For the second time in a week the Boston Red Sox make a move with a player previously designated for assignment. This time they swap Mark Kotsay (and cash) to their brothers in stockings for Brian Anderson. On the surface, the deal is a bit confusing. The two are essentially equals – although Kotsay has a better bat – but Anderson is nearly seven years younger. Kenny Williams cooperated with Anderson’s request to be traded and really didn’t change his team’s outlook much in the process.
Anderson is a former first round pick from the University of Arizona with the coolest middle name in the majors (Nikola). The potential Anderson flashed in Triple-A as a 23-year-old in 2005 (.295/.360/.469) has never shone through at the major league level. The White Sox tried giving him the center field job back in 2006, but he never hit or fielded well enough to take it. Since his role has shifted from future starter to defensive sub and fourth outfielder. Through nearly 900 career plate appearances Anderson is hitting .225/.288/.364. Only 27, Anderson did flash some signs of power last season while hitting lefties pretty well. Maybe his future lies as a platoon player, though it’s hard to see the Red Sox splitting time with Jacoby Ellsbury or J.D. Drew.
Kotsay is what he is, a left-handed hitter with some defensive flexibility in the outfield and at first. I doubt he sees too much playing time so the fact that his best days are behind him shouldn’t matter too much. Ostensibly a replacement level player, he’ll fill Anderson’s shoes fine. Or, if Williams is feeling generous, he’ll use some of the cash to buy Kotsay his own pair of cleats.
With the deadline only a few days away, GMs will be hard-pressed to find a more generic trade.