The Red Sox are loaded with pitching prospects, but are a little short on hitting prospects. The Indians are ripe with hitting prospects, but a short in pitching prospects. So in my opinion a Michael Bowden for Matt LaPorta trade makes sense for both the Red Sox and Indians.
The Red Sox are one of the few teams in baseball with an excess of young pitching. Currently on their major league roster are young guns Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen, Jonathon Papelbon, Justin Masterson and Daniel Bard. In the minors, the Red Sox have top prospects like Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Stolmy Pimentel, Junichi Tazawa and Nick Hagadone. The Red Sox can afford to trade pitching.
There only surefire hitting prospect right now is 1st baseman, Lars Anderson. Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish aren’t at Anderson’s level quite yet. At the major league level, Ortiz appears done and Lowell has 1 more year left on his contract. So they are getting old in a couple of positions. By acquiring LaPorta, the Red Sox would have their LF of the future if Jason Bay doesn’t resign, or have their DH of the future if Bay does resign (I think he does).
In 2011, the Red Sox could have an infield of Lars Anderson at 1st, Dustin Pedroia at 2nd, Jed Lowrie at SS and Kevin Youkilis at 3rd. Put LaPorta, who I am convinced will be a great power hitter, in LF or at DH and the Red Sox are set both offensively and in their pitching staff for the future.
The Indians are rich with offensive prospects in their minor league system. They have catcher Carlos Santana who they stole from the Dodgers last year in the Casey Blake trade, 1B/OF Matt LaPorta, OF Nick Weglarz, 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, SS Carlos Rivero, 1B Beau Mills, 1B/OF Michael Brantley and 3B Abner Abreu. There are some very good young hitters in that group.
The Indians’ best pitching prospect for which seemed like forever was Adam Miller. Miller recently had reconstructive surgery on his middle finger on his pitching hand. His rehab is expected to take six to nine months, and Miller is not guaranteed to pitch again. That leaves the Indians with David Huff, Hector Rondon, and Kelvin de la Cruz as top pitching prospects.
Acquiring Bowden, would give the Indians a potential top of the rotation starter. Huff and Cruz project to be #3 and #4 starters. At the major league level, the Indians don’t even have a #2 starter. Fausto Carmona’s 2007 season appears to be a fluke and Carl Pavano, despite actually pitching quite well, won’t be around in 2011. There is also the possibility that Cliff Lee won’t be around in 2011 either. He has a club option for 2010 and their are rumors that Lee might be dealt at the trading deadline.
As you can see, the Indians need a young, top of the rotation starter and the Red Sox need a young, power hitting position player. That’s why a Bowden for LaPorta trade makes a lot of sense to me.