On Wednesday morning the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays were busy as Spring Training began. The Rays traded prospects Ronaldo Hernández and Nick Sogard to the Red Sox for Jeffrey Springs, Chris Mazza, and cash.
While Hernández and Sogard have yet to appear in the majors, Springs and Mazza appeared in a combined 25 games for Boston last season. The move adds talent to Boston’s farm system and improves their depth.
Prior to the trade, Hernández was the Rays top catching prospect. In five minor league seasons, the 23-year-old has posted a .291 average and hit 41 home runs. Hernández had his best year in the minors in 2018 when he hit 21 home runs and had 79 runs batted in. The former Rays prospect can hit for power, with 120 extra-base hits in his minor league career. While the Colombia native was the higher-ranked prospect, Sogard has also impressed in the minors.
The #RedSox have acquired the Rays top catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez.
— Jamie Gatlin (@JamieGatlin17) February 17, 2021
Tampa Bay took Sogard in the round 12 of the 2019 draft after an impressive college career. In three seasons at Loyola Marymount University, the lefty batter hit .308 in 497 at-bats. Although he did not hit for much power, the infielder showed good plate discipline. That continued in his first minor league season as he only struck out 43 times in 214 ABs. Unfortunately, he was unable to build on his success in 2020 as the minor league season was canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bloom continues offseason trend
Wednesday’s trade continued a trend that Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom has followed all offseason. The team was able to add value to the farm system by improving their depth at catcher and in the infield. Springs and Mazza did not have a future in Boston as they had been designated for assignment.
Both players likely need additional time in the minors but could be in Boston sooner rather than later. Hernandez already has 1271 at-bats in the minors and Sogard’s college experience should help him ascend quickly in the Red Sox system.
Nick Sogard keeps on hitting!
2-RBI 1B for Sogard and the Lions now lead 6-3!
Sogard: 3×4, 3 RBI
— LMU Baseball (@lmulionsBSB) April 14, 2018
As Bloom tries to build a consistent winner, prospect depth is key, as something Boston has lacked in recent years. Sogard did not rank among the Rays top-30 prospects, but he brings versatility and speed. Hernández could be an option behind the plate in the future as Christian Vazquez will be a free agent after the 2022 season.
With Spring Training officially underway, the team is unlikely to be done making moves. Jackie Bradley Jr. is still a free agent, and the club could use more upgrades. While there are not many options left in free agency, Boston could also look at the trade market as the preseason progresses.
As the 2021 season is only weeks away, the Red Sox will be an interesting team to watch, with their new additions in the majors and minors looking to make an impact.