By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Chaim Bloom continues to tinker with the Red Sox roster, as pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers for the first day of Spring Training. Wednesday’s move was more about the future than immediate impact, as Bloom acquired a top prospect from his former employer.
As first reported by Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, the Red Sox have picked up catcher Ronaldo Hernandez and infielder Nick Sogard from the Tampa Bay Rays, in exchange for pitchers Chris Mazza, Jeffrey Springs, and cash.
Hernandez was ranked the Rays’ 14th-best prospect by MLB.com, and their best at the catcher position. The 23-year-old moved behind the plate after signing with the Rays. He’s still learning the position, but seems to already have a knack for throwing out baserunners. He has a rocket arm and has developed a strong pop motion. At the plate the righty is a pull hitter who projects to have plus power.
Playing at the High-A level in 2019, Hernandez hit .265 in 103 games with nine home runs and 60 RBIs. Defensively, he threw out 39 percent of runners attempting to steal on him.
With Hernandez on the roster, the Red Sox now have a long-term option at catcher behind Christian Vazquez. Vazquez will turn 31 this upcoming season, and is set to become a free agent after 2022. His name has also been thrown around in trade discussions during the last two deadlines.
Ronaldo Hernandez is a 40-man roster guy. Baseball America had him listed at the Rays catcher of the future. He crushed in the 2019 Arizona Fall League. He's only played as high as A+, but was impressive in Rays summer camp last year. pic.twitter.com/xTarQRe06l— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) February 17, 2021
The Red Sox also received Sogard, a 23-year-old infielder. His lone season of minor league ball came in 2019 at the Low-A level, where he hit .290 in 63 games while playing second, third, and shortstop. Current free agent infielder Eric Sogard is his cousin.
This isn’t the first time Bloom has worked to acquire Hernandez or Sogard – both were brought in by the Rays during his tenure with the organization. Hernandez was signed as an international free agent in 2014 when Bloom was Tampa’s vice president of baseball operations. Meanwhile, Sogard was part of Bloom’s last draft class in Tampa, taken in the 12th round in 2019.
In exchange for those two prospects, the Red Sox send a pair of pitchers they seemingly were ready to part with anyway. Both were DFA’ed last week, Mazza to open up a roster spot for Martin Perez, and Springs for Hirokazu Sawamura. Mazza was originally signed off waivers before the 2020 season, and pitched in nine games for the Sox last year. Springs was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers, in a one-for-one swap involving Sam Travis. He appeared in 16 games last season.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.