The Kansas City Star is reporting that the Royals are among the teams checking in on Red Sox right-hander John Lackey. The Royals, according to the report, appear to be exploring the market for starters who would remain under team control through 2015, permitting the club to help brace itself for the anticipated departure of right-hander James Shields in free agency. At least in theory, Lackey — who is subject to a team option at the major league minimum for next year as a result of missing all of 2012 after Tommy John surgery — represents such a pitcher, though whether he would honor his contract and pitch for the minimum next year remains to be seen.

According to the Star report, the Red Sox seek a power arm in exchange for Lackey, though the Royals, according to the report, are reluctant to move their top tier of prospects that would fit that description. According to the report:

The Red Sox are seeking a power arm, according to people familiar with the situation. The Royals prize their prospects who fit that mold, pitchers like Kyle Zimmer, Sean Manaea and Miguel Almonte.

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Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told reporters that while his team is in the market for starting pitching — presumably including either Red Sox starters Jon Lester or John Lackey — he had no designs of moving any of the team’s top prospects: outfielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and pitcher Julio Urias.

‘€œWe’re not in the market to trade any of the three, period,’€ Colletti told reporters. ‘€œThere’s been no player discussed that warrants two of the three.’€

Colletti also said that the Dodgers do not plan to trade outfielder Matt Kemp before Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

“No one’s ever heard me say we’re shopping Matt Kemp,” said Colletti. “That’s all in another world.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Jon Lester may have seen his last game as a member of the Red Sox on Wednesday night. (AP)Few were in the mood to talk. Truth be told, it seemed like few were in the mood to play baseball.



When Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino was taken out of Boston’€™s game against the Blue Jays Wednesday in th

When Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino was taken out of Boston’€™s game against the Blue Jays Wednesday in the fifth inning, most expected the worst.

In the third inning, Victorino grounded out to Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes and appeared to ease up on his run to first base while attempting to beat out the throw. While Victorino returned to man right field in the top of the fourth, Daniel Nava took his spot in the No. 2 hole of the lineup, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the fifth.

The possibility of Victorino reaggravating the same hamstring that has sidelined him for 78 games this season was certainly a legitimate scenario, as the ailment has been a recurring issue for Victorino throughout the year.

However, when Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked about the decision to remove Victorino from the game, he said that it was a “€œtotally precautionary move.”

“After his final at-bat, when he went out and played the next inning in right field, I could tell that there was a little bit of change in his gait,”€ Farrell said. “€œHe wanted to continue on, but given what he’€™s come through, I took it out of his hands just to be extra cautious.”

Victorino has shown few signs of rust since his return from the disabled list on July 19, hitting at a .343 (11-for-32) clip with one home run and two RBIs.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

As the final innings of a one-sided 6-1 Red Sox loss unfolded, a chant bubbled up from some corners of Fenway Park.

As the final innings of a one-sided 6-1 Red Sox loss unfolded, a chant bubbled up from some corners of Fenway Park.

“Jon-ny Les-ter! Jon-ny Les-ter!”

It was a spontaneous crowd tribute to a pitcher who has spent his career with the Red Sox since the team drafted him in 2002, who has spent every day of his nine-season big-league career calling Fenway Park home. It was a moment of recognition that, by the time the dust settles on the Major League Baseball trade deadline at 4 p.m. on Thursday, there’s a very real chance that Jon Lester will no longer be a member of the Red Sox.

“We were well aware of it, heard it. Wouldn’t expect anything less,” said Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “This is a fan base that is very much in tune with what we’re doing, good and bad, and I think it’s a clear sign of support for Jon.”

Lester, said Farrell, was in the dugout for the full nine innings of the Sox’ listless loss to the Blue Jays. And as of the end of the game, the manager added, there was nothing to report regarding the possibility of a trade.

“No new news or any progression of any sort to announce,” said Farrell.

According to sources familiar with the situation, there have been no last-minute discussions of a possible contract extension of the left-hander. Instead, the Red Sox continue to discuss the possibility with trades, with enough interested teams still in the mix that no trade appeared imminent as of the conclusion of Wednesday’s game.

Still, resolution of Lester’s situation — and that of numerous teammates — will arrive by 4 p.m. on Thursday, a prospect that will offer some measure of relief to a group that has appeared fried while making sense of what is to come.

“I think given the last 48 hours, getting past 4 o’clock tomorrow afternoon will be good for everyone [in the clubhouse],” Farrell said of a team that has now lost eight of nine. “And we’ve got to get back to playing a brand of baseball that is consistent with what we’ve done in the past and look to put together a more consistent game plan, top to bottom.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier

With the July 31 trade deadline less than 24 hours away, Red Sox manager John Farrell remarked prior to Wednesday night’€™s game aga

Brandon Workman suffered his fourth straight loss. (AP)

Brandon Workman suffered his fourth straight loss. (AP)

With the July 31 trade deadline less than 24 hours away, Red Sox manager John Farrell remarked prior to Wednesday night’€™s game against Blue Jays that he hoped the distractions revolving around multiple rumors would have a “minimal” impact on the performance of his club.

That didn’€™t appear to be the case once Wednesday’€™s game got underway, as a combination of free passes and sloppy errors issued by the Red Sox helped Toronto come away with a 6-1 victory, earning a three-game sweep at Fenway in the process.

This is the second time this season that the Blue Jays have earned a sweep at Fenway Park, as Toronto took three-straight games from the Red Sox on May 20-22. Boston was outscored by a 22-4 margin during the just-completed series, which extended the team’s slide to eight losses in nine games.

Brandon Workman, starting in place of Jon Lester, labored through his outing, allowing four hits and five runs (two earned) over five innings of work, including a career-high four walks. Workman’€™s uncharacteristic command issues would prove to be costly — three of the four batters that reached base via a Workman walk eventually ended up scoring.

The Red Sox defense would also make things easy for the Blue Jays, as errors by both Workman and Xander Bogaerts in the fifth inning helped Toronto pile on three unearned runs en route to a commanding  5-0 lead.

While Workman was not able put the Red Sox in a position to come away with the win, Boston’€™s lineup didn’€™t fare much better, as Toronto starter Mark Buehrle held the Sox to just one run and six hits over 6 2/3 innings of work.

The lone Red Sox run came off the bat of catcher Christian Vazquez, who drove in Xander Bogaerts with a ground-rule double in the bottom of the fifth.

After scoring a season-high 14 runs July 21, the Red Sox have only managed to cross the plate 18 times over their last nine games.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 48-60 and are now a season-high 13 games behind the first-place Orioles in the AL East division standings. Through two-thirds of the season, the Sox are on pace to go 72-90 — with a chance that they’re about to sell a number of veteran pieces.


– Workman earned his fourth consecutive loss this season, highlighting what has been an up-and-down campaign for the 25-year-old righty. In his first five starts with the Red Sox, Workman posted a 3-0 record with a 3.21 ERA. However, over his last four starts, Workman is 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA.

After allowing three runs or fewer over his first eight starts in the majors, Workman has allowed four or more runs in four-straight outings.

– Two errors proved costly for the Red Sox in the fifth inning. After Anthony Gose walked and stole second to lead off the inning, Workman committed a throwing error while trying to retire Jose Reyes on a sacrifice bunt, allowing Reyes to score.

In the next at-bat, Melky Cabrera hit a ball to third that Bogaerts was unable to properly field, allowing runners at first and third for Toronto with no outs. After forcing Jose Bautista to pop out, Workman yielded two straight RBI singles to Dioner Navarro and Juan Francisco to close out the scoring in the frame.

– Another great performance out in centerfield for Jackie Bradley Jr. was offset by another poor showing at the plate, as the young outfielder extended his hitless streak to 15 straight at-bats.


– Dustin Pedroia continues to swing a hot bat, finishing the night 2-for-4 with two singles. After sputtering through a 0-for-17 stretch from July 18-22, Pedroia has now hit safely in six of his last seven games, hitting at a .384 (10-for-26) clip in the process.

– Despite another costly error in the fifth, Xander Bogaerts continues to show signs that he is regaining his composure at the plate, collecting a double in the fifth inning and another in the ninth. The doubles were to center and right, while his homer on Tuesday was to left. Bogaerts, in the midst of a brief five-game hitting streak, is hitting .343 (12-for-35) over his last nine games.

– In what might be his final appearance as a member of the Red Sox, reliever Andrew Miller was brilliant, striking out the side in the seventh inning. Miller now has 69 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings on the year.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan
Edwin Escobar

Edwin Escobar pitched for Team World at the 2014 Futures Game in Minneapolis. (AP)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — It is immediately clear that Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree are the new kids on the block in the Pawtucket Red Sox clubhouse.

As other lockers are stuffed to the brim with gear, both Escobar and Hembree’s lockers are spare, barely beyond empty. A couple of uniforms hang in the lockers accompanied by the pitchers’ gloves.

That personal effects have yet to fill their lockers comes as little surprise. The duo, after all, did just move across the country from Fresno, Calif., home of the San Francisco Giants‘ Triple-A affiliate.

Both Escobar and Hembree were thrown slightly off guard when they learned that they were traded to the Boston Red Sox. Both hurlers were awakened Saturday morning by the news from Giants general manager Brian Sabean that they had been traded in exchange for Jake Peavy.

“This time of year, everybody has to be on their toes I guess,” Hembree said. “I was excited. It was a little bittersweet leaving some good friends, but definitely excited for the new opportunity.”

For Hembree, the Giants organization was the only one he’d ever known. The 25-year-old was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina. Deemed a closer of the future by Baseball America, he has posted a 3.89 ERA and saved 18 games in 41 appearances in Triple-A this season. Hembree has struck out 46 hitters and walked 13 with opponents hitting .263 off of him.

Hembree, who made his major league debut in 2013, is excited for the chance to make a mark on a new organization.

It’s a little bit of a new beginning,” Hembree said. “[The Giants] are all I’ve known, but coming over here and being part of this team right now, it’s like a new beginning and I’m looking forward to it.”

Escobar was just excited to know that another team wanted his services.

“That moment wasn’t expected, but I feel great and I feel great for the opportunity,” Escobar said. “It’s just another opportunity to go to the show. I’m glad to be here and glad to get the opportunity and do the best that I can.”

This is not the first time Escobar has been dealt. The lefty was traded by the Texas Rangers — who signed him as an international free agent — to the Giants for Ben Snyder in 2010. Escobar, ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the Giants’ farm system by Baseball America, has struggled in 2014 to the tune of a 5.11 ERA, .287 opponent batting average with 96 strikeouts, 37 walks and 111 innings pitched over 20 starts.

The struggles have not fazed Escobar.

Baseball is tough and you’ve got to be mature. You’ve got to work hard everyday,” Escobar said. “It’s an up and down game and I’ve been having a really good couple of years and been working on that.”

Escobar will make his first start for the PawSox on Thursday while manager Kevin Boles hopes to get Hembree in a game within the next couple of days.

We need to see what we have with both of those guys. The first couple of days with the travel, they had some rough travel,” Boles said. “We want them to get a workout in and we had the off day yesterday and now today, we pick things up and get things rolling for these guys, but we’re excited to have them.”

Boles says both pitchers have quality stuff.

Hembree has a big arm with a feel for his slider. Escobar has a three-pitch mix. A young lefty,” Boles said. “Until you see them for yourselves, there is going to be all kinds of different scouting reports and everything. Until you see them for yourselves, you want to make sure that you watch them and pay attention to what’s going on and see how it matches up with the scouring reports and we’ll see what we get. We’ve had really good reports on them. I will say that.”

Blog Author: 
Joon Lee