The Red Sox do not have anybody in the minor leagues that could step in and give the Red Sox a good player at first base. Doug Mientkiewicz, former starting first-baseman for the Minnesota Twins and backup for the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox is reportedly about to be traded to the New York Mets for a minor league player and cash.
The Red Sox also have starting first-baseman Kevin Millar, who is 34 years old. This is why the news that the Florida Marlins signed former Toronto Blue Jays first-baseman Carlos Delgado to a four year, $52 million contract comes as good news for the Boston Red Sox. First of all, it ensures that Delgado does not play for the Blue Jays next year, who are in their division, nor the Baltimore Orioles who were in the hunt and is also in the same division as the Red Sox. Secondly, this creates a problem for the Florida Marlins.
What to do with Jason Stokes? Stokes, a 23-year old, just finished playing for the Carolina Mudcats, a Double-A affliate of the Marlins. Stokes is a highly-regarded first-baseman who hit 23 homeruns and contributed a .272 average with a .345 On-Base Percentage. While Stokes’ is no longer as highly-regarded as he was after his 2002 season for Rookie-A Kane County, he is still a solid first baseman who could take over for Millar as soon as next year, for Millar is a free agent.
The Marlins need to pare payroll with the addition of Delgado and the favorite to be traded is Juan Encarnacion who will be making $4 million dollars next year. Encarnacion had an off-year this past year due to a shoulder injury, but has proven himself to be a very capable hitter. If the trade talks about Jay Payton the Red Sox have been having with the Arizona Diamondbacks are true, then the Red Sox could trade Jay Payton to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Juan Encarnacion and Jason Stokes. The Marlins would be willing to trade Juan Encarnacion to free up payroll and also be willing to add in Jason Stokes because now he cannot become the first-baseman with Delgado on the team.
MORE IN-DEPTH ON STOKES
So, Stokes hit .231 with a .400 slugging percentage for Utica in 2001, at the age of 19, amassing 130 hits with 6 HR. He moved to professional ball the next year, with Kane County where he excited a lot of people with 349 AB, hitting .341/.421/.645 with 27 HR. He struck out 96 times with 47 walks and 25 doubles.
The next year, he struggled at Jupiter, still at A-ball but at a higher league. In 462 AB, he hit .258/.312/.448 with 17 HR and 135 strikeouts. He developed a penchant for striking out more, and became a lot more pitchable, decreasing in value.
He rebounded somewhat in 2004, spending the majority of the season for Double-A as previously mentioned, posting a .272/.345/.513 line. While not as highly thought of as he once was, he still hit 23 HR, but the strikeout totals increased to 121. Perhaps if another hitting coach can get his hands on him, he can fix the hole in Stokes’ bat. He only has average defense with an average arm, and apparently his swing is very violent. The good thing though, is that:
Stokes, a Texas high-school product, slipped to the second round of the 2000 draft despite clearly having first-round talent, and the Marlins snapped him up and shocked everyone by signing him before the deadline. Stokes has an extremely quick, vicious uppercut swing to go with his natural power hitters