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Terry Francona, Indians headed to World Series

10.19.16 at 6:46 pm ET
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Andrew Miller and the Indians are heading to the World Series. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

Andrew Miller and the Indians are heading to the World Series. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

Terry Francona is headed to his third World Series.

The Indians, and former Red Sox, manager guided his team to a 3-0 win over the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon, clinching Cleveland’s first World Series berth since 1997, not having won the Series since 1948.

Andrew Miller was named MVP for the American League Championship Series, not allowing a run over 7 2/3 innings, striking out 14 and not walking a batter.

It was the fourth time the Indians entered a Game 5 ahead in the series 3-1, having lost the three previous Game 5 opportunities.

The Indians, who won 94 regular season games, improved to 7-1 this postseason. The shutout of the Jays was the third time during this playoff run Cleveland held its opponent scoreless, and marked the first time Toronto had ever been shutout at home in the postseason.

Cleveland starting pitcher Ryan Merritt, who appeared in just four games (making one start) in the regular season, held the Blue Jays scoreless through 4 1/3 innings. The lefty allowed just two hits while not walking a batter before giving way to Brian Shaw.

After a scoreless inning from Shaw, Andrew Miller did his thing, throwing two scoreless frames. Cody Allen finished things off, recording the final three outs to punch the Indians’ ticket to the World Series.

The Cleveland offense was paced by a pair of home runs, coming from Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp.

The Blue Jays managed just one runner in scoring position for the entire game. Toronto finished the series just 1-for-35 with two outs and a man on base.

For an entire recap of the series-clincher, click here.

Man David Ortiz credits with saving his career, Dan Dyrek, leaving Red Sox

10.19.16 at 2:17 pm ET
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David Ortiz credited Dan Dyrek with helping save his career. (Getty Images)

David Ortiz credited Dan Dyrek with helping save his career. (Getty Images)

One of the key figures from the 2016 Red Sox season is leaving the organization.

WEEI.com has learned that Dan Dyrek, who has been the team’s coordinator of sports medicine service since after the 2012 season, will not be returning for 2017. The 63-year-old had asked the Red Sox not to extend him a contract offer at the completion of the ’16 season, having his term coincide with the completion of David Ortiz’s retirement.

One of the most well-respected physical therapists in all of sports, Dyrek’s key contribution since assuming his role with the Red Sox involved Ortiz. He was credited by both the player and the organization as perhaps the most important element in keeping the designated hitter on the field after Ortiz suffered a career-threatening heel injury in 2012.

Dyrek’s presence was deemed so important by the slugger that Ortiz requested ownership allow the physical therapist to travel with the team for all road games over the last few months.

“Huge. Huge,” said Ortiz when asked about the importance of Dyrek. “When he’s not around I’m not feeling comfortable. My feet hurt when he’s not around, more than usual. I swear.

“He started traveling everywhere because everybody wanted a piece of him. But this last month I told the owner we need him around 24-7 [24 hours a day, 7 days a week] because he’s incredible.”

Ortiz went so far as to say he most likely would have have retired before 2016 if not for Dyrek.

“Probably. Probably, because I was in so much pain,” Ortiz told WEEI.com when if he would have previously called it quits if Dyrek didn’t join the club. “All the treatments and all the stuff I’ve followed up with him, it has been right on. He tells me how my feet are going to feel.”

Ortiz wasn’t the first Boston sports icon who had Dyrek help prolong their career, with Larry Bird crediting the former collegiate swimmer in allowing him to play long enough to participate in the 1992 Summer Olympics with the first “Dream Team” in Barcelona.

Dyrek will continue his clinical practice by assisting Bird’s Indiana Pacers, and consulting with teams and pro athletes nationally and internationally.

Former Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop slams Tim Tebow signing because of $100k bonus

10.19.16 at 11:14 am ET
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Burke Badenhop

Burke Badenhop

Former Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop has no problem with baseball teams giving Tim Tebow a look. But signing him for $100,000? That’s where he draws the line.

Writing a column for MLB Trade Rumors, Badenhop blasted the Mets for disrespecting the work it took marginal prospects such as himself to reach the majors. He can’t believe Tebow received a bonus commensurate with a pick in the top 10 rounds when it’s clear he lacks the skill to be a big leaguer.

“Big leaguers are found all over the draft,” Badenhop wrote. “For every first-round superstar like Kris Bryant, you’ll find a Daniel Murphy in the 13th round. I was drafted in the 19th round as a college senior.  I signed for $1,000. You could draft 100 of me for the price of one Tim Tebow. Such a thought only elicits feelings of disrespect.”

Badenhop was kinder to Tebow’s game, which many scouts consider limited and one compared to an actor attempting to play a baseball player, like Freddie Prinze Jr. in Summer Catch.

“Tebow’s swing looked fine to me,” Badenhop wrote. “It was definitely long, but it was powerful and fell far short of looking as bad as a Charles Barkley golf swing. Tebow’s outfield work definitely left more to be desired, though. He shagged fly balls with an awkward ‘five step drop’ type of footwork. And I couldn’t stop looking at his glove. Not the type of glove or the color or anything, but how it was broken in. It was just wrong. It didn’t have a pocket, it was bent in a weird way and he had all five fingers in each finger hole, which I’ve never seen an outfielder do.”

In any event, Badenhop resents the Mets seemingly allowing Tebow to short-circuit the process.

“To see a team give a 29-year-old with no baseball experience a six-figure bonus because he was good at college football was confusing,” he wrote. “The road to ‘The Show’ isn’t a walk in the park. You don’t get to the big leagues as a 19th-rounder and stay without earning it. It was a badge of honor for me. This signing makes it seem that maybe teams don’t take the grind as seriously as the players do. It sends a very mixed message.”

The rest of the piece is worth reading.

Read More: Burke Badenhop, Mets, Red Sox, Tim Tebow

Tom Tippett, Red Sox statistical analyst, is leaving organization

10.18.16 at 5:58 pm ET
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The off-field losses continue to mount for the Red Sox.

One day after Mike Hazen was introduced as the new general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Red Sox also lost one of their brightest minds when the club confirmed that senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett will leave the organization when his contract expires at the end of the month to pursue other ventures.

Tippett said by e-mail that he informed Hazen of his decision in September. Tippett’s departure marks the end of a 13-year career with the Red Sox. He rose to prominence in the early ’90s with his Diamond Mind computer simulation, which the Red Sox used to help determine their Division Series roster against the A’s in 2003.

A native of Canada and graduate of Harvard Business School, Tippett will continue working for the Red Sox through Halloween. He headed up development of their in-house statistical analysis systems and supplied data regarding player personnel decisions.

The news was first reported on Twitter by Peter Gammons.

Read More: Red Sox, statistical analysis, tom tippett,

Why 1 more win should put Terry Francona in Hall of Fame

10.18.16 at 1:32 pm ET
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Terry Francona should be considered a future Hall of Famer. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Terry Francona should be considered a future Hall of Famer. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

It’s easy to jump on the Terry Francona bandwagon today. The Indians manager just orchestrated one of the most impressive postseason wins you’ll see, becoming the first skipper to claim a playoff victory without any one pitcher going more than two innings.

But Francona could have managed three blowouts against the Blue Jays and it really wouldn’t have mattered.

The fact of the matter is that you are looking at a guy who should be one win away from certain entrance into the Hall of Fame. If Francona goes on to win the World Series, the debate is done.

Other than current Giants manager Bruce Bochy, there isn’t a manager who has won three World Series titles who isn’t in the Hall of Fame. But even without the third world championship, Francona should be in.

Let’s start with a modern day comparison, Whitey Herzog, who is in Cooperstown. The former was in the World Series three times (which would be the case with Francona), only won a single title, and currently has 100 fewer wins than the Cleveland manager.

Most everyone is believing Jim Leyland is going to be in the Hall of Fame, correct? Well, Leyland also made it to the World Series three times, winning just one. And, by the way, Francona now has three more wins than the former Pirates, Marlins and Tigers manager, also besting Leyland in winning percentage (.533-.506).

Really the only legitimate fly in the ointment when looking at Francona’s Hall of Fame candidacy resides in the case of Ralph Houk. The 20-year manager made it to three World Series, winning two. He also won 1,619 games, which is only behind Gene Mauch (no World Series appearances), Lou Pinella (1 WS appearance), Bochy (active), Leyland (not yet eligible) and Dusty Baker (active, WS appearances) among those who aren’t in the HOF.

Houk’s absence shouldn’t impact Francona’s candidacy, if for no other reason because the former Red Sox manager’s resume is robust even beyond the initial glance. For instance, he has now made the postseason seven times, claiming a .654 winning percentage. Among managers with at least 34 playoff wins, that is by far the best rate, with Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson coming in second with a .618 rate with his 34-win career in the postseason.

One more win. Then the debate should be done.

Curt Schilling announces he will run for United States Senate against Elizabeth Warren in 2018 … Sort of

10.18.16 at 12:11 pm ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has insinuated he would be interested in running in 2018 against current Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for some time. Tuesday he made it official, pending the approval of his wife, Shonda.

Appearing on WPRO-AM in Providence Tuesday morning, Schilling offered the most definitive commitment to date when it came to his political future.

“I’ve made my decision. I’m going to run,” Schilling said during the interview. “But – but – I haven’t talked to Shonda, my wife. And ultimately it’s going to come down to how her and I feel this would affect our marriage and our kids.”

Two recent polls showed Warren with a substantial lead over Schilling, with the WBZ/UMass survey conducted last month coming in at 47 percent for the incumbent, and 28 percent for the Republican challenger. A WBUR poll from a few weeks earlier had it at 54 to 29 percent, in favor of Warren.

Schilling said in the interview that he looked forward to a debate with Warren.

“I’m not worried – it doesn’t scare me,” he said. “Listen, I was a part of the team that came back to beat the Indians from being down three games to one – I’ve beaten the real ones before. So I’m not worried about that.”

Schilling will appear on the Kirk & Callahan Show Wednesday morning.

Curt Schilling had no time for all of those Trevor Bauer comparisons

10.17.16 at 9:30 pm ET
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When anybody sees a pitcher bleeding on the mound in a postseason game, it’s inevitable Curt Schilling will be referenced.

It was Schilling, after all, who experienced the most notable in-game injury of any pitcher in the playoffs, bleeding through his sock during the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees.

So when Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer started bleeding profusely from his right hand due to an injury sustained while toying around with a drone, social media started bombarding Schilling.

But with Bauer having to been removed after just 2/3 innings, putting his team in a tough spot, the former Red Sox pitcher didn’t have any use for the two to be lumped together.

Dave Dombrowski on possibility of Torey Lovullo becoming Diamondbacks manager: ‘We would not stand in his way’

10.17.16 at 12:07 pm ET
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Torey Lovullo

Torey Lovullo

With Mike Hazen departing to become general manager of the Diamondbacks, the natural followup is if he’ll take Torey Lovullo with him as manager.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, speaking on a conference call Monday, made it clear he won’t deny him the chance.

“I’ll be surprised, I would say, if they don’t ask for permission to talk to Torey,” Dombrowski said. “I know how highly we think of him and how highly Mike thinks of him. But I can’t speak for that. That would have to be something that Mike would answer. Of course, we would not stand in Torey’s way, as we discussed last week. In my opinion, he’s ready to be a Major League manager. Would he end up being their top selection? I can’t answer that. We would not stand in his way.”

Lovullo and Hazen share a history that dates back to their time together in the Indians organization more than a decade ago. The Red Sox bench coach is considered a hot managerial property this offseason, and joining Hazen in Arizona makes sense. The D’backs have an opening because they fired manager Chip Hale after a 69-win season.

As for the Red Sox GM search, Dombrowski said he’s going to start with internal candidates before potentially broadening the search. Whomever he hires will essentially be an assistant GM, since Dombrowski calls all the shots in baseball operations.


Read More: Dave Dombrowski, diamondbacks, mike hazen, MLB rumors

Dave Dombrowski issues statement regarding departure of Mike Hazen

10.16.16 at 6:13 pm ET
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It was announced Sunday afternoon by the Diamondbacks that Mike Hazen would be leaving his post as GM of the Red Sox to take become Arizona’s GM.

Early Sunday evening, Red Sox president of baseball operations released a statement regarding Hazen’s move:

“While this is certainly a significant loss for the Red Sox organization, we are extremely happy for Mike and his family as they begin this new opportunity in Arizona. As one of the most respected young baseball executives in the game, Mike is more than deserving of this position. On behalf of the club, we would like to thank Mike for his 11 years of service to the Red Sox and wish him well in his new role. He will be missed by all of his colleagues here at the Boston Red Sox.

In the meantime, a search for a new general manager for the Boston Red Sox is underway.”

Dombrowski is expected to hold a conference call Monday following Hazen’s introductory press conference in Arizona.

For a list of names you should pay attention to because of Hazen’s departure, click here.

Some names you should pay attention to after Mike Hazen’s departure from Red Sox to Diamondbacks

10.16.16 at 4:28 pm ET
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Torey Lovullo might be on the move to Arizona now that Mike Hazen has become the Diamondbacks' GM. (David Richards/USA Today Sports)

Torey Lovullo might be on the move to Arizona now that Mike Hazen has become the Diamondbacks’ GM. (David Richards/USA Today Sports)

This move seemed inevitable.

Before getting the general manager job with the Red Sox, Mike Hazen was a finalist for the same position with the Padres before it went to A.J. Preller. Now Hazen is getting his chance, having been hired as the new GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks after spending one season under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

But the timing of the hire makes is significantly more impactful than if Hazen had left for the San Diego job.

The first thing to know is that it would be a significant surprise if Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo doesn’t get the manager’s opening in Arizona. Besides the fact that Lovullo is one of the most qualified candidates (having already interviewed for six managerial jobs since 2005), he is also very close to Hazen, with the two going back to their days in the Indians’ organization.

The other part of the equation that could signal a significant change in how the Red Sox decision-making process works is the possibility of Hazen taking members of the Red Sox’ front office with him to Arizona. With Dombrowski having held on to virtually all of Ben Cherington’s group, the vast majority of those in the offices have more of a connection to Hazen than the current president.

With all of that in mind, here are some names to keep an eye on in the coming days:

Gus Quattlebaum, Red Sox pro scouting director: Quattlebaum, an Andover native, moved from his position as assistant amateur scouting director to the current role after the departure of Jared Porter to the Cubs. He was promoted by Dombrowski, who leaned on the former Davidson College star quite a bit as the season unfolded. Quattlebaum would seem to be a logical candidate for either the Red Sox GM job, or as the Diamondbacks’ assistant general manager.

Frank Wren, Red Sox vice-president of baseball operations: The longtime Braves general manager is one of Dombrowski’s closest confidants, which was a chief reason he served as the only newcomer to top of the the Red Sox’ decision-making process. Wren spent the season living in the Atlanta area, and it is unclear if he would want to make such a transition to Boston.

Brian O’Halloran, Red Sox assistant GM: O’Halloran is one of the best in the business when it comes to contracts, negotiations and other elements of the procedural parts of running a front office. But it is unclear if he has any designs on expanding his role, and with roots firmly planted in the Boston area it might be a surprise if the longtime Red Sox executive (who started in the front office with the likes of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Cherington) decides to move across the country.

Amiel Sawdaye, vice-president with a focus on international and domestic scouting: The former amateur scouting director would seem to be a strong candidate to join Hazen, although the Red Sox significantly value Sawdaye’s contributions. (For more on Sawdaye, click here.)

Ruben Amaro, Red Sox first base coach: It’s a guess that Amaro would have significant interest in either the bench coach’s job, or the GM job. Having a year in the organization under his belt couldn’t hurt his chances.

Alex Cora, ESPN analyst: While this limits Cora’s chances at securing a managing job, with Colorado the last position open, the maneuvering involving the Red Sox might be good news former Red Sox infielder. John Farrell expressed previous interest in bringing Cora on his coaching staff, and there was some thought that if Lovullo got the Rangers job last year he would have tabbed Cora as his bench coach. This could mean the long-awaited coaching opportunity for Cora, either in Boston or Arizona.

Dana LeVangie, Red Sox bullpen/catching coach: The longtime Red Sox scout/coach was promoted to bench coach last season when Lovullo filled in for Farrell. Both the players and coaching staff spoke highly of how the Massachusetts native handled himself in the position.

Gary Tuck, former Red Sox bullpen/catching coach: Tuck most recently coached for the Yankees, serving as their bullpen coach through the 2015 season. The reason we’re surfacing the 62-year-old’s name is less about his history with the Red Sox then it is the fact Farrell tried hiring him to become his bench coach with Toronto. (As a quick aside, if Lovullo left after the 2013 season, current Rays manager would have most likely become the Sox’ bench coach.)

Jason Varitek, Red Sox special assistant to the general manager: Obviously Varitek is valued in the organization, having done a little of everything over the past few years. This season Varitek could be seen in uniform, and in the Sox’ dugout, on various occasions. He interviewed for the Mariners managing job last season, so perhaps the possible bench coaching opening is the right place and right time for the former catcher.

Kevin Boles, Pawtucket Red Sox manager: Boles has history with the majority of the young Red Sox foundation, having managed in both Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket as the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, Travis Shaw, Jackie Bradley Jr., Eduardo Rodriguez and more shot through the system.

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