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Live chat: Talk Red Sox offseason with Rob Bradford, noon

11.17.15 at 10:20 am ET
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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.

Live Blog Hot Stove live chat, noon

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Source: Rich Hill will likely make decision this week; Red Sox not in mix

11.16.15 at 7:42 pm ET
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Rich Hill is about to get the best contract of his career.

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.”

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Analyzing what Red Sox gave up to acquire All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel

11.13.15 at 11:46 pm ET
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Manuel Margot was one of the prospects the Red Sox gave up to acquire Craig Kimbrel. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Manuel Margot was one of the prospects the Red Sox gave up to acquire Craig Kimbrel. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Dave Dombrowski‘s first big move as Red Sox president of baseball operations is complete.

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.

“€œHe’€™s a special player defensively,” his manager Darren Fenster said during the year. “€œI 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.”

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Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski says starter likely to come in free agency

11.13.15 at 10:26 pm ET
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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.

Red Sox acquire Padres closer Craig Kimbrel for four prospects, including Manuel Margot

11.13.15 at 7:46 pm ET
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Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel

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.”

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It looks like Hanley Ramirez has been working out

11.13.15 at 12:44 pm ET
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When it comes to the Red Sox‘ offseason mandate that Hanley Ramirez slims down, so far so good.

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.

(Brita Meng Outzen photo)

(Brita Meng Outzen photo)

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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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