After Series title in '13, Sox fizzle out in last-place finish

Lester, Lackey, Gomes among players dealt away as club seeks turnaround

After Series title in '13, Sox fizzle out in last-place finish

BOSTON -- The euphoria of a World Series championship was still evident when the Red Sox reported to Spring Training back in February. Jonny Gomes arrived at camp with a tattoo that showcased art of the following: A "Boston Strong" logo, a duckboat from the championship parade and a World Series trophy.

However, Gomes was just one of several members who didn't even last in Boston for the balance of an ill-fated title defense that resulted in a last-place finish.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wright relishes holidays, but eyes upcoming season

Wright relishes holidays, but eyes upcoming season

While Steven Wright enjoys seeing his knuckleball dance across the plate, the Red Sox right-hander admits that he never wants to step into the batter's box to try and hit one. The California native, who spent the last month of the 2014 season with the Red Sox, is hoping to earn a spot in the Boston bullpen come the 2015 season.

During the holiday season, Wright plops down on the couch, relaxing with family and friends and watching movies. However, once the calendar flips to the new year, he's all business, ready to start preparing for the season ahead. MLB.com recently caught up with Wright for an expansive question-and-answer session.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happy 31st birthday to Hanley Ramirez!

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Happy 31st birthday to Hanley Ramirez!

Usually we'd urge you to take pity on Hanely Ramirez for being a chrsitmas baby. Being born on Dec. 23 is no walk in the park, what with combined gifts, friends and family who forget, and holiday break making it so that you can't even bring cupcakes in to share with the rest of the class.

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Red Sox acquire catcher Hanigan in deal with Padres

Trade sends Middlebrooks to San Diego, solidifies backstop role

Red Sox acquire catcher Hanigan in deal with Padres

Unable to acquire Ryan Hanigan during the 2013 offseason, the Red Sox made sure they wouldn't miss out for the second straight year. With a logjam at third base and the need for a backup catcher, the Red Sox traded Will Middlebrooks to the Padres on Friday in exchange for Hanigan.

"We've had our eye on him for awhile. He has a great reputation," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "Now was the time we could get him, so we acted quickly."

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Winning tradition' has Porcello excited to join Boston

In shadow of aces in Detroit, righty may end up as Opening Day starter

'Winning tradition' has Porcello excited to join Boston

BOSTON -- Meeting the media on Friday for the first time since being traded to the Red Sox last week, right-hander Rick Porcello was asked about his personal memories of pitching here at Fenway Park. All he could do was laugh.

Porcello, whom Boston acquired from the Tigers in a trade for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and pitchers Alex Wilson and Gabe Speier, remembers quite well his start at Fenway on Aug. 11, 2009. Porcello plunked Kevin Youkilis, Youkilis charged the mound, and both players ended up tumbling to the infield grass.

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Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No ace? Recent history says no problem for Sox

Strong bullpen, potent lineup, capable rotation has proven formula for success

No ace? Recent history says no problem for Sox

BOSTON -- Once Jon Lester made his decision that there would be no return engagement in Boston, there was an unsettling feeling for Red Sox fans who have just about always had an "ace" to cheer on in recent decades.

However, if you look at some of the top contenders of the last couple of seasons, some were able to survive and thrive with a rotation of competitive starters, rather than one dominant force. Those teams typically have a lights-out bullpen and an offense capable of putting runs on the board.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox add reliever Varvaro in trade with Braves

Red Sox add reliever Varvaro in trade with Braves

The Red Sox bolstered their bullpen on Wednesday, acquiring right-hander Anthony Varvaro from the Braves in exchange for Minor Leaguer Aaron Kurcz and cash considerations.

The Braves designated Varvaro for assignment on Monday to make room for Alberto Callaspo on the 40-man roster.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Sox back in driver's seat after Cherington's maneuvers

Sox back in driver's seat after Cherington's maneuvers

Let's say Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington doesn't make any further moves this offseason. Is his team good enough to win the American League East?

Of course it is.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Evaluating Red Sox's return for Cespedes

Beat reporter Ian Browne fields fans' questions

Inbox: Evaluating Red Sox's return for Cespedes

What do you make of the Rick Porcello-Yoenis Cespedes trade? I know Porcello is a bit underrated and has a big upside, but I expected the Sox to get a more exciting return, given all the trade rumors on Cespedes.
-- Seth H., Brooklyn

I like the trade. As soon as the Red Sox got Hanley Ramirez to play left field for the next four seasons, there was no longer was much of a fit on the roster for Cespedes. There was a glaring need for more pitching, particularly after Jon Lester signed with the Cubs. Porcello is coming off a 15-win season and isn't even 26 years old yet, despite being just a year away from free agency. General manager Ben Cherington spent a lot of time discussing Cespedes with all interested parties, and Porcello was the return that he liked the best. If the Red Sox can sign Porcello long-term, I'll like the trade even more.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch Manny Ramirez swing a golf club for 1st time

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Watch Manny Ramirez swing a golf club for 1st time

Golf: the sport designed to look like something a normal person could succeed at, only so it can cruelly steal away all dignity. And while athletes usually have the kind of natural athleticism and hand-eye coordination that allows them to be naturally gifted at anything they do, today we have proof that is not always the case.

At David Ortiz's 7th Annual Golf Classic, which he hosts to raise money for his Children's Fund, a number of celebs and athletes came out, including Hanley Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Jose Bautista and Manny Ramirez.

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Sox get Minors SS from Cubs to complete Doubront deal

Back on July 30, the Red Sox traded left-hander Felix Doubront to the Cubs for a player to be named. Boston finally collected its return on Monday, acquiring Minor League shortstop Marco Hernandez from Chicago to complete the deal.

Hernandez, a native of the Dominican Republic, began his professional career with the Cubs in 2010 and spent last season as a 21-year-old at Class A Advanced Daytona. The left-handed batter played 122 games, all at shortstop, and hit .270/.315/.351, with three home runs, 55 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. Along the way, he earned a spot on the Florida State League's Midseason All-Star team.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Craig an overlooked potential trade piece

Outfielder/first baseman can be as productive as he was with Cardinals

Craig an overlooked potential trade piece

So your favorite baseball team didn't land Melky Cabrera, and you're wondering how that hole in the lineup is going to get filled. You've come to the right place, friend.

Here's a name to pass along to your general manager. Trust me when I tell you this is someone you'll love: Allen Craig.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox mourn passing of longtime scout Enos

Red Sox mourn passing of longtime scout Enos

Bill Enos, the longtime Red Sox scout whose career extended through parts of eight decades in professional baseball as a player, manager, scout and consultant, passed away due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 94.

He died last Wednesday morning in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Farrell points to Betts as potential leadoff man

Red Sox manager values 22-year-old's unique speed/on-base combination

Farrell points to Betts as potential leadoff man

BOSTON -- Though the Red Sox are exactly 114 days away from Opening Day, it's never too early to begin thinking about the 2015 season.

One of the biggest questions going into the offseason is how Boston's lineup will shake out, specifically the leadoff spot.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @qlr5001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In span of days, Red Sox revamp rotation

Farrell has high expectations for new acquisitions Porcello, Masterson, Miley

In span of days, Red Sox revamp rotation

BOSTON -- In just a few days, the Red Sox completely revamped their rotation with three new pieces.

"In a short period of time, [general manager] Ben [Cherington] has done a great job rebuilding this rotation," manager John Farrell said during Saturday's Christmas at Fenway event. "We set out with a specific criteria, and that was an ability to pitch a high number of quality innings. The pitchers that we've added, that has clearly been in their past and their track record. I'm looking forward to getting this started."

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @qlr5001 This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lucchino: Red Sox sincerely tried to sign Lester

Lefty chose deal with Cubs over return to Boston

Lucchino: Red Sox sincerely tried to sign Lester

BOSTON -- With the dust settling after an eventful Winter Meetings for the Red Sox, president/CEO Larry Lucchino expressed disappointment and regret in how the team dealt with its attempts to sign left-hander Jon Lester.

"We didn't succeed, so I don't give us a very good grade. We were trying sincerely to get him signed. We wanted him to come back here. Free agency is a special opportunity for players, it comes up only once or twice if you're lucky in a career," Lucchino said during Saturday's Christmas at Fenway event. "Right now I'm trying to focus on the future and express a sense of gratitude to Jon Lester for all he did for us, for the horse that he was for us for so many years. The successful pitcher and person that he was. I wish him luck and I'm glad he's in the other league and not in our league."

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @qlr5001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sox thrilled to finalize deal for established starter Miley

Club deals De La Rosa, Webster, Minor Leaguer for lefty; also brings in Spruill from D-backs

Sox thrilled to finalize deal for established starter Miley

BOSTON -- It took a couple of days to finalize the details, but the Red Sox completed the trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for lefty starter Wade Miley.

"Excited about the opportunity," Miley said. "I talked to my agent a couple of times and he said there might be something in the works, really didn't know what it was. Everything was a little hectic but it's a great opportunity, and I'm looking forward to this chapter."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Masterson aiming to prosper with healthy 2015

New Red Sox starter feeling good, looking to rebound from injury-riddled '14

Masterson aiming to prosper with healthy 2015

BOSTON -- Justin Masterson is not only amped to be returning to the Boston Red Sox, his original franchise, but he can't wait to prove how well he can rebound from a tough 2014 season.

"I have confidence this will probably be one of the best seasons I've ever had," said Masterson, who on Friday held a conference call with the media a day after signing a one-year, $9.5 million contract to return to the team that traded him for Victor Martinez five years ago.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox land Porcello from Tigers for Cespedes

As Winter Meetings conclude, Cherington still seeking additional starter

Red Sox land Porcello from Tigers for Cespedes

SAN DIEGO -- The Red Sox have traded the power bat of Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers for a key rotation piece in right-hander Rick Porcello, completing a frenzied 24-hour period in which general manager Ben Cherington acted quickly after free-agent left-hander Jon Lester opted to sign with the Cubs.

Aside from completing the deal for Porcello, the Red Sox are on the verge of acquiring lefty starter Wade Miley from the D-backs, and they signed free-agent righty Justin Masterson to a one-year, $9.5 million contract.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rotation takes center stage as Winter Meetings end

After adding Porcello, Miley, Masterson, Cherington eyes another starter

Rotation takes center stage as Winter Meetings end

SAN DIEGO -- It was a whirlwind four days at the Winter Meetings for the Red Sox, who arrived with hopes of reacquiring Jon Lester but then swiftly made alternative moves once the lefty went to the Cubs.

General manager Ben Cherington had upgraded his offense before Thanksgiving with the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Bolstering the pitching staff was clearly the priority in San Diego, and Cherington acted on it.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Masterson gets one-year, $9.5 million deal from Red Sox

Masterson gets one-year, $9.5 million deal from Red Sox

SAN DIEGO -- Justin Masterson has agreed to a one-year, $9.5 million deal to rejoin the Red Sox, it was announced Thursday night. 

The right-hander is the latest part of Boston's rotation makeover that has taken place in rapid fashion over the past 24 hours.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Flurry of moves may be just the beginning for Tigers, Red Sox

Flurry of moves may be just the beginning for Tigers, Red Sox

SAN DIEGO -- So what did you think the Red Sox and the Tigers were going to do? Punt?

Yeah, right. Even after the wild flurry of moves that restated the two teams' intention to roll on to the 2015 World Series without the aces who led them into their most recent postseason appearances, history says they might just have something really crazy left in their bag of tricks.

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Phil Rogers is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester wasn't be-all, end-all for aggressive Red Sox

Scherzer, Shields top remaining free agents; Hamels, Cueto, Porcello among trade candidates

Lester wasn't be-all, end-all for aggressive Red Sox

SAN DIEGO -- With Jon Lester about to get fitted for a Cubs uniform, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has swiftly moved on to all other avenues of trying to rebuild his rotation.

In truth, Cherington had already started working on alternative plans weeks ago, but now he will try to come closer to making them a reality.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cherington understands Lester's decision, wishes him well

General manager turns attention to other free agents, trades to bolster rotation

Cherington understands Lester's decision, wishes him well

SAN DIEGO -- It was about 10 p.m. PT on Tuesday when Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington essentially got a final good-bye phone call from Jon Lester.

The two had parted ways once before, back on July 31, when Cherington traded his lefty to the A's for Yoenis Cespedes. This time, it was Lester who cut the cord -- and this time, it had finality.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester chooses Cubs over reunion with Red Sox

Lefty agrees to six-year, $155M deal; Scherzer, Shields now top arms on open market

Lester chooses Cubs over reunion with Red Sox

SAN DIEGO -- The Red Sox were in the Jon Lester sweepstakes until the very end, but they finished second to the Cubs.

The lefty agreed to a six-year, $155 million contract Tuesday that will reunite him with Theo Epstein in Chicago, MLB.com has confirmed. Boston's last offer to Lester was for six years at $135 million, according to a source.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Red Sox scout Kotchman honored at Winter Meetings

Red Sox scout Kotchman honored at Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- Mike Brito didn't know it at the time, but striking out in the ninth inning with the bases loaded would launch a productive Major League scouting career.

Brito was playing semipro ball in 1976 in Los Angeles when he faced Bobby Castillo, recently released by the Royals. Brito was so impressed when Castillo fooled him with a screwball that he hooked him up with a Mexican League club. When Castillo excelled there, the Dodgers took note and offered Brito a scouting job -- provided he could land Castillo for them.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ross could resume role as Boston's backup catcher

If he departs, club likely to fill spot via trade

Ross could resume role as Boston's backup catcher

SAN DIEGO -- The Red Sox remain in the hunt for a backup catcher, and there's still a chance David Ross could return for another season.

Ross, a free agent, served as the backup catcher for Boston the last two seasons.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox positioned to bolster rotation via trade

Red Sox positioned to bolster rotation via trade

SAN DIEGO -- The more Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington speaks to other clubs, the more he becomes convinced he has the resources to acquire quality starting pitching.

"I think we've found like there's no shortage of possibilities," Cherington said. "There's nothing, in theory, we can't do, you know? It's just a question of what we want to do, what we think makes sense. So we're still working on that. But I was confident at the beginning of the offseason and I'm even more confident now that we're going to be able to add pitching and build a good pitching staff and have a good team going into next year."

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox donate unique items for LUNGevity auction

Red Sox donate unique items for LUNGevity auction

SAN DIEGO -- Ever wanted the chance to watch three innings from inside the Green Monster, peering out though the scoreboard at field level as the action takes place?

How about getting your son or daughter a pitching lesson with Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves?

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.