BOSTON – Jon Lester to the Dodgers. Andrew Miller to the Braves. Burke Badenhop and/or Craig Breslow to the Brewers. Felix Doubront, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp to…somewhere.
For now they’re all just rumors. And, as the clock ticks down to Thursday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, the rumors will only become more intense and more frequent. How many of those rumors come to fruition remains to be seen.
“There’s nothing imminent as it relates to the rumors you mentioned,” said manager John Farrell Monday afternoon before the start of a three-game series against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. “The rumors are being circulated in every clubhouse around the game right now. It’s just where we are with the deadline coming up on Thursday. And we try to do the best we can with keeping an open line of communication with each player that might be in a situation, or attached to a situation, just to put their thoughts at rest as best we can. And it’s about going out and looking to win a game tonight.”
The Sox try to keep the players whose names are involved in those rumors informed.
“I think it’s out of professional courtesy and professional respect to the player that you – and Ben [Cherington, general manager] has been very much involved in this, as well – is to try, just try to keep guys up to date if there’s anything that has legitimacy to a given guy, or the fact that in many cases, if not all, it’s rumor and to put their thoughts at rest,” Farrell said. “I think everybody just wants to know where they stand and what they might anticipate. So that being said, that’s the purpose behind it: to allow them to go about their work with a clear mind.”
Sending Lester away in a trade would have a huge impact on the organization – for the rest of this season and potentially well into the future.
“Last I checked he’s still in our uniform,” Farrell said. “And again, to speculate on any kind of rumors is premature, but we recognize that that’s part of the time of the year.”
David Ortiz, for one, does not want to see that happen.
“They should [keep Lester],” Ortiz said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the game. You definitely want to rebuild around a guy like him…He take his job every seriously and he’s one of the best in the game.
“This market is a tough market. And when you have a guy that through his career playing here has been able to do what he has done, that’s a keeper. That’s a keeper. So we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.
“He’s in the top three in the league. You don’t shuffle on that. This is a guy that is very valuable to this ball club. And he’s young, very talented, won a couple of World Series. You can’t ask for no more than what he has done. He’s in his prime. What else?
“But the trading rumor about my left-hander, I think I don’t know where it come from. It might be coming from the front office or whatever, but when you are planning on trading a player like that, that caliber of player in today’s day, you must be getting half a team from some of the places. This is a really good player. And I still believe that at some point they’re going to get into an agreement and get to enjoy seeing Lester pitch for another eight, 10 years, whatever. This is a guy that you enjoy watching pitch. There’s no question about it.”
The Red Sox are in the unusual and uncomfortable position of being sellers at the deadline, almost unheard of for a defending World Series champion – especially one with the highest ticket prices in the game and a payroll north of $150 million.
“Nothing is for sure in baseball,” Ortiz said. “Last year nobody expected us to do what we did. We ended up doing it. This year everybody expected us to win or to get through it like we did last year. The other teams, they make adjustments, they watch video, they got scouting reports, and they found a way to hurt you. It’s not gravy as always. You learn from the year before. You learn from whatever is going on and I guess that’s what we’ve been through this year. Hopefully things get better and at some point whenever we need something to get fixed, we fix it. And life continue.”