The Boston Red Sox acquired Ian Kinsler from the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night, replacing the injured Dustin Pedroia at second base even as the AL East leaders distance themselves from the New York Yankees -- and the rest of baseball, too.
Boston will send Triple-A pitchers Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez to Los Angeles, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in the Red Sox clubhouse after they beat Philadelphia 2-1 in 13 innings. The Angels and Red Sox will split the remaining $3,666,667 on Kinsler's $11 million contract that expires at the end of the season.
"He's the closest teammate that I've ever had to Dustin Pedroia," said Red Sox left-hander David Price, who was Kinsler's teammate with the Tigers when Dombrowski also traded for him there. "He brings that intensity, that fire every single day. He's a gamer. He'll make any team better. I'm very happy we got him."
Angels general manager Billy Eppler said he spoke with Kinsler and thanked him for his time with the team.
"That was difficult, but we're excited about the players we're getting back and the potential for an impact in the future," Eppler said in a conference call late Monday night.
"There's a reason people gravitate to this guy. I know I did, and I was only around him less than a calendar year. We have to weigh that impact and the duration of that impact, for the guys returning in this deal."
A four-time All-Star, Kinsler is the third recent acquisition for the Red Sox as Tuesday's trading deadline approaches. Dombrowski also brought in Steve Pearce a month ago and last week acquired starter Nathan Eovaldi, who earned a victory Sunday in his first start for Boston.
With the win, the Red Sox improved to 75-33 _ the best record in baseball, and their best mark since Ted Williams' team coasted to the AL pennant in 1946. Boston is a season-high six games ahead of the Yankees, who visit Fenway Park for a four-game series this weekend.
"I'm excited. I think we're all excited," Price said. "I don't know how many games we're in first place by, but when you're playing the Yankees, it's always exciting."
Kinsler, 36, is batting .239 with 13 homers and 32 RBIs for the Angels this season. Dombrowski said he expects Kinsler to be the regular second baseman, moving Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez back into utility roles once third baseman Rafael Devers comes off the disabled list.
"Ian's a really good defensive player," Dombrowski said. "Basically, it's what we hoped, early this season, that Dustin would be."
Pedroia and Kinsler have been connected since their college days, when Pedroia took Kinsler's starting job as shortstop at Arizona State in 2002. Kinsler transferred to Missouri the following year.
Pedroia has played just three games this year after left knee surgery in the offseason. Dombrowski says it's likely he won't be back until very late in the season, if at all.
A 25-year-old right-hander, Buttrey has a 2.25 ERA in 32 relief appearances at Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
"He looks pretty darn close to major-league ready," Eppler said. "Looks like a guy that's got a lot of upside."
Jerez, 26, is 2-1 with five saves and a 3.63 ERA in 34 relief appearances for the PawSox. The left-hander averages 95 mph with his fastball and hits 100.
"We're hoping those guys take that next step and we watch them in Los Angeles," Eppler said. "The Angels will always remain opportunistic. That's what at least we hope this trade speaks."