How Have the Red Sox Trades Fared in August?

Boston Red Sox tradesIt’s been an entire month since the Boston Red Sox made numerous moves geared for future successes. It’s interesting — well, to me, at least — to take a look at how those guys have fared this August with their new ball clubs. Keep in mind, however, this is an extremely small sample size and doesn’t say much about their talent or value. Now, without further ado, let’s see how these guys have played (starting with the subtractions) this past month.

Those We’ve Lost During the 2014 Red Sox Trades

Jon Lester with Oakland Athletics (40 and 2/3 IP): 2.66 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 4.63 K/BB, and .278 BABIP.

Jonny Gomes with Oakland Athletics (40 PA): .250 AVG, .350 OBP, .250 SLG, .320 BABIP, and 73 wRC+.

Andrew Miller with Baltimore Orioles (12 IP): 0.75 ERA, 1.04 FIP, 5.67 K/BB, and .227 BABIP.

John Lackey with St. Louis Cardinals (38 and 1/3 IP): 4.23 ERA, 4.74 FIP, 3.50 K/BB, and .312 BABIP.

Felix Doubront with Chicago Cubs (7 IP): 1.29 ERA, 2.41 FIP, 4.00 K/BB, and .318 BABIP.

Jake Peavy with San Francisco Giants (41 and 1/3 IP): 2.40 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 3.10 K/BB, and .276 BABIP.

Stephen Drew with New York Yankees (80 PA): .153 AVG, .225 OBP, .306 SLG, .170 BABIP, and 40 wRC+

Corey Littrell with High-A Palm Beach (Cardinals’ Affiliate) (31 and 2/3 IP): 4.55 ERA, 4.78 FIP, 1.90 K/BB, and .383 BABIP

Both now ex-Red Sox position players (Drew and Gomes) have been horrendous with their respective clubs. The pitchers who were dealt, however, have been nothing short of stellar, with the exception of Lackey. Lackey had one really bad start against the Orioles where he allowed nine earned runs — which has distorted his numbers significantly — and he’s pitched well in every other start with St. Louis. Peavy, the first Boston player to be dealt, has been quite lucky with his unsustainable BABIP, but making half his starts in AT&T Park certainly helps. Finally, Doubront has only pitched one outing with his new team. Oh, and how incredible has Andrew Miller been? With Zach Britton and Miller in that bullpen, I wouldn’t want to be a left-handed hitter facing the Orioles.

Talent We Gained During the 2014 Red Sox Trades

Yoenis Cespedes (111 PA): .276 AVG, .297 OBP, .457 SLG, .309 BABIP, and 105 wRC+

Allen Craig (33 PA): .138 AVG, .242 OBP, .310 SLG, .176 BABIP, and 54 wRC+

Joe Kelly (28 IP): 3.86 ERA, 5.38 FIP, 1.00 K/BB, and .211 BABIP

Kelly Johnson (25 PA): .160 AVG, .160 OBP, .200 SLG, .267 BABIP, and -12 wRC+

Heath Hembree (6 IP): 4.50 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 0.40 K/BB, and .300 BABIP

Edwin Escobar (1 IP): 0.00 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 0.00 K/BB, and .000 BABIP

Eduardo Rodriguez with Double-A Portland (37 and 1/3 IP): 0.96 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 4.88 K/BB, and .299 BABIP

Well, Johnson’s tenure as a Red Sox didn’t last long, as the utility man was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles a mere month after being acquired by Boston. Speaking of trades with the Orioles, Rodriguez, who the Red Sox attained in return for Miller, has been lights out since joining the Red Sox’ organization. Continuing with the narrative of prospects Boston received in return for big-league talent, let’s talk about Escobar and Hembree. One’s a starter (Escobar) but made his MLB debut out of the bullpen, and the other’s a reliever (Hembree). Both, truthfully, haven’t played enough to pass proper evaluation on, so let’s continue with the three players who have logged multiple innings in the majors. The position players, in Craig and Cespedes, have followed completely different scripts upon their respective arrivals in Boston. Cespedes has been clutch as all heck and is now a new fan-favorite, while Craig has been injury-riddled and when he has played has been largely ineffective. Lastly, Kelly has pitched adequately with horrendous peripherals.

Henry Owens Could Be Future Ace of the Boston Red Sox

Henry OwensWith Jon Lester and John Lackey out of the rotation, the Boston Red Sox need a pitcher who can pitch as well if not better than the former No. 1 and No. 2 starters the team had entering 2014.

It might take some time before this happens, but Henry Owens should be a front of the line starter in the next couple seasons.

After dominating his way through the Red Sox farm system. the 22-year-old has finally reached Triple-A Pawtucket and threw 6.2 shutout innings while not allowing a hit through the first 5.1 frames. He struck out nine and walked just three while allowing two hits. He earned the 5-0 contest against the Columbus Clippers in his first start at the highest level of the Red Sox farm system.

Owens has shown signs of growth since his 4.87 ERA back in his first season at Greenville despite a 12=5 record. He allowed 55 runs and walked 47 batters while also striking out 130 batters in 101.2 innings of work.

Since then, the left-handed starter has dazzled with a staggering 304 strikeouts to just 118 walks. The walks will have to come down if he expects to be the No. 1 starter in the AL East, but it also helps that he strands baserunners most of the time.

The Red Sox are so high on Owens that his name has barely come up in trade talks this season and his 2.57 ERA since his first professional season at the age of 19 is a major reason way.

Ben Cherington and Co. need to hold on to this commodity as long as they possibly can and need to showcase his talents to the fans that pay the most in MLB for their tickets. It may not be this September, but by mid-May/June next season Owens should be up making an impact on this Red Sox rotation.

Grading the John Lackey Trade for the Boston Red Sox

John Lackey tradeThe Boston Red Sox weren’t done after the Jonny Gomes and Jon Lester trade which sent both to the Oakland Athletics for Yoesnis Cespedes. A couple of hours later, the Red Sox sent John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for struggling 1B/OF Allen Craig and starter Joe Kelly. The deal also included Single-A lefty Corey Littrell and $1.75 million to the Cardinals in the deal.

Lackey was the No. 2 on the staff for the last couple of seasons after missing 2012 with Tommy John surgery prior to the season. He was reliable in the 2013 postseason and has earned the respect and admiration of most fans after losing a lot of weight and getting back in shape for the 2013 season. In 2014, he leads the team with 11 wins while going 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA. He was 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA over five playoff starts last season.

The Cardinals also receive a lefty in Littrell who could be a serviceable part of a pitching staff, but will need a couple of seasons to reach higher in the Cardinals farm system as he is currently in Single-A. In 2014, the 22-year-old is 5-5 with a 3.60 ERA while striking out 91 batters and walking 38 in 100 innings.

The Red Sox will be getting a couple of pieces in return who are major league-ready. Craig has played terrible this season with a  .237 average, only seven home runs and 44 RBI in over 90 games played. The 30-year-old had .312 with 46 homers from 2011-13. He is under contract through 2017 with a team option in 2018 for $13 million or a $1 million buyout.

Kelly has been in both the bullpen and the starting rotation over the past three seasons. In seven starts this year, the 26-year-old has a 2-2 record with a 4.37 ERA. He has 38 starts in 68 carer appearances since 2012. He has missed substantial time this year with a left hamstring strain.

With the John Lackey trade, the Red Sox lose another part of a pitching rotation that won a World Series less than a year ago. It is the fourth starter the Red Sox have traded this week and it looks as if the Red Sox are looking toward the 2015 season.

Crag and Kelly are serviceable options and the change of scenery could improve their struggles this season.

Grade: B

Timeline of the Red Sox Roster Explosion

red sox

Just a few weeks ago, A.J. Pierzynski was behind the plate and a familiar cast of pitchers were taking the hill. Now, there is a whole new group going forward and Red Sox fans may not know exactly what to think. Let’s take a close look at just how everything unfolded and the recent changes to the Red Sox roster.

July 9th- A.J. Pierzynski designated for assignment

Pierzynski was always known for being disliked around the MLB and apparently the same feelings were felt in the Red Sox clubhouse. Christian Vazquez was brought up to take his place.

July 10th- July 21st- The Sox win 9 of 10 games

Once Pierzynski was released, the Sox went into the All-Star break with a bang and came out in the same fashion. The team that was starting to get counted out by some fans had turned things around. Some even thought that they could pull off some heroics and make another playoff run.

July 24th- Jon Lester contract talks halted

With everything hush-hush between Lester and the front office, Larry Lucchino confirmed that contract talks would be put aside until after the season. Meanwhile, the Red Sox lose their final three games to the Blue Jays and essentially nullify their hopes of a playoff hunt.

July 25th- Jon Lester makes final start with the Sox

Lester took the hill against David Price, one of the Sox newest foes, in a game that could have had some bad blood boil over. However, Price didn’t end up hitting Big Papi and Lester ended up going 6 innings allowing 2 runs on a Desmond Jennings home run. He struck out seven in what ended up being a no decision in a 6-4 Rays win.

July 26th- Jake Peavy traded to the Giants

Saturday morning, the Red Sox made their first trade by sending Jake Peavy to the Giants for pitching prospects Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar. Peavy was having a mediocre season with the Red Sox and it was time that some of the younger pitchers got an extended tryout in the rotation.

July 26th- Mike Carp requests a trade

Mike Carp, a valuable and productive bench player last season, really never got it going in 2014. Zero home runs, injuries, and sub par defense doesn’t earn you playing time. Carp clearly didn’t appreciate that fact though and you can’t blame a guy who wants to get off the bench of a last place team.

July 27th- Felix Doubront “wouldn’t mind a trade”

One day after Carp voices his displeasure, Doubront did the same. After pitching his way out of the rotation and finding himself with the mop-up job, Doubront let everyone know that he is a starter. The next day, Doubront came into the game trailing 5-0 and really gave the Sox fans a big middle finger. Two thirds of an inning, six runs, six hits, two walks. Thanks for your time Felix.

July 27th- Lester for Kemp?

Gordon Edes reported on Sunday afternoon that one possible trade for Lester could involve Matt Kemp as the centerpiece. The Dodgers love to wheel and deal, as we all know quite well, but is the oft-injured Kemp and his huge contract what the Sox need going forward?

July 28th- Lester and Lackey rumors intensify

Reporter Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Sox were being “hit hard on both Lester and Lackey from most contenders”. Lackey’s name had not been heard that much, but it was becoming more and more clear what the Red Sox were up to. Rosenthal later tweeted that the Sox were indeed open to trading both pitchers.

July 29th- Lester scratched from Wednesday’s start

After the Red Sox lost to the Blue Jays Tuesday night, the Red Sox announced that Lester would not be making his scheduled start on Wednesday. This basically proved that the rumors were true and that the Sox were shopping their ace. Any team looking for Lester would want him to start shortly after he joined the team, so one more start for the Red Sox would mean one less for his new team.

July 30th-Noon- Lackey to be dealt

Once again, Ken Rosenthal reported that there is a “very good chance” Lackey would be traded as well. Just a few hours later, it was reported that Lackey actually asked the front office to be traded. Carp and Doubront I can understand, but say it ain’t so John!

July 30th- 2 PM- Lester to the Orioles?

Word on the Twittersphere was that the Red Sox were close to dealing Lester within the division to Baltimore. That would certainly have been a tough pill to swallow for Sox fans!

July 30th- 3 PM- Doubront dealt to the Cubs

Theo Epstein got an old friend back from the Red Sox in Felix Doubront for a player to be named later. If we end up getting anything out of this deal, I’ll be surprised, but at this point it’s a win either way.

July 30th- 5 PM- Lackey scratched from Friday’s start

Just like Lester was scratched from his start, it was announced Lackey would be scratched from his scheduled start against the Yankees on Friday. Anthony Ranaudo will now make his MLB debut against our old buddy Chris Capuano.

July 31st- 9:45 AM- Lester traded to A’s

To many fans dismay, Jon Lester was officially traded to the Athletics along with fan favorite Jonny Gomes in exchange for the Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is signed through next season, but is not eligible for a qualifying offer. It would make sense that the Sox would try and lock him up long term if they don’t want to include him in a separate deal.

July 31st- 12:45 PM- Lackey traded to Cardinals

The second big trade of the day came just before 1 PM, as the Sox parted ways with John Lackey. In return, veteran outfielder Allen Craig and 26-year-old right handed starter Joe Kelly were sent to the Sox. Could more plans be in the future considering the abundance of outfielders?

July 31st- 3 PM- Andrew Miller to the O’s

It was being reported that the Red Sox were very close to trading the lefty to Detroit, but once that fell apart, another suitor needed to be found. In return for Miller, who is having a career year, the Orioles sent back left handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, the number 3 prospect in their system.

July 31st- 3:45- Stephen Drew to the Yankees?!

Some were saying the Sox were done after they parted ways with Miller. No sir! Stephen Drew’s second stint with the Red Sox lasted just over two months before he was traded to the Yankees. That’s right, the Yankees did us a favor! They even threw in Kelly Johnson. I’m not sure if there’s a spot for him on the team, but this should mean Xander Bogaerts will be returning to shortstop.

Talk about a fire sale. A total makeover. The 2014 trade deadline has been the craziest one in the history of the Red Sox and that is no small feat. In just the past decade, the Sox have traded away Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez, two of the biggest faces of the team.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the returns the Red Sox received. It is hard to see Lester go, but with what had transpired, it became clear the Red Sox were not willing to pay him. I hope they prove me wrong and somehow bring him back in the off-season, but if he does well in Oakland, his asking price will go even higher. The offense increased dramatically and we have a chance to see some of the team’s pitching prospects. Expect a free agent signing or two in the offseason to bolster the rotation though.

Twitter has been full of “Clay Buchholz is going to be our ace next year?!?!” The Sox aren’t stupid. They know that they need proven pitchers if they are going to contend and I fully anticipate a solid rotation next year.

As for now, it should be interesting to see how the roster unfolds. There’s too many outfielders right now to make everyone happy, so what will happen with that situation? We may not be on our way to the World Series, but I am pretty excited looking at the last two months of the season.

Trader Ben Strikes Again— John Lackey Heads West

John Lackey

Ben Cherington has been a busy guy today, overhauling the Red Sox in the course if a few hours. After wheeling Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes, he then traded John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig.

At this point, anybody who has the first name of Jon or John, and does not have a last name of Henry, should start to be concerned about their employment at Yawkey Way.

For Lackey, the one-time gruff, but lovable, fried-chicken eating, beer-chugging malcontent who reinvented himself as a valuable pitcher, he joins a Cards staff in need of arms. Due to a unique clause in his contract, he was due to be paid ‘only’ $500,000 next year. I’m sure he never would have mentioned that AT ALL during the course of the year.

In return, the Sox get a couple of serviceable players. Craig was an All-Star last year and one of St. Louis’ top hitters over the past few seasons. But this season, at the dreaded age of 30, he has struggled, batting a career-low .237 with 7 home runs and 44 RBI’s in 97 games.

Kelly, 26, is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts this season. He missed nearly three months with a hamstring injury and has struggled in his four starts since returning from the disabled list. Kelly figures to join a completely overhauled rotation in Boston, where the Red Sox will be looking for replacements for Lester, Lackey and Jake Peavy, who was traded to the San Francisco Giants last week.

As things stand now, Lackey was scheduled to start tomorrow, meaning his next start could be Wednesday night in St. Louis, against the Red Sox.

Please Do Not Trade John Lackey

John LackeyLook, like any Boston Red Sox fan I don’t want to see Jon Lester go, but if Boston’s unwilling to meet his demands then trading him is sensible. The return they would amass for him would be great, and, come on, it’s a better alternative than keeping him around for the rest of a year that will likely lead to nothing of significance. Yet he’s not the only “ace” getting calls on; reports suggest John Lackey is commanding trade interest as well.

The same argument for trading Lester could be made for Lackey because of the return — although not as great as Lester — the Red Sox would inevitably receive. However, unlike Lester, Lackey has a 2015 vesting option for $500,000 Boston would obviously exercise given the chance. Unfortunately, they probably won’t get the chance to retain the right-hander for such a paltry amount and, as Ken Rosenthal reported earlier in the year, Lackey may very well threaten retirement so Boston’s hand is force to draw up a new deal. The theoretical extension would only be for two, maybe three years considering he will be 36 when the 2015 season commences. The contrast in years Lester and Lackey yearn for in their new deals makes all the difference in the world.

Boston’s change in philosophy happened rather briskly in 2012 once the Carl Crawford, and, to a lesser extent, the Adrian Gonzalez long-term deal failed miserably. Since then, the Red Sox have preferred shorter contracts for more AAV (average annual value), avoiding long contracts at all cost. The logic behind it made sense on paper, but when it actually produced a World Series Championship the next year it became a model for Boston and other teams to follow. So, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when the Red Sox let Jacoby Ellsbury leave in the prior off season, making an offer sure to be outbid, and relied on youngster Jackie Bradley Jr. and the injury-riddled Grady Sizemore in ’14. JBJ has played well as of late, but has only been worth a 1.5 fWAR and Sizemore, who was released mid-June, a -0.5 fWAR. The combined total of the two is a fairly substantial difference from the 5.8 fWAR Ellsbury was worth last season, wouldn’t you say?

Nevertheless, Boston needs to retain at least one of these guys. If not, Clay Buchholz likely becomes the number one in ’15  and that’s beyond scary. As Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts have shown us this season, expecting talented rookies to step up and carry the team to prosperity is a pipe dream. I’m weary supporting a rotation composed of three-to-four fifths youngsters, which is very realistic possibility if Lackey and Lester are both gone.

Like I said, I understand if Lester’s demands are too much for Ben Cherington, but I sincerely doubt Lackey’s are. Instead of focusing energy shopping him, how about exerting the attention to extending him? He’s been undeniably consistent the past two years and trading him makes it unlikely he re-signs in the offseason.

Your move, Cherington.