|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.”
|12.04.15 at 8:47 pm ET|
David Price likes a challenge and he likes to win, which made Boston the perfect home.
The premier ace on the market was officially introduced at Fenway Park after signing the largest contract ever given a pitcher.
Price’s seven-year, $217 million deal ensures the Red Sox won’t have any questions about who their top starter is anytime soon and Price can’t wait to get started.
“I’m definitely a competitor. I want to win. That’s why I play the game,” he said from Fenway Park at his introductory news conference on Friday. “I want to be out there for nine innings. I want to go the entire game. In between starts, I want to be the best teammate I can be.
“I’m loud. I’m sure the Red Sox players could hear me the previous six and a half years I’ve been in the big leagues, whenever I’m on the other side, and that’s just me — it’s not fake, it’s real, it’s genuine, I care about my teammates. I get to know them on a personal level. I know their wife’s name, their kid’s name. I know a lot of stuff about them. It’s something I enjoy doing that. It’s not fake. It’s real. That’s something I plan on doing here. I definitely already started that.”
Price, 30, overhauls a Red Sox rotation with his presence alone, giving manager John Farrell a clear choice to lead his staff. Price could’ve signed with a National League team ‘ the Cardinals were the other finalists for his services ‘ but he chose to remain in the rough and tumble American League East, where he has played for all but parts of two seasons in Detroit.
“I didn’t want to run away from it,” Price said. “That’s what happens a lot. Guys leave this division because this is the toughest division in baseball to pitch in, the AL East. The parks make it tough as well. If I continue to throw the baseball the way that I have, and for me my main goal every year is to win the World Series but my goal before I signed my professional contract is to go to the Hall of Fame. And to do that while spending your entire career in the American League is pretty special. I’m not sure how many times it’s been done. It’s something I want to be a part of.”
|12.03.15 at 9:01 pm ET|
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic — Larry Lucchino may have a different role in the Red Sox organization now, but a year ago he was right in the middle of the team’s decision to tip-toe when it came to investing in 30-something-year-old free agent starting pitchers.
A year later, Lucchino is no longer Red Sox president/CEO, but he continues to have a unique view of the change in philosophy that came with agreeing to terms with David Price on a seven-year, $217 million contract.
“I think that when facts change, When circumstances change, then one tends to change,” said Lucchino, who is attending the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “The tendency may be too change your policy or philosophy. You can have one point of view that fits you think until you get evidence that it may not be quite right, then you hope you have the flexibility enough to adjust.”
Lucchino had been present when the decisions were being made to fill holes this offseason, so the strategy in which the Red Sox went about getting closer Craig Kimbrel and Price wasn’t a shock.
He was, however, a bit taken aback by the approach when it came to crunch-time.
“I was surprised at the alacrity with which it came,” Lucchino said. “I knew that there was a plan to deal with one our holes with prospects and another of our holes with dollars.
“I don’t know him, but I have heard in the last week or two really, really positive things about him as a person, personality, leader, a teammate. His body of work speaks for itself. But I’ve heard from a number of people in baseball who have been in organizations with him what a leader he can be and that will be an extra dividend.”
|12.03.15 at 8:49 pm ET|
Thursday night, David Ortiz offered some insight into his decision to call it quits after the 2016 season.
“t’s a process and not a decision you make from day to night,” he explained on the first night of his charity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “I had an injury in 2012 and since that injury, it’s you getting older, you have to do things differently so you can continue playing. I had the opportunity to continue playing all the games that I played after that because I prepared myself. Through that preparation, through that time, you start viewing things from a different perspective. That was my case. That’s why I said I had time to view things before I made the decision.
“All the time you have with your family and everyone around you, the people that work with you, they pretty much see your situation and see what your thoughts are and everybody supported you. In my case, like I said, I had the opportunity to think about it for a long time and it is what it is. I know I feel good. I know things are going well. I had a good season last year and I’m definitely going to pull myself together to have another good one this year. That was my decision and it is what it is.”
Ortiz did explain that there was not one single moment or instance when the decision was definitively made.
“I pretty much was thinking about it for a while and I had the opportunity to take my time to do it and once you take your time,” he said. “I think there’s no regrets.”
|12.03.15 at 8:36 pm ET|
That was, of course, in large part because of their well-publicized feud.
But now? In the world of big league baseball, becoming teammates have a way of changing the dynamic.
“No, you know, since that incident happened [in 2014, when Price hit Ortiz in the back], we pretty much kind of shut it down,” Ortiz said at the opening of his annual celebrity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “He’s not a bad guy. I know him from before. Things happen in the game, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you are. Our adrenaline kicks in on the field. We all have the purpose of what we want to do on the field. You make up your mind from there, but that doesn’t dictate what kind of person you are. If you go around the league, you hear a lot of people saying good things about him. I know we have our moments. Like I say, it’s time to turn the page. We’re teammates now. We’ve got to be on the same page if we want to win ball games, definitely.”
It was a sentiment that Ortiz passed on to the Red Sox decision-makers when they called the designated hitter to inform him of the organization’s pursuit of Price.
“Yeah, at some point the Red Sox asked me about and I told them I got no problem with it,” Ortiz said. “All that matters to me is winning and I know that him being on our side, we’re going to win ball games. I have no problem with that.”
Some of those seen in the early stages of the Ortiz event were former Celtic Ray Allen, former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, former Patriot Troy Brown and former NESN sideline reporter Jenny Dell.
|12.03.15 at 1:15 pm ET|
Clubs have until midnight on Thursday night to tender contracts to players for next season. Already, a host of players have hit the market, including some who could draw interest from the Red Sox, who tendered all of their players.
Here are some candidates.
Reliever Steve Cishek, a Falmouth native, was set free by the Cardinals. The 29-year-old has saved 95 games in his career, mostly with the Marlins. When he’s right, he throws a hard sinker that produces ground balls and strikeouts. He began the season with diminished velocity, but came on with the Cardinals, posting a 2.31 ERA in 27 appearances. Cishek was due a raise from his $6.65 million salary in arbitration, which is why St. Louis cut the cord.
If the Red Sox want to bet on the future, they could roll the dice on former All-Star closer Greg Holland of the Royals. Holland recently underwent Tommy John surgery and almost certainly won’t pitch in 2016. Agent Scott Boras had attempted to work out a two-year deal to keep him in Kansas City, where he saved 113 games and posted a miniscule 1.86 ERA while striking out 358 in 256 1/3 innings from 2011-14. A backloaded multi-year deal could make Holland an intriguing bounce-back candidate in 2017, when he’ll be 32.
Another reliever to consider is Yusmeiro Petit of the Giants, who could fill a swingman/long-man roll. He went 1-1 with a 3.67 ERA in 42 games last year, totaling 76 innings. He’s not a hard thrower, however, so he doesn’t fit the power mold many teams now favor.
On the starting side of the ledger, there’s Henderson Alvarez. The former Jays prospect, who threw a no-hitter with the Marlins on the final day of the 2013 season, underwent shoulder surgery in July and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season. He looked like a budding star in 2014, going 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA, earning his first All-Star appearance, and finishing 12th in the NL Cy Young voting. He’s still only 25, however, which will make him appealing, depending on the condition of his shoulder.
A bigger gamble would be Atlanta’s Mike Minor, who missed the entire 2015 season following shoulder surgery and reportedly suffered a setback in his rehab recently. Current Red Sox vice president Frank Wren made Minor the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft, and the left-hander rewarded him with a breakout 2013 (13-9, 3.21) that seemingly had him poised to become a fixture in Atlanta’s rotation. Now, his future is uncertain.
On the offensive side, the two most recognizable names are sluggers Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates and Chris Carter of the Astros. Neither figures to appeal to the Red Sox as long as Hanley Ramirez remains on the roster, however.
|12.03.15 at 6:51 am ET|
After getting a fresh start last season, Will Middlebrooks is about to get another one.
The 27-year-old third baseman was non-tendered by the Padres Wednesday night, making him a free agent. This comes almost one year after the Red Sox dealt Middlebrooks to San Diego in exchange for catcher Ryan Hanigan.
Middlebrooks wasn’t able to take advantage of his opportunity with the Padres, having been demoted to Triple-A halfway in late July.
Prior to landing in the minors, Middlebrooks was hitting .212 with a .608 OPS and nine homers. He had jumped out to a respectable start, managing seven homers in the first two months while playing first base, third base and shortstop.
Middlebrooks wasn’t able to distinguish himself in El Paso, either, hitting .255 with a .666 OPS and four home runs in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
A fifth-round pick in the 2007 draft, Middlebrooks burst on the scene in 2012 for the Red Sox, hitting .288 with an .875 OPS and 15 homers in just 75 games before succumbing to a broken hand.
The following season, after being handed the starting third base job, Middlebrooks did hit 17 homers in 94 games, but only hit .227 with a .696 OPS while battling various ailments.
|12.02.15 at 2:08 pm ET|
Dave Dombrowski identified the need for a right-handed hitting fourth outfielder shortly after taking control of the Red Sox baseball operations. He identified his first choice shortly thereafter: Chris Young.
On Wednesday, the Red Sox officially got their man, signing the former Diamondbacks All-Star and Yankees contributor to a two-year, $13.5 million deal.
“When we broached adding a guy as a fourth outfielder, he was really at the top of our list,” Dombrowski said on a conference call. “He fits a lot really of what we’re looking for in a player, in the sense that he’s a good player, he’s versatile, he can play all the outfield spots. He didn’t play quite as much center field last year, but he’s capable of going out there, and with the way our outfield fits, he doesn’t have to play center field.”
Young, 32, hit .252 with 14 homers and 42 RBIs with the Yankees last year, making his mark against left-handed pitching (.327-7-24-.972). The Red Sox view him as a weapon against lefties who will occasionally play against righties and can fill in on a regular basis in the case of an injury.
“His ability to play all three outfield positions, his versatility, we always talk about having the range needed to play right field and obviously Chris has that,” said manager John Farrell. “We do know that he’ll get at-bats against left-handers but when Chris and I met yesterday, we wanted to make sure we don’t go too many number of games in between starts against lefties. There’s going to be at-bats against right-handers, keeping him sharp. Even what we saw across the field last year, he’d get on a hot streak and he’d play against righties and take advantage of the performance trend he’s in at the time and see that playing out very similar for us this year.”
Young is an intriguing fit in Fenway Park, because he’s an extreme pull hitter who should be able to exploit the left field wall.
“The last couple of years, I’ve continued to work on using all parts of the field,” Young said. “At the same time, as a player, you don’t want to get too far away from your strengths. And one of my major strengths is pulling the ball, and I think Fenway can be advantageous to that.
“The last few years I’ve played in ‘ well, not counting Yankee Stadium ‘ but some larger yards, where I have deep fly balls that stop at the wall. Throughout my career, when I’ve played in Fenway and also at Minute Maid, which is Houston, a lot of those misses get off the wall, and you’re able to help the team with balls you don’t square up all the way. I’d be lying if I didn’t see Fenway as a better fit for me, not only when I’m hitting the ball well, but also on my just-misses, I can be rewarded for that.”
|12.02.15 at 1:50 pm ET|
Speaking on a conference call Wednesday announcing the signing of Chris Young, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he believes the team is finished making major moves this offseason.
The Winter Meetings begin on Sunday in Nashville, but the Red Sox will be in a position of not needing to jockey for top-flight talent.
“We’ll be open-minded going into the Winter Meetings,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll see what happens over the next few days leading into that, but be in a position that I think our major moves are done. But when you go to the Winter Meetings, you can never tell what happens.”
Dombrowski wouldn’t comment on the impending signing of left-hander David Price, who still needs to pass a physical, but with Price presumably joining Young and closer Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox have filled what Dombrowski identified as their three biggest areas of need.
“I feel good about the roster as it is,” Dombrowski said. “When you look at the club, we’ve been able to address from a positional player perspective our biggest need, looking for a fourth outfielder and a guy who can play quite a bit for us in Chris’s case with the three young guys we have. Knowing that our guys at this point are healthy and progressing well with Hanley (Ramirez) and Pablo (Sandoval), and also in Dustin (Pedroia)’s case, I think our positional players are basically set. You can always get better.”
|12.02.15 at 12:55 pm ET|
When news broke that David Price had agreed to a seven-year deal with the Red Sox, it led to immediate concern among Red Sox Nation about how David Ortiz would react, considering the players’ rocky history over the past three years.
Ortiz alleviated those concerns Wednesday, insisting he’s ready to move on.
“No problems. All that’s in the past,” Ortiz said in an interview with radio station 102.5 FM in the Dominican Republic (via ESPN). “Now he is my partner. When a person joins your cause, you must leave the past in the past.”
In the 2013 postseason, Price objected to Ortiz taking his time to round the bases after a home run. The next time they faced each other, in May 2014 at Fenway Park, Price drilled Ortiz with a first-inning pitch. During a benches-clearing gathering later in the game — following another Sox batter (Mike Carp) being hit — Ortiz animatedly pointed and screamed at Price. After the game Ortiz referred to their dispute as “a war,” implied he would go after Price if he got hit again, and said, “I have no respect for him no more.” Price accused Ortiz of acting like he’s bigger than the game.
Ortiz now apparently is willing to forgive and forget in order to have a chance for another championship in his final season.
“That’s fine. We need pitching, and David Price is a great pitcher and has showed that for years,” Ortiz said. “I hope he will help us. It’s a marquee pitcher, and that’s what we need.”
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