The Boston Red Sox have made a move to add another shortstop to the roster but lost a valuable left handed reliever in the process. Franklin Morales goes to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Jonathan Herrera. This leaves the Red Sox with two left handed relievers in the bullpen but gets another shortstop on the roster in a move Ben Cherrington has been looking to make the entire offseason thus far.
With Morales going to the Rockies, Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller are left as the two relievers in the bullpen for the Red Sox, but they are not the only left handed options they have. Felix Doubront is still on the roster, and despite spending the majority of his career as a starter he is unlikely to make the opening day rotation, leaving him as either a trade piece or a left handed long man/spot starter. Pitching prospect Drake Britton, also widely considered a starter, made his big league debut in 2013, and all 18 appearances came out of the bullpen despite just four relief appearances in his minor league career.
Herrera’s natural position is at short, but he has spent the majority of his big league career as a utility infielder getting time at second and third in addition to shortstop. He is a career .265 hitter with very little pop but is very good with the glove. His lowest fielding percentage at a single position is .993, so he can fill in well at any of the three infield spots the Red Sox have limited depth at.
The other piece of the deal is tall, lanky right handed reliever Chris Martin going to the Rockies. While the 27 year old Martin has yet to make his big league debut, he was originally drafted by the Rockies in the 21st round of the 2005 draft and could fill in as an effective middle reliever.
The biggest question this raises is what this means for the potential deal with Stephen Drew. This likely doesn’t change the Red Sox’ interest in signing Drew, but it will likely to create a domino effect if Drew is re-signed. Drew is looking for a two-year deal which would likely move Xander Bogaerts over to third, and if he spends the first two and a half years of his big league career at third a move back to short in the future might be a bit difficult even though he does have the tools to do it. In the shorter term, having Herrera as a guy that can back up three positions leaves Will Middlebrooks with no real value to the big league roster. His value is also dropping on the open market as the Miami Marlins have signed third baseman Casey McGehee, turning third base from a desperate need to just a big need for them.
It looks like the Hot Stove for the Red Sox might just be starting to heat up as a Drew signing would likely lead to Middlebrooks being dealt, and the Sox could look to deal away one of their veteran starters to add another key piece to the roster.