|10.16.16 at 4:28 pm ET|
This move seemed inevitable.
Before getting the general manager job with the Red Sox, Mike Hazen was a finalist for the same position with the Padres before it went to A.J. Preller. Now Hazen is getting his chance, having been hired as the new GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks after spending one season under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
But the timing of the hire makes is significantly more impactful than if Hazen had left for the San Diego job.
The first thing to know is that it would be a significant surprise if Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo doesn’t get the manager’s opening in Arizona. Besides the fact that Lovullo is one of the most qualified candidates (having already interviewed for six managerial jobs since 2005), he is also very close to Hazen, with the two going back to their days in the Indians’ organization.
The other part of the equation that could signal a significant change in how the Red Sox decision-making process works is the possibility of Hazen taking members of the Red Sox’ front office with him to Arizona. With Dombrowski having held on to virtually all of Ben Cherington’s group, the vast majority of those in the offices have more of a connection to Hazen than the current president.
With all of that in mind, here are some names to keep an eye on in the coming days:
Gus Quattlebaum, Red Sox pro scouting director: Quattlebaum, an Andover native, moved from his position as assistant amateur scouting director to the current role after the departure of Jared Porter to the Cubs. He was promoted by Dombrowski, who leaned on the former Davidson College star quite a bit as the season unfolded. Quattlebaum would seem to be a logical candidate for either the Red Sox GM job, or as the Diamondbacks’ assistant general manager.
Frank Wren, Red Sox vice-president of baseball operations: The longtime Braves general manager is one of Dombrowski’s closest confidants, which was a chief reason he served as the only newcomer to top of the the Red Sox’ decision-making process. Wren spent the season living in the Atlanta area, and it is unclear if he would want to make such a transition to Boston.
Brian O’Halloran, Red Sox assistant GM: O’Halloran is one of the best in the business when it comes to contracts, negotiations and other elements of the procedural parts of running a front office. But it is unclear if he has any designs on expanding his role, and with roots firmly planted in the Boston area it might be a surprise if the longtime Red Sox executive (who started in the front office with the likes of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Cherington) decides to move across the country.
Amiel Sawdaye, vice-president with a focus on international and domestic scouting: The former amateur scouting director would seem to be a strong candidate to join Hazen, although the Red Sox significantly value Sawdaye’s contributions. (For more on Sawdaye, click here.)
Ruben Amaro, Red Sox first base coach: It’s a guess that Amaro would have significant interest in either the bench coach’s job, or the GM job. Having a year in the organization under his belt couldn’t hurt his chances.
Alex Cora, ESPN analyst: While this limits Cora’s chances at securing a managing job, with Colorado the last position open, the maneuvering involving the Red Sox might be good news former Red Sox infielder. John Farrell expressed previous interest in bringing Cora on his coaching staff, and there was some thought that if Lovullo got the Rangers job last year he would have tabbed Cora as his bench coach. This could mean the long-awaited coaching opportunity for Cora, either in Boston or Arizona.
Dana LeVangie, Red Sox bullpen/catching coach: The longtime Red Sox scout/coach was promoted to bench coach last season when Lovullo filled in for Farrell. Both the players and coaching staff spoke highly of how the Massachusetts native handled himself in the position.
Gary Tuck, former Red Sox bullpen/catching coach: Tuck most recently coached for the Yankees, serving as their bullpen coach through the 2015 season. The reason we’re surfacing the 62-year-old’s name is less about his history with the Red Sox then it is the fact Farrell tried hiring him to become his bench coach with Toronto. (As a quick aside, if Lovullo left after the 2013 season, current Rays manager would have most likely become the Sox’ bench coach.)
Jason Varitek, Red Sox special assistant to the general manager: Obviously Varitek is valued in the organization, having done a little of everything over the past few years. This season Varitek could be seen in uniform, and in the Sox’ dugout, on various occasions. He interviewed for the Mariners managing job last season, so perhaps the possible bench coaching opening is the right place and right time for the former catcher.
Kevin Boles, Pawtucket Red Sox manager: Boles has history with the majority of the young Red Sox foundation, having managed in both Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket as the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, Travis Shaw, Jackie Bradley Jr., Eduardo Rodriguez and more shot through the system.
|10.16.16 at 2:33 pm ET|
Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen has left the club to become general manager and executive vice president of the Diamondbacks, the D’backs announced.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 16, 2016
Hazen, 40, is an Abington native and Princeton grad who joined the Red Sox in 2006. He effectively served as an assistant GM under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, so the move to Arizona puts him in charge for the first time.
“I’m extremely grateful for this incredible opportunity to help the D-backs reach the next level,” Hazen said in a statement released by the team. “This is a franchise that has experienced a lot of success both on and off the field in less than two decades of existence, and I’m looking forward to working with Ken [Kendrick] and Derrick [Hall] to help bring back a tradition of winning to Arizona.”
Hazen’s move now opens the possibility that Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo could leave the club to become manager of the Diamondbacks.
|10.15.16 at 9:23 pm ET|
When you’re called the best by the pitcher many considered the best, you could say that’s the highest of praise.
Saturday night, after another dominating performance by Indians’ reliever Andrew Miller, Pedro Martinez took to Twitter to label the lefty’s current run through the best postseason as unlike anything the Hall of Famer has ever seen.
I have been in many postseasons and hadn't seen anybody dominate like Andrew Miller.
— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 15, 2016
— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 15, 2016
— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 15, 2016
Miller has struck out 17 of the batters he faced throughout the playoffs, allowing two walks and three hits over 7 2/3 innings. His latest outing was a two-inning stint in the Indians’ 2-1 Game 2 win over the Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series, in which the lefty struck out five without allowing a baserunner.
|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.”
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