A Bowden For LaPorta Trade Makes Sense…

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.

Michael Bowden

Michael Bowden

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.

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25 Responses to “A Bowden For LaPorta Trade Makes Sense…”

  1. jim Says:

    I’d love to get LaPorta, but Bowden is not as good a prospect as he is and not a clear #1 or even #2. It’s take either Buchholz or Bowden plus a lot more (like Casey Kelley or both Bard and Hagadone)

    • James Says:

      Jim, should we throw in the Bunker Hill Bridge in that deal too? LaPorta is good but he is not that good. Lets not empty the minor leagues for him. Bowden might be a little light but I doubt the Sox would trade Kelly or Hagadone for him straight up never mind as throw ins… Those two guys are A prospects they are the center pieces of deals not sweeteners.

  2. Mike Bowden Says:

    The Red Sox have publicly stated Bowden is untouchable. They were close to trading Jermaine Dye for Bowden last season and Theo wouldn’t pull the trigger. Granted J.D. is older, still a quality and underated MLB star.

    • Not Mike Bowden Says:

      Except that the Red Sox have a glaring need for a young cost controlled power hitter, esp. considering the epic decline of Big Papi. They need to infuse power into their lineup and adding LaPorta with Lars Anderson could potentially give them 2 great young bats to work into the lineup. Giving up Bowden, who does not have the ceiling of Buchholz would be something the team could afford when considering the depth and quality of arms the Red Sox have across the minor leagues.

  3. hawkny Says:

    Remember the Andy Marte/Coco Crisp deal? Cleveland is still sore about that one…

    • Charlie Says:

      The indians won that trade on the strength of Kelly Shoppach…the centerpieces were busts for both teams.

  4. bebop Says:

    It makes NO sense. A trade between the Red Sox and the Indians makes sense.
    But I don’t understand why people are speculating that the Indians might make a trade with the MAIN trade chip they received for CC Sabbathia. It’s illogical and improbable.

    • Not Mike Bowden Says:

      Not if the Indians think they would get more value out of Bowden than LaPorta. As they say, hitting wins games but pitching wins championships. If the Indians think they are better off with Bowden over whom ever he replaces instead of LaPorta over another corner IF/OF bat (which are typically easier to find/draft/sign than pitchers who are ready to contribute at the MLB level).

      • Charlie Says:

        Simply put: No, this trade would never happen. If the Red Sox want one of the top power-hitting procpects in the minors, they need to give up one of the top pitching prospects in the minors. Bowden is not that. Buchholz could potentially make Shapiro to pause due to some success at the big league level. But the combination of everyday players having higher aggregate WPA’s than SPs and the horrible publicity bath that the Indians would take by trading away the main piece in the deal that sent the prodigal son away from Cleveland….No. This would never happen. This is a pipedream coming from a Red Sox fan, not a legitimate trade possibility.

  5. joe Says:

    I think that a Bowden for LaPorta trade is a good deal for both teams. This trade sounds very realistic to me and I think that it could happen in the near future.

    http://baseballtraderumors.com/

  6. Mike Says:

    hawkny-

    Cleveland remembers the Coco/Marte deal quite well. In the trade they also acquired catcher Kelly Schoppach who hit 20 HR’s last year. Schoppach alone as a part time player has done more for the Tribe than that stiff Crisp ever did for the Sox. What did Crisp do for Boston anyway? He sucked in the playoffs and his benching for Ellsbury is what ignited the lineup in the 2007 ALCS.

    ANYWAY, I am not a big Bowden fan. Bowden would just be another future #4 starter to go with Cleveland’s plethora of back end SP’s in the system.

  7. The MacTavish Says:

    Bowden has really funky mechanics. They may be the key to his present and future success. But he doesn’t cut the figure of a top of the rotation major league starter when you see him in action. Of course, Okajima has been an effective reliever for the Sox and if you just look at his stuff, you’d really wonder why. In his case, presumably the deception and location accounts for his success. Maybe Bowden will end up being a guy who throws harder than Okajima and is really hard to pick up for hitters. But I wouldn’t bet on him being anything but an average major league starter. In fact, I bet he’d end up being better out of the bullpen in the long-run.

  8. rjlazett Says:

    Do not forget about Jeanmar Gomez…. he just pitched a perfect game and I think will be better than anyone in the Indians system. I am a diehard Indians fan and follow their prospects very closely because we cannot afford to get the premium free agents. I am not so sure about Bowden in a trade for Laporta. I have seen Laporta play in the minors and in the bigs. I’m convinced that this kid is going to be a very special player. If I were him the only person I would trade him for would be Josh Beckett (this is how sure this kid is gonna be an excellent middle order bat).

  9. Kirk Says:

    While your concept of the Indians trading Matt LaPorta for pitching carries some merit, as the guy has already been traded once in his career for pitching, the price you name is low in a silly sort of way. It cost the Indians CC Sabathia to pry LaPorta from the Brewers. If the Red Sox would decide to target LaPorta, which is highly unlikely given their top hitting prospects are a first baseman, Lars Anderson who is as “can’t miss” as LaPorta, and outfielders Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick, i t would take a lot more than Bowden to get the deal done. Think Bowden AND Bucholz.

    • James Says:

      The deal was 6 years of LaPorta for 3 months of Sabathia so the logic you are using is flawed. So you are saying that 6 years of Bowden (potential #3-5 starter) AND Buchholz (potential #1-2 starter) for 6 years of LaPorta (1B who will probably average around 25 HRs a year) is a fair deal???

      • Not Mike Bowden Says:

        Thank you.

      • Charlie Says:

        One issue with your logic is that you use “potential” in front of both pitchers. Buchholz has been sporadic at best in the Bigs, Bowden is likely to end up a power-reliever, which while valuable, does not carry the same weight as legit hitting prospects. “Potential 1-2’s” turn into busts more often than not. This is the nature of pitching prospects.

        Also bear in mind that the brewers had Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, so having a 1B/LF prospect wasn’t a huge boon to them. Though they knew that a SP that could vault them into the playoffs and return 2 comp picks was well worth the give-up of one of their 2 big bats in the high-minors. (Gamel being the other)

      • James Says:

        Charlie, so you are saying that LaPorta is an established ML hitter then? Please detail his proven track record in the ML. All prospects are discussed in terms of their “potential” because they are unproven at ML level. If Buchholz has had sporadic success at the ML level then what has LaPorta had? Hitting .190 with 1 HR? Do you have some sort of stats saying that pitching prospects fail more often than hitting prospects? Also, take into account that LaPorta is an average (that is being generous) defender so he won’t be contributing much in terms of runs prevented.

      • Charlie Says:

        At what point did I say LaPorta was anything other than a “legit hitting prospect”?

        My argument was simply that big-time hitting prospects simply have a higher probability of making the transition from high-minors to the Majors than big-time pitching prospects.

        There are more pitching busts, chalk it up to injuries, mental aspects, or whatever you want, but we can all agree that all things being equal, a successful hitter translates better to the Bigs than a successful pitcher at the same level. It is not ALWAYS the case, but the likely one.

      • Charlie Says:

        if you want stats, just look at PECOTA scores for pitchers and hitters. Hitters lines translate better, or more “in-tact” from AA & AAA to the MLB than Pitchers lines

        Here is Bowden’s 2009 PECOTA forecast:
        8-8, 4.98era, 1.42 WHIP, 5.8 k/9, 2.6 BB/9

        Here are Bowden’s career minor league stats:
        31-21, 2.99era, 1.12 WHIP, 8.6 k/9, 2.5 BB/9

        There are your stats.

  10. El Guapo's Ghost Says:

    The Sox-Indians sure do match up well, but the Sox could get more for Bowden from another team. In general, a potential #3/4 (Bowden) is more valuable than a future DH (LaPorta). This could hold things up.

    • Not Mike Bowden Says:

      Not if the Red Sox feel they have a glaring need at DH/LF and have sufficient depth in their rotation throughout the minor leagues. Buchholz, Hagadone, Tazawa, Casey Kelly, Pimentel, Doubrount are amongst the 10-15 prospects in their system. They have a great stable of arms and need to utilize this depth in order to address a lack of power within their organization at the minor league level. Lars Anderson is really the only guy I can see as likely to be a productive slugger, given how much development the rest of their power hitters have to go.

  11. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    [...] A Bowden For LaPorta Trade Makes Sense… The Red Sox are loaded with pitching prospects, but are a little short on hitting prospects. The Indians are ripe with [...] [...]

  12. cabianni Says:

    Matt Laporta for Buchholz and Kelly.
    Matt Laporta for Bowden, Bard and Hagadone
    Thanks for the laugh.

  13. redsoxtalk Says:

    I think you overstate Boston’s “need” for a hitting prospect. 1B/DH/COF types are MUCH easier to get than starting pitchers like Clay Buchholz. For every LaPorta/Gamel/Braun/Fielder/insert hyped corner infielder/outfielder here, there are guys like Carlos Pena, Jack Cust and Russell Branyan who are much cheaper and and can be signed for short money. They won’t give you quite the production of a LaPorta at his peak, but they are more of a sure thing and they are cost-controlled.

    That said, Matt LaPorta looks to become a very good hitter; if the Indians want to sell him short, that’s fine with me, I just don’t think he’s worth a Buchholz (possibly a Bowden). MLP also looks to be a train wreck in the field, which I’m not thrilled with. If the Sox are trading for hitting, it’s because we need help NOW, not in 2011. If we need a bat next year or the year after, we will sign a veteran free agent then, not a LaPorta the year before. That’s Epstein’s modus operandi.

    Red Sox Talk
    redsox.wordpress.com

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