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Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts wins Silver Slugger Award, David Ortiz edged out by Kendrys Morales

11.12.15 at 7:20 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

A tremendous bounce-back season from Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was rewarded on Thursday with a Silver Slugger Award.

Bogaerts claimed the award for the first time in his career. It is given to one player at each position in each league, and Bogaerts beat out competition like impact rookies Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor of the Astros and Indians, respectively.

Bogaerts prevailed on the strength of a .320 average, good for second in the American League behind batting champ Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, as well as a .776 OPS, 196 hits, and 35 doubles, which led all AL shortstops.

In a mild surprise, designated hitter David Ortiz did not pick up his seventh award, despite batting .273 with 37 homers and 108 RBIs. The honor, which was voted on by coaches and managers, instead went to Kansas City’s Kendrys Morales, who hit .290 with 22 homers and 106 RBIs.

The complete AL team:

First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Astros
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Third Base: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Outfield: Mike Trout, Angels
Outfield: Nelson Cruz, Mariners
Outfield: J.D. Martinez, Tigers
Catcher: Brian McCann, Yankees
Designated Hitter: Kendrys Morales, Royals

And the NL team:

First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Second Base: Dee Gordon, Marlins
Shortstop: Brandon Crawford, Giants
Third Base: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Outfield: Bryce Harper, Nationals
Outfield: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Catcher: Buster Posey, Giants
Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, Giants

Report: Red Sox ‘aggressive’ in pursuit of hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman

11.12.15 at 1:36 pm ET
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It’s no secret the Red Sox will be going after relievers this offseason and with the conclusion of the GM meetings, one of their potential targets has been revealed.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox are being “aggressive on multiple fronts,” with one of them believed to be Reds flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, who would presumably displace Koji Uehara at the back of the Red Sox bullpen, though it’s worth noting that Chapman has also expressed a desire to start.

The Red Sox would need to trade for Chapman, but with one of the best farm systems in baseball, the organization has the prospects to complete multiple impact deals.

Chapman, 27, is the hardest throwing reliever in baseball, with a fastball consistently clocked at over 100 mph. The Cuban is a four-time All-Star and has saved 33 or more games in each of the last four seasons.

Last year he went 4-4 with 33 saves and a 1.63 ERA.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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John Farrell: Red Sox expecting Hanley Ramirez to play ‘140-plus’ games at first base next season

11.12.15 at 9:47 am ET
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On Wednesday, Red Sox manager John Farrell joined Dale & Holley at Mohegan Sun and besides discussing his cancer treatment, which is now in remission, he also talked about team matters as it relates to the offseason.

One of the biggest storylines of the offseason is Hanley Ramirez, as he will shift to first base from left field. In his first year with the Red Sox, Ramirez hit .249 with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs and only 12 doubles.

With his issues in left field, the team is hoping transitioning to first base will work out better both for he and the team.

“Certainly that is what has been outlined to him, that he is going to shift to first base next year,” Farrell said. “There are some specific things that have already been given to him, both before he left Boston — there has been a recent meeting with Dave [Dombrowski] and there will be a follow up one with me a little bit later on with just what we need to get accomplished with a physical standpoint to give him that physical foundation.

“He’s going to need to play 140-plus games at first base next year. That means there is going to be a little bit of a different physical toll than one in left field. We need that bat in the lineup to be the hitter he’s been. That has been high doubles, maybe 20 home runs. We’re not looking for a guy that is going to hit 30-40 home runs, but what Hanley Ramirez has produced over the course of his career. We need to get him back to that level. He’s ours and that is what we’re gearing everything towards.”

With the Red Sox finishing in last place the last two years and three of the last four, there are plenty of improvements that need to be made.

“I think our efforts are going to have to center around improving our pitching,” Farrell said. “That’s where things will start. You look at April and then we went through a two month stretch where offensively we didn’t perform as we anticipated. Coming out of the All-Star break, after that initial road trip out on the West Coast where it was abysmal, we started to swing the bat and score runs like we were capable of. We finished in the top five in the league in offense. I think on the whole, offensively we performed to where we felt we could.

“In terms of pitching we need to be more consistent. The way the guys in the rotation threw the ball the last six weeks of the season is probably more indicative of their capabilities, but we have a bullpen to reconstruct and we have to perform better in that rotation from start to finish.”

Farrell said the team could acquire players both via trade or free agency, as the Red Sox are in a good position to do both.

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John Farrell on D&H: ‘I am very fortunate in a lot of ways’

11.12.15 at 9:04 am ET
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John Farrell joined Dale & Holley at Mohegan Sun on Wednesday. (WEEI Twitter)

John Farrell joined Dale & Holley at Mohegan Sun on Wednesday. (WEEI Twitter)

Red Sox manager John Farrell joined the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday live from Mohegan Sun to discuss his treatment for stage 1 lymphoma, which is now in remission, and also to discuss the team’s plans for the offseason. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

On Aug. 14 Farrell was diagnosed with stage 1 Non-Hodgkin’€™s Burkitt lymphoma and after a few months of treatment on Oct. 21 tests showed his cancer was in remission.

“The last couple of months have been very different,” Farrell said. “I’ve been very fortunate in a lot of ways. From the early diagnosis, the staging that was done, Dr. Jeremy Abramson at MGH and his incredible talents to have me in remission. I can tell you that 24 hours from the time you get a scan until the news you receive is filled with some anxiety, but not many better words can be said when he said everything was clean.”

On a road trip in early August, Farrell was told he needed hernia surgery and it was during that surgery the cancer was found and Farrell was told the news.

“I said, ‘Doc, I think you just hit me in the forehead with a sledgehammer.’ I was probably in denial the first week,” Farrell said. “There’s no doubt about it because that was on Monday. Tuesday I flew back to Miami to rejoin the team and was there for the two-game series against the Marlins and came back to Boston for a full day of examination on that Thursday, the off-day. That is when the slides came back 100 percent sure that you have Burkitt lymphoma. Then quickly you’re in the midst of all this information being thrust upon you. I had to ask the doc just to stop for a moment so I could take a breath. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, yet alone being diagnosed, what was coming down. Four days after that I am in 12 hours of chemo. It was happening at lightning speed so denial probably got me through the first week.”

Farrell went through three cycles of chemotherapy, with each cycle being different mentally.

“You go through some stages,” he said. “I think with each cycle, there were three cycles that I went through. With each cycle here were different phases mentally as you went through it. The first time through you don’t know what to expect. The second time through you’re in the heart of it and it’s not a whole lot of fun knowing there is another cycle out there waiting to be administered at some point. That’s the low point. Then you finally get into that third cycle, and fortunately in my case there were only three cycles needed. Dealing with an aggressive form of lymphoma, it was an aggressive regimen of chemo, basically in a nutshell, six months of chemo in roughly seven and a half weeks. There was a lot given in a short given in a short period of time, but thankfully it worked out well.”

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Scott Boras isn’t tipping hand regarding Xander Bogaerts extension

11.11.15 at 4:46 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The annual Scott Boras press conference at the general managers’ meetings really wasn’t heavy with Red Sox-centric items this time around.

Few of Boras’ free agent clients seem to be on the Red Sox radar this year, with Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (whom Boras is now also positioning as an outfielder) and catcher Matt Wieters highlighting the agent’s stable of offseason targets.

There was one topic that was Boras related which Red Sox followers should take interest in: a possible contract extension for Xander Bogaerts.

While the shortstop will be entering just his third full season, and remains four years out from free agency, Bogaerts’ emergence as an important piece of the Red Sox’ foundation has led to conversation regarding his long-term future with the organization.

Boras, however, wasn’t ready to elaborate on his client’s strategy when it comes to an extension.

“Again, anything their clients say to me about their interest in doing things … Xander is very happy in Boston,” Boras said. “He had a great year there. It’s really a relationship between him and the coaching staff. They did a great job with him and he did a great job with him and he did a great job for them so we’re very encouraged about his future there.”

The 23-year-old Bogaerts is coming off a season in which he hit .320, finishing with 196 hits, seven home runs, 81 RBI and 84 runs. He also was a finalist for the American League Gold Glove.

Boras was slightly more specific on the topic when visiting Fenway Park late in the regular season, telling WEEI.com, “Look, I always tell every team and every player, we’€™re an open door. Anything they want to look at and offer, and then the player just has to make his judgments, so we evaluate that.

“So I did all of these studies of him and even a great player like [Derek] Jeter, he was more home runs, more RBIs, and he’€™s made more playing time in the big leagues at 22 than Jeter had. So when you’€™re talking about a player at that level, that great, to be ahead of him in many ways, you can really see where Xander and the organization in combination have worked hard to get him to that level, so it’€™s nice to see.”

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Joakim Soria emerges as possible backup at closer to Koji Uehara

11.11.15 at 4:21 pm ET
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Joakim Soria

Joakim Soria

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski wants to sign another reliever who can close as backup to incumbent Koji Uehara, who turns 41 in May and is healing from a broken wrist.

According to a FoxSports report, former Royals All-Star right-hander Joakim Soria is one possibility. On Wednesday at the GM meetings, Dombrowski made it clear he’s not turning away from Uehara.

“We’re happy he’s with us,” he said. “It’s hard for me to answer because I didn’t see him pitch at all when I was there, but if you look at his numbers throughout the season, they were good. Our people on our staff feel comfortable he can still pitch in the back end of a game and get the job done. I’m also aware he’s not young and I think my biggest concern is, and I’m not sure where everything will fall, being in a spot if something happens to him, having a safeguard where you can rely on somebody else to close games and feels comfortable doing that.”

The next line of defense as of now is right-hander Junichi Tazawa, but he clearly prefers pitching in the eighth inning.

“I’€™ve said and not in any negative fashion, Tazawa feels more comfortable pitching the eighth,” Dombrowski said. “He’s not the first guy by any means like that. I’ve had many guys like that. Ideally, it’d be a spot where we could find something if something happens to Koji, that person could close. Doesn’t have to be the closer, but could do it.”

One name that potentially fits the bill is Soria, who owns over 200 career saves. Soria shares a history with Dombrowski, who acquired him from the Rangers at the 2014 deadline while running the Tigers, and then shipped him to Pittsburgh last July.

Dombrowski was asked how Uehara might react to having another closer on the roster.

“I don’t know him well to answer that question, but our staff members feel he would do what’s necessary, what’s good for the Red Sox,” Dombrowski said. “But I can’t answer that with 100 percent.”

Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez may not be ready to hit ground running at start of spring training

11.10.15 at 8:27 pm ET
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Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Christian Vazquez’s winter rehab hit an unexpected snag and now his readiness for the start of spring training is in doubt.

According to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Vazquez’s expected Puerto Rican winter ball team folded, necessitating a trade to Mayaguez, which doesn’t have the same number of at-bats for him.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Dombrowski said at the GM meetings. “In winter ball, his team folded, so he got traded to a team that’s a long way away from his home that’s got an abundance of guys, so I don’t think he’s going to have very much playing time. The doctors feel he’ll be healthy come spring training, but I’m not sure how many at-bats he’s going to need to be ready at this point.”

Vazquez was going to DH this winter to at least build back his bat, with the plan for him to start throwing in Fort Myers. Without enough at-bats in Puerto Rico, however, he may need more swings in spring training to make up the lost ABs.

“That’s probably one of the more difficult calls for me, just because you don’t want to push him, you want him to be ready to start at the big league level and contribute what we need at this point,” Dombrowski said. “I figured we’d make that decision in spring training.”

Dombrowski hopes the setback is only minor.

“The doctors feel  he’ll be fine,” he said. “He may start spring training a little slower, but I guess only time will tell on that. He’s doing very well. He’s going through his throwing program, but there is an uncertainty attached because it’s the unknown.”

The bigger question is how the Red Sox will handle three catchers, with Vazquez, Blake Swihart, and veteran Ryan Hanigan on the roster. Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen told the Hot Stove Show that the club wants depth at the position, especially considering that Vazquez and Hanigan were both lost in the span of a couple of months last season.

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Oakland A’s GM David Forst: ‘We don’t intend to trade Sonny Gray’

11.10.15 at 6:44 pm ET
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Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Well, don’t expect the Red Sox to be reeling in Sonny Gray any time soon.

Talking at the general managers’ meetings Tuesday, Oakland A’s GM David Forst was firm in proclaiming Gray would not be on the move via a trade this offseason.

“We don’t intend to trade Sonny Gray,” Forst said. “Not for a lack of interest, and not because he’s not a great pitcher that a lot of teams want. But we really feel like he’s part of our future, as well. As soon as you trade a young, healthy really good pitcher, you’re looking for another one.”

According to multiple sources, many teams have inquired about Gray’s availability (with the Red Sox at least kicking the tires during last season).

The 26-year-old is coming off a season in which he went 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA over 31 starts. In 74 career starts, Gray has totaled a 2.88 ERA. He is under team control for the next four seasons.

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Why Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton isn’t going to Boston, or anywhere else

11.10.15 at 4:07 pm ET
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Giancarlo Stanton isn't going anywhere as long as his salary remains low. (Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Giancarlo Stanton isn’t going anywhere as long as his salary remains low. (Marc Serota/Getty Images)

BOCA RATON, Fla. — On one level, the parallels are hard to miss. When Dave Dombrowski needed a slugger with the Tigers in 2007, he turned to his former organization, the Marlins, and pulled off a blockbuster for Miguel Cabrera, who has since gone on to win a Triple Crown and two MVPs.

With the Red Sox in need of outfield punch and Dombrowski new on the job, fans could be excused for daydreaming of another Godfather offer to Miami, this one for slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

That’s not going to happen, and here’s why.

When Stanton signed a massive 13-year, $325 million extension prior to last season, it shocked baseball. How did the small-market, penny-pinching Marlins find all of that money, even for one of the game’s transcendent young talents?

It turns out they really didn’t, not if you break down the contract year by year. While Stanton will count $25 million annually against the luxury tax for the life of the deal, the Marlins aren’t interested in hypothetical future expenditures. And they certainly don’t care about the luxury tax, since they’ll never be anywhere near the $189 million threshold while their payroll hovers in the $70 million range.

What matters to Miami are actual cash payouts, and for the first three years of Stanton’s heavily backloaded deal, those numbers are small. Consider his annual salaries (courtesy the invaluable Cot’s Contracts):

2015: $6.5 million
2016: $9 million
2017: $14.5 million
2018: $25 million
2019: $26 million
2020: $26 million
2021-22: $29 million
2023-25: $32 million
2026: $29 million
2027-28: $25 million

For this year and next, Stanton is a bargain. He’ll make $9 million in 2016, which is $500,000 less than the Red Sox just paid Justin Masterson to post a 5.61 ERA before getting released.

Stanton’s real money kicks in in 2018, when he jumps to $25 million a year. He has an opt-out after the 2020 season that the Marlins probably hope he exercises. If he does, his actual cost to Miami will be six years and $107 million, which is a steal for the age 25-30 seasons of the game’s preeminent slugger. Let some big market club worry about devoting $200-plus million to Stanton’s post-30 years.

It’s really a brilliantly conceptualized contract within Miami’s limited parameters, which is why the club isn’t about to give him away while it’s basically getting him for nothing.

So dream of an out-of-nowhere Dombrowski blockbuster all you want. Just accept that it’s not going to be Stanton. At least not yet.

Craig Breslow eyeing signing as starting pitcher

11.10.15 at 3:43 pm ET
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BOCA RATON, Fla. — It’s most likely going to work out for Rich Hill, so Craig Breslow is thinking perhaps he can follow suit.

Much like Hill — a longtime reliever who is almost certainly going to lock up a guaranteed major league deal after four stellar starts in September with the Red Sox — Breslow sees the prospects of switching roles to starter as a potential opportunity.

According to sources, Breslow is prepared to inform major league teams he would like the opportunity to start in 2016, having filled the role for two games with the Sox last September. The 35-year-old lefty allowed two runs over 9 1/3 innings in his two starts, coming against the Orioles and Indians.

Breslow was healthy throughout 2015 after battling injuries the season before, but wasn’t able to distinguish himself in the Red Sox bullpen. He finished the year having appeared in 45 games, totaling a 4.15 ERA.

Some of Breslow’s previous organizations have toyed with the idea of him morphing into a starting role, but he remained entrenched as a reliever throughout his 11-year big league career.

While it uncertain if a team would sign Breslow strictly as a starter, the potential versatility might help him find guaranteed money. He had re-signed with the Red Sox prior to last season, making $2 million for the one year.

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