Filia recently returned from a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
The Mariners completed their previous trade for left-hander Roenis Elias on Tuesday afternoon, sending outfielder Eric Filia to the Red Sox as the player to be named later in the deal that was announced on April 23.
Per baseball sources, Filia, 25, was always considered to be the player to be named later in the deal. But since he was serving a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, the Red Sox wanted wait and watch Filia play after he returned from the suspension before finalizing the deal. Filia helped them make their decision, hitting . 426 with a .508 on-base percentage, .537 slugging percentage, three doubles, a homer and 14 RBI in his first 13 games back.
MLB.com ranked Filia as the No. 11 prospect in the organization. The suspension, which was announced on Jan. 12, his age and his lack of a true position certainly made Filia expendable to the Mariners’ front office.
He had been a feel-good story for the Mariners developmental system, turning himself into a prospect after being a 20th round draft pick out of UCLA in 2016. He earned invite to big league spring training this season, after brilliant 2017 season and outstanding showing in the Arizona Fall League.
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Playing a variety of positions for High-A Modesto in 2017, he hit .326 with an .841 OPS, 28 doubles, five triples, five homers and 59 RBI in 128 games. He led the Cal League in on-base percentage (.407) and walks (65), while finishing in a tie for second best batting average (.326). He had 49 multi-hit games. He also helped lead Modesto to a perfect 6-0 record and Cal League title in the postseason, hitting .333 with a double, three homers, five RBI and seven runs scored.
His success earned him an invitation to play in the prestigious AFL, where led the league in hitting (.408), on-base percentage (.483) and OPS (1.088), along with totaling four doubles, four triples, a homer, 13 RBI and 15 runs scored. He reached base in each of the 22 games he played in. It earned him the AFL’s Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award.
Most scouts believe that Filia’s approach at the plate will eventually carry him into the big leagues despite not being particularly adept defensively in the outfield or possessing enough power to play first base. But his ability to work counts and hit right-handed pitching made him a candidate for a bat off the bench in the future.
Filia was already behind in terms of development. After helping lead UCLA to a College World Series title in 2013, notching four hits in the title series as a sophomore, Filia injured his shoulder in the Cape Cod League that following summer and underwent labrum surgery and missed the entire 2014 season. In the summer of 2014, while taking classes at UCLA, he was caught plagiarizing a paper and was suspended for the remainder of the year, including the 2015 season.