The Boston Red Sox and their fans may have thought that they saw the last of starting pitcher Felix Doubront, after trading him to the Chicago Cubs for minor leaguer Marco Hernandez. However, the 27-year-old lefty from Venezuela may face his former team sooner than expected.
After the Cubs released Doubront in late March, Fox Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal tweeted, yesterday:
The Toronto Blue Jays have been looking for relievers and other experienced arms to sure up their pitching success, especially when young starter Marcus Stroman was lost for the season with an injury. Young talent like Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris were expected to pick up the slack, with more youth in Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro brought up quickly to help the bullpen. With Doubront being brought into the Blue Jays system, it gives them another player whom has won big games to help guide the blooming boys into trusted men on the mound.
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For Red Sox Nation, Doubront is not a forgotten face, yet. After signing him in 2005 as a free agent, the Red Sox brought him up from their own minor system and had him start games. Between 2012 and 2014, Doubront posted a record of 24 wins and 20 losses, in 66 starts for Boston. In his last 10 games for the Sox, he went 2-4, with a 6.07 ERA, which included 10 home runs and 26 walks to 43 strikeouts.
Apparently, it didn’t get much better for Doubront by playing for Chi-Town’s National League team. In 4 starts, he went 2-1, with one less walk than he had in strikeouts. This spring training, Doubront pitched 7 innings and allowed 9 runs, including 2 homers, and a wild pitch. With numbers like those, it’s not surprising that they would be the reason that the Cubs sent him packing.
Jeff Todd of MLBTradeRumors.com reported that, “for a Jays club that has been in need of pitching depth, Doubront represents a welcome and risk-free investment. [He] has certainly had his struggles at times, but has shown the ability to miss bats at the big league level even in a starting capacity. Presumably, he could ultimately see time in the rotation or pen for Toronto if he can prove his worth at Triple-A.”
The chances that Doubront can accomplish that feet is not out of the question; but, we can guarantee that it will not be in the first few weeks, if not the first few months, of the regular season. Much like Allen Craig has a ton to prove for the Red Sox, after last season, Doubront’s inability to keep teams off of the scoreboards will need a large sample size as proof of his comeback. He will not be able to get the benefit of the doubt by striking out Triple-A veterans in a short period of time. The burden of proof clearly lies on the defendant, with his skills in question and lack of recent evidence, against major-league talent, to the contrary.
However, if Doubront can rise from the ashes of 2014 and ascend to the Blue Jays rotation, it will also have to factor in someone in the starting rotation getting injured or not producing. Anything is possible when it comes to a pitching staff. The Red Sox, themselves, are testing a completely new set of starters, with the exception of Clay Buchholz. You never know what will happen. If the time comes, who will have the advantage? Will Boston’s bats bash Doubront back to unemployment or will he have the perfect strategy to keep the Blue Jays ahead of the Red Sox at the plate?
Or will any of this materialize? Triple-A, after all, isn’t a cake walk, like some of the opposing batters had against Doubront’s time with the Cubs.
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