|12.21.16 at 1:40 pm ET|
ESPN has announced the list of Sunday Night games for the upcoming season, with the Red Sox right now slated to participate on April 30 for their game against the Cubs at Fenway Park, and July 16, when they host the Yankees.
The schedule is only listed up through July 23, and there four dates yet to be designated.
It could be a lot worse for the Red Sox, with the Cubs and Cardinals each getting four Sunday Night appearances. The Yankees and Mets also have three, apiece.
The obvious question for Red Sox players would be what their commitment might entail the day after playing these games.
The day after the game against the Cubs, the Red Sox are home to play a night game against the Orioles. (It is also “Hanley Ramirez Chain Night.”) The July 17 game is also home, with the Blue Jays coming to town.
As for the possibility of the Red Sox playing on one of the “TBD” dates, there is always that chance. The first open date, May 21, wouldn’t seem likely because it’s at Oakland. June 18 is intriguing, with the Red Sox playing at Houston, with a series in Kansas City to follow. And then there is July 2, when the Red Sox play at Toronto. That would seem to be a good bet.
Apr. 2: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Apr. 9: Miami Marlins at New York Mets
Apr. 16: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Yankees
Apr. 23: Washington Nationals at New York Mets
Apr. 30: Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox
May 7: New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs
May 14: Houston Astros at New York Yankees
May 21: TBD
May 28: New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates
June 4: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
June 18: TBD
June 25: TBD
July 2: TBD
July 9: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
July 16: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
July 23: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
|12.20.16 at 1:33 pm ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski knew he needed to trade a starter this winter, and there was really only one option.
So when the Philadelphia Phillies came calling, Dombrowski pulled the trigger, dealing right-hander Clay Buchholz for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias on Tuesday.
“I think in this case, the timing fit for us,” Dombrowski said. “When we looked at everything, we were in a spot where we had seven established big-league starters, we felt we had a little bit more depth there, we still have some guys that we feel are behind them in [Henry] Owens, [Roenis] Elias and [Brian] Johnson, we got a prospect that we liked, got a club where he can go and start for them, which he wouldn’t necessarily have that opportunity here, so I think everything tied together for us that it made sense doing it now rather than waiting.”
And how did Buchholz take the news?
“I did speak to him,” Dombrowski said. “He was very understanding, thankful. I thanked him for everything he did in the organization while with us. He was understanding of the situation. He was also thankful, appreciative of everything that was done for him throughout the years by everyone in the organization. Enjoyed his time here. He thought maybe it also was a spot where he gets a change of scenery, fresh opportunity. Not always a bad thing, as he mentioned. And that was basically it.”
Clearing Buchholz’s $13.5 million salary puts the Red Sox under the $195 million luxury tax threshold, a goal meant to assure they don’t incur further penalties that hamstring their efforts to rebuild the farm system.
“I think it’s advantageous to be below the CBT just based on the new basic agreement,” Dombrowski said. “It’s something that we were hopeful of doing. It fell into play here very well for us. It’s also a situation where it creates some flexibility for us as we go forward, staying below the CBT with areas we may want to address as the season progresses. Who even knows? Maybe even as the wintertime progresses”
|12.20.16 at 11:17 am ET|
Clay Buchholz has been traded to the Phillies, with the Red Sox will be receiving minor-leaguer Josh Tobias, a second baseman who was drafted in the 10th round of the 2015 draft. Philadelphia will pay the entire $13.5 million owed the starter next season.
The 23-year-old Tobias played at both Single-A Clearwater and Lakewood, combining for a .291 batting average, .784 OPS and nine home runs.
The 33-year-old excelled after returning to the starting rotation in 2016, totaling 2.98 ERA over his last eight regular season starts. He also offered tremendous value as a reliever, posting a 1.93 ERA in eight appearances out of the bullpen.
Buchholz had been with the Red Sox since being taken in the first round of the 2005 draft, having made his major league debut in 2007. For his big league career, the righty has gone 81-61 with a 3.96 ERA.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was first to report the deal had been completed.
|12.20.16 at 7:42 am ET|
“That week was weird,” he explained when appearing on the the Bradfo Show podcast.
He woke up to find a message on his phone from Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, having planned on heading over to JetBlue Park for his daily 8:30 a.m. workout. The Sox boss was asking Shaw to give a call back.
“I as soon as I heard that message I was like, ‘Uh, oh,'” explained the former Red Sox infielder.
Once the two did connect, Dombrowski passed on word that Shaw had been traded to Milwaukee — along with minor-leaguers Josh Pennington and Mauricio Dubon — for a reliever. The pitcher the Brewers sent back wasn’t identified, but would soon be uncovered thanks to Twitter.
So, had Shaw ever heard of Tyler Thornburg, the pitcher who would be now calling Boston home?
“I did not, no,” the lefty hitter said.
“Once it broke over Twitter, that’s kind of when I figured out who it was, looked him up. He had a pretty good year last year. … It seems like, the more I’ve looked into it, it benefits both ends. Both teams and both players at the major league level. Only time will tell, but that trade is a good situation for both guys.”
Shaw did admit that the trade didn’t totally come as a surprise.
“You think it’s going to happen, but it’s still strange once it does happen,” he said.
“I thought there was a decent chance it was going to happen. I don’t think the Red Sox were necessarily looking to move me, but you look at the numbers game. Pablo [Sandoval] is coming back. He’s worked his butt off. I’ve seen him down there, personally. He looks good. He was back in the fold, and they were trying to get him back to where he was a couple of years ago. It seemed like numbers-wise, position player, I was kind of the odd man out of the guys from the team last year. If they were able to fill a role they thought they needed, I thought that maybe if another team wanted me I was more expendable than the other guys in the lineup.”
Shaw is currently listed as the starting third baseman on the Brewers’ depth chart, although there is little evidence (other than superimposing a Milwaukee uniform on his Twitter avatar) during current existence that anything has changed.
“The did send me a little care package to work out in, but than that, nothing,” said Shaw. “Shirt, shorts. They wanted me to get some gear on me some time this winter.”
FOR THE ENTIRE TRAVIS SHAW INTERVIEW, CLICK BELOW
|12.17.16 at 10:53 am ET|
#Repost @drgsmile with @repostapp ・・・ Así de feliz se siente cuando este mega campeón de los @redsox @kfp48 le hago sonreír a Pablito Sandoval y el nos hace orgullosos de ser una latino en el hall of fame ! Que honor y alegría mantenerte saludable y constante. Gracias por tu confianza y ser parte de nuestra familia en @smilestudiomiami the best #baseball player !!! MVP 2012 word series El Kung Fu Panda 🐼!!! Jajaja #venezuela #miami#drgsmile
By all accounts, Pablo Sandoval is doing his part so far.
Our social media accounts have been flooded throughout the offseason with photos of Sandoval’s transformation, with his dentist’s approval serving as the latest Instagram example. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, and offers some hope that Year 3 of the third baseman’s five-year contract can offer some value.
But shedding the belly was just Step 1.
Sandoval seems to have the best intentions, and is attempting to put his 30-year-old body in the best position to find production. But there shouldn’t simply an assumption that the new body will immediately solve the Red Sox’ third base issues.
There is the need to have some assurances his surgically-repaired shoulder won’t be a deterrent. The last time we witnessed Sandoval as a starting third baseman, he represented one of the worst right-handed hitters in the game (finishing 2015 with a .197 clip against lefties). And, this time, from the Red Sox perspective, there isn’t an palatable fall-back if things aren’t trending in the right direction throughout spring training.
It’s hard to fathom that Sandoval got his deal after coming off a 2014 season in which he totaled a .739 OPS, which would have been 17th-best among third basemen this past year.
And this time the fail-safe isn’t going to be Travis Shaw or Yoan Moncada. It’s Josh Rutledge and/or Brock Holt.
There could be very real scenario where John Farrell chooses to use Rutledge as the third baseman against lefty pitching if there are any signs Sandoval isn’t turning things around from the right side. And if things seem like they did with Sandoval last spring training, perhaps the Red Sox bite the bullet and use Holt as the almost-everyday guy.
When you have the kind of pitching the Red Sox would seem to possess, dealing with these sort of uncertainties aren’t a deal-breaker. And, let’s be honest, we can’t forget the fact that the Red Sox won their division while totaling the absolute worst offensive production from the third base position of any team in baseball.
But the Red Sox have to deal in reality, and until the loss of Sandoval’s pounds actually translates the player we last saw four seasons ago all we have is a bunch of Instagram hearts.
Ya estamos listos para enviar cientos zapatos @newbalance a los niños en #Venezuela. We’re getting ready to ship #hundreds of @newbalance #sneakers & more to #children in #Venezuela. Thank you #newbalance! #giveback #redsox #redsoxnation #thanksgiving #Christmas #family
A photo posted by Pablo Sandoval (@kfp48) on
|12.17.16 at 10:06 am ET|
The 37-year-old’s first foray into free agency resulted in a two-year deal with the Marlins that will pay him $7 million in 2017 and $9 million the year after. It’s likely he will set-up closer AJ Ramos (who did have 40 saves and a 2.81 ERA for Miami), joining former Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa in Don Mattingly’s bullpen.
Ziegler didn’t bust budgets with the signing, but considering he entered his 30’s making the major league minimum, the free agent experience should be a feel-good moment for the submariner.
So, how should we remember Ziegler in these parts? For one, he may represent the best trade Dave Dombrowski has made since starting his run with the Red Sox.
Craig Kimbrel. Carson Smith. Aaron Hill. Drew Pomeranz. Fernando Abad. Tyler Thornburg. Chris Sale.
None of the trades involving these Red Sox acquisitions can yet be viewed as flat-out losses. Until Manuel Margot, Anderson Espinoza, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz, Pat Light, Wendell Rijo, Aaron Wilkerson and Yoan Moncada do something at the big league level, that wouldn’t be fair. But more than a few of the aforementioned prospects have the potential to make some of the deals uncomfortable for the Sox somewhere down the line.
But considering what the Red Sox gave up for Ziegler, and what he delivered (when he did it), it’s hard to imagine anybody will classify that July 9 deal was anything but a steal.
The 20-year-old starter the Red Sox gave up in the trade, Jose Almonte, seems to be a solid prospect, putting up a 3.23 ERA in his 11 Single-A starts after being acquired by the Diamondbacks. The second piece reeled in by Arizona, the other Basabe brother (Luis Alejandro), has some tools, hitting .310 with the Red Sox’ Single-A team in Greenville before slumping to .217 once in his new organization.
Still, the level of uncertainty surrendered for the certainty Ziegler supplied as the time is what separated this trade.
The righty finished his Red Sox stint totaling a 1.53 ERA in 33 games, having pitched in more games than any other Sox pitcher since coming over. His historic ground ball rate was also slightly better as a Red Sox (second-best in club history) than when wearing a Diamondbacks uniform throughout 2017, with John Farrell’s team going 22-11 when Ziegler pitched.
And during the two-month stretch where the Red Sox were trying to figure out how to live life without either Craig Kimbrel and/or Koji Uehara, Ziegler stabilized a bullpen that was leaning the likes of Clay Buchholz and Robbie Ross Jr.
Simply put, if the Red Sox don’t trade for Ziegler, they don’t make the playoffs. And when contrasting Dombrowski’s other two July trades, that can’t be said for Pomeranz or Hill. And that is a pretty good measuring stick particularly when you may have managed to use the more valuable Basabe brother to get Sale.
|12.16.16 at 11:26 am ET|
Former Red Sox right-hander Junichi Tazawa has agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract with the Miami Marlins, according to multiple published reports.
Tazawa, 30, had spent his entire career with the Red Sox since signing out of Japan in 2008. A key member of the 2013 World Series champions, he had seen his effectiveness wane in recent seasons, particularly last year, when he went 3-2 with a 4.17 ERA.
His 256 appearances since 2013 ranked fourth in the American League, but they also took a toll. He lost his job as primary setup man midway through last season and basically became a mop-up man.
Tazawa becomes the second high-profile member of the title-winning bullpen to depart this offseason, joining countryman Koji Uehara, who signed with the Cubs.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski had made it clear early in the offseason that Tazawa wouldn’t be part of the team’s plans this winter.
|12.14.16 at 1:52 pm ET|
He hinted that he was going to do it. Now, it’s no longer a hint.
After announcing at the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic that he wanted to play in the Dominican Winter League to prepare for the World Baseball Classic, Hanley Ramirez took to Twitter to put some punctuation on the conversation.
— Hanley Ramirez ⚾️ (@HanleyRamirez) December 13, 2016
Ramirez hasn’t played Winter Ball since 2013, which was the last time he participated in the WBC.
While the Red Sox first baseman is a big proponent of using the WBC as preparation for the regular season, there has to be some trepidation about Ramirez amping things up so quickly. In 2013, during the WBC championship game, the then-shortstop injured his thumb to the extent that he missed the first month of the season.
Ramirez wanted to play for Licey prior to last season, but having come off a serious shoulder injury the Red Sox nixed the idea.
|12.11.16 at 4:38 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell joined the Trenni and Tomase Show over the weekend and discussed a number of topics — including the comeback attempt of third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
With Travis Shaw traded to Milwaukee and third-base depth otherwise thin, barring a trade, Sandoval will enter spring training as the clear starter at the position. Photos from Fort Myers show him working hard to lose weight. Farrell did not mince words about the challenge ahead.
“No one’s going to say the first two years of Pablo’s tenure in Boston have gone well,” Farrell said. “That’s obvious. . . . Pablo’s mindset is almost a redemption approach. It feels like he’s got to make it up to his teammates and the fans of Boston here.”
Sandoval missed almost all of last season because of shoulder surgery, which came on the heels of a disastrous 2015 that saw him post some of the worst numbers in baseball after signing a five-year, $95 million deal in free agency.
With David Ortiz gone, the Red Sox will be looking to improve on last year’s woeful third base production, and they hope Sandoval can be a big part of it.
“We’re not asking him to go out and be something he wasn’t prior to the signing of that contract,” Farrell said. “If he gets back to that level — and let’s face it, he’s going to have to go out and earn the job back, because Brock Holt is here, we did go out and pick up Josh Rutledge, who was a quality utility bat prior to the injury last year. We’ll see what transpires the rest of the offseason.”
Farrell noted that prior disappointments had turned their Red Sox careers around.
“There’s been a realizing that the approach he had gone through the first two years here was not the right one for him, and to his credit, he’s made an adjustment,” Farrell said. “He’s got a lot to earn back and particularly to our fans, but we’ve seen it happen before. The resurrection John Lackey went through [in 2013], it can happen. Hanley [Ramirez] bounces back with a big year this year. So I think as he sees other players around him that have done this, I would think it gives him confidence to be able to do it himself.”
Farrell reiterated that playing time will be based on performance, not pay. It’s up to Sandoval to earn it.
“When someone’s taking your job, you’ve got one of two ways to respond,” Farrell said. “You put your tail between your legs and walk out, or you find a way to earn it and fight back. He’s doing the latter right now.”
|12.11.16 at 12:10 pm ET|
According to the Miami Herald, the Red Sox asked for right-handed pitching prospect Luis Castillo from the Marlins when talking about a trade involving Buchholz. The Marlins reportedly had no interest in including the 23-year-old in a deal, while also shying away from paying all of the $13.5 million owed Buchholz next season.
Castillo had been part of the trade that got reeled in pitchers Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from San Diego in July, but was sent back to the Padres after it was determined Rea’s had physical issues. (For more on that, click here.)
According to sources at the MLB Winter Meetings, it became clear the Red Sox were prioritizing dealing Buchholz over the likes of Drew Pomeranz when attempting to thin out a rotation that currently features seven legitimate starters. (For more on that, click here.)
One Marlins official recently told the Miami Herald that the team believes Castillo can emerge into a 20-game winner. Splitting time between Single-A and Double-A last season, the hard-throwing righty totaled a 2.26 ERA in 131 2/3 innings, striking out 103 and walking just 25.
If the Red Sox do acquire a minor-leaguer for Buchholz, it would mark the first time since Dave Dombrowski took over as president of baseball operations of the Red Sox acquired a player with no major league experience.
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