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Torey Lovullo no longer in running for Rangers job

10.13.14 at 10:33 pm ET
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According to a major league source, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo has been told he is longer under consideration for the Texas Rangers managing job. Also being told they were no longer under consideration for the position was former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora.

Lovullo is still being considered by the Minnesota Twins for their vacant managerial position.

The Red Sox bench coach has interviewed for three managing jobs this offseason, having also met with the Houston Astros prior to the hiring of A.J. Hinch.

Red Sox to open hitting coach interviews with Tim Hyers, Rich Gedman, Paul Sorrento

10.13.14 at 7:33 pm ET
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According to an industry source, the Red Sox wil begin interviews this week of both internal and external candidates for the position of their lead hitting coach. The initial candidates who are scheduled to be interviewed include Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers (who served on the big league staff this summer while hitting coach Greg Colbrunn recovered from a brain hemorrhage), Double-A hitting coach Rich Gedman and Angels hitting coordinator Paul Sorrento (who served as the Halos’ interim hitting coach while hitting coach Don Baylor was sidelined by surgery). The Sox are considering an interview of one additional internal candidate, while the team plans to add to the list of candidates going forward.

The Sox are searching for a hitting coach after Colbrunn stepped down following the year. Colbrunn is deciding whether to seek a job closer to his year-round home in Charleston, S.C., or to take the year off.

Read More: paul sorrento, rich gedman, tim hyers,

Live Chat: Rob Bradford talks all things baseball, 1 p.m.

10.10.14 at 7:20 am ET
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Join Rob Bradford of WEEI.com to discuss the Red Sox offseason, the MLB playoffs, or anything else baseball-related. It all begins at 1 p.m. Friday, so get your questions in now …

Live Blog Bradford Red Sox chat
 

The man who was almost Red Sox general manager: Kansas City’s Dayton Moore

10.10.14 at 7:06 am ET
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Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore. (Getty Images)

Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore. (Getty Images)

Finding Red Sox connections on one side of the American League Championship Series — over with the Orioles — isn’€™t difficult.

You have reliever Andrew Miller, infielder Kelly Johnson, perhaps outfielder Quintin Berry, and, of course, former Sox general manager Dan Duquette.

Kansas City? Not so easy.

There is however one prominent name with the Royals who almost played an enormous role in Red Sox history: Dayton Moore.

It was nine years ago that the Kansas City general manager ‘€“ and then-Atlanta Braves assistant GM ‘€“ almost became the man who ran the show for the Red Sox.

“€œWe always like to confirm our judgment about people,” said Red Sox president Larry Lucchino Thursday. ‘€”It pleases me that a guy like this got his chance to make good, and it sort of confirms that maybe we were on the right track.’€”

The track that Lucchino and the Red Sox found themselves on following the ‘€™05 season was one that possibly could have landed Moore as Theo Epstein‘€™s replacement.

Moore, — who has been the Royals GM since ‘€™08 — was brought in for an interview by the Red Sox during Epstein’€™s hiatus (which was brought on by a dispute with Lucchino over power within the organization).

While his name wasn’€™t well known at the time, Moore did have an ally within the Red Sox decision-making power structure.

“He was a guy who [former assistant to the GM] Bill Lajoie had touted from time to time to me,” Lucchino said. “During that [strange time], I was talking to Bill during that period.

“We had come to trust Bill’€™s judgment and experience. During that period he had pressed for us to interview Dayton Moore, and we did. He was a player personnel guy, but he had no GM experience or even administrative experience that I could remember. He was a player evaluator, which is of course what I consider to be the most important job when hiring a guy. How to evaluate player talent is No. 1 on the list.”

Moore had made his mark with the Braves working under longtime GM John Schuerholz. And while the Red Sox brought in others during Epstein’€™s absence ‘€“ such as former Montreal general manager Jim Beattie ‘€“ the then-38 year old was perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch for the Sox.

“He seemed like a precise kind of guy, and you add that to his reputation as an evaluator, you see someone who is going to almost inevitably be a GM,” Lucchino noted.

In the end, the uncertainty of the situation was not conducive to making the hire.

Sometime after the interview, Moore took his name out of consideration, with the Red Sox ultimately filling in the Epstein-free gap with assistant GMs Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington.

Clouding the process was also a divide within the Red Sox upper-management/ownership as to whether or not to move on from Epstein at al from the time. (“€œSome of us thought about it,” said Lucchino when asked if there was an impetus to hire a GM from outside the organization during Epstein’€™s leave.)

“It was all part of the unusual dynamic that was going on at that point,”€ Lucchino said. “If it was a clean, simple process I think you would have had an even better shot.”

Moore would get his shot with his hometown Royals. And after a somewhat rocky road (toiling through four losing seasons before the last two campaigns), he finds himself in a pretty good place.

(To listen to Dayton Moore’s appearance on this season’s “Trade Deadline Show” click here.)

Poll: What role should Daniel Nava have for the 2015 Red Sox?

10.09.14 at 10:45 am ET
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Daniel Nava ranked in the top 15 in the majors in batting average and OBP against righties over the final four months of the 2014 season. (Getty Images)

Daniel Nava ranked in the top 10 in the majors in batting average and OBP against righties over the final four months of the 2014 season. (Getty Images)

While Daniel Nava spent the first two months of 2014 struggling in the big leagues while shuttling to and from Triple-A, he enjoyed a strong final four months of the year, hitting .323 with a .395 OBP against right-handed pitchers from June through the end of the season. Yet the fact that he was sent down, and the Sox’ obvious need to upgrade their offense following a season in which they ranked among the worst in the American League at scoring runs, creates an expectation of change. Asked if he had a sense of his fit for the organization, Nava acknowledged that he’s unsure where he fits in the Sox’ plans for 2015.

“Yes and no,” Nava said of whether he knew his role going forward. “Yes for now, based off where I am and the situation where we are. But for next year, I think everyone knows there’s a lot of moving pieces that are going to take place, between our need for pitching, the outfield with guys returning, stuff like that. My guess is, if I were to venture what it would mean, it would mean that things have to play themselves out.

“I hope it would mean that I have a track record that’s proven I can be a part of this team next year, a valuable part, but a lot of that is probably going to be determined based on what they need and what they can get,” said Nava. “The [team's decision makers] probably know better than I do, and even they probably don’t know how things are going to play out. I hope that it’s proven that I can contribute, but just because maybe next year things don’t work out the way I want them to doesn’t mean I can’t [contribute].”

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What role should Daniel Nava play for the 2015 Red Sox?

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Russell Martin wouldn’t mind playing in Boston

10.09.14 at 7:21 am ET
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Russell Martin will be one of the top free agents this offseason. (Getty Images)

Russell Martin will be one of the top free agents this offseason. (Getty Images)

The chances that Russell Martin signs with the Red Sox this offseason aren’t good. But that doesn’t mean such a move shouldn’t be discussed, particularly when the player represents a potential solution to a potential problem.

“It’s definitely a place to consider if the option is there,” Martin told WEEI.com during a late September interview.

(The acceptance of playing in Boston is a departure from the tone struck by Martin in 2011, as stated here.)

Martin is far and away (not even close) going to be the best catcher on the free agent market, having hit .290 with 11 home runs and an .832 OPS (.401 on-base percentage). Pittsburgh will likely offer the 31 year old the $15.3 million qualifying offer, having already stated they will stretch their payroll in an attempt to re-sign the backstop. (Some reports have stated Martin has already been offered a four-year deal from the Pirates.)

The likelihood is the Red Sox lean on Christian Vazquez for the majority of the games in 2015. The potential issues with that road, however, is the uncertainty regarding the righty hitter’s offense, and what you get to complement the young backstop.

Here are the free agent catchers not named Russell Martin: John Buck, Ryan Doumit, Gerald Laird, Wil Nieves, A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross and Geovany Soto. Nick Hundley ($5 million) and Jeff Mathis ($1.5 million) both are living under club options.

Switch-hitting Blake Swihart isn’t perceived to be quite ready for big league duty, having played 18 Triple-A games.

That leads us back to Martin.

Team sources suggest it is unlikely the Red Sox go hard after Martin, feeling he will want to go to a team guaranteeing catching around the 120 games he has averaged over the past four seasons. But they did previously explore the Canadian native’s services prior to the 2011 season before he inked a deal with the Yankees.

“I think with the injury I was coming back from, the hip injury, I think [the Red Sox] doctors were concerned and the Yankees were a bit more aggressive,” he remembered. “I think that’€™s what it came down to.

“It’€™s a great baseball town. People love their baseball. For the most part they’€™ve always been competitive. They’€™ve got a great team. [Dustin] Pedroia is one of personal favorites. I love the way he competes so it would be a pleasure playing with him.”

If the dynamic with Vazquez does change, and the Red Sox view Martin as one of the solutions for their offensive woes, there might be a built-in recruitment tool — Pedroia.

Martin has known the Red Sox second baseman since the two played in the Arizona Fall League for Scottsdale, with the duo working out together sporadically throughout recent offseasons. (Martin was part of a collection of players that included Pedroia, Conor Jackson, J.J. Hardy and Howie Kendrick who met at Andre Ethier’s Arizona home for daily workouts.)

“One of the first times I ever met [Pedroia] he was playing ping-pong with somebody and I thought he was joking around, the way he talking to the person he was playing against. He was just super feisty and cocky and everything,” Martin recalled. “It was just funny to see him go at it. It was just funny to see somebody as competitive, if not more competitive, than me. He can definitely dish it out. I just like to be there to listen.”

An in-season reunion for the two isn’t likely, but with free agency fast approaching, the Martin conversation — one involving one of the top free agents and a team boasting a significant chunk of money — is at least interesting think about.

Exploring some Red Sox hitting coach scuttlebutt

10.08.14 at 12:50 pm ET
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Who is going to replace Greg Colbrunn?

Talking to folks throughout baseball about the Red Sox vacant hitting coach job, three names keep coming up: Chili Davis, Bill Mueller and Dave Magadan. None of these men might be ending up with the Sox, but they are being referenced throughout the industry.

Davis’ name has gained the most steam of late, with the Oakland A’s hitting coach having worked in the same capacity with the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2011. While he is still under contract with the A’s, there was reportedly some frustration from both sides during Oakland’s offensive slide during the final two months of the season. (Note: Davis could also be drawing from Theo Epstein, who hired him out of the Dodgers’ organization to work with the PawSox.)

Mueller just recently resigned from his post as hitting coach with the Cubs after the team reassigned his hand-picked assistant hitting coach, Mike Brumley. Mueller’s connection with the Red Sox is obvious — having spent three solid seasons in Boston from 2003-05.

Like Davis, Magadan is still under contract, but with a new manager slated to come in for the Rangers, Texas has given the former Red Sox hitting coach permission to look elsewhere. While it is not known if the Red Sox have formerly asked for the right to talk to Magadan, he has already drawn interest from multiple teams around the majors. It is believed he would welcome a return to Boston, particularly his wife hails from New Hampshire.

We shouldn’t forget assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez, who really developed a solid rapport with Yoenis Cespedes over the final few months.

Colbrunn wanted to prioritize being close to his South Carolina home, as was evidenced even before his illness this season. The former Sox hitting coach turned down a chance for a contract extension following the 2013 world championship season.

If you’re wondering how the process works when teams are interested in interviewing coaches from other teams: The potential new team contacts the other team and if the coach’s current team grants permission, there is a written form that they sign and gets submitted to MLB. So there you have it.

Also, in case you forgot, the last time the Red Sox had a hitting coach opening, four other candidates (besides Colbrunn) interviewed — Rick Schu, Rodriguez, Craig Counsell, and Scott Fletcher.

Schu is currently the hitting coach for the Washington Nationals, Counsell worked on the Brewers television broadcasts in 2014, and Fletcher left the Braves after this season, having served as the team’s assistant hitting coach.

 

Long before he threw 100: Hunter Strickland’s Red Sox tenure recalled

10.06.14 at 10:39 am ET
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Hunter Strickland was pitching for Single-A Greenville in 2009 when the Red Sox traded him to the Pirates. (Billy Crowe/Greenville Drive)

Hunter Strickland was pitching for Single-A Greenville in 2009 when the Red Sox traded him to the Pirates. (Billy Crowe/Greenville Drive)

It has represented a parenthetical remark to an extraordinary emergence. Hunter Strickland, the Giants reliever who has been unleashing 100 mph comets in the postseason (including in his 18th-inning save on Saturday night/Sunday morning in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Nationals), was once a Red Sox.

But when he was with the Red Sox, he didn’t resemble the fire-breathing late-innings force that he’s suddenly become in the past five weeks for the Giants.

Strickland was an unheralded right-handed in Georgia when the Sox drafted him in the 18th round of the 2007 draft and signed him to a low six-figures bonus. Area scout Rob English liked the young pitcher’s arm action, pitcher’s build (he was a sturdy 6-foot-5) and particularly his outstanding makeup. English felt that Strickland might grow into a bit more velocity beyond the 90-ish he was showing as an amateur, and that if he got close to the big leagues, his work ethic and drive would permit him to thrive.

That said, Strickland never got close to the big leagues while in the Sox system — or, until this year, anyone else’s. In parts of three seasons in the Sox system — a pro debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2007, an assignment to Short-Season Single-A Lowell in 2008 and three and a half months with Single-A Greenville in 2009 — he proved a solid performer, going 10-9 with a 3.66 ERA. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adam LaRoche, Greenville Drive, hunter strickland, kevin boles

Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn won’t return in 2015

10.03.14 at 11:27 am ET
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Greg Colbrunn

Greg Colbrunn

The Red Sox announced that hitting coach Greg Colbrunn “has elected not to return to the position for the 2015 season.” According to multiple sources, he was offered a position in the organization, but declined.

In a text, Colbrunn said he was unsure if he wanted to work in baseball for the coming season, but if he did it would have to be close to his South Carolina home.

One year after Colbrunn served as the hitting coach of a team that led the majors with 5.27 runs per game en route to a World Series, he oversaw a squad that managed just 3.91 runs per game, 11th in the American League. Colbrunn also spent time away from the team in June due to a brain hemorrhage that resulted in his hospitalization. Over time, upon his return to the team in July, he was able to build back to his regular duties amidst a dramatic second-half roster overhaul.

Prior to joining the Sox as the lead hitting coach of their two-coach structure (with Victor Rodriguez, a longtime Sox minor league coach and coordinator, as the assistant hitting coach), he’d spent six seasons as the hitting coach and manager of the Yankees‘ Single-A affiliate in Charleston, S.C., where Colbrunn makes his offseason home.

One name to keep an eye on in regards to replacing Colbrunn is former Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan. Magadan has one more year on his current contract with the Rangers, but with Texas in the process of looking for another manager a reunion with the Sox might make sense. (Magadan’s wife is from New Hampshire.)

 

Billy Beane says A’s wouldn’t have made playoffs without Jon Lester trade

10.02.14 at 5:46 pm ET
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Billy Beane insisted that the deal to acquire Jon Lester from the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes was the right one. (Getty Images)

Billy Beane insisted that the deal to acquire Jon Lester from the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes was the right one. (Getty Images)

At the time, the trade sending Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A’s in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes sent shockwaves through the baseball landscape. Those continue to reverberate more than two months later.

The A’s season came to a startling halt on Tuesday night, when Lester could not hold a 7-3 advantage that he carried into the eighth inning, with Oakland eventually falling, 8-7, to the Royals in extra innings. The July 31 deal between the A’s and Red Sox had long been controversial in Oakland given the plummeting productivity of the A’s lineup, which averaged 3.5 runs per game while going 22-33 following the trade deadline, going from the best team in the majors and a two-game lead in the AL West to losing 12 games to the Angels in the division and barely holding on to edge out the Mariners by one game for a wild card spot.

But Beane disputed the notion that the trade was the cause of his team’s collapse down the stretch.

‘€œSimply put,” Beane told reporters in Oakland, “if we don’€™t have Jon Lester, I don’€™t think we make the playoffs.’€

Lester was 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts with the A’s, pitching at essentially the same dominant level at which he’d been performing with the Sox prior to the trade. Cespedes likewise performed at a comparable level with the Sox (.269/.296/.423) that he did prior to the trade with the A’s (.256/.303/.464).

Beane suggested that the Angels’ dominance over the season’s final two months would have made it impossible for the A’s to keep pace in the division, regardless of whether or not the trade had occurred.

‘€œOne thing I’€™m going to say right now,’€ Beane told reporters, ‘€œthe Angels were going to catch us. They played nearly .700 ball from a certain point on.’€

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