BOSTON — The Red Sox traded away a left-handed pitcher on Wednesday — but not the lefty who has drawn so much speculation.
The Sox sent Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.
Doubront, 26, had been in the Red Sox organization since he was signed as an international free agent in 2004, while Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was Sox general manager.
Doubront had been well regarded in the Sox organization but had had issues with conditioning and injuries. In 17 appearances, 10 starts, this season, he was 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA. As a starter he was 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA, allowing 29 earned runs over 50 1/3 innings. In seven relief appearances, he had an ERA of 11.00, allowing 11 earned runs in nine innings.
He had been moved to the bullpen on June 24, which did not set well with him. The left-hander did not hide the fact that he wanted to be in the rotation.
In his last outing, two-thirds of an inning Monday against the Blue Jays, he posted one of his worst performances. He faced 10 batters, recording just two outs. He gave up six runs – and he also allowed both inherited runners to score – on six hits and two walks with a three-run home run. He matched a career high in earned runs allowed in one outing.
Red Sox manager John Farrell, who said Tuesday Doubront’s last outing had been addressed with the pitcher, minimized a direct correlation between that outing and the trade.
“I don’t know that two nights ago triggered a trade,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that any trade just happens overnight. I wouldn’t say it was a direct result of that.”
Farrell also praised Doubront’s work out of the pen in the playoffs last season. In four appearances, spanning seven innings, he allowed just one run on three hits and three walks (one intentioanl) with three strikeouts.
“He’s performed well for us over a period of time and it can’t be understated the importance of his relief appearances in [last year’s] World Series — those were two pivotal outings by him and he did a great job,” said Farrell.
According to several reports, the player the Sox will get back from the Cubs will be one from a group of Rule 5-eligible players whom the Cubs will not protect. The player won’t be chosen by the Sox until after the Rule 5 draft, held in December as the final event of the Winter Meetings.
Doubront had been with the Sox since signing with the organization as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela.
“I don’t necessarily buy into the change of scenery,” Farrell said, of a possible rebound for Doubront in Chicago.
“Can it invigorate someone in a new surrounding? Possibly. As I talked with him a little while ago, if this (trade) does come to fruition, the work is always going to be needed, regardless of where you pitch or the role in which you’re pitching.”