|11.09.10 at 11:28 am ET|
According to a baseball source, the Red Sox have expressed interest in right-hander Justin Duchscherer as a potential addition to their pitching staff. Duchscherer, who was drafted by the Sox in the eighth round of the 1996 round before getting traded to the Rangers in exchange for Doug Mirabelli in 2001, went 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts for the Athletics in 2010. But after the five outings, he underwent season-ending hip surgery in June. That followed a 2009 season that he missed in its entirety following elbow surgery and subsequent depression.
But the right-hander has been effective when healthy. In 2008, he was an All-Star as a starter, going 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA. That came three years after he made the AL All-Star team as a reliever by going 7-4 with a 2.21 ERA in 2005. In Oakland, the 32-year-old (he turns 33 on Nov. 19) enjoyed significant success with new Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young, under whom he enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2003 while with Triple-A Sacramento.
Last year, Duchscherer signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the A’s as a free agent that included numerous incentives based on health and appearances. He would no doubt have to pursue a similar deal this offseason, but before the end of the year, Duchscherer (33-15 with a 3.13 ERA in 224 career appearances) made clear that he wants to continue to pitch.
“When I’m healthy, I’ve always proven that I can pitch,” Duchscherer told mlb.com in September. “The thing I have to prove is that I can stay healthy. I haven’t shown that yet. That’s the worst part about that, being a baseball player and knowing I can do it but not physically being able to. So that’s my goal, whether it’s here or somewhere else. I’m a baseball player, and I’d like to pitch at least a few more years. I’m too young to try to move on to something else.”
While Duchscherer has experience as a reliever and starter, the right-hander has made it clear to clubs that he is only interested in pursuing opportunities as a starter.
|11.08.10 at 1:54 pm ET|
Former Red Sox first baseman Brian Daubach has been hired by the Washington Nationals to manage their Single-A team, the Hagerstown Suns, in the Single-A South Atlantic League, the same league as the Red Sox’ affiliate Greenville Drive. Daubach managed the Pittsfield Colonials of the independent Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball last season, having previously served as the manager for the American Defenders.
Daubach could end up managing the top pick in MLB’s 2010 June amateur draft, Bryce Harper, who is currently hitting .348 for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|11.07.10 at 8:41 pm ET|
The 49-year-old Hale was recently one of the four finalists for the Toronto Blue Jays managerial opening, which ultimately went to former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. Hale, who has been with the Red Sox since 2006, has not held a major league managing job, having last managed with the Rangers’ Triple-A team in Oklahoma in 2001.
Hale was named the minor league manager of the year in 1999 after leading the Trenton Thunder to a record of 92-50. CSNNE was first to report the news of Hale’s scheduled interview with the Mets. For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|11.05.10 at 1:34 am ET|
Padres general manager Jed Hoyer, in an interview on San Diego radio station XX1090, said that he met on Wednesday with John Boggs, the agent for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. One day earlier, the Padres had picked up the $6.2 million option for the 2011 season on Gonzalez’ contract, something that Hoyer described as “probably the easiest [decision] in baseball.”
But going forward, Hoyer restated, the Padres recognize that they have little chance of keeping a player who is in many regards the face of the franchise. The 28-year-old Gonzalez hit .298/.393/.511/.904 with 31 homers and 101 runs batted in while helping the Padres to stay in contention for the NL West title until the final weekend of the season. In five years in San Diego, in one of the most difficult hitting environments in the game, Gonzalez has a line of .288/.374/.514/.888 while averaging 32 homers and 100 RBI and winning a pair of Gold Gloves.
Boggs made clear to Hoyer that Gonzalez will test free agency after the 2011 season in hopes of earning something in line with his market value. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.04.10 at 2:04 pm ET|
The Red Sox have traded for infielder Brent Dlugach from the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named later or cash. The 27-year-old shortstop played the entire 2010 at Triple A Toledo, hitting .258 with 12 stolen bases, six homers and a .303 on-base percentage.
A sixth-round pick of the Tigers out of the University of Memphis, Dlugach’s only major league experience came in 2009 games when he played in five games for the Tigers.
He missed the majority of the ’07 and ’08 seasons with a shoulder injury, suffering a torn labrum while diving for a ground ball.
For more Red Sox news, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|11.04.10 at 1:33 pm ET|
The Red Sox have announced they will pick up David Ortiz‘ $12.5 million option for 2011, along with the option for Scott Atchison, while declining the options on Bill Hall and Felipe Lopez. Ortiz told WEEI.com last week that he preferred to sign a multi-year deal, and would be “uncomfortable” with playing under a one-year deal for ’12. The 34-year-old hit .270 with 32 home runs and 102 RBI in ’10.
For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|11.04.10 at 8:41 am ET|
In one way, the fit regarding David Ortiz and the Red Sox might be better than ever. That would seem to be the case if the team does indeed decide to move in its right field fence an extra nine feet.
“As long as I’ve been here? Around 100,” said Ortiz when asked how many home runs had been taken away from him because of the depth of Fenway Park’s right field. “I hit a lot of balls in front of that fence, or off that fence. A lot!”
That problem? Potentially solved.
If the debate regarding the Red Sox’ decision to pick up Ortiz’ $12.5 million option — or sign him to a multi-year extension — had been that simple, it would have fizzled long ago. But it isn’t, and we’re left breaking down the ‘what’s’ and ‘why’s’ as both sides stormed towards the midnight deadline for the Sox to exercise the option.
There are no easy answers regarding exactly how good a fit Ortiz is with the Red Sox these days. Sure, drawing the target in right field closer to home plate is a start, but other pieces of baseball evolution might push the argument the other way.
So, putting the back-and-forth regarding the merits of a one-year deal compared to Ortiz’ preferred multi-year approach aside, let’s look at how symbiotic the 34-year-old and the Red Sox might be going forward:
THE IMPORTANCE OF ORTIZ
He is the best at his position: The Sox’ DH points this out, and he is correct. No player hit more home runs (31) or had a higher OPS (.908) when in the lineup as a designated hitter than Ortiz last season. Since June 5, 2009, he has the 10th-best OPS in the American League, better than the likes of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira.
The Sox need his kind of bat: The Giants became the first team since 2001 to win the World Series title without a 30-home run player. While the Red Sox’ lineup figures to have enough punch from top-to-bottom, there is something to be said for loading up on middle-of-the-order power presences.
Ortiz is an anchor in the clubhouse: The slugger takes great pride in his role on the team as a leader, a responsibility he often references. With a roster that is in the midst of being turned inside-out, that kind of voice often presents great value while the newcomers find their way.
THE DEVALUING OF ORTIZ
His position is devolving: Only five players manned the DH position for more than 100 games last season, and the second-most productive of the group, Vladimir Guerrero, just had his $9 million option declined by the Rangers.
Lefty is not the right side: While Ortiz actually rallied against lefties in the final month of the season (hitting .256), he still ended up hitting .222 vs. southpaws (which, by the way, was still 23 points higher than Adam Dunn’s total against left-handers). With the uncertain future regarding two of the Sox’ right-handed bats (Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez), and the lineup potentially getting even more lefty heavy (Carl Crawford), the Sox might be wary of overloading with lefties. (This is even more of a concern due to with the likes of left-handers Brian Matusz, Ricky Romero, CC Sabathia, David Price and potentially Cliff Lee in the division).
The Red Sox’ patience has diminished: Last season, when Ortiz was struggling through April, Sox manager Terry Francona didn’t hesitate to pinch-hit for his slugger, even platooning him early on. If the problems against lefties persist, the Sox most likely would be open to integrating someone like Mike Cameron in the DH spot. It is not the kind of dynamic the team would prefer if they were to invest significant money or years in Ortiz.
|11.03.10 at 3:34 pm ET|
Newly named Mets special assistant to general manager J.P. Ricciardi appeared on The Big Show on Wednesday. Ricciardi was asked about a tweet from Peter Gammons that indicated he worked a day in the Red Sox front office before the Mets made a job offer.
“I had the shortest tenure of any Red Sox employee ever, it was 24 hours,” said Ricciardi. “I had a standing offer from the Red Sox to go over there at any time and I had gone over there to help with a project that they were doing, which was at the end of last week. And the next day [Mets general manager] Sandy Alderson had called and asked permission to talk to me. Theo [Epstein] and the ownership group were absolutely outstanding, they allowed Sandy the opportunity to talk to me and it ended up working out really well for me.”
Ricciardi was then asked what would have happened had the Mets not come in with an offer.
“On November 1st I was going to work for them [The Red Sox],” said Ricciardi. “At that point it would have been official, but it never got to that point.”
|11.03.10 at 2:09 pm ET|
As he suggested would be the case during the 2010 season, Adrian Beltre has declined his $10 million player option for ’11 with the Red Sox, instead electing free agency. The 31-year-old Beltre, who hit .321 with 28 home runs, 102 RBI and a career-high 49 doubles, saw his option bump up from $5 million to $10 million in his last game of the season, having eclipsed the 640 plate appearances that kicked in the option’s increase.
Regarding the opportunity to double the player option, Beltre told WEEI.com that he didn’t view it as a big deal. ‘That number was set because I had done it before I had been close to that number for a lot of years. Since the season started I never thought about numbers. I never really thought about it,’ he said on Sept. 21. ‘It shows I wasn’t hurt, which was one of the things I wanted to do. Hurt is one thing, but to have soreness and nagging things are another. For me being hurt is having surgery. I’ve been lucky enough that the injuries I’ve had haven’t stopped me from swinging the bat or anything like that.’
Beltre is considered the most attractive option among free agent third basemen this offseason, a group that was recently thinned out when Detroit’s Brandon Inge signed a two-year, $11 million deal to stay with the Tigers. Detroit was believed to be a potential landing spot for Beltre.
Beltre told WEEI.com just prior to his final game of the season that the chance to win and family considerations will drive the decision where his next stop will be.
“I’ll see what’s best for me and my family,” Beltre explained. “This year I was selfish enough, coming to the East Coast, knowing my wife was pregnant and she would be away from me basically for the whole year. This year is going to be more a family thing. It’s been tough. I haven’t seen family like l wanted to. We’re going to settle down, discuss it, and see what’s best for us.”
The Boston Globe was first to report this story.
For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|11.03.10 at 12:10 pm ET|
Baseball America, in its Top 10 ranking of the Red Sox farm system, named pitcher Casey Kelly as the organization’s top prospect.
Kelly just concluded his Arizona Fall League season, and between Double-A Portland and the AFL, he threw 111 innings, going 4-5 with a 5.51 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 39 walks.
Kelly, who was ranked No. 2 in the system behind Ryan Westmoreland after the 2009 season, showed the potential for three plus-pitches, with a mid-90s fastball that sat at 90-94 and a swing-and-miss change and curve. His command, which had been exceptional with his fastball and changeup in 2009, faltered, a byproduct, the Sox believe, of his still-growing frame.
But the Sox still see a potential front-of-the-rotation pitcher, and Baseball America concurs that the 2008 first-rounder has a big ceiling:
“It’s easy to forget that 2010 was Kelly’s first full year as a pitcher, after he split time between hitting and pitching in 2009, and his learning curve against Double-A hitters was steep. The Red Sox aren’t worried about his less-than-gaudy statistics, still envisioning him becoming a frontline starter with three possible plus pitches and above-average command. He should reach Triple-A Pawtucket at some point in 2011, perhaps even to start the season, and his big league ETA is 2012.”
Kelly was followed in the system by shortstop Jose Iglesias (just named to the Rising Stars team in the Arizona Fall League), first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 2010 draftee Anthony Ranaudo (who has yet to play in a professional game, but did dominate in the Cape League after being drafted) and left-hander Drake Britton, a power lefty who bounced back from Tommy John surgery to strike out 78 in 76 innings with Single-A Greenville.
There was a fairly stunning omission from the Top 10. First baseman Lars Anderson, who made his major league debut in 2010, was not on the list. Before the 2009 season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect in all of baseball.
Here is Baseball America’s full Top 10, with related content from WEEI.com for each:
1. Kelly, RHP
2. Iglesias, SS
3. Rizzo, 1B
4. Ranaudo, RHP
5. Britton, LHP
6. Reymond Fuentes, OF
7. Josh Reddick, OF
8. Felix Doubront, LHP
9. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
10. Garin Cecchini, 3B
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