The Boston Red Sox’s weekend series against the Oakland Athletics almost was like looking in the mirror.
Not only are the Red Sox and Athletics similar in many ways — most notably, in their offensive approaches — but Oakland also features several former Boston farmhands in its starting lineup, including Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick.
As Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald points out, the A’s lineup had three players who played at Double-A Portland, whereas the Red Sox’s lineup featured four such players — Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Thomas caught up with Oakland’s trio of former Sea Dogs, and all three players seemed to agree that their respective tenures in the Red Sox system shaped the players they are today with the A’s.
“Not every prospect pans out and not every prospect can stay,” Moss told Thomas. “I take pride in the fact that the Red Sox and (Pittsburgh) Pirates valued me enough to put me in the Jason Bay trade.”
Moss, of course, was included in the 2008 three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Bay to the Red Sox. Moss and reliever Craig Hansen were shipped to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“If I had stayed here (in Boston), I don’t know if I would have found the career that I have.” Moss said. “When I was here, I was a role player. And that’s fine when you’re on a team like that.”
Lowrie was traded to the Houston Astros before the 2012 season in a deal that sent reliever Mark Melancon to Boston. The shortstop played one season in Houston before being dealt to Oakland, where he batted .290 with 15 homers, 75 RBIs and 45 doubles in 154 regular-season games in 2013.
Lowrie told NESN’s Adam Pellerin over the weekend that the Red Sox taught him how to win.
“I wouldn’t say (it’s) odd (coming back to Boston). You go through the game and there’s not many Dustin Pedroias of the world who are going to stay with one team their entire career,” Lowrie said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to come up with the Red Sox.”
The Red Sox dealt Reddick to Oakland before the 2012 season for reliever Andrew Bailey. The 27-year-old outfielder struggled in 2013, but he clubbed 32 homers, drove in 85 runs and earned a Glove Glove in his first season with the A’s following the trade.
More than anything, Reddick is finding comfort with his new squad.
“I’m more of an impact player here than I was in Boston,” Reddick told WEEI.com on Friday. “It’s a lot easier for me to blend in and they let personalities run wild. It wasn’t something I was used to (in Boston). I was the guy sitting at his locker with his headphones on until I was approached. It’s definitely been a more exciting time just from being able to express myself as more than just a baseball player.”
The Red Sox and A’s play on opposite coasts, but the connections are interesting, especially given that each team is expected to contend this season.
Boston versus Oakland would make for one intriguing ALCS, no?