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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein acquired Mike Aviles, Erik Bedard and Josh Fields in trades this weekend. He joined reporters on a conference call to discuss those moves and other issues pertaining to his first-place team this evening. Here are the details:
- The Red Sox like the way Bedard's stuff looks this year. He "really started to look like one of the best left-handers in the league again," Epstein said.
- Though Bedard was rusty in his lone start since returning from the disabled list, the Red Sox maintained interest in him since he seems healthy and has pitched in the AL East. Plus, he met Boston's biggest need – rotation help.
- The Bedard deal came together at the last minute, since the Red Sox had to acquire Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers before completing the deal with the Mariners.
- As for the bullpen, Epstein says the Red Sox can get by without adding outside help. "We feel we have some depth, not only in the big leagues, but in Triple-A," he said.
- Epstein declined to speak about discussions for Rich Harden, but says he has no hard feelings. It appeared last night that Boston was going to acquire Harden.
- The Red Sox like Fields' "big arm" despite his command issues.
- Though Epstein didn't discuss Clay Buchholz's injury in detail, he acknowledged concern over the right-hander's health.
Here are the trades that went down in the NL West in July..
- Acquired right-handed sidearmer Brad Ziegler from the Athletics for first baseman Brandon Allen and reliever Jordan Norberto.
- Acquired right-hander Jason Marquis from the Nationals for shortstop prospect Zach Walters.
- Acquired Ryan Langerhans from the Mariners for cash considerations.
- Acquired catcher Tim Federowicz, reliever Juan Rodriguez, and starter Stephen Fife from the Red Sox in a three-team deal that also involved the Mariners. The Dodgers sent outfielder Trayvon Robinson to the M's. Seattle also received outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang from the BoSox while Boston received starter Erik Bedard and reliever Josh Fields from Seattle.
- Received outfielder Alex Castellanos and roughly $2.5MM from the Cardinals for Rafael Furcal.
- Acquired outfielder Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
- Acquired Orlando Cabrera from Cleveland in exchange for outfield prospect Thomas Neal.
- Acquired right fielder Carlos Beltran and cash considerations from the Mets for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.
- Acquired Jeff Keppinger from the Astros for right-handed pitchers Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel.
- Will receive a player to be named later from the Pirates in exchange for right fielder Ryan Ludwick.
- Acquired pitching prospects Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin from the Rangers for reliever Mike Adams.
The Pirates announced that they designated Michael Crotta for assignment to create 40-man roster space for newly-acquired outfielder Ryan Ludwick. The 2006 draft pick made his MLB debut in April, but hasn't pitched in the Majors since May.
Crotta, 26, appeared in 15 games for the Pirates this year, posting a 9.28 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 10 2/3 innings. He appeared in 12 minor league games for the Pirates' top two affiliates and has spent considerable time on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
The month of July proved to be a busy one for the NL Central..
- Acquired center fielder Jordan Schafer, southpaw Double-A starter Brett Oberholtzer, righty Double-A starter Paul Clemens, and righty Triple-A reliever Juan Abreu from the Braves in exchange for Michael Bourn and cash.
- Acquired prospects Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid, and a player to be named later from the Phillies for Hunter Pence and $2MM.
- Acquired right-handed pitchers Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel from the Giants for Jeff Keppinger.
- Acquired infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. from the Nats for Double-A outfielder Erik Komatsu.
- Acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays for cash considerations.
- Received cash considerations from the Braves for catcher Wil Nieves.
- Acquired Francisco Rodriguez and cash from the Mets for two players to be named later. The Mets will choose the players from a list of five Brewers minor leaguers by a date in September.
- Acquired Rafael Furcal from the Dodgers for Alex Castellanos and roughly $2.5MM.
- Acquired starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations from the Blue Jays for center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters.
- Acquired minor leaguer outfielder Abner Abreu and reliever Carlton Smith from the Indians for right fielder Kosuke Fukudome and about $3.9MM.
- Acquired right fielder Ryan Ludwick from the Padres for a player to be named later.
- Acquired Derrek Lee from Baltimore for minor league first baseman Aaron Baker.
Here are the trades that took place in the NL East this month..
- Acquired center fielder Michael Bourn and cash from the Astros for center fielder Jordan Schafer, southpaw Double-A starter Brett Oberholtzer, righty Double-A starter Paul Clemens, and righty Triple-A reliever Juan Abreu.
- Acquired catcher Wil Nieves from the Brewers for cash considerations.
- Acquired pitching prospect Zack Wheeler from the Giants for right fielder Carlos Beltran and cash considerations.
- Acquired two players to be named later from the Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez and cash considerations. The Mets will choose the players from a list of five Brewers minor leaguers by a date in September.
- Acquired outfielder Mike Cameron from the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
- Acquired shortstop prospect Zach Walters from Arizona in exchange for right-hander Jason Marquis.
- Acquired Double-A outfielder Erik Komatsu from the Brewers for infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr..
- Acquired Jonny Gomes and cash considerations from the Reds for outfielder Bill Rhinehart and left-hander Chris Manno.
In conjunction with the popular Twitter feed @closernews, CloserNews.com had its firm launch in July, which proved to be both an exciting and extremely busy time. Because of the wealth of high-profile relievers who were candidates to be dealt before today's 3 pm CT non-waiver trade deadline, there was no shortage of material to cover, regardless of which deals ultimately came to fruition. Chasing saves, after all, sometimes demands hitting the waiver wire in anticipation of a bullpen shakeup, so it can be a chess match of considering all the speculative moves in advance.
Here's a look back at the month that was at CloserNews.com — the deals that were done, some that weren't, and the closer-related fantasy fallout.
- The Brewers acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets. K-Rod waived his option, seemingly clearing the path for him to steal some save opps from John Axford, but it hasn't played out that way.
- Many expected Bobby Parnell to close for the Mets in K-Rod's stead, but the job ultimately went to Jason Isringhausen, whom the Mets said early they wouldn't trade.
- The Cardinals acquired Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, and moved starter Kyle McClellan to the bullpen, setting up a potential closer-by-committee.
- The Rangers pulled off two notable acquisitions. First, they dealt for Koji Uehara of the Orioles, then they added Mike Adams of the Padres. It looks like both right-handers will set up for closer Neftali Feliz, however.
- The Marlins were rumored to be selling closer Leo Nunez, but those talks died down, and the Fish may in fact keep Nunez into 2012. Edward Mujica would have been the handcuff, according to manager Jack McKeon.
- The Tigers acquired setup man David Pauley from the Mariners, probably diminishing his value in holds leagues.
- The Mariners considered trading closer Brandon League but ultimately decided against it.
- The Nationals were mulling a deal with the Twins involving closer Drew Storen in their pursuit of a center fielder, but it never came to fruition.
- Rays closer Kyle Farnsworth, who has reinvented himself the past couple years, was a trade candidate, but with a favorable team option in 2012, Tampa Bay kept him.
The Indians activated Mitch Talbot from the 15-day disabled list and designated him for assignment, the team announced. The right-hander had been on the disabled list with a lower back strain since July 9th. The move creates 40-man roster space for the newly-acquired Ubaldo Jimenez and the Indians will make a corresponding 25-man move in the coming days.
Talbot, 27, posted a 6.33 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 58 1/3 innings for the Indians before hitting the disabled list. He pitched 159 1/3 innings of 4.41 ERA ball last year after the Indians acquired him from Tampa Bay for Kelly Shoppach in December of 2009.
Southpaw Erik Bedard hasn't pitched into August since 2007, but the Red Sox are hoping he can bolster their rotation for the rest of the season. The Sox acquired Bedard from Seattle today in a complicated trade:
- Red Sox get: starter Erik Bedard, reliever Josh Fields (both from Mariners)
- Mariners get: outfielder Trayvon Robinson (from Dodgers), outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang (from Red Sox)
- Dodgers get: catcher Tim Federowicz, reliever Juan Rodriguez, starter Stephen Fife (all from Red Sox)
Bedard, 32, has a 3.45 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.08 HR/9, and 41.7% groundball rate in 91 1/3 innings this year. That's his highest innings total since '07, as he endured multiple shoulder surgeries. With Daisuke Matsuzaka out for the season, Clay Buchholz battling back problems, and Jon Lester missing time this month with a strained shoulder muscle, the Sox will take whatever they can get from Bedard. Bedard recently returned from a month-long layoff due to a knee sprain. He's owed only $324K in additional base salary, but can make millions more in incentives.
In Robinson, the Mariners came away with the best prospect in the deal. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .293/.375/.563 at Triple-A. Baseball America ranked him tenth among Dodgers prospects heading into the season, saying he's "loaded with athleticism" and "could have four average or better tools." Chiang, signed by the Red Sox out of Taiwan in 2006, has a breakout .338/.399/.647 line at Double-A. The Mariners added two quality outfield prospects without giving up much.
The Ms did have to surrender Josh Fields, their first-round draft pick from 2008. The 25-year-old has experienced control problems in the high minors. Baseball America ranked him 24th among Mariners prospects prior to the season, writing, "he could be a useful middle reliever if he can tighten up his control."
Federowicz, a 23-year-old Double-A catcher, must have been the key to the deal for the Dodgers. He's a well-regarded defensive backstop, but has a .275/.337/.397 line at Double-A. Overall Dodgers' involvement is a bit of a head-scratcher, but we'll see if prospect experts agree.
Rodriguez, 22, has a 5.19 ERA with 13.4 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 59 innings of relief at Class A this year. In parts of four professional seasons, he has a 3.31 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9. Fife, 24, has spent the past two seasons in the rotation of Boston's Double-A affiliate at Portland. He has a 3.66 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 103 1/3 innings this year.
The Pirates added another veteran bat today, acquiring right fielder Ryan Ludwick from the Padres for cash or a player to be named later. The player to be named will come from a list of three minor league players, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports (on Twitter).
Ludwick, a right-handed hitter, could at least fill the role the Pirates envisioned when they signed Matt Diaz in the offseason. The 33-year-old is hitting .238/.301/.373 and has $2.2MM left on his contract. The Bucs added veteran first baseman Derrek Lee yesterday to an offense that ranks 12th in the NL with 3.82 runs scored per game.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports broke the story.
2:46pm: The teams are not close on a Span trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi.
7:59am: Nationals closer Drew Storen is in the Denard Span trade with the Twins, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but the hangup is over the other players in the deal. Yesterday we heard names such as Roger Bernadina and Stephen Lombardozzi of the Nationals.