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.