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Red Sox make Chili Davis hire official, announce Victor Rodriguez will return as assistant hitting coach

10.23.14 at 4:50 pm ET
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The Red Sox officially announced the hire of Chili Davis as their new hitting coach Thursday. In addition, the team announced that Victor Rodriguez would return for his third season as the team’s assistant hitting coach.

Davis spent the last three seasons as the hitting coach for the Athletics, who finished third in the American League in runs each of the last two season. As a player, Davis ranked seventh all-time among switch hitters in both home runs (350) and RBIs (1,372). He previously worked in the Red Sox organization in 2011, when he was the hitting coach for Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Chili’s experience and success as both a player and a coach make him a valuable addition to our staff, and we are excited to have him working with our hitters,” John Farrell said in a statement.

Rodriguez has spent the past 20 years in the Red Sox organization, serving in various roles in the minors before becoming the Red Sox’ assistant hitting coach in 2013.

“We look forward to having Victor return to the staff,” Farrell said. “In his time here, he has built strong relationships with our younger players, some of which date back to his days working in our minor league system.”

For more on Davis and his potential impact on the Red Sox, check out this column from Alex Speier.

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Craig Breslow not optimistic about option being picked up

10.23.14 at 3:46 pm ET
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As time ticks toward the Red Sox having to make a decision on Craig Breslow’s contract, the reliever remains realistic.

The Red Sox have until five days after the completion of the World Series to decide whether or not to exercise Breslow’s $4 million option for 2015. The 34-year-old lefty is coming off a disappointing season in which he totaled a 5.96 ERA in 54 1/3 innings over 60 appearances.

“If you were to strictly look at 2014 with blinders without what had happened previously and what you might expect to happen going forward, $4 million is probably a hefty price tag,” Breslow said by ph0ne Thursday afternoon. “But I think if he look at the body of work from 2008-13, you can better appreciation for the pitcher that I’€™ve been and the pitcher that I will.”

He added, “If they were to decline it I would be a bargain for somebody and I’€™ll pitch to the value of the contract.”

Breslow noted his representatives had been in preliminary contract discussions with the Red Sox toward the end of the ’14 season.

The reliever seemingly never recovered from the workload of pitching through the Red Sox’ ’13 World Series run. Not only did he delay his throwing program due to the 993 pitches thrown during the championship season, but upon arriving in spring training it was determined his shoulder strength was still lacking.

Breslow wouldn’t pitch at throughout the club’s stay in Fort Myers, not making his ’14 big league debut until  the 10th game of the season.

“Only having December and January to get ready becomes problematic,” he said.

From ’08-13, Breslow pitched in more games (392) than any lefty reliever, except Matt Thornton, totaling a 2.82 ERA, while limiting hitters to a .224 batting average.

The Connecticut native plans on spending the majority of his offseason working out at Mike Boyle’s training facility in Woburn.

John Farrell: Red Sox ‘looking forward to [Yoenis Cespedes] being part of our offense going forward’

10.21.14 at 6:23 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an interview on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, suggested that the notion that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes — acquired from the A’s at the trade deadline for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes — is being shopped had promoted him to “chuckle a little bit.” Farrell said that Cespedes remains in the team’s plans for 2015.

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

“I did see some of the reports and the rumors that are out there and I can tell you this: For the two months that Yoenis was with us he was a main member of our lineup, his work ethic was strong and very consistent,” said Farrell. “We did talk about the potential of a shift to right field because of our configuration. But when you look at the emergence of Mookie Betts, the addition of Rusney Castillo, the return of Shane Victorino, we want to put guys in the best position to succeed. And with the guys that we just mentioned in addition to Daniel Nava we’ve got a number of right field candidates. Allen Craig is also in the mix. So I kind of chuckle a little bit at some of the reports that were out there about Yoenis. And we’€™re fortunate that he’€™s on our club and very much looking forward to him being part of our offense going forward.”

Farrell said that, while the team was interested in the idea of having Cespedes in right field when it acquired him based on his potential outfield range, the idea of such a move is currently “on hold,” an approach the team decided to pursue in order to permit Cespedes to achieve comfort with his new team rather than introducing multiple variables (new team, new position) simultaneously.

“He has played center field. He has not played right field. And we felt that it was best for a player that comes in mid-year to find a way to get him on his feet with a new club, to get comfortable as best possible,” Farrell told MLB Network Radio. “We talked about it, how do we make the best situation of Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes. It was a discussion point. The range of two guys, particularly in our ballpark, you would say are reversed ‘€“ Allen Craig in left, Yoenis Cespedes in right. Allen did get injured with the foot and went down for some time so we tabled that and then thought, you know what, if we’€™re going to look to do this, depending on what players are on our roster and what’€™s the best team for the Red Sox, we would address it in spring training if it needed to be. But, like I said, with the addition of others guys and as well as Shane Victorino, who is rehabbing right now, that move to right field is on hold.”

Farrell also spoke enthusiastically about Chili Davis, whom the team has tabbed to be its next hitting coach.

“We’€™re extremely excited to have Chili with us. I think there are some details yet to be finalized but, you know, Chili obviously worked here in the past back in 2011 in Pawtucket, so there’€™s some initial relationships already in place with a number of the guys that are on our roster,” Farrell said. “When you consider the pedigree that he is, the player that he was, how successful he was, how he’€™s been able to transfer some of those skills’€”most of those skills’€”into a hitting coach now, his ability to connect with guys I think is one of the strong suits, as well as a long playing career that gives him a tremendous amount of reference to give his experiences to guys he’€™s going to be working with.”

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Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo day-to-day in Arizona Fall League with bruised hand/thumb

10.21.14 at 5:44 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo, currently in the Arizona Fall League to get at-bats in preparation for an everyday big league role in 2015, left Monday’s game after two plate appearances due to a bruised hand/thumb from getting jammed while hitting. Castillo is considered day-to-day.

Castillo, who signed a contract in August that runs through 2020 for $72.5 million, is currently hitting .278 with a .333 OBP and .361 slugging mark with three doubles, three walks and six strikeouts in 39 plate appearances for the Surprise Saguaros. He’s up to a total of 125 plate appearances (39 in the AFL, 40 with the Red Sox in the big leagues, 46 in the minors after signing) with a goal of accumulating approximately 200 plate appearances by the time he concludes his first professional tour, which will wrap up with an assignment in the Puerto Rico winter league.

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Red Sox offseason (and World Series) live chat, Tuesday at noon

10.21.14 at 9:54 am ET
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The significance of the World Series has become two-fold: It’s the culmination of the baseball season and it’s the prelude to the offseason. Take stock of both with Alex Speier of WEEI.com in his live chat on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Get your questions in now!

Live Blog Red Sox offseason live chat with Alex Speier, Tuesday at noon
 

Red Sox mourn passing of Lou Lucier, who had been oldest living Red Sox player

10.20.14 at 2:44 pm ET
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The Red Sox released the following about the passing of former pitcher Lou Lucier, who played with the team in 1943-44:

The Boston Red Sox mourn the loss of former pitcher Lou Lucier, who passed away on Saturday, October 18.  At 96 years, six months, and 25 days old, Lucier was the oldest surviving Red Sox player.  He had suffered a stroke earlier this month.

A native of Northbridge, MA, he is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter.

The right-hander played parts of three seasons in the major leagues.  He came up through the Red Sox’€™ farm system and pitched for Boston from 1943-44, compiling a 3-4 record with a 3.97 ERA in 79.1 innings over 19 games.  In 14 appearances with the Phillies from 1944-45, he went 0-1 with a 2.21 ERA.

Lucier was among the 213 former Red Sox players, managers, and coaches who took part in Fenway Park‘€™s 100th Anniversary celebration in April 2012.  He last visited Fenway Park on August 17 for the annual Red Sox Alumni Day gathering.

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, October 21 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at Jackman Funeral Home in Whitinsville, MA.  The funeral mass will take place on Wednesday, October 22 at St. Patrick’€™s Church beginning at 11:00 a.m.

With Lucier’€™s passing, the oldest living former Red Sox player is now Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, who was born on April 7, 1918.  A nine-time All-Star second baseman, Doerr played his entire 14-year career for the Red Sox from 1937-51 and missed the 1945 campaign due to military service.  Below is a list of the 15 oldest living former Red Sox players. Read the rest of this entry »

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What does Yoenis Cespedes’ agency change mean for prospects of an extension?

10.20.14 at 2:32 pm ET
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Yoenis Cespedes will now be represented by Roc Nation Sports. (Getty Images)

Yoenis Cespedes will now be represented by Roc Nation Sports. (Getty Images)

Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has changed agents, moving to Roc Nation Sports from Wasserman Media Group. Roc Nation Sports is the same agency that represented Cespedes’ Red Sox teammate, Rusney Castillo, whose $72.5 million deal through 2020 represents the largest guarantee ever to a free agent from Cuba without prior big league experience. As with Castillo and fellow Roc Nation client Robinson Cano, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports will serve as the point of contact for baseball contracts involving Cespedes.

Cespedes has one season left on the four-year, $36 million deal he signed with the Athletics prior to the 2012 season, a deal that was negotiated by Adam Katz of Wasserman and that positioned Cespedes to arrive at free agency after the 2015 season, at an age (he turns 30 in October 2015) when power hitters rarely are available. The contract permits Cespedes relatively unfettered entry into free agency, as it specifies that he will be released after 2015, a procedural move that means that he will not be subject to a qualifying offer — and, accordingly, that a team that signs him in free agency won’t have to give up a draft pick.

Cespedes, who turned 29 on Saturday, has hit .263 with a .316 OBP, .464 slugging mark while averaging 24 homers and 87 RBIs a year in his three big league seasons with the A’s and (following his trade for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes on July 31) Red Sox. He hit .260/.301/.450 with 22 homers and 100 RBIs in 2014, posting a .269/.296/.423 line in Boston. Both his 100 RBIs and his 152 games played in 2014 represented career highs.

Given that Cespedes is one year from free agency, it’s natural to wonder how the agency switch impacts the possibility of the outfielder signing an extension with the Sox. In short: It probably doesn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

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