The Boston Red Sox have desperately needed a utility infielder who can specifically play third base and shortstop. The organization met the need on Wednesday when they traded reliever Franklin Morales to the Colorado Rockies for Jonathan Herrera.
Herrera has played second base, shortstop, third base and left field in his five-year career. He has seen the most time at second, but he posts an outstanding fielding percentage at the three infield positions. On top of that, his offensive numbers improved slightly in 2013, which is always a plus. He will bring no power to the plate, but his .292 batting average in 195 at-bats last season is certainly encouraging.
Unfortunately, there could be two downsides to the deal.
For starters, Morales is someone Boston could regret giving up on. Obviously, no one will miss his 4.62 earned run average in 20 appearances (one start) in an injury-filled season in 2013. With that being said, the left-hander showed potential in his time with the Red Sox.
The bigger concern for Boston fans, depending on where they stand, is that the signing of Herrera practically guarantees that shortstop Stephen Drew won’t re-sign with the team. This can be a good thing or a bad thing for several reasons.
Drew brings above-average power and a great defensive skill set to a position that rarely sees both. On the other hand, the Red Sox may be relieved that they won’t have to shell out a lot of money for him. More importantly, it means the team is confident that prospect Xander Bogaerts can handle the job.
Either way, Boston filled an immediate need for a good price, which is always good news in the offseason.