Red Sox trade for A's Conor Jackson

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Red Sox trade for A's Conor Jackson

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

Though it hardly qualified as a blockbuster, the Red Sox were active on the trade market late Wednesday night, obtaining outfielder Conor Jackson from the Oakland A's in exchange for minor-league pitcher Jason Rice.

Jackson, 29, will be added to the Red Sox' expanded roster and is expected to join the club Thursday. Jackson is making 3.2 million this season and Oakland agreed to include an unspecified amount of money to help defray the approximate 500,000 remaining on his deal this season.

"It's awesome," Jackson told reporters in Cleveland, where the A's were playing, upon hearing of the trade. "I don't think a guy in my position couldask for anything better - a big-market team with probably the best fansin baseball."
As is often the case, at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st, this deal, too, came minutes before the deadline to obtain players who will be eligible for postseason play.

Dating back to July, the Red Sox had been in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder, a role Jackson fills. The Sox have had poor production from their right-fielders, notably J.D. Drew, who struggled for the first three-and-a-half months before being sidelined in July by a left shoulder impingement. Josh Reddick has filled in for Drew in right but has plateaued sharply in recent weeks while showing some deficiencies in right field.

Until Jackson's acquisition, Darnell McDonald was the team's lone right-handed outfielder. He, too, has been subpar offensively and though he has shown better power in the second half, his average remains under .200.

Jackson began his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being dealt to Oakland in 2010. A first baseman to start his career, he's played more outfield -- and is considered an average defender -- in recent seasons.

Jackson is a career .272 hitter with an on-base percentage of .352. He's also hit 51 homers to go along with 290 RBI and 289 runs. With Oakland this season, Jackson is hitting .249 (.315 OBP) in 102 games, with 4 homers and 38 RBI. Against lefties this season, Jackson is hitting .254 (.333 OBP) in 122 at-bats including ten doubles and 10 RBI.

Rice, 25, was obtained from the Chicago White Sox organization through the minor league Rule 5 Draft in December of 2008. This year, he had appeared in 44 games -- all but one in relief -- at Pawtucket, posting a 4-5 record with four saves and an ERA of 3.69. Rice fanned 89 batters in 85.1 innings and batters hit just .238 against him but command was an issue with 42 walks.

The deal comes exactly a month to the day since the Red Sox and A's originally consummated then cancelled a deal that would have sent starting pitcher Rich Harden to Boston in exchange for Lars Anderson and a player to be named later. The Red Sox knew Harden's shoulder was problematic but a review of his medical records, provided to finalize the deal, proved more worrisome than even they had believed, causing the Red Sox to pull out of the deal and angering Oakland's general manager Billy Beane.

Bobby Jenks, currently suffering from an illness, was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Jackson.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Red Sox circle wagon around Dustin Pedroia's words in weird fashion

Red Sox circle wagon around Dustin Pedroia's words in weird fashion

A rained-out Tuesday was pretty action packed, and a little head-scratching.

The Red Sox circled the wagons well, arriving at a unified message about the Dustin Pedroia and Manny Machado situation: this is behind us, and we’re all good. But it was a weird string of events that brought the Sox to that bottom line.

Happy Hanley Ramirez decided he was going to be Matt Barnes’ public relations representative, running bubbly interference when reporters approached Barnes in the clubhouse.

Ramirez then said there was no team meeting to discuss the fallout from that pitch Barnes threw too close to Machado’s head.

Interesting.

At first, Sox manager John Farrell said nothing about the fallout. He then later referred to a hypothetical meeting that took place.

But it wasn't hypothetical. Diplomatic Dustin acknowledged the discussion that touched on his words to Machado: “It’s not me, it’s them.”

Defiant David Price, meanwhile, was off tweeting something passive aggressive about another matter entirely.

But whether or not you believe the Sox, Tuesday’s rain-out scene was simply weird. A strange mishmash of approaches and attitudes.

We’ll take it chronologically, and begin our day with a tweet from Price.

1. Perhaps someone’s story or commentary recently irked Price. Or maybe he was just in a bad mood. 

Why else would Price announce that he's holding his media session about Monday’s bullpen session on Twitter, and that he won't answer no questions?

Raul Martinez of NBC Boston said on Twitter: “Went to his ice cream (charity) event yesterday, said we're going to ask about health & got up & left.”

Maybe that’s it.

So you’ve got the rehabbing $30 million pitcher off in one corner doing his thing, still having trouble with the attention he's receiving.

2. Around lunchtime, Farrell made his first remarks of the day, in a weekly spot on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. He was asked a couple questions about the Pedroia-Machado-Barnes brouhaha, and wanted nothing of it. 

Farrell told hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin that he did not mean to be short. Except he did. His answer may as well have been, “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

3. Move forward a couple hours. The Yankees-Sox game gets rained out and the Sox clubhouse opens for 30 minutes. Reporters approach Barnes, who’s appealing his four-game suspension for throwing at Machado.

But Barnes had to take care of something first before talking to reporters. Ramirez, who wasn't far from Barnes’ locker when reporters approached, tried to be some sort of shield. A goofy shield.

Remember that Ramirez has spiritually taken over for David Ortiz, or just really wants to. And Ramirez, clearly in a good mood, wanted the media to talk to him instead of Barnes.

(Ramirez, of course, doesn’t control who talks when. The media talked to both players.)

“No more talking about what happened in Baltimore,” Ramirez said at the end of his chat. “It’s over. … Let’s go Sox nation!”

Ramirez was being playful. But let’s go Sox nation? What? Who says that? 

4. Pedroia could have dodged the media for the 30 allotted minutes in the clubhouse, but he seemed to know there was an issue to quell.

“We all talked about that. We’re going to keep that in house,” Pedroia said, not nearly as jovial as Ramirez. “We feel good about each other. We all have each others’ backs. Everybody knows how everybody feels about each other. We’re pretty excited about the group we have."

Pedroia said he clarified what he meant by that “it’s not me, it’s them” comment — privately.

“I think guys that should know, know how we feel about each other and things like that,” Pedroia said. “It’s unfortunate that the outside has an opinion, but they’re going to have an opinion about everything. We all know how we feel. We’re moving on. We’re getting ready for this series, then the Cubs, then the Orioles. We’ve got a tough stretch. We’re focusing on baseball and turning the page.”

Pedroia was more testy when responding to a reporter’s question about his own words than he was a question about Orioles closer Zach Britton’s allegation that Pedroia can’t control his clubhouse.

Britton was way off-base when he suggested to BaltimoreBaseball.com that Pedroia didn’t have control of his group because Barnes threw at Machado. As though Pedroia was supposed to throw himself in front of the pitch.

But Pedroia, now 33, didn’t show off his fiery side.

He still can get riled up, but you have to wonder if his new position as the de facto team leader and his age have mellowed him. In the absence of Ortiz, is Pedroia now a diplomat?

“Everybody has their opinion. I don’t know Zach,” Pedroia said. “I haven’t played with him. I’m sure if I had played with him, his opinion of what he said would be different. I just know him as one of the best closers in the game. That’s it. His comments were said after an emotional game. Obviously he was upset at the situation. I don’t think negatively of him. I try to look at both sides before I jump to conclusions on anything.”

How pragmatic.

5. Then it was Barnes’ turn.

The Sox reliever who could have been offended by Pedroia said nothing at all, which was really his only choice. But Barnes wasn’t exactly loose, free and easy while giving non-answers. This was a tense situation, and Barnes didn’t disguise that. You can understand why.

6. Seemingly in a better mood a few hours after his satellite radio talk, Farrell had a little more to say about the the whole thing when he met with reporters at Fenway Park.

“I didn't feel any rift that was in the clubhouse because of what transpired,” Farrell said. “Any conversation that might have been needed was had and we're on to this series upcoming. What's done is done. 

“The one thing that I will say is, whether we are challenged by performance, injuries, things that take place between the lines, (I feel) very confident and strong that this is a team that's got one another's back and we handle it as a team.”

Maybe the Sox just need to work on their public relations a little bit, unify their approach. They all seem to know the bottom line.

Pedroia: Red Sox ‘all have each other’s backs’

Pedroia: Red Sox ‘all have each other’s backs’

Dustin Pedroia said he and his teammates have talked about his comments in the wake of teammate Matt Barnes throwing near Manny Machado’s head Sunday in Baltimore and that the Red Sox “all have each other’s backs.”

When asked to clarify what he meant when he said from the bench to Machado after the pitch, “it’s not me, it’s them,” Pedroia said the people who need to know what he meant by it.

Barnes is appealing the four-game suspension he was handed by MLB for the pitch to the Orioles’ Machado on Sunday, which was in retaliation for Machado’s hard slide that injured Pedroia on Friday night. 

TV cameras showed Pedroia yelling to Machado, “it’s not me, it’s them,” which some interpreted as Pedroia not backing Barnes or his teammates.

"We all talked about that and we're going to keep that in-house," Pedroia said after the Red Sox' series opener with the Yankees was postponed at Fenway Park Monday.  "We feel good about each other. We all have each other's backs. Everybody knows how everybody feels about each other. We're pretty excited about the group we have."

Barnes said there was nothing Pedroia had to clarify called him a great teammate.

Hanley Ramirez offered to speak instead of Barnes and said of what happened in Baltimore, “It’s over.” 

"No more talking about what happened in Baltimore,” Ramirez said. “It’s over. … Let’s go Sox nation."

Manager John Farrell said Pedroia, who missed the Saturday and Sunday games in Baltimore, would have been back in the lineup Monday night if the game had been played.