Suddenly, Clay Buchholz was the last man standing.The Red Sox gutted their starting rotation before Thursday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, shipping Jon Lester to Oakland and John Lackey to St. Louis. On Wednesday, the Sox traded disgruntled Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs.And last Saturday, Boston got things rolling by trading Jake Peavy to San Francisco.
When the dust finally settled, Buchholz was the only pitcher remaining from the Opening Day rotation.The trades of Lester and Lackey highlighted a busy day for the Red Sox, who also dealt reliever Andrew Miller to the Orioles and shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees.
By day’s end, 10 of the 25 players from last year’s World Series-winning team were gone.“It’s a little different, but that’s the business side of baseball, and hopefully they can move on and help another team reach the playoffs and win another World Series,” Buchholz said Thursday before heading into Lucky Strike Lanes for the second annual Buchholz Bowl.
“At the beginning of the season you hope when this point comes around the season’s going how you want it to go and you’re adding people instead of taking them away. But it’s just part of the game. Nothing really anybody can do about it.”
Other Red Sox players, such as David Ross and Shane Victorino, were in attendance for the event, which benefited the Buchholz Foundation, they chose not to talk about the trades.
Despite being traded, Lackey was present at the event.
Lester, who went 10-7 with a 2.52 earned run average in 21 starts for the Red Sox this season, was shipped to the A’s along with outfielder Jonny Gomes, for power-hitting outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a draft pick.
In nine seasons with the Red Sox, Lester posted a 110-63 record. He dominated during the 2013 postseason, going 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA and earning victories in Games 1 and 5 of the World Series.
The Red Sox traded Lackey, a minor leaguer, and $1.75 million to the Cardinals for first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig and righthander Joe Kelly.
Lackey, who had a roller-coaster four years in Boston, won the decisive Game 6 against the Cardinals. Though Lackey missed the 2012 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, he seemed to win the admiration of Sox fans by going 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five playoff appearances last year.
“Speaking of Lack, that’s a guy who’s been around a lot and helped two teams with a World Series, and was the deciding game-winner in both of those World Series, and something like that doesn’t come around that often,” Buchholz said, also referencing Lackey’s 2002 World Series win with the Angels.
“And Jon Lester, being around the whole time I’ve been here, when you say an ace of the pitching staff, I think of Jon Lester, and he’s going to do good things wherever he goes.”
Reliever Craig Breslow echoed Buchholz, chalking up the trades as the business side of baseball. Breslow also credited general manager Ben Cherington and the rest of the front office for addressing the team’s needs.
“When you trade a guy of the magnitude of Lester or John Lackey, you’re surprised, especially when it seems like you’ve become accustomed to hearing rumors and nothing actually plays out,’’ said Breslow. “But you have to credit the front office with keeping an eye on the bigger picture, feeling like they had some needs to address and the nerve to do it.”
Although the Red Sox now have needs to address in the starting rotation, they revamped a lineup that was struggling to produce offense.The addition of Cespedes is welcome. Jackie Bradley Jr., who was also at the event, said he was looking forward to playing with his new teammate.“You never really want to lose teammates, but as we all know it’s a business,” Bradley said. “[Cespedes] is a great player and he’s definitely going to be able to help our team out.”