|11.18.15 at 2:33 pm ET|
Even with Craig Kimbrel, there is still some building to be done within the Red Sox bullpen. But if they are going to add the top reliever on the open market, it’s evidently going to a bit more uncomfortable than some anticipated.
Sources: O’Day asking for four-year deal in $28M to $36M range. Most accomplished reliever on open market.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 18, 2015
The Red Sox have expressed interest in the 33-year-old O’Day, who specializes in retiring right-handed batters. The righty has appeared in at least 68 games in each of his last four seasons, totaling a combined ERA of 1.92 and .196 batting average against during that span.
In his four years with the Orioles, O’Day held right-handed hitters to a .178 batting average, giving up just nine home runs in 264 outings. Last season, righties hit just .192 with four extra-base hits.
|11.18.15 at 11:28 am ET|
And now it’s official: 2016 will be David Ortiz‘s last in the big leagues.
Speaking in a video posted on The Players’ Tribune, a web site founded by former Yankees star Derek Jeter, Ortiz announced his pending retirement.
“For every single one of us, athletes-wise, we run out of time at some point,” Ortiz said. “Life is based on different chapters, and I think I’m ready to experience the next one in my life.”
Wearing a “Ride or Die” t-shirt and speaking directly into the camera, Ortiz relayed the thinking behind his decision.
“I pick this day to announce that next season I’m going to be done with my career playing baseball,” Ortiz said. “I would like people to remember me as a guy that was just part of the family, a guy that was trying to do the best, not only on the field, but with everyone around him. Baseball is not just based on putting up numbers. This is our second family. Whoever is around you on a daily basis is like a second family, and I always had good thoughts for everyone around me.”
Ortiz will miss the fans.
“Baseball, besides God, it helped just flip my whole life over, not just mine, but my whole family,” Ortiz said. “I see how people struggle out there. I struggled before. And I know how hard it is to make it to the top. It’s something you’ve got to thank God every day for. I’m really proud of what I had accomplished through the years. I’m very thankful for having fans like guys who have supported me through my career. I wish I could play another 40 years, so I have you guys behind me, but it doesn’t work that way.
“After next year, time is up, so let’s enjoy next season.”
For the complete video, click here. And for more on Ortiz’s impending retirement and what it means to the Red Sox, his legacy, and the chances he makes the Hall of Fame, check out Rob Bradford’s column from this morning.
|11.18.15 at 6:37 am ET|
Rob Bradford, John Tomase and Mike Mutnansky gathered together in the WEEI studios Tuesday night to discuss all the Hot Stove news of the week, most notably David Ortiz‘s impending retirement. The guys also talked Craig Kimbrel, free agents starters and everything else Red Sox offseason in Week 3 of the Hot Stove Show.
|11.17.15 at 1:01 pm ET|
Ortiz will turn 40 years old Wednesday (tomorrow) and next year will be his 20th year in the league.
The designated hitter’s contract kicked in for the 2016 season after he reached 425 plate appearances in 2015, which was part of the vesting option he signed back in 2014 when he signed his last contact. There was also a vesting option for 2017 based on 2016 plate appearances, but if the report is true, that will not come into play.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|11.17.15 at 10:20 am ET|
Join WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford for another Hot Stove live chat, starting at noon Tuesday. Ask questions and discuss all things Red Sox offseason (and anything else on your mind) leading into Tuesday night’s Hot Stove Show, which airs at 9 p.m. on WEEI. This week’s guest on the show will be Red Sox manager John Farrell.
|11.16.15 at 7:42 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the free agent lefty is expected to sign with a team this week. It is not expected the Red Sox will be a candidate for Hill’s services.
Hill became one of the more intriguing starting pitchers on the free agent market thanks to his late-season performance with the Red Sox. In his four starts, he allowed runs in just two of his 29 innings, resulting in a 1.55 ERA. The 35-year-old also struck out 36 while walking just five.
During the three-week span, Hill was second only to Washington’s Stephen Strasburg in terms of runs allowed. Immediately after Hill on the ERA list over the September stretch? Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. It’s a group of five pitchers who made up the top four highest-paid pitchers in the game, and another (Cole) who ultimately would join the elite club.
Hill faced all American League East teams with the Red Sox, going up against Rays, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Orioles, whom he pitched a complete game, two-hitter against.
“I’ve never spoke like this before in the past because for me to be humble is extremely important. But in this part of the game you have to go out and stand up for yourself and that’s something I’m looking forward to doing in the offseason,” Hill told WEEI.com after his last start of the 2015 season, at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s confidence. It’s going out there and saying, ‘I can pitch for anybody, against anybody, anytime, anywhere.’ I feel very [full of conviction].”
The most Hill has ever made in one season is $1 million, when he inked a minor-league deal with the Indians in 2013.
Hill was signed by the Red Sox after trying out in his hometown of Milton. He would go on to start for the Independent League Long Island Ducks, where the 11-year big leaguer experienced success as a starter after moving to the third base side of the pitching rubber, while also altering his arm angle.
“I’m looking forward to it,” the pitcher regarding the offseason after his final 2015 start. “It’s just that body of work. You can’t look at that and deny what’s going on. Anybody in baseball who knows the game, if you’re looking at it you have to acknowledge there’s a lot there. I think for me, I have to be a proponent of myself and go out there and continue to fight off the field as much as I did off the field.
“The four games I pitched aren’t four games you look at and say, ‘That was just dumb luck.’ I faced the best hitters in the American League, and doing it in the American League East is something that can’t be denied.”
|11.13.15 at 11:46 pm ET|
On Friday the Red Sox made a deal with the Padres to acquire All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and in exchange gave up four prospects — outfielder Manuel Margot, infielders Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaje and left-handed pitcher Logan Allen.
The initial thought is the Red Sox gave up a lot for Kimbrel.
Our end of the year Red Sox minor league power rankings had Margot at No. 5 and Guerra No. 6, while Allen would have likely been in the No. 11-13 range. So, the Red Sox gave up three of their top 15 prospects and then another solid player in Asuaje for one player in Kimbrel.
A package involving what the Red Sox parted ways with may have been able to get a bigger return than just Kimbrel. Not only are Margot and Guerra high in the Red Sox organization, they are high in the prospect ranks in general. Margot is ranked the 25th-best prospect in baseball at MLB.com, while Guerra is No. 76.
Margot, 21, was one of two Red Sox players to represent the organization at the Futures Game where the best prospects in baseball played prior to the All-Star Game. The center fielder started the year in High-A Salem and was promoted midway through the season and finished with Double-A Portland. Between the two levels he hit .276 with six home runs and 50 RBIs to go along with 39 stolen bases.
Guerra, 20, may have made the most progress of any Red Sox prospect this season. The shortstop spent the entire year with Single-A Greenville where his offensive surprised almost everyone in the organization. Most known for his defense, Guerra batted .279 with 15 home runs and 68 RBIs. He was named the Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s a special player defensively,” his manager Darren Fenster said during the year. “I know people have referred to him as possibly the best defensive shortstop in all of minor league baseball and I have the pleasure of seeing him every night and I am right there along those same lines.”
Said Fenster: “[His offense] was outstanding. He was a huge part of what we were able to do as a team. He basically hit anywhere from five to seven in our lineup. That’s incredible production out of any spot in the lineup, yet alone the bottom half of the lineup. We didn’t have any player make more progress from an approach standpoint than Javier did over the course of the year.”
|11.13.15 at 10:26 pm ET|
As if the acquisition of Craig Kimbrel on Friday night for four prospects wasn’t enough, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski also dropped this nugget — the Red Sox are likely to fill the vacancy atop their rotation in free agency.
Speaking on a conference call, Dombrowski said he expected Kimbrel to count as the team’s big trade of the offseason, with starting pitching being addressed elsewhere.
“Well, my guess would be — and again, these are only guesses at this time — going into the wintertime and with conversations we’ve had with clubs over the last month, my thought process is most likely any acquisition we’d make in the starting pitching would first happen as far as the free-agent field is concerned,” Dombrowski said. “You never know, but that would be my guess. I thought that our acquisition of the relief pitching aspect would more likely come through a trade. We’re in a spot that this is probably our major acquisition for the wintertime as far as the trade market is concerned. You never can tell, but that’s what my instincts tell me.”
If that’s the case, then the names immediately jumping to the top of everyone’s list will once again be Toronto’s David Price, Los Angeles’s Zack Greinke, Kansas City’s Johnny Cueto, and Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann.
|11.13.15 at 7:46 pm ET|
Well that didn’t take long.
The Red Sox wasted no time striking to open the offseason, acquiring All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel from the Padres on Friday for four minor-leaguers, including three of their top 12 prospects, according to Baseball America.
Heading to San Diego for the four-time All-Star are outfielder Manuel Margot, left-handed pitcher Logan Allen, shortstop Javier Guerra, and infielder Carlos Asuaje.
That’s a steep price to pay, but Kimbrel isn’t just any reliever. The 27-year-old is a former Rookie of the Year who has finished in the top 10 of the Cy Young voting four times. He was drafted in 2008 by the Braves, whose GM at the time, Frank Wren, now works as a Red Sox assistant.
“The history, the fans in Boston, the atmosphere is always awesome every time I’ve been there,” Kimbrel said on a conference call Friday night. “You can tell the history and everything behind it there, so to be able to put the uniform on, to be able to play in front of those fans, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Despite standing only 5-11, Kimbrel has posted some eye-popping numbers, with 225 career saves and an otherworldly 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He also owns a lifetime ERA of 1.63.
“Being moved to the American league, I’m excited,” Kimbrel said. “It’s a league of big bats and as a pitcher you want to have the opportunity to face those big bats. It’s a challenge in itself and I’m looking forward to.”
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that Kimbrel will close, with Koji Uehara moving to the eighth inning and Junichi Tazawa to the seventh. Dombrowski said manager John Farrell spoke to Uehara on Friday and the former closer endorsed the move.
“John made sure to reach out to Koji and spoke to him tonight already and said he was really good with the change of the role and that all he wants to do is pitch in the World Series again,” Dombrowski said. “He basically said, ‘You don’t have to worry about me, I’ll pitch whenever you’re asked to,’ and he acknowledged Kimbrel and understands the shift to the eighth inning, so I think that whole combination for us is really what made it work.”
|11.13.15 at 12:44 pm ET|
Ramirez, who met with Dave Dombrowski and general manager Mike Hazen at the general managers’ meetings in Boca Raton Sunday night to lock down the first baseman’s plan heading into the winter, posted what appears to be a telling picture on Instagram.
Compare that to the body type Ramirez presented for most of the 2015 season, and it appears as though he has taken the directive to become more athletic to heart.
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