|John Farrell: Felix Doubront’s struggles not as simple as need for change of scenery||07.30.14 at 7:02 pm ET|
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.”
Multiple industry sources confirmed that the Red Sox have agreed to send left-hander Felix Doubront to the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later. The player will be sent to the Sox after the December Rule 5 draft. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via twitter) first reported the agreement.
Doubront, 26, is 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA, 6.5 strikeouts per nine and 3.9 walks per nine this year. He has expressed his displeasure with his recent move to the bullpen, and after a six-run yield in two-thirds of an inning on Monday, manager John Farrell acknowledged meeting with the left-hander. Though wildly inconsistent in two-plus years in the Red Sox rotation, Doubront showed flashes of considerable potential while punching out 8.5 batters per nine innings with a 4.59 ERA in 2012 and 2013.
|Red Sox pregame notes: John Farrell on ‘unacceptable’ distractions of deadline, meeting with Felix Doubront||07.29.14 at 9:45 pm ET|
It’s hard enough for a team to remain focused and composed during the grind of a 162-game season. It becomes an even harder ordeal when almost a third of your team might be shipped off in the coming days.
Multiple players have heard their names come up in trade rumors, with Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Mike Carp and Stephen Drew all facing the possibility of playing for a different team in a matter of days.
While the thought of losing multiple players -- many of whom played key roles in Boston’s World Series run in 2013 – is likely a huge distraction in Boston’s clubhouse, Red Sox manager John Farrell stressed in his pregame press conference Tuesday that it is imperative for the team not to lose the unity and camaraderie that it had built over the last two seasons during this stressful time of the year.
“There’s a lot of talk,” Farrell said. “We’re not unrealistic to see that players are hearing and seeing their name associated with a potential [trade], so those are some common distractions that are associated with the trading deadline. We do what we can to maintain an open line of communication, that’s the here and the now.
“I will say this, that it is important that we all continue to focus as a team. … The things that we established a year ago and the things that we continue to build, that can’t be sacrificed with a so-called distraction taking away from the way we play. That’s unacceptable, in my mind.”
Farrell continued: “There’s still a lot of answers to be had this year, and I think our guys are well aware of that despite the current couple of days where there’s a lot of talk. … I think it’s important to recognize that we don’t sacrifice the expectation of what goes on in between the lines.”
Felix Doubront stood on the pitcher’s mound with his hands on his hip, glove on his right hand and ball barely hanging onto the tip of his left hand. Slowly, the boos began to make their way around Fenway Park as the crowd at hand for Monday’s 14-1 loss to the Blue Jays expressed its displeasure for Doubront’s six-run, six-hit, two-walk, no-strikeout performance in just two-thirds of an inning.
Manager John Farrell made his way up the dugout steps, signaling to the bullpen for righty Burke Badenhop to take Doubront’s spot on the mound and follow up on a performance that would not present itself as a challenge to top. As Farrell emphatically took the ball away from Doubront, the southpaw looked away, seemingly avoiding eye contact with the skipper while leaving behind the wreckage of a 13-0 deficit for his team in the sixth inning.
It was only when Doubront no longer had the ability to affect the outcome of the game that the Fenway crowd cheered.
“The thing is, if the [Red Sox] say I have to prove myself, I already did, man. It’s [messed] up,” Doubront said. “So if these guys say I have to pitch to prove whatever, no, they already know what I have. I showed them what I have, as a reliever and as a starter.
“For me, they don’t see the numbers, they don’t care what I’ve done in the past. It’s hard to be happy like that with these guys.”
|Closing time: Felix Doubront, Clay Buchholz shelled as Red Sox endure rout at hands of Blue Jays||07.28.14 at 10:26 pm ET|
A week ago, the Red Sox dished out a 14-1 thrashing against the Blue Jays in Toronto. On Monday night, the Jays returned the favor.
There weren’t many bright spots for the Red Sox in Monday night’s 14-1 defeat. In fact, as Felix Doubront was giving up hard-hit balls left and right in the sixth inning with a shower of boos raining upon him after each hit, it felt a lot like a new rock bottom.
Doubront, who has made his desire to either move back to the rotation or to be traded quite clear over the past couple of days, didn’t do much to improve his stock on Monday. He relieved starter Clay Buchholz with two on and nobody out in the sixth. At that point, the score was 5-0. By the time Doubront was pulled after recording just two outs, the Red Sox were in a 13-0 hole.
The left-hander has reiterated that he believes he’s a starter and doesn’t belong in the bullpen. Coming into the game, he had posted a 5.40 ERA in six relief appearances this season. His numbers between the bullpen and rotation didn’t differ all that much, despite the tiny sample size as a reliever. Those numbers look more skewed now, thanks to Doubront’s six-hit, six-run performance in just two-thirds of an inning. He now sports an even 11.00 ERA out of the pen.
Doubront issued a walk and induced a sac fly upon entering the game, but things went south after a home run to Melky Cabrera (his second of the evening). Doubront went on to give up a couple of long doubles and hard-hit singles before being lifted.
Doubront’s performance was a disaster, but Buchholz’s wasn’t much better. Buchholz put the Red Sox in a hole right off the bat; the Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead just six pitches into the game thanks to a leadoff walk and first-pitch home run off of the bat of Cabrera. Though Buchholz settled down for a few innings following the long ball, he was far from sharp. The bottom of a significantly weakened Jays lineup (one that featured the likes of Munenori Kawasaki, Josh Thole, Ryan Goins and Anthony Gose) did most of the damage as the Jays tacked on two in the fourth against Buchholz. He was responsible for three of the nine runs in the debacle of a sixth inning, and finished with seven runs allowed on the evening. The bottom four of the Blue Jays order went a combined 8-for-12 against Buchholz and Doubront.
On the offensive side, it was a familiar story. The Red Sox couldn’t get much going against Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey, who allowed just one run on three hits through seven innings of labor.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— For a while after Buchholz came off the disabled list, he looked like his old self. During a stretch of four starts, he compiled a 2.73 ERA and walked just one batter over 29 2/3 innings. But things have unraveled for Buchholz lately. His seven earned runs on Monday night represented a season high, and he’s issued four free passes in each of his last two outings. He’s allowed 23 hits over his last 17 innings.
|Mike Carp, Felix Doubront and the challenges of player discontent on a struggling team||07.27.14 at 1:02 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — At a time when the Red Sox are sinking in the standings, with contention ever more difficult, some player concerns have shifted from the state of the team to their own place on the roster. It’s not an uncommon occurrence when an environment shifts from one in which winning was routine to one in which struggle becomes the norm. Nonetheless, that doesn’t diminish the challenge of navigating through player discontent.
On Saturday, Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp made known his desire for a trade, saying that he’d asked the Red Sox to trade him to another team that might be able to give him a greater playing opportunity.
Through 104 teams games this year, Carp — hitting .215/.337/.304 entering his start against the Rays on Sunday — has played in 39 games, making 19 starts, with 95 total plate appearances. Through the first 104 games of 2013, Carp played in 54 games, making 36 starts, with 156 total plate appearances.
That said, Carp missed 33 team games while on the DL with a broken foot, explaining some of the disparity. Had he remained healthy, his playing time for the year would project to 57 games, 28 starts and 139 plate appearances through 104 games.
So, the Red Sox don’t believe that Carp’s playing opportunity has changed significantly. Yet they are aware of his displeasure in his current role.
“We’ve had a chance to sit down and talk. I respect his desire to play more,” said manager John Farrell. “And yet, when you’ve been very consistent with what his role was a year ago, that was to be the same role this year. And I understand where players want to get on the field more consistently. So I respect what he had to say.”
Felix Doubront likewise has said on multiple occasions that he does not see himself as a reliever. Yet the Sox believe that the 26-year-old has an opportunity to become a meaningful contributor in precisely that capacity, even as they acknowledge that based on stuff, ability and physicality, in another circumstance, he could be a starter.
Doubont is aware of that. He is beyond making any secret of his desire to return to the rotation.
“I just want to be a starter and stay there. If I stay (with the Red Sox), they have to know I have to be a starter. If I go, the other team is going to give me this chance to be a starter,” Doubront told Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com. “The thing is, if the (Red Sox) say I have to prove myself, I already did man. … It’s [messed] up. So if these guys say I have to pitch to prove whatever, no, they already know what I have. I showed them what I have, as a reliever and as a starter.
“For me, they don’t see the numbers, they don’t care what I’ve done in the past. It’s hard to be happy like that with these guys.”
|Red Sox notes: Shane Victorino suffers setback; rotation still in state of flux||06.25.14 at 10:36 pm ET|
SEATTLE — As has happened so many times this season, things didn’t go quite as planned when it came to Shane Victorino‘s health.
The outfielder suffered a setback when playing for Triple-A Pawtucket Tuesday, feeling discomfort in his back. Victorino has been dealing with the ailment off and on since last season, missing a majority of spring training because of the issue.
Prior to the Red Sox‘ series finale against the Mariners, John Farrell said there was no timetable for Victorino’s return. The outfielder was thought to be on target to join the Red Sox in New York Friday before the flare-up.
According to Farrell, the Sox still would like to get back to 13 position players for the three-game set against the Yankees. It remains to be seen if the latest developments change how the Sox view a Mookie Betts, who originally wasn’t expected to get a call to the big leagues for the weekend.
“Right now, with the current position player group, we’d like to think it would be a right-handed hitter that could help balance things out,” Farrell said. “That’s why Shane’s return to us felt like a fit for a number of reasons. One, the player he is, but just the balance of right- and left-handed. So we’ll see what options are available to fix that.”
The manager said the plan remains to get Felix Doubront a start in the Cubs series at Fenway Park. He also noted that Jake Peavy still is slated to make his turn in the rotation Monday, although Farrell said once again that Rubby De La Rosa is thought to be part of the rotation.
“We’re still looking at getting him in the rotation by the Cubs series,” Farrell said of Doubront, who pitched two innings out of the bullpen Tuesday night. “That’s our intent. So the following question is, OK, where’s Rubby going? Rubby’s also factoring into this. We know we have to make a move, and yet, we’re not there yet.”
— Mike Napoli was out of the starting lineup after fouling ball off his already-injured toe.
“When he went on the DL, he was suffering from a number of different things. One was his left toe that he banged up against the wall in Texas,” Farrell said. “He fouled a ball off his foot last night. He’s available for [Wednesday], but just felt like if we can get through a couple turns in the lineup before we need him, like I said, he is available.”
— Farrell explained prior to the game just how difficult it was to designate Chris Capuano for assignment.
“Extremely tough,” he said. “When you consider his veteran presence, as talented as he is, the success he had early on with us, and all that he represents about the game, he’s a quality individual. Releasing someone or designating someone for assignment is never an easy one, but this one, because of how he handles himself, he’s a true pro. And unfortunately, had to create the spot for Clay, it felt like this was the move to make at the time.”
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