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John Farrell: Felix Doubront’s struggles not as simple as need for change of scenery

07.30.14 at 7:02 pm ET
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Another domino has fallen in the Red Sox‘ potential trade deadline fire sale, as the team officially announced that pitcher Felix Doubront has been traded to the Cubs for a player to be named later.

While Doubront’s last outing with Boston on Monday against the Blue Jays (six hits, six earned runs in 2/3 of an inning) could have been seen as the last straw in terms of the Red Sox dealing with the unhappy hurler, Farrell noted that a deal involving Doubront was not a direct cause of his last appearance.

“I don’t know that two nights ago triggered a trade,” Farrell said. “I don’t think any trade happens overnight, so I wouldn’t say it’s a direct result of that.”

The transaction puts a close to what has been a miserable season for Doubront. The 26-year-old lefty was never able to establish himself on the mound this season, posting a 5.19 ERA over his 10 starts, prompting the team to demote him to the bullpen.

Doubront, frustrated by his removal from the starting rotation, appeared disinterested in subsequent games, allowing 11 earned runs over his last nine innings of work (11.00 ERA).

A move to the Windy City could help give Doubront a new sense of motivation and energy, but Farrell said that the left-hander’s effort to improve himself will stand as the key factor in whether he will be able to turn around his career.

“I don’t necessarily buy into the change of scenery,” Farrell said. “Can it invigorate someone in a new surrounding? Possibly. But as I talked with him a while ago, if this does come to fruition, the work is always going to be needed, regardless of where you pitch or the role in which you’re pitching in. He has performed well for us over a period of time and it can’t be understated, the importance of his relief appearances last year in the World Series, those were two pivotal outings by him and he did a great job.”

While Farrell acknowledged that Doubront arrived at spring training in much better shape than the year before, he said that Doubront was never able to find the consistency that aided the lefty at points last season. While he finished 2013 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP, Doubront also compiled a stretch last season from May 16 to Aug. 10 that saw him post a 2.73 ERA.

“When you talk about any pitcher, not just in this situation, but consistency is driven from a number of ways,” Farrell said. “Every player has maintenance in their work routine, and in a pitcher’s case, in his delivery, consistently throw strikes, to remain aware of game situations. I can’t say that there was one thing. … He did suffer from the one fatigue outing where you spend some time on the DL after that, but he seemed to never get on the role like he did last year, which was 15-16 straight starts of three runs or less and that was missing this year.”

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