Evaluators analyze prospects coming to Boston

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Evaluators analyze prospects coming to Boston

Around baseball, most talent evaluators see the block-buster deal between the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers as a clear win for the Sox -- if only because of the salary relief (nearly 260 million) the Sox are realizing.

"I'm like...wow!'' said one veteran scout when told how little the Sox were paying on the money due to Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto.

But there's another component, too: five players will eventually head to the Red Sox from the Dodgers. Three -- first baseman James Loney; pitcher Allen Webster; and infielder Ivan DeJesus -- were identified.

Two more will be transferred once the season ends, since waivers couldn't be obtained on them.

We asked around baseball for some observations on the four minor leaguers. Here are their thoughts:

1BOF Jerry Sands.

Evaluator No. 1: "He has big-time raw power, but he hasn't been able to put it together.''

Evaluator No. 2: "He's a pretty good sized guy, but not a great athlete. He's a fringe guy at best. Even thought he's righthanded, he reminds me of a lefthanded-type hitter -- a low-ball hitter. He could use a change of scenery.''

Evaluator No. 3: "He's got pretty good power from the right side, but he doesn't have a position to play. He doesn't run well. I see him as a marginal guy. Maybe he could be a platoon guy, but he's inconsistent. The (Triple A) numbers are skewed -- he has too many holes and major league pitchers will find those if you pitch him correctly.

INFIELDER Ivan DeJesus

Evaluator No. 1: "He can played second and short OK, and maybe a little third. I think second is probably his best position.''

Evaluator No. 2: "I'm sure (the Red Sox) see him as an insurance guy. If you have injuries, you can bring him up and he won't hurt you. I don't see him as a regular, but he's not a bad guy to have around.''

Evaluator No. 3: "I remember seeing him at shortstop and he was OK. But he had (a leg injury) and he's never run well since. He's a marginal guy, an extra guy at the big league level. He has a little thump with the bat, but something's missing. He's not an everyday guy.''

RHP Rubby De La Rosa

Evaluator No. 1: "I saw him when he was healthy (before undergoing Tommy John surgery). His fastball, even when hitters knew it was coming, they couldn't catch up. He's a real power arm. Whether he's a starter or not I don't know, but he could definitely be a tail-end reliever. The fastball is his key pitch and for a guy throwing as hard as he was, his command was pretty good. There's no reason he shouldn't help the club.

Evaluator No. 2: "I like him a lot. There's a lot there. The key will be how is he coming off surgery. Sometimes you have to take a chance on those guys, and he's one of those guys.''

Evalautor No. 3: "I saw him starting, but I have him projected as a bullpen guy. He's a legit power guy. The ball gets on the hitter real quick. He can come in and throw the ball by you for an inning with no trouble.''

RHP Allen Webster

Evaluator No. 1: "I haven't seen much of him, but I know the Dodgers loved him. I'm a little surprised. (Our club) tried to make a deal for him earlier and were told they wouldn't let him go''

Evaluator No. 2: "He's the best guy in the deal for me - a power arm. He's mostly fastball and changeup. I think he's had some command issues, but that's not unusual at this stage (Double A). I've seen him throw 96 mph.''

Evaluator No. 3: "I like his mechanics. I saw him in April and he was pretty consistently 95 mph. I really like him. For a guy with his stuff, his record isn't very good. He's got better stuff than his numbers. But he's got a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation guy, probably a No. 2. And there's not many of those guys around.''

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz is helping out Dave Dombrowski’s balance sheet in Boston.

The Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel trades have been awesome — beyond awesome, even. The Tyler Thornburg deal looks like a disaster that, maybe someday, Dombrowski will acknowledge rather than sidestep. The Carson Smith deal has produced, if nothing else, no gain. The Fernando Abad deal has not hurt the Sox, and he’s had some decent moments.

But the Pomeranz trade with the Padres, for just top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, stood as the most controversial of Dealer Dave’s moves until the past couple months. Now, the Cult of Travis Shaw has slowly made folks forget about Espinoza and the complicated set of circumstances that surrounded that trade.

“Rescind” is something you’re hearing less and less. 

It’s remarkable what a 2.70 ERA in a 40-inning, seven-start stretch can do. Pomeranz is looking like a lot shinier these days, particularly after Tuesday night, when he came back out despite a rain delay of more than an hour in a 9-2 win over the Twins.

From the day that 40-inning stretch began, May 25, through Tuesday, only four qualified starters posted a better ERA in the American League: Corey Kluber (1.29), Jason Vargas (2.27), Jordan Montgomery (2.52) and Mike Pelfrey (2.64).

For comparison: Chris Sale is 10th in that stretch, at 3.54. Rick Porcello has 6.08 ERA in the same time.

Realistically, where the Sox stood last season, they needed Pomeranz. He was healthy enough to throw. That’s the reality everyone who wanted the deal undone always undersold: the back of the rotation was crumbling. 

But that was just one layer of the deal.

The Padres did not provide as much medical information as they should have, and the Sox stuck with Pomeranz despite the opportunity to look elsewhere.

Espinoza hasn’t pitched for a Padres minor league affiliate yet this season. He’s playing catch from flat ground as he comes back from a forearm injury, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported recently. 

Trades, to this observer, are typically best evaluated by reviewing the process behind them — which is to say, by looking back at the information was available at the time the deal was made. And at the time, it was known that the Sox were paying for Pomeranz beyond just last season's second half. They were paying for a controllable arm who could help out the rotation this year too.

Dombrowski may well have acquired Pomeranz at his peak value, which is unsurprising. But what mattered most was whether the team believed Pomeranz could contribute effectively beyond 2016. That, once they had all the health information, whether they properly evaluated what it would mean for his future.

It looked bad when Pomeranz started the season on the disabled list. He had a stem-cell injection in his forearm in the winter, too. There wasn’t much to hang your hat on at the start of April. 

Realistically, Pomeranz probably isn’t 100 percent right now. Even within the relative world of pro baseball — where no one is ever 100 percent — Pomeranz is probably further from it than most. 

But he's powered through. Pomeranz’s attitude might actually fit Boston better than most realize. He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

How Pomeranz holds up is to be seen. But the team’s judgment that he would have value beyond last season, a value worth surrendering Espinoza for, is looking better and better.

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona missed Tuesday night's game against Texas after his second trip to the hospital this month.

The Indians said doctors for now have ruled out major health issues and Francona will be monitored the next several weeks.

Francona, 58, left Monday night's game because he wasn't feeling well. He spent several hours at Cleveland Clinic and underwent a series of tests.

Francona was released from the hospital on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day at home. He was expected to return to the dugout Wednesday when the Indians host the Rangers. Cleveland lost to Texas 2-1 on Tuesday.

Bench coach Brad Mills ran the team in Francona's absence. Cleveland began the day in first place in the AL Central after rallying for a 15-9 win Monday.

"Tito actually wanted to come back to the ballpark today," team president Chris Antonetti said Tuesday. "I told him he can't come back to the ballpark today. He only got a couple hours of sleep last night, so despite his desire to want to be here, I thought it was best that he gets some rest tonight and just come back tomorrow. His plan when he was getting released from the hospital was to come over here."

"I don't think he was exceedingly happy with me," Antonetti said with a laugh. "That's OK."

Francona was hospitalized June 13 following a game at Progressive Field. He underwent tests and was released a few hours later, returning to work the following night. Last August, he missed a game after experiencing chest pains but was back the next day.

"Thankfully, we've got some great doctors that are coordinating his care," Antonetti said. "They've done every test they can possibly imagine. They've all come back clean. They're now working to try to figure out what are some of those things that are causing him to not feel so well."

Francona, a close friend of Mills for several years, has retained his sense of humor through his health issues.

A statement released by the team Tuesday read, "Mr. Francona also wanted to express that medical personnel have not yet ruled out an allergy to Bench Coach Brad Mills."