According to a major league source, the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles were perhaps the most aggressive in their pursuit of Jon Lester prior to Oakland wrapping up a deal for the lefty.

According to a major league source, the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles were perhaps the most aggressive in their pursuit of Jon Lester prior to Oakland wrapping up a deal for the lefty.

While there were a few media reports linking the Marlins to the Lester talks, Miami’s involvement might have been the most surprising of any team, with most of its attention was thought to be on acquiring Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, who, unlike Lester, has another year of control on his contract. Mike Redmond’s team stands at 53-55, six games out in the National League East, and five games in back for the final wild card spot.

As of Tuesday night, a source confirmed that the Orioles were perceived to out of the hunt for Lester. But Baltimore looped back Wednesday, falling short, thanks in part to an inability to offer either the major-league piece, or minor-league power hitter, desired by the Red Sox.

As it turned out, all the teams heavily involved in the negotiations for Lester’s services (which also included Pittsburgh) were offering packages centered around prospects. With their farm system somewhat depleted, the A’s were the only club ready to make a major-league-ready player the focal point of their offer.

In the end, the Lester deal was done when Oakland sent Yoenis Cespedes (and a competitive balance draft pick) for Lester and Jonny Gomes.

For more on the non-waiver trade deadline, go to fullcount.weei.com.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington knows he completed just half the job on Thursday by trading away Jon Lester and John Lackey, completing a wild week that saw him deal away four-fifths of his opening day rotation.

“That is not something we would have expected to do at the start of the season, trade away four fifths of the rotation,” Cherington said. “And obviously, each trade done for different reasons and different circumstances. Ultimately, at least the ones’€”I talked about Peavy trade before, and that was done at a little bit different time for us.”

“The two trades we made today, in Lackey and Lester, were difficult to do, but we feel fit into our desire to be as good as we can as quickly as we can and with that said, we recognize we will have to’€¦we will need to do some work with our starting rotation., We hope and expect many of the answers for that can come from the guys who are here. But I’€™d expect us to be involved in starting pitching this winter.”

Dealing Lester and Lackey for position players who project to be everyday players for the team in 2015 is only the beginning. Now, Cherington has to go about rebuilding a rotation that lost 40 wins from a 97-win World Series championship team a year ago. Part of that answer could come from the minor league system, which is stocked with names like Henry Owens, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, who makes his major league debut Friday night in the series opener against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

‘€œObviously some of those young pitchers are going to get a lot of opportunity the rest of the way ‘€“ the guys that are already here,” Cherington said. “Ranaudo is going to start [Friday] night. We have an opportunity to watch that and they have an opportunity to pitch and develop. We’€™ll know a lot more about that group by the end of the season and that will help inform us, to some degree, going into the offseason. It would be my expectation that we would be active no matter what happens the rest of the way.

“My expectation is that we would be active in the starting pitching market this winter with trades, free agency, whatever. But we’€™re going to learn a lot more about our young group. We liked our young group of starters two weeks ago and now we’€™ve added a couple more to that in Escobar and Rodriguez ‘€“ two young starters we go. We feel very good about the depth of young starters that we have in the organization. Obviously they’€™re not proven major league pitchers and so we’€™ve got to learn more about them the rest of the way and see what’€™s available to us this winter.’€

For now, the Red Sox are going to feature a rotation led by Clay Buchholz, followed up by Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Ranaudo and the just-acquired right-hander Joe Kelly, with Allen Webster likely to get at least another look by the end of the season. For 2015, Matt Barnes and Henry Owens certainly figure to enter camp with a chance to push for an audition.

‘€œWith most of the players we were talking about, we had alternatives, certainly with Lester and Lackey there were lots of different things we could have done. There were attractive prospect packages that were available to us for both guys. We felt like what made the most sense for us was to try to focus on impact major league talent that is ready and we have a lot of good young players, we have strength in our farm system so that is already a strength.

“Although there were some prospect packages or prospects available to us that were very attractive, we wanted to add to the major league team and really give ourselves a head start on like I said building again and becoming as good as we can as quickly as possible. That guided us at least on the Lester and Lackey deals toward more proven major league players.’€

Cherington made one thing clear, if the Red Sox weren’t going to extend Lester and Lackey, there was no point to hanging on to them for the remaining 54 games on a team that was 12 games under .500. Cherington also made a point that, with talent waiting in the wings already in the system, there was no reason to trade for more prospects. The Red Sox wanted big league-ready talent in return.

‘€œCertainly a strong consideration,” Cherington said. “It didn’€™t make any sense for us to trade both Lester and Lackey unless we were getting at least one major league starting pitcher back — if not major league players total back ‘€“ in return. In light of what I said, it didn’€™t end up making sense for us to do either of both for a prospect package. It just would have made the next several months of the season more difficult to build to what we want to be.

“If we were going to do it, we really prioritized getting major league players, but then in particular at last one starting pitcher back, and in Kelly we feel like we have a guy who is on the come and is a developing, advancing major league starting pitcher. Certainly not a finished product, but really talented ‘€“ someone our scouts have liked for a long time. Highly athletic, really good stuff and we feel someone who can quickly develop into a core part of our rotation. So he was an important addition as we go into the offseason. We wouldn’€™t have done the Lackey deal without getting someone like that back.’€

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Yoenis Cespedes joins what is a crowded Red Sox outfield. (AP)

Yoenis Cespedes joins what is a crowded Red Sox outfield. (AP)

With the addition of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, the Red Sox outfield is a crowded one.

In addition to the newly acquired players, the team still has Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava, Mike Carp and super-utility guy Brock Holt.

General manager Ben Cherington gave some clarity to how that will work when speaking Thursday night, as he said Cespedes will play right field, despite never playing there in the majors, and Craig will man left field.

“As far as the alignment goes, it looks like right now [Victorino] is going to miss some time,” Cherington said. “He is still fighting some back stuff. Since he is probably going miss some time, we will use that time to try and acclimate Cespedes to right field. Even though he hasn’€™t played there in the major leagues, he’€™s played there in the past in Cuba, but not in the major leagues and more likely Craig in left field. We are not writing anything in stone where that goes in the future, but we’€™d like to get both guys acclimated in that way and we will see where we are.”

Holt, who has played every position except pitcher and catcher this year, will continue to play the super-utility role, just not as much corner outfield.

“I think that’€™s something John [Farrell] will decide, I think you’€™ll see him used much the same way he has, moving him around, playing a lot,’€ Cherington said. “Outfield, infield, that’€™s something John will figure out. He’€™s earned a lot of playing time. I expect he’€™ll continue to get it.”

With Victorino likely headed to the disabled list, Bradley Jr. should expect to see the same amount of playing time in center, with Holt filling in to give him an occasional off-day. Nava, who has hit much better from the left side, .288 compared to .122 from the right side, could be used to give the right-handed hitting Craig or Cespedes a day off here and there. Carp, who returned July 8 from a broken foot, has only started in games at first base since. There is also a chance the club could look to make a waiver trade or even DFA him, as he requested a trade prior to the deadline.

No matter what happens, there will be plenty of excitement in the outfield as Cespedes and Bradley Jr. have two of the best arms in baseball as the two each have 12 outfield assists on the year, which leads both leagues.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Yoenis Cespedes joins what is a crowded Red Sox outfield. (AP)

Yoenis Cespedes joins what is a crowded Red Sox outfield. (AP)

With the addition of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, the Red Sox outfield is a crowded one.

In addition to the newly acquired players, the team still has Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava, Mike Carp and super-utility guy Brock Holt.

General manager Ben Cherington gave some clarity to how that will work when speaking Thursday night, as he said Cespedes will play right field, despite never playing there in the majors, and Craig will man left field.

“As far as the alignment goes, it looks like right now [Victorino] is going to miss some time,” Cherington said. “He is still fighting some back stuff. Since he is probably going miss some time, we will use that time to try and acclimate Cespedes to right field. Even though he hasn’€™t played there in the major leagues, he’€™s played there in the past in Cuba, but not in the major leagues and more likely Craig in left field. We are not writing anything in stone where that goes in the future, but we’€™d like to get both guys acclimated in that way and we will see where we are.”

Holt, who has played every position except pitcher and catcher this year, will continue to play the super-utility role, just not as much corner outfield.

“I think that’€™s something John [Farrell] will decide, I think you’€™ll see him used much the same way he has, moving him around, playing a lot,’€ Cherington said. “Outfield, infield, that’€™s something John will figure out. He’€™s earned a lot of playing time. I expect he’€™ll continue to get it.”

With Victorino likely headed to the disabled list, Bradley Jr. should expect to see the same amount of playing time in center, with Holt filling in to give him an occasional off-day. Nava, who has hit much better from the left side, .288 compared to .122 from the right side, could be used to give the right-handed hitting Craig or Cespedes a day off here and there. Carp, who returned July 8 from a broken foot, has only started in games at first base since. There is also a chance the club could look to make a waiver trade or even DFA him, as he requested a trade prior to the deadline.

No matter what happens, there will be plenty of excitement in the outfield as Cespedes and Bradley Jr. have two of the best arms in baseball as the two each have 12 outfield assists on the year, which leads both leagues.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Rob and Alex talk with John Farrell about all the moves the Red Sox made at the deadline, what they gave up and what they gained.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are in and talking about all the moves made by the Red Sox at the trade deadline, because the most fun thing about the day is talking about the moves of the day. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington held a press conference talking about the Red Sox moves, and Rob and Alex talk with Red Sox manager John Farrell about the moves made at the deadline.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are in and talking about all the moves made by the Red Sox at the trade deadline, because the most fun thing about the day is talking about the moves of the day. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington held a press conference talking about the Red Sox moves, and Rob and Alex talk with Red Sox manager John Farrell about the moves made at the deadline.

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino was pulled from Wednesday night’s game with the Blue Jays in the fifth inning.

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino was pulled from Wednesday night’s game with the Blue Jays in the fifth inning. Following the game manager John Farrell said it was as a precaution as, “there was a little bit of change in his gait.”

Thursday it was learned the right fielder could be going on the disabled list for the third time this season.

“It looks like right now [Victorino] is going to miss some time,” general manager Ben Cherington said in his press conference Thursday night. “He is still fighting some back stuff.”

Later he added: “[DL'ing Victorino] is a possibility,” when asked about creating roster spots for the players traded for Thursday. “We’€™re waiting on a little more information on Vic, but it’€™s possible it could be a DL.”

Cherington said Yoenis Cespedes is going to start his time with the Red Sox in right field and Victorino going on the disabled list would give Cespedes likely everyday time at the position.

Victorino has played in just 30 of a possible 108 games this season. He was playing well since his return from the disabled list on July 19, as he was hitting .343 (11-for-32).

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable