|12.10.13 at 2:19 pm ET|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Curtis Granderson is a New York Met. That was made perfectly clear Tuesday when the outfielder was introduced to the media at the Dolphin Hotel and Resort.
But, according to Granderson, there was at least a chance he could have become a member of the Red Sox.
“We did, early on, right after they ended up winning the World Series ironically. You’d think they’d celebrate for a little bit,” said Granderson when asked if the Red Sox had expressed interest in the 32-year-old. “There were some initial talks right there. Then as soon as Ellsbury ended up signing, there were more. They decided they wanted to go with Jackie Bradley, who’s obviously a great individual and is going to go out there and do some great things for them. They had some other moves they wanted to go ahead and take care of first.”
Granderson ended up signing a four-year, $60 million deal with New York.
Later Tuesday, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington clarified his team’s interest in the outfielder.
“We contact a lot of free agents. There are probably we don’t contact than we do contact,” he said. “Because it’s important at the very least you’re exchanging information, it gives you a sense of how the market is shaping. We liked him. We like him as a player. But I wouldn’t say we were ever that close on it.”
|12.10.13 at 12:38 pm ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Mut & Merloni at the MLB winter meetings to discuss Boston’s offseason plans, the signing of Edward Mujica, and the future of players like Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts.
The Red Sox have been active so far this offseason, signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal, agreeing with Mike Napoli on a reported two-year contract and inking Mujica to a two-year deal.
“We feel pretty good where we are,” Cherington said. “I think we’re in a position where we can take advantage of the rest of the time we have here and the rest of the time in the offseason just to explore. If there’s things we can do to make us better and that make sense short and long term, we’ll definitely work on those things, but if we had to start the season tomorrow, we’d feel pretty good about that, too.”
If Boston decides to stand pat for the remainder of the MLB offseason, the team will kick off Opening Day with three players who have only played a combined 224 regular-season games, as Middlebrooks, Bogaerts and Bradley all seem penciled in to start next season.
“We wouldn’t consider committing to a young player unless we really believed in the young player,” Cherington said. “We think we have some guys who are worth believing in. … There’s quite a bit of value for us in finding spots to commit to young players, because at some point, you have to.”
One interesting topic this offseason has been the discussion over whether the Red Sox will trade a starting pitcher, as the Sox currently have at least six potential starters on the roster.
“I don’t think so,” Cherington said. “Somehow, a pitching surplus in general tends to work itself out by the time you get to Opening Day, so we’re not going to proactively make a move just for the sake of making one. If something makes sense, we’ll listen, but certainly we’d rather go into spring training with more than enough options than too few.”
The signing of Mujica could prove to be a big boost to the Boston bullpen, as the 29-year-old reliever had a stellar first half of the 2013 season with the Cardinals, recording 26 saves while walking only one batter. However, Mujica struggled in September with an 11.05 ERA in 10 games due to a groin injury.
“He had a groin issue that cropped up in September where he just couldn’t push off the way he normally did. If you look at the first half of the season, he was dominant. … We don’t have any concerns about him physically,” Cherington said. “He’s actually been remarkably healthy for his career. … He, along with [Junichi] Tazawa and Koji [Uehara] and the others hopefully allow John [Farrell] and the staff to manage everyone’s workload.”
|12.10.13 at 12:30 pm ET|
ESPN baseball writer Tim Kurkjian joined Mut & Merloni at the winter meetings in Orlando and talked about the Red Sox’ approach to the offseason.
The Red Sox lost center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury via free agency to the Yankees, and there’s been speculation that youngster Jackie Bradley Jr. will inherit Ellsbury’s former position. Kurkjian isn’t so sure that will happen right away.
“I don’t think Jackie Bradley Jr. is going to be their center fielder,” Kurkjian said. “And that’s not ’cause he’s not ready or he can’t play. I just think … to go in with three relatively unproven guys [along with Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks]. We know Bogaerts is going to be a great player, because we saw him in September and October — he was terrific. Middlebrooks is still questionable to me. The guy is unbelievably strong. But is he going to make contact enough to hit 30 homers in the big leagues and be able to play third base. And is Jackie Bradley Jr. ready to hit in the big leagues?
“I think the Red Sox are going to look at this situation and say, ‘I don’t know if we can win the division — the way the Yankees have upgraded, and Tampa Bay’s pitching — with young guys at three crucial spots.’ So I still think they’re out looking for a center field situation — not a five-year situation, but maybe something that could help Jackie Bradley along.”
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp‘s name has been bandied about, but concerns about his physical status seem to be scaring off teams.
“The Dodgers, from what I’m told, are looking to move Matt Kemp,” Kurkjian said. “This isn’t a case where the Red Sox are pursuing him, but from what I’m told, the Dodgers have made him available and are willing to pick up a sizable portion of that contract.
“If you’re the Red Sox, however, you have to a) only have to pay $10 million of that contract a year, and you have be certain that he’s healthy. He’s got an ankle and a shoulder. You know you can’t play this game if you’re hurt. It’s too hard to play when you’re healthy. Then you get hurt and try to play, it’s impossible. Especially at a defensive position like that, and an athletic guy like him. So I would be wary of Matt Kemp’s health, and I wouldn’t go anywhere near him until I’m certain that his ankle and his shoulder are OK.”
|12.09.13 at 7:02 pm ET|
ORLANDO — Even with six starters — Jon Lester, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey — on their roster, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he is no rush to trade any of them.
“We’re very comfortable not doing anything,” Cherington said when asked about the surplus. “We’re very comfortable just holding everyone. We all know that starting pitching, a supposed surplus has a way of working itself out usually. We’re very comfortable not doing anything. If the movement with free agents or trades or whatever creates motivation on some teams’ part, or when that leads to something that makes sense for us, then we’ll certainly listen and consider it.”
Cherington noted that some of the teams which initially inquired about some of the Sox starters have filled their holes with free agents. Yet, there is still interest in the Red Sox hurlers, according to the GM.
“I wouldn’t say it’s changed much since the beginning of the offseason,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re close to doing anything; we’re not. We’re still hearing from teams.”
|12.09.13 at 6:50 pm ET|
ORLANDO — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn’t “handicap” the chances of Stephen Drew returning to the team at the winter meetings Monday, but he did note that whatever solution the Sox get to fill out the left side of their infield will have to have the capability to play shortstop.
“We need two guys on the team that can play short no matter what the names are,” Cherington said. “The roster needs two guys that can play short. So obviously, [Xander] Bogaerts has a chance to be a part of the team and he can play short. One way or another we have to add to that. Brock Holt is a candidate for that and he’s done a good job for us. Obviously someone we still think highly of. But we may look to add somebody on that side of the field and more than likely that someone would have the ability to play short, at least in some role.”
As was reported by WEEI.com earlier Monday, the Red Sox are waiting out to see what kind of market Drew might get before looping back in with the shortstop.
“He’s someone that – we obviously like him,” Cherington said of Drew. “He’s a good player and did a really good job for us. If there’s a way to make it work, we’ll see if we can do that, but I can’t handicap it right now.”
|12.09.13 at 6:29 pm ET|
ORLANDO — According to major league sources, there is “nothing to” the reported Red Sox interest in Matt Kemp. Two sources classified the contact regarding Kemp as “barely” touching base.
The Dodgers are believed to be shopping the 29-year-old, who has been battling ankle and shoulder injuries.
Check back from more from the winter meetings …
|12.09.13 at 5:19 pm ET|
ORLANDO — According to John Farrell, the concerns over Clay Buchholz’ health has subsided.
Speaking during his allotted time with the media at the winter meetings Monday afternoon, the Red Sox manager said that Buchholz has put his physical issues (shoulder, neck, lat) in the past and should undergo a typical offseason.
“Based on the most recent report, very comfortable,” Farrell said when asked about Buchholz’s progress. “No residual feeling of any kind of physical discomfort. He’s initiated his normal off‑season strengthening program. So all of that has calmed down from last year. So his durability and just innings capability is a huge — will be a huge benefit further going forward.”
Some other noteworthy items from Farrell’s media briefing:
- Castellanos designated for assignment with Napoli signing official
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- Michael Almanzar selected in Rule 5 draft
- Preliminary 'New Stars for Young Stars' lineup announced
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Big weeks for Acosta and Welch
- Gary DiSarcina named Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year
- Red Sox non-tender Ryan Kalish, Andrew Bailey
- Fall/Winter League Roundup: Jesus Loya solid at the plate in Mexico
- Help Wanted: Staff Editor, Scouts
- SoxProspects.com Podcast #48: The Slow Season