Felix Doubront and the Boston Red Sox appear to be at a crossroads.
Doubront, who has expressed displeasure with his current role several times, reiterated Sunday that he’s unhappy pitching out of the Red Sox’s bullpen. The left-hander even is open to a trade if it means becoming a starter again.
“If something happens, it’s going to happen because it’s going to be the best for me,” Doubront told MassLive.com’s Jason Mastrodonato before Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. “I just want to be a starter and stay there. If I stay (with the Red Sox), they have to know I have to be a starter. If I go, the other team is going to give me this chance to be a starter.”
Doubront began the 2014 season in the Red Sox’s starting rotation. He struggled for the most part and landed on the disabled list with a shoulder issue at the end of May. Doubront made one start upon returning from the DL on June 20, but the Red Sox have since moved him to the bullpen, instead opting for more productive starting options, like Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa.
“There’s a clear role for him in the bullpen and sometimes performance guides where you’re slotted,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday.
Doubront doesn’t agree with Farrell’s stance. The 26-year-old views himself as a starter — plain and simple — and he thinks Boston is making a big mistake by essentially relegating him to mop-up duty in the bullpen.
“First of all, I’m not a reliever,” Doubront told Mastrodonato. “They know that. They just, you know, it’s hard, but I don’t know what they’re doing. I know they’re not doing the right thing for me. That’s what I know right now at this moment. I’m an employee just following the order but they know I’m not happy. I don’t know what they’re going to do in the future, but I don’t want to be a reliever the whole year. That’s what I know.”
Doubront, who owns a 5.22 ERA this season, has made only five relief appearances this month. He even went 14 days — with the All-Star break mixed in — without pitching at one point. Opportunities have been limited.
Doubront insists he feels stronger now than he has the last two years, though, and the lack of work is starting to weigh on the lefty, who thinks he already has proven enough to earn a spot in the starting rotation.
“The thing is, if the (Red Sox) say I have to prove myself, I already did man,” Doubront said. “It’s (messed) up. So if these guys say I have to pitch to prove whatever, no, they already know what I have. I showed them what I have, as a reliever and as a starter.
“For me, they don’t see the numbers, they don’t care what I’ve done in the past. It’s hard to be happy like that with these guys.”
Doubront won’t be arbitration eligible until 2015. He won’t be a free agent until 2018. The Red Sox have the young hurler under team control for the next few years, but one can’t help but wonder if his days in Boston are numbered if the sides can’t soon reconcile their clear difference of opinion.