him due to his habit of forcing the power; his ability to hit bombs in a pinball machine was not helping him make the right adjustments. Robinson can play all three outfield positions well, and is at least a second-division starter in the majors. On a team getting zero production out of their outfield this year, Robinson will quickly get a chance to prove he's worthy of a 2012 Opening Day job.

A 23-year-old signed out of Taiwan six years ago, Chiang has been one of the biggest surprises in the minors this year, crushing the Eastern League to the tune of .338/.399/.647 and landing a spot in the Futures Game. Even with numbers that good, scouts have yet to really warm up to him, with one saying, “I just don't see much in him as far as tools go.” He's a below-average runner and limited to a corner, his arm is so-so, and he doesn't run very well, but it's hard to ignore those numbers, and much like Robinson's fate, there is plenty of room for outfielders who can actually hit in Seattle. —Kevin Goldstein

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Acquired C-R Tim Federowicz, RHP Stephen Fife, and RHP Juan Rodriguez from the Red Sox. [7/31]
Traded OF-S Trayvon Robinson to the Mariners. [7/31]

A seventh-round pick in 2008, Federowicz put up a 955 OPS at Low-A in his first full-season, but that's what college-based players are supposed to do in the Sally League. He's since come back to earth, with his numbers at Double-A Portland sitting at .275/.337/.397 at the time of the trade. That's about what you can expect out of Federowicz—a decent hitter with doubles power and a few walks, with enough catch-and-throw skills to profile as a solid backup.

A third-round pick in 2008, Fife has moved slowly through the system, and has lowered his ERA by more than a run this year (it's at 3.66) while repeating Double-A. He throws an average-velocity fastball with a bit of sink, and displays a solid curveball/change combination while commanding everything well. There aren't any dings against him, but there is nothing to be excited about, either. He projects as a middle reliever.

A 22-year-old Dominican who has been pitching out of the bullpen at Low-A Greenville, Rodriguez has struck out 88 in just 59 innings, but he's also walked 32 and has an ERA north of five. At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, he certainly looks the part of a power pitcher, and his 93-96 mph fastball can light up a radar gun, but every other part of his game—from his below-average breaking ball to his ability to throw strikes—lags behind.

I spent 15 minutes after this trade waiting to hear which players I'm missing while simultaneously trying to talk Jay Jaffe off a ledge via instant messenger. The Dodgers took a perfectly good Top-11 prospect, a player who is having a great year at Triple-A and easily projects as an everyday outfielder, and received three pieces of fringe in return. You'd almost think Frank McCourt was running the team. —Kevin Goldstein

Colin Wyers is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Colin's other articles. You can contact Colin by clicking here
Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  The Who,  Erik Bedard,  Kevin Goldstein

15 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Marc Normandin

Guess: the PTBNL in the Harden deal was a 2010 draft pick that had to be listed as a PTBNL, but after seeing Harden's medicals were even worse than they thought, the Red Sox balked at giving up whoever the PTBNL was. So it's not that they didn't still want Harden, it was the price.

Jul 31, 2011 14:31 PM
rating: 1
Al Skorupa

Pretty sure it was Sean McAdam who reported the Sox approached the A's about a restructured deal with just Anderson (No PTBNL) but were rebuffed. So I'd agree... good chance the PTBNL was a half decent prospect.

Jul 31, 2011 20:40 PM
rating: 1
Drew Miller

I get this deal for everyone but the Dodgers. Unless they're so screwed that they're intending to put all three of Federowicz, Fife, and Rodriguez onto the 25-man next year.

Jul 31, 2011 15:08 PM
rating: 1

Not saying I agree with the deal, but Dodgers are trading high on Robinson and desperately need some catching in the system.

Jul 31, 2011 15:24 PM
rating: 0
Al Skorupa

They desperately needed *backup* catching...?

Jul 31, 2011 20:37 PM
rating: 2

I'm still puzzling over how Harden's medical outlook could sour a trade -after- it was already agreed to, as though it came as a shock that he is a risk. Who wouldn't have assumed that we can rate Harden a red-as-can-red-be red light health-wise, for the rest of his career? What did it say in his file that was a surprise, "Go Yankees"? And how much better a risk is it to trade four guys for Bedard?

Jul 31, 2011 15:37 PM
rating: 2
Drew Miller

The four guys Boston traded for Bedard weren't going to be part of the big club's plans. Maybe it's too much to give up, but prices were really high this year.

Jul 31, 2011 17:27 PM
rating: 0

So does this mean the White Sox did not have the worst return on talent in a 3-team trade this deadline?

Jul 31, 2011 16:19 PM
rating: 4

I'm a Red Sox fan, but I'd view the White Sox return as worse. The Red Sox gave up a couple guys who probably wouldn't play for them because of the high bar for most of their players - Think the deals of David Murphy, Kason Gabbard, Brandon Moss and others of the past few years. Most of the guys kicked around as a second-division starter for a bit, but if they're up in Boston, some plan has gone seriously wrong.

In return for one legit prospect and three fringy guys, the Red Sox got a fringy relief prospect and a guy that projects somewhere between a #2 and #5 starter, depending on his health. It's a pitcher that will probably help them out this year, and if he pitches well, they'd probably be open to an extension.

In contrast, the White Sox seemed to be waving... Well, not the white flag, since they got a RP and a "meh" SP prospect in return. Their moves struck me more as puzzling than anything else. You'd think they would keep Jackson, since the Central is so soft that they're still in it. If anything, I thought they might try to sell one of their lethargic performers - Rios, Dunn, etc. - for pennies on the dollar just to shake the team up.

Jul 31, 2011 17:42 PM
rating: 0

Can't say for sure, but I think the poster was probably referring to the Dodgers getting the short end of the stick in this deal, not the Red Sox.

Jul 31, 2011 17:46 PM
rating: 5

Ah, gotcha - That would make a lot more sense. The Dodgers have wrestled away the prestigious "most dysfunctional big market team" belt away from the Mets this year.

Jul 31, 2011 18:05 PM
rating: 1

The Mets haven't been dysfunctional since Alderson got there.

Jul 31, 2011 21:01 PM
rating: 3

Correct. The deal makes sense for Boston and Seattle, but why did the Dodgers get involved? At least Kenny Williams could say he threw away Edwin Jackson to be rid of the contract he signed Mark Teahen to after the trade with Kansas City. Do the Dodgers even save money here?

Jul 31, 2011 22:49 PM
rating: 0

Was hoping that I'd open this and, as a Dodgers fan, be talked back off the ledge. Was unfortunately very, very wrong.

Aug 01, 2011 08:29 AM
rating: 0

I'm in the same boat with you..I'm damn near pulling my hair out. What was the purpose of getting rid of Robinson?!!! For a guy that projects as a backup catcher! I just don't get it. (shaking my head). -very sad Dodger fan

Aug 01, 2011 16:01 PM
rating: -1
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