LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Wednesday traded outfielder Alex Castellanos to the Red Sox for minor league outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker and cash considerations. Castellanos was designated for assignment on Oct. 17, removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Mike Baxter, who was claimed off waivers from the Mets.
Castellanos was acquired from the Cardinals for shortstop Rafael Furcal at the July trade deadline in 2011. After a promising 2012, which saw him hit .328/.420/.590 in Triple-A Albuquerque while playing second base, third base and the outfield, the right-hander had a disappointing campaign in 2013. He hit .257/.347/.468 with 19 home runs in 105 games in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League.
In a few brief stints with the Dodgers in 2012-2013, Castellanos was 7-for-41 (.171) with two home runs in 24 games.
Hazelbaker, who turned 26 on Aug. 14, hit .257/.313/.374 with 11 home runs and 13 doubles in 121 games in 2013 with Triple-A Pawtucket, with 36 walks and 131 strikeouts in 480 plate appearances. Against right-handed pitchers Hazelbacker hit .287/.343/.423 in 2013, but southpaws held him to just .182/.235/.248.
The fourth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2009 bats left and throws right, and seems to do most of his damage with his legs, both on defense and on the bases. He stole 37 bases in 44 attempts this season and has 183 steals in the last four seasons, at a 79.2% success rate. His highest ranking by Baseball America was after the 2010 season, when Hazelbaker was rated the 22nd-best prospect in the Red Sox system, and he was also named by BA the fastest baserunner in the South Atlantic League.
Hazelbaker has played all three outfield positions in his minor league career, though mostly left and right field in Pawtucket during the last two seasons.
Hazelbaker was left unprotected by the Red Sox and was undrafted in last year's Rule 5 draft. In anticipation of the draft, Marc Normandin at Over the Monster wrote this about Hazelbaker:
He's a solid defender who can run the bases, and he's shown patience in the past, and power as recently as this year. He's not a total package player, by any means, but there's a chance he has a future in the majors as a solid bench contributor.
In May, Normandin took note of Hazelbaker's poor marks against left-handed pitching:
That sort of thing would just make him a platoon player in the majors, but Hazelbaker has to prove he's capable of even that. His line against righties is obviously much better, but a lot of it has to do with batting average, something Hazelbaker, who has struck out 27 percent of the time in 2013, can't necessarily rely on. To put it another way, Hazelbaker is hitting .287 in spite of a .378 batting average on balls in play. There's still work to be done here, even if it looks like he's progressing nicely.