ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Andrew Miller has been traded twice already in his career and if it happens again in the next few days, he won’t be surprised.
“It’s different this time because I’m older and more established,” said Miller, who pitched a scoreless inning in Sunday’s 3-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays. “But that’s the life of a reliever. You could be traded pretty quickly. I’m aware of it but I don’t spend a lot of time reading the stories or worrying about it.”
Once the sixth overall pick of the draft, Miller is a failed starter who needed time to adjust to the bullpen. But he has been among the best in the game the last two years.
Over 85 games, Miller has a 2.56 earned run average, 1.13 WHIP, and 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings. The 29-year-old lefthander will be a free agent after the season and certainly will command more than the $1.9 million he will earn this season.
The Braves and Pirates are among the teams with the greatest interest and the Red Sox have scouted prospects in both of those organizations.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has made four trades with the Pirates since 2012.
Although Miller will be a free agent, the demand for a late-inning lefthanded reliever is such that Miller could bring back a strong return.
Listening on Lester
The Red Sox, a team source said, are willing to listen to offers for Jon Lester but would require a significant return to move the lefthander.
Lester and his agents have yet to be informed of any trade possibilities. On Friday, Lester said he would be willing to return to the Red Sox as a free agent even if traded. On Sunday, he said the notion of being traded is a little unsettling given he has played only for the Red Sox in his career but he understands the process.
“Whatever happens, I’ll handle it,” Lester said. “But, like I keep on saying, I want to be with this team, with these guys. That is my goal.”
The Sox have discussed trade scenarios with the Dodgers. But sources said the idea of a trade involving Lester and Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp, as reported by ESPN, has not gained any traction.
Kemp, who turns 30 in September, has a .748 OPS over the last two seasons with 14 home runs over 596 at-bats. He also has declined defensively and dealt with assorted injuries.
Kemp has five years and $107 million remaining on his contract after this season.
Bogaerts takes seat
Manger John Farrell has made it clear for several weeks that the Red Sox would have what amounted to boundless patience with slumping rookie third baseman Xander Bogaerts.
The one caveat Farrell offered was that he would keep an eye on how Bogaerts was emotionally handling the situation. On Saturday, Farrell saw something that helped lead to his benching Bogaerts Sunday.
Bogaerts came to the plate with runners on first and third in the sixth inning and the Red Sox trailing, 2-0. Facing Grant Balfour, Bogaerts struck out looking and laid his helmet and batting gloves at the plate.
It appeared for a second that Bogaerts was expressing his displeasure with umpire Chad Fairchild. But, perhaps worse, he had lost track of how many outs there were.
That lack of focus was troubling to Farrell.
“Says things might have been speeding up on him a little bit in that moment,” the manager said. “First-and-third situation, probably looking at it as a key moment in the game where he’s trying to drive in a run. Obviously he lost track of the outs.
“Yesterday was probably one of the few times that we’ve seen him where maybe the game situation or what was unfolding inside it has caused a little bit of a distraction to him. Felt like [Sunday] was a good day to give him a breather.”
Bogaerts didn’t make any excuses.
“That was embarrassing, thinking there were three outs,” he said. “I can’t let that happen again.”
Bogaerts has hit .146 with a .380 OPS over his last 40 games. He also has committed nine errors during that stretch. He was hitting .304 with a .859 OPS prior to that.
After a brief hot spell, Bogaerts is 4 of his last 19 with six strikeouts.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “I felt like I was making some progress but it hasn’t clicked. Trying to do everything I can.”
Carp gets in
Mike Carp started at first base, only his second game since the All-Star break and first of the road trip. He was 0 for 2. Carp is disappointed in his playing time and has asked the Red Sox to trade him.
“We’ve had a chance to sit down and talk. I respect his desire to play more,” Farrell said. “Yet we’ve been very consistent with what his role was a year ago and that was to be the same role this year. I understand that players want to get on the field more consistently. I respect what he had to say.”
Colbrunn on deck
Hitting coach Gregg Colbrunn, who is recovering from a brain hemorrhage suffered in June, will rejoin the team Monday after missing the road trip. Colbrunn hopes to return to traveling with the team before the season ends. “Everything points to him making every road trip from here on out,’’ Farrell said. “Looking forward to having him back.” . . . Will Middlebrooks was 1 for 4 and Ryan Lavarnway 2 for 4 for Triple A Pawtucket Sunday as the PawSox lost to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 3-1, to end their 11-game win streak. Middlebrooks is 10 for 37 with three home runs in nine games on his rehabilitation stint. Lavarnway also is on a rehab assignment . . . There were several players from the Gulf Coast League Red Sox sitting in the upper deck. The group included supplemental first-round pick Michael Kopech, a righthander who has started three games since signing . . . Former Buccaneers great Derrick Brooks, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, threw out the first pitch . . . Best wishes to Red Sox vice president emeritus and team historian Dick Bresciani, who is recovering from an illness. Bresciani has been with the Red Sox since 1972.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.