|07.30.14 at 5:54 pm ET|
Speaking to the media during his pregame press conference prior to Boston’s game against Blue Jays Wednesday night, Farrell said that Lester’s status with the club has not changed since Tuesday night, adding that Lester’s next start is slated to be Sunday night against the Yankees.
“Not that I’m aware of. Status quo,” Farrell said of whether anything had changed regarding his ace moving in a potential deal. “As a result, we have him slated on Sunday to pitch here.”
Lester was originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but had his start pushed back, fueling speculation that the veteran southpaw would soon be dealt. Farrell said the decision was made in order to allow Lester to relax during this stressful stretch of days, but also acknowledged that seeing a player on a team past the trade deadline after being scratched from a game is a rare precedent.
“I think that’s why yesterday, when it came to a head, that we felt like it was best for all to just back out of this for a couple of days with the start, just so he wasn’t carrying around all the uncertainty,” Farrell said. “I’m sure it’s been very difficult for him. That’s why the change was made.”
Farrell continued: “It’s a unique set of circumstances, it’s an extremely talented pitcher and as I mentioned yesterday, with all the uncertainty, I think it’s in the best interest of everyone involved that we push him back.”
Whether it has been dealing with trade whispers or contract negotiations, Lester has had to focus on more than just his performance on the mound in 2014, but has been able to shake off any possible disturbances and has turned in his best campaign as a major leaguer in 2014 (10-7, 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). Farrell said that he’s been impressed with how Lester has handled himself under the added pressure.
|07.30.14 at 3:52 pm ET|
There’s a growing consensus that Lester’s time as a member of the Red Sox is coming to an end, as the lefty was scratched from his start Wednesday against Toronto.
Speaking to WEEI’s Dale & Holley, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that removing Lester from his outing was made in in order to help Lester cope with what has been a roller-coaster week for the left-hander. Pawtucket pitcher Brandon Workman, who’s compiled a 1-3 record with a 4.13 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) with Boston this season, will start in place of Lester on Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
“I think any player that has had their name attached to any kind of trade rumors, we’ve tried to be open and candid with them, and at the same time as the day wore on, we felt it was probably, as I mentioned last night, in the best interest of Jon and everyone involved that, let’s take the uncertainty out of this as much as possible. We’ll push his start back, we’ll insert Brandon Workman, and that’s where we are tonight,” Farrell said.
Farrell said the team has yet to make a roster move to make room for Brandon Workman, but he will presumably take the spot freed up by the trade of Felix Doubront to the Cubs.
Farrell also added that Lester is expected to be in the Red Sox clubhouse and will be in uniform.
While Farrell’s decision to remove Lester from his start was seen as a surprising move, the Red Sox skipper added that he doesn’t regret making the call a day in advance.
“I don’t know if it’s been unprecedented or not, but I think we all felt internally, that it was important to be forthright,” Farrell said. “We know there are a lot of talks surrounding Jon, and I know that Ben [Cherington] has received a number of calls on him and others, so he’s weighing through that and Jon has been kept in the loop throughout all this. It’s tough enough to go out there and pitch with a clear mind rather than wondering if you’re going to be in uniform or not. So we made that decision ahead of time.”
While Farrell would not comment on whether or not Lester’s days in Boston are indeed numbered, he did acknowledge that losing a player like Lester would be a big blow to the Red Sox clubhouse.
“I think with all due respect, hypotheticals are just that,” Farrell said. “But I will say this: Anytime we spend so much time together as a team, as a group, it does take on some of the feeling of a family, and if a member of your family is removed, sure, that has an unsettling feel to it.
“We also know that there’s a business side to this and clearly it is Ben’s and our intent to put together and build a team that can win as quickly as possible, and that may require some steps along the way. What we have to is take a step back from that and recognize that these are decisions that are going to have to be made. Some might not be the most popular on the surface, but what steps are taken are with direct intent, and that is to put together a team that is built to contend as quickly as possible.”
|07.30.14 at 3:30 pm ET|
Multiple industry sources confirmed that the Red Sox have agreed to send left-hander Felix Doubront to the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later. The player will be sent to the Sox after the December Rule 5 draft. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via twitter) first reported the agreement.
Doubront, 26, is 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA, 6.5 strikeouts per nine and 3.9 walks per nine this year. He has expressed his displeasure with his recent move to the bullpen, and after a six-run yield in two-thirds of an inning on Monday, manager John Farrell acknowledged meeting with the left-hander. Though wildly inconsistent in two-plus years in the Red Sox rotation, Doubront showed flashes of considerable potential while punching out 8.5 batters per nine innings with a 4.59 ERA in 2012 and 2013.
|07.30.14 at 1:45 pm ET|
A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: OFF DAY
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-2 WIN, 4-1 LOSS VS. READING (PHILLIES)
– Left-hander Henry Owens had an outing where he struggled to command his fastball, resulting in one of his less dominant efforts of the season in Double-A. The 22-year-old tossed just five innings (his second-shortest outing since May) while allowing two runs on six hits, walking two and striking out three, a grind-it-out win that improved Owens to 14-4, arming him with the most wins in the minors and permitting him to set a record for most wins in a season by a Sea Dogs pitcher.
Owens has now spent a full year in Portland, having moved up at the beginning of last August. He has nothing left to prove there: In 26 starts, he’s 17-5 with a 2.44 ERA, 10.2 strikeouts per nine and 3.7 walks per nine. Yet one source indicated that the Sox’ trade for Edwin Escobar — who is slotting into the PawSox rotation — may have slowed down the most immediate plans to move Owens up the ladder to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The 22-year-old feels ready to compete in Pawtucket. He also recognizes that the question of when he moves up represents one for which he does not have an answer.
|07.30.14 at 1:28 pm ET|
ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Jon Lester‘s potential departure and other trade rumors. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Lester’s tenure as a member of the Red Sox appears to be entering its final stages, as the southpaw was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Blue Jays. Olney agreed that it seems like a forgone conclusion that Lester’s days in Boston are numbered.
“In talking with other teams that are talking with the Red Sox, they say they think it’s basically a certainty that Lester’s going to move and their perception is the Red Sox understand they they’re not going to be able to re-sign him, so you put him out in the marketplace, you get return for him,” Olney said. “Clearly, the National League Central is right at the forefront of what the Red Sox are dealing and that vortex works well for them.
“If you’re the St. Louis Cardinals and you’re talking with the Red Sox and you’re trying to get Jon Lester but you’re also trying to keep him away from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The same thing with the Pirates, they’re talking about Lester, they’re trying to push the price up for the Cardinals, and I do think that the Cardinals are probably the frontrunner right now.”
The Cardinals stand as a strong trade partner for the Red Sox, as St. Louis boasts one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, including stud outfielder prospect Oscar Taveras.
“I can tell you this, that [Taveras] is widely viewed with scouts who go in there and watch him play as being a sort of non-Cardinal-type player because of a body language,” Olney said, adding: “Oscar Taveras is someone who can be in, in the eyes of scouts, pouty. He can wear his at-bats in the field if he’s going through a tough time.
“He also has unbelievable power, so the question is, do the Cardinals look at the situation like a Lester, like a David Price and say: ‘Look, down the road, maybe this guy isn’t a great fit for us, so we’ll take advantage of it.’ My guess is because he’s such an elite power hitter that that’s going to be a guy that the Cardinals would want to hang on to him in terms of his value. … They have such a great range of prospects, so do the Pirates, that the Red Sox would be able to look at a long menu of guys.”
|07.30.14 at 12:48 pm ET|
However, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted Wednesday afternoon that both hurlers could be headed elsewhere prior to Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline.
Wrote Rosenthal: Source: “Very good chance” that #RedSox trade Lackey along with Lester.
Rosenthal followed up with another tweet clarifying that he did not mean the pitchers were being packaged in the same deal.
Rosenthal mentioned the Indians and Marlins as being among teams that would be interested in a pitcher like Lackey who is under team control for one more season (and for only $500,000).
|07.30.14 at 12:11 pm ET|
The Cardinals’ interest apparently has stirred the Brewers and Pirates, not only so they can get better but so they can keep him away from a rival. All three teams are within 1 1/2 games of each other atop the division.
Meanwhile, the other standout lefty from the American League East on the market appears less likely to be moved. While the Dodgers and Cardinals are said to remain interested in Rays ace David Price, the Rays’ recent hot streak (they’ve won 11 of their last 12 games) might help keep him in Tampa.
While Lester was scratched from Wednesday’s start, Price tweeted Wednesday morning that he’s planning to suit up for his team’s afternoon game against the Brewers, joking: This is my last start for the Rays….IN JULY!!! been up and been ready!!!
– According to multiple reports, the Phillies are making pitcher Cole Hamels available, but at a steep price.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Phillies are only willing to pay $10 million of the remaining $90 million-plus on Hamels’ contract.
– The Cubs, who sent Jeff Samardzija to the Athletics earlier this month, plan to be involved in more trade discussions involving some of their players.
“I think we’ll be active,” general manager Jed Hoyer told Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Gonzalez. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we made no moves, but I guess I’d say I’d expect to be active. [Wednesday] is moving day. I’d expect things would be a lot more serious as we move into [Wednesday].”
Gonzalez reports that representatives from the Mets, Giants, Mariners and Dodgers watched Edwin Jackson start Tuesday night’s game. Infielder Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed relievers James Russell and Wesley Wright after other names to watch.
– The Rangers reportedly are willing to pay some of the remaining salary due to outfielder Alex Rios, although the interest appears to be fading. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that there has been interest from the Indians, Reds, Royals and Giants.
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