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Source: Red Sox among most aggressive in pursuit of Greg Holland

11.14.16 at 2:21 pm ET
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Greg Holland. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

Greg Holland. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox recognize Greg Holland might be a really good fit. But they also have come to understand there are other teams that feel the same way.

According to a major league source, the Red Sox are among the most aggressive suitors for the free agent relievers. There are, however, “several teams” that are showing a similar level of interest.

The Red Sox have been intrigued by the former Kansas City closer even before last Monday’s showcase, in which Holland showed good health and a fastball that sat in the low 90’s.

The plan for the 30-year-old, who underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2015 season, is to not resume throwing for another five weeks.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski stated at the recent GM meetings that the team’s offseason priorities were to secure an eighth-inning reliever and replacement for David Ortiz, with the bullpen arm presumably coming first due to less of a financial commitment.

Because of the price tags affixed to free agent closers Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, Holland may represent the most intriguing eighth-inning option on the open market. Some of the other possibilities include Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Blanton.

Among the teams reportedly showing interest in Holland include the Mets, Yankees, Cubs, Padres, Nationals and Mariners, although it is unclear which clubs have the same level of intent as the Red Sox.

Mookie Betts named best defensive player in baseball

11.11.16 at 7:31 pm ET
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Mookie Betts. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Mookie Betts. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Of all the honors bestowed on Mookie Betts thus far, this might be the most impressive.

The second baseman-turned-outfielder was named by Wilson as the best defensive player in Major League Baseball for the 2016 season. The following is the press release announcing the honor:

Mookie Betts and the San Francisco Giants have been named the top recipients of the fifth annual Wilson Defensive Player of the Year and Wilson Defensive Team of the Year awards, which are given annually to the top defensive players and Club in Major League Baseball. The winners were announced tonight as part of a one-hour special on MLB Network hosted by Greg Amsinger and Eric Byrnes.

In addition to Betts, who was named the top defensive player in baseball, the following Major Leaguers were honored as the top defensive players at their respective positions: Zack Greinke (pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks), Buster Posey (catcher, San Francisco Giants), Anthony Rizzo (first baseman, Chicago Cubs), Dustin Pedroia (second baseman, Boston Red Sox), Nolan Arenado (third baseman, Colorado Rockies), Brandon Crawford (shortstop, San Francisco Giants), Brett Gardner (left fielder, New York Yankees), Kevin Kiermaier (center fielder, Tampa Bay Rays) and Betts (right fielder, Boston Red Sox).

Betts, a first-time All-Star in 2016 and a first-time recipient of the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award, led MLB with 32 defensive runs saved. He is the youngest player ever (24) to win a Defensive Player of the Year Award.

The Giants, who reached the Postseason as a National League (NL) Wild Card team this year, set an NL record in 2016 for the longest errorless streak in league history, spanning more than 17 games. The Giants (Posey and Crawford) were one of two Clubs with multiple 2016 award winners (Red Sox).

Of the nine players honored, five (Greinke, Rizzo, Kiermaier, Gardner and Betts) are first-time winners, with five hailing from the NL and four from the American League. Pedroia, the overall Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, earned his third award this year while Posey, Crawford and Arenado won for the second time in their careers.

Wilson, the Official Glove of Major League Baseball, has handed out the Defensive Player of the Year awards at the conclusion of each season since 2012. The winners are determined using a formula that combines traditional defensive stats with advanced metrics, as well as the data logged by the baseball experts working for the scouting service Inside Edge.

Jenny Dell congratulates husband Will Middlebrooks on Twitter for new deal with Rangers

11.11.16 at 6:15 pm ET
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Will Middlebrooks’ hometown team is taking a chance on him.

The native of Texarkana, Texas has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Rangers with an invitation to major league spring training.

Middlebrooks most recently had been with the Brewers organization, hitting just .111 in 27 at-bats with the big league club. He hit .286 with 10 homers and an .816 OPS in 68 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs.

The 28-year-old’s wife, former NESN sideline reporter Jenny Dell, took to Twitter to congratulate her husband.

Middlebrooks, who has played four infield positions, was traded by the Red Sox to San Diego prior to the 2015 season for catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Potential Red Sox target Kendrys Morales signs 3-year deal with Blue Jays

11.11.16 at 5:39 pm ET
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Kendrys Morales

Kendrys Morales

One option just went off the board.

According to multiple reports, free agent designated hitter Kendrys Morales has agreed to a three-year, $33 million with the Blue Jays.

Morales, a switch-hitter, figures to fill in for free agent Edwin Encarnacion, who now figures to be a longshot for a return to Toronto.

The three-year deal for the 33-year-old would seem to be a year longer than the Red Sox might have been comfortable with. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski stated numerous times at the GM meetings that the club was looking for a short-term deal to fill the spot vacated by the retiring David Ortiz.

The Morales deal might push along the market for Carlos Beltran, who is one of the options also being considered by the Red Sox. The 39-year-old Beltran is appreciably older than Morales, but does offer slightly more offensive consistency and potential defensive flexibility.

In 151 games, the switch-hitting Beltran totaled a .850 OPS with 29 home runs. Morales played in 154 games, hitting 30 homers while finishing with a .790 OPS. The Astros and Rangers are known to also have serious interest in Beltran.

Complicating things somewhat for the Red Sox is their uncertainty when it comes to the new competitive balance tax threshold, which has yet to be set due to the impending new collective bargaining agreement. Dombrowski noted Thursday that the Red Sox were trending toward filling their need for an eighth-inning reliever before the DH spot due to the difference in money to be allocated for each position.

Dombrowski also hinted that the days of having a full-time DH are a thing of the past. (For more on that, click here.)

Source: Gary DiSarcina to be new Red Sox bench coach

11.11.16 at 11:57 am ET
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It didn’t take long to fill the Red Sox’ vacant bench coach position.

According to Gerry Callahan of the Kirk & Callahan show, the Red Sox will hire Gary DiSarcina to be their new bench coach. The position was open after Torey Lovullo left to manage the Diamondbacks last week.

DiSarcina is no stranger to the Red Sox as he managed the Lowell Spinners from 2007-09 and was the organization’s infield coach in 2010. The former big leaguer then went out West to be a GM assistant with the Angels, the team his spent his entire 12-year major league career with, from 2011-12 before coming back to Boston to manage the PawSox in 2013.

The Massachusetts native has spent the last three season on-field with the Angels, as he was their third base coach in 2014 and 2015, before shifting to first base this past season.

Having managed the PawSox in 2013, he’s familiar with a few of the Red Sox’ young players, including Xander Bogaerts.

Read More: gary disarcina,

Mookie Betts undergoes successful right knee surgery, expected to be ready for spring training

11.11.16 at 10:25 am ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts had a tremendous 2016 season and he did it while not being 100 percent healthy.

The team announced Friday morning Betts underwent successful right knee arthroscopy, chondroplasty, and a loose body removal yesterday. The procedure was performed by Head Team Orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis at Massachusetts General Hospital.

He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for spring training.

Betts finished the season hitting .318 with 31 homers and 113 RBI.

The right fielder also won a Gold Glove this week and is a finalist for the AL MVP award.

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

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Why Red Sox will likely get their reliever before locking up designated hitter

11.10.16 at 1:55 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Dave Dombrowski. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — As the morning unfolded at the Scottsdale Omni, baseball executives followed each other out, finishing off their three-plus days at the GM meetings with a trip to the airport.

Dave Dombrowski, who exchanged quick pleasantries with former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington as both exited, will now fly to Oklahoma to visit with his daughter before heading back to his 4 Yawkey Way office.

The question now is how quick Dombrowski will act on his to-do list?

The president of baseball operations said he has talked to every team in major league baseball while in Arizona, but still doesn’t know if the Red Sox will be getting their two targets — eighth-inning reliever and designated hitter — via trade or free agency.

But one reality that surfaced is the timetable for filling in the two positions. Because the new collective bargaining agreement hasn’t been finalized, the Red Sox don’t know what the new competitive balance tax threshold will be. What that means is that Dombrowski doesn’t know the level to which the team can spend before being taxed.

With that in mind, Dombrowski insinuated that finding the reliever might be first in line.

“Perhaps, because I think you’re talking about perhaps a different financial situation where it may not be the same impact on the CBT,” he said when asked if the relief pitcher would be the first acquistion.

Dombrowski also cited the unknown tax threshold when talking about being able to find his DH candidate on a preferred short-term deal.

“I do think it’s possible, but I also don’t know if it’s necessarily going to be a short, immediate type of situation,” he said in regards to finding the right player at the preferred price. “There might have to be some patience involved in that because a lot of guys fit that type of description. I also am not really pushing that as much because of the simple situation, we don’t know what the CBT situation is and the rules we’re playing under in the basic agreement. It’s really hard to push this some of those things until you really know what rules you’re playing under.”

As for how the Red Sox will acquire these players, Dombrowski said he doesn’t have a read on which route might be more realistic for either position. Last year he flat-out said his top-of-the-rotation starter would be coming via free agency after trading for closer Craig Kimbrel just a few days after the GM meetings.

“We aren’t aggressively looking to move any of our players,” Dombrowski said. “It’s not one of those situations where you’re sitting there and you’re saying, ‘I have to make this move, I have to make that move.’ We do have depth, but the depth we have we like, too.”

Days of having full-time DH are probably over for Red Sox

11.10.16 at 9:28 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez. (Steve Mitchell/Getty Images Sports)

Hanley Ramirez. (Steve Mitchell/Getty Images Sports)

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — The names have been out and about throughout the GM meetings. Carlos Beltran. Kendrys Morales. Somebody in a trade.

While the Red Sox aren’t quite ready to lock down a primary target to replace David Ortiz, they have settled in on a few realities when it comes to filling the position. First, Dave Dombrowski reiterated Wednesday that he is looking for a short-term deal when committing to the new player (most likely eliminating the candidacy of Edwin Encarnacion). And second, this isn’t likely just going to be a designated hitter.

“We’re not looking to have just a DH,” Dombrowski said. “I think really in today’s game the only way you really do that is to have somebody like David Ortiz and most of the time you really prefer to have some flexibility. It’s not to say somebody won’t settle in most of the time, but your goal is to use the flexibility of the players at this point. We’ll see how that all fits in.”

Just five players manned the DH spot more than 109 games or more, with Ortiz leading the pack at 140 games and Morales and Victor Martinez coming in at 138. After the trio, Albert Pujols totaled 123 games, while Nelson Cruz served as a designated hitter 109 times.

As for some of the candidates, Beltran played 69 games in the outfield in 2016, while Morales manned first base seven times, while serving as an outfielder in five games.

The Red Sox do, of course, have some flexibility thanks to Hanley Ramirez’s work at first base.

Prior to the 2016 season, it was assumed Ramirez would just slide into the DH spot once Ortiz was gone. But the first baseman played his new position well enough that the Red Sox aren’t hesitating throwing him back out in the field for another season.

“He can do both [play first base and DH],” said Dombrowski of Ramirez, who is coming into spring training with the intention of being a full-time first baseman. “He’s capable playing first and he’s also capable of being a DH. He’s capable of doing both during the season. That’s where we have some flexibility.

“He did a nice job for us. He did about as well as you could possibly hope for, and I would think he would continue to get better just because of the familiarity of the position. He worked hard, he’s a natural infielder and he did well.”

If Ramirez didn’t show so well at first, it would obviously be tempting to slide him into the DH spot considering the righty hitter’s previous success. In 48 plate appearances at DH, Ramrirez hit .364 with a 1.167 OPS and four home runs. For his career, he is a .331 hitter with a 1.014 OPS at designated hitter.

“His numbers when he DH’d were pretty good. Not pretty good, real good,” Dombrowski said. “We would think that he’s capable of doing that.”

Red Sox continue to show strong interest in Greg Holland, Carlos Beltran (among others)

11.09.16 at 2:36 pm ET
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Greg Holland continues to be on the Red Sox' radar. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

Greg Holland continues to be on the Red Sox’ radar. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports)

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — Dave Dombrowski needs a replacement for David Ortiz and an eighth-inning relief pitcher.

But, according to sources, as the GM meetings wind down, no free agents are being classified by the Red Sox as the be-all, end-all in terms of players who might fit those roles.

Two examples of how the Red Sox are currently approaching the vacancies involve the cases of reliever Greg Holland and potential designated hitter Carlos Beltran.

The Sox have continued to show strong interest in Holland, who the organization sent multiple representatives to watch during the reliever’s Monday showcase. Considering Holland’s history as a closer with Kansas City, and the Red Sox’ need for a late-inning reliever, a partnership would make sense.

Reports from the showcase were that Holland, who underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2015 season, showed good health while throwing his fastball in the low 90’s. He will now take six weeks off before resuming his throwing program.

Considering the potential cost of late-inning relievers (such as Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman) in the open market, Holland could represent the kind of investment which figures to be hard to find in this market.

The question will be how much the Red Sox want to allocate to that eighth-inning spot, and if they feel Holland can be more of a certainty than Carson Smith (who Dombrowski suggested would be brought along slowly throughout spring training). In terms of potential eighth-inning relievers who have previously shown the ability to pitch in such high-leverage situations, there simply aren’t a lot of options in the open market.

As for Beltran, the 39-year-old is drawing interest from the Red Sox for obvious reasons. He represents the kind of short-term solution at DH Dombrowski said he is looking for, having come off another solid season (totaling an .850 OPS with 29 homers between New York and Texas).

But, as one source said, Beltran shouldn’t be classified as the only Plan A for the Red Sox, with the team telling some in MLB trades to fill the position are still a strong possibility.

It doesn’t look like Chris Sale is going to be heading to Red Sox any time soon

11.09.16 at 11:41 am ET
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It doesn't appear the Red Sox will be making a hard push at acquiring Chris Sale this offseason. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

It doesn’t appear the Red Sox will be making a hard push at acquiring Chris Sale this offseason. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — Piece together the comments from David Dombrowski and Rick Hahn over the last few days and you’ll be able to come to the conclusion that Chris Sale or Jose Quintana aren’t coming to Boston before 2017 kicks off.

Here’s what Dombrowski said on the first day of the GM meetings when asked if the Red Sox might dive into the starting pitching market, like they attempted to do last offseason: “I would be surprised. We have six starting pitchers right now. One of them is one of three finalists for the Cy Young Award [Rick Porcello]. Another is a Cy Young Award past winner we think very highly of [David Price]. Steven Wright made the All-Star team and we look for Steven [Wright] to be healthy. [Drew] Pomeranz made the All-Star team and we look for him to be healthy. And Eduardo Rodriguez we really like a great deal. We picked up [Clay] Buchholz’s option so we have a little bit of depth. Could we? Sure. Is it one of our top priorities? I would say no.”

And then the White Sox general manager chimed in on the matter Tuesday: “I don’t know if [the lack of starting pitching in the free agent market] changes our mindset. It may well change the value of control of premium talent given the absence of it in the market. That may therefore increase the return of a potential trade and move us more toward the position of making a deal. It doesn’t change how we value that talent. It doesn’t change our appreciation for how special and scarce that talent is. If other teams are sharing that view as well and are aggressive because of it, then we have to make a judgment what’s best for the organization over the long-term.

“[Chris Sale’s] understandably a popular name. He’s not alone on our roster, but he’s certainly the one who attracts the most headlines and speculation, and with good cause. He’s a perennial Cy Young contender. He’s in his prime and controllable for the next three years, so it certainly makes sense why people are asking.”

Not a top priority.

A potentially bigger payoff than what was coming last season.

And how about when the Red Sox last made a play for Sale and/or Quintanta, prior to the non-waiver trade deadline?

“No, we were not,” said Dombrowski when asked if he was ever close to a deal with the White Sox. “The biggest difference is that we have different needs than we did then. We’re not looking for a starting pitcher now.”

The White Sox might be more willing to deal Sale and/or Quintana than at this time last year, but the price certainly hasn’t gone down. And if that’s the case, with Dombrowski also saying Tuesday that he expects all six of his starters to be on the team heading into spring training, a legitimate push to get either of these pitchers doesn’t seem realistic.

“We have an obligation to listen on everybody,” Hahn said. “It’s no different this year as it has been the last several years in that Chris is an extremely desirable target in the game given his talent, given the control, given the scarcity of similar players. We’ve always had the obligation to listen and understand the value, not only of Chris but the other players on our roster. It doesn’t make us eager to move him. We feel he’s a fit for all 30 clubs, including us. Our goal is to always have him on the front end of a championship White Sox team pitching deep into October, but we need to understand the market value and the other players and do what’s best the long-term interest of the organization.”

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