When the Red Sox made their deal for starter Wade Miley official on Friday, it also meant that the Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa’s time in Boston had come to an end.
While the two right-handers will no longer suit up for the Sox, they will remain a major part of Red Sox history that was the starting piece in bringing a World Series title to Boston just a year after finishing in last place.
On Aug. 25, 2012, the Red Sox announced a shocker of a trade, sending first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, and pitcher Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gonzalez and Crawford were less than two years removed from inking megadeals to keep them in Boston for seven seasons, while Beckett was a staple of the Red Sox rotation for over a half-decade, including anchoring a World Series-winning staff in 2007.
But after the historic 2011 collapse, the “chicken and beer” fiasco, and the club’s nauseating 2012 campaign, change needed to happen, and when GM Ben Cherington sent the three aforementioned players to Hollywood, he got in return two young arms who had the potential to make an impact in Boston for years to come.
Webster and De La Rosa were two of the Dodgers’ most prized prospects. Prior to the season, Baseball America had ranked the 22-year-old Webster as one of the top-100 prospects in all of baseball, a list that included future stars Matt Moore, Yu Darvish, and Matt Harvey. De La Rosa, at 22, had pitched in 13 big league games for Los Angeles in 2011, including 10 starts, going 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA.
Both were expected to need little more time in the minors before they spent their summers at Fenway Park.
But things never quite worked out for either pitcher with the Red Sox. De La Rosa made his debut for the Sox on Aug. 6, 2013, throwing one shutout inning in relief while striking out two batters. He faltered in other outings, however, and ended the year having allowed seven earned runs in 11 1/3 innings.
After being called up from Pawtucket in 2014, De La Rosa was hit-or-miss for the Red Sox. In his first eight starts, half of them were dazzling one-run or less performances in at least seven innings of work, while in the others he gave up at least four runs three times and never made it out of the sixth. He finished the year having made 18 starts for the Sox, with one more appearance in relief, going 4-8 with an ERA of 4.43.
Webster, on the other hand, never seemed to figure it out when it came to pitching for the Red Sox. His first MLB start – the second game of a doubleheader on April 21, 2013 – he gave up two earned runs over six innings, not bad for a young pitcher's first outing. But he got shelled the next time the Sox handed him the ball, allowing eight runs in just 1 2/3 innings before he was pulled from the game.
With the Sox hoping to get a good look at their young arms down the stretch in 2014, Webster came up to Boston on July 27 and remained with the team for the rest of the season. In his second start of the year, he gave up four runs and walked six New York Yankees through 2 2/3 innings before John Farrell dipped into the bullpen, with Webster not being able to buy a strike that day.
After a terrible August where he went 2-3 with a 7.28 ERA, Webster did turn in a very good September, posting a 2.63 ERA while averaging six innings per start and the Sox winning all four of his appearances.
Their final stats as members of the Red Sox: Webster went 6-5 in 19 games with a 6.25 ERA, while De La Rosa was 4-10 in 30 games with an ERA of 4.54. And on Friday, it was announced that the two would be on their way to Arizona in exchange for the runner-up to the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Looking back on their tenures in Boston, the Red Sox were able to get good trade value in acquiring Miley. Webster and De La Rosa may turn things around with a change of scenery and become the stars they were projected to be while prospects with the Dodgers, while the Sox hope that with a better lineup and defense around him, Miley will be able to succeed and return to the All-Star he was in 2012.
Whether success will follow the moves for all three players remains to be seen. But in the cases of Webster and De La Rosa, it became clear they had reached their ceiling with the Sox, and a new organization may be just what the doctor ordered.