Sunday, February 11, 2024

It's the Big One

This may be the largest trade I have ever worked out.  I didn't send out a ton of cards, but there were some big modern rookies in the package.  Will it come back and bite me like when I traded my Barry Bonds autograph card in 2000?  Maybe, but I don't really care.  I'm a Red Sox collector.  I barely know what else I have.

1.  Ted Williams.  This is my first Project 2020 card.  I got a handful of the Project 70 cards, but never grabbed one of the previous year's project.  Not really sure why, there are definitely some interesting ones out there.  This is not the most exciting of cards, but I do kind of like the vintage shot of Williams in the background.

2.  J.D. Martinez.  I am probably not going to spend a ton of time talking about each player in this post, particularly with players I have talked a lot about lately.  I do want to point out though that I was about eight feet away from catching Martinez's 100th Red Sox home run in KC.

3.  Niko Kavadas.  There are going to be a lot of prospects in this post.  Kavadas has a lot of power, but not much else going for him.  I would be pretty surprised to see him make the Majors.

4.  Jeter Downs.  Downs will be with the Yankees in Spring Training, which seems appropriate.  He didn't do much in Boston, but did hit his first ML home run off the Yankees, Gerrit Cole if I remember right.

5.  Blaze Jordan.  Jordan in particularly will be in this post a lot.  He really likes like he could turn into a legitimate prospect.  The question is whether he will be traded first.

6.  Blaze Jordan.

7.  Blaze Jordan.

8.  Marcelo Mayer.  Despite some injuries, Mayer is still in the top 20 or so prospects according to pretty much every prospect ranking, sometimes still in the top ten.

9.  Kutter Crawford.  Crawford has kind of gone under the radar a bit, but he had a solid 2023.  If he can take another step forward, he can be a decent back-of-the-rotation starter.  His 113 ERA+ in 129.1 innings was one of the bigger surprises on the team in 2023.

10.  Enrique Hernandez.  He had a horrific 2023, but I will never forget his amazing postseason run in 2021 when he hit eight home runs.

11.  Xander Bogaerts.  I wonder what Bogaerts thinks after signing a mega deal with the Padres.  He made comments at the time about the organization being clearly dedicated to winning, yet they have been shedding salary and losing players at an alarming rate.  Currently, there is only one player on their roster who has played outfield at the Major League level, and that is the displaced shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr.  I can't view Bogaerts's signing as anything but a mistake for both parties, even if he did have a decent offensive season.

12.  Ted Williams.  I love this card of Williams in his flight uniform.

13.  Enrique Hernandez.

14.  Wade Boggs.  Boggs never finished higher than fourth in an MVP vote.  If he was playing today, with his high slash lines (even though he didn't hit many home runs, he hit a ton of doubles), he likely would have won at least one MVP.

15.  Jarren Duran.  Duran has been the subject of some trade rumors recently, primarily to San Diego.  That makes sense, and I could see him getting moved, but they better get some pitching in the deal.  Duran is a very exciting player, when he's healthy and playing well.  We finally saw some of that last season.

16.  Kyle Schwarber.  Schwarber goes down as one of the greatest Red Sox trade deadline pickups of all time.  Jason Bay and Victor Martinez are probably the best though because they each played a full second season with Boston.

17.  Jarren Duran.

18.  Jarren Duran.

19.  Xander Bogaerts.

20.  Alex Verdugo.  Verdugo's batting average and OPS+ declined each year he was in Boston.  He could still turn into a productive player, but it was probably time to move on, particularly with a bunch of outfield prospects coming up.

21.  Rafael Devers.  Of course there will be Raffy cards in this post.  Quite a few in fact.

22.  Nomar Garciaparra.  If the Hall of Fame starts looking closer at peak years, Nomar has a legitimate shot at making it in.  He was clearly one of the greatest players in the game from 1997 through 2003, which is a good length of time.  What kills him is that he provided very little value after 2003.

23.  Babe Ruth.  I still love finding Ruth cards with the Red Sox.

24.  Jim Rice.  Panini has done a nice job of including former players in their sets in 2023, not that Rice was a completely out-of-the-box pick, but it's fun to get cards of retired players.

25.  Nomar Garciaparra.

26.  Triston Casas.  I'm anticipating a big year from Casas.  30-35 home runs seems like a likely possibility.

27.  Rafael Devers.

28.  Chris Sale.

29.  Chris Sale.

30.  Trevor Story.  Another player I am expecting big things from.  Story has taken on a leadership role with the infielders this offseason, and that is something that is great to see.

31.  Masataka Yoshida.  And another player I think will have a big season.  I predict he will contend for the batting title.

32.  Alex Verdugo.

33.  Enmanuel Valdez.  It is difficult to see where he fits in, if only he could play even a little defense.  His bat is very impressive.

34.  Reese McGuire.  McGuire will be back as the backup catcher in 2024.  I thought he might get non-tendered, but that did not happen.

35.  Triston Casas.

36.  Alex Verdugo.

37.  Josh Taylor.  Taylor was great when he was healthy for Boston.  He had a 3.04 ERA in 2019 and 3.40 in 2021.  But he was hurt so often that he was tough to rely on.  He was traded for Adalberto Mondesi prior to 2023, a trade that did not work out for anyone as Taylor had an ERA of 8.15 with the Royals and Mondesi never played for Boston.

38.  Kevin Pillar.  Pillar had a nice partial season with Boston in 2020, hitting .274/.325/.470 in 30 games before being traded to the Rockies.  He is mostly a backup outfielder now.

39.  Pedro Martinez.  Since there was no All Star Game in 2020, Topps honored past performances.  Martinez was the 1999 All Star Game MVP.  

40.  David Ortiz.  

41.  David Ortiz.  Here is a card honoring Ortiz's 2010 Home Run Derby victory.

42.  Andrew Benintendi.  Benintendi really looked like the real deal through the first half of the 2018 season.  His numbers just collapsed after that and he never got back while with the Red Sox.

43.  Mookie Betts.  Apparently Betts is moving to second full-time in 2024.  He came up as a second-baseman and got moved to the outfield due to Dustin Pedroia, then it seemed a shame to waste his athleticism at second.  We will see if he can make the late-career move back, but he's so good, he should be fine.

44.  Roger Clemens.  Clemens was the All Star Game MVP in 1986.

45.  David Ortiz.

46.  Michael Chavis.

47.  Pedro Martinez.

48.  Roger Clemens.

49.  Ted Williams.

50.  Team Card.  I never know quite what to do with these cards.  Do I consider them cards of the players focused on in the photo?  Or just general team cards?  This one is particularly interesting because the man holding his right hand up is 2020 manager Ron Roenicke, who otherwise did not have a card with the Red Sox and was included in my No Red Sox cards post for that year.  I will at least consider it a Roenicke card.

51.  Ted Williams.

52.  Xander Bogaerts.

53.  Pedro Martinez.

54.  Kyle Schwarber.

55.  Xander Bogaerts.

56.  Xander Bogaerts.

57.  Kyle Schwarber.

58.  Xander Bogaerts.

59.  Connor Seabold.  Strange how trades work out sometimes.  When Boston traded Brandon Workman to the Phillies in 2020, they got two pitchers, one of whom, Seabold, was a legitimate prospect.  The other was a mostly failed starter on his third organization, Nick Pivetta.  Yet, it is Pivetta who has been a workhorse pitcher for Boston and Seabold was DFA'd and pitched, poorly, with the Rockies in 2023.

60.  Babe Ruth.

61.  Pedro Martinez.

62.  Pedro Martinez.

63.  David Ortiz.

64.  Trevor Story.

65.  Mikey Romero.  Romero was Boston's first round pick in 2022.  I was sort of underwhelmed by this pick at the time and he has not played particularly well.  Luckily, they saved some money on this pick and used it toward their next pick, Roman Anthony.

66.  Masataka Yoshida.

67.  Enrique Hernandez.

68.  Pedro Martinez.

69.  Masataka Yoshida.

70.  Narciso Crook.  I am still shocked he has made it in to so many sets as a Red Sox player, since he has never played a game with them.

71.  Trevor Story.

72.  Masataka Yoshida.

73.  Eduardo Rodriguez.  We have come to perhaps my favorite card from this trade.  This is one of the rare black parallels.  I do not even have the Connor Wong from this set.

74.  Rafael Devers.

75.  Andrew Benintendi.

76.  Xander Bogaerts.

77.  Michael Chavis.

78.  Rafael Devers.

79.  Shane Drohan.  Drohan had pitched reasonably well until 2023.  He was selected by the White Sox in the Rule V Draft, but I would be kind of surprised if he doesn't get returned at some point.  It's possible, they never got Thad Ward back.

80.  Jay Groome.  The opposite of Mikey Romero, I was very high on this selection.  Groome was one of the best pitchers in that draft, but injuries have wrecked his career.  He was traded to the Padres in 2022 in the Eric Hosmer deal and continued to struggle.

81.  Gilberto Jimenez.  Jimenez has a lot of tools, but has yet to harness them.  He's still just 23, but has yet to make Double-A.

82.  Triston Casas.

83.  Jarren Duran.

84.  Jeter Downs.

85.  Babe Ruth.

86.  Xander Bogaerts.

87.  David Price.  Price had been saddled with the reputation of being a poor postseason pitcher.  That reputation was solidified early in his Red Sox tenure.  But then, in the ALCS, he figured something out in his mechanics and was basically unhittable since.  In the World Series he was 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three games, throwing 13.2 innings and striking out ten while walking six.

88.  Rafael Devers.

89.  J.D. Martinez.

90.  Eduardo Nunez.  Nunez had a huge pinch-hit home run in Game 1 of the 2018 World Series that sealed the win for Boston.

91.  Jackie Bradley Jr.  JBJ was the ALCS MVP in 2018 with two key home runs, driving in nine runs.

92.  Jackie Bradley Jr.

93.  J.D. Martinez.

94.  Team Card.

95.  Xander Bogaerts.

96.  David Price.  This is apparently called a Topps Clear Travel card?  I have no idea what that is.

97.  J.D. Martinez.

98.  Xander Bogaerts.

99.  J.D. Martinez.

100.  David Ortiz.

101.  Mookie Betts.

102.  Chris Sale.

103.  Shane Drohan.

104.  Shane Drohan.

105.  Jay Groome.

106.  Gilberto Jimenez.

107.  Triston Casas.  

108.  Jarren Duran.

109.  Nick Yorke.  I was skeptical about Yorke's first-round selection in 2020, but he has been mostly decent when he's been healthy.  He could make the Majors this year, or be traded.

110.  Jeter Downs.

111.  Michael Chavis.

112.  David Ortiz.

113.  Carl Yastrzemski.  Yaz is the owner of Boston's all-time best season by WAR.  His incredible Triple Crown season had a WAR of 12.4 helped out by his terrific defense.

114.  Michael Chavis.

115.  Mookie Betts.

116.  Chris Sale.

117.  J.D. Martinez.

118.  Anderson Espinoza.  Espinoza was Boston's top pitching prospect when he was traded in 2016 for Drew Pomeranz.  It was not a well-received move, but Pomeranz had a very good 2017 season and Espinoza suffered major injury setbacks.  He finally made the Majors in 2022 with the Cubs, but only pitched in seven games.

119.  Sam Travis.  I had high hopes for Travis.  He did play in 111 games with Boston and hit seven home runs, but I thought he would be a decent first-baseman.  

120.  Xander Bogaerts.

121.  Nick Yorke.

122.  Xander Bogaerts.

123.  Chris Sale.

124.  Tanner Houck.  Houck could be in line to be the closer if Boston ends up trading Kenley Jansen.  I think he could do it, he seems to thrive on high-stakes and has the mentality of Jonathan Papelbon.

125.  Noah Song.  Song is an interesting story.  He was a highly-regarded draftee, but due to Navy commitment, he was unable to pitch for a few years even in the minors.  He finally was switched to reserve status to begin his professional baseball career and was selected by the Phillies in the Rule V Draft in 2022.  But, because he had been away so long, the Phillies could not justify a ML roster spot for him and had to return him.  Song is now 26 and is a question mark going forward, but Boston has him again.

126.  Triston Casas.

127.  Xander Bogaerts.

128.  Bryan Mata.  Mata is out of options this season, so he has to make the Red Sox roster or get traded.  He was once a promising pitching prospect, but has struggled with control.  I think it is more likely he will be traded.

129.  Masataka Yoshida.

130.  Triston Casas.  This is another of my favorite cards from this package.  These Bowman Spotlight cards are really cool.

131.  Nick Yorke.

132.  Marcelo Mayer.

133.  Bobby Dalbec.

134.  Bobby Dalbec.

135.  Blaze Jordan.

136.  Marcelo Mayer.

137.  Marcelo Mayer.

138.  Roniel Raudes.  I really liked Raudes.  He showed some amazing control early on in the minors.  He made it to High-A, but then stalled.  He's still just 25, so some team could take a flyer on him.

139.  Josh Ockimey.  Another prospect I liked that couldn't make it.  He kind of got stuck in Pawtucket and had some big home run numbers and a decent OBP, but his low batting averages prevented him from making the jump.

140.  Blaze Jordan.

141.  J.D. Martinez.

142.  Rafael Devers.

143.  Alex Verdugo.

144.  J.D. Martinez.

Whew.  That was a long one.  I still have more to come, but that was all in one package and it was large enough as it was.

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