|12.08.16 at 10:40 am ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was a guest of the Hot Stove Show on Wednesday night to discuss the Chris Sale trade and his general approach to the winter meetings, and he made it clear that despite trading prospects at a steady clip since arriving, he plans for the Red Sox to contend, “for the next 10 years.”
Asked if he’d be comfortable trading any more top-flight prospects after shipping Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, to the White Sox for Sale, Dombrowski sounded a note of caution.
“I’d really prefer not to and I don’t think we really have to do that at this point, because we’re pretty deep,” he said. “But you never can tell what happens. You have to be careful. I mean, we have given up a lot of guys, but I also think we have a really good big league club. But you don’t want to just keep giving up those guys on a consistent basis.
“Our goal is to not only be good for the next three or four years, but our goal is to be good for the next 10 years. One of the challenges for us at this point, and we talked about it — the reason we have the talent we have here is because of the people in the room and their staffs. We have those people still with us with their staffs. It’s a challenge to them to go find those same type of talents. So I do think we can continue to do that.”
Dombrowski felt comfortable trading prospects because the core of his big-league club is so young, with 20-somethings Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Andrew Benintendi.
“We have a young major league club all in all,” he said. “We do have a little bit more than you’d think player-wise, because right off the bat I can say, well who’s close to playing in the big leagues? You could say well, [Rafael] Devers is pretty close. [Sam] Travis is close. [Blake] Swihart is close. Marco Hernandez is close. So you start to say, hey, there are four guys who are pretty good right there. You don’t really need to replenish many players that would be leaving in the near future with the big league club. We haven’t given up our draft choices for the last couple of years, so that group of players from last year will go out there and get another full year under their development and we like a lot of those guys, too.”
Dombrowski makes no apologies for going for it.
“But us being aggressive, that’s part of the advantage of being in the Red Sox organization,” he said. “We can make these moves at the major league level to get better, but at the same time you can also go ahead and replenish your farm system by being aggressive, by signing players, and making good decisions.”
|12.08.16 at 8:23 am ET|
But, according to teams talking with the Red Sox, Dombrowski has seemingly prioritized dealing Buchholz over Pomeranz. In fact, one source suggested the Sox aren’t currently showing any inclination that they want to move Pomeranz.
Pomeranz would most likely result in a bigger haul for the Red Sox considering the lefty’s age (28), affordability (he will make around $4 million in arbitration), and potential (the southpaw finished with a 3.32 ERA in 30 starts in 2016).\
Considering Buchholz’s strong finish to his 2016 season – managing a 2.98 ERA in his final eight starts after a return tot he rotation – there would appear to be some interest in the 32-year-old. The roadblock in moving the righty, however, might be the $13.5 million he is slated to make in 2017, the final year of his deal.
Considering his success in the bullpen last season, Buchholz could be considered as a reliever heading into 2017. But the likelihood using the veteran righty in such a role with his price tag, and without the perceived need for late-inning relief help, such a scenario doesn’t seem likely.
|12.07.16 at 6:56 pm ET|
OXON HILL, Md. — The dust has settled. Dave Dombrowski and Chris Sale have both explained their experiences during the pitcher’s trade to the Red Sox. And now the question can be asked: What did the Red Sox think of the scissors incident?
The issue in question was Sale cutting up the White Sox’s throwback uniforms last season in protest of having to wear the garb during one of his starts.
So, did it concern Dombrowski at all when acquiring his new ace?
“Well, I mean, I think you do your checking when you read that and see what you feel causes some things,” Dombrowski said during his meeting with the local media at the MLB Winter Meetings Wednesday night. “But after I’ve checked things out, not really, no.”
The conversation led to how the Red Sox viewed Sale’s personality and make-up, which of course was secondary to the talent offered by the 27-year-old lefty.
“There’s always an on-field and an away from the game,” Dombrowski said. “On the field, he’s as competitive as can be. He’s got an edge to him, a good edge. His teammates love him. I mean, I’ve seen him pitch so many times in my career being in the same division. I know we never liked facing him. And off the field, actually, I’ve heard a lot of pleasant things about him. He’s expecting his second child. He told me the due date is December 20. Doesn’t know that his wife will make it until then. But he lives 20 minutes or 25 minutes away from the ballpark in Fort Myers. He lives in the Naples area.
“I’ve heard tremendous things about him as an individual. And actually, it’s amazing because again, it’s a small world, he grew up in the Lakeland area. I remember meeting his father at a ballgame at times just by coincidence in the past. Not that that tells you about the individual himself. So, I’ve had a lot of connections throughout the time period. A couple of our guys know him very well in the organization and say really good things about him.”
|12.07.16 at 3:59 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Sox showed strong interest in acquiring Royals closer Wade Davis before he was dealt to the Cubs Wednesday in exchange for outfielder Jorge Soler. (For more on that deal, click here.)
What derailed a deal was Kansas City’s preference of Soler over Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw, who was ultimately traded to Milwaukee with minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg.
Davis would have certainly added a unique dynamic to the back-end of the Red Sox’ bullpen, having totaled a 1.18 ERA over the last three seasons as one of the best game-enders in baseball. Davis has also been dominant during the Royals’ World Series runs, allowing just one earned run over 25 postseason innings.
The 31-year-old Davis saved 27 games for the Royals last season, and is owed $10 million in 2017, the final season of his current contract.
|12.07.16 at 2:56 pm ET|
The White Sox manager took a few moments at the MLB Winter Meetings Wednesday to discuss his organization’s two prize acquisitions, both of whom were included in the deal sending Chris Sale to the Red Sox.
“I’ve seen a little video of the guys,” Renteria said. “Moncada, the first clip I saw of him, he reminded me a little bit from his set up and everything of [Robinson] Cano, and now he’s a switch-hitter and shows some discipline at the plate. I know that at 21 years of age, he still has a long way to go in terms of what he’s ultimately going to be. I think he’s a very talented human being who we hope is going to be an impact-type player.
“Kopech is a young man who is about 6-foot-3, very good arm. Obviously we have people within the organization that believe that we can harness that strength and that skill set and have him become a pitcher, command the zone, things of that nature.
“But, again, our job is going to be to have these guys become as quickly — to become as comfortable as quickly as possible with the way that we are going to go about preparing to play the game, and hopefully they enjoy it.”
Renteria wouldn’t commit to which position Moncada might play, although early indications are that the White Sox plan on keeping the prospect at the position he has spent most of his time, second base.
Perhaps the most immediate correction the White Sox would like to see in Moncada’s game is cutting down on the swings a misses, which led him to finish off his big league regular season with strikeouts in nine straight plate appearances.
“I think that’s just experience,” he said. “I think it’s him — for example. I’ll give you an example. They were coming down, finishing him off underneath the hands down and in. He’s a 21-year-old man who has not seen that type of bite coming from pitchers, and it’s probably changing the lane in which he’s looking for that particular type of slider where he’s got to get it out and away.
“He also has shown discipline. He walks. It’s one of those things where I think time will tell us, but I think there’s a look to him and there’s an action to him that I believe will generate change of that particular outcome in the future.”
|12.07.16 at 10:24 am ET|
OXON HILL, Md. — Chris Sale found out about his trade to the Red Sox while driving up Interstate-75 to his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. David Price was the first to reach out the Red Sox newly-acquired ace pitcher. And he is looking forward to the competition between starters in the Red Sox rotation, which currently boasts seven members.
These were some of the items touched on during Sale’s introductory conference call Wednesday morning. Here is a transcript:
THOUGHTS ON THE TRADE
Hey guys. I want to say hey to everybody first. No doubt. It’s kind of like being the monkey in the middle. You’re just glad when you finally get the ball. It’s hectic. There’s a lot of speculation, there’s story after story, I’m obviously getting flooded with text messages from family and friends. Just to have the whole process out of the way and get back to some kind of normalcy will be nice.
(THOUGHTS ON COMING TO BOSTON)
I’m excited. You’re talking about one of the greatest baseball franchises ever. I’ve always been a big fan of the Boston Red Sox for a few reasons. It’s also going to be nice to spend more time down in Southwest Florida as well for spring training. That was big for us as well. My wife is a couple weeks away from delivering our second son. We’re having another baby. That helps us out tremendously.
HAPPY IT WAS THE RED SOX?
I’m as excited as anybody, honestly. I don’t know how you couldn’t be. You’re in the annual running for making the playoffs and have a realistic chance for winning the World Series. I think the group of guys, I’ve always heard great things about the guys on this team, the front office. You have dedicated ownership and front office guys dedicated to winning annually. So it’s exciting. I’ve always, always loved going to Boston, pitching in Boston. It’s a trip my wife comes on every year as well. We both really like the city and the stadium. Obviously, it’s a very special place.
TALENT ON RED SOX ROSTER
That’s kind of the cherry on top. You look at the talent on this team as a whole – not only just the pitching staff but as a whole – you’ve got some young guys, you obviously have a veteran leader and one of the best in the game in [Dustin] Pedroia leading the charge, you can’t ask for much more. You have guys in the bullpen who can lock it down. On paper, it looks good. I know we’ve still got to go out there and do it, but there’s no reason not to be excited right now.
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW DAVID PRICE, RICK PORCELLO?
More so with Price, just seeing each other during the summer. He was actually the first one to reach out to me, welcoming me and saying, hey, let’s go, welcome to the Sox and let’s get it rolling. It’s an honor. You look at these guys, Porcello, he lives down here in Southwest Florida as well so that’s nice. Not only the guys that they are, but heck, David Price won the Cy Young a few years ago, obviously Price this year. Being in that company is nice.
THOUGHTS ON BEING IN THIS ROTATION
Yeah, I think that’s the main thing, the good thing in all of this. I can definitely see a competition between all of us. Not only us three, but everybody. [Drew] Pomeranz, [Eduardo] Rodriguez, pushing each other, trying to be better and just making each other better. It would be nice, regardless of who’s pitching on what night. the next night, we have as good if not a better chance all the way down the line. It’s nice, but not only that, but it takes some pressure off of everybody. Just go out there and pitch because you don’t have feel like you have a huge weight on your shoulders to win this game for sure, 100 percent. It alleviates the pressure that might build on some guys.
|12.06.16 at 11:09 pm ET|
The Red Sox have wanted Chris Sale since Dave Dombrowski took control of the baseball operations in 2015. But only in the last week did the White Sox finally decide they were ready to deal.
On Friday, after baseball and its players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, Dombrowski’s phone rang. White Sox counterpart Rick Hahn wanted to know, as Dombrowski recalled, “if we were going to be in.”
“He was going to move him, he felt, at this point,” Dombrowski told reporters at the winter meetings in Maryland. “After the CBA they were committed to making some moves in the organization, did we have interest. I said, ‘Well, of course we have interest in Chris Sale, anybody in baseball would have interest in Chris Sale.’ It would be a matter of what you were looking to acquire and we talked a little bit.”
Without mentioning specifics, Dombrowski said the White Sox moved off their demands for players on the big league roster who had been the focus of prior talks. Many have long believed All-Star center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to be one such target.
The sides agreed to one player in the deal on Friday night and another on Saturday. By the wee hours of Monday night into Tuesday morning, they had the framework of a deal complete that would end up being a blockbuster: Sale to the Red Sox for top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, as well as highly regarded minor leaguers Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.
“It’s a very difficult deal to make, but I’ve also been in a spot where you have to give something to get something,” Dombrowski said. “The ability to get a Chris Sale doesn’t come along that often. This is one of the best pitchers in baseball, proven. We’re trying to win. There will come a day when Moncada is putting in his 15-year career that we will be saying, ‘The Red Sox, geez, I can’t believe we traded that guy.’ So yes, it does complicate it.”
Because Sale is signed through this year with options for 2018 ($12.5 million) and 2019 ($13.5 million), the Red Sox liked the certainty of acquiring an ace in his prime at an affordable rate.
They’ll enter the season as American League favorites, and they’ll take their chances from there.
“Nothing is guaranteed in life,” Dombrowski said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re going to win by any means, but I think you keep taking a chance and going for it as much as you possibly can and hopefully it works for you some day. Every one of these moves made us better. Because of the strength of the system that people built and because of the young players that we still have, I think we’re still strong for many, many years.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell saluted Dombrowski’s ability to seal the deal.
“This is Dave’s second year as our GM, president. When he targets a guy, he gets him,” Farrell said. “I think there’s a lot to be said for his boldness, his aggressiveness, and even if it’s not — he’s not really worried about what the perception is. He’s most concerned with acquiring players that are going to allow us to win the most right now.”
|12.06.16 at 8:19 pm ET|
The news of the Red Sox trading for Chris Sale quickly spread around baseball on Tuesday, including to David Ortiz.
The former Red Sox designated hitter posted a picture on Instagram from the Red Sox’ account of Sale with the caption: My god my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking ?
Ortiz officially retired on Nov. 15 after the Red Sox exercised his $17.2 million option for 2017 earlier in the month.
|12.06.16 at 7:08 pm ET|
In the wake of the Red Sox acquiring left-hander Chris Sale to complete what could be a tremendous rotation in Boston, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman found his thoughts drifting to the NBA.
Speaking in Maryland at the winter meetings on Tuesday to Yankees beat reporters, including Newsday’s Erik Boland, Cashman compared the Red Sox to the Golden State Warriors.
“That’s a wow,” Cashman said. “Boston’s like the Golden State Warriors now in baseball. They got their [Kevin] Durant and their [Draymond] Green and [Klay] Thompson and [Steph] Curry.”
Hyperbole aside — the Red Sox did lose retiring Silver Slugger David Ortiz, after all — Cashman seemed to enjoy casting the Red Sox as overwhelming favorites, a position the Yankees routinely found themselves in when ex-Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino reveled in labeling them the Evil Empire.
Per Boland, he told the New York media that he’s not trying to put extra pressure on Boston.
“That’s got nothing to do with me,” he said. “That’s a byproduct of being in a big market and having a good team. . . . I would think the expectations of the Red Sox are sky high. I’m not doing that.”
|12.06.16 at 6:32 pm ET|
On a team with two former Cy Young award winners — including the reigning champ — what happens when you add a pitcher everyone assumes will claim the award himself one day?
If you’re Red Sox manager John Farrell, the first question you’re asked is who starts on Opening Day?
Conducting his annual press conference at the Winter Meetings in Maryland on Monday, Farrell told reporters he doesn’t know which if his aces will take the hill when the Red Sox open the season in April against the Pirates.
It could be defending Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. It could be $217 million former winner David Price. Or it could be potential future winner Chris Sale, acquired from the White Sox in a blockbuster earlier in the day.
“Oh, geez. Are you sitting in for Jonny Miller or what?” Farrell joked of the long-time WBZ reporter who likes to ask tough questions. “We’ll have plenty of time to figure that out. But the way that Rick emerged last year — first of all, just you think about Chris Sale as an addition, you think about the returning guys, another year in the progression of Eddie Rodriguez, I think as he continues to understand who he is as a pitcher and what makes him the most effective, David Price obviously, Steven Wright, get him back on track. And that’s not to leave out Drew Pomeranz or Clay Buchholz.
“There’s a surplus right now, but when you think about the high end of it, this is an exciting group.”
Where Sale slots into the rotation will be fascinating to watch. He’s probably the most talented of the three, though Farrell will have plenty of time to sort out the answer to that question.
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