Traded RHP Steven Wright (AA) to the Boston Red Sox for 1B/OF Lars Anderson (AAA)
First, some housekeeping. Because Anderson was on Boston's 40-man roster and Wright wasn't on the Indians' 40-man roster, the Indians will need to make room for him by removing someone on the 40-man roster. The obvious candidates for that are Derek Lowe (who after last night's adventure is not likely to get a chance to make another start) or Jeremy Accardo (who has been awful as well). So the Indians will need to make a move, but it won't a particularly painful decision to make.
[Update: because the Indians transferred Lonnie Chisenhall to the 60-day DL last week and therefore have a free 40-man roster spot, the above paragraph is moot.]
Now for the trade itself.
Although Anderson is a first baseman and has had over 1200 at-bats at AAA, he's not going to be a solution for 2013's squad, at least to start the season. He's a big guy (6'4", 215 lbs) and has good plate discipline and the ability to hit the ball the other way, but he's had problems making good contact at higher levels. In three seasons in Pawtucket, he's slugged .422, way too low a number for a corner prospect. This scouting report mentions his inability to pull the ball in the air, which again is not something you usually see with a first base prospect..
The good news is that Anderson has at least one option left (he was added to the 40-man roster in September 2010), so the Indians can be patient with him. He was once considered one of the better position prospects in baseball, rated as high as #17 by Baseball America before the 2009 season, and was rated #87 going into the 2010 season. Those days as a highly-rated prospect are over, but he's only 24, and still has the physical tools that impressed scouts in the first place. So I think the Indians will keep Anderson in AAA through the end of the minor-league season, give him some at-bats in September, but unless something amazing happens, he's going to start the 2013 season in AAA, and if he starts to hit for power, the Indians will find a spot for him.
Wright was an relatively inconsequential starting pitcher in his first two seasons in the Indians organization, and was moved to the bullpen after that, usually not a good sign for a 24-year-old. After two seasons pitching in relief, he decided to try something unconventional; throw the knuckleball. The Indians agreed to the experiment, and sent him down to Lake County to start the 2011 season to hone his new pitch. He ended the season back in Akron, but this as a starter, and through 20 starts in 2012, he has a 2.49 ERA, striking out 7.9/9 and allowing just 6.7 hits per 9. He's 27 years old, but still not eligible for minor-league free agency. If he's left off the Boston 40-man roster this winter, someone could conceivably select him in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Indians still don't know what they have in Matt LaPorta, and with no other first base prospect/young player in the higher levels of the organization (Jesus Aguilar is the closest, and he's still in Carolina), they made this deal to provide at least some depth going into next year.
Lars Anderson Minor-League Statistics
|2007||19||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A+||BOS||134||580||493||82||144||37||3||11||82||121||.292||.393||.446||.839|
|2008||20||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||BOS||118||521||439||85||139||32||1||18||75||107||.317||.417||.517||.934|
|2010||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AAA-AA||BOS||130||533||471||62||129||37||3||15||51||125||.274||.349||.461||.810|
|AA (3 seasons)||AA||177||746||642||90||168||41||0||19||99||173||.262||.359||.414||.774|
|AAA (3 seasons)||AAA||342||1440||1240||163||325||85||7||33||180||318||.262||.357||.422||.779|
|A+ (2 seasons)||A+||87||405||341||71||109||21||1||14||57||73||.320||.417||.510||.928|
|A (1 season)||A||124||533||458||69||132||35||3||10||71||112||.288||.385||.443||.828|
Steven Wright Minor-League Statistics (since taking up the knuckleball)