Felix Doubront opened the season as the No. 3 starter for the Red Sox. On Wednesday he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named.
The Red Sox will receive a player from the Chicago organization after the Rule 5 Draft in December, a sign that the return on Doubront will not be particularly significant.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was the general manager of the Red Sox when Doubront was signed out of Venezuela in 2005 and accommodated the Red Sox when they needed to make a roster move to activate Brandon Workman to start against the Blue Jays.
Doubront, a 26-year-old lefthander, was shipped out after what amounted to an unprofessional effort against the Jays on Monday.
Doubront came into the game in the sixth inning and allowed six runs on six hits and two walks before he was taken out and pitched with what appeared to be not much interest in the results.
Doubront refused comment after the game and manager John Farrell spoke to him the next day about his performance. He was traded less than a day later.
It was quick fall for Doubront. He was an effective starter for the Red Sox last season, going 11-6 with a 4.32 earned run average.
He was shifted to the bullpen late in the season and performed well in the playoffs, allowing one run on three hits over seven innings in four appearances.
His 2⅔ innings of one-run relief were important when the Red Sox won Game 4 of the World Series against the Cardinals.
“He’s performed well for us over a period of time,” Farrell said. “It can’t be understated the importance of his relief appearances last year in the World Series. Those were two pivotal outings by him and he did a great job.”
Doubront reported to spring training in better shape after spending several weeks at a Florida workout facility. He also had worked on refinements to his delivery and seemed intent on having a breakthrough season.
Instead, Doubront was 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA in 17 games this year, 10 of them starts. He was 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA and 1.55 WHIP over nine starts before the Red Sox placed him on the disabled list with what the team said was a shoulder strain.
Doubront was out for a month and made only one start before being sent to the bullpen for what proved to be sporadic use. He quickly grew restless.
“I just want to pitch. If it’s here or somewhere else, I just want to pitch. I need an opportunity if it’s another team or this team,” Doubront told the Globe on July 21.
How did it go sour so quickly?
“When you talk about any pitcher, not in just this situation, consistency is driven from a number of ways,” Farrell said. “Every player has maintenance in their work routine and in a pitcher’s case in his delivery to repeat [and] consistently throw strikes and remain aware of game situations. I can’t say there was one thing. He seemed to never get on a roll like he did last year.”