"No deal yet," a major league source with direct knowledge of Lester trade talks said Tuesday night. "He could still pitch Friday for the Red Sox against the Yankees."
"I think in light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it's probably in everyone's best interest that he not make that start, so Brandon will be recalled," Farrell said. "There will be a corresponding move roster-wise at some point tomorrow."
Lester left the clubhouse immediately after Tuesday's game, before it was opened to the media. Another source close to Lester said no one from the Red Sox had said a word to either the pitcher or his agent, Seth Levinson, regarding a trade Tuesday night.
Farrell had taken the highly unusual step of announcing before Tuesday's game that in the event Lester was traded, Workman would draw the start. Customarily, teams do not announce contingencies in the event of a trade, announcing roster moves only after a deal is consummated. That only fueled speculation that a deal was close.
BOSTON -- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia sat in the dugout at Fenway Park Tuesday afternoon and couldn’t fathom what this team would be like without Jon Lester.
After Boston’s 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Pedroia seemed even more shaken up when he learned Lester was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday.
Red Sox manager John Farrell announced the move, saying due to the uncertainty surrounding a potential trade, the club thought it was in “everyone’s best interest that [Lester] does not make that start.”
Instead, Brandon Workman will be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to start in Lester’s spot.
Lester’s uniform, numerous pairs of spikes and family photographs were still in his locker after Tuesday’s game, but he had quickly left the ballpark.
The likelihood that Lester will be traded before Thursday’s deadline increased Tuesday because the demand for his services has risen steeply, a league source said earlier in the day.
Pedroia and Lester grew up and developed in the Red Sox’s minor league system and became close friends. They’re both cornerstones of the success of the team that won World Series titles in 2007 and 2013.
“It’s tough. We’re not teammates, we’re family,” Pedroia said. “It’s not something you like going through. It makes you feel worse because you don’t want to be in this position. I know a lot of guys, you play up to your capability and your team should be adding and not subtracting. Hopefully he’s here.”
Red Sox players understand this is a business, but Lester being dealt would have a unique effect in the clubhouse, unlike any other player in recent history who has been traded away.
“The more you play you understand the business side of the game, but it’s still hard,” Pedroia said. “You just don’t work together, you’re with each other more than you are with your family, so it’s a tough time.”
Many of the Red Sox players privately are shaking their heads as to why the club would trade one of the best, most reliable and consistent pitchers in the majors. He routinely reaches the 200-inning plateau each season, and with the exception of time missed during his battle with cancer in 2006 and the early part of the 2007 season, Lester has been on the disabled list only once.
He’s become a big-game pitcher and the Red Sox figure to miss that for years to come.
“If we’ve got a big game to play, we want him pitching in it,” Pedroia said. “I’ve seen him every start and it’ll be tough to see him in another uniform.
“I hope in a couple of days that he’s here because he means a lot to me and everyone else and what he’s done here. I’m hoping we open the door and he’s in there.”
On Monday, Lester arrived at the ballpark later than usual and when he walked into the clubhouse, fellow pitchers Clay Buchholz and John Lackey, along with catcher David Ross and outfielder Jonny Gomes, were huddled around Lester’s locker in what appeared to be a serious conversation.
On Tuesday, Lester and Farrell stood in the outfield during batting practice and spoke at length.
Buchholz already has lost a few pitching mentors during his career in Boston, including Josh Beckett, and if Lester is no longer a member of the Red Sox, it will leave another void for Buchholz.
“Obviously, if it does happen it’s a blow,” Buchholz said. “He’s been our horse for as long as I’ve been here, so I’m not really quite sure who would be able to fill his shoes in that aspect of it, but that’s the business and sometimes you’ve got to take what you get. I think it’ll all work out in the end, but it’s one of those things that’s been talked about a lot the last couple of weeks and it’s getting down to the breaking point of it and I’m sure we’ll hear about it tomorrow.”
The Red Sox players also understand if the team weren’t in the basement of the AL East, the thought of Lester being traded wouldn’t even be entertained.
“He’s like a brother to me,” Red Sox patriarch David Ortiz said of Lester. “Pedey’s right, we’ve been together for a long period of time and it’s difficult just for the fact that all these trading rumors are going around and he’s been scratched tomorrow. It’s complicated but we’ll see.”
On Monday, Ortiz still had hope that Lester and the Red Sox would come to some sort of agreement that would keep him in Boston for the remainder of this season and beyond. After Tuesday’s loss, Ortiz said he would be disappointed if Lester is traded.
“Of course, you want to keep Lester around,” Ortiz said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the game -- no question about it. It would be frustrating if you see him go somewhere else because of the situation we’re facing right now [in the standings], but you don’t want to get ahead of what’s going on and better wait to see what happens.”
Ortiz, who has been through numerous contract negotiations with the Red Sox during his career, said the inability of the Red Sox and Lester to agree on a contract extension is a surprise.
“It is surprising,” Ortiz said. “But in this game you never know what’s going to happen, you never know what’s next.
“This is really uncomfortable until the deadline goes by. It’s a situation where everybody’s not too comfortable. There’s a couple of days still, so we’ll see.”
Brandon Workman will start in place of Lester on Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
However, a major league source told ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes that there is no trade in place and that it is still possible Lester will pitch for the Red Sox on Friday against the Yankees. Another source said that neither Lester nor his agent Seth Levinson have been told anything about a trade being done.
There are six teams still in the running, a source with direct knowledge of the talks said, listing them in no particular order: the Pirates, Blue Jays, Athletics, Cardinals, Dodgers and Orioles.
“I think in light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, its probably in everyone's best interest that he not make that start so Brandon will be recalled," Farrell said. “There will be a corresponding move rosterwise at some point tomorrow."
CLICK HERE for more on the Lester trade talks.
BOSTON -- Rubby De La Rosa enjoys pitching in the friendly confines of Fenway Park.
The Red Sox right-hander entered Tuesday’s game with a 3-0 record and a 1.38 ERA in his four previous starts at Fenway, but he suffered his first loss of the season at home after the Toronto Blue Jays posted a 4-2 win over the Sox.
De La Rosa didn’t pitch poorly during his six innings of work. He allowed only three runs on nine hits with two walks and one strikeout, but the Blue Jays jumped all over the few mistakes he made.
The Red Sox, who were shut down by Toronto rookie Marcus Stroman for the second time in a week, are 1-7 in their last eight games.
Toronto’s Colby Rasmus crushed a solo homer in the top of the second inning when he deposited a 3-2 offering into the center-field seats to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. After Boston tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the third on Dustin Pedroia’s RBI double, Toronto’s Anthony Gose provided a two-run double in the top of the fourth to give the Jays a 3-1 lead.
In what could be his last appearance for the Red Sox, reliever Andrew Miller entered the game in the top of the eighth (Edward Mujica pitched the seventh for Boston) and the left-hander worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning, including one strikeout. Miller could be dealt prior to Thursday’s trade deadline.
The Blue Jays pushed across an insurance run in the top of the ninth of reliever Junichi Tazawa. With one out and a runner on first, Toronto perfectly executed a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. Melky Cabrera then grounded out to shortstop, but Toronto plated its fourth run.
Xander Bogaerts lead off the bottom of the ninth with a home run, his eighth of the season, when he drove a 1-2 offering from the Blue Jays’ Casey Janssen into the Monster seats. But that’s as close as Boston would get.
Thrown away: De La Rosa entered his ninth start of the season with only three errors in 33 total games in his big league career. With one on and two outs in the top of the first inning, he made a lazy pickoff throw to first base that sailed over the head of Mike Carp, allowing Jose Bautista to advance to second. The error did not cost De La Rosa as Dioner Navarro flew out to center to end the inning.
Nearly gone: David Ortiz came within a foot of his 26th home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the second. He worked the count full on Stroman and forced the right-hander to come inside, before Ortiz launched a shot to deep right field. Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista made his way back to the warning track and made the catch at the wall. Ortiz finished the night 0-for-3, including an intentional walk.
Coming around: Red Sox leadoff hitter Brock Holt entered the game with one hit in his last 25 at-bats. He finished the night 2-for-5 with a run scored. He struck out looking in his first AB against Stroman in the bottom of the first, but Holt collected a hard-hit single up the middle in the bottom of the third. He later scored on Pedroia’s double to tie the game at 1-1. In the bottom of the seventh, Holt provided a two-out double into the left-field corner, but was stranded when teammate Daniel Nava hit a fly out to end the inning.
Web gem: In the bottom of the eighth, with the Red Sox trailing by two runs, Pedroia led off and hit a chopper in the hole between third and short. Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes ranged to his right, made the play and released a quick throw across his body for the out at first. The umpires reviewed the call, but after a 1-minute 28-second delay, the call on the field stood and Pedroia was out.
More typically, the Sox have waited until the final day of the trading deadine before striking. Here are the players the Sox have acquired on July 31 since 2000.
2013 -- none
2012 -- left-handed reliever Craig Breslow
2011 -- left-handed starter Erik Bedard
2010 -- catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia
2009 -- catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez
2008 -- outfielder Jason Bay
2007 -- right-handed reliever Eric Gagne
2006 -- none
2005 -- none
2004 -- shortstop Orlando Cabrera, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, outfielder Dave Roberts
2003 -- right-handed reliever Brandon Lyon, right-handed pitcher Jeff Suppan
2002 -- right-handed reliever Bob Howry
2001 -- right-handed reliever Ugueth Urbina
2000 -- none
Could Lester, in fact, make his next start for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have yet to announce a starter for Saturday's game? Rumors continue to swirl that the Dodgers are in discussions about Lester, but one scenario -- that they would trade top outfield prospect Joc Pederson in a deal for Lester -- was shot down by a Dodgers source Tuesday.
Boston has had minimal offensive production from its outfielders this season and has few minor-league options on the horizon.
"I'm not expecting anything huge," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said about trade possibilities before Tuesday night's series opener against the Atlanta Braves. "We just want to keep our club going the way we want it to go."
Josh Beckett's performance Tuesday night could impact the urgency general manager Ned Colletti approaches discussions for a starting pitcher. If Beckett returns to his April-through-June form and his bothersome left hip holds up, Colletti might feel more comfortable standing pat. The team is skipping Dan Haren's spot in the rotation -- thus Saturday's vacancy -- hoping the rest will allow him to pitch as well as he did early in the season.
Colletti has also said he's in search of help for the bullpen.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Left-hander Jason Vargas peered toward the plate, wound up and delivered a fastball with total confidence, and Eric Hosmer took a massive cut with just as much certainty in his swing, both of which were good news for the Kansas City Royals.
For Hosmer, it was one last test of his bruised hand before he returned to the lineup for Tuesday night's series opener against Minnesota. For Vargas, it was a four-inning simulated game that could be the final hurdle in his return to the starting rotation following an appendectomy.
The Royals began the day 5 games back of Detroit in the AL Central and just 2½ games out of the second wild card. They are trying to end a playoff drought that stretches back to 1985.
"Games throughout the year are huge," Hosmer said. "But obviously time is ticking down now."
Hosmer's return should help. Not only is he far better defensively than Billy Butler, who filled in at first base, but he also was starting to heat up when he took a pitch from Boston's Jon Lester off his right hand. Hosmer was hitting .410 in July, the best in the majors. He believes he'll be able to pick up right where he left off.
"I'm ready to get back in there and not have to watch anymore," he said. "It feels good."
Vargas, who has been a pleasant surprise for the Royals this season, has been on the disabled list since July 10. He threw 15 pitches in each of his simulated innings Tuesday and said moments after walking off the field that "everything is good."
After the game mercifully ended and Toronto had pounded Boston 14-1, Red Sox manager John Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves both said every pitcher needs to be held accountable.
On Tuesday, Farrell was asked if he spoke with Doubront about the outing.
“Yes, and that’s all I’ll say about it,” Farrell said.
Since being moved out of the starting rotation and into the bullpen, Doubront has not been happy with the move. It was evident during Monday’s appearance.
Nieves had told Doubront that he needs to pitch his way back into the rotation. Meanwhile, others have replaced him -- namely Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. And, if the Red Sox do trade Jon Lester before his scheduled start Wednesday night, Farrell said on Tuesday that Brandon Workman would be called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to start. Not a good sign for Doubront's future with Boston.
* Mike Napoli is not in the starting lineup Tuesday night; Mike Carp will start at first base for the Red Sox. Carp, who recently asked the Sox to be traded, has played a little more the last few games, but Farrell said this is a maintenance day for Napoli.
“A down day and just dealing with a little swelling in that finger that he’s been dealing with for quite some time,” Farrell said. “We felt a day down -- added treatment -- would give him a chance to try to get ahead of it a little bit more.”
Entering Tuesday’s game, Napoli has reached base safely in 25 of his last 29 games, with a .290 average, including five homers and eight RBIs.
* With all the trade speculation surrounding the Red Sox, Farrell said he has met with individual players about all different possibilities and scenarios. While Lester and fellow pitchers John Lackey and Andrew Miller have gained the most trade talk rumors, others are wondering where they stand. Farrell said the best way to handle situations like this week is to be honest with the players, so there are no surprises if anything does happen.
“We’ve talked to players individually on the current situation that’s in front of us,” Farrell said. “I think that’s just being professional with them to keep them abreast of what our plans are. This goes beyond players that are potential free agents and those players that might be rumored in trades. This goes deeper to players that we know are going to be here and we’ll continue to build with. That’s just a professional courtesy and respect to them and respect to the process that we have.”
The likelihood the Red Sox trade their left-handed ace before Thursday’s deadline is becoming more of a possibility because the demand for his services has skyrocketed, according to a league source, but the Red Sox aren’t yet to a point where a deal is imminent.
In case Lester is scratched from Wednesday’s start, the Red Sox will call up Brandon Workman from Triple-A Pawtucket, manager John Farrell said.
Farrell also said he’s talked with Lester about all the rumors and how the schedule could change.
“Although there’s a lot of rumors, a lot of talk with his name attached to it, right now he’s scheduled to start tomorrow night,” Farrell said. “If Jon is traded by this time tomorrow, Brandon Workman will start.”
Dating back to his days as Red Sox pitching coach, Farrell and Lester always have had a close relationship. That didn’t change when Farrell managed the Blue Jays and it remains that way today. So Lester’s name involved in trade speculation is a bit strange for Farrell.
“Someone asked me a question earlier about have you experienced a lot of successes, a lot of challenges, and my only response is that I hope there are many more to experience with him,” Farrell said. “The reality of the game is what we’re living right now in certain individual cases. I’m always optimistic and hopeful that he’ll remain in a Red Sox uniform.”
Being the defending World Series champ also adds an unusual aspect to the Red Sox acting as sellers.
“No one knows what the return of any player, if they’re traded, will bring,” Farrell said. “Our goal is to get as good as we can as quick as we can. And that’s not saying we’ve closed the book on 2014. It remains to be seen who gets traded and for what.”
Thanks for the love y'all! Grateful for everyday I get to wake up a Red Sox! This game can be uncertain at times, just gotta roll with it!— Jon Lester (@JLester31) July 29, 2014
Here are those deals:
August 25, 2012: The Boston Red Sox traded Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for players to be named later, Ivan De Jesus, James Loney and Allen Webster. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Rubby De La Rosa (October 4, 2012) and Jerry Sands (October 4, 2012) to the Boston Red Sox to complete the trade.
July 31, 2011: As part of a 3-team trade: The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Trayvon Robinson to the Seattle Mariners. The Boston Red Sox sent Juan Rodriguez (minors), Tim Federowicz and Stephen Fife to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Boston Red Sox sent Chih-Hsien Chiang (minors) to the Seattle Mariners. The Seattle Mariners sent Erik Bedardand Josh Fields to the Boston Red Sox.
July 31, 2008: As part of a 3-team trade: The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris to thePittsburgh Pirates. The Boston Red Sox sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Boston Red Sox sent Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox.
July 31, 2004: The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Dave Roberts to the Boston Red Sox for Henri Stanley (minors).
"Anything is possible,'' the source said, responding to a report on Yahoo! Sports that the Pirates were a darkhorse for Lester, perhaps in exchange for top outfield prospect Josh Bell. "But not necessarily for Bell.''
The Pirates have another highly regarded outfield prospect in Austin Meadows.
The Pirates were believed to be in on Sox left-handed reliever Andrew Miller as well, as a National League source indicated the Pirates have made it known they were looking for pitching upgrades. Lester, of course, is an even bigger target.
Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer's criticism of how Boston star David Ortiz "pimped" around the basepaths Sunday after hitting a go-ahead home run came at the end of an interesting weekend in baseball that begs to be tied together. Because the conversation Archer ignited links into how Ortiz seems on his way to becoming a brand-new creature in baseball that many doubted we'd ever see.
Just a day before Archer made his remarks about 38-year-old Ortiz's showboating -- then refused to back down Monday, adding, "I never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat" -- Boston legend Carl Yastrzemski had anointed Ortiz the Red Sox franchise's second-best hitter ever, trailing only Ted Williams.
Forget for the moment that plenty of fans would differ with Yaz. What also made it significant was Yastrzemski threw Ortiz that bouquet against the backdrop of Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown, amid the renewed talk about steroid era sluggers pulling in minuscule vote totals that prompted two of this year's inductees, Tony La Russa and White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, to give their polar-opposite takes.
I'm proud I did things clean, Thomas countered during his speech.
Ortiz, remember, was among the 104 players on the list of failed 2003 performance-enhancing drug tests that came out via a New York Times report in 2009. He still says he has no idea how he flunked the test, and the details have never been publicly explained.