|12.02.16 at 3:51 pm ET|
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic — While the Red Sox’ focus these days remain on finding a replacement for David Ortiz and an eighth-inning relief pitcher, according to the former Red Sox designated hitter there should be something else on the organization’s radar.
Don’t forget about saving some money for Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr.
“They are baseball,” said Ortiz of the trio when speaking at his celebrity golf tournament Friday. “In a heartbeat, I would sit down to talk to those kids. The most important about them is that they have that work ethic as a younger player. That’s something that to me, they have unbelievable value. These kids, they come to the field and it’s straight business. Me, as a veteran player, knowing how you come from the bottom to the top, it’s something that to me is extremely important. Those are the players you he want on your ball club. Young, talented, with that mentality, that’s on another level. I know that at some point, the red sox will have to sit down with them, with Jackie, even my main who played left field [Andrew Benintendi] that has a couple of days in the big leagues, they’re going to sit down with all those kids because they are what people want. I want to come the field every day to see what they can do.”
|12.02.16 at 3:29 pm ET|
Talking at his annual celebrity golf outing, Ortiz reiterated what he said about free agent Edwin Encarnacion, first in April, and then at the All-Star Game: the Blue Jays slugger would be the perfect fit on this Red Sox roster.
“You know what though, the reality is, the way baseball is right now, when you have a guy like Edwin doing what he does, he can ask for whatever he wants,” Ortiz said Friday afternoon. “Not everybody is hitting 40 bombs in the big leagues and doing all the damage that he’s doing. So if you’re going to recruit a guy like him, you know you’ve got to bring that money in. [Carlos] Beltran is another good choice, but you know that Beltran is probably going to want to play a couple of more years. Veteran wise, a guy that cares and really wants to win, I know he’s another choice. It all depends the shape the organization is in.
“It’s easier to demand and say things from this standpoint but you need to know how much the organization has to spend, how many year they want to give away. We have a good group of guys out there, you’re going to have to sit down and talk to them about long term. You know what I’m saying? We have four or five guys, you’re definitely going to have to sit down and chat with them about 100 million dollars. Let’s not put pressure just on the Red Sox. You know there’s a lot of things we need to take care of.”
The likelihood of Encarnacion doesn’t seem strong, especially after a source told WEEI.com this week the Red Sox would “probably” not be one of the righty hitter’s finalists when it came to picking his next destination.
Encarnacion has already reportedly turned down a four-year offer from the Blue Jays worth around $80 million, and the Sox are intent on filling Ortiz’s spot with a shorter term deal.
But Ortiz wants to make it clear that if there were any concerns that the 33-year-old Encarnacion wouldn’t be able to produce for the life of whatever deal he gets, those should go out the window.
“Edwin, he knows the American league,” Ortiz said. “He knows that this division is a tough division to play in and what he does is guaranteed. It’s scary to think what he can do. same with [Jose] Bautista. Bautista’s average year where he deals with a lot of injuries which is not something you see often but he’s a guy who has been healthy pretty much his whole career. That’s a guy [in Encarnacion] I wouldn’t doubt about to think what he’s capable of. It’s up to the organization what they feel comfortable doing.”
No matter who the signing turns out to be, Ortiz does have a clear idea of what the Red Sox need after the DH’s retirement.
“The situation between MLB and the Players Association kind of stopped everything. I’m pretty sure now with the winter meetings we’re going to hear some new stuff. We need some thunder,” he said. “We need some thunder. I’m not going to be playing but I’m going to want the Red Sox to still win, so hopefully something good comes our way.”
|12.02.16 at 3:08 pm ET|
“That’s not good,” said Ortiz when informed of Gronkowski’s back surgery. “Actually, you know what, yesterday I was going through my [phone] and I saw like three photos of him and I just look at it. I received a phone call when I was looking at it, and I never got to read anything.”
But Ortiz had been caught up on some other notable events, such as the presidential election, (“Who didn’t follow all that? Taxes are going to be good, for sure.”)
And the series of tweets from Justin Verlander’s fiance, Kate Upton, after Rick Porcello beat her significant other in the American League Cy Young race, (“Seriously. Damn! You know, you can’t just have people hating you because of somebody else. You know what I’m saying? Like, man, I don’t know how they’re going to play it out next year, but I don’t think that many things are going to go in your favor.”)
As for Ortiz’s foundation, which the annual event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for, that was clearly the host’s priority.
“I’ve been busy. I’ve been doing so many things. That’s me. I’m always doing things here and there. This event, it’s a big event so I want to make sure everybody is happy. The most important thing is these kids,” he said.
“The one thing I want to do with all you is bring you guys to the hospital to see what we do for real. I went to the hospital two days ago, and trust me, every time I walk into the hospital it’s like a new experience. We have so many kids going through situations. The heart don’t play around. You have to make sure everything is OK, and that’s what we do here. It’s like a challenge for me every year, and a motivation at the same time because there’s people who really need what we do. I’m up to the challenge, I’m going to tell you. You guys know me.”
There were other more Red Sox-centric baseball matters that Ortiz did discuss Friday.
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF PLAYING IF RED SOX OFFERED HUGE, ONE-YEAR CONTRACT
“To what? To talk [expletive]?”
ON IF HE WAS SURPRISED THE RED SOX DIDN’T OFFER HIM ANOTHER DEAL?
“No, not really, because I made myself clear, you know? It’s not about the money. It’s how you feel. I’m old, man.”
ON HOW HE FEELS PHYSICALLY
“Well, when I’m not doing all the running and all the crazy stuff that I do, inflammation starts going away, starts feeling better than usual. But the training and everything it takes to get prepared to play a season is when things get complicated. I’m done with it, man.”
ON IF HE IS GOING TO SPRING TRAINING
“I don’t know yet. Probably. I don’t know. I’m into so many things right now that I don’t know if I’m gonna be there. I don’t have it on my schedule right now but who knows, sometimes I can get bored at some point and show up for a couple of days, who knows?”
ON IF HE HAS IDENTIFIED A JOB HE WILL BE DOING WITH THE RED SOX
“Not yet. [Dave Dombrowski] approached me the other day. He asked me whenever I’m ready for it they’re down with it. The Red Sox always want me to part of the organization and some point I definitely will because you guys know I love that organization. That organization is part of what I am, and I’m always going to want the best for the organization. It will come at some point.”
ON HANLEY RAMIREZ PLAYING BOTH FIRST BASE AND DESIGNATED HITTER
“I think it’ll be good to have him playing both sides of it. Give him some days off with the DH and playing at first base. He did a great job last year at first.”
|12.02.16 at 12:14 pm ET|
But Ramirez explained that recruitment isn’t on the docket.
“No. No. No. We’re just here for one big thing, to help the kids,” said Ramirez when asked if he would be selling the Red Sox on some of the other attendees, who are also in town to support the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.
Ramirez did, however, offer some other news when it came to his presence in the Dominican Republic: He is planning on playing winter baseball there in the coming months.
The Red Sox first baseman explained that he was hoping to participate in the Dominican Winter League, with the Licey Tigers, to prepare for his participation in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
“Yes, that’s my plan,” said Ramirez of trying to defend the Dominican Republic team’s crown in the WBC. “Hopefully they let me play here to get ready for that.”
The last time Ramirez played in the WBC, 2013, he actually hurt his thumb to the extent that his season didn’t start until late April. After coming back earlier than expected, Ramirez was sidelined again after four games due to a hamstring injury. He did go on to have one of his better years, hitting .345 with a 1.040 OPS
“You get your swings in. You get used to the game quicker than in spring training,” Ramirez said. “That’s the difference because now your mind is ready to start.”
“You have a chance to play for your country and it’s something basically the whole world is seeing. There’s only one thing. It’s really special.”
Ramirez touched on a variety of other topics Friday afternoon …
ONE HAVING NO DAVID ORTIZ
“After the last game, we tried to take every part of things from David in keeping in that clubhouse. His vibe, the way he goes about his business. At the same time, everybody knows he’s going to be missed. But we’ve got to move forward and we’ve got a lot of guys in the clubhouse who can lead the way.”
ON IF HE PREFERS DH OR FIRST BASE
“I don’t care. I just want to play and have my four at-bats, maybe five. Just go out there and kick some butt. It doesn’t matter where I’m going to be playing. … I’m not the type of player or person who says I want to do this or I want to do that. I just want to go into spring training and do whatever they ask me to do.”
ON IF PLAYING FIRST BASE HELPED HIS OFFENSE
“Not really. I was able to to find something in my swing in spring training with our hitting coach and go from there, shorten my swing out. Because you have to separate those two out, offense and defense. Sometimes you’re going to think about defense, and when you’re on defense you’re going to be thinking about offense. You have to be strong in mind to separate those two parts, come out, be you and do what you’re supposed to do.”
ON FILLING MORE OF A LEADERSHIP ROLE
The only thing I think you can do is to help the young guys, like David always did, and deal with you guys. That’s something that’s never going to change. We’ve got a couple of guys. Pedey, we’ve got Buchholz who has been there forever. But we will have the same team together as a group, not just one guy. That’s what we did last year.
ON IF HE LIKES THE IDEA OF ROTATING GUYS INTO THE DH SPOT
“Definitely, so we can keep everybody fresh for the playoffs.”
REFLECTING ON LOSING TO CLEVELAND IN THE PLAYOFFS
I wasn’t really disappointed because I know we have some young guys. Playoffs aren’t the same thing as the regular season. Playoffs, everything counts. Every pitch, every thing. It’s a little bit different. They got a taste, and I know we’re going to come back stronger this year and we’re going to go farther.
ON THE SHORT PLAYOFF RUN BY THE RED SOX
That was my third or fourth time in the playoffs, and in the playoffs anything can happen. The hardest part is just getting in. After you get in, you can’t predict anything. For Cleveland to make it all the way to the World Series, that’s something special, with all the young guys they have. Their pitching staff was great.
ARE THE RED SOX A WORLD SERIES CONTENDER?
Definitely. Like I say, if we stay together like we did last year, and I think we’re going to be stronger mentally this year, it’s going to be scary.
HOW DO YOU FEEL AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?
I think I’m more motivated this year because of how far we went in the playoffs. We didn’t go far enough. I can’t wait to get bak to the playoffs and go farther.
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) December 2, 2016
|12.01.16 at 10:39 am ET|
Forget about Mr. Schilling goes to Washington. He’d rather be in Cooperstown.
In an appearance on Wednesday’s Hot Stove Show on WEEI, former Red Sox great Curt Schilling was asked if he’d rather make the Hall of Fame or win a Senate seat. His answer was mildly surprising.
“Oh, Hall of Fame,” he said. “The Senate seat thing is something that when you look down into it . . . one of the things I’ve tried to do and want to do is make a difference. And I’m not sure that happens on the floor of the Senate as much as it could happen now with the talk show, or being involved and around young athletes. Going to the Hall of Fame opens doors for our ALS and the SHADE Foundation and the ability to reach out and talk to more young people, and that’s something I’m very, very passionate about.”
The topic arose because two Hall of Fame voters — the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy and national writer Jon Heyman — have suggested they won’t vote for Schilling anymore because of an offensive meme involving lynching journalists that he posted to social media.
Schilling, who received 52.3 percent of the vote in his fourth year on the ballot last winter, said he doesn’t care.
“The people that know me know that I was a good teammate, and I’m a nice guy, and I love to debate and have fun,” he said. “To say that I don’t care is not to put it in proper context, but to say that I think about it for one second outside of the process when it happens and when it’s announced would be a lie. I don’t. I have no control over it.”
Getting back to the issue of the Senate, Schilling was pressed on why he believed he couldn’t effect change in Washington.
“Being a Senator is about taking the concerns of your constituents to Washington and trying to get those things fixed and worked on,” he said. “And so I don’t know what the voters of Massachusetts would want taken to Washington. I don’t know how much of a difference I could make. I do know that free education is laughable and not possible financially for anybody, which is one of Elizabeth Warren’s tax-and-spend platforms. I do know that I would be as representative of the people as anybody that ever served, because I would not have a problem taking my constituents’ voice to D.C. even if I was the outlier.”
As for whether he should be in the Hall of Fame, Schilling said he doesn’t believe he makes the cut, despite his postseason greatness.
“In my Hall of Fame, no,” he said. “My Hall of Fame criteria is very simple. Someone is either blatantly easily a Hall of Famer or not. That doesn’t work in the current Hall of Fame, because there’s this nebulous gray area that has allowed people to get in that I don’t think should be in, but it has also kept people I think should definitely be in out, like a Dale Murphy or a Fred McGriff. Those guys were Hall of Famers to me.
“Pedro Martinez is a Hall of Famer. Randy Johnson is a Hall of Famer. I think in October, there was no better pitcher in the history of the game, ever, than I was. But I don’t know that the criteria for the regular season that I did it enough, the bulk numbers people look for.”
Schilling won 216 games and went 11-2 in the postseason.
Asked if he believed his political stances have cost him votes — he hosts a daily talk show on the right-wing Breitbart network — he didn’t hesitate. Would any of this be an issue if he leaned left?
“Absolutely it wouldn’t be an issue, and I’d still be working at ESPN,” he said. “But it is what it is.”
|12.01.16 at 7:15 am ET|
According to the Associated Press, home-field advantage in the World Series will no longer be determined by which team wins the All-Star Game. Instead, per the new CBA, that honor will go to the pennant winner with the best overall regular-season record.
The All-Star Game importance started after Major League Baseball suffered through an 11-inning tie in 2002, prompting baseball to use home-field in the World Series as motivation to take the exhibition game more seriously.
Since the rule was implemented, the American League won 11 of 14 All-Star Games, with the AL representative claiming the World Series title in eight of those years. The Red Sox’ three world championships since 2003 all came with Boston carrying home-field advantage.
Players participating in the All-Star Game will be playing for a pool of money, per the report.
It should come as no surprise that determination of home-field advantage in the World Series was altered, with the dynamic coming under increasing criticism since the owners unanimously voting for the rule after the 2002 season. (For David Price’s criticism on the rule, click here.)
Another notable change in the new CBA will be the minimum stay on the disabled list going from 15 to 10 days.
|11.30.16 at 11:39 pm ET|
Baseball once again has labor peace.
The league and its players on Wednesday night agreed to a new five-year collective bargaining agreement that will eventually raise the luxury tax threshold over $200 million for the first time.
The threshold will increase from $189 million to $195 million in 2017, leaving the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Tigers above the limit next season, according to USA Today.
Otherwise, very little changed. Rosters did not expand from 25 to 26, there won’t be an international draft, and expanded September rosters will remain.
One small change affecting relatively few players relates to free agent compensation. Whereas players who declined a qualifying offer once would’ve cost the signing team a first-round pick, they’ll now cost that team a third-rounder if they’re under the tax threshold, or a second- and fifth-rounder if they’re over.
The agreement, which still must be ratified by the owners and players, was reached hours before a Dec. 1 deadline, otherwise the owners had threatened a lockout. It ensures labor peace through the 2021 season, when the luxury tax threshold will expand to $210 million.
The deal is expected to trigger a flurry of moves, with a number of teams — including the Red Sox — reluctant to act until the game’s financial landscape had been established.
|11.29.16 at 9:58 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox are “probably” not going to be a finalist for the services of free agent first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion.
Encarnacion’s agent, Paul Kinzer, told TSN Tuesday afternoon that his client would most likely sign a contract either later this week, or early next week. He went on to add that two clubs have extended serious offers to the 33-year-old, not disclosing what teams they were.
Kinzer did add that the Blue Jays, who along with the Yankees and Astros may be considered the favorites for Encarnancion’s services, are perhaps the most aggressive. It was reported that slugger turned down an offer from Toronto in the vicinity of four years, $80 million.
“The Jays are showing Edwin the most love,” Kinzer told Rick Westhead of TSN. “We’re talking. They want him back. (GM) Ross (Atkins) has been talking to Edwin. They have a great relationship.”
The Red Sox have been consistent in their approach throughout the offseason, insisting their preference in signing a replacement for David Ortiz would be via a short-term deal. One option they remain interested in is Carlos Beltran.
As is the case with other clubs, the Red Sox are also waiting for the new Competitive Balance Tax threshold to be identified in the revamped Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA expires Thursday at 12:01 a.m.
|11.29.16 at 2:53 pm ET|
The honors and accolades keep rolling in for Rick Porcello.
The Red Sox right-hander, who earlier this month claimed the American League Cy Young Award, on Tuesday added Comeback Player of the Year to his resume.
Porcello finished first in balloting among the 30 beat reporters from MLB.com. He was joined by National League winner Anthony Rendon of the Nationals.
Porcello, 27, went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA and nipped former teammate Justin Verlander of the Tigers in the Cy Young voting. His 22 victories led the big leagues and were the most by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez won 23 in 1999.
Porcello’s numbers were a far cry from 2015, when he debuted with the Red Sox by going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA.
Porcello is the first Red Sox player to win the award since outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury claimed it in 2011.
|11.29.16 at 7:34 am ET|
The 28-year-old outfielder, who played in six games for the Red Sox in 2016, has signed a one-year, major-league deal with the Angels.
LaMarre, who inked a minor-league contract with the Red Sox prior to last season, had a very solid year for Triple-A Pawtucket. Known primarily as a defensive whiz in the outfield, the righty hitter hit .303 with an .814 OPS with the PawSox, hitting 10 home runs and stealing 17 bases.
LaMarre also pitched in one inning for the Red Sox, hurling one scoreless inning against the Angels July 2 at Fenway Park.
A former second-round pick of the Reds in the 2010 draft, LaMarre previously had only seen 21 games in the major leagues, having been called up during the 2015 season by Cincinnati.
LaMarre’s path to the major leagues has also included the decision not to pursue a professional hockey career, which appeared to be an option prior to his enrolling at the University of Michigan. (Click here to read more on LaMarre’s hockey career.)
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