Sometimes, the smallest deals are in fact the largest.
Ryan Sweeney was re-signed by the Red Sox shortly before spring training to serve as the team’s fourth outfielder. Sweeney is a very capable defender at all three positions and has shown the ability to hit for average in the past. He’s also known for being a clutch hitter.
Sweeney is a very useful player for any manager to have on the bench. So why would the Red Sox trade him?
Well, the only reason he would be dealt would be to make way for another player knocking down the big league door from the minor leagues.
Right now, outfielders Ryan Kalish, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Bryce Brentz and Jackie Bradley will be assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket once spring training draws to a close.
Kalish has been an up-and-down major leaguer for some time now, but he still has some potential to grow into a very effective big league starter once he overcomes several injury concerns.
Hazelbaker possesses a very attractive combination of speed and power that has impressed the Red Sox. He’s still struggling to hit for a decent average and he needs to hone his defensive instincts, but he’s not far off from making his major league debut.
Brentz and Bradley have the best shot at forcing the Red Sox to trade Sweeney to make room for them. While they are very different players, both have had consistent success all the way through the minor leagues. Brentz even helped lead the Pawtucket Red Sox to an International League division title at the end of the 2012 season.
Bradley and Brentz represent important pieces of the future of the Red Sox organization. If one or both of them prove ready for the major leagues this spring, Ben Cherington will not hesitate to jettison Sweeney in order to give his younger players a taste of the big show.
All Statistical information acquired from Baseball-Reference.com