Versatile Negron Excited and Grateful for Opportunity
As a guy who chooses not to know his own stats, Kris Negron was genuinely surprised when he was informed that, since the All-Star Break, he had hit .306. With 111 starts and only three days off all season, Negron’s everyday value forced others to take notice as well. On Friday, Negron became the second member of the Salem Red Sox traded in the past two weeks. While Bryan Price was traded along with two other pitchers for an All-Star in Victor Martinez, Negron was swapped straight-up for big league shortstop Alex Gonzalez. After hearing about the deal, Negron chatted with Red Sox radio broadcaster Evan Lepler about heading to the Reds organization.
Evan Lepler: Kris, you play 111 out of 114 games for the Salem Red Sox, and all of a sudden you find out you’re heading to a different club. What does that feel like?
Kris Negron: It still hasn’t really sunk all the way in yet. I’m just excited for the opportunity. I’m really thankful that Boston gave me the opportunity to play that many games this year and be in the organization for the past four years. But I’m really excited to see what else is out there. Boston’s treated me really well, but at the same time, I’m really excited.
EL: Can you describe what it was like to find out you were traded?
KN: I didn’t believe it. Eppy [Salem manager Chad Epperson] called me and said, ‘hey, you just got traded in the Alex Gonzalez deal,’ and I didn’t believe him at first. I thought he was just messing with me, but I asked him three more times and every time I asked him he was like, ‘no, I’m telling the truth.’ We’ve been together the past couple years and he’s helped me out a lot, so I’m just really thankful that I got the opportunity. I can’t stop saying that enough; I’m just really thankful for all of this and really excited to see what’s ahead.
EL: It seems like through the ups and downs this season for this club, and we’ve had some incredible ups and incredible downs, you’ve been one of the guys that have kept this team together as a team leader. How did you develop into that role?
KN: I don’t know, I just go out there and play as hard as I can every day. And if everyone else sees that and that helps them out, it makes me feel good. I just go out, play 110 [%], and just give everything I have. I think that’s contagious.
EL: You were getting ready to face [Kinston pitcher] Bryan Price tonight, who was a teammate two weeks ago. Do you have a little more appreciation now for what he went through two weeks ago [when he was traded to the Cleveland organization at the deadline]?
KN: He has a really good opportunity with the Indians now. I saw him before he got to the clubhouse and actually, we’re gonna be sharing a spring training facility in Arizona, so at least I’ll know somebody in spring training next year.
EL: You were traded one-for-one for a guy who’s been in the big leagues for a long time. That must be pretty cool.
KN: Yea, I read about it, I was told about it, and I still didn’t believe it. I was waiting for other names to pop up, but yea. He’s been in the big leagues for a while and I’m just speechless.
EL: What does it mean for an organization to say ‘we want you to come here and we’re willing to give up someone to get a guy like you?’
KN: I can’t even explain it. It’s really good to be going somewhere that really wants you. And I’m not saying that Boston didn’t want me. They’ve been awesome, but being able to go to a team that really pursues you and wants you in the organization speaks a lot.
EL: For Reds fans that may read this, describe Kris Negron’s game offensively, defensively, and in the clubhouse.
KN: In the clubhouse, really happy guy, even-keeled guy, don’t really get too upset. On the field, offensively, scrappy, get-the-job-done kind of guy. Defensively, might be at a different position every day, but I’ll give it 110% and go out there and try to catch everything.
EL: What position do you consider your primary position?
KN: Everything. [Laughs] Infield or outfield, I’ve played everything. Right field, left field, center field. Short, third, second. Just being on the field, I just want to go out there and play. It doesn’t matter where I’m at, I just want to show up to the clubhouse every day and help the team win.
EL: How do you feel like you’ve improved as a shortstop as this season’s progressed?
KN: At the start of the season, I came in as a second baseman, and I kinda shut myself off from shortstop mentally. But when I got out there, I struggled at first but then I got the arm-slot down and I’m more comfortable now and I have no problem over there. I grew up playing more second-base, but I came into Boston’s organization as a shortstop.
EL: Is it a little scary to think that, though you’re a leader in this clubhouse, you’re headed to an organization where you may not know anyone? How will you blend in?
KN: We’ll find out when I get there. I’m just gonna be the same old me. I won’t get comfortable too quick, but I’ll just go out there and play the game like I know how.
EL: Last thing. Everyone’s goal is to make it to the big leagues, and sometimes a player needs to move around to have their best shot to get there. Do you see this as perhaps helping to get you to the big leagues?
KN: Absolutely. And whenever a team wants you like this, I feel like there’s something down there. There’s something that will push me. In Boston there’s a lot of talent here. I’m sure Cincinnati has just as much talent, but coming from the Red Sox, there’s such prestige in the organization. But it’s been fun, that’s for sure.
Negron will report to Advanced-A Sarasota in the Florida State League to begin the next chapter of his baseball career.