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Trade Deadline Recap: Red Sox Acquire Bedard in Three-Team Deal

August 5, 2011

In the last minutes before the deadline we saw the lone official three-team trade to be completed this year. While three-team trades are often rare as the parts need to line up just right in some situations for a deal to even get close, there always seems to be one each year around the trade deadline. In total there were seven players involved in the deal, with the big piece being starting pitcher Erik Bedard who went to the Boston Red Sox.

Boston gets:
from Seattle – Bedard, relief pitcher Josh Fields
Los Angeles gets:
from Boston – catcher Tim Federowicz, pitchers Stephan Fife and Juan Rodriguez 
Seattle gets:
from Boston – outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang
from Los Angeles – outfielder Trayvon Robinson

With the trade, Bedard actually returns to the AL East where his career began in Baltimore. The left hander has dealt with a number of injuries over the past few seasons but has largely remained healthy this year, aside from missing most of July while on the DL. He’s 4-7 in 16 starts with a 3.45 ERA. Earlier in his career he was one of the more dominating lefties in the American League but he’s taken a drastically different path since then with all of the time that he’s missed. Boston doesn’t need him to be great, however, they just need him to be effective over the next two months.

Fields, 25, was a first round pick in the 2008 Draft after a stellar college career. Many believed he’d be on the fast track to the Majors as a late inning reliever but the two sides could not agree on a contract until the following Spring Training. They started him in Double-A where he spent the next two seasons before finally reaching Triple-A this season. Overall in 2011 he is 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA in 41.1 innings. Control has been a problem throughout his minor league career.

The Red Sox were highly active in trying to acquire a starting pitcher prior to the deadline. They had reportedly agreed to a trade with the Oakland Athletics for oft-injured Rich Harden in exchange for Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson and a PTBNL. At the last minute the Sox wanted to adjust the agreement, removing the PTBNL altogether, after seeing something concerning in Harden’s medical records. The A’s wouldn’t agree and the deal fell through.

There were also reports that the team had the beginnings to a deal agreed upon for Hiroki Kuroda of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Once Kuroda exercised his right to veto any deal, that option fell though but those discussions laid the groundwork for this three-team deal to work out.

Federowicz, in particular, was the key player the Dodgers were hoping to acquire in such a deal. The 23-year-old catcher has spent the season in Double-A where he’s batted .275/.337/.397 with 7 HR and 50 RBI in 335 at bats. Boston has some depth at the catching position in their minor league system and Federowicz will need to be placed on the 40-man roster this winter or else the team would risk losing him in the Rule V Draft.

Fife, 24, has also been with Double-A. In 19 starts he’s 11-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 103.1 innings. Rodriguez, 22, has appeared in 32 games in Low-A. He’s 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA in 59.0 innings. Both project as middle relievers at best.

The Dodgers involvement in the trade, however, is a peculiar one because ultimately the three players they received collectively seem far less valuable than the player which they gave up in Robinson, 23. One of the top prospects in the Dodgers system entering 2011, Robinson has been having a career year in Triple-A. In 368 at bats he’s batting .293/.375/.563 with 26 HR and 71 RBI. He strikes out a lot but is solid defensively.

Chiang, 23, was not as highly regarded prior to 2011 but he’s had a solid season at the plate in Double-A. He’s hit .340/.402/.648 with 18 HR and 76 RBI in 321 at bats but it is his second year at the level. Yet, at the time of the trade he was leading the Eastern League in six offensive categories (average, slugging percentage, doubles, extra base hits, RBI, and runs). Seattle could use some organizational outfield depth so both he and Robinson will likely factor into the organization’s plans going forward.

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