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Ben Cherington: Red Sox made deals this week while, ‘maintaining really what we consider the top end of our young pitching’ 12.12.14 at 10:34 pm ET
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Allen Webster was traded to the Diamondbacks for Wade Miley this week. (Getty Images)

Allen Webster was traded to the Diamondbacks for Wade Miley this week. (Getty Images)

It’s been a busy week for the Red Sox, as with a free agent signing and two trades the team has added three starting pitchers.

Maybe just as important for the organization, they didn’t have to dive too deep into their pool of young talented pitchers to do so, as they gave up Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and a minor leaguer to acquire Wade Miley, and Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and a minor leaguer to get Rick Porcello.

General manager Ben Cherington is satisfied with the rotation as it stands now, as well as the young arms up and coming behind them.

“If you look past the five guys you pencil in the rotation right now, we still feel like we have a good six or seven young pitchers beyond that who are all capable of being very good major league pitchers, and many of them major league starters in the not so distant future,” Cherington said on a conference call Friday night. “Of course we don’t know exactly what date that will happen on. It is certainly possible one or two of them could get a look in a bullpen role if the opportunity is there. We’ve been able to acquire the three starters that we have this week while still maintaining really what we consider the top end of our young pitching and still have what we think his really good young pitching depth besides the five guys that will likely open the season in the rotation.”

De La Rosa and Webster were both acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 blockbuster deal with the Dodgers. The two pitchers showed flashes of being able to have success in the majors, but were too inconsistent.

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Wade Miley: ‘I’m excited to get this opportunity to join [the Red Sox]‘ at 9:59 pm ET
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The Red Sox acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

The Red Sox acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

After a few days of it first being reported, the Red Sox‘ trade with the Diamondbacks became official on Friday.

The Red Sox acquired All-Star left-handed pitcher Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster and minor league infielder Raymel Flores.

Miley, 28, was the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day starter last season, and in 2012 was a NL All-Star, finishing second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting to Bryce Harper. The left-hander wasn’t completely surprised by the trade and is looking forward to coming to Boston.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Miley said on a conference call Friday night. “I kind of had some thoughts earlier, I talked to my agent a couple of times and he said there might be something in the works. Really didn’t know what it was, but everything kind of went down. It was a little hectic, but it’s a great opportunity and I am looking forward to this next chapter.”

General manager Ben Cherington said Miley was one of the team’s targets since the season ended, and they had been in discussions with the Diamondbacks even before the GM meetings last month.

“Given Arizona’s situation we thought it would be possible they would listen, not certain at all, so we checked in,” Cherington said on Friday’s conference call. “A series of conversations going back to even before the GM meetings, then during the GM meetings and then since then a lot of back and forth, a lot of hot and cold. There were times when we talked it might be possible and then there were times when it seemed to go away. Fortunately it came back to us this week.”

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Red Sox acquire reliever Zeke Spruill in separate trade with Diamondbacks at 9:34 pm ET
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Zeke Spruill was acquired by the Red Sox from the Diamondbacks on Friday. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Zeke Spruill was acquired by the Red Sox from the Diamondbacks on Friday. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

After agreeing to a trade with the Diamondbacks, reportedly on Wednesday night for left-handed starter Wade Miley, the two teams were not done there.

Friday it was announced the Red Sox acquired Arizona right-handed reliever Zeke Spruill in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Myles Smith.

Smith spent last season with Single-A Greenville, going 5-10 with one save, a 5.82 ERA, 73 strikeouts, and 62 walks allowed in 26 outings, including 12 starts. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft.

Spruill, 25, spent the majority of 2014 with the Diamondbacks’€™ Triple-A Reno affiliate, going 3-7 with a 6.04 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 79.0 innings over 28 outings (11 starts). He was called up to the big leagues late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He went 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA with 14 strikeouts and four walks in six outings. The Red Sox liked what they saw from him out of the bullpen, and was a major reason why they were drawn to him.

“It came together sort of quickly over the last day or so — he was designated earlier in the week,” general manager Ben Cherington said on a conference call Friday night. “He’s a guy we’ve also known through the draft out of Georgia and followed him. He was involved in a trade with the Braves. We got to see him late this year after he moved to the bullpen. Felt like he kind of looked like a different guy out of the bullpen.

“We liked how he looked out of the bullpen, how his stuff played out of the ‘pen. Guy who keeps the ball on the ground. Has good stuff, good life on his fastball and breaking ball. Just looked like a different guy out of the ‘pen and we wanted to take a shot at it because in the series of trades we made this week, obviously moving Alex Wilson and a couple of guys in this trade for Wade, it just helps us replenish some of the young pitching depth we gave up this week.”

Spruill will likely compete for a spot in the bullpen during spring training, and looks essentially like a replacement for Alex Wilson, who was sent to Detroit as a part of the Rick Porcello-Yoenis Cespedes deal.

For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

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Ben Cherington talks Rick Porcello trade, plans for Red Sox going forward 12.11.14 at 1:59 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

SAN DIEGO — The only thing that could stop Ben Cherington’s activity at the winter meetings? The plea over his plane’s loudspeaker to power down all electronic devices.

The Red Sox general manager punctuated his stay at the Manchester Hyatt with a flurry of pitching acquisitions, although Cherington was only prepared to discuss one — trading Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and Gabe Speier to Detroit for pitcher Rick Porcello — by the time he ventured to the airport.

Along with Porcello, according to sources, Cherington was on the verge of completing a trade for pitcher Wade Miley in exchange for pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, while also coming to terms with free agent hurler Justin Masterson on a one-year, $9.5 million with incentives.

A source also confirmed that the Red Sox met with free agent pitcher James Shields at his San Diego-area home.

Here is what Cherington had to say before leaving the meetings:

On discussions involving Cespedes: “Many. Going back to the beginning of the offseason and GM meetings. I’ve said before, there were plenty of scenarios where we were keeping him. We were not looking to trade Yoenis Cespedes, but as we got into the offseason and looked at what the alternatives were and the need to build a rotation and the depth we have in the outfield, we feel good about the outfield group that we have. We just felt like it made sense. And Detroit’s getting a good player. I expect him to have a very good year for them.”

On the outfield logjam with Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo: “Yeah, well, I think it’s those three guys. With those three guys, we feel confident we’ll figure out a solution that works. I don’t think we feel like we need to do it right now. Obviously in Mookie’s case, he’s the youngest of the group. he came up and played very well and looked like he’s going to be more than capable of playing center or right or any other positions potentially. Castillo’s a natural center fielder and has looked really good defensively in Arizona and Puerto Rico now that he’s down there. Obviously we made an investment in him and believe in him as a player. And then obviously Victorino is a huge part of the team and the best right fielder in baseball in 2013 and went through a tough 2014 because of injuries. If he’s recovered, and we expect him to be recovered, he can be a very good player. I just think it’s something we’ll figure out as we get closer to the season. We feel like, as you guys all know, center and right, both really important positions. We feel like between the three of them, we’ll come up with a good solution. And then certainly Craig gives us protection at both corners, first base. And so we feel like we have some options and some offensive depth that we were able to consider trading Cespedes because of that.”

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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 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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Ben Cherington: Red Sox in position to build ‘good rotation…that can contend for the AL East’ 12.03.14 at 4:21 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an interview on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, said that the Red Sox remain unsure of the means by which they’ll round out their 2015 rotation, but the team is confident in its ultimate ability to put together a group that will have aspirations to win the division next year.

“I wouldn’t rule out adding two starters. We don’t know what the names are. We don’t know where they’ll come from. We don’t know the cost associated with it,” Cherington told MLB Network Radio. “We’re in a position to be active in the market for pitchers. … Everyone’s got a budget, including us. There is some limit at some point to what you can do. We feel good we’re in a position, whether it’s talent or whether it’s the financial resources, to build a rotation that’s a good rotation and that, along with the rest of the team, can contend for the AL East next year.”

One asset that the Sox have to use in trying to address their rotation is their outfield surplus. Cherington echoed remarks he made at the press conference introducing Hanley Ramirez as the team’s new left fielder in suggesting that the team does face an increasing likelihood of dealing from its positional depth.

“The Hanley signing does increase the likelihood of us making a trade. It doesn’t guarantee it but it does increase the likelihood, and sure enough we’ve had a lot of calls on the outfielders since then,” Cherington told the radio network. “We’ll see what happens in the trade market over the next couple weeks. … We felt like the signing of Hanley put us in a better position not just to address our needs this offseason but to ensure the lineup in the short- and the long-term and to give us the best chance to make sure we have a high quailty defender in both center and right in the short- and long-term.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Ben Cherington on D&C: Yoenis Cespedes ‘in our plans for next year’ 11.26.14 at 10:13 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss Boston’€™s most recent offseason acquisitions. To hear the segment, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

With the Red Sox‘ signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is in a precarious situation. He was acquired in a trade at the non-waiver deadline in July, but he could be on his way out in a trade this offseason because Ramirez is expected to start in his position. Cherington tried to downplay the urgency to move the Cuban outfielder.

Said Cherington: “We acquired him at the deadline in the [Jon] Lester trade because we felt that was the best deal at the time, we still feel that way. He’€™s in our plans for next year and his versatility and skill in the outfield and gives us the flexibility, could play any of the three positions. We’€™ll just see what the rest of the offseason brings. We have a long way to go, and as we get to January, closer to spring training, we’€™ll know more about who’€™s here and how it all adds up.”

Pablo Sandoval signed a reported five-year, $95 million contract. With the production he’€™s had over his career and the fact that two other teams were bidding on the third baseman, Cherington said the final contract fell in line with what he thought it be before Sandoval signed.

“It ended up being about in the neighborhood where we thought,” Cherington said. “Again, given his age, his sort of platform and what he’€™s done in the postseason and everything about him. And then the fact that he’€™s done it in a major market, he was going to get attention, there was going to be competition and we felt like he would end up in the neighborhood he ended up. It just so happened that the three teams involved in the end were all pretty much in that same neighborhood, and we’€™re obviously very happy he chose us.”

Before the 2013 World Series run, the Red Sox landed Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino on three-year deals. This time it took two more years to get Sandoval. Cherington said age played a role in the contract differences.

Said Cherington: “First of all, every guy is different, and I think most if not all of the contracts two offseasons ago were with guys past 30. … In Sandoval’€™s case he’€™s 28, so the calculus is a little bit different. … The other thing is, the market is changing. Every year for every player in baseball, contracts continue to move, the dollars continue to move. So you have to adjust to that. What was valued three years ago is different. Every year we’€™re trying to build the best team we can and end up finding the players that fit into that plan.”

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Red Sox ‘not close’ to catching any fish in offseason ocean 11.12.14 at 5:53 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

PHOENIX – One of the biggest names of this offseason is now off the board with Victor Martinez having reportedly agreed to re-sign with the Tigers. Similar news about Red Sox offseason moves is not likely in the coming days.

GM Ben Cherington said that he “would not expect” the Red Sox to sign anyone this week. While the GM Meetings serve a useful purpose in terms of giving teams a chance to exchange information with teams and agents, they typically offer a springboard for more advanced conversations after the meetings break up.

“We’re working on stuff so there’s always a chance of getting something done, but I can’t predict [whether anything will happen prior to the December winter meetings]. … It’s really still more gathering information, looking at conceptual ideas, different permutations. We’re not close on anything, but we’ll continue to have those talks and see where they go,” said Cherington. “I think everyone still is really doing the same thing. You can put free agent possibilities and trade possibilities in the same ocean and everyone is swimming in that ocean, trying to figure out what fish they can catch. The deeper we get into the offseason, the closer teams get to the fish they want and seeing which ones they throw in the boat. We’re not close to doing that right now.”

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Ben Cherington on Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop and bullpen building at 5:26 pm ET
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PHOENIX — GM Ben Cherington said that the Red Sox have some interest in the idea of a reunion with left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. In some ways, the 29-year-old seems like an unlikely fit to come back given that some teams might want him to close, and give him money typically conferred upon closers.

The Sox do not have an opening for that role in their bullpen with Koji Uehara having signed a two-year deal earlier this month. Still, Cherington didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing back the pitcher who netted them left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez at the trade deadline. Miller had a 2.02 ERA with 14.9 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings in 72 appearances (62 1/3 innings) in 2014.

“We can add to the bullpen. We’ve got resources to add to the bullpen,” said Cherington. “He’s a free agent, obviously. He’s been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball for the last couple of years. We would have interest, but like anyone else who goes to free agency, he’s going to go through his process and see what’s out there. We’ve got a lot of respect for him, and he performed really well for us.”

Cherington said that the team would prefer to have at least two left-handers in its bullpen, and that the club believes it has internal candidates (presumably including Tommy Layne, Edwin Escobar and Drake Britton) for one of those spots, but may look to add to the candidates for the left-handed bullpen group. That doesn’t necessarily mean adding a high-end option like Miller, however, as Cherington noted that teams have used roster competition as an effective mechanism for building a bullpen corps in the past.

“Relievers can come out of nowhere,” said Cherington. “You have to be open to that kind of thing.”

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