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Transition coming: Clay Buchholz, Craig Breslow take stock of new Red Sox order

08.01.14 at 12:35 am ET
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Given the pure volume of trades that the Red Sox made at the deadline on Thursday, former Boston Bruin Shawn Thornton expressed concern at the 2014 Buchholz Bowl at Jillian’s and Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston.

“I’m coming to the game on Saturday and they might need me to pitch,” Thornton chuckled.

The former Bruins left wing was not far off, however. Following the trades on Thursday, Clay Buchholz was the only pitcher in the current Red Sox rotation who was a part of the group on Opening Day.

Jon Lester and John Lackey not only represented the team’s most consistent pitchers, but also provided leadership for the group in the clubhouse. Buchholz said that he was slightly shocked to see two of his rotation mates shipped out of town.

To be able to make friends and be lucky enough to be with the guys that I’ve been around, it’s a little different,” Buchholz said. “That’s the business side of baseball. Hopefully, they can make a move on and help another team reach the playoffs and reach another World Series.”

As the pitcher with the most experience on the staff, Buchholz would appear to be the de facto leader for the rotation. When asked if he was ready to lead the group, Buchholz was noncommittal and instead started to talk about his health. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Craig Breslow, john lackey, Jon Lester

Source: Marlins, Orioles were most aggressive in pursuit of Jon Lester

07.31.14 at 11:31 pm ET
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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.

Ben Cherington begins road to rotation rebuild: Sox to be ‘involved in starting pitching this winter’

07.31.14 at 11:23 pm ET
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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 the 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. 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.

“Obviously 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 [Eduardo] Escobar and [Eduardo] Rodriguez — two young starters we got. 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.”

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Read More: anthony ranaudo, Boston Red Sox, henry owens, john lackey

With additions of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, what will the Red Sox outfield look like?

07.31.14 at 10:20 pm ET
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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.”

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Read More: Allen Craig, Red Sox outfield, Shane Victorino, Yoenis Cespedes

Shane Victorino ‘possibly’ going on the disabled list

07.31.14 at 9:01 pm ET
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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 due to “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).

Read More: Shane Victorino,

Stephen Drew trade opens the door for Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks to shine

07.31.14 at 8:52 pm ET
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Is Xander Bogaerts a shortstop or is he a third baseman? Is Will Middlebrooks still considered a major league player?

Those were the questions asked when Stephen Drew was re-signed by the Red Sox in late May. Bogaerts was shifted from his natural position of shortstop to third base with the hope of improving the team, thus leaving no room on the roster for the 25-year-old Middlebrooks.

With how poorly the team has performed of late and the focus now towards 2015, general manger Ben Cherington and Co. made it one of their priorities to get Bogaerts back to playing shortstop regularly and Middlebrooks back to playing third base regularly at the major league level.

“One of the things we wanted to do if we could was find a way to let [Bogaerts] go back to short and give him an opportunity to play there a lot the rest of the way and give Middlebrooks the opportunity to come up and play a lot at third,” Cherington said Wednesday. “Both those things will happen partly as a result of the [Stephen Drew] trade — not that other guys won’€™t be in the mix at those spots too. That was one of the things we wanted to try and accomplish the rest of the way.”

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Ben Cherington takes blame for hitting reset button: ‘Ultimately my responsibility’

07.31.14 at 8:44 pm ET
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Ever since his team began hitting the skids in Toronto, Ben Cherington has been losing a lot of sleep. On Thursday, he lost five players from a roster that won the World Series just nine months earlier.

The Red Sox hit the deadline at 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore and in last place in the AL East. Cherington admitted Thursday that he needed to move quickly. He did by trading Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Andrew Miller and Stephen Drew, all of whom received 2013 World Series rings on opening day a little less than four months ago.

“I think it speaks to where we are as a team,” Cherington said. “It starts there and there’€™s nothing celebratory about this These moves are made because collectively as an organization we haven’€™t performed well enough. This year, anyway. So that precipitates the moves and then, yeah, there is demand because we were in a unique position, because, despite the record of the team, we had a number of guys particularly pitching, performing really well and very recently playoff-tested.

“So it was a unique combination and we were able to add, I think that helped us, turn those guys into a lot of proven major-league talent as opposed to just prospect deals. Prospect deals are typically easier to pull off Most of the time when you’€™re getting calls from contenders it’€™s hard to get proven major-leaguers from contenders because typically it doesn’€™t make sense to give up proven major leaguers for a contender. I think the quality of our guys and the fact that they’€™re recently playoff tested helped us do that. There are other things we could have done but we felt like we did enough, nothing else really made sense to us.”

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Read More: 2014 trading deadline, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, john lackey
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