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Red Sox receive SS Marco Hernandez from Cubs to complete Felix Doubront trade 12.15.14 at 7:35 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced they they’ve received shortstop Marco Hernandez from the Cubs as the player to be named later in the deal that sent left-hander Felix Doubront to the Cubs on July 30. Hernandez, who turned 22 in September, spent the year with High-A Daytona in the Florida State League, hitting .270 with a .315 OBP, .351 slugging mark, three homers and 22 steals (in 30 attempts). Signed out of the Dominican in 2009, Hernandez has spent most of his career at shortstop, while also getting some exposure to second base, a handful of games at third and one in right.

The left-handed hitter (who abandoned switch-hitting last season) is described as a better hitter from the left side (he hit .288/.334/.387 against right-handed pitchers and .227/.267/.266 against lefties). An evaluator described him as a good athlete who is a plus defender at shortstop who can fly, but his skills as a hitter lag behind his defense, giving him the upside of a superutility player.

Doubront, who turned 27 in October, went 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA for the Red Sox in 59 1/3 innings, losing a spot in the rotation and expressing dismay with the idea of a bullpen role. After being dealt to the Cubs, he went 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in four starts.

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Jon Lester: Trade to A’s ‘broke that barrier’ about leaving Red Sox as free agent 12.15.14 at 2:50 pm ET
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Jon Lester, at the press conference introducing him with the Cubs upon the completion of his six-year, $155 million deal, said that the Red Sox‘ decision to trade him to the A’s at the July 31 deadline (along with Jonny Gomes in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes) did impact his view of the free agent process. Lester said that it became easier to imagine changing organizations once he experienced success with a new club. (After going 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts with the Red Sox, Lester went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for the A’s.)

“I think so,” Lester told reporters of whether being traded impacted his approach to free agency. “We were traded. That was the unknown of going to a whole different coast, a whole different organization, a whole different philosophy. I think going there prepared us for this time. I think if we finished out the year in Boston and you get down to this decision, I think it would be a lot harder. Not to say it wasn’t hard as it was, but that broke that barrier of, ‘I wonder if I can play for another team.’ I think we answered those questions.”

Still, Lester acknowledged that he agonized over the decision-making process, particularly the final determination about whether to return to Chicago, return to Boston (which offered a six-year, $135 million deal) or consider the interest of West Coast suitors (most prominently the Giants). He fielded countless calls from teammate Dustin Pedroia (among others) before coming to terms with his decision.

“I kind of describe the process in two different forms. I think when you’re sitting there meeting with people, we got to come to Chicago, meet with these guys, enjoy dinner. We had some other teams that came into our house, meet with those people. I think that’s kind of the fun, exciting time. You get to hear different philosophies. You get to meet different people that you probably won’t get to be around. And then you have kind of the second phase where you have to sit down and make a decision. That part, for us, was not fun,” Lester said at the press conference. “That was a lot of phone calls, a lot of minutes sitting down and thinking about what we were going to do. But as far as the decision-making, we made it literally hours before it was probably announced. Just sitting down with these guys, sitting down with my wife, trying to iron it out, it came down to that final moment where we just put our fist down, said, ‘This is it. This is where we’re going to go. This is where we feel the most comfortable.’ We’re not people that are going to put one foot in the pool. We’re going to dive in. That’s what we did.

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Sources: Red Sox add RHP Rick Porcello for OF Yoenis Cespedes, RHP Alex Wilson, LHP Gabe Speier 12.11.14 at 10:28 am ET
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Rick Porcello has reportedly been traded to the Red Sox. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Rick Porcello has reportedly been traded to the Red Sox, according to a source. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox have traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers in exchange for Rick Porcello. The Red Sox will also be sending relief pitcher Alex Wilson and rookie level left-hander Gabe Speier to Detroit. While the Red Sox had to include prospects, however, it’s worth noting that Porcello can be extended a qualifying offer for the purposes of gleaning a draft pick as compensation should he leave after the season as a free agent; Cespedes is not subject to a qualifying offer. News of the Cespedes-for-Porcello framework was first reported by CJ Nitkowski of Fox Sports 1.

Porcello gives the Sox a second durable addition to their starting rotation following the (almost-completed) addition of left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. The 25-year-old went 15-13 with a career-best 3.43 ERA and career-high 204 2/3 innings in 2014, a step up from his first four seasons in which he’d posted a 4.51 ERA while averaging 174 innings a year.

However, his breakthrough may have had as much to do with the defense behind him as with his own work on the mound. A pitch-to-contact sinkerballer, Porcello had suffered for years as a result of a Tigers infield that had myriad defensive deficiencies. The team upgraded in 2014, with Nick Castellanos taking over at third for Miguel Cabrera, Cabrera moving to first and Gold Glove candidate Ian Kinsler joining the club as a second baseman. The result was a year in which Porcello’s actual ERA reflected the kind of contact that he elicits, as well as the frequency of his strike-throwing (he averages 5.5 strikeouts and just 2.2 walks per nine innings in his career).

Cespedes, acquired for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes at the trade deadline in 2014, his .260/.301/.450 in 2014, including .269/.296/.423 with the Red Sox over the final two months. He showed above-average range in left field when playing in larger outfields, though he struggled with the nuances of Fenway’s left field wall. And with the Sox’ signing of Hanley Ramirez to play left field for the next four years, Cespedes’ only fit with the team in 2015 would have required a move to center or right fields. His trade helps to address what had become a growing outfield surplus; the Sox now have Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Allen Craig, Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava (as well as minor league depth options like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz) for the outfield.

Wilson, a 2009 second-round pick who turned 28 in November, performed well out of the Red Sox bullpen in 2014. He appeared in 18 games with a 1.91 ERA in 28 1/3 innings, striking out 6.0 but walking 1.6 per nine innings. Speier, a 2013 19th-rounder out of high school who underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after turning pro, had a strong return from the procedure as a 19-year-old in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League, going 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA with 26 strikeouts, just one walk and excellent groundball rates in 29 innings.

Porcello and Miley give the Sox a pair of mid-rotation starters who have proven durable throughout their careers (Miley has three straight years of 198 or more innings; Porcello has averaged 30 starts a year in his big league career) to offer scaffolding for Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly, who have not demonstrated their durability as starters. MLBTradeRumors.com projects Miley to earn $4.3 million next year and Porcello to earn $12.2 million, meaning that the Sox likely have both the payroll flexibility and prospect resources to make further additions to the pitching staff either via free agency or a trade.

Read More: 2014 winter meetings, alex wilson, gabe speier, rick porcello
Sources: Red Sox reach agreement to add Wade Miley from Diamondbacks for Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster 12.10.14 at 10:33 pm ET
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The Red Sox have reached an agreement to acquire left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have reached an agreement to acquire left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — Multiple industry sources have confirmed that the Red Sox have an agreement to acquire left-handed starter Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handers Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, with a minor leaguer also believed to be heading to Arizona. News of the trade agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports (via twitter).

The deal is not yet official, but is expected to be finalized in the coming days. One Arizona official insisted, “Nothing if official. Nothing has been finalized.”

Still, the issue appears to be little more than procedural.

Miley fills a pair of needs for the Red Sox as a pitcher who can shoulder a reliable innings load (he’s logged three straight years of 198 or more innings) and he’s left-handed, giving the Sox some diversity in their rotation.

As written in this blog post earlier today:

In parts of four seasons, Miley, a 2008 first-rounder, is 38-35 with a 3.79 ERA. He’€™s thrown at least 194 innings in each of the last three seasons, performing at a level described by one evaluator as a solid No. 4. He’€™s struck out 7.0 per nine innings in his career, including a career-high 8.4 per nine innings in 2014, though after posting ERAs of 3.33 and 3.54 in 2012 and 2013, Miley had a 4.34 ERA last season.

That said, his numbers were made worse by a putrid Diamondbacks defense, and he’€™s also spent his career in one of the more difficult home pitching environments in the game. While he is not being viewed by the Sox as a potential top-of-the-rotation replacement for Jon Lester, his career track record suggests a potentially stabilizing rotation presence.

Miley is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason. He remains under team control for three years before he’€™ll be eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.

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Read More: allen webster, rubby de la rosa, wade miley,
The Red Sox and the quest for innings and left-handedness in their starting rotation 12.10.14 at 8:59 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — In five full big league seasons from 2010-14, Clay Buchholz has averaged 145 innings. In his first season as a full-time big league starter in 2014, Joe Kelly logged 96 1/3 innings. Those are the only two known members of the 2015 Red Sox.

Neither pitcher has a demonstrated, reliable ability to handle a full-season workload of 200 innings. As such, the Red Sox may prioritize pitchers whose track records suggest the potential to do just that.

We always go through an exercise in budgeting, or coming up with a budget number of innings that need to be accounted for,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “You take into account what individual pitchers have done in previous years and what you project them to be able to provide upcoming. We knew going in that there were going to be a couple of spots needed for innings eating and very quality innings pitched. Ideally, if you can get a couple of 200-inning pitchers, they don’€™t go on trees, but that’€™s the goal.”

That might help to explain some of the Sox’ interest in Diamondbacks lefty Wade Miley, who has logged at least 198 innings in each of the last three seasons. The need for innings stability might also have the Sox particularly intrigued by pitchers like Jordan Zimmermann (203 innings a year for the last three years) and Rick Porcello (who threw 200 innings for the first time in 2014 but has never been on the DL). Other potential targets such as free agents James Shields (averaging an astounding 233 innings a year over the last four years) and Ervin Santana (averaging 207 innings a year for the last five seasons) might gain prominence as Sox targets for the same reason.

Ideally, the Red Sox would like to add a left-hander to their rotation as well given that, for now, their only two starters (and, in all likelihood, all the candidates for the fifth starter’s spot) are right-handed. However, Farrell suggested that the necessity of having a lefty in the rotation has diminished in recent years in the American League East.

I think you always like to have that at your disposal to match up or to map out your rotation how it might fall depending on the upcoming schedule,” said Farrell. “[But] when you look at what’€™s changing in our division, this once was and just was a few years ago a very left-handed hitting division. That’€™s shifting, when you see the changes that have gone in Toronto, in Baltimore, probably with some changes that still might take place down in Tampa, that might be the case as well, you’€™re seeing a little bit more right-handed offense starting to emerge in other cities.”

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Read More: 2014 winter meetings, John Farrell, Jon Lester,
Ben Cherington on Red Sox’ rotation outlook: ‘We’ll be able to put together a good pitching staff’ 12.10.14 at 5:24 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — Ben Cherington’s 30-minute media session at the winter meetings on Wednesday morning served two purposes. The Red Sox GM both articulated his view of the negotiations that took place between his team and Jon Lester (both about an extension in spring training and a free agent contract after the season) and offered his view of where things stand in the team’s quest to address the ill-defined shape of its rotation.

As much as the team was disappointed not to be able to retain Lester, Cherington expressed optimism that the team will be able to round out its rotation in a way that will produce a contending team for 2015.

“We’re going to add pitching. It’s not a matter of desperation. It’s a matter of when and how. I don’t know if it’s tomorrow or next week or January. We will add pitching, and there’s still a lot out there,” said Cherington. “Red Sox fans want a winning team. They deserve a winning team. And that’s our aim: To provide that. We feel confident we will. There’s a lot of different ways to do that. We’ve got a great talent base already. We’re going to be able to add to it. I think when there’s connection to a player, in this case, he wasn’t with us at the end of the year but there’s still that connection and now we’re in free agency. We understand that that can be difficult to fans who have a connection. Ultimately, we’re confident we’re going to put a really good team on the field and it’s going to be a team that our fans like watching and it’s going to win games. There’s going to be a connection to some other player. Those connections will grow in time. …

“We’re going to add pitching,” he added. “We still don’t know when that will happen, what the names will be. We’re going to add pitching. We’ve been working on it all offseason. We’re closer to it than we were in October and closer to it than we were last week, but we’re also not announcing anything today. So, we’ll see where it all lands. But there’s a lot of options out there still, good pitching out there. And we’re in a great position with the base of talent we have, the resources we have, that we’ll be able to put together a good pitching staff.”

Some other comments by Cherington on the pitching market:

— With Cole Hamels looming as a potential trade candidate, but in possession of the right to veto a trade to the Red Sox after naming them as one of the 20 clubs for which he has no-trade protection, Cherington was asked whether he’d want to deal for a player who used such a clause to restrict the chances of being dealt to the Red Sox. “There’s a lot of possibilities out there. If there are guys that are less interested in being in Boston, then they are. But there are a lot of guys that do want to be in Boston,” said Cherington. “So that’s just part of the process, working through that. I don’t want to comment specifically on any one player, but that would still be our criteria. We want people who want to be here.”

— Cherington suggested that the Sox were willing to pay the necessary price in money or players to acquire rotation solutions. “We went into the offseason knowing that in order to add to the rotation in the way we want to, it’s going to cost something. That will either come in the form of money or talent or sometimes both. It’s just a matter of finding the deals that make sense,” said Cherington. “We’re willing to give up something to add to the rotation. We expect we’ll have to. It’s not that. It’s just, how do we put together the best team for 2015? We are committed to winning in 2015. How do we do that without sort of fundamentally hurting the long term? That’s the work we’re doing. We feel good. We’ll be able to build a pitching staff and build a team that can win and that will have the blocks necessary to win for a long time.”

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Ben Cherington breaks down the breakdown in Jon Lester negotiations 12.10.14 at 3:54 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — As the Cubs celebrate the arrival of their ace in Jon Lester, the Red Sox are left to answer for how it came to this — how a pitcher who expressed a desire to spend his career in Boston, even if it meant a hometown discount, ended up heading elsewhere. Looming over that postmortem is the question surrounding the team’s initial four-year, $70 million offer to Lester last spring — an offer that was so far from what the pitcher deemed acceptable that it became, in essence, the end-point of negotiations until Lester arrived at free agency.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington — who learned late on Tuesday night of Lester’s decision in two conversations, first with agent Seth Levinson and then in a brief phone call with Lester — addressed some of those issues on Wednesday. While he declined to go into the specifics of the team’s offers (either the four-year, $70 million extension proposal in spring training that was meant to be a conversation-starter rather than an endpoint, or the team’s final six-year, $135 million offer this week (the team’s second offer of the free-agent process, according to Cherington, made this week after an initial offer in November following a meeting between Lester and team officials in Atlanta), which came up $20 million short of what the Cubs had on the table), Cherington offered his view of what happened in the talks with Lester.

I think we would have liked to have had more chance for dialogue prior to the season. Why that didn’€™t happen, maybe there’€™s more than one reason. I think we can certainly learn from the process. But we desired to have more dialogue prior to the season and made an effort during the season and weren’€™t able to,” said Cherington. “Then we got into free agency and we’€™re able to do it then. Jon did a lot of great things for the Red Sox. We wish him nothing but the best. We’€™re moving on.”

Here are some highlights of Cherington’s 30-minute media session:


“The problem when pieces of conversations or pieces of information get put out without the whole context of what’€™s going on, it can sort of shape the public narrative. All I can say is that we had a lot of conversations prior to making an offer. I think there was a decent understanding on both sides of where, back in spring training, and during the season, of where the sort of range of both sides were looking. We felt that we could enter into a conversation, and we could start a conversation and that’€™s the only way you get to a deal, is to start a conversation. We just weren’€™t able to have the kind of dialogue back in the spring, or during the season, that we wanted to. as I’€™ve said before, can we learn things from what happened? Sure. Always can. But right now, once you get into free agency, it becomes a different animal. We understand that. Simply put, the Cubs offered more than we did and he made a choice and we respect it and wish him nothing but the best. We go back to focusing on putting our team together and we feel really good about where we are.”

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Read More: 2014 winter meetings, ben cherington, Jon Lester,
Source: Red Sox showing interest in Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley 12.10.14 at 1:16 pm ET
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According to an industry source, the Red Sox have engaged in discussions with the Diamondbacks about the possibility of acquiring left-hander Wade Miley. The Diamondbacks appear to be focused on acquiring pitching in return for the 28-year-old left-hander.

In parts of four seasons, Miley — a 2008 first-rounder — is 38-35 with a 3.79 ERA. He’s thrown at least 194 innings in each of the last three seasons, performing at a level described by one evaluator as a solid No. 4. He’s struck out 7.0 per nine innings in his career, including a career-high 8.4 per nine innings in 2014, though after posting ERAs of 3.33 and 3.54 in 2012 and 2013, Miley had a 4.34 ERA last season.

That said, his numbers were made worse by a putrid Diamondbacks defense, and he’s also spent his career in one of the more difficult home pitching environments in the game. While he is not being viewed by the Sox as a potential top-of-the-rotation replacement for Jon Lester, his career track record suggests a potentially stabilizing rotation presence.

Miley is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason. He remains under team control for three years before he’ll be eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.

Read More: 2014 winter meetings, wade miley,
Source: Cubs, Jon Lester agree to 6-year, $155 million deal 12.10.14 at 1:36 am ET
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Jon Lester's Red Sox career is now in the rearview mirror. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jon Lester‘s Red Sox career now is in the rearview mirror. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — Almost a year after his proclaimed interest in returning to the Red Sox on a hometown discount, left-hander Jon Lester rejected his former team’s free agent overtures and instead chose to make his baseball home in Chicago with the Cubs, according to an industry source.

Lester agreed to a six-year, $155 million deal, the largest average annual value ($25.83 million) ever given to a pitcher on a multi-year deal in free agency. His deal with the Cubs includes a vesting option for a seventh year. The Sox’ final offer, according to another industry source, was for a six-year, $135 million deal with no seventh-year vesting option.

Lester’s decision followed a weeks-long process of visits with interested teams and two full days at the Major League Baseball winter meetings in which much of the industry’s activity seemed to depend upon his decision.

“You just wait for the white smoke,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon joked on Tuesday afternoon of the wait for Lester’s choice between his team, the Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers. “This is a guy when the game is really big he was always at his best. To possibly get this opportunity to work with him for the first time is very exciting. … [You] can’t have any more respect for a baseball player than we do for him now. For us to be able to pull this off it would be pretty outstanding.”

In choosing to sign with the Cubs, Lester joins a front office with whom he has a great deal of familiarity. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod all have close relationships with the pitcher after spending years with him in the Red Sox system.

A case can be made that the fact Lester chose that group rather than a Sox organization with whom he spent the first 12 years of his career represented a particularly painful dagger for Boston. Lester was the first player drafted under the current Sox owners in 2002 and contributed to two World Series titles, foremost with a dominant performance for the ages in the 2013 postseason.

Lester had made no secret of his desire to return to the Red Sox, stating in no uncertain terms prior to the 2014 season that he would take less than full market value in hopes of remaining with the Sox for his entire career. But when the Sox made an initial four-year, $70 million offer to Lester in spring training, the pitcher and club saw insufficient common ground to continue talks during the season, and Lester didn’t re-open the door to in-season negotiations.

Still, even after the team traded Lester (and Jonny Gomes) to the A’s at the trade deadline for Yoenis Cespedes, the Sox remained adamant that they’d make a run at the pitcher when he arrived at free agency after the season following a 16-11 season in which he had a career-best 2.46 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 219 2/3 innings. That is precisely what they did, with team ownership meeting with him in the Atlanta area in November and principal owner John Henry traveling back to meet with the pitcher one-on-one again last week. The team showed a willingness to go to six years — the longest guarantee ever made under the Henry ownership group.

But ultimately, Lester, 30, opted to be a part of Chicago’s effort to end its 106-year championship drought. The Red Sox, who have two holes in their rotation, must now focus their attentions elsewhere as they pursue a top-of-the-rotation option for 2015 and beyond.

Read More: 2014 winter meetings, cubs, Jon Lester,
Joe Maddon on Jon Lester sweepstakes: ‘Just wait for the white smoke’ 12.09.14 at 7:26 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that he doesn’t know where free agent Jon Lester might end up or when he might make his decision. But the new Chicago skipper, whose club is one of the finalists for the left-hander’s services, said that he soon expects an indication of Lester’s intentions.

“I’m sure it’s not going to be much longer, I don’t think that it would be, but I have no information or knowledge about that. You talk about it, you just wait for the white smoke,” said Maddon. “I hope we win it. My role has been to ‘€‘’€‘ I spoke to him on the phone once. I’ve never spoken to Jon before that, adversarially with the Rays and the Red Sox for many years, always admired his work from a distance. This is a guy when the game is really big he was always at his best. To possibly get this opportunity to work with him for the first time is very exciting. So I honest to God don’t know where this is at right now. I did talk to him before ‘€‘’€‘ I think it was before Thanksgiving, actually. We had a great conversation, again, because I’d never really spoke with him before. It would be a great boon to us to have this come off.

“Can’t have any more respect for a baseball player than we do for him now,” added Maddon, who managed against Lester with the Rays over the last nine seasons. “For us to be able to pull this off it would be pretty outstanding.”

Read More: 2014 winter meetings, Joe Maddon, Jon Lester,
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