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A hero (sort of) comes home

04.23.09 at 5:44 pm ET
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So the Red Sox have traded for pitcher Kason Gabbard … actually, they bought pitcher Kason Gabbard, getting him from the Texas Rangers for cash. So, the question you might have is “Why?” Because — everybody together now — you can never have enough pitching, or in this case, Gabbard.

And if there was any a pitcher who exemplified this it is Kason Gabbard, one of the pitching heroes from the Red Sox’ championship season.

In case you forgot, Gabbard was pretty much the only ready-for-primetime player sent over to Texas in exchange for Eric Gagne back at the 2007 trade deeadline, heading over to the Rangers along with outfielder David Murphy and minor leaguer Engel Beltre. Gabbard had allowed the Red Sox to weather the storm when Curt Schilling went down following a June start in Atlanta.

Gabbard ran off four straight starts in July that set the stage for the Rangers’ acquisition, pitching more innings (28) than any of the other starters during that span from July 2-July 21, going 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA while holding opponents to a .133 batting average. While few will remember, it was Gabbard who helped weather the storm of what was a depleted starting staff, and did so in such fine fashion that he presented enough value for what was, at the time, an important deadline deal.

It was that implementation of Gabbard, along with a smattering of help from Jon Lester, which set the Red Sox up to execute their current philosophy of having extra hands on deck for when members of the starting staff need to be reeled in for October-sake. 

For Texas, the notion of acquiring Gabbard was initially thrilling considering the market price for the kind of pitchers the lefty was developing into. As the Rangers brass pointed out, if Gabbard hit the open market following that ’07 season, in which he finished at 6-1 with a 4.65 ERA, the pitcher would have commanded a more-than-decent payday. But then injuries hit the former high school teammate Jerrod Saltalamacchia (just a little fun fact) and, after 12 starts in ’08, and he was forced to the operating table with a bone spur in his left elbow.

Although the 27-year-old Gabbard did start this season making five relief appearances with Triple A Oklahoma City, the Red Sox will scale him back and start over in extended spring training in Fort Myers. As for thoughts of using Gabbard primarily against left-handers, lefties have hit .237 against Gabbard, compared to a .263 clip for righties.

All things considered — especially since it only involves cash — bringing the owner of a World Series ring is, if nothing else, a good reminder of why you can never have enough Gabbard/pitching.

Read More: Kason Gabbad,
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