BOSTON — Disgruntled left-handed pitcher Felix Doubront was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Chicago Cubs Wednesday.
Doubront was dealt to the Cubs for a player to be named later, according to a news release on the Red Sox website.
The Red Sox called up right-hander Brandon Workman to fill the roster spot and he started for lefty Jon Lester, who didn’t make the start as the team was attempting to trade him before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline passed.
Doubront struggled this season and was upset that he had been used in a relief role instead of starting. He appeared in 17 games this season, 10 starts, compiling a 2-4 record with a 6.07 ERA.
He spent five seasons and appeared in 98 games for the Red Sox with a 26-22 record and 4.82 ERA. He became a regular season in each of the last two seasons, but often struggled down the stretch and took on a bullpen role during the postseason last year when he went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four appearances, helping the Red Sox win the World Series.
Doubront could benefit in the change to the National League.
“I don’t necessarily buy into the change of scenery,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said in the news release. “But as I talked with him a little bit a while ago, if this does come to fruition, the work is always going to be needed, regardless of where you pitch or the role in which you’re pitching in. He has performed well for us over a period of time, and 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.”
Lester would be able to pitch immediately for his new club if he’s dealt by the Red Sox before Thursday’s deadline. Which team that might be is unclear.
Lester, 30, has a 110-63 record with a 3.64 earned run average over nine seasons in Boston.
Nine months after winning the World Series, the Red Sox are in last place in the American League Eastern Division and in position to be sellers at baseball’s trade deadline. The Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Seattle Mariners are among those teams contending for a playoff spot who might be interested in parting with prospects for Lester, who is 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA and will become a free agent after this season.
“Any team that gets him, they’re getting a postseason warrior,” said MLB Network analyst John Hart, a former general manager of the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. “Boston’s decision is going to be, ‘If we trade Lester now, can we re-sign him again in the winter and can we pick up one or two top-flight prospects in return?’”
By calling up Workman from the minor leagues to make Wednesday night’s start, the Red Sox have made Lester available to pitch for his new team immediately after any possible trade. Lester has a 6-4 record in the postseason and is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in his three career World Series starts.
“In light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it’s probably in everyone’s best interests that he does not make that start,” Farrell told reporters after Tuesday night’s loss that dropped his team to 48-59.