The Colorado Rockies have acquired left-hander Franklin Morales and Triple-A right-hander Chris Martin from the Boston Red Sox in return for shortstop Jonathan Herrera, report Thomas Harding and Ian Browne of MLB.com.
Morales, 27, returns to the Rockies' bullpen after a mostly successful two years and change with the Red Sox. The left-hander will likely take on the middle relief role that was vacated by Josh Outman earlier Wednesday--he was traded to the Indians for Drew Stubbs--giving Colorado three lefty arms in their bullpen.
Morales struggled mightily in his first stint with the Rockies, posting a 4.83 ERA and more than five walks per nine over 147⅓ innings in parts of five seasons. He fared considerably better in Boston--3.90 ERA and just 3.8 BB/9--but much of that success was tied to a more effective curveball. If we've learned anything about Coors Field the last two decades, it's that curveballs go to die there, so Morales will have to work extra hard to maintain his recent performance.
Martin, also 27, was picked up by the Red Sox out of independent ball in 2010. Even taking his advanced age into account, he's been rather successful in his trek through Boston's farm system. He struggled a bit as a spot starter at Double-A in 2012, but moved to the bullpen full time in 2013 and posted a much-improved 2.25 ERA and more than a strikeout per frame in 72 innings between Double- and Triple-A.
Martin's success is tied to his ability to keep the ball on the ground, so if he can maintain his ground ball rate at high elevation, he could be a solid bullpen option for the Rockies in 2014 and beyond. If he doesn't make it onto (and stick on) Colorado's 40-man roster next season, he'll be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft come wintertime.
Herrera, 29, isn't really anyone's idea of a big trade piece, but his changing hands could end up having the largest implications down the road. The switch-hitting infielder is a scratch defender at short, and while he has no power to speak of, his batting and on-base skills are right around league average, which still makes him a valuable piece up the middle. He hit .292/.336/.364 in 215 plate appearances in 2013.
With Herrera in tow, the Red Sox now have a shortstop alternative to Xander Bogaerts should they decide that Bogaerts is a better option at the hot corner than Will Middlebrooks in 2014. This means that Boston can now let Stephen Drew sign elsewhere if they so choose, netting them the draft pick compensation they didn't get when they re-signed Mike Napoli.