July 31, 2014

A Busy Day: Drew To Yankees, Miller To Orioles

Stephen Drew has been traded to the Yankees for Kelly Johnson. It's the first trade between the two rivals since 1997. (So will Jeter be moving to third base to make room for Drew?)

And Andrew Miller has been dealt to the Orioles in exchange for pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, the #3 prospect in the Orioles' farm system according to mlb.com. Rodriguez is 21 years old and pitching in AA.
According to SoSH's Trading Scorecard:
SP Felix Doubront
SP Jon Lester
SP John Lackey
SP Jake Peavy
OF Jonny Gomes
SP Corey Littrell (A+)
RP Andrew Miller
SS Stephen Drew

RP Heath Hembree (25, RH reliever, AAA)
SP Edwin Escobar (22, LH starter, AAA)
OF Yoenis Cespedes (28, RH batter, MLB)
SP Joe Kelly (26, RH starter, MLB)
OF/1B Allen Craig (30, RH batter, MLB)
SP Eduardo Rodriguez (21, LH starter, AA)
UT Kelly Johnson (32, LH batter, MLB)
PTBNL from Cubs
Competitive Balance Pick from A's

Another Deal: John Lackey Traded To Cardinals

John Lackey has been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Allen Craig and right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly. The Red Sox also included minor league lefty Corey Littrell in the deal.

Both players have had less-than-stellar seasons after doing quite well last year. Kelly, 26, has a 4.37 ERA (3.93 FIP) in seven starts this year. Since coming off the disabled list in mid-July, Kelly has a 7.32 ERA in four starts.

Craig, who turned 30 on July 18 and has struggled to stay healthy, has posted a weak .237/.291/.346 line in 2014.

Craig is signed through the next three seasons - 2015: $5.5M, 2016: $9M, 2017: $11M - with a $13M club option for 2018. Kelly is arbitration eligible after 2015.

So what does the rotation look like now?
Clay Buchholz
Rubby De La Rosa
Brandon Workman
Joe Kelly
Allen Webster
Anthony Ranaudo - 1.94 ERA in last 10 AAA starts - is scheduled to start on Friday, but whether that is for Pawtucket or Boston (in his major league debut) is unclear.

Red Sox Trade Lester, Gomes To A's For Yoenis Cespedes

Jon Lester, the anchor of the Red Sox's pitching staff for the past seven seasons, has been traded to the Oakland A's, along with outfielder Jonny Gomes. The Red Sox will receive outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and the A's' competitive balance draft pick.

Cespedes, 28, is signed through 2015. He will be paid $10.5 million. Cespedes is currently hitting .256/.303/.464, with 17 home runs. He doesn't get on base as much as I'd like (.318 career), but he's got a strong arm and is a power bat in the outfield.

Lester, 30, is in the middle of what could be the finest season of his career: 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. His career ERA+ of 120 puts him alongside Iron Man Joe McGinnity, Rollie Fingers, and CC Sabathia, among others.

Alex Speier has a superb look back at Lester's Red Sox career and his growth and maturity as a pitcher. ... See also Matthew Kory (OTM): "Jon Lester, the end of the road, and asking why".

July 30, 2014

G108: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1

Blue Jays - 200 031 000 - 6  9  0
Red Sox   - 000 010 000 - 1  8  2
Mark Buehrle / Brandon Workman
Holt, 1B
Victorino, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Napoli, DH
Gomes, LF
Drew, SS
Bogaerts, 3B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
David Ortiz leads all MLB hitters with 25 RBI in July, his most in any month since May 2010 (27 RBI).

Felix Doubront Traded To Cubs

Felix Doubront has been traded to the Chicago Cubs, according to Jon Morosi (Fox Sports).

The Red Sox, clearly selling low on a once-promising lefty who ran up a 6.07 ERA this season, will receive the proverbial "player to be named later".

Doubront gave the Red Sox some extremely important relief innings in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series last fall. I was one of many people who thought he'd finally put it all together this spring, but clearly, that did not happen.

Banished to the bullpen in late June, Doubront then proceeded to allow 11 runs in nine innings of relief (seven appearances), as opponents had a 1.034 OPS against him.

July 29, 2014

Lester Scratched From Wednesday Start

John Farrell announced after Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays that Jon Lester would not make his scheduled start on Wednesday. Brandon Workman will get the ball against Toronto.
I think in light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it's probably in everyone's best interest that he not make that start.
Farrell added that a corresponding roster move would be made "sometime tomorrow".

Rob Bradford (WEEI) tweet:
FWIW, one GM just said it was looking like Lester deal would be done tonight or tomm. morning

G107: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 2

Blue Jays - 010 200 001 - 4 12  0
Red Sox   - 001 000 001 - 2  7  1
Marcus Stroman / Rubby De La Rosa
Holt, RF
Nava, LF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Carp, 1B
Drew, SS
Bogaerts, 3B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C

July 28, 2014

G106: Blue Jays 14, Red Sox 1

Blue Jays - 200 209 100 - 14 14  1
Red Sox   - 000 001 000 -  1  5  0
Home or away, it doesn't matter. The Red Sox continue to circle the drain. With this blowout loss, they are a season-worst 11 games out of first place.

After Clay Buchholz (5-7-7-4-4, 100) pissed away any shot Boston had in this game, Felix Doubront - who recently complained about being demoted to the bullpen - threw gas on the fire (0.2-6-6-2-0, 36).

David Ortiz singled in David Ross for the lone Boston run.
R.A. Dickey / Clay Buchholz
Holt, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Nava, LF
Victorino, RF
Drew, SS
Bogaerts, 3B
Ross, C

Ortiz Blasts Home Run, Archer and Maddon Start Whining

David Ortiz clubbed a three-run moon shot on Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay - and it made the difference in a 3-2 Red Sox win. Ortiz tossed his bat aside like he usually does when he truly gets ahold of one and trotted slowly around the bases.
As soon as the game was over, the Rays did what they do best. Pitcher Chris Archer and manager Joe Maddon went whining to the media.
I think it was a perfect example of what Price said [about Ortiz thinking he is bigger than the game]. All of my interactions ... off the field have been good but when it comes to him on the field, I don't know what makes him think that he can showboat the way he does and then nobody retaliate, nobody look at him a funny way or nobody pitch him inside. I don't know why he feels like that but obviously he feels the way David [Price] said he does. He feels like he's bigger than the game. He feels like the show is all about him when in reality, if I don't walk Daniel Nava, if I don't give up an infield single to Pedroia, his one home run means nothing. I hope he realizes that there's more that goes into it than just him. I don't know. I feel like you can't say that your true character is defined by one action, but multiple actions speak to who you are.
Whatever, dude. There's always going to be comments out there. He's not the right guy to be saying that, I don't think. He's got two days in the league. What can I tell you, man? Players these days are too sensitive about things. Just leave it at that. I think he's a good pitcher, I think he has great stuff. He's a guy I think is going to be pretty good, but it takes some time to get to that level.
He played it up pretty good. Again, you'd have to talk to him about that. I've had so much respect for that guy over the years. He's an iconic figure in that city, and I've always thought of him as a very classy person. The man has meant so much for the game and also back in his country [Dominican Republic]. Then there's those moments that occur like that. I'm not saying that my respect diminished, it's just something that makes you think a little bit more.
Does Ortiz think he's bigger than the game? I can't say - because I don't know the man or his private thoughts - but I suspect that he does not. What seems obvious is that after all that has gone on between the two teams this season, when Ortiz crushes a ball like he did yesterday, if he is showboating, he's showing up the Rays. It has nothing to do with the greater game.

July 27, 2014

G105: Red Sox 3, Rays 2

Red Sox - 003 000 000 - 3  6  0
Rays    - 002 000 000 - 2  5  0
David Ortiz clubbed a three-run homer and Koji Uehara, after allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth, struck out the next three Rays to clinch the victory.

One Nice Thing: The Red Sox are 37-0 when leading after eight innings this season - the only team that has not lost a lead when leading entering the ninth inning.
Allen Webster / Chris Archer
Holt, 3B
Nava, LF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Victorino, RF
Carp, 1B
Drew, SS
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
With Jake Peavy moving across the country to San Francisco, Allen Webster gets the call today.

Alex Speier, WEEI:
Webster is 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 21 games (20 starts). He's allowed three or fewer runs in 19 of those appearances. In his most recent outing, he tossed seven innings (the sixth time this year he's pitched into at least the seventh) while permitting three runs; he's gone from being a five-inning pitcher in 2013 to a six-plus inning pitcher this year. Though his strikeout rate has been rather modest (7.4 per nine innings), that reflects an increased willingness to pitch to contact and navigate some efficient at-bats, resulting in the innings increase.

July 26, 2014

G104: Rays 3, Red Sox 0

Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0  8  1
Rays    - 100 100 10x - 3  9  0
The Rays are currently on the kind of run we had hoped the Red Sox would pull off. Tampa Bay has won 27 of their last 38 games (since June 10, when they were 18 games under. 500), and is 15-4 in July.

The Rays - now at 51-53 - are trying to become the fourth team in history to get to .500 after being 18 games under. The others: 1899 Louisville Colonels, 2004 Devil Rays, 2006 Marlins.
John Lackey / Jeremy Hellickson
Holt, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Nava, LF
Drew, SS
Bogaerts, 3B
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C

Red Sox Trade Jake Peavy To Giants

The Red Sox traded pitcher Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants for two AAA pitchers: left-handed starter Edwin Escobar and right-handed reliever Heath Hembree. Both pitchers were assigned to Pawtucket.

Escobar began the season as San Francisco's #2 prospect (and #56 in MLB, according to Baseball America). Hembree was #7 on the Giants' list.

The two teams will split the remaining $5 million owed to Peavy this season. Peavy will make his Giants debut on Sunday night against the Dodgers.

Baseball America, on Escobar and Hembree:
Escobar always had size and strength, but he got himself in better condition and made an adjustment to raise his elbow in his delivery, allowing him to locate his 92-93 mph fastball, and for the first time, throw a dependable breaking ball. He gained confidence in his slider and it's a plus offering at times that he can throw early in the count or as a put-away pitch. His changeup also ranges from average to plus, and he held righthanded hitters to a .222 average. Escobar has a durable arm and likes to throw a lot between starts, so a bullpen role isn't out of the question. He was pitching in that role in the Venezuelan League, but his three-pitch mix offers too much potential as a starter. He figures to start 2014 at Triple-A Fresno.

With a fastball that approaches triple digits and the makings of a power slider, Hembree has closer stuff. He works at 93-96 mph with quality life when fully healthy and got back up to 95 in the AFL. He's doing a better job of maintaining his arm slot, which has helped the consistency of his 82-85 mph slider. His changeup probably won't become anything more than a show-me pitch, but he has made some progress with it. If anything, Hembree's injury and diminished velocity showed him the importance of having dependable offspeed stuff. While he can be overpowering, he also has bouts of wildness.
Teddy Cahill, MLB.com:
Edwin Escobar, LHP: Escobar signed with the Rangers as a 16-year old out of Venezuela in 2008, but he pitched just one season for them before the Giants acquired him as a compensation for allowing the Rangers to keep Rule 5 selection Ben Snyder. Escobar pitched well in the Giants system, rising to Triple-A Fresno as a 22-year old this season. He's been met with a bit more resistance in the hitter friendly parks of the Pacific Coast League and posted a 5.11 ERA and struck out 96 batters in 111 innings this season [20 starts]. Escobar has a solid three-pitch mix and he commands his low-90s fastball well. He has also proved to be durable, throwing 370.1 innings since the start of 2012.

Heath Hembree, RHP: Hembree's big arm has made him a force out of the bullpen since the Giants drafted him in 2010. He has spent the last few years as the closer for Triple-A Fresno and got a brief look in the big leagues last September. His fastball gets up to 98 mph, but he more typically works in the mid-90s. At its best, his slider is a swing-and-miss offering and helped him average 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings in parts of three seasons with Fresno. He's saved 105 games in the Minor Leagues and has the mindset necessary to pitch late in games at the highest level.
Chris Haft, MLB.com:
Escobar, who's also ranked 77th by MLB.com among prospects from all organizations, ... participated for the World team in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game recently. Hembree, once considered San Francisco's closer of the future, is 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA and 18 saves for Fresno. He has struck out 46 and walked 13 in 39.1 innings.
The consensus at SoSH is extremely positive. From curly2:
Great deal by Cherington. Even if Escobar doesn't make it as a starter (and he still has plenty of time to make it as a starter), they can probably get value out of him as a reliever. Hembree may not pan out, but sometimes relievers just "get it," and he certainly has the arm to be one of those guys. I thought they would just get a warm body for Peavy, but they got two guys with actual potential.