|07.31.14 at 12:08 pm ET|
Outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was traded from the Red Sox along with Jon Lester to the Athletics on Thursday morning for Yoenis Cespedes, joined Middays with MFB to discuss the move and his time in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Gomes returns to Oakland, where he played in 2012 before joining the Red Sox as a free agent and helping Boston win the 2013 World Series.
“I’m in a situation right now where I’m getting packaged up with the best pitcher in the game, heading over to the team with the best record in the game. So I’m a little bit excited there,” Gomes said. “At the same time, you talk about a soft spot in my heart and a soft spot with some of the relationships I’ve made in Boston. This chapter, for the time being, has come to an end.”
Added Gomes: “I definitely didn’t want to go anywhere. I just can’t fathom a baseball player saying he’d ever want to get out of Boston, to tell you the truth. I came here on a whim. I came here when this team finished in last place and I wanted to join this club when it was in last place. Rode a pretty magical wave last year. This year things haven’t gone as well. We were hoping.
“But at the same time, this is the Boston Red Sox, at the end of the day. To be able to toe into that batter’s box where some of the greats have, and just to wear that uniform and at the same time share relationships, hit in the same BP group as David Ortiz and [Mike] Napoli and Dustin Pedroia. Jim Rice and Luis Tiant walking around, all the greats from the pictures up there. That’s the stuff that I don’t take for granted, by any means.”
Gomes had high praise for the player with whom he’s leaving Boston, noting that Lester refused to be distracted by constant talk of contract negotiations.
“This guy’s as professional as it gets,” Gomes said. “This guy worries about one thing, and that’s every fifth day, going on the rubber, throwing that ball downhill. He’s such a positive guy. He doesn’t have that in his bag of tricks. He doesn’t have that in his characteristic, to throw people under the bus and to get mad, not treat it the right way. He doesn’t even have that in his bag of tricks. Since the day I got to Fort Myers, and I guess we’re leaving together, but I’ve never seen this guy be negative. He just puts all his energy, all his thoughts, all his work ethic into helping the ball club win every five days. Even in between, he’s doing what he can with the young kids.
“I never saw him pouting around the clubhouse, I never saw him come to the yard late, I never saw him leave early because the negotiations weren’t going well or whatever. You can’t control what you can’t control. He lived his life like that.”
Added Gomes: “We talked this morning. This guy wasn’t throwing pots and pans. This guy was just worried about his next start and asking about the rubber and the clay — like I’d have any idea. But it just shows where his mind is. He’s already looking to get guys out for the A’s.”
|07.31.14 at 11:02 am ET|
The left-hander had said before the 2014 season that he’d like to spend his career with the Red Sox and would be willing to take a hometown discount to return to Boston.
Just months later, Lester’s Red Sox career is over.
The Sox traded their ace to the Athletics on Thursday, after it became more likely by the day that Lester, whose contract expires at the end of the season, would not be back next season thanks to some failed attempts at negotiations on both sides.
Lester’s Red Sox career may have ended in bitter fashion. But his time is Boston was filled with unforgettable moments — both good and bad — that included two World Series championships, chicken and beer and a heroic comeback after battling cancer.
Here are the top 10 moments from Lester’s Red Sox career.
10. May 3, 2014: Lester strikes out career-high 15 batters in win over A’s
Even in a tough start to the Red Sox’ season, Lester continued to add to his individual achievements with a career-high 15 strikeouts in a 6-3 win over his future team. He allowed just one hit and two walks in eight shutout innings to improve his record to 3-4 for the year.
“Just the combination of power and command was impressive,” manager John Farrell said after the game. “He was locked in seemingly from the first pitch.”
9. May 10, 2013: Lester allows one hit in complete-game shutout of Blue Jays
The 2012 season was arguably the worst of Lester’s career, but he made it perfectly clear that 2013 was going to be different by winning his first six decisions, including a one-hit, complete-game shutout of the Blue Jays. Lester threw 118 pitches, allowing no walks and striking out five in a 5-0 Red Sox win.
8. July 13, 2010: Lester plays in first All-Star Game
For all he had achieved with the Red Sox in his young career, Lester was rewarded in 2010 when he was named to the American League All-Star team for the first time. It was a well-deserved selection, as Lester was one of the league’s top pitchers at 11-2 with a 2.78 ERA at the All-Star break.
Lester was strong in his All-Star debut. He tossed a clean 1-2-3 inning of relief in a 3-1 National League win.
|07.31.14 at 10:37 am ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-2 LOSS VS. SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)
- Feats of Mookie: Portrait of Power. Mookie Betts led off the home half of the first with a home run that wrapped around the left field pole, fouling off three pitches before going yard on the sixth pitch of the at-bat. The shot was Betts’ second in his last four games and fifth extra-base hit since returning to Pawtucket. Betts seems to have picked up right where he left off in Triple-A, hitting .318/.348/.545 in 10 games coming off of his major league stint.
- Heath Hembree, the 25-year-old reliever acquired from the Giants in the trade that sent Jake Peavy to San Francisco, made his Pawtucket in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s contest. The right-hander allowed a hit and a walk in his scoreless inning of work while fanning two. According to WEEI.com’s Joon Lee, Hembree’s fastball velocity ranged from 90-95 miles per hour on the stadium gun, while he also showcased his swing-and-miss slider. It took Hembree 27 pitches to get through the inning and record his first International League save, as he struggled with command. But, in just an inning, Hembree elicited five swings and misses. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.31.14 at 9:49 am ET|
The Athletics are loading for bear in their rotation, believing that power pitching is what wins in the postseason. With Lester — one of the best postseason pitchers of all time and the American League-leader in ERA over the last calendar year — fronting a rotation that now also features Jeff Samardzija and Sonny Gray, the Athletics appear to be in position to try to make a run. Lester, of course, is eligible for free agency after this season, and with no signs of an extension on the immediate horizon between the Sox and the left-hander, the decision was made to deal him.
The A’s are acquiring Lester at the absolute height of his career.
Gomes, 33, represents a right-handed bat with thump who has experience both in the playoffs and in Oakland. The Bay Area native was viewed as a key figure in the start of the A’s current contention run when he spent the 2012 season there, hitting .262/.377/.491 with 18 homers in 99 games. This year with the Red Sox, he’s hitting .234/.329/.354 with six homers in 78 games — but .302/.400/.431 against lefties.
Cespedes, 28, represents the potential middle of the order corner bat that the Red Sox have been missing. Still, there are questions about the aggressiveness of his approach. He is hitting .256 with a .303 OBP and .464 slugging mark with 17 homers in 101 games this year, after hitting .240/.294/.442 in 2013. But his massive right-handed power represents an obvious fit for Fenway Park. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.31.14 at 9:27 am ET|
Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons appeared on Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss Jon Lester‘s potential departure and other trade rumors surrounding the Red Sox. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Multiple teams have been linked to Lester over the past week, with Jon Morosi stating on Fox Sports 1 Tuesday night that the Dodgers, Pirates and Cardinals were finalists in the bidding for Lester’s services.
However, Gammons said that the Dodgers are unwilling to part with some of their top-tier prospects and thus are out of the running to acquire Lester.
“Scratch the Dodgers off that list. They’re not in on it,” Gammons said, adding: “I know this, the Dodgers have the three guys. They have a left-handed pitcher who I think is the best prospect in baseball, Julio Urias, and Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. They’re not trading any of them. The Phillies wanted three, the Rays wanted two and the Red Sox wanted one and they wouldn’t trade any of them.”
While it’s unlikely that the Red Sox will acquire a top prospect such as Urias or Pederson for Lester, Gammons said that Boston could still get a good return for its ace.
“I think more likely it’s one ‘A’ prospect, like a Steven Piscotty, right fielder of the Cardinals, or Josh Bell of the Pirates, and one really good young prospect,” Gammons said. “I don’t think it would be much more than that.”
Added Gammons: “I don’t think you’re going to see the Cardinals trade any of their one or two top guys, but Piscotty is a right fielder and he’s got a lot of power, and right-handed power is rare.”
|07.31.14 at 7:28 am ET|
The Kansas City Star is reporting that the Royals are among the teams checking in on Red Sox right-hander John Lackey. The Royals, according to the report, appear to be exploring the market for starters who would remain under team control through 2015, permitting the club to help brace itself for the anticipated departure of right-hander James Shields in free agency. At least in theory, Lackey — who is subject to a team option at the major league minimum for next year as a result of missing all of 2012 after Tommy John surgery — represents such a pitcher, though whether he would honor his contract and pitch for the minimum next year remains to be seen.
According to the Star report, the Red Sox seek a power arm in exchange for Lackey, though the Royals, according to the report, are reluctant to move their top tier of prospects that would fit that description. According to the report:
The Red Sox are seeking a power arm, according to people familiar with the situation. The Royals prize their prospects who fit that mold, pitchers like Kyle Zimmer, Sean Manaea and Miguel Almonte.
|07.31.14 at 7:12 am ET|
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told reporters that while his team is in the market for starting pitching — presumably including either Red Sox starters Jon Lester or John Lackey — he had no designs of moving any of the team’s top prospects: outfielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and pitcher Julio Urias.
‘We’re not in the market to trade any of the three, period,’ Colletti told reporters. ‘There’s been no player discussed that warrants two of the three.’
Colletti also said that the Dodgers do not plan to trade outfielder Matt Kemp before Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
“No one’s ever heard me say we’re shopping Matt Kemp,” said Colletti. “That’s all in another world.”
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