Tracking the Tyler Thornburg trade after two seasons

The best trades are the ones where both sides win, but sometimes a trade becomes a disaster.  This is one such deal.

Let’s begin with the pain. And pain means the most obvious failure in the trade dealings with Travis Shaw being sent to the Brewers for Tyler Thornburg. The Boston generosity did not end with Shaw since the Red Sox also packaged Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington. A quick look at Dubon and Pennington.

Pennington – faced with a second Tommy John surgery – has announced his retirement, but Dubon – a 24-year-old right-hand hitter – was on fire at Colorado Springs (AAA) hitting .343. Unfortunately, an ACL injury ended his season. Dubon is ranked as the seventh best prospect in the Brewers organization.

Dubon is a true middle infielder, one with quick hands and feet as well as the arm strength to make plays from either side of the bag. He split time in 2017 between both shortstop and second base, showing well at both spots, and it’s fair to think he’ll be able to play whatever position the Brewers ask of him. That versatility, as well as his likely contributions at the plate, gives Dubon a high floor as a big leaguer. – MLB Prospect Watch

Shaw has had back-to-back 30+ home run years for the Brewers and in 2017 had 101 RBI. Shaw has also demonstrated his versatility by playing third, second, and first base for the Brewers. But there is also another smidgen of bad news – Yeison Coca. Coca was sent to the Brewers as the final piece of the transaction – PTBNL. Coca – a 19-year-old infielder – is the 30th ranked Brewers prospect.

Coca is a switch-hitter who shows good feel to hit from both sides of the plate. His right-handed swing is more consistent than his lefty stroke, but he did make strides in cleaning up the latter in 2018. Coca should grow into a bit of power but likely will never offer much in the way of over-the-fence pop. His average speed should lead to plenty of extra-base hits, however, and Coca has a chance to be a decent base stealer once he improves his technique and reads. – MLB Prospect Watch

Thornburg has been a bitter injury-plagued disappointment. This season finally ended when the Red Sox shut him down. Thornburg missed all of 2017 and pitched only 24 innings this season with the ignominious statistic of giving up six home runs. This has not worked out as planned.

This trade is one that has burned Dave Dombrowski, but on the surface, it was a smart move to stabilize the bullpen with quality. Injuries often are unavoidable and if Thornburg had remained healthy and maintain his high level of performance as he had with the Brewers this would be a win-win deal for both teams.

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About Rick McNair

Born in Boston and have lived in the area all my life but not as a Red Sox fan. My first game was actually at Braves Field where I saw a very young Eddie Matthews hit a home run. The Braves left and I quickly switched loyalties. I enjoy discussing the Red Sox past and the connection of that past to the present. I will often bring in remembrances of that into posts. As a retired teacher I have the time to occasional travel to foreign baseball soil and love meeting up with other fans of RSN on the road. I am also a fan of the NY Football Giants (via NJ) - a dwindling breed in Massachusetts.
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