The Indians have made their first major mid-year trade, and it has all of the excitement of a Casey Kotchman offseason signing. The Indians traded Double-A pitcher Jose De La Torre to the Boston Red Sox for Brent Lillibridge, a player that the Red Sox had initially designated for assignment. Lillibridge has actually had a pretty busy month, because you may remember that he was involved in the trade that sent Kevin Youkilis to Chicago. So of course you want to trade a minor league pitcher with some solid numbers for a guy who has already been cast off twice in the past month. Make sure that you don’t hang onto that pitcher for a bigger deal. I’m sorry to sound bitter and cynical here, but this is the kind of trade where you send the Red Sox some cash, or some leftover batting equipment in Akron. (A touching reunion between the Red Sox and Dan Wheeler would also suffice). The 28-year-old Lillibridge hit .175/.232/.190 in Chicago prior to the trade, and .125/.125/.125 in Boston after the trade in just 16 at-bats. The 26-year-old De La Torre is 7-1 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 42 strikeouts for the Akron Aeros this season.
I guess the benefit of Lillibridge is that he can play 6,000 positions, so he’s versatile. Think of him as an Aaron Cunningham that can also play the infield. To be fair, De La Torre was signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, and has bounced around between organizations. It’s not that I think he’s going to be a star, or even necessarily a major leaguer; it’s just that in my bitter mood today I think that anything greater than a bag of balls and a few hot dogs from the concession stand is overpaying for a weak bat that’s been cast off twice in the past month. With Lonnie Chisenhall on the DL (he was moved to the 60-day DL to accommodate this move) the Indians probably felt they needed some depth at third base. Perhaps they’ve grown tired of Jose Lopez? Lillibridge also means that Jason Donald probably won’t be making another appearance in Cleveland any time soon. I will say this for Lillibridge – unlike Donald, I’m pretty sure he can throw the ball across the infield from third to first. I may be knocking on Donald’s cross-field throwing abilities, but I’d still rather see him hit than Lillibridge. Why not just call him up, can he really do any worse than Lillibridge at this point? Donald hit .188/.226/.208 in the majors this season, which is still better than Brent Lillibridge. Donald is hitting .268/.363/.439 at Columbus, but has been having a great July. Another move will be announced soon in order to get Lillibridge on the 25-man roster. Oh, and in case you were curious – Lillibridge is at least a right-handed bat. He’s 3 for 36 against left-handed pitching, but he does bat right handed.