|11.18.14 at 10:38 am ET|
Lester has already met with the Red Sox ownership, and was slated to get together with the Cubs Tuesday. Toronto is also known to have interest, along with at least two other teams.
The Braves are an interesting option for the free agent pitcher considering Lester just built a home in the Atlanta area. They just traded for starting pitcher Shelby Miller, with Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Mike Minor and Miller currently slotted in as their starters.
There was some doubt Atlanta would be in the mix for Lester considering their budget limitations, having possessed a $112 million payroll in ’14. The Braves currently have approximately $70 million tied up to just seven roster spots.
|11.18.14 at 9:39 am ET|
Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons appeared on Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to talk about Jon Lester and Pablo Sandoval as it relates to the Red Sox, as well as other Red Sox related matters. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Jon Lester is reportedly scheduled to visit with the Cubs on Tuesday, as they are one of the six reported teams interested in the left-hander. Gammons says even though the Cubs are meeting with Lester, they believe he will end up back with the Red Sox.
“I think there’s a chance, I really do,” said Gammons. “I think the one thing — obviously the Cubs are going to make every play — I get the feeling the Cubs think he’s going to go back to Boston. I think it’s very smart for Lester and his agents to hold for another week. I think there is a feeling it is going to go past Thanksgiving, maybe into the first week into December and the hope is that the Yankees look at that starting rotation and they think — I mean how do they know [Masahiro] Tanaka, [Michael] Pineda and [Ivan] Nova are going to be healthy next year and they start thinking about, ‘OK, we have great bullpen, but…’
“That is Red Sox ownership’s worst nightmare — the Yankees and Theo Epstein negotiating against them. But, after spring training when ACES told them [they would see what the market bears], they are finding out the market is going to bare more than they ever imagined.”
Free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is in Boston early this week, scheduled to meet with the Red Sox to discuss a possible contract. The 28-year-old is coming off a World Series win with the Giants.
“I believe David Ortiz took him out to dinner last night,” Gammons said. “I don’t think it was to a Vegan restaurant.”
Gammons added: “I think he’s an interest here because I think he realizes there’s some reluctance for the Giants about how many years do you give him. One of the dilemmas that National League teams face is that you have a guy that is a bat that may be a DH at 32 or 33-years-old, it’s very hard to give them the kind of contract you can give them in the American League. For instance, Victor Martinez may be the best hitter in baseball right now, but no National League team, the Mets, could go after him because he’s an American League player. Sandoval might be that. I think the Giants are more prepared for this.”
Sandoval’s numbers aren’t as impressive as some think, as the switch-hitter has hit .279 and .278 the last two years respectively, combining to hit 30 home runs. Gammons feels playing in San Fransisco has a lot to do with the numbers.
“I do think he’s a really good hitter. That ballpark really hurts him,” Gammons said. “I think you get him into Fenway and his natural stroke is left-center field. I think he’d be a very good hitter here, but I agree with you that I think he’s going to be very good and the Red Sox have such a need for a left-handed bat. I mean when Stephen Drew is No. 3 on your team in left-handed home runs against right-handed pitching, I think you’re in trouble. He’s really the only guy there. That really tells you a lot about the market and that hitters have become so rare.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.
|11.18.14 at 1:40 am ET|
In some ways, the Red Sox face a dilemma of whether to put a contract offer of $100 million or more in front of a player who represents a known commodity like Jon Lester or an unfamiliar one like Pablo Sandoval or even Max Scherzer. That being the case, it’s worth asking: Do teams make smarter nine-figure bets when doing so on players who have already been in their employ? That topic is explored in this column. Here are the details of the 54 contracts of $100 million or more:
|11.17.14 at 7:40 pm ET|
Milton native Alex Hassan got to realize a childhood dream by making his big league debut at Fenway Park in 2014. Now, caught behind a raft of outfielders in the Red Sox farm system, Hassan will head elsewhere to see if he can claim an opportunity to be a more lasting opportunity in the big leagues.
The A’s were awarded a waiver claim on Hassan on Monday. Though he has a minor league option remaining, the 26-year-old is expected to get an opportunity to compete for a big league platoon role.
Hassan was originally taken by the Red Sox as a pitcher out of Duke in the 20th round of the 2009 draft. However, the two-way college player proved so impressive as a hitter in the Cape League that summer that the Sox ended up signing him as an outfielder. In six pro seasons, he was one of the most consistent hitters in the system, hitting .291 with a .396 OBP and .436 slugging mark while demonstrating excellent pitch recognition and strike zone awareness. His lack of power and the fact that he was a corner (both outfield corner spots and first base) limited his ceiling, but his consistent approach led to a sense that he stood a good chance of being a big league contributor in the right role.
|11.17.14 at 5:37 pm ET|
WHDH Sports caught up with free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval at Logan Airport. According to Joe Amorosino of WHDH (via twitter), Sandoval arrived with both brother Michael Sandoval and agent Gustavo Vasquez in anticipation of the 28-year-old’s meeting with Red Sox officials, though the third baseman was initially coy about his intentions.
“I’m on vacation. I just [came to] visit the city,” Sandoval joked to WHDH. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Sandoval later provided a bit more about his enthusiasm to meet with the Red Sox.
“I love being here and the situation,” he told WHDH, nothing that he enjoys a good relationship with DH David Ortiz.
— Joe Amorosino (@joeamorosino) November 17, 2014
Vasquez said that “around five or six” teams remained interested in Sandoval, while Michael Sandoval suggested that his brother was very much open to any team, including the Red Sox.
“It can be Red Sox, can be any other uniform,” Michael Sandoval told WHDH. “The good part of this is he’ll get a chance to explore his value on the market, see who can really appreciate him and his work.”
The Sox have made little effort to hide their interest in Sandoval, acknowledging that their struggles at third base in 2014 combined with their need for more left-handed lineup balance make the switch-hitting Sandoval an obvious subject of the team’s interest. Vasquez, Sandoval’s agent, recentlly suggested that the third baseman would like a six-year deal, a goal that seemingly is in line with recent free agent history given Sandoval’s relatively young age.
|11.17.14 at 3:11 pm ET|
According to another source, Lester has drawn “significant interest” from six clubs, which includes the Red Sox, Cubs and Blue Jays (as was reported by WEEI.com Monday).
For more updates, go to the Red Sox page at weei.com/redsox.
|11.17.14 at 2:07 pm ET|
A considerable amount of shuffling has taken place within the Red Sox front office.
Amiel Sawdaye, the Red Sox‘ director of amateur scouting for the last five drafts, has been promoted to vice president with a focus on domestic and international scouting, a role comparable to the one that current assistant GM Mike Hazen occupied (as VP of player development and amateur scouting) between his role as farm director and his promotion to his current position.
Under Sawdaye, the Sox’ drafts churned out prospects in volume. Among them:
2010: Bryce Brentz (supplemental first round), Anthony Ranaudo (supplemental first round), Brandon Workman (second round), Sean Coyle (third round), Garin Cecchini (fourth round)
2011: Matt Barnes (first round), Blake Swihart (first round), Henry Owens (supplemental first round), Jackie Bradley Jr. (supplemental first round), Mookie Betts (fifth round), Travis Shaw (ninth round)
2012: Deven Marrero (first round), Brian Johnson (first round)
2013: Trey Ball (first round), Teddy Stankiewicz (second round), Joe Gunkel (18th round), Mauricio Dubon (26th round), Nick Longhi (30th round)
2014: Michael Chavis (first round), Michael Kopech (first round), Sam Travis (second round), Jake Cosart (third round), Kevin McAvoy (fourth round)
With Sawdaye moving up, Mike Rikard — who had served as a national cross-checker for the last five drafts — has been elevated to the director of amateur scouting. Rikard has been working closely with the entire scouting department over the last five years since moving up to national crosschecker. He joined the Sox from the Padres in 2005 as an East Coast crosschecker. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.17.14 at 12:56 pm ET|
In some respects, it made some sense.
Even with a glut of outfielders, the Red Sox‘ rumored interest in Braves outfielder Jason Heyward seemed plausible. If there was some juggling to the roster, a case to trade for the lefty hitter could be made.
Heyward will be eligible for free agency following the 2015 season, but bringing along the 25 year old’s offensive and defensive skill-set at the right price seemingly deserved some consideration.
But, according to a major league source, the Red Sox never did go down that road.
Monday, Heyward was dealt to the Cardinals, along with Jordan Walden, for pitcher Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins. The Red Sox, according the source, never engaged in trade talks with the Braves for the outfielder.
Heyward is a two-time National League Gold Glove winner (having claimed the award for ’14), while hitting .271 with 11 homers and a .735 OPS in 149 games last season.
|11.17.14 at 12:38 pm ET|
While getting free agent catcher Russell Martin to a five-year, $82 million contract (as first reported by Peter Gammons, Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal) served as one of the Jays’ largest offseason commitments in team history, they evidently aren’t intent on stopping there.
According to multiple major league sources, the Blue Jays remain as one of the six clubs to continue to show legitimate interest in free agent pitcher Jon Lester. Also known to be pursuing the lefty are the Cubs and Red Sox, both of whom are expected to meet with the pitcher this week.
The Martin signing potentially frees up more money for the Cubs, who were thought to be the other the finalists for the 32 year old catcher’s services. It has been reported Lester is scheduled to meet with Chicago Tuesday.
|11.14.14 at 7:11 pm ET|
Giancarlo Stanton didn’t win the NL MVP award, but he may be on the cusp of cashing in on the biggest contract in baseball history. According to CBSSports.com, the Marlins and Stanton have agreed to terms on a 13-year, $325 million deal, with the two sides working to iron out the language of the deal. The deal would include both no-trade protection and the opportunity to opt out, according to the report.
Stanton, who turned 25 last week, would thus be locked up through his age 37 season (if he does not exercise the potential opt-out) for a franchise that has a long history of trading its stars in their primes. Miami was evidently willing to change course for the foremost power hitter in the NL. Stanton, who finished second in NL MVP voting to pitcher Clayton Kershaw, led the NL with 37 homers and a .555 slugging mark while hitting .288 with a .395 OBP in 145 contests before his year came to a sudden halt when he was hit in the face by a pitch on Sept. 11.
An extension could end Stanton’s perpetual place in the rumor mill, an existence to which he first became introduced as an 18-year-old in 2008, when he was mentioned as the potential return for the Sox in a trade that would have sent Manny Ramirez to the Marlins.
“I heard it was going to happen,” Stanton acknowledged in 2009.
Indeed, in the absence of an extension, it seemed unavoidable to wonder whether the Red Sox would make a play for Stanton. That curiosity even hovered over this offseason, with curiosity about whether the Sox might try to build a package around Xander Bogaerts and/or Mookie Betts. Read the rest of this entry »
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