|02.13.17 at 3:32 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Andrew Benintendi never had anything to worry about this offseason. He wasn’t going anywhere.
When the Chris Sale trade went down in December, Benintendi was eating at a Subway in St. Louis with a college teammate. He briefly wondered if he was part of the deal, and his agent texted him to say that he’d have an answer within two minutes.
The answer was no, Dombrowski made clear on Monday afternoon, because it was always going to be no.
“Well, we were never planning on it,” Dombrowski said. “That was not a goal of ours to trade him. We like him a lot. I know we’ve traded a lot of good, young players, but I think it’s important to break young players in. He’s going to be one of the young players to break in the door. We’ll have some other young guys breaking in on a year-in, year-out basis. But our goal was that he really was our left fielder. We never came close to trading him.”
This became a story after Benintendi’s comments earlier in the day were misconstrued. His agent never told him he was almost traded. He was merely saying they’d have an answer within two minutes, when the names of the players involved would be released.
In any event, Dombrowski elaborated on what makes Benintendi special and why it was easier to deal Yoan Moncada (and right-hander Michael Kopech) to Chicago for Sale.
“He’s a very talented individual in many ways,” he said. “The way I looked at it at that perspective, we were looking at him as a starter with our big league club. We looked at him as being our left fielder this year. For me, we had Moncada, who we liked a great deal. But Moncada, we didn’t look at it the same way where we really penciled in to have Benintendi in left field for us. Moncada, we thought, needed some more development. But Benintendi is an all-around player.
“I think he’s got a beautiful swing. He’ll hit with some power. He’ll drive the ball. I don’t know if he’s going to be a big, big power guy but he’ll hit with enough power. He’s a good defensive player. He throws well. Good instincts on the bases. He’s a driven guy, great makeup. So I think he really has the capability to be a fine player for all those reasons.”
|02.13.17 at 11:06 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jerry Remy’s lung cancer has returned.
NESN announced on Monday that the popular broadcaster, who is due to start his 30th season in the booth, is being treated for a relapse of the disease.
The 64-year-old was first diagnosed in 2008. The lifelong smoker had a cancerous growth removed that year and missed part of the 2009 season while recovering from depression. He was treated for a relapse in April of 2013, though he didn’t miss time due to illness.
The diagnosis comes just weeks after NESN announced it had extended Remy’s contract.
“I’m very excited and pleased to be able to continue doing the job that I love, now heading into my 30th year and beyond with NESN,” Remy said then in a statement. “I want to thank NESN and the Red Sox for all their support in the past and going forward.”
Remy will address his cancer’s return in an interview with NESN’s Tom Caron that will air at 5:30, 6, and 10 p.m. According to the station, he also plans to stress the importance of periodic screenings and checkups.
|02.13.17 at 10:50 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox made the announcement via an October press release, and fans can be forgiven if it slipped their notice — second baseman Dustin Pedroia underwent left knee surgery to repair a meniscus injury.
That’s the last we heard about the injury until Monday, when Pedroia arrived for spring training and declared himself ready to go.
“I did rehab stuff most of the offseason,” Pedroia said. “But you know, I feel great, normal, just like previous years. That’s it. I’m good.”
Pedroia reportedly injured the knee on Sept. 11 against the Blue Jays and his production suffered thereafter, though he only missed one game down the stretch. He hit .238 over his final 18 games before going 2-for-12 in the ALDS loss to the Indians.
Following the season, Dr. Peter Ansis performed a partial medial meniscectomy and chondroplasty.
This season marks a significant change for Pedroia, who turns 34 in August. For the first time since he joined the Red Sox after being drafted in 2004, he’s not sharing a clubhouse with David Ortiz, who retired after a walk-off season for the ages in 2016.
“It’s going to be different,” Pedroia said. “He’s been here every year I’ve been here. We have to just try to find a way to do things to overcome his absence. It’s going to be a team effort to do that and we’ll do it, and put the work in.”
Pedroia doesn’t expect to change in order to fill a leadership void.
“I don’t look at it any differently than previous years,” he said. “You show up to win every day. That’s what we’re going to try to do. Obviously the guys know if they need anything, they can come to me or anybody. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”
|02.13.17 at 10:32 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Andrew Benintendi was as excited as anyone when the Red Sox acquired left-hander Chris Sale from the White Sox in December.
But first he had to sweat out whether he’d be part of the deal.
Benintendi said on Monday that he was eating in a St. Louis Subway with a college teammate when news of the deal broke. The texts and calls began flooding in, including one from his agent.
“He’s like, ‘You’re either going to go or not in the next two minutes,'” Benintendi said. “I was just like, ‘Well, there’s not much I can do.’ After that two minutes was up, I saw everything on Twitter. People were texting me. Obviously, it was a big move for both sides. I’m excited he’s on our side and I’m not facing him.”
Benintendi, who is about as chill as personality as you’ll meet in a baseball clubhouse, was asked if those were the longest two minutes of his life.
“Nah,” he said with a shrug. “It wasn’t that bad.”
Big things are expected of Benintendi in 2017. ESPN’s Keith Law recently named him the No. 1 prospect in baseball, and he’s the runaway favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award after a knee injury last August ended up preserving his rookie eligibility.
“I don’t think about it at all,” Benintendi said of the hype. “I think that’s all for other people to look at. That’s all talk. I’ve just got to go out and play well. That’s what it comes down to. I don’t pay attention to that and don’t let it get to me.”
Benintendi hit .295 with an .835 OPS last year. He then homered in his first postseason at-bat, though he also didn’t hustle a throw back to the infield in Game 1, allowing catcher Roberto Perez to tag and take second before scoring a pivotal run in a 5-4 loss.
“Obviously coming up was a dream come true of mine,” Benintendi said. “I enjoyed the two months I was up and playing in the playoffs. Looking back, I think I learned a lot. I’m looking forward to this year.”
|02.12.17 at 11:08 pm ET|
Remember when the Red Sox had too many starters? Now they’ve got questions about Nos. 4-6, chief among them, All-Star knuckleballer Steven Wright.
We are now closing in on six months since Wright last threw a pitch. He injured his shoulder on Aug. 6 while pinch running against the Dodgers. He returned for two starts at the end of that month before shutting it down for good.
With pitchers and catchers officially reporting and the first workout scheduled for Tuesday, the Red Sox still don’t have a healthy Wright, who continues to work his way back from an injury that didn’t require surgery, but has proven more stubborn than anyone expected.
“He’s making improvement,” manager John Farrell said on Sunday. “This has probably taken longer than he anticipated, than we certainly anticipated. He’s back throwing to 120 feet. He’s throwing flat ground right now. He still needs to continue to build some arm strength at this point in camp. We’ll get a better read exactly when everybody goes through their physicals [Monday]. We’ll get a better read of arm strengths and accurate measurements overall. If we were to take this next week and continue to build that arm strength before we get him on the mound, I don’t want to rule that out, but we’ll get a better read on that tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Wright isn’t alone in the trainer’s room. Pomeranz, who received a stem cell injection in his sore left elbow last October, isn’t ready to throw, either.
“Similar situation in terms of the timing of it all,” Farrell said. “With physicals tomorrow, we’ll get a better read, but there’s a possibility those two guys might be in a continued long toss throwing period for a week before we get them on the mound.”
Farrell wasn’t ready to declare either officially behind, noting that the early start this year, thanks to the World Baseball Classic, leaves extra time for pitchers to make their five or six spring starts.
That leaves Rodriguez, who is on Team Venezuela’s provisional roster. Team president Dave Dombrowski has already said that Rodriguez will not pitch in the first round as he continues to recover from a minor knee injury suffered during winter ball.
Farrell said the team must sign off on Rodriguez pitching in round two or beyond.
“If he’s not healthy enough, there’s something that’s clearly existing, we have the ability to override [his spot on the team],” Farrell said.
|02.09.17 at 10:45 am ET|
Pablo Sandoval appears anxious to prove just how committed he is to the 2017 Red Sox.
Arriving a full eight days early, Sandoval took his first cuts of the spring, looking noticeably svelte, especially compared to this time last year.
Ian Browne of MLB.com got the clearest picture of Pablo. We’ll update in a bit if he talks after his workout.
— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) February 9, 2017
|02.08.17 at 2:34 pm ET|
This is a two-time All-Star who once hit 36 home runs and carries a career .831 in his nine major league seasons.
But then there is the current reality that comes with the 34-year-old.
Quentin last appeared in the majors in 2014, playing in just 50 games with San Diego. Having battled knee injuries and lack of productivity, he hasn’t been seen in professional baseball circles since opting out of his minor-league deal with the Twins last spring training.
The righty-hitting outfielder did play in the Mexican League last season, hitting .211 with a .770 OPS in 21 games.
So, why bother?
For one, the Red Sox’ Triple-A outfield depth isn’t great. They have Bryce Brentz and Rusney Castillo to go along with minor-league free agents Brian Bogusevic and Junior Lake. Quentin, however, will not be in big league camp in spring training, so he certainly doesn’t appear to be leap-frogging the aforementioned group.
Then there is the hope that Quentin’s upside somehow emerges. It is interesting to note that Red Sox scout Eddie Bane reported back that the outfielder has lost 40 pounds, which can only help in terms of evaluating a healthy player.
(For all of Quentin’s career statistics, click here.)
|02.08.17 at 10:07 am ET|
Tom Brady’s game jersey had gone missing.
“It’s horrible,” McLaughlin said by phone from Fort Myers, Fla.
“To me it’s disappointing that it was somebody who was cleared, an employee or someone with a pass of somebody who knows better,” he added. “It’s really disappointing. I’m sure everybody involved feels horrible about it. You try as hard as you can not lose that jersey, but other guys have valuable things in their locker that are just as easily accessible as somebody’s jersey. It’s disappointing.”
McLaughlin, who is headed into his 32nd season with the Red Sox, fully understands the challenges that go with securing all uniforms, equipment and other potential memorabilia after championship-clinching games.
So, with all the chaos that has come with with various celebrations over the years, have the Red Sox fallen victim to a scenario similar to the one involving Brady?
“We’ve been lucky. There hasn’t been. Not that I can remember,” McLaughlin said. “After a clinching game the guy that has a hat or something might be a guy that doesn’t care about it. But nothing that stands out to me that has turned up missing that we couldn’t find, or that we misplaced for a few hours.
“It’s just a vigilance thing. I don’t know if you can ever be 100 percent guaranteed that you’re not going to lose something.”
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Brady jersey was taken during a 15-minute window, sometime between when the quarterback entered the locker room and attended his post-game press conference. (To read the entire story, click here.)
“During that closed period, the only individuals inside were Patriots players, team officials and employees, family of New England executives, NFL employees and security,” Charles Robinson writes in the piece.
McLaughlin points out that the Red Sox have developed a process immediately after clinching games, which starts with proactively taking care of anything and everything in the dugout. The need for such an approach has only increased with the big business that comes with some of the items in question.
Brady’s uniform jersey, for instance, has been valued at about $500,000.
“I think we’ve tried to be a lot more thorough because game-used memorabilia is such a big business now. When a game ends, getting that stuff protected, bats, hats, gloves, helmets,” he said. “All that stuff on the bench as they’re running on the field is wide open for anybody who might slip through security. So you have to clear that stuff and get that stuff put away and locked up. In our case we have an area behind the dugout. Take a lot that stuff off before they get up so it.”
The search for Brady’s jersey continues, with the Houston police and Texas Rangers both getting involved. And until the mystery is solved, McLaughlin will carry the kind of uneasiness only those in his industry can understand.
“It’s just terrible,” he reiterated.
|02.07.17 at 11:07 am ET|
After inking Dominguez and Bogusevic to minor-league deals to compete at third base and outfield, respectively, the Red Sox have agreed to terms with another former first-rounder, Mike Olt, to serve as depth at both first and third base.
The 28-year-old Olt was the 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft, having spent last season in Double- and Triple-A with the Padres organization. The righty hitter has played in 135 major league games, hitting .168 with a .580 OPS.
Olt last played in the big leagues in 2015 with the White Sox, totaling 24 games at both first and third base.
The former UConn star figures to join Dominguez and Josh Rutledge has right-handed-hitting, third base options if Pablo Sandoval struggles against left-handed pitching.
At one time, Olt had been considered a top prospect, entering the 2012 season as Baseball America’s 22nd overall minor-leaguer. He would ultimately serve as one of the key elements in the Rangers’ trade with the Cubs for Matt Garza.
Very excited to make things official and announce that I am lucky enough to be signing with the Boston Red Soxs for 2017. Been one hell of a journey but I truly think everything happens for a reason and this will be an opportunity of a lifetime. Excited for what lies ahead!!@branford_crossfit @b_alessi05 @ckenney34 @theapacademy @dovetailbat @tombrady
|02.03.17 at 12:56 pm ET|
At least that’s the perception of what the Red Sox have to work with in terms of legitimate potential top of the rotation, minor-league pitching talent.
The 16th (Michael Kopech) and 25th (Anderson Espinoza) ranked prospects in all of baseball, according to MLB.com, used to be in the conversation, but now are long gone. What’s left for the Red Sox is a heavy reliance on last year’s first-round pick, Groome, making it big.
But there is one name that might merit a second glance: Roniel Raudes.
Few have ever heard of the just-turned-19-year-old. But think about where you might have been the first time Espinoza became a talker. So, if you want to seem ahead of the curve, there are worse ideas that to jump on the Raudes bandwagon.
The leap of faith might not be as easy as it was with Espinoza for the sole reason that Raudes doesn’t throw as hard. The righty, who was the second-youngest player in the South Atlantic League last season (just 3 months older than Espinoza), is built on smarts, a good mix of pitches, and, perhaps most impressive, fearlessness.
“He’s not afraid,” said Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero. “He gives up a home run and it’s like nothing happened. That’s a great trait.
“I know those guys [Raudes and Espinoza] really got along well. I think there was a healthy competition between the two. They picked each other’s brain. Espinoza was the power pitcher and got more of the buzz. Raudes was the more conventional guy, changing speeds and throwing strikes. But I do think they learned a lot of from each other. We never thought he was in the shadows. We just thought we had to young guys with good arms and a lot of upside.”
What makes Raudes good now — coming off a season in Single-A Greenville where he went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA — is what drew the Red Sox to him after first seeing the Nicaragua native pitch as a 14 year old in a tournament in Chihuahua, Mexico.
“He was a really skinny, right-handed kid on the mound. He was dominant,” remembered Romero, who was joined by scouts Todd Claus, Rafael Mendoza and Manny Nanita in originally tracking Raudes. “He was going after guys. He was extremely competitive. He wasn’t throwing all that hard, maybe 80-82 mph, which for that age wasn’t bad. But he was a really skinny kid who competed really well.
“One of those things where he didn’t show the power stuff but he could really stuff. That competitive really stood out and had a good feel for spinning a breaking ball. And he always, always, even from the first time we saw him, would throw strikes. He would come in and go after the three and four hitter, where a lot of time you can avoid those guys in those tournaments. But he went right after him. Everybody loved the kid.”
The meetings between the Red Sox talent evaluators would always lead to a hope that Raudes — whose uncle, Julio Pavon Raudes, played in Triple-A with the Giants — could join the Red Sox. Thanks to a signing bonus of $250,000 ($1.55 million less than Espinoza), that became a reality.
“He fell into the right price range because some people were concerned about the physicality, or lack of it. We felt comfortable with it,” Romero said. “We knew we were going to have a chance to sign him just because of the level of interest we had shown.”
Raudes hasn’t let the Red Sox down.
The first real sign that life as a pro baseball player wasn’t going to throw Raudes for a loop came when he started and won the title-clinching game in the Gulf Coast League as 17-year-old.
The pitcher’s personality and panache (he implements a bizarre maneuver with his hands and head while getting into the set position, as can be witnessed on the video below) continues to serve his well. WIth Greenville in 2016, Raudes struck out 104 over his 113 1/3 innings, waling just 23.
“I’ve never seen this kid pitch scared,” Romero said. “It’s always a crystal ball your looking into, but he gives himself a shot by mixing pitches, and throwing strikes. It’s not overpowering stuff, but he goes right after guys. We really like him.”
Start paying attention. Raudes might make you (and the Red Sox) look really smart.
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