Opinion

Examining the Red Sox trade for Colten Brewer

Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com: (July 21, 2018 – Source: Getty Images North America)

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Boston Red Sox have acquired right-handed pitcher Colten Brewer from the San Diego Padres. In exchange for the 26-year-old reliever, the Red Sox sent infield prospect Esteban Quiroz out West.

Brewer made his MLB debut in 2018 for the Padres and struggled in his brief cameo with the club. He pitched to the tune of a 5.59 ERA and 3.26 FIP in just 9 and 2/3 innings of work. Though he coughed up runs at a prolific rate, the sample size was entirely too small.

Moreover, it was his command that faltered at the highest level, sporting an unsightly 6.52 BB/9 (walks per nine innings). Oddly, he has never struggled with walks in his minor league career. Considering the much larger body of work in the minors, it is probably more illuminating to heavily factor in those numbers.

In 48 Triple-A innings last year, Brewer pitched to the tune of a 3.75 ERA and 2.93 FIP. His walk rate was a low  2.81 and he struck batters out at a career-best rate (11.81 K/9). He also managed to keep balls in the yard, so his ERA was seemingly inflated by poor batted ball luck. Also, he profiles as a big groundball pitcher with a two-pitch mix (cutter and curveball).

This is all a verbose way of saying he is a fringe MLB-ready reliever. He has encouraging underlying numbers and should compete for a bullpen spot in Spring Training. Pitching depth is always a coveted treasure, especially with Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly both being free agents.

There is upside with the right-hander but there is arguably more upside with the infielder they had to deal away. Quiroz slashed an insane .299 AVG/.413 OBP/.598 SLG clip in 107 plate appearances at Double-A Portland last season. Again, this is a small sample. With that said, he produced eerily similar clips in the Mexican League, where he played from 2011 to 2017. It is important to note Mexican League competition has said to be comparable to Triple-A.

Anyway, his plate discipline is superb and is his best tool. He is the same age as Brewer but slightly less advanced. Further, injury issues plagued his 2018 season and thereby his development. While Quiroz does come with defensive questions, he profiles as a nice MLB bench player.

Honestly, this is pretty much a wash of a trade. The Padres had a 40-man roster crunch, so they needed to get rid of somebody. Luckily, the Red Sox were (and still are) inclined to trade for bullpen pieces. This move provides Red Sox another relief option for 2019 at the expense of a depth, medium-ceiling infielder.

Not too shabby.

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