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On Monday, B/R Featured Columnist Andrew Martin suggested the Red Sox consider trading pitcher Felix Doubront.
Then manager John Farrell announced that instead of starting on Wednesday as scheduled, he would be moved to the bullpen. Up-and-coming prospect Allen Webster would get the start—his second call-up of the season.
Suddenly, the case for trading the lefty is much stronger.
Another strong outing from Webster could have been the start of the end for Doubront in a Red Sox uniform. He's by far the weakest link on the Red Sox rotation. But the youngster allowed six hits and eight runs, walked three and struck out two in just 1.2 innings before being pulled and replaced by Doubront himself.
Not that he did much better, allowing 12 hits and six runs in 5.1 innings.
After a mediocre 2012 (11-10, 4.86 ERA in his first full season), Doubront started 2013 on the wrong foot by showing up to spring training out of shape. His 3-1 record in five starts is devalued by his now 6.40 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. In his last start against the Rangers, he gave up six runs off 12 hits in only 3.2 innings, not too different from Wednesday night.
High pitch counts, a slow pace, an inability to last many innings and a dip in his fast ball velocity are all areas of concern.
It's unlikely Doubront will be traded anytime soon.
But what makes him decent trade bait is that he's not awful. He's young, he's cheap and he's shown he has enough potential to get some bites from other teams. And for the Red Sox, they have a long list of promising pitching prospects in addition to Webster who could help fill in for his absence.