Monday, November 5, 2018

Red Sox with No Cards: 2015

For the second year in a row, and the third in the last four years, the Red Sox finished in last place in the A.L. East in 2015.  Their record was not terrible at 78-84, but the East was a competitive division that season.  Among the more surprising players who actually received cards, unlike these players below, are Josh Rutledge, Jean Machi, Anthony Varvaro, and Dalier Hinojosa.  Most shockingly of all is Carlos Peguero who appeared in Topps Update despite playing in just four games.  How he made it and some of these players below didn't, I will never understand.

To this point, Aro's career has consisted of just seven games in the Majors from 2015-2016.  Primarily a relief pitcher in the minors, Aro had a fairly impressive few seasons in the Red Sox system.  In 2015, he made it to the high minors and even got to make his Major League debut.  He was 6-5 with a 3.10 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 87 innings in the minors.  It was enough to get him a couple of call-ups throughout the year to provide some bullpen help.  Unfortunately he did not really impress in his brief Major League appearances, giving up a run in all but one of them.  He ended the season 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA, though he did strike out eight in 10.1 innings while walking four.  After the season, he was part of the package sent to Seattle, along with Wade Miley, for relievers Carson Smith and Roenis Elias, which did not really work out for Boston.  He pitched just two-thirds of an inning for Seattle.  He is currently in the Padres system.  Aro has minor league cards with the Red Sox.

A 2005 2nd round draftee by the Royals, Bianchi played a long time in the minors before he was finally able to make it to the Majors.  Before he finally made it, he was waived twice, also playing for the Cubs organization, before the Brewers finally called him up.  Bianchi played parts of three seasons with the Brewers.  In 2013 he made it into 100 games with Milwaukee as a utility player.  He appeared at third, short, second, and left field.  He was not at all impressive at the plate though, hitting just .237/.272/.292.  Bianchi signed as a minor league free agent with the Red Sox in 2015 and spent most of the season at Pawtucket.  He was called up as a depth option and played in just three games with the Red Sox, hitless in two at-bats.  He played third and short.  The next season he played in the Rockies system, but did not make it back to the Majors.  He has not played since.

Once a very successful relief pitcher, Cook had fallen on hard times when he was acquired by the Red Sox.  Cook came up with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was traded to the Athletics along with Jarrod Parker and Collin Cowgill for Craig Breslow and Trevor Cahill.  Cook was immediately impressive, being named to the All Star team in 2012 when he was 6-2 with a 2.09 ERA and 14 saves, while striking out 80 in 73.1 innings.  He continued to pitch well as a major part of the bullpen for the next couple of years.  In 2015 though, he was only able to pitch in four games and had a 10.38 ERA when he was sent to the Red Sox at the trading deadline.  He pitched in just five games for the Red Sox and had a 27.00 ERA while striking out three and walking four in 4.1 innings.  He was waived and picked up by the Cubs at the start of the 2016 season, but did not appear in the Majors again until 2018 with the Mariners, where he managed to regain some semblance of his previous All Star ability.   

Dominican-born outfielder De Aza has played for seven Major League teams in his career, including the Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, Red Sox, Giants, Mets, and Nationals.  He had a couple of decent seasons with the White Sox in 2012 and 2013 as the team's starting center fielder.  He was traded to the Orioles at the August trading deadline to help the team in their postseason push.  He started the 2015 season with the Orioles and was traded to the Red Sox in June.  De Aza had a pretty good stint with the Red Sox, playing in 60 games with a .292/.347/.484 line and four home runs.  He drove in 25 runs, stole three bases, and hit five triples during his stint with Boston.  But the Red Sox were way out of the race and sent De Aza to the Giants, his third team of the year, at the August trading deadline for minor league reliever Luis Ysla.  He played in the Majors in 2016 and 2017 but failed to impress.  He was in the Nationals system in 2018 but did not appear in the Majors.

If only Topps Now had been around in 2015.  Hill had some terrific games down the stretch in 2015 with the Red Sox.  No stranger to these posts, Hill pitched for the Red Sox from 2010-2012 before bouncing around a little bit, appearing in games with the Indians, Angels, and Yankees.  The southpaw pitched in independent league ball to begin the 2015 season and was seen by a scout and signed with the the Red Sox again in August.  Hill pitched in just four games with the Red Sox, starting all four, and was very impressive, never pitching fewer than six innings and never giving up more than three runs.  His most impressive game was a complete-game two-hit shutout of the Orioles in which he struck out 10 batters.  Hill was 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA and 36 strikeouts against just five walks.  He parlayed his impressive comeback into a contract with the Athletics.  He was later traded to the Dodgers and was shutting down his old team when he was taken out of Game 4 of the World Series this year.  Hill has minor league cards with the Red Sox.

A power hitter in the Angels system who averaged 40+ doubles a season for four straight years, the third-baseman Jimenez finally made it to the Majors in 2013.  He played in 34 games that season but did not hit a home run.  He was no longer a prospect in 2014 but had a terrific season in Triple-A, hitting 25 home runs and driving in 98 runs.  He made it into another 18 games, but again, did not hit a single home run.  The Brewers picked him up off of waivers and inserted him into their lineup to start the 2015 season, but after 15 games, he was not hitting and placed on waivers again.  Boston grabbed him and he spent most of the season in the minors.  Jimenez played reasonably well, hitting .283/.312/.467 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs.  He made it into just one game with the Red Sox and had just one at-bat and was hitless.  He has not played in the Majors since.

Southpaw reliever Layne was in his second season with the Red Sox in 2015.  He spent almost the entire season with the Major League team, appearing in just seven games in the minors.  Layne tied for the most pitching appearances on the team in 2015 with Alexi Ogando.  Despite his 64 games, Layne threw just 47.2 innings since he was a lefty specialist.  He had a decent year, though not as impressive as his 2014 season.  He had a 2-1 record with a 3.97 ERA and struck out 45 while walking 27.  Layne will appear in the 2016 post as well.  Layne does appear in Red Sox minor league sets.

Originally signed as an amateur free agent with the Red Sox, Mendez was traded to the Rangers in the 2010 trade that brought over catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  He pitched well out of the bullpen with the Rangers in 2014 with a 2.18 ERA in 30 games.  He was not nearly as impressive in 2015 though and was eventually placed on waivers.  The Red Sox picked him up in September, bringing him full circle to the team that originally signed him.  He appeared in three games with the Red Sox, throwing two innings and finishing with a 4.50 ERA and striking out one while walking one.  He has not appeared in the Majors since, but pitched in Triple-A with the Nationals organization in 2018.  Mendez does appear on minor league cards in the Red Sox organization.

A fourth-round 2011 draft pick by the Red Sox, Ramirez made his Major League debut with Boston in 2015.  He started his professional career as a starting pitcher, but moved to the bullpen fairly quickly where he was able to advance through the minors at a steady rate.  The Red Sox called upon him as bullpen depth several times throughout the season.  Ramirez appeared in 17 games with Boston and had a 0-1 record with a 4.15 ERA.  He struck out 13 and walked seven in 13 innings.  Ramirez will be in more of these posts.  Ramirez appears in several minor league sets with the Red Sox organization.

After being acquired in an August 2014 trade from the Orioles and consequently appearing in the 2014 post, Weeks spent almost the entire 2015 season at Pawtucket.  He did not play particularly well, hitting .207/.299/.281 with a home run and nine RBIs and stole just seven bases.  Despite those numbers, he was a decent infielder and the Red Sox brought him up for depth.  He played in just three games with the Red Sox but had three hits in nine at-bats.  All three games were played at second base.  Since then, he has not made it back to the Majors and has bounced around.  

How Carlos Peguero of all people made it into a set and not Tommy Layne, I have no idea.  Layne led the team in pitching appearances.  That being said, I think my pick for the player I am most disappointed about not appearing is Rich Hill.  He only pitched in four games, but they were all terrific and his shutout complete game was truly impressive.  If Topps Now existed at the time, he would have been an easy choice.  Missed it by a year.

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