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Red Sox contemplate dealing John Lackey and potential of drastic change 07.29.14 at 11:05 am ET
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The Red Sox are considering the possibility of trading John Lackey. (AP)

The Red Sox are considering the possibility of trading John Lackey. (AP)

The Jon Lester rumors seemed self-explanatory: Command a trade ransom for an elite pitcher who will be a free agent for the next two months, and for whom another dozen starts have virtually no value to a spiraling Red Sox team but plenty of worth to a contending team trying to find the discover the difference between contention and the possibility of winning the World Series. Given where the Red Sox are in the standings, they *have* to listen to offers to Lester and any other free agent.

But the suggestion that the Red Sox are listening on veteran right-hander John Lackey represented a more surprising dimension in the rumor mill. After all, as Monday’s brutal outing by Clay Buchholz underscored, the Red Sox have exactly one pitcher under team control beyond this season who offers some measure of reliability.

Here’s what Lackey has done the last two years:

2013: 189 1/3 IP, 3.52 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9

2014: 137 1/3 IP (on pace for 210 IP), 3.60 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9

That’s a reliable rotation anchor. Lackey’s not an ace, but right now, he represents a solid No. 2 guy in the rotation, and thanks to the unique vesting option at the major league minimum for next year, he is under team control for next to nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Steps forward for Matt Barnes; Wendell Rijo scorching; Mars streaking 07.28.14 at 1:46 pm ET
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Matt Barnes matched a season-high with six strikeouts. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox)

Matt Barnes matched a season-high with six strikeouts. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-1 LOSS AT SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)

(BOX)

– The PawSox saw their 11-game winning streak conclude. Pawtucket broadcaster Josh Maurer does an excellent job dissecting the streak.

– Right-hander Matt Barnes had his second straight solid start coming out of the All-Star Break, tossing five innings and allowing two runs while matching a season-high with six strikeouts. He gave up four hits (three singles and a double) while walking two. Barnes now has back-to-back outings of at least five innings and two runs allowed, the first time he’s had such a stretch since accomplishing the feat in four straight starts to open his season in Pawtucket. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jonny Gomes takes stock of potential trade: ‘This isn’t my first rodeo’ 07.28.14 at 10:21 am ET
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Jonny Gomes said he's aware of, but not alarmed by, the possibility of being dealt. (AP)

Jonny Gomes said he’s aware of, but not alarmed by, the possibility of being dealt. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Who’s next? It’s a question that hovers over the Red Sox roster right now, and will continue to do so until the trade deadline passes on Thursday. All potential free agents are on high alert, given the Red Sox’ stated intention of putting themselves in the best position possible come April 2015.

Outfielder Jonny Gomes, in the second season of the two-year, $10 million contract he signed with the Red Sox on his birthday following the 2012 campaign, is aware of that fact. The possibility is not alarming, as Gomes already has experienced a mid-year relocation, going from the Reds to the Nationals for a pair of minor leaguers in 2011.

The 33-year-old, hitting .240/.333/.363 with six homers, but a robust .315/.410/.450 line against lefties, clearly wouldn’t be surprised if he were dealt to a contender in need of a right-handed bat with some thump. He’s not eager to be dealt, but he’s prepared if it happens, and suggests that his on-field performance won’t be impacted by the team for whom he spends the rest of the year.

“The first time I got traded, it was extremely mixed emotions of a team, not necessarily giving up, but feels you’re replaceable. At the same time, out of all the guys available in the trade market, this other team picked you,” said Gomes. “You never want to be given up on. But there are situations where you’re not being given up on but the business side stands out. Read the rest of this entry »

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David Ortiz fires back at criticism from Rays pitcher Chris Archer 07.27.14 at 7:58 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When David Ortiz launched a three-run homer that ultimately propelled the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Rays, he enjoyed it. His opponent did not.

Ortiz decimated an elevated Chris Archer changeup and sent it rocketing into the far reaches of the right field bleachers in the Tropicana Dome. He admired his work, then flung his bat to punctuate his blast before circling the bases. In an echo of comments made earlier this season by Archer’s teammate, David Price, Archer (a 25-year-old who has appeared in 49 career big league games), suggested that Ortiz acted without a proper sense of decorum. Read the rest of this entry »

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David Ortiz: Trading Jon Lester ‘sounds like a rebuilding … Hopefully he sticks around’ 07.27.14 at 7:29 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz, who slammed his fifth homer of the seven-game road trip on Sunday to propel the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Rays, took stock of his team at a time when it’s prepared to return to Fenway Park nine games below .500, with rumors swirling of players who might get moved in the coming four days. Ortiz made clear that his preference is to see the Red Sox keep Jon Lester and work to regain their footing with the left-hander.

“Like I always say, I’€™m just another player here where I’€™ve got no choice but to agree with whatever,” Ortiz said. “The front office is hard to do and they’€™ve been talking about trading Jon. That sounds like a rebuilding, that type of situation. I don’€™t know. There’€™s not much I can say about it but they’€™ve probably got their reason to do it. Hopefully it doesn’€™t happen. Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game. That’€™s a keeper. … Hopefully he sticks around and keeps on giving us those good seasons that he always does give us.”

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Jon Lester says he would be unlikely to consider extension with team that traded for him 07.27.14 at 6:09 pm ET
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Jon Lester maintains that he would want to return to the Red Sox even if traded. (AP)

Jon Lester maintains that he would want to return to the Red Sox even if traded. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With the trade deadline now four days away, Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester remains one of the most fascinating candidates on the market. The left-hander is at the point where he wouldn’t be surprised by a trade, but the Sox would have to get tremendous value in return for him.

That being the case, it’s worth noting that one way the team could get greater value for him in a trade would be if he negotiated an extension with the club that acquired him. If landed as a multi-year contributor, the potential prospect return for Lester could increase considerably.

However, it’s a road that Lester is unlikely to go down. He reiterated the notion that his preference is to be with the Red Sox in 2015 and beyond — even if traded for the duration of this year — and so he finds it hard to fathom that he would be able to make a long-term decision about playing in another city during the very narrow window afforded by the trade deadline — particularly given that Lester said he doesn’t plan to make a decision driven purely by securing top dollar, but instead wants to ensure that he is happy with all facets of any team with which he signs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: David Ortiz wraps up trip to Jamaica by propelling Red Sox to win over Rays 07.27.14 at 5:04 pm ET
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David Ortiz hit a three-run homer to propel the Red Sox to victory. (AP)

David Ortiz hit a three-run homer to propel the Red Sox to victory. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As the rest of his teammates prepared for a road trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay, David Ortiz said that he was getting ready to visit Jamaica. Evidently, he got there.

A lot went wrong for the Red Sox during their 2-5 road trip that essentially snuffed out any sense by the Red Sox front office that a standings surge was possible this year. But Ortiz offered a singular highlight on the trip with an epic display of power.

On Sunday, Ortiz punctuated his showcase by launching a three-run homer that represented the entirety of his team’s offensive output in a 3-2 win over the Rays. In the seven-game trip, Ortiz went 8-for-28 with five homers and two doubles (with a likelihood that one of the doubles should have been ruled a homer rather than a ground-rule double on fan interference), good for a .286/.310/.893 line. He now has 25 homers on the year, the 10th time in his 12 seasons with the Red Sox that he’s reached that market.

At a time when the Sox are trying to evaluate what they have for 2015, Ortiz — even at 38 — continues to represent a known quantity in the middle of the order, a player around whom the team can envision building a deeper, better lineup for next year.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »

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