Monday, March 20, 2006

Bronson Arroyo was traded to Cincinnati today for Wily Mo Pena. It's a bit of a sad day, since Arroyo has been a consistently good #4-5 starter for the Sox the last two years. Of course, the moment he will always be remembered for will be Alex Rodriguez slapping the ball out of his glove in the 2004 ALCS.

With the Sox surplus of starting pitching, it's not at all surprising that they made a trade, although I would have rather seen them trade Clement or Wells. Neither is a good fit for the Reds, though. Wells is too old and there is no long-term upside there. Clement is too expensive for a small market team like the Reds. Arroyo was the obvious target for Cincinnati, especially with the below market contract he signed with the Sox over the winter.

Pena is an interesting acquisition for the Sox. He has great raw skills, but at age 24 he still needs some seasoning. He can hit a ton and has a great arm, but he strikes out a lot and his defense is inconsistent. It'll be interesting to see how they get him at-bats. He will certainly be a platoon with Trot Nixon against lefties, and he may spell Coco Crisp and Manny in the outfield as well. There was also some talk that if Mike Lowell doesn't regain his pre-2005 form that the Sox will move Youkilis back to 3rd and play Pena at 1st.

Also, Wily Mo Pena is one of the great names in baseball. I'm really looking forward to a Jerry Trupiano call of a Pena home run this summer.

As much as I hate to give up a reliable starting pitching, Pena is obviously a long-term investment by Theo. If he can continue to develop and cut down on his strikeouts, he could be an impact player in 2 or 3 years. Hopefully it works out.

Arroyo's departure leaves only nine players remaining who had significant roles with the 2004 World Champions: Keith Foulke, Curt Schilling, Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Trot Nixon, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.

A slightly odd move the Sox made yesterday was to sign 2-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez to a minor league contract. Gonzalez has been plagued by injuries the last four years and hasn't played a whole lot, but there is really no risk for the Sox. He will probably start the season with the Pawsox to see if he can still hit and if he can stay healthy. It'll be interesting to see if he can regain anything resembling his old form.


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