Saturday, March 8, 2014
By STEVE CRAIG Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND - When Portland Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles came rushing out of the dugout to remove catcher Tim Federowicz in the top of the ninth inning about 4:03 p.m. Sunday, the message was obvious. Federowicz had just been traded.
Stephen Fife, who led the Sea Dogs with 11 wins this season, was one of four prospects traded by the Red Sox on Sunday for pitcher Erik Bedard.
2011 Press Herald file
THE TRADE QUICKLY
The Red Sox, Mariners and Dodgers completed a three-way trade shortly before the deadline:
Red Sox get
• Pitcher Erik Bedard (4-7, 3.45 ERA in 16 starts this season) from the Mariners
• Pitcher Josh Fields (a 2008 first-round pick) from the Mariners)
Red Sox lose
• Outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang (hitting .342 with the Sea Dogs) to the Mariners
• Pitcher Stephen Fife (11-4, 3.66 ERA with Sea Dogs) to the Dodgers
• Catcher Tim Federowicz (.279, 8 homers with Sea Dogs) to the Dodgers
• Pitcher Juan Rodriguez (in Class A) to the Dodgers
"I kind of knew. I looked at the clock and saw it was 4 o'clock, I knew something was up," said Federowicz.
Federowicz was one of three Sea Dog players dealt by the Red Sox just before Sunday's major league trading deadline, in a three-team deal that brings Seattle Mariners left-hander Eric Bedard to Boston.
Federowicz and starting pitcher Stephen Fife went to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang, the leading hitter in the Eastern League, is now in the Seattle organization.
The Red Sox traded Federowicz, Fife and Class A right-hander Juan Rodriguez to the Dodgers for outfielder Trayvon Robinson. The Sox then sent Robinson and Chiang to the Mariners for Bedard and minor league reliever Josh Fields.
The trades came less than 24 hours after an apparent deal with Oakland for pitcher Rich Harden fell through because of concerns about Harden's health. The Red Sox had reportedly agreed to send Pawtucket first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named to the A's, but they backed out of the deal late Saturday night.
Federowicz received word after Sunday's game that he will be reporting to the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, N.M. Fife was told he would join the Dodgers' Double-A Chattanooga squad.
Chiang is scheduled to report to the Mariners' Double-A affiliate, the Jackson Generals.
Boston was looking for pitching help with starter Clay Buchholz sidelined by back problems.
"We thought, looking at our club, that we certainly need to add a starting pitcher, if nothing else, for depth purposes. That was the best way we could impact the club right now," Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein said.
"We like the starting pitching we have, but there are health questions with (Buchholz). That would be a really nice way to improve the club. We were out looking at every available starter.
"It wasn't clear we were going to be able to get anything done until the last minute."
Bedard has his own history of health problems but has pitched well when not injured. He is 4-7 with a 3.45 ERA in 16 starts this season.
Federowicz, who turns 24 on Friday, was a seventh-round pick in the 2008 draft. With a homer and sacrifice fly in his final game as a Sea Dog, he finished with a .279 average, eight homers and 52 RBI for Portland.
"I'm excited about the step up," Federowicz said after learning the Dodgers are sending him to Triple-A. "Fans were telling me and friends were telling me that I was going to be traded, but you don't believe it until it happens. It happened. It's a great opportunity, and I'm looking forward to it."
"Just to be traded is an honor because that means other teams are out there and they see the same thing the Red Sox see, and they think I'm a good player and that's why they traded for me, and that's a good feeling."
Fife, 25, also had spent his entire professional career with the Red Sox organization after being taken in the third round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Utah.
He said he was aware during Sunday's game that Federowicz and Chiang had been traded, but didn't know he was part of the package until he was called into Boles' office.
"He called Timmy and I in at the same time and let us both know we were headed to the Dodgers' organization," Fife said.
"As my career has gone, it has just been to be a consistent player and to create value and try to get to the next level. So, I created some value that the Dodgers saw in me, and I'm excited to get an opportunity to play for them, and hopefully exceed their expectations and move up their system and play in L.A."
Boles said, "we've always talked about creating Major League value. We're excited. These guys have obviously impressed other organizations and it's a great opportunity. We're very excited for these guys. Obviously, we're going to miss them."
The three departures create significant holes in the Sea Dogs' lineup. With Federowicz gone, Portland currently has one catcher, Mark Wagner. In addition to his league-leading .340 average, Chiang was also first in the Eastern League in RBI (76), doubles (37), extra-base hits (59), slugging percentage (.648) and runs scored (68). He was tied for fifth with 18 home runs.
Chiang, 23, went 2 for 4 with a double Sunday as the designated hitter, extending his franchise record for doubles in a month to 16.
Fife has been the Sea Dogs' most consistent pitcher, logging 103 1/3 innings in 18 starts. He was 11-4 with a 3.66 ERA.
"Boston will take care of this," Boles said. "They will make sure we're in a good position and we're just excited for the opportunity for these guys. But, as far as the players that we have here right now, we have versatility, so we will definitely have coverage here."
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.