Cueto to KC; Pirates Pursue Red Sox Pair

On Sunday, the Kansas City Royals acquired ace starter Johnny Cueto from Cincinnati, ending the sweepstakes for a premier pitcher in whom the Red Sox were rumored to hold an interest.

The Reds received a strong package of three well-regarded southpaw pitchers in return Red Soxfor their 29-year old superstar, who will be a free agent following this season. Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed will move from Kansas to Cincinnati, as the Reds wave a white flag and declare themselves as deadline sellers.

With a 2.55 ERA and 1.042 WHIP over the past five years, Cueto is a genuine ace who will anchor the rotation of a Royals team destined for another run deep into October. Cueto also won 60 games and struck out 687 batters in that span, distinguishing himself as a truly elite performer.

As virtually everybody on the planet knows, the Red Sox desperately need an ace of that caliber; a genuine workhorse to spearhead a weary rotation. However, there is no indication that Boston ever got seriously involved in the Cueto negotiations, beyond courtesy scouting trips and general due diligence. In all likelihood, Red Sox management would’ve viewed the acquisition cost as prohibitive.

But, even as Boston lurks in the American League basement, it is still apparently shopping for logical upgrades. General Manager Ben Cherington said as much in a recent media session, explaining how the Red Sox have “still got to pursue things that are going to make us better and continue to try to build a good team.”

In this regard, the Red Sox seem to be targeting long-term pieces. A recent report by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests Boston has inquired on the availability of numerous cost-controlled Cleveland Indians pitchers, without much traction. However, the Red Sox’ desire to add sustainable arms, such as Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar, fits with the recent ideology set down by management.

Yet, even while cautiously roaming the buyer’s market, Boston must also remain realistic. Right now, the Red Sox are 12 games back in the AL East, and 8.5 adrift of a Wildcard berth. To reach the postseason, this team would, at best, have to outperform four other club’s and, at worst, overcome thirteen other ‘contenders.’ The likelihood of that occurring is very slim and, thus, the Red Sox are listening to offers for certain veterans on their roster.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported last night that the Pirates have engaged the Sox in talks for Mike Napoli and/or Shane Victorino, two upcoming free agents who have under-performed massively in 2015. I can definitely see this kind of deal happening. Not only would it free the Red Sox from remaining salary obligations, but either player could be a very decent buy-low pickup for a contending team such as Pittsburgh.

Ultimately, we’re still waiting for the first domino to fall on Yawkey Way. Either the Red Sox clinch a deal for a long-term building block, or they begin trading away expendable pieces. Sooner or later, a decision is going to be made, which should set the precedent for how Boston will play the impending trade deadline.

Brock Holt Named Red Sox Lone All-Star

While the Boston Red Sox have not looked like a great team during the first part of this season, at least they can say they have one great player.  On Sunday afternoon, the Sox outfielder Brock Holt was named the team’s only representative for the 2015 All-Star Game.

Holt has been a great story throughout his career, which started with the Pittsburgh Brock HoltPirates.  He was drafted in the ninth round in the 2009 MLB Draft by Pittsburgh, and now is showing that he deserved to be a much earlier pick.

After a few years in the minors, Holt was called up to the big league’s in 2012.  Though he only played in 24 games that season for the Pirates, he was impressive at the plate, batting .292 in his short time with the team.  The following season, he came to the Red Sox, but not much was expected of the young outfielder.

During the Sox 2013 World Series Championship season, Holt only appeared in 26 games.  The following season, he was not even seen on the Sox opening day roster.  But in a short time, Holt has proven that he is a great all-around player.

When a few players for the Sox got injured, Holt got the call and took full advantage of his opportunity showing that he has a lot to give to the team.  He ended up playing 106 games last season, and while doing so played every position except pitcher and Catcher.  Since coming to the Sox, his batting average as well as games played has gone up every season, and this year he is batting .295 with 15 doubles and 21 RBI, and also hit for the only cycle in the Major League’s this year.

This will be Holt’s first time being selected to the All-Star team.  The game will be played this year at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  As the only Red Sox representative, this will give Sox fans more incentive to watch the game, and maybe even give more hope to a season that is actually starting to have some promise in Boston.

Red Sox Sign Moncada Friend Carlos Mesa

CARLOS MESA

In order to sign Yoan Moncada not only did the Boston Red Sox need to shell out $62 million, but they also did Moncada a small favor. As part of the deal, the Red Sox agreed to sign a friend and mentor of his—Carlos Mesa—to a Minor League deal.
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Landing the ninth best prospect in organized baseball, the Red Sox were willing to spare a Carlos Mesaminor league spot for a roster filler if it meant they would land Moncada. After all, that is all Mesa is—a roster filler.

Since the 19-year-old Moncada is slated to start off the 2015 season in low-A Greenville, it is safe to assume Mesa will be tagging along and playing for the Drive in a limited role this season. The 27-year-old played in the Can-Am League last year but struggled. Previously, he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization where he struggled with plate discipline, walking nine times less than struck out. It is fair to say he will not be in the organization past this year, but he could ease Moncada’s transition to the pros.
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While the Drive should have a number of latino players, there will only be two of Cuban descent. It will help Moncada to have someone who has gone through the same experiences as him on the team instead of being isolated by himself. The transition might not be as severe as a Japanese player to the states, but the game is played differently and teams are run differently on Castro’s island.

No matter what numbers Mesa puts up this season, it is fair to say that they will keep him around for quite some time. It will be interesting to see whether or not he progresses through the system as Yoan Moncada does to ease the process. It is fair to say however that Mesa will not follow him to the big leagues, let alone the upper minors.
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