Red Sox Old Front Office Trades for Red Sox Player

One of the nice things about having InstaGraphs is that there are some transactions that are maybe worth mentioning in passing, but probably aren’t worth full length write-ups. Now that we have a section dedicated to shorter, quick-hit type pieces, we can justify writing about things like the Cubs trading for Felix Doubront.

On the one hand, there are some things to like about Felix Doubront. He’s 26, left-handed, and has a career FIP- and xFIP- of 103, which are essentially league average for a starting pitcher. He’s also under team control through 2017, so unlike a lot of guys getting moved today, he’s not going to be a free agent for a while.

Of course, there are a lot of things to not like about Doubront as well. His career ERA- is 116, as he’s never been able to get his results to match his peripherals. And even those underlying numbers have gone the wrong way this year, as both his K% and GB% have gotten much worse. His 2014 xFIP- is 127, so for the last 60 innings or so, Doubront has been basically a replacement level arm. And while he’s under control for three more years, those are his arbitration years, so he’s going to cost some really money, especially if the Red Sox figure out how to him.

In some ways, Doubront is not that different from what Jake Arrieta was when the Cubs got him from the Orioles last year. The Cubs struck gold with Arrieta, and it’s understandable that they’d want to take another shot at grabbing a young pitcher from the scrap heap and seeing if they can turn him into something useful.

It probably doesn’t hurt that Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod were all part of the Red Sox when Doubront was acquired and developed, so they all saw him as the promising young pitcher he once looked like, rather than the going-the-wrong-way guy headed for a non-tender this off-season.

Not every Jake Arrieta works out, though, and Doubront probably won’t. For every 10 of these guys you throw at a wall, maybe one or two stick. But if you’re the Cubs, there’s little harm in trying.




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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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11 Comments on "Red Sox Old Front Office Trades for Red Sox Player"


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Wags (@wags721)
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Wags (@wags721)
1 year 11 months ago

He’ll probably do way better in Chicago than the AL East, but I think that potential everyone used to love about him is greatly diminished with a ~4 mph decrease in his fastball.

His pouting in Boston basically forced them to sell him at his lowest value.

King Buzzo's Fro
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King Buzzo's Fro
1 year 11 months ago

Chicago Blue Sox

jcxy
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jcxy
1 year 11 months ago

“For every 10 of these guys you throw at a wall, maybe one or two stick. But if you’re the Cubs, there’s little harm in trying.”

Well said.

Professor Ross Eforp
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Professor Ross Eforp
1 year 11 months ago

I don’t think the ratio is anywhere near one or two in ten, however.

Redsauce
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Redsauce
1 year 11 months ago

Given how little the Sox got for him (and understandably so), it’s disappointing that they didn’t see if he would stick to the wall in Boston. Especially in this, a lost year. Why not try it out?

tz
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tz
1 year 11 months ago

I would have hoped for a somewhat decent return, simply because the Cubs can non-tender him if he doesn’t turn the corner and stay at that level. Good low-risk move for Chicago.

Kawa Small
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Kawa Small
1 year 11 months ago

Boston has too many good-not-great pitching prospects and not enough wall to throw them against. And Doubront had become a bit of a malcontent.

CPT
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CPT
1 year 11 months ago

“And while he’s under control for three more years, those are his arbitration years, so he’s going to cost some really money, especially if the Red Sox figure out how to him. ”

Well said.

Yirmiyahu
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1 year 11 months ago

Don’t understand this for Boston. I get that the return was so low because of the year he was having and because of his whining about his role.

But why trade him at all with his value so low? Given that Lester and/or Lackey are being sold to the highest bidder, he was probably going to return to the rotation anyway.

3.5 cost-controlled years of a league-average lefty starter with upside, in exchange for a PTBNL. Wow.

Juicy Plums
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Juicy Plums
1 year 10 months ago

Though they’re cost-controlled years, that hardly means free. As Dave hinted: Doubront has the potential to cost real money for at least two of those arbitration years, years where Doubront might have very little value.

Cost aside, I suspect it comes down to projecting him going forward…where there are a good number of red flags. He was HR-prone when he threw 94, now the velocity is 90. The K-rate is down accordingly and the HR-rate has climbed slightly. He’s always had a high walk rate. I guess there’s a little upside, but…it’s a thin line to Jonathon Sanchez territory too.

To me, this deal is Boston admitting that they don’t see the upside anymore and/or can’t fix what’s wrong. PTBNL seems about right.

Tom
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Tom
1 year 11 months ago

When I saw the headline I thought it was in reference to Duke trading for Lester

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