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Red Sox notebook: Dave Dombrowski talks finding 8th inning reliever, David Ortiz replacement, Yoan Moncada’s status, Jason Varitek’s role, plans for Blake Swihart

11.07.16 at 8:58 pm ET
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Edwin Encarnacion might be looking for more years than the Red Sox are willing to give. (John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports)

Edwin Encarnacion might be looking for more years than the Red Sox are willing to give. (John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The offseason foundation has seemingly been set.

Speaking on the first day of the general managers’ meetings at the Omni Scottsdale, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski presented the priorities when it comes to his team’s plan for the coming months. And this time the focus will be far different than a year ago, when securing an ace and closer were the be-all, end-all.

“I think all along we’ve talked about wanting someone to pitch in the eighth inning for us,” Dombrowski said Monday. “We have some guys that we really like in our pen, none of them have really pitched the eighth inning, they probably have the skills and abilities to do it but that would probably be first and foremost a thing of focus for us. Picking up Clay [Buchholz’s] option has solidified our starting pitching pretty much so we feel good about that.

“The other thing that I’m not sure in what direction we’re going to go is how do we replace David [Ortiz] in the lineup. I’m not sure if we’re going to do that internally with a lot of the people that we have or go outside the organization. I think that’s a decision that we’re just going to wait and see and see what takes place. You know you’ll never replace his presence, that part of it but our run production as much as we can, we have a lot of positional players right now, a lot of guys that can play different positions, we have some young guys coming that we like a great deal, so we’ll just kind of wait and see what happens there.”

The president noted that with the likes of Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree (who is out of options) already on the club, there would only seemingly be the need for one significant addition.

And when it comes to finding that eighth-inning reliever, Dombrowski suggested that going after the services of free agent closers Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman might be difficult with other teams in greater need of game-enders.

Free agent targets such as Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara and Greg Holland might be considered more realistic, with trade obviously presenting another avenue.

“I guess right now, we’re just open to anything. I’m not saying we’re going to target those,” he said. “There’s a lot of clubs looking for closers so I assume a lot of those players would go to those clubs. At this time of year don’t know what’s going to happen. There are a lot of bullpen people out there right now. So, I think probably the two areas, a lot of players are bullpen people, and there are some guys at first base, DH, LF, that type of guy, either through trades or free agency, that are available out there. I think that’s where we just have to wait and see what happens.”

Waiting might be more of a priority this time around, for a variety of reasons.

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Mookie Betts (MVP), Rick Porcello (Cy Young) named AL awards finalists; David Ortiz, John Farrell are not

11.07.16 at 7:27 pm ET
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Mookie Betts (right) is an MVP finalist, but the man he's high-fiving, David Ortiz, is not. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts (center) is an MVP finalist, but the man he’s high-fiving, David Ortiz, is not. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts could win his first MVP award in just his second full season. David Ortiz now knows he will never take home that hardware.

Major League Baseball announced its award finalists on Monday night, and a pair of Red Sox were represented.

Betts was named a finalist for MVP, while right-hander Rick Porcello is in the running for the Cy Young Award.

Betts, 24, will be joined by former winner Mike Trout, who has finished no worse than second in four previous seasons, as well as Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who won the batting title.

Those three squeezed out Ortiz, who finished his career with the greatest offensive walk-off season in history. Ortiz mashed 38 homers and drove in a league-leading 127 runs to claim the Hank Aaron Award, given to the best hitter in each league.

On the pitching side, Porcello is a finalist for the first time. He’ll be matched up with a pair of former winners — Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Porcello led the league with 22 wins and a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

On the manager side, Red Sox skipper John Farrell was not a finalist, beaten out by Cleveland’s Terry Francona, Baltimore’s Buck Showalter, and Texas’s Jeff Banister.

Read More: AL Cy Young, AL Manager of the Year, al mvp, David Ortiz

Torey Lovullo introduced as Diamondbacks manager, pays tribute to John Farrell

11.07.16 at 1:31 pm ET
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Torey Lovullo

Torey Lovullo

The Arizona Diamondbacks introduced Torey Lovullo as their new manager on Monday, and Lovullo took the opportunity to thank the man who made much of it possible.

Red Sox manager John Farrell, whom Lovullo served under for the last three years (with a stint as interim skipper while Farrell underwent chemotherapy treatments in 2015), was singled out for his influence on his career.

“I also want to say a quick thank you to John Farrell, who’s a friend and mentor to me,” Lovullo told reporters, including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “Along the way, we walked through some very difficult times. He was the guy who took a chance on me and gave me my very first opportunity and helped me sit in this seat today.”

Lovullo, 51, won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2013. He has extensive experience as a minor-league manager and big-league bench coach, and was brought to Arizona by former Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen.

“I want to aim as high as possible,” Lovullo told reporters. “I am very optimistic that we have the capabilities of doing something special . . . We want to bring a system of communication. We want to take what we learned [in Boston] and perfect it here.”

Read More: diamondbacks, John Farrell, Red Sox, torey lovullo

Red Sox top pitching prospect Michael Kopech dominates in Arizona Fall League All-Star Game

11.06.16 at 11:41 am ET
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It’s a stretch to suggest any Red Sox minor-leaguer is untouchable heading into the offseason. But Michael Kopech might be as close as it comes.

The 20-year-old starred at the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game Saturday, cruising through two innings while retiring three of his six batters on strikeouts. According to MLB.com, Kopech touched 100 mph five times.

“Pitching against the best guys in Minor League Baseball, it’s fun to compete with them and see how your stuff matches up,” Kopech told MLB.com. “I tried to mix in some changeups, mix in some sliders, change eye levels. Most guys try to sit on my fastball, so I tried my other pithes in early to throw them off and keep them off my fastball.”

Kopech leads the AFL with a strikeout rate of 11.6 K’s per nine innings. In four outings for the Suprise Saguaros, the righty has allowed three runs in 14 innings, striking out 18 while walking just one.

Former Red Sox Anthony Rizzo, David Ross join Bill Murray for Saturday Night Live appearance

11.06.16 at 8:22 am ET
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You probably had an idea it was coming.

What’s the logical progression after winning your first world championship in 108 years? Go on Saturday Night Live.

That’s exactly what at least three of the Cubs — Anthony Rizzo, David Ross and Dexter Fowler — did Saturday night, appearing in two skits. One of the appearances featured the trio with former SNL cast member Bill Murray for a rendition of “Go Cubs Go,” complete with back-up singers.

The other instance the three Cubs appeared was in a sketch portraying them as strippers.

JetBlue names gate No. 34 after David Ortiz at Logan Airport

11.05.16 at 3:28 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

At this rate, everything in Boston is eventually going to be named for David Ortiz.

According to the Associated Press, Gate No. 34 at Logan Airport will be renamed in Ortiz’s honor by JetBlue. The announcement was made by a JetBlue employee during a party honoring the retired star in the Seaport District on Friday.

‘”You mean I’m going to have my own gate at the airport?” Ortiz said at the party. “You’re [messing] with me, aren’t you?”

Ortiz was named the best hitter in the American League after an historic walk-off season that saw him hit .315 with 38 homers and 127 RBIs.

Ortiz retires after 14 seasons with the Red Sox, who picked up his 2017 option, even though he has made it clear he’s not coming back.

Read More: David Ortiz, Gate 34, JetBlue, Red Sox

Viewing Cubs’ parade through eyes of David Ross

11.05.16 at 11:37 am ET
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Thanks to David Ross, and the Players’ Tribune, we now know what it’s like to be cheered for by five million people.

Ross wore a GoPro camera during the Cubs world championship celebration Friday, with the video being put on display by the Web site. Here you go …

Theo Epstein rates parades: ‘It was way bigger than Boston’

11.04.16 at 2:08 pm ET
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There likely hasn’t been a bigger parade to celebrate a world championship in this area than the one celebrating the Red Sox’ 2004 World Series win.

Evidently, in this case, Chicago has topped Boston.

Cubs president, who experienced the championship parades after guiding the Red Sox to world championships in both 2004 and ’07, weighed in on where they ranked compared to the one he just went through with the Cubs Friday.

Thanks to Duck Boats carrying players on the Charles River, the 2004 parade was certainly one of the most unique celebrations. Chicago’s answer this time around was dye in the river.

Diamondbacks choose Torey Lovullo to become their next manager

11.04.16 at 1:28 pm ET
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Torey Lovullo is finally getting his chance.

According to a major league source, Arizona Diamondbacks have named Lovullo to become their next manager. Lovullo had been the bench coach for the Red Sox since John Farrell was hired prior to the 2013 season.

It is the first full-time major league managing job for the 51-year-old, who filled in for Farrell on an interim basis in the final 49 games of the 2015 regular season, going 28-21.

Lovullo has managed in the minor leagues with both the Indians and Red Sox organizations.

He had previously interviewed for major league managing jobs with the Dodgers, Indians, Red Sox, Astros, Rangers and Twins.

Arizona sports radio station 98.7 FM was first to report the news.

Red Sox keeping close eye on former Royals closer Greg Holland

11.04.16 at 9:35 am ET
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Greg Holland

Greg Holland

It makes some sense.

With bullpens evolving like they are – as was evidenced by the Indians’ regular season and postseason use of Andrew Miller – the notion of the Red Sox at least kicking the tires on Greg Holland is understandable. And that’s exactly what Dave Dombrowski and Co. will be doing.

Red Sox representatives are planning on attending Monday’s showcase for the former Royals closer.

Holland represents one of the more intriguing relieving options in the free agent market, having not pitched in 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2015 season.

The 30-year-old had been one of the game’s premier closers prior to tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. From 2013-14 he was the closer for a Kansas City bullpen that was considered the best in baseball. During that stretch Holland posted a 1.32 ERA over 133 appearances, going 93 for 98 in save chances.

Holland ultimately pitched the entire 2015 season with a torn UCL, with his fastball velocity dropping significantly, with his average fastball going from 96 to 93 mph. That season he managed a 3.83 ERA in 48 games, going 32-for-37 in save opportunities.

The right-hander’s agent, Scott Boras, recently told the New York Post that Holland is back to throwing in the low 90’s and is “back at full steam” heading into the offseason.

While the Red Sox don’t figure to get in the mix for any of top closers on the market, with Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon and Aroldis Chapman all becoming free agents, a pitcher like Holland could be intriguing. Along with closer Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox figure to boast Carson Smith and Joe Kelly as potential high-leverage relievers. But if the Sox don’t re-sign Koji Uehara there may be a very real opening for a pitcher like Holland.

The Giants and Royals are two teams reportedly have significant interest in Holland.

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