Could Sox get Angel Salome for Penny?

MLB: Mets vs Brewers SEP 3

Brad Penny is steadying himself in the back end of the rotation after a tough start to the year. His ERA may be an unsightly 5.96, but he’s providing quality starts and keeping the team in the game.
However, with John Smoltz needing to be activated by June 19, a decision looms. It’s clear that Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka are more long-term options in the rotation than Penny. It’s also clear that the Sox won’t force Tim Wakefield out of the rotation in favor of Penny.
It boils down to two choices: does Penny go to the bullpen or is he moved to another team?
All signs point to the latter choice because Penny has shown a willingness to waive his no-trade clause (which only exists until June 15, a clause all free agents receive as a condition of signing a contract)
If it’s the latter choice, is it done as soon as possible with Clay Buchholz or Justin Masterson filling in, or do we wait to make the transition to John Smoltz?
I wouldn’t be against doing it as soon as possible. The earlier done, the more value you can extract. Plus, I haven’t been too thrilled with him: he’s become an extreme fly-ball pitcher and while he’s got similar strikeout and walk ratios to his excellent 2007 campaign, I’m not impressed with his pitching.
I can understand why the Sox would want to wait, though. Injuries can change depth in a hurry, plus the Sox seem to want to put Buchholz in a consistent position, rather than jerking him up and down I-95.
Either way, it’s a near certainty that the Sox trade Penny. What could the Sox get in return for him? Asking the Brewers for J.J. Hardy — or any other team for a quality shortstop or starting position player — is out. What the Sox can get, though, is a solid prospect who could develop into a starter for the club.
A name came across my radar the other day that I think makes a lot of sense for both teams.
C ANGEL SALOME — Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers aren’t going to be willing to give up J.J. Hardy for Penny, especially with Rickie Weeks out for the season. You can count out Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel, as well.
That’s not to say they don’t have any prospects worth acquiring or that we’ll be giving Penny up for a bucket of balls.
The Brewers have questions at catcher after this year with Jason Kendall becoming a free agent. However, they have C/3B Brett Lawrie also in the system and as a team currently in first, needs all the help it can get in the rotation to make a push. Plus, Salome is unlikely to contribute as a starter until 2011. Brad Penny is going to be one of the top five starting pitching options on the trade market, and you can bet the Brewers are interested.
Salome, 23, made his major league debut last year and only got three at-bats. He was excellent in Double-A for the whole year, hitting .360/.415/.559. He has burgeoning power potential but doesn’t draw walks with any type of consistency (think Mike Lowell).
So far this year, Salome is hitting .245/.307/.343 in his first go-round in Triple-A. He has a cannon for an arm and shows good blocking skills. He tends to rush his throws, however, which result in off-kilter tosses to second. He was also suspended in 2007 for 50 games due to performance-enhancing drugs, which is a completely different animal to deal with.
Do the Red Sox institute a policy that they will never acquire a player that has been suspended for performance-enhancing drugs? Do they allow everyone under the current drug program to play on a level field, letting the system do its job and bringing in people who have been suspended? It’s a dicey question… with no easy answer.
The Red Sox could have Salome finish the year in Triple-A and then compete in 2010 for the catching job (both starting and backup). Assuming he doesn’t win the job, he could use another year of seasoning in Triple-A and then step in as the starter in 2011 as a 25-year old with Varitek on hand as the backup catcher to help with the transition.
What do you think? Could the Sox nab Salome for Penny?

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