Reyes: Flashing the Leather

Logo for Flashing the Leather column. - Graphic / Spencer Reyes

O Captain! My Captain!

Saturday, March 19, the Philadelphia Flyer’s captain of ten years, Claude Giroux, was traded to the Florida Panthers, sending him on a flight to Sunrise, Florida after playing in his 1,000 game as a Flyer.

Giroux was in the last year of his eight-year, $66.2 million contract, and the Flyers have agreed to pay half of the $4 million that is owed to the 34-year-old center. 

Along with Giroux, the Flyers are sending Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov, and a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Panthers. This is in exchange for Owen Tippett, a 2024 first-round pick, and a third-round pick for next year’s draft. 

Bunnaman was a fourth-round selection by the Flyers in the 2016 National Hockey League Entry Draft. In 54 career games, he chalked up one goal, two assists, and eight penalty minutes. He was well known for his time with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, where he scored 90 goals in his four years on the team. This success hasn’t translated to the NHL level just yet.

Fellow prospect, Rubtsov, has only four games to his name. The 22nd overall pick from the 2016 draft hasn’t recorded any points yet and has only gotten the chance to take one shot in the 2019 to 2020 season. He has been in the American Hockey League since this stretch of games and after the trade, has reported to the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL team of the Florida Panthers, with Bunnaman.

The Panthers currently sit at first place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 45-15-6 and are second place in the league behind the Colorado Avalanche, who have three more points than Florida. Interim Head Coach Andrew Brunette has already slid Giroux up to the left-wing position on the first line with Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe.

Giroux adds a much-needed veteran presence to one of the top teams in the NHL. It should be interesting to see how this trade plays out for both teams.

Shortstop Gets Payday in Beantown

On Sunday, March 29, the Boston Red Sox pulled a gem out of the remaining free agents from the 2022 off-season. Shortstop Trevor Story was signed to a six-year deal worth $140 million and includes a player option for the fourth year. 

This superstar infielder will most likely make the move to the second baseman position to accommodate for Boston’s current shortstop, two-time World Series champion Xander Bogaerts.

With this new midfield duo, it seems as if Rafael Devers and Bobby Dalbec will round out the rest of the infield with Christian Vazquez as the catcher. Alex Verdugo, Kiké Hernández and Jackie Bradley Jr. should start in the outfield with J.D. Martinez returning as the designated hitter. 

This move puts an ease to utility infielder, Christian Arroyo, who only has played in 57 games for the Red Sox and 142 total games within five years. 

“The way I look at it is I’m here to win,” Arroyo said in a discussion with MassLive. “Having talented players is without a doubt one of the best parts about being part of the Red Sox. We have a bunch of talented guys here. But if you add a guy like Trevor Story, you’re adding another superstar caliber player. So for me, I’m here to play baseball. I’m here to win baseball games. Whatever I need to do, I’ll do it. Because for me, getting to experience the postseason last year was the greatest thing ever. And that’s where we want to get back to.”

Adding Story to the Red Sox is a big move for the franchise that can potentially cause Bogaerts to opt into the rest of his four-year contract worth $20 million per year. The new infielder’s contract brings Boston’s 2022 payroll up to $204 million, which is still $3  million under the first tier of the MLB’s luxury tax.

The Boston Red Sox general manager, Brian O’Halloran, has truly made a splash and recovered from letting Kyle Schwarber walk to the Philadelphia Phillies. Story will be able to prove his worth on Thursday, April 7, when the Red Sox travel to the Bronx and take on their rivals, the New York Yankees.

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.