Tag: Ryan Sweeney

2013 Boston Red Sox: Team Signs Outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Minor League Deal

The Boston Red Sox have brought back a familiar face, recently signing outfielder Ryan Sweeney to a minor-league deal, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

The deal was later confirmed in a separate story by CSBSports.com’s R.J. White.

Sweeney played for the Red Sox last season after coming to the team with Andrew Bailey in the trade that sent outfielder Josh Reddick and prospects to the Oakland A’s.

To say the trade has been a disaster so far would be an understatement. Reddick was a 2012 All-Star, hitting 32 home runs. In the meantime, Bailey missed most of the season because of injury and posted a 7.04 ERA in the 19 games he did pitch.

Sweeney played in 63 games with Boston, but missed the final two months of the season after breaking his hand punching a dugout wall during a game.

Following the injury, Sweeney issued an apology of sorts through a tweet.


When he did play for Boston last year, Sweeney’s value came almost exclusively with his glove. He hit just .260 with no home runs and 16 RBI.

After a hot April where he hit .373 with 11 doubles and eight RBI in 19 games, Sweeney batted just .204 with eight doubles and eight RBI in his final 44 games. However, his fall in production coincided with a concussion he suffered while making a diving catch against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The left-handed Sweeney is about to turn 28 and is a veteran of parts of seven major league seasons with the Red Sox, A’s and Chicago White Sox. In 535 career games, he has batted .280 with 14 home runs and 185 RBI.

His lack of power is contrasted by his large frame (6’4”, 225 pounds). However, this far into his career, it’s unlikely he will continue developing beyond what he is now—a singles hitter with a good glove.

Sweeney was arbitration eligible this offseason but was non-tendered by Boston, making him a free agent.

Bringing Sweeney back into the fold is insurance for the outfield following the news that Ryan Kalish will have surgery on his shoulder, according to MLB.com’s Ian Browne.

CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa wrote that Kalish will miss at least all of spring training. Since he was slated for one of the team’s backup outfield roles, his absence could be an important one.

Currently, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes have outfield slots locked up, and Daniel Nava should be a favorite for one of the backup roles. While Kalish is out, Sweeney may have an inside track on a roster spot, given his experience.

Even if Kalish makes a speedy recovery, having a player like Sweeney available at Triple-A Pawtucket is a valuable insurance policy. His ability to play all three outfield positions would allow him to fill in if any of the regulars were to miss time.

It looked like the Red Sox and Sweeney were prepared to part ways in 2013, but circumstances dictated that they may be a good fit for each other after all.


Statistics via BaseballReference

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Red Sox Trade Rumors: How Top Prospect Wil Myers Would Fit in Fenway Park

If you have a pulse and have read anything baseball related on the Internet over the last few weeks, you probably already know that the Kansas City Royals are in the market for a top-flight starting pitcher.

While recent rumors have suggested that they may take a run at Tampa Bay Rays’ right hander James Shields—which is very possible—I’m more intrigued by the news that the Royals and Red Sox have discussed a potential deal for Jon Lester, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.

In return, it’s presumed that the Royals would be forced to part with top prospect Wil Myers. The outfielder is fresh off a breakout campaign in which he batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI in 134 games between Double and Triple-A, and nearly big-league-ready. 


Why the Trade Makes Sense

Headed into the offseason only Jacoby Ellsbury and the recently-acquired Jonny Gomes are locks to see significant playing time in the Red Sox’s outfield in 2013. Beyond that, however, is seemingly endless uncertainty as there’s a host of replacement-level (at best) outfielders who will battle for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

According to MLBDepthCharts.com, the leading candidates are Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish and Ryan Sweeney, though Jerry Sands could also receive consideration. If the Red Sox plan to be a player in the fiercely-competitive American League East, then none of the aforementioned players can be considered a viable short-term option.

While Nava’s ascent to the major leagues is a great narrative, his career .730 OPS in 148 big-league games speaks for itself. Kalish, 24, has posted a .644 OPS in 89 career games and missed significant time due to various injuries.

The 27-year-old Sweeney has the most experience of them all with 535 career big-league games, but has seemingly been on the disabled for a portion of each season and owns a career .715 OPS. Sands, 24, has played in 70 big-league games over the last two years with the Dodgers and posted a .701 OPS.


Internal Options

To their credit, the Red Sox do have a pair of outfield prospects who are on pace to make their big-league debut in 2013. Bryce Brentz, the Red Sox’s first-round draft pick in 2010, posted an .814 OPS with 17 home runs last season and reached Triple-A Pawtuckett. However, the 23-year-old has holes in his swing (131/46 K/BB) and many question how his game will translate to the major leagues.

The other option, Jackie Bradley, just completed an impressive full season in which he batted .315/.430/.482 with 55 extra-base hits (42 doubles) and 24 stolen bases in 128 games between high-A and double-A. At the same time, the left hander’s lack of power and questionable arm strength make him more projectable and valuable as a centerfielder.


Free Agent Market

As usual, the Red Sox will likely be in the mix for a top free-agent outfielder this winter, and may try to land either Josh Hamilton or Shane Victorino. Both players are on the wrong side of 30 and would almost assuredly have a high price tag. Myers, on the other hand, has just one year of minor-league service time and would be a steal given his relatively high ceiling.

Because the organization began re-stocking its farm system last season, they lack the impact prospects needed to pull off a major trade.


Wil Myers: Background and Potential Impact

Ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the game following the conclusion of the 2012 season, Myers nearly reached the major leagues late last year after raking at two minor-league stops. Coming off an injury-plagued season in 2011 in which he batted .254/.353/.393 with only 32 extra-base hits, the 21-year-old quieted skeptics with a monster offensive campaign in 2012—easily the top among all prospects.

At 6’3”, 205 pounds, the right hander has an explosive swing thanks to plus bat speed and above-average bat-to-ball skills. Exploding from an upright, slightly-open stance, Myers has a leveraged swing that yields plus raw power to all fields. He hits his share of towering home runs, too, a trait that would bode well at Fenway Park.

However, as he demonstrated last season, he’s willing to sacrifice his plate discipline (140/61 K/BB) for loud contact. But that’s something that will likely improve with more experience at advanced levels, including the major leagues.

Drafted as a catcher, the Royals moved him to the outfield prior to the 2011 season with the hope of expediting his arrival in the major leagues. So far it’s proven to be a wise decision. Not only has his bat flourished, but Myers has also developed into an above-average defensive outfielder with good instincts, decent range and an accurate, plus arm. Although he’s seen time at all three outfield positions over the last three years, he profiles best at either corner spot.

If the Red Sox ultimately land Myers, I would assume he’d receive consideration for a spot on the Opening Day roster as the team’s right fielder. If he doesn’t break camp with the team, it shouldn’t take long for him to reach the major leagues. Either way, if the Royals are willing to part with their highly coveted prospect, the Red Sox would be wise to jump at the opportunity.

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Could Ryan Sweeney’s Knee Injury Be a Blessing in Disguise?

It’s been rumored that Ryan Sweeney is undergoing knee surgery that will end his season. There’s no question that Sweeney is a valuable asset for the A’s playing excellent defense in right field, but more importantly versatile enough to play all three outfield positions, and he possesses a strong arm as well. 

Defensively he’ll be missed although Gabe Gross does have a very good arm in the outfield as well. Offensively is where the A’s will miss Sweeney the most though as he had the highest batting average, among the team leaders in RBI, and doubles. 

The injury though could be a blessing in disguise for Sweeney. At 6’4 225 he has not shown any signs of being the power hitter he was projected as. On the season before his injury he hit just one homerun.

Sweeney’s career high in homeruns is just six. Also, notable career highs are the 53 RBI he had last year and the 31 doubles also set last year. He was on pace to surpass those highs just not the homeruns.

What has made Sweeney an effective hitter is that he can take the ball the other way, he rarely if ever pulls a pitch. He does have the ability to turn on a pitch, but it’s a rare circumstance. 

The fact that Sweeney is normally batting third in the lineup says something as well. He’s a consistent hitter but if he does turn on a pitch it’s normally not in the air and it tends to be on the ground which means if there’s a runner on base he has the propensity to hit into double plays. 

With power hitters that hit third or fourth in the lineup that’s not a huge drawback, but for the A’s it is because of the lack of power in the A’s lineup. 

As for Sweeney it’s bad news for the A’s because they do lose their best hitter average wise and of course his defense. But, in the long run it could be a blessing in disguise for Sweeney and the A’s. 

For Sweeney he swings a good bat he knows how to take the ball into left field. The hope is thought during the time off rehabbing is that he continues his approach to hitting the ball to the opposite field, but more importantly learning to turn on pitches more. 

There’s no excuse for why Sweeney right now is not hitting 15-20 homeruns a year. He has the size to take the ball out of the ballpark, but he just doesn’t do it. When he first came to the A’s they thought that Sweeney was just learning how to hit at the Major League level and give him a few years and he’d be hitting homeruns. 

Well it’s been a few years for Sweeney and in fact his power numbers have not shown up yet. When Sweeney comes back healthy here’s hoping that the rehab process and his recovery will lead him to discovering that he can hit for power while still taking the ball to left field. 

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