Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Friday, January 07, 2011

For Red Sox, June Draft Will Be Rich

The Rangers signing of Adrian Beltre is good news for the Red Sox. The Sox will get Texas' first round pick in the June draft, No. 26 overall, as compensation for losing Beltre, plus a supplemental first rounder.

If Beltre had signed with the Angels or Athletics, whose first-round picks are protected, the return would have been only a supplemental first rounder and a second rounder.

The only way this could change is if the Rangers subsequently sign a more highly ranked Type A free agent than Beltre, such as closer Rafael Soriano. In that case, the Rangers' first-round pick would go to Tampa Bay. Texas has been rumored to be interested in Soriano this offseason.

However, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports that the Rangers do not plan to pursue Soriano.

All of this has worked out quite nicely for the Red Sox. This is the last year that the draft will exist in its current form, and it is projected to be one of the best drafts in years. The 2012 draft is likely to have strict rules (like the NBA and NFL) to control salaries. So the 2011 draft will be especially valuable.

Under the current MLB agreement, there are no fixed rules to determine the financial slotting of draft picks; there are only parameters, which are often ignored. In the past, the Sox have selected hard-to-sign players after the first round by throwing large amounts of money at them. Smaller market teams cannot afford to do that.

So the Sox did quite well in stocking up on draft picks while they could. This will allow them to rebuild their farm system, which took a hit when the Sox traded three top prospects for Adrian Gonzalez.

Boston now has the No. 19 (from the Tigers for Victor Martinez) and No. 26 picks. Though they lost their own first-round selection (No. 24) to the Rays for signing Carl Crawford, the Red Sox will ultimately end up with six of the first 80 or so picks.

So, the Red Sox turned Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, three prospects and their own first round pick into Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and four draft picks. Beltre and Martinez would have cost them at least $27 million in 2011. Gonzalez and Crawford will get $26.3 million. That's a well-orchestrated offseason.

The Sox, publicly at least, expressed an interest in retaining Beltre. However, during the winter meetings, it was reported that that they would go no to more than four years, $52 million for him. That's a long way from the six years, $96 million he got from Texas (have the Rangers gone insane?).

The Sox will certainly miss Beltre. His 79 extra-base hits last season were the most ever by a Red Sox third baseman.

Over the last two seasons, the top four Red Sox OPS leaders were: Kevin Youkilis, .967 in 853 at-bats; Jason Bay, .921 in 531 at-bats; Adrian Beltre, .919 in 589 at-bats; and Victor Martinez, .865 in 704 at-bats.

The Red Sox are now without three of those four talented players. Yet, the acquisitions of Gonzalez and Crawford should compensate for the losses of Beltre and Martinez this offseason.

Ultimately, the Sox got younger and improved their prospects in a critical draft that is just five months away.

This offseason has gone about as well as anyone could have hoped. As a result of the moves made this winter, the Red Sox appear to have set themselves up to be contenders for years to come.

1 comment:

James Duggan said...

What a great summation this is of the off-season. You've provided me with angles I had not considered in how Red Sox management pursues talent and assesses trades and acquisitions. It is often a frustrating mystery as to why the Red Sox front office does things the way they do. Your article certainly sheds light on the whole picture. I am still very concerned about their starting rotation but will sleep a little easier tonight having read your blog.