|12.07.15 at 7:31 pm ET|
The question was: who was the Red Sox going to get back for their starting pitcher?
Speaking to the Boston media at the winter meetings late Monday afternoon, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski explained what he was looking for when dealing from his surplus of starters, and why Miley ended up being the odd man out.
“I’d say more guys approached on him but I think we made it clear … first of all, you have [David] Price, who just joined us, and we really didn’t have any discussions and we’re not open to talking about [Eduardo] Rodriguez,” Dombrowski explained. “And then we just listened to what other people had to say. We really weren’t pushing anything. We just figured we’d listen. A lot of clubs had interest in Miley, but there was interest in other guys.”
The combination of Miley serving as a proven innings eater, and solid starter, highlighted the lefty’s value. And his relative affordability — making $6 million in 2016 and $8 million in ’17, with a $12 million team option for ’18 — separating him from the other trade candidates.
And when Seattle showed interest in Miley, the pieces started to fit, especially considering what kind of bullpen arm the Mariners were willing to part with in Carson Smith.
Add in that the Red Sox were able to get starting depth, and a possible lefty reliever, in Roenis Elias, and that was all Dombrowski needed to hear.
“We were open, but what we said to people, ideally what we’d like to have is a young bullpen arm that could pitch at the big league level for us right now to give us depth and a starting pitcher that gives us more protection, that’s either ready to pitch now or real close to pitching,” he said. “We really were able to acquire what we wanted to but if somebody would have come back with an offer that would have helped us in other ways, we’re open-minded. We didn’t know if we’d be able to get this or not.
“Seattle looked like … there were other clubs that had interest, we talked to other people. But Seattle was the one club, it looked like it might fit for us in that regard because a lot of people didn’t have that type of depth. [Seattle GM] Jerry [DiPoto] of course knows Miley. Miley pitched well for us, did a nice solid job. We’re still solid with left-handers though. And he liked [Jonathan] Aro when he saw our system. We just thought it was a deal that made sense.”
But, make no mistake about it, this deal was about getting Smith, a high-leverage reliever who isn’t arbitration eligible until 2018.
“We like him a lot,” said Dombrowski regarding his new righty reliever. “We’re pleased to be able to get him and we think it really gives us another power arm in the bullpen. It gives us a lot more depth from the right-hand side and all of a sudden you’re talking about having [Craig] Kimbrel and [Koji] Uehara and [Junichi] Tazawa and Smith, plus other guys from the right side. But those four guys, all at the big league level.
“I think we counted out that we have 86 saves going into the bullpen this year from last year, and that some of that was need because some of the guys filled in at the end of the season. I think we’re a lot deeper out there. We like Carson Smith a lot and it gives us a little more depth out there when John [Farrell] wants to rest people, he can move people up a notch. If he wants to rest Kimbrel, he’s got Uehara. If he wants to rest Uehara, he’s got Tazawa and he’s also got Smith. Let him deal with how he wants to use him but we really like what he brings to our staff and we really like the ability to add another power arm out there that’s young.”
|12.07.15 at 3:12 pm ET|
The key piece in the deal for the Red Sox is Smith.
The 26-year-old righty, who isn’t arbitration eligible until 2018, finished last season (his first full campaign in the majors) with 92 strikeouts in 70 innings and a 2.31 ERA.
Smith converted 13 of 18 save opportunities once moved into the closer’s role, limiting opponents to a .194 batting average against. He was particularly tough on righties, who managed just a .169 average against the former eighth-round pick.
While Smith’s velocity dropped a bit as ’15 progressed, he remained getting solid results thanks in part to an above-average slider. He finished 2015 striking out 20 over 12 2/3 innings in September, not allowing a run.
Elias defected from Cuba in 2010, making his major league debut in 2014. That season he made 29 starts for the Mariners, going 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA. In 2015 he made 20 starts, finishing with a 4.14 ERA.
The 27-year-old figures to offer depth in the starting rotation, with the possibility of the Red Sox using the lefty out of the bullpen.
Miley always appeared the most likely of the Red Sox starters to be dealt considering his value and relative palatable salary. The lefty, who went 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA while leading the Sox in innings pitched (193 2/3), is due to make $6 million in 2016, $8.75 million in ’17 and potentially $12 million in ’18 (carrying a team option).
Aro pitched in six games for the Red Sox in 2015, all in relief. He allowed eight runs on 14 hits over 10 1/3 innings.
The deal was first reported by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
|12.07.15 at 1:48 pm ET|
MLB.com also surfaced the Rangers interest in Joe Kelly (along Tampa Bay’s Drew Smyly).
According to one major league source familiar with the situation, however, it seems unlikely the Red Sox are motivated to move Kelly. The 27-year-old righty is arbitration-eligible for the first time, having coming off a season which was highlighted by an eight-start run that saw him go 8-0 with a 2.59 ERA.
Miley, conversely, is under team control through 2018, when he can make a maximum of $12 million via team option. The lefty is scheduled to earn $6 million in 2016.
Buchholz’s upside would be intriguing for any team, especially considering he would come with a $13.5 million team option for 2017. But the righty hasn’t pitched since early July, ending his season with a couple of bullpen sessions.
For Kelly’s reaction to the Red Sox’ surplus of starting pitching, click here.
|12.07.15 at 1:41 pm ET|
It’s no secret that the Red Sox are looking to unload one of their returning starting pitchers after signing free agent David Price last week. Now, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, we have some information about one of the teams with whom they might be dealing.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has plenty of familiarity with the players as well as the Red Sox front office, as he was a scout for the Sox a decade ago and he had a stint as a senior adviser with the Sox late last season after resigning as Angels GM midseason. He also worked for the Diamondbacks when Miley played in Arizona.
Dipoto has gone on record as saying he wants to upgrade the M’s rotation, and the Red Sox are an obvious place to start considering their surplus of arms.
Buccholz, 31, went 7-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 18 games during an injury-shortened 2015 season. He is set to earn $13 million in 2016, and the team has a $13.5 million option for 2017.
Miley, 29, overcame a 1-4 start to finish 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA in 32 starts in his first season in Boston. The left-hander has two years remaining on his contract — worth $6.1 million next season and $8.9 million the year after — and the Red Sox hold a $12 million option for 2018.
|12.07.15 at 1:13 pm ET|
According to multiple major league sources, Encarnacion will commit to becoming a free agent if no extension is worked out with the Blue Jays by the end of spring training.
This is notable for the Red Sox since sources have suggested there would be significant mutual interest between the first baseman/designated hitter and the Sox if Encarnacion did become a free agent following the 2016 season. He was a favorite of Sox manager John Farrell when both were in Toronto.
The representatives for Encarnacion — who will make $10 million in 2016, the final year of what has become a four-year deal — will meet with the Blue Jays at the winter meetings over the next few days to discuss the slugger’s contract status.
The Blue Jays are also facing the prospects of another one of their foundation players, Jose Bautista, hitting free agency after the ’16 season.
Encarnacion has the ninth-best OPS (.912) in the major leagues over the past three seasons, with the third-most home runs (109). Last season, he hit 39 homers with a .929 OPS.
|12.07.15 at 11:30 am ET|
NASHVILLE — Joe Kelly’s first reaction to the David Price signing?
“I didn’t think he was going to sign with Boston,” the Red Sox pitcher told WEEI.com by phone. “And then we signed him and thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty crazy.’ He’s been so good for so long. He’s so dominant. I was pretty stoked that we signed him. It’s another teammate who can play ‘Call of Duty’ with me.”
When it comes to the video game — which Kelly said he has played against Price “once or twice” — the Red Sox righty isn’t about to take a backseat to the new $217 million man. (“I’m probably better. Check his stats and then check mine.”)
But when it comes to the starting pitching pecking order, Kelly knows the deal. It’s Price and then everybody else. The question is now: who is going to be that everybody else?
The Red Sox have six starters (not including Henry Owens) at the moment, with the possibility that one of the group gets dealt, perhaps at some point during this week’s winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
“I haven’t put too much thought into it. Whatever happens is going to happen,” Kelly said on a Red Sox starting staff shake up. “I haven’t really checked up on anything. But I’ll probably start checking my phone over the next week with the Winter Meetings. That’s always a possibility. We have six guys and obviously Price isn’t going anywhere. It will be interesting to see what will happen. I’ll stay on my phone, that’s for sure.”
If the Red Sox do choose to deal one of the current starters, Kelly and Wade Miley figure to be prime candidates.
|12.07.15 at 10:49 am ET|
Both FoxSports.com and CBSSports.com both report that Los Angeles has struck a deal to acquire reliever Aroldis Chapman from the Reds. It isn’t yet known what players will be going to Cincinnati in the deal
The Red Sox had shown interest in the 27-year-old Chapman, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, prior to acquiring Craig Kimbrel.
Chapman joins Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the LA bullpen, offering one of the best end-of-game scenarios in the big leagues.
Chapman, the hardest thrower in Major League Baseball, is coming off a 2015 season in which he struck out 116 in 66 1/3 innings. He finished with a 1.63 ERA while converting 33 saves.
|12.06.15 at 10:32 pm ET|
NASHVILLE — Jonathan Papelbon‘s brief tenure with the Nationals hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly.
According to multiple major league sources, the former Red Sox closer has filed a grievance against Washington for failing to pay his salary during the team-imposed four-game suspension at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Papelbon was suspended by the Nationals after engaging in a dugout altercation with teammate Bryce Harper during a Sept. 28 game against the Phillies.
According to the sources, the player’s stance is that there is no precedent of a player having his salary withdrawn after such a team-issued suspension.
No date for a hearing has been set.
Following the incident, the Nationals and their general manager Mike Rizzo issued a statement:
There have been some talk that Papelbon might be on the trading block this offseason, with the 35-year-old slated to make $11 million in the final year of his current contract.
|12.05.15 at 3:06 pm ET|
It looks like the Red Sox are done spending on free agent pitching. But according to owner John Henry, the trade market remains very much in play.
Asked on Friday after David Price‘s introduction if he could see the Red Sox spending again on a free-agent pitcher, Henry said no. But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski remains on the hunt for a starting upgrade.
“I do think there is trade potential,” Henry said. “We have a lot of pitching and we have a lot of talent. We’re not going to trade away our core young players, but we might be able to get a core young pitcher. Dave is exploring a lot of other things. He’s well known as someone who’s not afraid to pull the trigger. Because of these young players we’re in good shape, not just for this year, but going forward.”
Acquiring a core young pitcher without sacrificing a core young prospect won’t be easy, and presumably takes the Red Sox out of the market for a big name like Oakland’s Sonny Gray, Chicago’s Chris Sale, or Miami’s Jose Fernandez. Henry said that the Red Sox engaged teams on trade talks early in the offseason and found the costs prohibitive.
“We talked to a team about going after a No. 2 (starter), and the price was two everyday position players,” Henry said. “So it was clear to us that going the trade route was going to be expensive. We are committed to staying younger.”
With the winter meetings opening on Sunday in Nashville, one possible trade partner to watch is Cleveland. If Henry wants to add a core young pitcher who could be reasonably obtainable, 25-year-old right-hander Danny Salazar would be one possibility. The hard thrower has struck out nearly 10 batters nine innings over his career, and isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.
|12.04.15 at 9:44 pm ET|
Ramirez, appearing in good shape and perhaps not quite as bulky as when we last saw him, explained how he viewing his current lot in life as the Red Sox‘ first baseman, while explaining how he is approaching this offseason.
Here is what Ramirez had to say:
ON IF HE WOULD BE PLAYING WINTER BALL: “Like I always do, every year I try to play. If they don’t let me, they don’t let me. I always try to play. That’s it.”
ON HEALTH OF HIS SHOULDERS: “Awesome. No pain, no nothing. One hundred percent.”
ON BEING SENT HOME EARLY LAST SEASON: “The thing is, the good thing they did, when they sent me home, like two weeks or a week and a half before, the season was ending and they sent me to rehab my shoulder and give me some extra time. I was ready to go. I can say it was two weeks after, they sent me to the rehab facility down in Miami and they did a pretty good job and I was feeling strong after two weeks.”
ON OFFSEASON WORKOUTS SO FAR: “I’ve been doing a lot of cardio and agility because to play the infield, that’s the difference. I’ve been in the infield my whole life. This is nothng new for me, in the infield.”
ON UNCOMFORTABLE FIRST YEAR WITH RED SOX: “The thing is, in April, nobody say anything, I had 10 homers. I know how it is. It’s the media. When you’re struggling, things are going to come out. When you do good, I just got to hit and that’s it, and everything’s going to be fine.”
ON PREPARING TO PLAY FIRST BASE: “No, I’ve been working out at shortstop. You think its funny but it’s going to make it easier to go to first. Just work on my hands, relaxing my hands, and that’s it. We’re going to concentrate on footwork and all that stuff in maybe in like a week with the team I was supposed to play Winter League with and just go there and try to get some work done.”
ON WHAT RED SOX SAID ABOUT PLAYING WINTER BALL: “They’re the boss. If they say no, then no.”
ON WORKING WITH BRIAN BUTTERFIELD: “I’m just going to get mad when they throw it right to my chest. I like to pick it. That’s the point that we’re concentrating, with [Brian] Butterfiefld, what we did last year, towards the end of the year, he gave me some keys, and I was like, ‘Wow, this works.’ You see it with [Mike] Napoli. Napoli was a catcher and he moved to first. he picked it. Butterfield, man, he’s good.”
ON DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUTFIELD AND INFIELD: “The outfield is different. I don’t put negative stuff in my mind. Everything that I do, I take as a positive and a new challenge, going to the outfield that I’ve never played in my life and I know I can’t dive for it or have it come off my shoulder, it’s a little tougher because of that. There’s some balls you can’t get to it if you don’t dive. You can see Bradley, he’s unbelievable. Or Mookie, I wish I coujld do that. I was clapping every time they made a good play because I know myself, I couldn’t do it. Going to the infield, it’s different, it’s way different. I’m an infielder. I don’t know why you guys think it’s going to be hard. I just have to keep working every day and no doubt I’ll make some mistakes but we just have to learn from that. At the end of the season, just win and everything is going to be alright.”
THOUGHTS ON POTENTIALLY BEING TRADED: “I mean, yeah. Why you think I cried when they traded me the first time when I was in Double-A? But the thing is, [Dave Dombrowski] honest. He tells you what we wants, and you respect people like that. That’s why I feel great right now. He told me what he wants me to do. We set up all the points, and I’m fine with that, he’s fine with that.”
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