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Red Sox promote Raquel Ferreira to vice president of baseball administration

11.21.14 at 9:24 am ET
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Raquel Ferreira, described by Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett as “the glue that holds the Red Sox farm system together,” has been promoted by the Red Sox from senior director of minor league operations to vice president of baseball administration, according to multiple team sources. Ferreira becomes one of three women in Major League Baseball to reach the level of vice president, joining Kim Ng (senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB) and Yankees senior vice president and assistant GM Jean Afterman.

Ferreira is one of the longest tenured members of the Red Sox front office, having joined the organization in 1999. Since then, her responsibilities have grown steadily to include:

— Operations of the farm system, including individual affiliates, player contracts, transactions
— The major league budget (non-payroll)
— Immigration and work visas

“She makes an impact in that [operational/administrative] area because she is especially good at it. As you can imagine, it’s no easy task to organize that volume of responsibility that is required to get all those people in all those different areas to the right place at the right time in a way that’s sort of functional, within budget. It’s a Herculean task and she’s very good at it,” Cherington said in this Minor Details podcast. “The best thing I can say is in the 16 years now, I can’t remember her making a mistake. I can’t. And there’s been a lot of opportunities for mistakes.”

Beyond that formal role, Ferreira has played a central role in the creation of the culture of player development in the Red Sox organization. Invariably, Ferreira plays a prominent role when players discuss their experience coming through the minors for the team, given that she’s often among the first — and frequently the first — point of contact for players with the organization, and players and staff members rely upon her as a trusted voice for both on- and off-field concerns, to the point where minor leaguers will sometimes describe her as being akin to a second mother. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox performing ‘due diligence’ on Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada

11.20.14 at 4:00 pm ET
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One of the most interesting free agents this offseason is unlikely to open 2015 in the big leagues. Yoan Moncada, a 19-year-old Cuban infielder who could receive a signing bonus of $30 million to $40 million (with teams paying a penalty of 100 percent on his bonus due to the rules governing international amateur free agents who are under the age of 23), recently worked out for teams in Guatemala.

The Red Sox — who have already blown past their recommended international amateur bonus pool for the 2014-15 signing season, adding top 16-year-old pitchers Anderson Espinoza and Christopher Acosta — are considered to be a team that could be in the mix for Moncada, who was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball but who is still waiting for clearance from the U.S. government to negotiate with teams. Red Sox amateur international scouting director Eddie Romero, prior to an event for the Foundation To Be Named Later, was among those in attendance at Moncada’s workout.

“It was a good opportunity just to lay eyes on him, to see him physically for the first time. He’s in tremendous shape, tremendous shape,” said Romero. “We’ll do our due diligence there and see where it goes.”

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Join Rob Bradford for Red Sox Hot Stove live chat, starting at noon

11.20.14 at 10:07 am ET
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Join Rob Bradford of WEEI.com for a live chat, starting at noon, to talk all things Red Sox offseason (or anything else that might be on your mind). It’s a great way to warm up for tonight’s “Hot Stove Show” with Bradford, Alex Speier and Mike Mutnansky on WEEI, starting at 7 p.m. So get your question in now …

Live Blog Rob Bradford Hot Stove live chat
 

Red Sox minor leaguer Cody Kukuk arrested for robbery

11.19.14 at 9:26 pm ET
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According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Red Sox left-hander Cody Kukuk was arrested in California on a charge of home-invasion robbery at an apartment in Lawrence, Kansas, on Nov. 8. The report says that Kukuk was among a group of individuals who “entered the Arkansas Street apartment with handguns, battered residents and took their belongings,” which included cash, cell phones, an Xbox and a safe’s contents. Kukuk and 20-year-old Gabriel Alexander Patterson are in jail in Long Beach, Calif., without bail, awaiting a hearing that could lead to extradition to Kansas.

The incident marks the second arrest for Kukuk since he entered the Sox system as a seventh-round draft pick (given a $800,000 bonus) out of high school in 2011. He was also arrested on charges of driving under the influence in Fort Myers in May 2012, but the charges were dropped in August of that year when the police were found to lack probable cause for pulling over Kukuk. Kukuk missed nearly all of that year before making five appearances at the end of the season in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League.

The left-hander has spent the last two years in Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem, showing an electric three-pitch mix (mid- to high-90s fastball, slider, change, all of which can generate swings and misses) that has yielded 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings but little ability to control it, as evidenced by his 7.0 walks per nine innings. While he continued to show stuff to suggest an enormous ceiling, Sox officials had measured expectations for his career given his lack of control and concerns about his makeup. To the chagrin of the team, those have now been borne out to the point where thoughts about his career are essentially irrelevant while his fate resides in the hands of the criminal justice system.

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Update: Blake Swihart, Eduardo Rodriguez headline four Red Sox added to 40-man roster

11.19.14 at 8:38 pm ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

Thursday represents a day of notable roster change, as teams face a deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster for the purposes of protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. The Red Sox appear likely to add four prospects to the 40-man, including top prospect Blake Swihart. That’s convenient, since the Sox have four open spots on their 40-man roster.

A brief look at the players expected to be protected:

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Red Sox announced that they had indeed added the following four players to their 40-man roster.

Blake Swihart, C, 22 years old

2014: Double-A/Triple-A – 110 games, .293/.341/.469, 13 HR

The top-ranked Red Sox prospect is among the top catching prospects in the game based on his potential for above-average offense and defense. Swihart could become a big league consideration sometime in 2015, with a more likely lasting big league opportunity to come in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, 21 years old

2014: Double-A (Orioles and Red Sox systems) – 22 starts, 120 innings, 3.60 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9

Rodriguez probably has the best stuff of any starting pitching prospect in the Red Sox system, with the left-hander sitting at 92-94 mph and capable of reaching back for 96-97 mph while featuring an excellent changeup and a slider that shows the potential to be an above-average pitch. It remains to be seen if Rodriguez looks more like the pitcher who struggled through the first four months of 2014 in the Orioles system or like the singularly dominant pitcher who proved a head-turner once in the Sox system. Either way, adding him to the 40-man roster is a no-brainer. If Rodriguez builds on his Portland performance, he has a chance to force his way into the big league rotation sometime in 2015.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Source: Red Sox showing ‘willingness to negotiate’ with Jon Lester after initial offer

11.19.14 at 8:07 pm ET
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According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have made it clear that there will be a “willingness to negotiate” with Jon Lester and his representatives after extending an offer during the two sides’ meeting earlier this week.

While a Boston Globe report suggested the Sox’ offer was for six years at between $110-120 million, the source suggested the team’s initial offseason proposal was part of a more complex discussion about potential contract parameters.

Earlier Wednesday, one of Lester’s agents, Seth Levinson of ACES, emailed WEEI.com to state, “I will not comment on negotiations nor will I characterize a meeting other than to say that the Red Sox extended great respect to Jon.”

With a source suggesting six teams expressing “legitimate interest” as of last week, it is believed that the Red Sox would have to come up dramatically from their perceived comfort level prior to trading Lester at the non-waiver trade deadline. After a spring training offer of four years, $70 million, no formal proposals were extended by either side until the one this week.

Lester was slated to meet with the Braves Thursday after having already conducted get-togethers with both the Red Sox and Cubs (Tuesday).

Red Sox claim corner infielder Juan Francisco on waivers from Blue Jays

11.19.14 at 6:19 pm ET
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Juan Francisco

Juan Francisco

The Red Sox announced that they’ve claimed corner infielder Juan Francisco off waivers from the Blue Jays. Francisco, 27, demonstrated considerable power when he made contact in 2014. In 106 games and 320 plate appearances, he hit .220/.291/.456 with 16 homers. However, he struck out in volume, whiffing in 36.3 percent of plate appearances.

A massive (6-foot-2, 245 pounds) left-handed hitter, Francisco’s offensive abilities are typically limited to right-handed pitchers. In his career, he’s hit .248/.310/.476 with one homer in every 20 plate appearances against righties, with a .159/.213/.210 line and just one homer in 150 career plate appearances against lefties. In 2014, he hit .238/.306/.504 against righties (a 129 OPS+, meaning an OPS that was 29 percent better than the league against righties).

Francisco gives the Sox a potential power-hitting corner infield depth option who bats left-handed — a sort of platoon fallback to the free agent options such as Pablo Sandoval that the team is pursuing. That said, Francisco’s defense is below average (he graded as seven runs below average at third base in 2014 according to Baseball Information Solutions), further limiting his value to that of a potential bench reserve.

The Red Sox now have 36 players on their 40-man roster, with one day remaining prior to the deadline to add players to the 40 for the purposes of protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. Here’s the press release from the Red Sox announcing the addition of Francisco: Read the rest of this entry »

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