|10.15.16 at 6:44 pm ET|
The Surprise Saguaros have a number of Red Sox players on their roster in the Arizona Fall League and through four games, they have a few making headlines.
— On Saturday, Mauricio Dubon made his outfield debut starting in center field. Dubon, a shortstop (with some experience at second and third base) who finished this past year with Double-A Portland, likely is adding the position to increase his versatility as there doesn’t appear to be a place for him in the foreseeable future with the big league club in the infield with Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Yoan Moncada, Pablo Sandoval all in good positions moving forward in the coming years.
At the plate he went 2-for-4 with a home run. He is batting .286 in his first three games.
— Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech started the game on Saturday and went three no-hit innings, allowing just one base runner, which came on an error. The hard-throwing right-hander went three innings, allowing no hits, not walking a batter and striking out five. This is a very good sign considering his tough end to his 2016 campaign.
— While Moncada struggled at the major league level in September, he hasn’t let it impact his Arizona Fall League so far. The switch-hitter, who will play exclusively at third base, is 6-for-14 (.429) in his three games. He has struck out four times in 14 at-bats, while walking just once.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|10.13.16 at 12:49 pm ET|
Just like last offseason and spring training, at least part of the Red Sox’ planning included working their way around which players had options and those who didn’t. Steven Wright, Tommy Layne and Junichi Tazawa helped define the final Opening Day roster conversation because they were out of options and couldn’t be sent to the minor leagues without being designated for assignment.
This year, there are a few more names who should be taken note of when trying to figure out who fits where. The following is a list of players who will be out of options heading into the 2017 season. (Not included are potential free agents or players with contract options.)
Fernando Abad: It remains to be seen if the Red Sox tender the reliever a contract considering he is due to make around $2 million in arbitration.
Bryce Brentz: The 27-year-old outfielder took a step forward in 2016, contributing to the major league club with a .286 batting average and .738 OPS in 45 plate appearances against lefties. He did, however, have less-than-spectacular numbers with Triple-A Pawtucket, hitting .242 with a .678 OPS and five homers. With Chris Young still on the roster as the designated weapon/extra outfielder vs. southpaws, there doesn’t appear room for Brentz.
Heath Hembree: This should be an interesting one. Hembree has certainly shown he is a major league reliever, if for no other reason his ability to get out right-handed hitters. The righty is the kind of player who might be able to use his no-more-options status to cement a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Bryan Holaday: Considering he is due to make around $1 million in arbitration, and the Red Sox seem set at the catcher position with Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, the 28-year-old would seem to be on the outside looking in.
Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez: This is not good news for those hoping Swihart gets another shot at the Opening Day catching spot.
Josh Rutledge: Another arbitration-eligible player who might not be tendered a contract.
Steven Wright: Unlike last spring training, conversations about the knuckleballer’s spot on this team probably won’t factor in his lack of options.
|10.13.16 at 12:15 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced Dustin Pedroia has undergone successful arthroscopy surgery on his left knee.
A partial medial meniscectomy and chondroplasty was performed by Head Team Orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Pedroia is expected to make a full recovery in time for Spring Training 2017.
The 33-year-old played in 154 regular season games, hitting .318, with 15 home runs and an .825 OPS.
|10.12.16 at 3:55 pm ET|
Two days after the completion of the 2016 Red Sox season, John Farrell has undeniably been the hottest topic of conversation. And it only amped up once president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Tuesday that the Sox would be bringing back Farrell as their manager for the 2017 campaign.
Wednesday afternoon, when appearing on the Dale & Holley Show with Jerry Thornton, Farrell addressed some of the buzz that has been circulating since Monday night’s season-ending loss to the Indians:
REGARDING GOING INTO LAST GUARANTEED YEAR OF HIS CONTRACT
“He and I talked briefly yesterday. I’m sure we’ll have opportunity to talk more as we go forward. I don’t think there will be any point and time during the year I was focused on my status. It was always about with what we were doing with our team on a given day, how we were going to best going to prepare. Anything above and beyond that, we have yet to talk anything more specific.”
ON THE SCRUTINY SENT HIS WAY
“I love the fact that we’re in a place there is so much scrutiny and I embrace it and I know that people follow closely. The comparison would be to be in a place where there isn’t as much attention and connection driven by the Red Sox. I love the fact that it’s here, the fact that you get questioned on what you’re doing because it means people are paying attention. I don’t run from those, I don’t deflect them. It’s part of being a manager in Boston.”
|10.12.16 at 1:49 pm ET|
Brad Ziegler reached the big leagues at age 28, set a record for most consecutive scoreless innings to begin a career (39), and has since saved 85 games, including four with the Red Sox this season.
One thing he has never done: reach free agency. But that’s about to change as Ziegler prepares to test the market for the first time this winter.
“I have no idea what the future holds,” he said after the Red Sox were eliminated from the American League Division Series by the Indians. “There’s a lot of factors. It’s just something I’m going to have to sit down with my family and discuss. I’m going to have a little more time to figure it out than I hoped I would, but at the same time, there’s a lot to figure out.
“It is unique. It’s probably the only time, I’m hoping anyways, it might be the only time I get to do this. Hopefully the process is enjoyable and I’ll get some offers that put my family in a good position going forward, not just financially, but location and everything.”
It appears unlikely that Boston will be that destination, though Ziegler said he enjoyed his two-plus months here, noting that, “one way or another, this year will be special for me.” He also said he won’t rule out anywhere at the moment.
That said, he’s intrigued by the possibility of closing again. He saved 30 games for the Diamondbacks last year and 22 between Arizona and Boston this year. The Red Sox are set at that spot with All-Star Craig Kimbrel.
“It’s one of 50 factors,” he said. “If the situation’s right, it’s not mandatory. I think I’ve proven I can do it and I’d love to do it. Obviously here they have an established closer. There’s a lot of other places where they have guys established, and if they feel like I’m a better fit somewhere else in the pen and it’s a better fit overall for my family, I’m not going to be dead set on that’s what I have to do.”
What Ziegler is eager to remind teams is that he needn’t be limited to right-on-right situations, which was largely how he was used in Boston after recording more walks against left-handed hitters (16) than strikeouts. In 2015, for instance, he limited lefties to a .217 average.
“I’ve worked hard to do it, and there’s stretches where if my changeup doesn’t feel just right and my fastball command isn’t what it should be, lefties are going to hit me better than righties,” he said. “I can still maybe get away with a little bit more against righties. At the same time, I’m completely confident facing lefties. When I was closing in Arizona, there were times I would face all lefties in the ninth inning and I handled those situations just fine. It didn’t matter, you were the guy. That’s not a concern for me going forward. In September, it’s a little different, because you can put 12 guys down in the bullpen and just play matchups.
“When you’re going through the whole season, you can’t match up every guy. I felt like I’ve proven I don’t need to be a matchup guy long-term, and hopefully wherever I end up next year, they’ll see that and they won’t be scared to use me in certain situations.”
|10.12.16 at 11:55 am ET|
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday morning, following Tuesday’s press conference in which the team announced John Farrell will return as manager. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.
Kennedy supported Tuesday’s decision on Farrell, saying, “I think he’s the right guy to continue to lead this franchise.”
However, Kennedy was unclear where the team stands on Farrell’s 2018 option. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday that it would be ownership’s call.
“Dave will make a recommendation to ownership, and I have a seat at that table. We’ll talk about that in the coming days, to be sure,” Kennedy explained. “He knew he was going to get that question [about Farrell’s future] yesterday, again, right after a tough loss, and just wanted to address what we all knew, which was John will be back next year. [Dombrowski] will sit down and talk with us, specifically John Henry and Tom Werner, about a lot of these operations issues that we’re facing now in the immediate aftermath of going out in the postseason, including John Farrell’s option. So that will be discussed. But there’s a lot of other decisions that have to be made as well. Some will be recommendations from Dave, and some will just be firm decisions that he’s empowered to make on his own.”
Looking at the team’s disappointing performance in the ALDS, Kennedy said he can’t pinpoint a clear reason for the sweep at the hands of the Indians.
“What makes this the best baseball market on the planet is that we’d all love to try and point to one or two specific things,” Kennedy said. “I know my dad, for example, has his theories. He didn’t like the night in New York, after clinching the division and losing that awful game against the Yankees. Others may be quick to point to celebrations for David Ortiz.
“Look, if I knew what caused such a struggle with the bat in the postseason and not pitch our best, I’d probably be doing something else for a living, because I can’t point to a specific incident other than we just fell short of expectations. It was incredibly frustrating to watch those three games, because we felt we were positioned for a deep postseason run. At the end of the day, we didn’t get it done. I tip my cap to Terry Francona and [team president] Chris Antonetti and everyone at the Cleveland Indians. They beat us, and we have to tip our cap to them, as painful as it is to do that.”
|10.12.16 at 10:09 am ET|
Baseball analyst Curt Schilling, making his weekly appearance with Kirk & Callahan on Wednesday, expressed some surprise that the Red Sox are allowing John Farrell to return as manager. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.
Schilling indicated that he did not believe Farrell deserved to be fired, but with Tuesday’s press conference coming on the heels of a sweep by the Indians in the ALDS, the opening was there to make a change.
“If Dave had been looking for an out, he had it. He didn’t take it,” Schilling said. “I’m glad, obviously, because John is a dear friend. I guess I’m surprised in the sense I don’t really know Dave Dombrowski that well and I was expecting something, if it was going to happen, to happen.”
Farrell has taken some heat for his strategic moves, but Schilling agreed with Dombrowski that there is much more to being a good manager than making all the right decisions during games.
“He made it very clear yesterday, which I think is a lot of the things that most general managers believe now, which is in-game managing is not the priority,” Schilling said. “It’s about — given the money and given the state of the game — it’s about managing your players, about getting them to play up their capabilities. They clearly didn’t do that this series, but I blame Cleveland for that at some point.
“But I think managers have a lot more input and say lineup-wise, roster-composition-wise. So they don’t need the Tony La Russa, who he thinks he’s very much the smartest guy, that he invented the game. They need the guy that can get Manny Ramirez out there 145 days a year.”
|10.12.16 at 9:52 am ET|
As a major leaguer, Yoan Moncada is on the verge of making some unfortunate history, having struck out in his last nine plate appearances.
But everywhere else, the infielder continues to suggest he’s a future star.
Moncada’s latest reminder came with Surprise of the Arizona Fall League Tuesday, with the 21-year-old collecting three hits, including a double and home run in his first AFL game. Playing at third base for the Saguaros, Moncada didn’t get any chances in the field.
Despite his struggles after being called up to the big leagues, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski surmised the two-week stint in the majors was productive.
“I think he benefited,” Dombrowski said of Moncada. “He didn’t benefit by the strikeouts, per se. But I think having the experience to be here and see what it’s like, is beneficial to any player. He is a very fine player. I mean I’ve had young players come up and struggle at times and be great players. So it’s not unusual. So I think for him to reset and go to Arizona and get going is healthy for him. But I think it’s also important, what I’ve learned throughout my career is that no matter how good a player you are at the minor league level, with rare exception, is there not some type of adjustments and struggles at the major league level. No matter how long they’ve played down there. For the simple fact you can’t replicate what takes place here. The ability of the players is so much more.
“So I think for him to see that and you can tell people that, but until they experience it, when he’s hitting at the minor league level and it’s a 2-0 count and there’s nobody on base and they’re losing by a run he’s probably seeing a fastball the majority of the time and here he might see a changeup or breaking ball. And all of a sudden, know that. And give John [Farrell] credit, when we were talking to him about him going to — leaving the club — he asked him what did he learn. ‘what did you learn the most?’ And he said, ‘Well, the way they throw me off-speed pitches when I’m behind in the count. I never really anticipated that they would do that.’ So I think he benefited by it.”
|10.12.16 at 9:21 am ET|
The Red Sox bench coach, who had agreed to not interview for any major league managing jobs for the entirety of the 2016 season in exchange for a restructuring of his contract, is now waiting to see of one of the two clubs — Colorado and Arizona — come calling.
According to a major league source, neither the Rockies or Diamondbacks have asked the Red Sox permission to talk with Lovullo. The third managerial vacancy was filled Tuesday when the Braves hired interim manager Brian Snitker as their full-time skipper.
Some other names surfaced for the Rockies job have been Colorado Triple-A manager Glenallen Hill, Braves first base coach Eddie Perez, and former San Diego manager Bud Black. There has been no reports of any scheduled interviews.
Just because there hasn’t been any request to talk with Lovullo yet doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.
Major league sources suggest the Rockies have been asking around about the 51-year-old. And the Diamondbacks are currently prioritizing finding a new general manager.
Lovullo has plenty of experience interviewing for managing jobs, having previously met about openings with the Dodgers, Red Sox, Indians, and, most recently, the Twins, Astros and Rangers (heading into the 2015 season). He was a finalist for all three of the jobs in the 2014 offseason.
Lovullo has been a minor-league manager in both the Indians and Red Sox organizations, while going 28-21 as interim skipper for the Sox for the final 1 1/2 months of the 2015 season.
Red Sox president of baseball operations informed John Farrell that he and his entire coaching staff would be invited back for the 2017 season. Farrell is going into the last guaranteed year of his contract, with the Red Sox holding a team option for 2018.
|10.11.16 at 6:32 pm ET|
All of the focus on Xander Bogaerts’ disappearing bat this season obscured the step back he took on defense, as well.
A Gold Glove finalist in 2015, Bogaerts regressed on that side of the ball as well, this year. According to Baseball Info Solutions, he didn’t cost the team any runs defensively last year, but in 2016, he cost the team 10 runs on defense.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski addressed Bogaerts’ defensive shortcomings on Tuesday.
“I think Bogey did fine at short,” he said. “I know the defensive metrics are not great. I don’t think he has the range of some of the other shortstops that are out there. With Bogey’s case, he plays well at short, but he’s also a guy you’d describe as an offensive shortstop. I don’t think he’s hurt us defensively. I think his offense more than makes up for whatever lack of range he may have compared to some of the other guys.
“You think of a guy like [Detroit’s Jose] Iglesias, who had much more range, but is nowhere near the offensive force Xander would be. So I think he did a fine job for us. He’s a good player, and we look for him to be our shortstop next year and for years to come. He’s going to have to keep working on it because he’s a big guy, and big guys like that have to continue to emphasize their quickness.”
Offensively, Bogaerts made his first All-Star team by hitting .329 with an .863 OPS in the first half, but he fell to .253 with a .718 OPS in the second, necessitating a drop to sixth in the batting order during the playoffs.
With the glove, the defensive component of his wins above replacement dropped from 0.9 last year to minus-0.1 this year.
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