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Red Sox beat buzzer with Bedard deal

07.31.11 at 8:46 pm ET
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The Red Sox barely beat the 4 p.m. deadline to acquire left-hander Erik Bedard from Seattle. (AP)

CHICAGO — So, how close did it come?

The Red Sox have a history of pushing the boundaries of the trade deadline. In eight previous years under Theo Epstein, the Sox had consummated 10 different trades on July 31, including a couple of complex deals — a four-team swap to move Nomar Garciaparra and acquire Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz in 2004 and a three-team deal to send Manny Ramirez packing in favor of Jason Bay — that barely squeezed under the 4 p.m. deadline.

This year, the clock was once again winding down toward the deadline.

“It wasn’t clear we were going to be able to get anything done until the last minute again,” said Epstein. “I don’t know why that always happens to us. … It was a little stressful.”

The Sox and Mariners could not match up precisely based on the prospects in the Red Sox system — there were players whom the Sox didn’t want to sacrifice — and so Boston had to find another party to give the Mariners the return that they needed to move Bedard.

However, based on other talks with the Dodgers (likely surrounding starter Hiroki Kuroda, who rendered any deal moot by suggesting that he would not waive his no-trade clause), the Sox knew that they had some pieces in their farm system whom L.A. would like to acquire. With minutes left before the deadline, the Sox had little time to waste.

The Sox raced to make a deal with the Dodgers. They sent Double-A catcher Tim Federowicz, Double-A starter Stephen Fife and Single-A Greenville reliever Juan Rodriguez to the Dodgers in exchange for power-hitting Triple-A outfielder Trayvon Robinson.

Then, the Sox turned around Robinson and shipped him and Double-A outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang to the Mariners for Bedard and reliever Josh Fields.

“We made the trade first with the Dodgers to get Trayvon Robinson, knowing that he was a player who would help get us just about all the way to Bedard, then add in one of our players to get the deal done,” said Epstein. “The one trade with the Dodgers probably got done with about two minutes left, and the trade with Seattle got done with about a minute left. It’s pushing the deadline, but everyone has their mouse on the send button.”

There was a familiar feeling to the chaotic process and its successful conclusion.

“We were actually talking about that in the office in the aftermath of it,” said Epstein. “It was actually pretty similar to the Nomar trade and the Manny trade, where it came right down to the wire.”

The Nomar trade, of course, helped reconfigure the Red Sox to win their first World Series in 86 years, while the 2008 season ended with the Manny-less Sox coming within one game of the World Series. How this season will play out remains to be seen, but the Sox are satisfied that they addressed their foremost area of concern at the deadline — even if just barely.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Chih-Hsien Chiang, Dodgers, Erik Bedard
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