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Yoenis Cespedes on trade: ‘I feel very happy … to share a part of my career with the Red Sox’

08.01.14 at 7:43 pm ET
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Yoenis Cespedes already is larger than life. Cespedes, built more like an NFL fullback rather than an outfielder, makes throws from the outfield reminiscent of a bullets slicing through air and has won back-to-back All-Star Home Run Derby competitions.

Cespedes has even been the subject of a viral video, one created by his agent that showcased the outfielder’s ability to hit baseball a mile, dance with his family and cook a whole pig over a roasting fire.

But when Cespedes heard about Thursday’s trade, he was partaking in activity that non-pig-roasting, non-home run-hitting mortals do on a daily basis.

I was sleeping when the news came through,” the Cuban star said through a translator. “It caught me by surprise. There is a saying that only God knows why things happen.”

The outfielder is hitting .256/.303/.464 this season with 17 home runs, 67 RBIs, 26 doubles and 62 runs scored. Manager John Farrell said that Cespedes will play right field for the Red Sox moving forward, a spot unoccupied currently due to Shane Victorino‘s latest stint on the disabled list. Cespedes said that he has some experience playing the position from his time in Cuba. The acquisition of Cespedes filled the need for a power-hitting outfielder with major league-ready talent.

“We’ve been very clear internally the need to improve and upgrade our offense was a goal,” Farrell said. “We’ve been able to do that through these trades. To be able to bring in a middle-of-the-order, All-Star-caliber bat from a contending team, it’s not typical. I think as this deal came about, it became unique in its own right, and our ability to lengthen out the lineup with he and Allen Craig gives us that depth that has been lacking throughout the course of the season.”

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Jacoby Ellsbury: Jon Lester trade proves unpredictability of baseball business

08.01.14 at 7:34 pm ET
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As baseball players, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury don’t have much in common. The way they’re built and their position on the field couldn’t make that more obvious.

The former is a big, powerful starting pitcher known for his humble demeanor and his sneaky, game-changing ability on the mound. The latter is a speedy outfielder better known for his athleticism in the field and his threat on the base paths.

However, one thing both players have in common, as of Thursday morning, is that they’re both former Red Sox.

Ellsbury left Boston via free agency in the offseason after signing with the Yankees on a seven-year, $153 million contract, a number unmatched by the Red Sox. Lester, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, was traded to Oakland at the deadline after contract negotiations failed to come to fruition.

Ellsbury, in Boston Friday for the Yankees‘ three-game set at Fenway Park, came up through the Sox’ minor league system with Lester and won a pair of World Series titles with him.

While some may have been surprised to see Lester go, Ellsbury said he wasn’t sure what to expect given the business of baseball.

“It’s hard to say,” Ellsbury said. “You come up through the minor league system and that’s really all you know. Like I’ve said numerous times, I enjoyed my time in Boston and I think Lester has said the same thing but you just never know. You never know how it’s going to go. I wish him the best. Hopefully things work out how he wants it too.”

The Lester trade was one of just four deals made by the Sox by Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline. The deals represented a shift in focus for the last-place Sox, who appear to be rebuilding for next season. Read the rest of this entry »

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John Farrell: ‘We’re not in a development phase. … Where we are is unacceptable’

08.01.14 at 6:00 pm ET
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A dispirited Red Sox team left Fenway Park on Wednesday. The team had just lost its third straight game to the Blue Jays. Trade winds whirled around a team that had lost eight of nine games to fall to 48-60, on pace for a 72-90 record that itself seemed like a potentially ambitious mark.

But on Friday, with the Sox having brought back veteran components (Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Joe Kelly) while dealing away key veterans (Jon Lester, John Lackey, Andrew Miller, Stephen Drew), John Farrell suggested that the Sox were not going to be content to go through the motions while hoping that young players familiarize themselves with the big league setting over the duration of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

Clay Buchholz: ‘You can’t replace Jon Lester’

08.01.14 at 5:29 pm ET
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The new clubhouse dynamics took a while to comprehend. Clay Buchholz‘s belongings had relocated to John Lackey‘s old locker, the one tucked into a corner reserved for a veteran leader of a pitching staff. The position wasn’t far from his former station — just two lockers down — but it represented an adjustment for Buchholz to wrap his head around the notion that he was now the lone established big leaguer in the Red Sox rotation, something that he acknowledged was “a little bit” strange.

“I don’t feel like I’m old by any means. Time passes pretty quickly in this game,” said Buchholz. “I’ve been able to learn a lot from all of the guys who have come through and left. I’ve been able to make some really good friends, too. I feel like this is just how it’s going to be, for this year, at least, and just figure it out.

“One of those things. Things happen, another team is in the same situation we were in last year. We were trying to add guys to our roster to win a World Series. That’s what other teams are doing right now. It just so happens that a couple of our guys are going to try to help another team win this year.”

Lackey, a teammate of Buchholz’s for the last five years, is gone (having been traded to the Cardinals on Thursday), as is Jon Lester, who had been teammates with Buchholz for every one of his days in the big leagues dating to 2007. The departure of Lester creates a void atop the Red Sox rotation. How can it be filled? Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox place Shane Victorino on DL, recall Mookie Betts

08.01.14 at 4:57 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, who left Wednesday’s game with back discomfort, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list for the third time this year. Victorino had an MRI on Friday morning; the Red Sox were awaiting results to determine a proper course of treatment. But given the recurrent nature of the injury, manager John Farrell said that the team could use the available time going forward this year to ensure that Victorino emerges healthy. In just 30 games this year, the 33-year-old is hitting .268/.303/.382.

“The one thing we do have right now is we have some time on our side, so whatever is recommended for Vic to get back to full strength, if we use the remaining months in this calendar year to our advantage, we’ll see if that makes sense,” said Farrell.

With Yoenis Cespedes not yet in Boston and unavailable to be in the starting lineup on Friday, the Red Sox called up Mookie Betts from Triple-A Pawtucket. Betts will start in center field on Friday to give the Red Sox an additional right-handed bat against Yankees (and former Red Sox) left-hander Chris Capuano. Betts is hitting .321/.408/.496 for Triple-A Pawtucket, with his most recent feat being a walkoff homer on Thursday. He’s hitting .444/.512/.667 against lefties.

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Red Sox designate Mike Carp for assignment

08.01.14 at 4:49 pm ET
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With the addition of a pair of corner outfield bats at the trade deadline, the Red Sox saw Mike Carp‘s limited playing time dwindling even further, and so the team designated Carp for assignment to take him off the 40-man major league roster. The team has up to 10 days to trade him (either to a team that claims him off waivers or after he clears waivers), send him to Triple-A or release him. Red Sox manager John Farrell suggested that the team wanted to give Carp a chance to pursue opportunities elsewhere, suggesting the possibility of a release.

Carp, acquired for cash prior to the 2013 season, hit .296/.362/.523 as a key reserve on last year’s World Series-winning team. But this year, he hit .198/.320/.279 in 42 games, and struggled to produce both in his part-time role and while working around a five-week period on the sidelines due to a broken foot.

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Kevin Millar on MFB: Red Sox ‘have a star now’ in Yoenis Cespedes

08.01.14 at 12:59 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar checked in with Middays with MFB to discuss the Sox’ trade deadline activity. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox were busier than any other team at Thursday’s deadline, making four trades by the 4 p.m. mark. The most notable losses were pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey, which brought in A’s slugger Yoenis Cespedes and the Cardinals’ Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in return.

“I love what the Red Sox did,” Millar said. “At some point if they’re going to trade Jon Lester, it’s never going to pacify anybody, it doesn’t make sense. But you know what they got? They got three major league players. They traded Lester and Lackey, and they got three major league players immediately to help this club out.”

They biggest name acquired by the Sox was Cespedes. The Cuban has had a tough year at the plate, hitting just .256 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs, but Millar said he expects him to be a big presence in the Sox’ lineup, especially hitting at Fenway Park.

“At the end of the day, aren’t you tired of looking at the outfield’s offensive production?” Millar said. “Say what you want, we got to see him on the big stage in the Home Run Derby. I know it doesn’t mean anything, but we had a good time watching him last year at Citi Field, had a good time watching him this year at Minnesota, but at least he’s dynamic. I’d put him like kind of a star. He’s going to be a presence behind David Ortiz now. It immediately makes this team kind of like, ‘Whoa, that’s a 3-4 combination.’

“I’m looking at a guy and it’s kind of like you can lean your hat on somebody. We have a star now. Last year’s Red Sox World Series win, we leaned on the whole team because of the whole dynamic of the Boston bombing and the city and everything that went around it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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