The biggest loss of the offseason for the Red Sox was undoubtedly the quartet of prospects from the Craig Kimbrel deal. Both Manuel Margot and Javy Guerra were top-10 prospects in a loaded Red Sox farm system and top-100 prospects in all of baseball. Both players had average to slightly-above-average bats, but were excellent defenders at their positions – center field and shortstop, respectively. According to Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, these two now become the top-2 prospects in the Padres system (interestingly, BP has Guerra at #2 and Margot at #1, while BA has Guerra at #1 and Margot at #2). Margot is entering his age-21 season, but could reach the majors as early as late 2016 after spending the latter half of 2015 with Double-A Portland. Guerra is entering his age-20 season, and likely will not see the MLB until 2018. However, both of these players increase their potential to move up the ranks due to their talents on defense, which are already MLB-level.
After the big two, Logan Allen and Carlos Asuaje are interesting pieces to examine, but for different reasons. Asuaje is older and has a lower ceiling than the other two prospects, which actually makes him more of a contender to see MLB time in 2016. He spent all of 2015 at Double-A, slashing .251/.334/.374. His defense is solid, but not on the level of Guerra’s. On a positive note for Padres fans, he did rake in the highly-regarded Arizona Fall League in 2015, batting .329/.359/.425 in 79 PAs. Asuaje likely won’t ever be an All-Star, but his ability to play multiple positions in the infield (2B/3B) as well as some corner outfield may make him an interesting depth piece. Logan Allen is still just 18 years old, but impressed in his (admittedly limited) debut in 2015. Between the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and low-A New York-Penn League, the young lefty put up a 1.11 ERA in 24.1 innings, striking out 26 and walking just one. Baseball America rnaks him as the #8 prospect in the Padres system, but his youth and lack of pro experience make him very hard to project right now.
The second-biggest departure of 2015-16 is that of Wade Miley. Acquired in a trade from the Diamondbacks last offseason, Miley had high expectations coming in as the Red Sox #3 starter behind Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello. Miley was decidedly average in 2015, posting an ERA of 4.46 but a WHIP of 3.81. Miley was better down the stretch, putting up a second-half ERA of 4.09 and improving his WHIP from 1.43 to 1.30, and he still managed to top 190.0 innings for the fourth consecutive season. This is likely what saved some of his trade value and allowed for the Sox to get a decent return from Seattle. While losing your team innings-pitched leader isn’t usually a good thing, the Sox should be fine to replace Miley. Not only is David Price taking over his spot in the rotation, but should the previously mentioned Elias find his way to starting in the big leagues, he likely won’t do any worse and should outperform Miley’s 2015 campaign – Steamer/FanGraphs actually projects Elias to toss 129.0 MLB innings to the tune of a 4.25 ERA in 2016.
Worth noting are a couple of departures that didn’t happen this offseason – Ramirez and Sandoval. While their subpar play and less-than-appealing physical conditioning didn’t endear them to “Red Sox Nation” in 2015, calling for their dismissal was never really a smart choice. First and foremost, the contract given to them in the 2014-2015 offseason are simply too large for another team to willingly take on, without demanding a large sum of cash or a high-ranked prospect attached to the deal. Additionally, these players still have relatively good potential, should they overcome the “first year in Boston” slump and evolve into the players they were before they came to the northeast. Lastly, a lack of suitable replacements made trading them somewhat risky. Sure, Brock Holt could play third base full-time, and Travis Shaw could have taken over at first base (Hanley’s spot in 2016). However, Dustin Pedroia isn’t getting any younger and his “dirt dawg” style of play makes him vulnerable to the injuries that have plagued him recently, while Holt is better suited as a utility/emergency 2B than a full-time 3B. Also, Shaw was electric down the stretch in 2015 but nothing in his past at the minor league level suggests he could or would maintain that offensive production in 2016 and beyond. While it may be hard for Sox fans to admit, there are some reasons why trading away these guys may have hurt the team. If 2016 shows little or no improvement from these two players, cutting them at any cost might be the best move.