Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona addressed the media Tuesday afternoon following the trade that brought Eric Gagne to the Red Sox.
The following are selected excerpts from the press conference.
Theo: "We're excited, we feel like we have a really good club. We were looking for ways to strengthen it, and I think the bullpen is already a strength of the club."
Theo: "Acquiring a pitcher the caliber of Eric Gagne only makes us stronger. It helps gives us what we hope will be a truly dominant bullpen for the remainder of the year."
Theo: "Eric is obviously one of the most decorated closers in recent memory. He'll be joining this club primarily in the setup capacity, pitching with Hideki Okajima in front of Jonathan Papelbon and taking save opportunities here and there when Jonathan is not available. To have him agree to waive his no-trade and come here in that role means a lot to this organization."
Theo: "We went out of our way to let everyone know that we were going to be aggressive. ... It's a testament to our scouting and development organizations."
Theo: "[Kason] Gabbard and [David} Murphy have worked hard. [Engel] Beltre was a highly touted prospect that we liked a lot. Another factor in the deal is the potential draft pick consideration."
Theo: "Without the prospect of the draft pick compensation [if Gagne leaves at the end of the season], this deal probably wouldn't have gotten done."
Theo: "The primary factor was he wanted to make sure he was coming to a place where he was welcome.... he wanted to make sure he would be welcomed by the front office, by Tito and by the 24 players..."
Theo: "Jonathan Papelbon is thrilled to have support in the bullpen. It was really about the comfort of the fit, to preserve his routine, it might be more in the 8th inning than 9th, but we can preserve his routine."
Theo: "We'll make sure he stays healthy and effective. His contract was set up as a closer, but we came to an equitable solution very quickly."
Theo: "We had a strong offer out there for a player but I think the team decided to keep that player, but we put our best foot forward."
Francona: "With Pap, Okajima, and Gagne we have three guys who are tough to match up with. We want to get a lead and use our pitchers without overusing them."
Francona: "Eric's not going to be a guy who comes in there for one batter."
Theo: "This addition will make all our relievers even better. We can make sure they get some good rest for the rest of the season. When you get into the dog days of August, and you have an additional weapon like this, you can keep guys fresh..."
Francona: "We have a responsibility to communicate to these relievers. We're trying to make it better for the long haul. And we will communicate that to everyone."
Theo: "[Gagne's] velocity was up to 94, it's made even better by the secondary stuff, slow curve ball that will drop in for a strike. great know-how.... we probably came close to signing him this winter, and we might be kicking ourselves now saying we should have done it. ... but Papelbon has been good... everything happens for a reason."
Theo: "We had a thorough exchange of medical records, Trainer to trainer, doctor to doctor, we're very satisfied with what we saw."
Francona: "We actually love our bullpen, I think it just got a lot better."
Theo: "We do have depth, not enough depth that you're ever comfortable losing a starting pitcher. Most deals that we looked at involved losing two or three of our top prospects."
Theo: "Sure we gave up a significant package to get this guy. ...
We try to strike the right balance, preserve the flow of players to the major leagues."
Theo: "[Jon] Lester's health and performance were factors in giving us relative comfort in cutting into our starting pitching depth."