Will Espinoza Become Casey Kelly Or Anthony Rizzo?
Casey Kelly (L); Anthony Rizzo (R)
The Red Sox have made a few consequential trades over the last several years with the San Diego Padres. One of the biggest was sending Anthony Rizzo and Casey Kelly (among others) west for Adrian Gonzalez in 2010. A-Gon, of course, became the "sacrificial lamb" in The Great Punto Deal, but those two prospects we gave up followed very different paths. Kelly (now 26) was traded to the Braves in 2015, after years of injury woes in San Diego. Kelly was the 30th overall pick by the Red Sox in 2008—and was our top prospect touted as a 'can't miss' pitcher (ranked #10 overall by ESPN), despite the fact that he wanted to play shortstop. He meandered through the Sox farm system until the trade. On the other hand, Rizzo is a legitimate super-star for the Cubs—leading the National League this year in OPS. It's too depressing to detail his full awesomeness. Anyway, will Anderson Espinoza turn out to be a Kelly or a Rizzo? All indications—unfortunately—point to the latter. Listen to what the authoritative SoxProspects.com says, "While this move makes the Red Sox better in the short term, long term, it could come back to bite them. If Espinoza reaches his potential or even settles in as a solid mid-rotation starter, that is still a significant price to pay for a player with very little track record as even a mid-rotation starter, and even with today's Jason Groome signing and Michael Kopech's impressive velocity, Espinoza is still a better prospect than either of them, so their presence only slightly cushions his loss, if at all." Time will tell.