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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.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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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,

The Red Sox and the quest for innings and left-handedness in their starting rotation

12.10.14 at 8:59 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — In five full big league seasons from 2010-14, Clay Buchholz has averaged 145 innings. In his first season as a full-time big league starter in 2014, Joe Kelly logged 96 1/3 innings. Those are the only two known members of the 2015 Red Sox.

Neither pitcher has a demonstrated, reliable ability to handle a full-season workload of 200 innings. As such, the Red Sox may prioritize pitchers whose track records suggest the potential to do just that.

We always go through an exercise in budgeting, or coming up with a budget number of innings that need to be accounted for,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “You take into account what individual pitchers have done in previous years and what you project them to be able to provide upcoming. We knew going in that there were going to be a couple of spots needed for innings eating and very quality innings pitched. Ideally, if you can get a couple of 200-inning pitchers, they don’€™t go on trees, but that’€™s the goal.”

That might help to explain some of the Sox’ interest in Diamondbacks lefty Wade Miley, who has logged at least 198 innings in each of the last three seasons. The need for innings stability might also have the Sox particularly intrigued by pitchers like Jordan Zimmermann (203 innings a year for the last three years) and Rick Porcello (who threw 200 innings for the first time in 2014 but has never been on the DL). Other potential targets such as free agents James Shields (averaging an astounding 233 innings a year over the last four years) and Ervin Santana (averaging 207 innings a year for the last five seasons) might gain prominence as Sox targets for the same reason.

Ideally, the Red Sox would like to add a left-hander to their rotation as well given that, for now, their only two starters (and, in all likelihood, all the candidates for the fifth starter’s spot) are right-handed. However, Farrell suggested that the necessity of having a lefty in the rotation has diminished in recent years in the American League East.

I think you always like to have that at your disposal to match up or to map out your rotation how it might fall depending on the upcoming schedule,” said Farrell. “[But] when you look at what’€™s changing in our division, this once was and just was a few years ago a very left-handed hitting division. That’€™s shifting, when you see the changes that have gone in Toronto, in Baltimore, probably with some changes that still might take place down in Tampa, that might be the case as well, you’€™re seeing a little bit more right-handed offense starting to emerge in other cities.”

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Read More: 2014 winter meetings, John Farrell, Jon Lester,

Ben Cherington on Red Sox’ rotation outlook: ‘We’ll be able to put together a good pitching staff’

12.10.14 at 5:24 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — Ben Cherington’s 30-minute media session at the winter meetings on Wednesday morning served two purposes. The Red Sox GM both articulated his view of the negotiations that took place between his team and Jon Lester (both about an extension in spring training and a free agent contract after the season) and offered his view of where things stand in the team’s quest to address the ill-defined shape of its rotation.

As much as the team was disappointed not to be able to retain Lester, Cherington expressed optimism that the team will be able to round out its rotation in a way that will produce a contending team for 2015.

“We’re going to add pitching. It’s not a matter of desperation. It’s a matter of when and how. I don’t know if it’s tomorrow or next week or January. We will add pitching, and there’s still a lot out there,” said Cherington. “Red Sox fans want a winning team. They deserve a winning team. And that’s our aim: To provide that. We feel confident we will. There’s a lot of different ways to do that. We’ve got a great talent base already. We’re going to be able to add to it. I think when there’s connection to a player, in this case, he wasn’t with us at the end of the year but there’s still that connection and now we’re in free agency. We understand that that can be difficult to fans who have a connection. Ultimately, we’re confident we’re going to put a really good team on the field and it’s going to be a team that our fans like watching and it’s going to win games. There’s going to be a connection to some other player. Those connections will grow in time. …

“We’re going to add pitching,” he added. “We still don’t know when that will happen, what the names will be. We’re going to add pitching. We’ve been working on it all offseason. We’re closer to it than we were in October and closer to it than we were last week, but we’re also not announcing anything today. So, we’ll see where it all lands. But there’s a lot of options out there still, good pitching out there. And we’re in a great position with the base of talent we have, the resources we have, that we’ll be able to put together a good pitching staff.”

Some other comments by Cherington on the pitching market:

— With Cole Hamels looming as a potential trade candidate, but in possession of the right to veto a trade to the Red Sox after naming them as one of the 20 clubs for which he has no-trade protection, Cherington was asked whether he’d want to deal for a player who used such a clause to restrict the chances of being dealt to the Red Sox. “There’s a lot of possibilities out there. If there are guys that are less interested in being in Boston, then they are. But there are a lot of guys that do want to be in Boston,” said Cherington. “So that’s just part of the process, working through that. I don’t want to comment specifically on any one player, but that would still be our criteria. We want people who want to be here.”

— Cherington suggested that the Sox were willing to pay the necessary price in money or players to acquire rotation solutions. “We went into the offseason knowing that in order to add to the rotation in the way we want to, it’s going to cost something. That will either come in the form of money or talent or sometimes both. It’s just a matter of finding the deals that make sense,” said Cherington. “We’re willing to give up something to add to the rotation. We expect we’ll have to. It’s not that. It’s just, how do we put together the best team for 2015? We are committed to winning in 2015. How do we do that without sort of fundamentally hurting the long term? That’s the work we’re doing. We feel good. We’ll be able to build a pitching staff and build a team that can win and that will have the blocks necessary to win for a long time.”

Read More: 2014 winter meetings, ben cherington, Cole Hamels,

Ben Cherington breaks down the breakdown in Jon Lester negotiations

12.10.14 at 3:54 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — As the Cubs celebrate the arrival of their ace in Jon Lester, the Red Sox are left to answer for how it came to this — how a pitcher who expressed a desire to spend his career in Boston, even if it meant a hometown discount, ended up heading elsewhere. Looming over that postmortem is the question surrounding the team’s initial four-year, $70 million offer to Lester last spring — an offer that was so far from what the pitcher deemed acceptable that it became, in essence, the end-point of negotiations until Lester arrived at free agency.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington — who learned late on Tuesday night of Lester’s decision in two conversations, first with agent Seth Levinson and then in a brief phone call with Lester — addressed some of those issues on Wednesday. While he declined to go into the specifics of the team’s offers (either the four-year, $70 million extension proposal in spring training that was meant to be a conversation-starter rather than an endpoint, or the team’s final six-year, $135 million offer this week (the team’s second offer of the free-agent process, according to Cherington, made this week after an initial offer in November following a meeting between Lester and team officials in Atlanta), which came up $20 million short of what the Cubs had on the table), Cherington offered his view of what happened in the talks with Lester.

I think we would have liked to have had more chance for dialogue prior to the season. Why that didn’€™t happen, maybe there’€™s more than one reason. I think we can certainly learn from the process. But we desired to have more dialogue prior to the season and made an effort during the season and weren’€™t able to,” said Cherington. “Then we got into free agency and we’€™re able to do it then. Jon did a lot of great things for the Red Sox. We wish him nothing but the best. We’€™re moving on.”

Here are some highlights of Cherington’s 30-minute media session:

ON THE FOUR-YEAR, $70 MILLION OFFER AND TALKS BETWEEN LESTER AND THE RED SOX ABOUT AN EXTENSION

“The problem when pieces of conversations or pieces of information get put out without the whole context of what’€™s going on, it can sort of shape the public narrative. All I can say is that we had a lot of conversations prior to making an offer. I think there was a decent understanding on both sides of where, back in spring training, and during the season, of where the sort of range of both sides were looking. We felt that we could enter into a conversation, and we could start a conversation and that’€™s the only way you get to a deal, is to start a conversation. We just weren’€™t able to have the kind of dialogue back in the spring, or during the season, that we wanted to. as I’€™ve said before, can we learn things from what happened? Sure. Always can. But right now, once you get into free agency, it becomes a different animal. We understand that. Simply put, the Cubs offered more than we did and he made a choice and we respect it and wish him nothing but the best. We go back to focusing on putting our team together and we feel really good about where we are.”

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Read More: 2014 winter meetings, ben cherington, Jon Lester,

Jon Lester to Red Sox Nation: ‘I understand the disappointment’

12.10.14 at 1:31 pm ET
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Hours after accepting a six-year deal to join the Cubs, Jon Lester sent a tweet to fans of the Red Sox in an attempt to soothe some hard feelings.

Wrote Lester: To Red Sox Nation, I understand the disappointment. Boston will always have a big place in my heart and we’ll always consider y’all family!

Continued Lester: Extremely difficult decision for me and my family but we love the outcome and couldn’t be more excited to join the Cubs organization!

Read More: Jon Lester,

Source: Red Sox showing interest in Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley

12.10.14 at 1:16 pm ET
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According to an industry source, the Red Sox have engaged in discussions with the Diamondbacks about the possibility of acquiring left-hander Wade Miley. The Diamondbacks appear to be focused on acquiring pitching in return for the 28-year-old left-hander.

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.

Read More: 2014 winter meetings, wade miley,

Poll: Should Red Sox have upped offer to sign Jon Lester?

12.10.14 at 9:12 am ET
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Jon Lester decided to accept a reported six-year, $155 million deal with the Cubs late Tuesday night. The Red Sox apparently did not offer near that much money.

How do you feel about the Red Sox refusing to match the Cubs’ offer?

Should the Red Sox have upped their offer to sign Jon Lester?

  • No, a six-year, $155 million deal for a 31-year-old pitcher is not smart business (69%)
  • Yes, they have the money and they should have spent it (31%)
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Read More: Jon Lester,
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