The Red Sox swung a trade today to acquire Alejandro De Aza from the division-rival Orioles after Baltimore had designated him for assignment, and manager John Farrell explained to Joe Castiglione on the Red Sox Pregame Radio Show the thinking that went into the move. Via WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Farrell explained: “…with Daniel Nava being down, De Aza has been in that role a little bit in Baltimore where he has come off the bench. He’s been a little bit of a platoon player. I’m not saying De Aza is going to come in here and platoon in left with Hanley. But at the same time we’ve got a veteran, a guy who can run, a guy that can play all three outfield positions.” It remains to be seen whether or not De Aza will be a long-term piece for the Sox, but the fact that they surrendered a prospect of any kind of note — righty Joe Gunkel was the team’s No. 26 prospect this offseason, per Baseball America — seems to suggest they’re not looking at him as a mere short-term play.
Elsewhere in the AL East…
- Masahiro Tanaka made a dominant return to the Yankees today, holding the Mariners to a run on three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts in seven innings. As George A. King III of the New York Post wrote last night, however, Tanaka will have a difficult time eliminating the specter of a possible injury that hangs around his head. King writes that the Yankees will have to hope that Tanaka can outperform the struggling CC Sabathia and inconsistent Nathan Eovaldi, because the team’s need for a starter in the event of a Tanaka injury is significant. King spoke to an NL scout who said that Tanaka looked like a No. 3 starter earlier this year, though clearly, the results from this afternoon’s start are highly encouraging for the Yankees.
- Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star chronicles the unlikely journeys taken by right-hander Bo Schultz and first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello to the Majors. Colabello’s story has received its share of fanfare — and rightfully so, as the longtime independent league star is an admirable picture of perseverance — but Schultz’s tale may be even more improbable. Schultz attended Northwestern University to study journalism, but he made the baseball team as a walk-on outfielder. Schultz received little playing time and quit after his freshman year, but he returned his junior year when there was a need for pitchers and his teammates recalled Schultz’s strong arm. Schultz went undrafted but signed a minor league deal with the A’s, who converted him to a submarine delivery that never panned out. A brief stint with the D-Backs didn’t take, and he’s now trying for the second time to stick in the bigs, this time with Toronto. This brief synopsis leaves out a good bit of detail, so those who are interested will want to check out the piece in its entirety.
- Despite frequently being forced to trade away top-tier pitching due to financial constraints, the Rays continually boast one of baseball’s best pitching staffs, writes Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Brown looks at the manner in which each member of Tampa’s core group of starters was acquired, noting that the club is adept at identifying replacements, but that the culture of the clubhouse is important in maintaining that excellence as well. Chris Archer spoke to Brown about all that he learned from David Price and James Shields before their trades, adding that he and Alex Cobb are among the pitchers who now try to mentor and pass that wisdom onto younger arms.