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Red Sox notebook: Dave Dombrowski addresses Chris Sale scissor incident; Teams calling on starting pitchers

12.07.16 at 6:56 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski is wrapping up the MLB Winter Meetings. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Dave Dombrowski is wrapping up the MLB Winter Meetings. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

OXON HILL, Md. — The dust has settled. Dave Dombrowski and Chris Sale have both explained their experiences during the pitcher’s trade to the Red Sox. And now the question can be asked: What did the Red Sox think of the scissors incident?

The issue in question was Sale cutting up the White Sox’s throwback uniforms last season in protest of having to wear the garb during one of his starts.

So, did it concern Dombrowski at all when acquiring his new ace?

“Well, I mean, I think you do your checking when you read that and see what you feel causes some things,” Dombrowski said during his meeting with the local media at the MLB Winter Meetings Wednesday night. “But after I’ve checked things out, not really, no.”

The conversation led to how the Red Sox viewed Sale’s personality and make-up, which of course was secondary to the talent offered by the 27-year-old lefty.

“There’s always an on-field and an away from the game,” Dombrowski said. “On the field, he’s as competitive as can be. He’s got an edge to him, a good edge. His teammates love him. I mean, I’ve seen him pitch so many times in my career being in the same division. I know we never liked facing him. And off the field, actually, I’ve heard a lot of pleasant things about him. He’s expecting his second child. He told me the due date is December 20. Doesn’t know that his wife will make it until then. But he lives 20 minutes or 25 minutes away from the ballpark in Fort Myers. He lives in the Naples area.

“I’ve heard tremendous things about him as an individual. And actually, it’s amazing because again, it’s a small world, he grew up in the Lakeland area. I remember meeting his father at a ballgame at times just by coincidence in the past. Not that that tells you about the individual himself. So, I’ve had a lot of connections throughout the time period. A couple of our guys know him very well in the organization and say really good things about him.”

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Source: Red Sox made strong run at Royals closer Wade Davis

12.07.16 at 3:59 pm ET
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Wade Davis

Wade Davis

OXON HILL, Md. — It turns out the Red Sox were reaching for the stars when it came to finding their eighth-inning guy.

According to a major league source, the Sox showed strong interest in acquiring Royals closer Wade Davis before he was dealt to the Cubs Wednesday in exchange for outfielder Jorge Soler. (For more on that deal, click here.)

What derailed a deal was Kansas City’s preference of Soler over Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw, who was ultimately traded to Milwaukee with minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg.

Davis would have certainly added a unique dynamic to the back-end of the Red Sox’ bullpen, having totaled a 1.18 ERA over the last three seasons as one of the best game-enders in baseball. Davis has also been dominant during the Royals’ World Series runs, allowing just one earned run over 25 postseason innings.

The 31-year-old Davis saved 27 games for the Royals last season, and is owed $10 million in 2017, the final season of his current contract.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria talks plans for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech

12.07.16 at 2:56 pm ET
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Yoan Moncada. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Yoan Moncada. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

OXON HILL, Md. — Rick Renteria might not be managing either Yoan Moncada or Michael Kopech to start the season, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t extremely invested in the pair.

The White Sox manager took a few moments at the MLB Winter Meetings Wednesday to discuss his organization’s two prize acquisitions, both of whom were included in the deal sending Chris Sale to the Red Sox.

“I’ve seen a little video of the guys,” Renteria said. “Moncada, the first clip I saw of him, he reminded me a little bit from his set up and everything of [Robinson] Cano, and now he’s a switch-hitter and shows some discipline at the plate. I know that at 21 years of age, he still has a long way to go in terms of what he’s ultimately going to be. I think he’s a very talented human being who we hope is going to be an impact-type player.

“Kopech is a young man who is about 6-foot-3, very good arm. Obviously we have people within the organization that believe that we can harness that strength and that skill set and have him become a pitcher, command the zone, things of that nature.

“But, again, our job is going to be to have these guys become as quickly — to become as comfortable as quickly as possible with the way that we are going to go about preparing to play the game, and hopefully they enjoy it.”

Renteria wouldn’t commit to which position Moncada might play, although early indications are that the White Sox plan on keeping the prospect at the position he has spent most of his time, second base.

Perhaps the most immediate correction the White Sox would like to see in Moncada’s game is cutting down on the swings a misses, which led him to finish off his big league regular season with strikeouts in nine straight plate appearances.

“I think that’s just experience,” he said. “I think it’s him — for example. I’ll give you an example. They were coming down, finishing him off underneath the hands down and in. He’s a 21-year-old man who has not seen that type of bite coming from pitchers, and it’s probably changing the lane in which he’s looking for that particular type of slider where he’s got to get it out and away.

“He also has shown discipline. He walks. It’s one of those things where I think time will tell us, but I think there’s a look to him and there’s an action to him that I believe will generate change of that particular outcome in the future.”

Chris Sale talks day of trade, calls from Red Sox teammates, playing in Boston market

12.07.16 at 10:24 am ET
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Chris Sale introduced himself to the Boston media via a conference call Wednesday morning. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale introduced himself to the Boston media via a conference call Wednesday morning. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

OXON HILL, Md. — Chris Sale found out about his trade to the Red Sox while driving up Interstate-75 to his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. David Price was the first to reach out the Red Sox newly-acquired ace pitcher. And he is looking forward to the competition between starters in the Red Sox rotation, which currently boasts seven members.

These were some of the items touched on during Sale’s introductory conference call Wednesday morning. Here is a transcript:

THOUGHTS ON THE TRADE

Hey guys. I want to say hey to everybody first. No doubt. It’s kind of like being the monkey in the middle. You’re just glad when you finally get the ball. It’s hectic. There’s a lot of speculation, there’s story after story, I’m obviously getting flooded with text messages from family and friends. Just to have the whole process out of the way and get back to some kind of normalcy will be nice.

(THOUGHTS ON COMING TO BOSTON)

I’m excited. You’re talking about one of the greatest baseball franchises ever. I’ve always been a big fan of the Boston Red Sox for a few reasons. It’s also going to be nice to spend more time down in Southwest Florida as well for spring training. That was big for us as well. My wife is a couple weeks away from delivering our second son. We’re having another baby. That helps us out tremendously.

HAPPY IT WAS THE RED SOX?

I’m as excited as anybody, honestly. I don’t know how you couldn’t be. You’re in the annual running for making the playoffs and have a realistic chance for winning the World Series. I think the group of guys, I’ve always heard great things about the guys on this team, the front office. You have dedicated ownership and front  office guys dedicated to winning annually. So it’s exciting. I’ve always, always loved going to Boston, pitching in Boston. It’s a trip my wife comes on every year as well. We both really like the city and the stadium. Obviously, it’s a very special place.

TALENT ON RED SOX ROSTER

That’s kind of the cherry on top. You look at the talent on this team as a whole – not only just the pitching staff but as a whole – you’ve got some young guys, you obviously have a veteran leader and one of the best in the game in [Dustin] Pedroia leading the charge, you can’t ask for much more. You have guys in the bullpen who can lock it down.  On paper, it looks good. I know we’ve still got to go out there and do it, but there’s no reason not to be excited right now.

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW DAVID PRICE, RICK PORCELLO?

More so with Price, just seeing each other during the summer. He was actually the first one to reach out to me, welcoming me and saying, hey, let’s go, welcome to the Sox and let’s get it rolling. It’s an honor. You look at these guys, Porcello, he lives down here in Southwest Florida as well so that’s nice. Not only the guys that they are, but heck, David Price won the Cy Young a few years ago, obviously Price this year. Being in that company is nice.

THOUGHTS ON BEING IN THIS ROTATION

Yeah, I think that’s the main thing, the good thing in all of this. I can definitely see a competition between all of us. Not only us three, but everybody. [Drew] Pomeranz, [Eduardo] Rodriguez, pushing each other, trying to be better and just making each other better. It would be nice, regardless of who’s pitching on what night. the next night, we have as good if not a better chance all the way down the line. It’s nice, but not only that, but it takes some pressure off of everybody. Just go out there and pitch because you don’t have feel like you have a huge weight on your shoulders to win this game for sure, 100 percent. It alleviates the pressure that might build on some guys.

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Dave Dombrowski, John Farrell reveal how Chris Sale deal was done

12.06.16 at 11:09 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell (L) speaks with the media as Red Sox president of baseball operation Dave Dombrowski (R) listens after the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale on Tuesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox manager John Farrell (L) speaks with the media as Red Sox president of baseball operation Dave Dombrowski (R) listens after the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale on Tuesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have wanted Chris Sale since Dave Dombrowski took control of the baseball operations in 2015. But only in the last week did the White Sox finally decide they were ready to deal.

On Friday, after baseball and its players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, Dombrowski’s phone rang. White Sox counterpart Rick Hahn wanted to know, as Dombrowski recalled, “if we were going to be in.”

“He was going to move him, he felt, at this point,” Dombrowski told reporters at the winter meetings in Maryland. “After the CBA they were committed to making some moves in the organization, did we have interest. I said, ‘Well, of course we have interest in Chris Sale, anybody in baseball would have interest in Chris Sale.’ It would be a matter of what you were looking to acquire and we talked a little bit.”

Without mentioning specifics, Dombrowski said the White Sox moved off their demands for players on the big league roster who had been the focus of prior talks. Many have long believed All-Star center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to be one such target.

The sides agreed to one player in the deal on Friday night and another on Saturday. By the wee hours of Monday night into Tuesday morning, they had the framework of a deal complete that would end up being a blockbuster: Sale to the Red Sox for top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, as well as highly regarded minor leaguers Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.

“It’s a very difficult deal to make, but I’ve also been in a spot where you have to give something to get something,” Dombrowski said. “The ability to get a Chris Sale doesn’t come along that often. This is one of the best pitchers in baseball, proven. We’re trying to win. There will come a day when Moncada is putting in his 15-year career that we will be saying, ‘The Red Sox, geez, I can’t believe we traded that guy.’ So yes, it does complicate it.”

Because Sale is signed through this year with options for 2018 ($12.5 million) and 2019 ($13.5 million), the Red Sox liked the certainty of acquiring an ace in his prime at an affordable rate.

They’ll enter the season as American League favorites, and they’ll take their chances from there.

“Nothing is guaranteed in life,” Dombrowski said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re going to win by any means, but I think you keep taking a chance and going for it as much as you possibly can and hopefully it works for you some day. Every one of these moves made us better. Because of the strength of the system that people built and because of the young players that we still have, I think we’re still strong for many, many years.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell saluted Dombrowski’s ability to seal the deal.

“This is Dave’s second year as our GM, president. When he targets a guy, he gets him,” Farrell said. “I think there’s a lot to be said for his boldness, his aggressiveness, and even if it’s not — he’s not really worried about what the perception is. He’s most concerned with acquiring players that are going to allow us to win the most right now.”

Read More: chris sale, MLB trade rumors, Red Sox, White Sox

David Ortiz teases Red Sox fans with Instagram post hinting of rethinking retirement following Chris Sale trade

12.06.16 at 8:19 pm ET
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The news of the Red Sox trading for Chris Sale quickly spread around baseball on Tuesday, including to David Ortiz.

The former Red Sox designated hitter posted a picture on Instagram from the Red Sox’ account of Sale with the caption: My god my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking ?

Ortiz officially retired on Nov. 15 after the Red Sox exercised his $17.2 million option for 2017 earlier in the month.

My god my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking ?

A photo posted by David Ortiz (@davidortiz) on

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman says Red Sox are now Golden State Warriors of baseball

12.06.16 at 7:08 pm ET
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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Todays Sports)

Brian Cashman.

In the wake of the Red Sox acquiring left-hander Chris Sale to complete what could be a tremendous rotation in Boston, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman found his thoughts drifting to the NBA.

Speaking in Maryland at the winter meetings on Tuesday to Yankees beat reporters, including Newsday’s Erik Boland, Cashman compared the Red Sox to the Golden State Warriors.

“That’s a wow,” Cashman said. “Boston’s like the Golden State Warriors now in baseball. They got their [Kevin] Durant and their [Draymond] Green and [Klay] Thompson and [Steph] Curry.”

Hyperbole aside — the Red Sox did lose retiring Silver Slugger David Ortiz, after all — Cashman seemed to enjoy casting the Red Sox as overwhelming favorites, a position the Yankees routinely found themselves in when ex-Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino reveled in labeling them the Evil Empire.

Per Boland, he told the New York media that he’s not trying to put extra pressure on Boston.

“That’s got nothing to do with me,” he said. “That’s a byproduct of being in a big market and having a good team. . . . I would think the expectations of the Red Sox are sky high. I’m not doing that.”

Read More: brian cashman, chris sale, Golden State Warriors, Red Sox

Red Sox manager John Farrell not ready to name Opening Day starter

12.06.16 at 6:32 pm ET
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Chris Sale

Chris Sale

On a team with two former Cy Young award winners — including the reigning champ — what happens when you add a pitcher everyone assumes will claim the award himself one day?

If you’re Red Sox manager John Farrell, the first question you’re asked is who starts on Opening Day?

Conducting his annual press conference at the Winter Meetings in Maryland on Monday, Farrell told reporters he doesn’t know which if his aces will take the hill when the Red Sox open the season in April against the Pirates.

It could be defending Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. It could be $217 million former winner David Price. Or it could be potential future winner Chris Sale, acquired from the White Sox in a blockbuster earlier in the day.

“Oh, geez. Are you sitting in for Jonny Miller or what?” Farrell joked of the long-time WBZ reporter who likes to ask tough questions. “We’ll have plenty of time to figure that out. But the way that Rick emerged last year — first of all, just you think about Chris Sale as an addition, you think about the returning guys, another year in the progression of Eddie Rodriguez, I think as he continues to understand who he is as a pitcher and what makes him the most effective, David Price obviously, Steven Wright, get him back on track. And that’s not to leave out Drew Pomeranz or Clay Buchholz.

“There’s a surplus right now, but when you think about the high end of it, this is an exciting group.”

Where Sale slots into the rotation will be fascinating to watch. He’s probably the most talented of the three, though Farrell will have plenty of time to sort out the answer to that question.

Read More: chris sale, David Price, MLB trade rumors, opening day starter

Red Sox reportedly reach deal with first baseman Mitch Moreland, completing (maybe?) wild day at Winter Meetings

12.06.16 at 6:17 pm ET
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Mitch Moreland

Mitch Moreland

Dave Dombrowski is fitting all of his Christmas shopping into one day.

With ace Chris Sale and reliever Tyler Thornburg already in the fold, the Red Sox made more news on Tuesday night by agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.

Moreland, 31, spent the first seven years of his career with the Rangers and won a Gold Glove last year. The left-handed hitter will allow Red Sox manager John Farrell to use Hanley Ramirez as his regular DH, with Moreland’s superior glove shifting to first.

The move isn’t without risk. Moreland hit just .233 last year and saw his production against right-handed pitching dip significantly, from .294-.876 in 2015 to .221-.700 last year.

With Sale, Thornburg, and Moreland acquired, the roster appears set. Dombrowski’s next order of potential business could be finding a new home for one of his extra starters, be it Clay Buchholz or Drew Pomeranz.

 

Read More: Mitch Moreland, MLB trade rumors, Rangers, Red Sox

Looking back (and ahead) at Red Sox’ minor league system under Dave Dombrowski

12.06.16 at 5:20 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski has left the Red Sox minor league system with next to nothing. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Dave Dombrowski has left the Red Sox minor league system with next to nothing. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

In just over a year on the job, Dave Dombrowski has stomped on the once giant sandcastle of Red Sox minor league talent and has left one small extension of the castle clinging on trying to avoid being swept out to sea.

Granted, because of their prospects the Red Sox have acquired Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Brad Ziegler, Drew Pomeranz, Fernando Abad, Aaron Hill and now Chris Sale, there isn’t much left to the once highly regarded Red Sox minor league system.

Consider the names that have been traded under Dombrowski: Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Luis Alexander Basabe, Luis Alejandro Basabe, Victor Diaz, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, Jose Almonte, Aaron Wilkerson, Carlos Asuaje, Pat Light and Wendell Rijo.

Quite the talented group of players is gone and what remains does not even compare.

Below is what the Red Sox have left in their system (top 10 players in order as we see it):

Pitchers: Jason Groome, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Trey Ball, Travis Latkins, Roniel Raudes, Mike Shawaryn, Shaun Anderson, Justin Haley, Jalen Beeks.

Analysis
: Yikes. For a system that once had Kopech, Espinoza and Allen leading the way, what a difference 18 months make, as now their top pitching prospect is an 18-year-old in Groome, who was just drafted last year and has yet to pitch in a game past short-season, Single-A Lowell. Besides Johnson and Owens who have major question marks, the Red Sox do not have anyone who realistically can help the major league team in the next year or two in their system. The contrast to this is the team has Rick Porcello, David Price and Sale at the top of the rotation locked up for the years to come so they likely will not need to tap much into their minor league system for top talent, but it certainly is something to note that there simply is no depth when it comes to pitching in the Red Sox’ system. Shawaryn has some upside, but he too was just drafted last summer and it’s really hard to project where he will be two or three years down the road. Bottom line, look away when looking at the Red Sox’ minor league pitching depth chart.

Positional players: Rafael Devers, Sam Travis, Bobby Dalbec, Josh Ockimey, Nick Longhi, Michael Chavis, C.J. Chatham, Kyri Washington, Tate Matheny and Austin Rei.

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Read More: Dave Dombrowski, Jason Groome, michael kopech, yoan moncada
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