SAN DIEGO — Multiple industry sources have confirmed that the Red Sox have an agreement to acquire left-handed starter Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handers Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, with a mino

SAN DIEGO — Multiple industry sources have confirmed that the Red Sox have an agreement to acquire left-handed starter Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handers Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and a minor leaguer. News of the trade agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports (via twitter).

Miley fills a pair of needs for the Red Sox as a pitcher who can shoulder a reliable innings load (he’s logged three straight years of 198 or more innings) and he’s left-handed, giving the Sox some diversity in their rotation.

As written in this blog post earlier today:

In parts of four seasons, Miley ‘€” a 2008 first-rounder ‘€” is 38-35 with a 3.79 ERA. He’€™s thrown at least 194 innings in each of the last three seasons, performing at a level described by one evaluator as a solid No. 4. He’€™s struck out 7.0 per nine innings in his career, including a career-high 8.4 per nine innings in 2014, though after posting ERAs of 3.33 and 3.54 in 2012 and 2013, Miley had a 4.34 ERA last season.

That said, his numbers were made worse by a putrid Diamondbacks defense, and he’€™s also spent his career in one of the more difficult home pitching environments in the game. While he is not being viewed by the Sox as a potential top-of-the-rotation replacement for Jon Lester, his career track record suggests a potentially stabilizing rotation presence.

Miley is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason. He remains under team control for three years before he’€™ll be eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.

The success of Brandon McCarthy after he was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees last year gives the Red Sox some reason for optimism regarding the potential for Miley to adapt well to the AL East. McCarthy was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts for Arizona, though with some indicators (such as a career-high strikeout rate) that suggested he was outperforming those numbers by a considerable distance. With New York, he was 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts, ratifying that outlook.

In Webster and De La Rosa, the Red Sox would part ways with two pitchers acquired in the August 2012 deal with the Dodgers who possess electric stuff that hadn’t translated to consistent results.

Webster, 24, was 5-3 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 starts in the big leagues last year. De La Rosa was 4-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 19 big league games (18 starts) in 2014. Questions loom about whether the long-term future of both is in the rotation or bullpen. The identity of the third piece going to the Diamondbacks remains unknown.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

SAN DIEGO — In five full big league seasons from 2010-14, Clay Buchholz has averaged 145 innings. In his first season as a full-time big league starter in 2014, Joe Kelly logged 96 1/3 innings. Those are the only two known members of the 2015 Red Sox.

Neither pitcher has a demonstrated, reliable ability to handle a full-season workload of 200 innings. As such, the Red Sox may prioritize pitchers whose track records suggest the potential to do just that.

We always go through an exercise in budgeting, or coming up with a budget number of innings that need to be accounted for,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “You take into account what individual pitchers have done in previous years and what you project them to be able to provide upcoming. We knew going in that there were going to be a couple of spots needed for innings eating and very quality innings pitched. Ideally, if you can get a couple of 200-inning pitchers, they don’€™t go on trees, but that’€™s the goal.”

That might help to explain some of the Sox’ interest in Diamondbacks lefty Wade Miley, who has logged at least 198 innings in each of the last three seasons. The need for innings stability might also have the Sox particularly intrigued by pitchers like Jordan Zimmermann (203 innings a year for the last three years) and Rick Porcello (who threw 200 innings for the first time in 2014 but has never been on the DL). Other potential targets such as free agents James Shields (averaging an astounding 233 innings a year over the last four years) and Ervin Santana (averaging 207 innings a year for the last five seasons) might gain prominence as Sox targets for the same reason.

Ideally, the Red Sox would like to add a left-hander to their rotation as well given that, for now, their only two starters (and, in all likelihood, all the candidates for the fifth starter’s spot) are right-handed. However, Farrell suggested that the necessity of having a lefty in the rotation has diminished in recent years in the American League East.

I think you always like to have that at your disposal to match up or to map out your rotation how it might fall depending on the upcoming schedule,” said Farrell. “[But] when you look at what’€™s changing in our division, this once was and just was a few years ago a very left-handed hitting division. That’€™s shifting, when you see the changes that have gone in Toronto, in Baltimore, probably with some changes that still might take place down in Tampa, that might be the case as well, you’€™re seeing a little bit more right-handed offense starting to emerge in other cities.”

The task that confronts the Sox remains considerable. There are high-quality options available, but the Sox don’t get to pick whomever they want from the pool of available players, and must instead outbid others in either the free agent or trade markets. Still, Farrell echoed the view of GM Ben Cherington in suggesting that the Sox have reason to be confident about their ability to round out their rotation, even with Jon Lester off the market.

I think the market clearly states what Jon’€™s abilities are, the person he is, I don’€™t think a team puts that kind of offer out  to try to sign a pitcher like Jon if they’€™re not confident and pretty sure of the person, how he prepares, the leader that he was to our team and our pitching staff in the time here. But like I said, we wish him well. He’€™s a talented guy and we’€™re going to miss him,” said Farrell. Our goal is to put a team that’€™s going to be able to contend not only for a division title, but one that will play deep into October. And we feel like on the offensive side, things are in place to do that. And yet, we’€™re incomplete when it comes to the pitching staff. … I think we’€™re very confident that, given the number of potential pitching options that exist, that we’€™ll have a strong rotation, a very strong pitching staff overall.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

SAN DIEGO — Ben Cherington’s 30-minute media session at the winter meetings on Wednesday morning served two purposes.

SAN DIEGO — Ben Cherington’s 30-minute media session at the winter meetings on Wednesday morning served two purposes. The Red Sox GM both articulated his view of the negotiations that took place between his team and Jon Lester (both about an extension in spring training and a free agent contract after the season) and offered his view of where things stand in the team’s quest to address the ill-defined shape of its rotation.

As much as the team was disappointed not to be able to retain Lester, Cherington expressed optimism that the team will be able to round out its rotation in a way that will produce a contending team for 2015.

“We’re going to add pitching. It’s not a matter of desperation. It’s a matter of when and how. I don’t know if it’s tomorrow or next week or January. We will add pitching, and there’s still a lot out there,” said Cherington. “Red Sox fans want a winning team. They deserve a winning team. And that’s our aim: To provide that. We feel confident we will. There’s a lot of different ways to do that. We’ve got a great talent base already. We’re going to be able to add to it. I think when there’s connection to a player, in this case, he wasn’t with us at the end of the year but there’s still that connection and now we’re in free agency. We understand that that can be difficult to fans who have a connection. Ultimately, we’re confident we’re going to put a really good team on the field and it’s going to be a team that our fans like watching and it’s going to win games. There’s going to be a connection to some other player. Those connections will grow in time. …

“We’re going to add pitching,” he added. “We still don’t know when that will happen, what the names will be. We’re going to add pitching. We’ve been working on it all offseason. We’re closer to it than we were in October and closer to it than we were last week, but we’re also not announcing anything today. So, we’ll see where it all lands. But there’s a lot of options out there still, good pitching out there. And we’re in a great position with the base of talent we have, the resources we have, that we’ll be able to put together a good pitching staff.”

Some other comments by Cherington on the pitching market:

— With Cole Hamels looming as a potential trade candidate, but in possession of the right to veto a trade to the Red Sox after naming them as one of the 20 clubs for which he has no-trade protection, Cherington was asked whether he’d want to deal for a player who used such a clause to restrict the chances of being dealt to the Red Sox. “There’s a lot of possibilities out there. If there are guys that are less interested in being in Boston, then they are. But there are a lot of guys that do want to be in Boston,” said Cherington. “So that’s just part of the process, working through that. I don’t want to comment specifically on any one player, but that would still be our criteria. We want people who want to be here.”

— Cherington suggested that the Sox were willing to pay the necessary price in money or players to acquire rotation solutions. “We went into the offseason knowing that in order to add to the rotation in the way we want to, it’s going to cost something. That will either come in the form of money or talent or sometimes both. It’s just a matter of finding the deals that make sense,” said Cherington. “We’re willing to give up something to add to the rotation. We expect we’ll have to. It’s not that. It’s just, how do we put together the best team for 2015? We are committed to winning in 2015. How do we do that without sort of fundamentally hurting the long term? That’s the work we’re doing. We feel good. We’ll be able to build a pitching staff and build a team that can win and that will have the blocks necessary to win for a long time.”

 

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

SAN DIEGO — As the Cubs celebrate the arrival of their ace in Jon Lester, the Red Sox are left to answer for how it came to this — how a pitcher who expressed a desire to spend his career in Boston, even if it meant a hometown dis

SAN DIEGO — As the Cubs celebrate the arrival of their ace in Jon Lester, the Red Sox are left to answer for how it came to this — how a pitcher who expressed a desire to spend his career in Boston, even if it meant a hometown discount, ended up heading elsewhere. Looming over that postmortem is the question surrounding the team’s initial four-year, $70 million offer to Lester last spring — an offer that was so far from what the pitcher deemed acceptable that it became, in essence, the end-point of negotiations until Lester arrived at free agency.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington — who learned late on Tuesday night of Lester’s decision in two conversations, first with agent Seth Levinson and then in a brief phone call with Lester — addressed some of those issues on Wednesday. While he declined to go into the specifics of the team’s offers (either the four-year, $70 million extension proposal in spring training that was meant to be a conversation-starter rather than an endpoint, or the team’s final six-year, $135 million offer this week (the team’s second offer of the free-agent process, according to Cherington, made this week after an initial offer in November following a meeting between Lester and team officials in Atlanta), which came up $20 million short of what the Cubs had on the table), Cherington offered his view of what happened in the talks with Lester.

I think we would have liked to have had more chance for dialogue prior to the season. Why that didn’€™t happen, maybe there’€™s more than one reason. I think we can certainly learn from the process. But we desired to have more dialogue prior to the season and made an effort during the season and weren’€™t able to,” said Cherington. “Then we got into free agency and we’€™re able to do it then. Jon did a lot of great things for the Red Sox. We wish him nothing but the best. We’€™re moving on.”

Here are some highlights of Cherington’s 30-minute media session:

ON THE FOUR-YEAR, $70 MILLION OFFER AND TALKS BETWEEN LESTER AND THE RED SOX ABOUT AN EXTENSION

“The problem when pieces of conversations or pieces of information get put out without the whole context of what’€™s going on, it can sort of shape the public narrative. All I can say is that we had a lot of conversations prior to making an offer. I think there was a decent understanding on both sides of where, back in spring training, and during the season, of where the sort of range of both sides were looking. We felt that we could enter into a conversation, and we could start a conversation and that’€™s the only way you get to a deal, is to start a conversation. We just weren’€™t able to have the kind of dialogue back in the spring, or during the season, that we wanted to. as I’€™ve said before, can we learn things from what happened? Sure. Always can. But right now, once you get into free agency, it becomes a different animal. We understand that. Simply put, the Cubs offered more than we did and he made a choice and we respect it and wish him nothing but the best. We go back to focusing on putting our team together and we feel really good about where we are.”

“I believe there’s no deal that can happen unless you’re able to get in a room and talk about it. You might agree, you might disagree, you might go back and forth. But the only way to actually get to a deal is to be able to get in a room and talk about it. I wish we had been able to do that more. It doesn’t guarantee we would have gotten to a deal, but I wish we had been able to do that more. I think we all, everyone involved in the process, can learn something from that: How could we have gotten in the room more and been able to have a bigger, more constructive conversation? Would it have led to a deal? I don’t know; you can’t guarantee that. You don’t have a chance unless you’re able to talk and share concepts and all that. That didn’t happen enough. We can learn from that. Everyone in the process can learn from that. It is what it is. Once you get into free agency, it’s a different animal. He just had offers that were above ours. He chose one and we wish him well.”

On whether the team felt it had adequate opportunity to talk with Lester in the spring prior to making its initial offer: “We felt like we had enough conversations to get something formally started. We felt like we had an understanding of where everyone was and what the range was that he was looking for. As I said that doesn’€™t mean we can’€™t learn things from the process and I can and we all can. I would’€™ve liked to have found a way to have a more constructive conversation in spring training, whether that means starting earlier or whatever it was, you can certainly think back and learn something from it. But that conversation that we hoped and expected to have just never happened. The lead up conversations happened but you have to, to get a contract conversation started, you have to get something on the table, get in a room and go back and forth. We weren’€™t really able to do that.”

On the team’s efforts to continue negotiations after making the initial offer: “Right at the end of spring training we expressed the desire to engage and a couple of times during the season we did, too. Once it got to the season, he made it clear he preferred not to do that and we honored that. … [Lester said that he] just wanted to focus on the season. When it got close to the season it became I just want to focus on the season.”

On whether the team felt it hurt its chances to bring back Lester by trading him: “Remember, we hadn’t been able to have any kind of constructive dialogue about a contract in spring training or during the season. And so, we were hopeful that we would be able to do that in the offseason, but there was nothing, we hadn’t been able to have any kind of constructive dialogue with him to that point. If we had been in first or second place or in the playoffs, obviously we wouldn’t be trading him. But we weren’t, so we had to act rationally. … The trade was simply a product of where we were. We weren’t winning, and so we have a guy who’s a free agent and obviously at that point there was no certainty we were going to be able to sign him after the season. And so I talked to Jon at the time about that, and I think he knew that as we got closer to the deadkine that that was a possibility. We made a decision that we felt was in the best interest of the Red Sox at the time based on the information we had. We made it knowing that our hope would be that we’d engage with him in the offseason, and we have. He’s chosen to sign elsewhere. The trade was just a function of where we were in the standings.”

ON THE FREE-AGENT PROCESS

On whether the Sox were appealing to Lester’s connection to the organization in free agency: “I don’t think we were trying to appeal to that. He knew that and we knew that. The incumbent so to speak, sometimes there’s an advantage to that. I think Jon knew everything about the Red Sox organization. We knew everything about Jon. In a free-agent courtship, teams you’re not as familiar with, you’re getting the presentation. With the Red Sox, he knows everything — all the good stuff and maybe the imperfections and vice-versa. There were no secrets. It’s just, this is what it is. We expressed to him, ‘Hey, we want you back. We’ll give it our best shot. We understand you’ve got a choice to make.’ Ultimately, he made that choice.”

On whether the team believed that Lester would take a discount to stay with the Red Sox once he arrived at free agency: “That’€™s something you’€™d have to ask him. There has been talk about that I understand. And the thing is, nobody on the Red Sox ever talked about that. That was something Jon talked about. Not in any conversation we had with him did we talk about discount or hometown, any of that. That was something he said, and when we tried to enter into a conversation in spring training, we’€™re just focused on trying to find a deal that makes sense for him, makes sense for us. I don’€™t know if his thinking changed in free agency as opposed to last winter, I don’€™t know, you’€™d have to ask him.”

On the Sox’ ultimate six-year, $135 million offer in free agency: “We had a pretty clear idea interally of where we were willing to go at the beginning of the offseason, and we had an opportunity to go there. What we didn’t know was where the market would go. In free agency, you know there’s always a chance the market gets passed where that line is for you. In this case, it did. We still thought there was a chance he would come back because he had expressed a desire to be here in the past and all that, but yeah, we had a pretty clear understanding interally of where we were willing to go. We didn’t know where the market would go at the beginning of the offseason, and now we know. … We were given every chance to get to where we were willing to go. We got to where we were willing to go. And then he had a choice to make and he made it.”

On whether the ultimate signing price for Lester came as a surprise: “No, because we had a pretty good idea where teams were and we knew he was going to have to make a choice so we weren’€™t that surprised when the total number came out.”

On the disparity between the initial spring training offer and where Lester’s ultimate signing price were: “When we’€™re talking about contracts and guys under contract or in control or whatever, you’€™re trying to find a space that makes sense for everyone. And every one we’€™ve done in the past, whether it’€™s younger guys or [David] Ortiz or [Dustin] Pedroia or whatever, there is a lot of conversation that happens before an offer to determine roughly where that space is. So, you try to enter into something to get a conversation started knowing you’€™re shooting to get to a space that makes sense. That’€™s what our intent was in spring training. The number that was put out there in April, something can be factual but not really capture the entire conversation. That number was put out there so it became the story. Anyway, that didn’€™t reflect our position in spring training. Jon knows that, [agent Seth Levinson] knows that. On top of that of course, now he’€™s had a full healthy season and he’€™s been really good and we’€™re in free agency so of course our position would increase based on all that new information. So that’€™s the best way to answer that.”

On whether the team believes Lester was going to go to the highest bidder in free agency: “That’s more a question for him. We definitely felt like once it got into free agency that we were treated fairly. We were given every opportunity to put forth what we needed to put forth and to meet with him and to have any conversation that we wanted to have. The free agent process played out like most of them do for a high-profile free agent.”

On whether the Sox were aware of offers that included a seventh-year vesting option and or a seventh year: “We weren’t given every piece of detail on the other offers. We were told generally where the other offers were in terms of total guarantee. We weren’t given all the details nor should we necessarily be given all the details. That’s not something I would expect. We did what we felt we could do, what we could justify, with the best we could do. We were comfortable with that and then he had to make a decision. He did.”

On the emotional fallout of losing a player who had been a part of the organization for 12 years: “Maybe some other day I’€™ll be able to think about that but once you’€™re in free agency, we knew this was a possibility, we were going to do our best but we knew this a possibility so we were working on so many things. We were working on things last night as soon as I got the call, you just go back to work. That’€™s what we need to do. We need to just keep working and build a pitching staff. I’€™m not sure there’€™s really time to reflect on it.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Hours after accepting a six-year deal to join the Cubs, Jon Lester sent a tweet to fans of the Red Sox in an attempt to soothe some hard feelings.

Hours after accepting a six-year deal to join the Cubs, Jon Lester sent a tweet to fans of the Red Sox in an attempt to soothe some hard feelings.

Wrote Lester: To Red Sox Nation, I understand the disappointment. Boston will always have a big place in my heart and we’ll always consider y’all family!

Continued Lester: Extremely difficult decision for me and my family but we love the outcome and couldn’t be more excited to join the Cubs organization!

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

According to an industry source, the Red Sox have engaged in discussions with the Diamondbacks about the possibility of acquiring right-hander Wade Miley. The Diamondbacks appear to be focused on acquiring pitching in return for the 28-year-old left-hander.