According to industry sources, the Red Sox are considering broad-ranging possibilities between now and Thursday’s trade deadline. The expectation is that the team will sift through possibilities until sometime close to the trade deadline, but at least in theory, the team is willing to entertain virtually any scenario.

The Red Sox are entertaining trade conversations about both Jon Lester and John Lackey. (AP)

The Red Sox are entertaining trade conversations about both Jon Lester and John Lackey. (AP)

According to industry sources, the Red Sox are considering broad-ranging possibilities between now and Thursday’s trade deadline. The expectation is that the team will sift through possibilities until sometime close to the trade deadline, but at least in theory, the team is willing to entertain virtually any scenario. Specifically, as it relates to the team’s two rotation anchors – Jon Lester and John Lackey — the Sox, according to the sources, are willing to contemplate dealing one or both pitchers.

Of course, the team also is comfortable with the idea of retaining one or both if it doesn’t get the package it wants in return. Why?

Keeping Lester theoretically would allow for additional negotiating opportunities that wouldn’t exist if he was traded. And if Lester did end up leaving as a free agent, the value of a supplemental draft pick is not inconsiderable — particularly given that the associated money could help not only supply the Sox with an additional pick, but could also influence the caliber of other selections (players with signability concerns) whom the Sox could take.

As for Lackey, the fact that he is under team control for 2015 suggests that he could be an important part of the Sox’ rotation foundation going forward, particularly if Lester left.

So, the Sox’ negotiating position appears extremely fluid, with a number of scenarios to consider between now and Thursday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.

Also worth noting: At a time when the Sox recognize that the rest of the American League East has pulled away from them, the team is open to the idea of dealing Lester within the division. While there’s a prevailing never-say-never approach by the team to any trade scenarios, the Sox appear less inclined to consider dealing Lackey within the division given that he is under team control beyond this year.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
The Red Sox are considering the possibility of trading John Lackey. (AP)

The Red Sox are considering the possibility of trading John Lackey. (AP)

The Jon Lester rumors seemed self-explanatory: Command a trade ransom for an elite pitcher who will be a free agent for the next two months, and for whom another dozen starts have virtually no value to a spiraling Red Sox team but plenty of worth to a contending team trying to find the discover the difference between contention and the possibility of winning the World Series. Given where the Red Sox are in the standings, they *have* to listen to offers to Lester and any other free agent.

But the suggestion that the Red Sox are listening on veteran right-hander John Lackey represented a more surprising dimension in the rumor mill. After all, as Monday’s brutal outing by Clay Buchholz underscored, the Red Sox have exactly one pitcher under team control beyond this season who offers some measure of reliability.

Here’s what Lackey has done the last two years:

2013: 189 1/3 IP, 3.52 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9

2014: 137 1/3 IP (on pace for 210 IP), 3.60 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9

That’s a reliable rotation anchor. Lackey’s not an ace, but right now, he represents a solid No. 2 guy in the rotation, and thanks to the unique vesting option at the major league minimum for next year, he is under team control for next to nothing.

Naturally, there are indications that Lackey wouldn’t be thrilled about the idea of pitching for rookie wages next year. (“There will be a lot of things to consider,” Lackey said earlier this month about the idea of pitching under that option.) But Red Sox officials have said on multiple occasions that they’d be open to discussing an extension with Lackey (pure speculation: tag on an additional year beyond 2015 at the same $16.5 million average annual value of the five-year deal that he’s completing, thus resulting in a two-year, $17 million deal that makes both sides feel like they received some measure of fairness) that would satisfy all parties.

And while the Red Sox have a depth of potential big league-caliber starters, there are two issues with their promising corps of young starters:

1) It’s difficult to rely too heavily on too much youth. Case in point: The Red Sox’ 2014 lineup. Asking some combination of Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman and Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo (Henry Owens, scheduled to make what could be his last Double-A start today, is not expected to be a season-opening consideration for 2015) to fill three or four starting spots in next year’s rotation is a recipe for chaos given teh relative inexperience and lack of track record for the group.

2) It’s difficult to suggest that any of those pitchers has a high probability of matching Lackey’s performance — the combination of innings and effectiveness — in 2015. Reasonable expectations for any relatively unproven player would be integration into the rotation in a back-of-the-rotation capacity.

For that reason, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen acknowledged on WEEI’s Trade Deadline Show earlier this month that among the team’s long-term interests was the addition of veteran starters to complement the emerging potential rotation members.

“You’re always going to look at your rotation and the depth in your rotation. You can never have enough starting pitching,” said Hazen. “We’re probably looking at some degree of change and turnover at various points. You’re going to still look at that area of your starting pitching depth. … That stable of young pitching, we probably want to make sure that’s supported the right way. We’ll look in that area.”

It’s hard enough to figure out how the Red Sox might replace a front-of-the-rotation presence in Lester. The idea of replacing both Lester and Lackey is thus extremely complicated. That said, the Sox are at a point where they have to consider everything to position themselves for 2015 and beyond. If a team is willing to step up and offer a huge haul for a pitcher who would be available for multiple years, the Sox have to consider it.

As much as anything, the idea that the Red Sox are — according to industry sources — open to the idea of dealing Lackey and Lester underscores the complex situation they’re in. The team wants to be as good as possible for 2015, which requires some consideration of the possibility of smashing the club’s current veteran core to bits and figuring out ways of reconfiguring dramatically.

That won’t necessarily happen, but the idea that Lackey is now at least a consideration to be dealt speaks to the very uncertain shape of the Red Sox going forward.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox will look to bounce back from Monday’s disheartening 14-1 loss when they take on the Blue Jays in the second game of a three-game series Tuesday at Fenway Park. Rubby De La Rosa will get the nod for Boston, facing off against fellow youngster Marcus Stroman.

De La Rosa (3-3, 3.54 ERA) has seen his season marked by one deciding variable: location. It is not a matter of the 25-year-old pitcher finding his command with his pitches, but rather where he is playing.

De La Rosa has looked like two different pitchers when taking the hill at Fenway Park or away from it this season. At home, De La Rosa has pitched like an ace, compiling a 3-0 record with a 1.38 ERA. On the road, De La Rosa is 0-3 with a 6.04 ERA.

De La Rosa’s last start Thursday against the Blue Jays — at Rogers Centre — was his worst outing of the season, as the righty allowed nine hits and seven runs (six earned) over just four innings of work.

“Clearly, he feels comfortable on the mound at Fenway and is able to channel the emotion and adrenaline inside Fenway Park,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We’ve got to do something to try and even out the splits as they stand.”

In three career games (one start) against the Blue Jays, De La Rosa is 0-1 with a 11.57 ERA.

Stroman (6-2, 3.21 ERA) may be the youngest member of Toronto’s starting rotation, but he certainly hasn’t shown any rookie nerves on the mound this season. Stroman is 6-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 10 starts this year, leading his club in WHIP (1.10) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.93).

Stroman turned in his best start of the season Thursday against the Red Sox, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning en route to an 8-0 Blue Jays victory. Stroman, who only allowed one hit and no earned runs in his outing, has not allowed a run in 14 straight innings.

“[Stroman's] pitching like a veteran who has been around a long time,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “He has the great arm, he has the pitches and all that, but the big thing about him is that he is a great competitor.”

Tuesday will be Stroman’s second career appearance against the Red Sox.

Blue Jays vs. De La Rosa (RHP)

Jose Bautista has one single in four plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Melky Cabrera (3 plate appearances): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 RBI

Dan Johnson has one single in three plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Dioner Navarro has two singles and one walk in three plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Jose Reyes has one single in three plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Juan Francisco (2): 1.000/1.000/3.500, 1 triple, 1 home run

Ryan Goins has one double and one RBI in two plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Anthony Gose (2): .000/.000/.000

Munenori Kawasaki has one strikeout in two plate appearances against De La Rosa.

Red Sox vs. Stroman (RHP)

Brock Holt has three strikeouts in three plate appearances against Stroman.

Mike Napoli has one strikeout in three plate appearances against Stroman.

David Ortiz has one strikeout in three plate appearances against Stroman.

Shane Victorino has one single in three plate appearances against Stroman.

Xander Bogaerts has one strikeout in two plate appearances against Stroman.

Jackie Bradley has one walk in two plate appearances against Stroman.

Stephen Drew has one strikeout in two plate appearances against Stroman.

Daniel Nava (2): .000/.000/.000

Christian Vazquez (2): .000/.000/.000

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

A year ago on July 28, the Red Sox were 20 games above .500. They maintained a slim half-game lead in the AL East.

Fast forward to this season, and they occupy the cellar of the division and were just handed one of their worst defeats of the season, falling 14-1 to the Blue Jays.

It’s perplexing to try to account for what has gone wrong this season. But starter Clay Buchholz, who was tagged for seven runs in Monday night’s drubbing (the most he’s allowed this season), tried to offer up an explanation after the loss.

“[We] lost a handful of good players last year that contributed a lot,” Buchholz said. “Having [Jacoby] Ellsbury in center field, a threat to hit 30 home runs in a season, and [who] can obviously run when he gets on base, we don’t have every single factor that we had last year to go into our team.”

Buchholz assured that he wasn’t attempting to slight anyone on the current roster, however.

“I’m not saying anybody that’s on the field right now that wasn’t here last year or wasn’t starting last year isn’t as good, but when you take a couple of guys out of the middle of the lineup and the middle of the field, and try to rely on different people to do different things, it might not happen right away, and I think that’s what we’re dealing with,” Buchholz said.

“Even with that being said and going into spring training, even after the first half, I think everybody was still pretty confident that this team’s definitely good enough to play in October and through October.”

It’s become a reality that the Red Sox are very unlikely to reach October, as are 48-58, sitting 11 games back in the East. They trail the fourth-place Rays by four games.

The Red Sox have taken the position of sellers at the impending trading deadline, with rumors circulating about a number of players, including ace Jon Lester. Buchholz maintains that despite the uneasiness this time of year brings, it’s inevitable.

“I think when it comes to that, everybody thinks of it as a business,” Buchholz said. “There’s nothing you could do if you expressed your feelings any differently rather than just come to the field and try and win that day. Everybody hears about it, it’s everywhere that we’re at so obviously we know, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Buchholz is one of the few members of the Red Sox rotation whose name hasn’t been linked to speculation. There’s at least a slight possibility that by game time on Thursday, Buchholz could be the senior member of the Sox rotation. But his performance Monday night was not one that inspired confidence.

The righty was far from sharp, allowing seven runs on seven hits and four walks while fanning four. The string of solid starts he put together after his activation from the DL in late June are a thing of the past. He’s given up eight walks in his last 11 innings, and he’s been touched for four or more earned runs in each of his last three outings.

“Overall I felt pretty good with command, location … a couple of pitches that got hit and got a couple of ground balls that would have done us some good just out of reach of a couple of guys, they hit the pitches I missed,” Buchholz said of his start on Monday.

“I think he just didn’t have his fastball command tonight,” offered catcher David Ross. “Clay’s a very talented pitcher, he just had a bad night.”

But Buchholz has had a few “bad nights” this season. He’s been inconsistent, with streaks of effectiveness followed by a few bad outings. Overall, his 2014 numbers are ugly; he owns a 5.87 ERA and a 1.562 WHIP through 17 starts.

But when asked if it was somewhat of a lost year for him, Buchholz remained hopeful.

“I’ve got a lot of games left to pitch,” he said.

The Red Sox hope Buchholz can find some kind of consistency before the season is over, because he may be relied on heavily in the near future.

Blog Author: 
Katie Morrison

This should be an interesting week for Jon Lester and the Red Sox. (AP)David Ortiz is hoping. He's not alone in the Red Sox clubhouse.



ROB BRADFORD

BIO | ARCHIVE | FULL COUNT BLOG


Felix Doubront allowed six runs on six hits in 2/3 of an inning out of the bullpen. (AP)

Felix Doubront allowed six runs on six hits in 2/3 of an inning out of the bullpen. (AP)

Felix Doubront stood on the pitcher’s mound at the Fenway Park, with his hands on his hip, glove on his right hand and ball barely hanging onto the tips 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 at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays expressed their displeasure for Doubront’s 2/3 innings, six run, six hit, two walk, no strikeout performance.

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 feeble performance came only a day after Doubront, who declined to comment after Monday’s game, told Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com that he wouldn’t mind a trade from the Red Sox.

“€œThe 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.

“€œFor 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.”€

Catcher David Ross, who said that Doubront is trying the best he can for the team, said that every player has something to prove on a nightly basis.

This is the major leagues,” Ross said. “I don’t think anybody is given a free pass or anything like that. I think we all have to go out and try to prove ourselves on a nightly basis. That is part of winning. If you want to be a professional baseball player, you have to go out and prove yourself on a nightly basis.”

Farrell says he hopes that Doubront’s relegation to the bullpen has not affected the lefty’s performance.

You’re asked to go out and execute pitches and this is still a staff that has got competition within it,” Farrell said. “There are others that have moved ahead of him in the rotation and opportunities present themselves coming out of the bullpen.”

Since being demoted to the bullpen on June 24, Doubront has struggled. As a reliever, Doubront has allowed 11 runs on 15 hits in nine inning pitched, recording eight strikeouts, three walks a 2.00 WHIP. Opponents are hitting .357 opponent batting average, getting on base at a .400 clip and slugging .595 against the 26-year-old hurler.

Farrell said that Doubront does not look disinterested and added that the lefty is capable of bringing more to the table than his performance on Monday. Ross says that Doubront’s role as a long reliever is inherently difficult.

Felix is trying the best that he can,” Ross said. “It’s hard to be sharp with that role he’s got. It’s a tough role and he came in and gave us all he had.”

While Doubront, who posted a 5.19 ERA, 1.523 WHIP, 35 strikeouts and 23 walks in 50 1/3 innings pitched as a starter in 10 starts in 2014, hopes to be traded to a team that will give him a chance to start, Monday’s train wreck of a performance will do nothing to open the eye’s of any potential suitors.

“He’s been effective in the past coming out of the bullpen, but if the role is not sitting well and affecting his pitching,” Farrell said, “then there needs to be a different focus to realizing his potential and capabilities.”

Blog Author: 
Joon Lee

According to major league sources, the Royals are one of multiple teams interested in the services of Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller. Kansas City, however, isn’€™t currently eyeing Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, who had reportedly drawn interest from KC a few weeks back.

Miller will be eligible for free agency at the conclusion of the 2014 campaign, finishing up a deal that pays the lefty $1,903,125 this season.

“Just showing up to the park ready to play every day,” said Miller after the Red Sox’€™ 14-1 loss to the Blue Jays Monday night. “I can’€™t avoid the rumors. They’€™re inevitable. Whether something happens, I don’€™t know. It seems like there’€™s been years I’€™ve been on teams and everybody swears half the team is going to be traded and nothing ends up happening. Other times you think nothing is going to happen and it doesn’€™t. I guess it’€™s good to be wanted. It’€™s out of my control. I don’€™t have a no-trade to evoke. Whenever they tell me to pitch I’€™m ready to go. Right now my focus is on the Boston Red Sox and getting out some Toronto Blue Jays.”

The 29 year old has pitched in 48 games this year, totaling a 2.45 ERA while striking out 65 and walking 13 in 40 1/3 innings.

Miller explained that if he is dealt, there will be no ill will toward the Red Sox, who traded Dustin Richardson for the former first-round draft pick following the ‘€™10 season.

“I completely understand the way the game works. It’€™s not a grudge,” he said. “I’€™ve loved my time here and I sincerely hope it doesn’€™t come to an end in the next couple of days, but if it does it won’€™t spoil it for me. If it does I’€™m certainly not going to burn a bridge on the way out of town. There’€™s value to us for both of us, so by no means will I close out that angle.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

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.

Clay Buchholz had another rough outing, Monday night. (AP)

Clay Buchholz had another rough outing, Monday night. (AP)

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 a more skewed now, as 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 KawasakiJosh TholeRyan Goins and Anthony Gose) 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.

- Even the more consistent of Red Sox pitchers had off nights. Burke Badenhop wasn’t sharp, walking a pair and allowing a run, despite not permitting a hit. He did, however, secure the last out of the nightmarish sixth inning.

- Though he did draw a walk, Brock Holt went hitless for his third straight contest. The leadoff man is just 1-for-his-last-23 at the plate.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- It comes as little surprise, but David Ortiz was responsible for the Red Sox’ lone run on the night, singling in David Ross, who had drawn a walk. Ortiz has driven in 21 runs over his last 14 contests.

-Stephen Drew had one of only four hits for the Sox, sending a double to right. He continues to show signs of progress at the plate, batting .270 over his last 11 games. He was also robbed of a hit by first baseman Juan Francisco, who snagged a sharp liner down the line.

Craig Breslow pitched a relatively clean eighth inning, allowing just a single. He’s allowed just two runs in his last 10 outings.

Blog Author: 
Katie Morrison