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The Red Sox made a move today that involved a pitcher, but it wasn’t to bring one in, it was to ship one out. The Red Sox sent RHP Aaron Wilkerson and 2B Wendell Rijo to Milwaukee for veteran infielder Aaron Hill. After being traded to the Brewers earlier this year, Hill has hit .283 with 8 HRs and 29 RBIs in 78 games. Many Red Sox fans may remember Hill from his 5+ years spent in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays. At 34 years old, he is a stable veteran presence who will get some good playing time backing up Travis Shaw, Dustin Pedroia, and Hanley Ramirez.
Wilkerson is a nice prospect, but not likely a long-term solution for the Red Sox in the starting rotation. Capitalizing on his great year in Pawtucket by getting a major league asset back via trade is a smart move from Dave Dombrowski. Rijo was ranked as the 17th best prospect in the Red Sox system and at 2B, is behind a lot of talent before he reaches the majors, so an easily expendable piece.
This was a nice depth move that makes the Red Sox major league roster a little better. We are all awaiting a pitching move or two to really get excited about.
Photo by Ben McCanna
The Red Sox rotation has struggled in June and desperately needs some help. Eduardo Rodriguez looked disinterested and pitched terribly on Monday, leading to his demotion to AAA Pawtucket and opening a spot in the rotation. The Red Sox need to acquire a starter if they want to compete for a playoff spot this year, but it appears the trade market has not yet begun to really heat up and the price for a top tier starter will be astronomical. In the mean time, the Red Sox need to fill the rotation slot and one name keeps bubbling to the surface: RHP Aaron Wilkerson.
Wilkerson is a fairly unknown commodity for most Red Sox fans. He turned 27 in late May and hails from Fort Worth, Texas (we all know how much the Red Sox love their pitchers from Texas – i.e. Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, etc.). Wilkerson spent 2013 and 2014 playing independent league ball before joining the Red Sox minor league system. The 6’3″ 190 lb starter began his time with the Red Sox in low-A Lowell in 2014 and then quickly moved up the ranks to A Greenville, high-A Salem and AA Portland in 2015.
He began 2016 in AA Portland and was promoted to AAA Pawtucket after just 8 starts. In 16 starts (and 1 relief appearance) combined between Portland and Pawtucket, Wilkerson is 6-2 with a 2.00 ERA and 97Ks in 85.1 innings. His Ks/9 ratio is 10.9 and has a 4.04 K/BB ratio, both impressive numbers. He has turned some heads and certainly is making a strong case for getting his first shot at a major league rotation.
The stars seem to be aligning for Wilkerson, as his slot in the rotation mirrors E-Rods, so he could be called up to pitch Sunday or Monday on normal rest. He’s not the Red Sox savior, but could provide a nice boost to the back-end of the rotation.
After Eduardo Rodriguez dropped a stink bomb yesterday, he was optioned back to AAA Pawtucket and the Red Sox called RHP Pat Light for some bullpen help. Light will join the Red Sox for his 2nd stint in the big leagues this year and provide some more depth in the bullpen. He only made 1 appearance in late April for the Red Sox, allowing 2 earned runs in 1 inning of work.
So far this season, Light has looked very strong in Pawtucket. In 20 appearances and 26.1 innings pitched, light has a 2.05 ERA with 32 Ks (10.9 Ks/9 innings) and just 15 hits allowed and 6 earned runs. Light has also picked up 5 saves on the season, which will hopefully prepare him for late-game situations. At this point, an extra arm is just that, an extra arm.
Given the swap of a SP for a RP, I would guess the Red Sox will option Light (or another reliever) and bring up a starter when E-Rod’s spot in the rotation is up. A name to watch is Aaron Wilkerson. Wilkerson has a nifty 2.41 ERA in Pawtucket and is 4-1 in his 7 starts this year. It also just so happens that he pitched Monday, so will be on normal rest for E-Rod’s slot in the rotation this weekend. More on Wilkerson later in the week.