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July 31, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Red Sox acquire Erik Bedard in three-team deal

The Red Sox acquired left-hander Erik Bedard and Triple-A right-hander Josh Fields from the Seattle Mariners in a three-team, seven-player deal that also involves the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox sent catcher Tim Federowicz, pitcher Stephen Fife and pitcher Juan Rodriguez to the Dodgers for outfielder Trayvon Robinson. Boston then sent Robinson and outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang to Seattle for Bedard and Fields.

The deal, which was reported just after the 4:00 p.m. trade deadline, gives Boston starting pitching depth in the form of Bedard, who has pitched well when healthy over the past few seasons. In 16 starts this season, Bedard is 4-7 with a 3.45 ERA in 91.1 innings. Since being traded to Seattle after the 2007 season, Bedard has a 3.31 ERA with 241 strikeouts in 255.1 innings, but has missed significant time in each of the last four seasons, including all of 2010 while recovering from a 2009 labrum surgery, and part of this season with a knee injury.

Boston also acquired right-handed relieve Fields, a former first-round pick out of the University of Georgia. Fields has spent time with Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma this season in the Mariners organization, posting a 2.77 ERA in 20 appearances for Jackson before stumbling to a 6.23 ERA with Tacoma. The 20th overall selection in the 2008 draft after an All-American season as Georgia's closer as a senior, Fields, a Scott Boras client, did not sign with Seattle until February 2009. He scuffled with Double-A West Tennessee that year, perhaps in part due to rust from not facing live hitting in nearly a year, going 2-2 with a 6.48 ERA in 31 appearances, tallying 33.1 innings. He rebounded that fall in his first swing through the Arizona Fall League, being named to the Rising Stars game after posting a 1.64 ERA in 11.0 innings, allowing 6 hits and 6 walks while striking out 10. Last year, Fields was plagued by a forearm injury that limited him to 28.2 innings, again for West Tennessee. He again went to the Arizona Fall League to pick up some innings, and was named a Rising Star for the second time, although his numbers were not quite as good with a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings, over which he allowed 11 hits and 5 walks, striking out 8.

In the first part of the trade, Boston sent Federowicz, Fife, and Rodriguez to the Dodgers to acquire Triple-A outfielder Trayvon Robinson. Federowicz, considered one of the premier defensive catchers in the minor leagues, hit .274 with a .734 OPS in 89 games for the Sea Dogs. Fife, who was drafted in the third round out of Rice, was 11-4 with a 3.66 ERA in his second go-around in Double-A. Rodriguez, a right-handed flamethrower out of the Dominican Republic, has been lighting up radar guns across the South Atlantic League this season with his high-90s fastball. He has 88 strikeouts in 59 innings, but also posted a 2-4 record with a 5.19 ERA.

The Red Sox later flipped Robinson, who is batting .293 with 26 home runs and a .938 OPS in 100 games for Triple-A Albuquerque, and Chiang to Seattle for Bedard and Fields. Chiang emerged as one of the organization's best hitters in the 2011 season, earning a trip to the MLB Futures Game last month. In 87 games, Chiang leads the Sea Dogs with a .338 batting average and a 1.086 OPS. His 18 home runs and 78 RBI are tops among current Portland players. Signed as an international free agent out of Taiwan in 2005, Chiang moved to the outfield from second base after the 2008 season.

Not to be forgotten is that Federowicz, Fife, and Chiang were all due to be added to the 40-man roster after this season. The Red Sox were faced with a 40-man logjam this offseason, as described here, which could make those players more valuable to a team with more room to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.