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Ryan Dempster, Allen Webster on the trade that wasn’t 02.27.13 at 12:18 pm ET
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Ryan Dempster could have been traded for Allen Webster last year. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The proximity is fascinating. On one end of the row of pitchers in the Red Sox clubhouse in Fort Myers sits Allen Webster, the quiet, rocket-armed prospect who has been opening eyes in the early stages of spring. Near the other end of that same row is Ryan Dempster, the veteran with a long and consistent big league track record.

The idea of the two of them in the same clubhouse is particularly intriguing given that could have been traded for one another last summer. Last July, as the trade deadline neared, the Dodgers — in search of an upgrade to their rotation — were interested in adding Dempster. Given the right-hander’s pending free agency, the Cubs were open to dealing him, but they needed a meaningful prospect in return. In talks with the Dodgers, Chicago wanted Webster.

Los Angeles never agreed to part with Webster, and so the deal didn’t happen. The implications were considerable.

The Cubs ended up sending Dempster to the Rangers at the deadline in a deal that netted Chicago third baseman Carlos Villanueva and right-hander Kyle Hendricks. The Dodgers’ inability to acquire Dempster meant that they were open to taking on the salary of Josh Beckett in late-August, in the blockbuster deal that shipped Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto from the Red Sox. And in return for those big leaguers, the Sox received a package of five prospects built around Rubby De La Rosa and … Webster. Read the rest of this entry »

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All in the family? Rubby De La Rosa looks to make Pedro, Ramon Martinez proud 01.11.13 at 3:18 pm ET
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Rubby De La Rosa

Small world.

Rubby De La Rosa, the right-hander with a huge arm whom the Red Sox acquired the Dodgers in last summer’s blockbuster, encountered former Dodgers 20-game winner Ramon Martinez – an instructor for Los Angeles — early in his career. And while it is typically the young pitchers who recognize their instructors, in this case, the tables were turned.

“We were talking and he said, I know you,” recalled De La Rosa on Friday, at the Red Sox Rookie Development Program.

De La Rosa’s ties to Ramon and Pedro Martinez, it turns out, go back nearly a lifetime. His grandmother served as the nanny for the famous Martinez brothers in the Dominican.

“I grew up with these people,” said De La Rosa.

While the 23-year-old Red Sox pitcher knows Ramon better than his more decorated brother — Ramon Martinez, in fact, called recently to offer De La Rosa his house during spring training — it was Pedro Martinez who taught De La Rosa his changeup in 2008, and it was the former Red Sox great who captivated the young pitcher’s imagination when he was growing up in the Dominican.

“I don’t watch a lot of baseball. But all the time Pedro pitched, I watched all the time,” he said. “I had to watch what he did. I want to be like him every time. When I grew up, I watch him all the time — video games and everything.”

And now, De La Rosa — who showed tremendous promise in the big leagues in 2011 before requiring Tommy John surgery that cost him most of last year — finds himself in the organization where Pedro Martinez spent his greatest years and where Ramon Martinez spent two seasons towards the end of his career. Thanks to the blockbuster deal that shipped Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, De La Rosa relocated from the team with whom both Martinez brothers entered pro ball to the team with whom they pitched together at the end of their careers. Read the rest of this entry »

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After losing to Rockies, Josh Beckett takes on LA Times columnist T.J. Simers 08.28.12 at 1:20 am ET
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Josh Beckett took the loss in his Dodgers debut Monday. (AP)

DENVER — Following his Dodgers debut — in which he allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings — Josh Beckett met with the media in the visitors’ clubhouse. The former Red Sox pitcher noted that he regretted missing on a few key pitches, and that he was “the second-best pitcher out there,” praising Colorado starter Jeff Francis.

Beckett reiterated that he enjoyed his new teammates, and lamented the fact Colorado leadoff hitter Tyler Colvin took the righty’s second pitch in a Dodgers uniform over the left field wall.

But the real entertainment came with the back-and-forth with Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers. The following is the portion of the six-minute question and answer in which Simers executes his trademark pointed line of questioning (to listen to the entire interview, click here).

Did you ever think the ball would ever come down that first batter you faced?

“I figured it would eventually. Yeah, I figured it would.”

What did you think at that moment, Dodgers debut, second pitch and …

“I thought I made a pretty [expletive] pitch. That’s what I was thinking.”

That’s your choice of words?

“Sure.”

Were you nervous?

“No more than normal. I’m always nervous on start day.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Trade Deadline: Dodgers acquire Shane Victorino from Phillies 07.31.12 at 2:31 pm ET
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Shane Victorino

In what could be the beginning of a busy selling day for the Phillies, Philadelphia dealt Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for relief pitcher Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Ethan Martin.

Victorino, a two-time All-Star center fielder, is batting .261 with nine home runs, 40 RBIs and 24 steals this season for the last-place Phillies. The 31-year-old has been a big part of Philadelphia’s five consecutive NL East titles and the 2008 World Series title.

He will now join the Dodgers, who are trying to edge out the first-place spot in the NL West over the Giants and Diamondbacks. Los Angeles’ outfield also includes Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, who both also are two-time All-Stars.

Martin, the prospect sent to Philadelphia in the deal, was the team’s 2008 first-round pick (15th overall). The right-hander is 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 20 starts with Double-A Chattanooga this season. Lindblom has been a solid relief option for the Dodgers this season, going 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 48 relief appearances this season.

Under baseball’s new labor contract, the Dodgers will not receive a compensatory draft selection should Victorino decide to sign somewhere else this offseason.

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trade Deadline: Dodgers GM meets with Hiroki Kuroda about rumors 07.19.11 at 4:16 pm ET
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Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti met with starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on Monday to discuss the recent trade speculation over the right-hander. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Colletti told Kuroda that he did not want to trade him, but he was willing to give him a chance to play for a contender.

Kuroda has a no-trade clause and there’s speculation that he may not want to play on the east coast. Asked whether or not he would waive the clause and allow a trade, he said, “At this point, I don’t know yet … I have very complicated feelings.”

Kuroda is 6-11 with a 3.13 ERA this season, and is drawing interest from the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians and Tigers.

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Trade Deadline: Dodgers get Juan Rivera, designate Marcus Thames for assignment 07.12.11 at 3:24 pm ET
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Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers have acquired 33-year-old Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named or cash considerations. The team also reportedly designated Marcus Thames for assignment.

Rivera hit .243 with six home runs and 28 RBI for Toronto this season, and is expected to play first base and left field in L.A. The Dodgers entered the All-Star break in fourth place in the NL West and rank 26th in runs scored.

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