Less than five months after acquiring Yoenis Cespedes as part of a big deadline deal, the Boston Red Sox traded the slugging outfielder to help bolster their rotation.
The Detroit Tigers were happy to take him.
Boston sent Cespedes to the Tigers on Thursday for right-hander Rick Porcello in a deal that both teams hope will help fill significant needs. The Red Sox are rebuilding their starting pitching after losing 91 games this year, and Detroit was able to add another power hitter to a lineup that also includes Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
Pitchers Alex Wilson and Gabe Speier also went to Detroit as part of the trade.
"We were not looking to trade Yoenis Cespedes," Boston General Manager Ben Cherington said. "But as we got into the off-season and looked at what our alternatives were, and we needed to build our rotation, and the depth we had in the outfield — we feel good about the outfield group that we have. Just felt it made sense."
The Red Sox acquired Cespedes in July in the deal that sent Jon Lester to Oakland. Cespedes, the Home Run Derby winner, finished the year with a .260 average, 22 home runs and 100 RBIs. Boston was unable to bring Lester back as a free agent, and the Red Sox needed to add to their rotation after also trading Jake Peavy and John Lackey during the season.
Porcello does not turn 26 until later this month, but he has plenty of experience. He made his debut with Detroit in 2009 as a 20-year-old, and he has been a mainstay in the Tigers' rotation ever since. He is coming off a season in which he set career bests with 15 wins, a 3.43 earned-run average and 204 innings pitched.
"We feel he's been one of the better starting pitchers in baseball," Cherington said. "He's been on a staff with a lot of big-name pitchers so he gets buried in the names in Detroit. But he's been really good in his own right."
Detroit also acquired right-handed starter Alfredo Simon from Cincinnati on Thursday.
More Marlins moves
The Miami Marlins are serious about contending in the NL East. If signing slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a monster contract last month wasn't proof enough, a late flurry at the winter meetings sure made it clear.
Miami acquired right-hander Mat Latos from the Reds on Thursday for pitching prospect Anthony DeSclafani and minor league catcher Chad Wallach, a day after after landing All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon in a seven-player trade with the Dodgers.
"We want to build and we want to be competitive every year, and we want our team to play into October," said Mike Hill, Miami's president of baseball operations.
The 27-year-old Latos is coming off an injury-plagued season. He made only 16 starts because of the knee and an injured pitching elbow, going 5-5 with a 3.25 ERA. He will help bolster a Miami rotation that will be without 2013 rookie of the year Jose Fernandez, who is recovering from May elbow-reconstruction surgery, until the middle of 2015.
Dan Jennings traded Dan Jennings.
On the final day of the winter meetings, the Marlins sent Jennings, a 27-year-old left-handed reliever, to the Chicago White Sox for 26-year-old right-hander Andre Rienzo.
Dan Jennings, the Marlins' 54-year-old general manager, laughed about the deal. "On the road, sometimes he'd get to the room and say to me, 'I think I got the wrong room. They put wine in my room,"' the GM said.
The pitcher was 3-6 with a 2.43 ERA and 84 strikeouts over 100 innings in 116 relief appearances with the Marlins from 2012-14.
The Minnesota Twins and free-agent right-hander Ervin Santana were working to finalize a four-year, $55-million contract, according to two people with direct knowledge of the deal.
The Twins again brought a need for better starting pitching into the off-season, and Santana, the former Angel, has been one of the steadiest around. Over the last five years, Santana averaged 12 wins, 207 innings and 164 strikeouts while making 30 or more starts each season. The Twins pursued him a year ago, but he held out until March and signed with Atlanta for one season and $14.1 million.
Santana, who turns 32 Friday, was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in 31 starts for the Braves last year.
The Kansas City Royals and veteran slugger Kendrys Morales agreed to a $17-million, two-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press. Morales is expected to take over at designated hitter for Billy Butler, who signed a three-year deal with Oakland. ... A person familiar with the negotiations says power hitter Mark Reynolds and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a one-year deal. The 31-year-old Reynolds hit 22 home runs last season in his only year with Milwaukee. He batted .196 with 45 RBIs in 130 games. ... The New York Mets have agreed to a $1.45-million, one-year contract with outfielder John Mayberry Jr., who had seven homers and 23 RBIs in 146 at-bats for Philadelphia and Toronto this year. ... A baseball official familiar with the deal says that the Texas Rangers have an agreement in place to acquire left-hander Ross Detwiler from the Washington Nationals. Texas will send two minor leaguers to the Nationals for the pitcher who was left off Washington's postseason roster last season.