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Larry Lucchino on M&J on Jon Lester: ‘To a man, we were surprised we didn’t get into a sequential negotiation’

12.13.14 at 1:34 pm ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Mustard & Johnson Saturday at Fenway Park during Christmas at Fenway to discuss the Jon Lester contract negotiations and what went wrong, as well as other Red Sox matters. To hear the interview, visit the Mustard & Johnson audio on demand page.

Much has been made of the reported 4-year/$70 million contract the Red Sox offered Lester during spring training last season. Lucchino went into the reasoning behind that offer, and to the Red Sox it was only viewed as a starting point, as the organization wanted to have conversations following that offer.

“We did make a number of efforts to reignite negotiations and I think as Ben has said, we went in just to get the process rolling and we came up with a number — Josh Beckett had signed for $68 million for four years and that was the largest number for a pitcher we had ever given to a non-free agent,” Lucchino said. “We thought that was a principle place to start and that was all that it was perceived to be. For whatever combination of reasons there was a reluctance on the part of…”

“I think we all were surprised,” Lucchino added of the reluctance of the Lester camp to continue negotiating. “Matters of this type are shared along John [Henry], Tom [Werner] and Ben [Cherington] and myself and other folks in the baseball operations department. To a man, we were surprised we didn’t get into a sequential negotiation.”

Lucchino was also asked if he regrets what took place last spring, and he admitted he does because of the final result.

“I think the short answer has to be yes because we didn’t get the job done,” he said. “Our job was to get Jon Lester signed and to make him a long-term member of the Red Sox organization. This is a results oriented business. Finishing second is not our business plan. I wish it had developed differently. I don’t think it does us much good now to replay each step along the way. We felt when we started that we were beginning a negotiation would take place fairly intensively through spring training and perhaps into the season, but certainly through spring training, and that didn’t happen.”

Lester reportedly signed with the Cubs for six years and $155 million with a vesting option for a seventh year. The Red Sox have openly been reluctant to give out long-term deals of late, and that was something the organization was faced with during the Lester negotiations.

“We have to have one eye on the present and one eye on the future,” Lucchino said. “I would tend to think most baseball fans understandably focus on the next year, the next season. One of Ben Cherington’s jobs is, in fact it is a job for all of us in the senior leadership of the Red Sox, is to keep one eye on what is around the corner — the next couple of years, not right now. John Henry is a brilliant analyst. He’s also an imperialist. He looks and he sees what’s happened and puts it together and sees a track record that is less than encouraging with long-term deals in general.  He’s not the only one that has that view.”

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Ben Cherington: Red Sox made deals this week while, ‘maintaining really what we consider the top end of our young pitching’

12.12.14 at 10:34 pm ET
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Allen Webster was traded to the Diamondbacks for Wade Miley this week. (Getty Images)

Allen Webster was traded to the Diamondbacks for Wade Miley this week. (Getty Images)

It’s been a busy week for the Red Sox, as with a free agent signing and two trades the team has added three starting pitchers.

Maybe just as important for the organization, they didn’t have to dive too deep into their pool of young talented pitchers to do so, as they gave up Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and a minor leaguer to acquire Wade Miley, and Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and a minor leaguer to get Rick Porcello.

General manager Ben Cherington is satisfied with the rotation as it stands now, as well as the young arms up and coming behind them.

“If you look past the five guys you pencil in the rotation right now, we still feel like we have a good six or seven young pitchers beyond that who are all capable of being very good major league pitchers, and many of them major league starters in the not so distant future,” Cherington said on a conference call Friday night. “Of course we don’t know exactly what date that will happen on. It is certainly possible one or two of them could get a look in a bullpen role if the opportunity is there. We’ve been able to acquire the three starters that we have this week while still maintaining really what we consider the top end of our young pitching and still have what we think his really good young pitching depth besides the five guys that will likely open the season in the rotation.”

De La Rosa and Webster were both acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 blockbuster deal with the Dodgers. The two pitchers showed flashes of being able to have success in the majors, but were too inconsistent.

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Read More: allen webster, ben cherington, rubby de la rosa, wade miley

Wade Miley: ‘I’m excited to get this opportunity to join [the Red Sox]‘

12.12.14 at 9:59 pm ET
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The Red Sox acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

The Red Sox acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

After a few days of it first being reported, the Red Sox‘ trade with the Diamondbacks became official on Friday.

The Red Sox acquired All-Star left-handed pitcher Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster and minor league infielder Raymel Flores.

Miley, 28, was the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day starter last season, and in 2012 was a NL All-Star, finishing second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting to Bryce Harper. The left-hander wasn’t completely surprised by the trade and is looking forward to coming to Boston.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Miley said on a conference call Friday night. “I kind of had some thoughts earlier, I talked to my agent a couple of times and he said there might be something in the works. Really didn’t know what it was, but everything kind of went down. It was a little hectic, but it’s a great opportunity and I am looking forward to this next chapter.”

General manager Ben Cherington said Miley was one of the team’s targets since the season ended, and they had been in discussions with the Diamondbacks even before the GM meetings last month.

“Given Arizona’s situation we thought it would be possible they would listen, not certain at all, so we checked in,” Cherington said on Friday’s conference call. “A series of conversations going back to even before the GM meetings, then during the GM meetings and then since then a lot of back and forth, a lot of hot and cold. There were times when we talked it might be possible and then there were times when it seemed to go away. Fortunately it came back to us this week.”

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Red Sox acquire reliever Zeke Spruill in separate trade with Diamondbacks

12.12.14 at 9:34 pm ET
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Zeke Spruill was acquired by the Red Sox from the Diamondbacks on Friday. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Zeke Spruill was acquired by the Red Sox from the Diamondbacks on Friday. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

After agreeing to a trade with the Diamondbacks, reportedly on Wednesday night for left-handed starter Wade Miley, the two teams were not done there.

Friday it was announced the Red Sox acquired Arizona right-handed reliever Zeke Spruill in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Myles Smith.

Smith spent last season with Single-A Greenville, going 5-10 with one save, a 5.82 ERA, 73 strikeouts, and 62 walks allowed in 26 outings, including 12 starts. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft.

Spruill, 25, spent the majority of 2014 with the Diamondbacks’€™ Triple-A Reno affiliate, going 3-7 with a 6.04 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 79.0 innings over 28 outings (11 starts). He was called up to the big leagues late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He went 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA with 14 strikeouts and four walks in six outings. The Red Sox liked what they saw from him out of the bullpen, and was a major reason why they were drawn to him.

“It came together sort of quickly over the last day or so — he was designated earlier in the week,” general manager Ben Cherington said on a conference call Friday night. “He’s a guy we’ve also known through the draft out of Georgia and followed him. He was involved in a trade with the Braves. We got to see him late this year after he moved to the bullpen. Felt like he kind of looked like a different guy out of the bullpen.

“We liked how he looked out of the bullpen, how his stuff played out of the ‘pen. Guy who keeps the ball on the ground. Has good stuff, good life on his fastball and breaking ball. Just looked like a different guy out of the ‘pen and we wanted to take a shot at it because in the series of trades we made this week, obviously moving Alex Wilson and a couple of guys in this trade for Wade, it just helps us replenish some of the young pitching depth we gave up this week.”

Spruill will likely compete for a spot in the bullpen during spring training, and looks essentially like a replacement for Alex Wilson, who was sent to Detroit as a part of the Rick Porcello-Yoenis Cespedes deal.

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Read More: ben cherington, Zeke Spruill,

Buster Olney on MFB: ‘With a couple more moves, the Red Sox could easily win this division again’

12.11.14 at 2:10 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’€™s Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Red Sox‘€˜ recent moves and to look ahead to the 2015 season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox have been very active in the last day or so with adding to their starting rotation. Wednesday night they reportedly traded for Arizona’s Wade Miley and Thursday they traded for Rick Porcello with the Tigers, and also reportedly signed free agent Justin Masterson. Olney feels the way things are going, they are in good shape relative to the rest of the American League East.

“I would say this, Miley, Porcello, you’re talking about No. 3 type starters, but here’s the thing, you have to remember where the Red Sox are in context of this division,” said Olney. “The Orioles are way down, they’ve taken a couple of huge hits during this offseason. The Yankees are in a very murky situation. A lot of older players. The Blue Jays have some real holes on that team. Tampa Bay seems to be taking a step back. I still think with a couple more moves, the Red Sox could easily win this division again, especially with the additions they have made with their lineup.”

Although the team has added three pitchers, none of which are so called “aces.” Olney notes adding a potential No. 1 starter, such as Cole Hamels, may be easier said than done given the current market.

“It’s really not clear whether they are going to get that No. 1 because like a game of musical chairs, the options are certainly drying up,” Olney said. “We’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been talk with the Phillies that we know of about Cole Hamels, as much as we maybe anticipated. They may already know this is something that is not going to happen. They are on his no-trade list for a reason and a lot of pitchers, especially where they are in the second half of their careers, they don’t want to pitch in the American League. They don’t want to go to the American League East. Imagine if you are Cole Hamels and you could try and steer yourself into a situation where you could go back to Southern California where he is from, or you could leave yourself in a position where you have to be the guy to replace Jon Lester in Boston — in terms of comfort level that’s not really close.”

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Read More: buster olney, Cole Hamels, Jon Lester,

Ben Cherington talks Rick Porcello trade, plans for Red Sox going forward

12.11.14 at 1:59 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

SAN DIEGO — The only thing that could stop Ben Cherington’s activity at the winter meetings? The plea over his plane’s loudspeaker to power down all electronic devices.

The Red Sox general manager punctuated his stay at the Manchester Hyatt with a flurry of pitching acquisitions, although Cherington was only prepared to discuss one — trading Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and Gabe Speier to Detroit for pitcher Rick Porcello — by the time he ventured to the airport.

Along with Porcello, according to sources, Cherington was on the verge of completing a trade for pitcher Wade Miley in exchange for pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, while also coming to terms with free agent hurler Justin Masterson on a one-year, $9.5 million with incentives.

A source also confirmed that the Red Sox met with free agent pitcher James Shields at his San Diego-area home.

Here is what Cherington had to say before leaving the meetings:

On discussions involving Cespedes: “Many. Going back to the beginning of the offseason and GM meetings. I’ve said before, there were plenty of scenarios where we were keeping him. We were not looking to trade Yoenis Cespedes, but as we got into the offseason and looked at what the alternatives were and the need to build a rotation and the depth we have in the outfield, we feel good about the outfield group that we have. We just felt like it made sense. And Detroit’s getting a good player. I expect him to have a very good year for them.”

On the outfield logjam with Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo: “Yeah, well, I think it’s those three guys. With those three guys, we feel confident we’ll figure out a solution that works. I don’t think we feel like we need to do it right now. Obviously in Mookie’s case, he’s the youngest of the group. he came up and played very well and looked like he’s going to be more than capable of playing center or right or any other positions potentially. Castillo’s a natural center fielder and has looked really good defensively in Arizona and Puerto Rico now that he’s down there. Obviously we made an investment in him and believe in him as a player. And then obviously Victorino is a huge part of the team and the best right fielder in baseball in 2013 and went through a tough 2014 because of injuries. If he’s recovered, and we expect him to be recovered, he can be a very good player. I just think it’s something we’ll figure out as we get closer to the season. We feel like, as you guys all know, center and right, both really important positions. We feel like between the three of them, we’ll come up with a good solution. And then certainly Craig gives us protection at both corners, first base. And so we feel like we have some options and some offensive depth that we were able to consider trading Cespedes because of that.”

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Tom Verducci on D&C: Wade Miley, Rick Porcello ‘can pitch at All-Star levels’

12.11.14 at 1:01 pm ET
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Tom Verducci (right) says the Red Sox got two "All-Star" quality pitches in Wade Miley and Rick Porcello. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Tom Verducci (right) says the Red Sox got two “All-Star” quality pitchers in Wade Miley and Rick Porcello. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Sports Illustrated baseball writer and FOX color commentator Tom Verducci joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to recap baseball’s Winter Meetings and also was able to give his thoughts on the Red Sox adding pitchers Rick Porcello and Wade Miley. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Verducci was on the show right as the Porcello trade broke, so he was able to give instant analysis of both the deals, which he was in favor of given the durability of both Porcello and Miley.

Miley was acquired for Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, while Porcello was acquired for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and minor league pitcher Gabe Speier.

“I think, you guys know all the names in their farm system the great arms they do have sitting there, you really do need protection for them so they don’t have to throw so many innings and you have two guys now I think are both really good athletes, really don’t have red flags in their deliveries or stuff, profile well to remain durable,” Verducci said. “That is a very valuable thing. To me that’s always been an underrated skill in the game — is durability. Can you do it year-after-year? And these guys can. They have protection and they are pretty good pitchers too. It’s not like they just got guys who are so called innings eaters — the Edwin Jackson‘s of the world — they got two really good pitchers who can pitch at All-Star levels.”

Added Verducci on Porcello: “Makes sense to me. Teams like flexibility, the fact that both of these guys are in the last year before free agency, not a bad thing for either team. I really like Ricky Porcello. He’s a lot younger than you think. I think he is 26, 27 years old. The way he has incorporated his curve ball the last few years I think has brought him to another level.

“A ground ball pitcher, make sure you have a good defensive infield behind you because he suffered for that in Detroit for most of those years when they didn’t have a lot of range behind him. Total gamer. You guys remember the fight at Fenway a few years ago. Pitched in a big game when he was 20 years old, Game 163. That is exactly the kind of move I would do if I was the Red Sox — flip Cespedes for a year of Ricky Porcello.”

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Read More: Jon Lester, rick porcello, Tom Verducci, wade miley

Source: Red Sox have agreement with Justin Masterson

12.11.14 at 12:17 pm ET
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Justin Masterson agreed to terms with the Red Sox, according to a source. (Getty Images)

Justin Masterson agreed to terms with the Red Sox, according to a source. (Getty Images)

The Red Sox have a one-year agreement with free agent right-hander Justin Masterson, a source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. The source adds the deal is for $9.5 million with incentives. The signing was first reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney.

According to WEEI.com’s Alex Speier, Red Sox medical officials met with Masterson last week after he endured a season-long struggle with health in 2014 that stemmed from torn cartilage in his rib cage and a consequent buildup of scar tissue. (A detailed look at Masterson’s injuries last year can be found here) The injuries contributed to a year-long struggle (7-9, 5.88 ERA in 28 games and 25 starts) with the Indians and Cardinals.

Masterson was drafted by the Red Sox in the second-round of the 2006 draft. He pitched in 67 games with the Red Sox, mostly out of the bullpen, between 2008-09 going 9-8 with a 3.76 ERA. Masterson was traded by the Sox to the Indians with prospects Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price at the ‘€™09 trade deadline for Victor Martinez.

The Red Sox now have a starting rotation (not in any order) of: Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson, and you could also throw Anthony Ranaudo into the mix given his major league experience last year.

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Sources: Red Sox add RHP Rick Porcello for OF Yoenis Cespedes, RHP Alex Wilson, LHP Gabe Speier

12.11.14 at 10:28 am ET
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Rick Porcello has reportedly been traded to the Red Sox. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello has reportedly been traded to the Red Sox, according to a source. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox have traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers in exchange for Rick Porcello. The Red Sox will also be sending relief pitcher Alex Wilson and rookie level left-hander Gabe Speier to Detroit. While the Red Sox had to include prospects, however, it’s worth noting that Porcello can be extended a qualifying offer for the purposes of gleaning a draft pick as compensation should he leave after the season as a free agent; Cespedes is not subject to a qualifying offer. News of the Cespedes-for-Porcello framework was first reported by CJ Nitkowski of Fox Sports 1.

Porcello gives the Sox a second durable addition to their starting rotation following the (almost-completed) addition of left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. The 25-year-old went 15-13 with a career-best 3.43 ERA and career-high 204 2/3 innings in 2014, a step up from his first four seasons in which he’d posted a 4.51 ERA while averaging 174 innings a year.

However, his breakthrough may have had as much to do with the defense behind him as with his own work on the mound. A pitch-to-contact sinkerballer, Porcello had suffered for years as a result of a Tigers infield that had myriad defensive deficiencies. The team upgraded in 2014, with Nick Castellanos taking over at third for Miguel Cabrera, Cabrera moving to first and Gold Glove candidate Ian Kinsler joining the club as a second baseman. The result was a year in which Porcello’s actual ERA reflected the kind of contact that he elicits, as well as the frequency of his strike-throwing (he averages 5.5 strikeouts and just 2.2 walks per nine innings in his career).

Cespedes, acquired for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes at the trade deadline in 2014, his .260/.301/.450 in 2014, including .269/.296/.423 with the Red Sox over the final two months. He showed above-average range in left field when playing in larger outfields, though he struggled with the nuances of Fenway’s left field wall. And with the Sox’ signing of Hanley Ramirez to play left field for the next four years, Cespedes’ only fit with the team in 2015 would have required a move to center or right fields. His trade helps to address what had become a growing outfield surplus; the Sox now have Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Allen Craig, Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava (as well as minor league depth options like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz) for the outfield.

Wilson, a 2009 second-round pick who turned 28 in November, performed well out of the Red Sox bullpen in 2014. He appeared in 18 games with a 1.91 ERA in 28 1/3 innings, striking out 6.0 but walking 1.6 per nine innings. Speier, a 2013 19th-rounder out of high school who underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after turning pro, had a strong return from the procedure as a 19-year-old in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League, going 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA with 26 strikeouts, just one walk and excellent groundball rates in 29 innings.

Porcello and Miley give the Sox a pair of mid-rotation starters who have proven durable throughout their careers (Miley has three straight years of 198 or more innings; Porcello has averaged 30 starts a year in his big league career) to offer scaffolding for Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly, who have not demonstrated their durability as starters. MLBTradeRumors.com projects Miley to earn $4.3 million next year and Porcello to earn $12.2 million, meaning that the Sox likely have both the payroll flexibility and prospect resources to make further additions to the pitching staff either via free agency or a trade.

Read More: 2014 winter meetings, alex wilson, gabe speier, rick porcello

Sources: Red Sox reach agreement to add Wade Miley from Diamondbacks for Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster

12.10.14 at 10:33 pm ET
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The Red Sox have reached an agreement to acquire left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have reached an agreement to acquire left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — Multiple industry sources have confirmed that the Red Sox have an agreement to acquire left-handed starter Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handers Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, with a minor leaguer also believed to be heading to Arizona. News of the trade agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports (via twitter).

The deal is not yet official, but is expected to be finalized in the coming days. One Arizona official insisted, “Nothing if official. Nothing has been finalized.”

Still, the issue appears to be little more than procedural.

Miley fills a pair of needs for the Red Sox as a pitcher who can shoulder a reliable innings load (he’s logged three straight years of 198 or more innings) and he’s left-handed, giving the Sox some diversity in their rotation.

As written in this blog post earlier today:

In parts of four seasons, Miley, a 2008 first-rounder, is 38-35 with a 3.79 ERA. He’€™s thrown at least 194 innings in each of the last three seasons, performing at a level described by one evaluator as a solid No. 4. He’€™s struck out 7.0 per nine innings in his career, including a career-high 8.4 per nine innings in 2014, though after posting ERAs of 3.33 and 3.54 in 2012 and 2013, Miley had a 4.34 ERA last season.

That said, his numbers were made worse by a putrid Diamondbacks defense, and he’€™s also spent his career in one of the more difficult home pitching environments in the game. While he is not being viewed by the Sox as a potential top-of-the-rotation replacement for Jon Lester, his career track record suggests a potentially stabilizing rotation presence.

Miley is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason. He remains under team control for three years before he’€™ll be eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.

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Read More: allen webster, rubby de la rosa, wade miley,
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