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Report: Giants, Red Sox finalists for Pablo Sandoval

11.12.14 at 9:45 am ET
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According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via twitter), the market for free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval appears to be down to the Giants and Red Sox. Rosenthal noted that the Red Sox are “weighing other options,” and that “unless [Boston] makes [a] big play,” the Giants — the team with whom Sandoval has spent his entire career and now won World Series, appear to be the favorites.

Sandoval, who turned 28 in August, hit .279 with a .324 OBP, .415 slugging mark, 16 homers and a 111 OPS+ in 2014 while playing a career-high 157 games. He’s considered an above-average defensive third baseman, with the track record of consistent above-average contributions both at the plate and in the field, coupled with the fact that he’s at the beginning of his prime years, making him an early target on the open market. Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez, was reportedly meeting with four teams — the Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays and White Sox — at the GM Meetings in Phoenix.

Sorry Red Sox fans, Marlins still not trading Giancarlo Stanton

11.11.14 at 7:39 pm ET
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Giancarlo Stanton (Getty Images)

Giancarlo Stanton likely won’t be dealt by the Marlins this offseason. (Getty Images)

PHOENIX — It wouldn’€™t be Hot Stove season without some Giancarlo Stanton talk.

Tuesday at the general managers’€™ meetings, Marlins president Michael Hill and general manager Dan Jennings kicked off media availability with the GMs by updating where Miami stood with its Stanton extension dialogue.

“It’€™s been positive dialogue,” Hill said. “That’€™s the best way to categorize it. Nothing contentious. It’€™s been positive. We all recognize as a team we had a better year. We still didn’€™t have a great year but we made progress and improved on a 100-loss season in 2013, so we made progress. A lot of good things, a lot of good stories. So there’€™s some acknowledgment of the progress we made. We’€™re here the next few days to see what we can do to continue to build on that.”

Stanton — who routinely comes up as the player Red Sox followers hope for their team to acquire at some point –€“ finished 2014 with 37 home runs and is one of three finalists for the National League Most Valuable Player award.

Stanton is still two seasons away from being eligible for free agency.

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Red Sox notebook: Jackie Bradley’s market; Yoenis Cespedes’ fielding future; Rusney Castillo’s health

11.11.14 at 7:11 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

PHOENIX — With the Red Sox‘ surplus of outfielders, much of the conversation regarding the Red Sox and potential trades will involve any and all players manning that position for John Farrell‘s club.

Included in that mix is Jackie Bradley.

When asked if teams are viewing Bradley as an everyday center fielder, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said, “I do think there are some teams that think of him in that way, as they should. And we think of him in that way. You don’€™t know on what date it will all happen. But we certainly think of him as an everyday caliber center fielder.”

The question revolving around Bradley, of course, is his ability to hit. The outfielder barely avoided possessing the worst batting average of any player with at least 384 at-bats, hitting .198.

But then there’s that defense, which allowed for the rookie to finish among the finalists for an American League Gold Glove.

“Teams have come a long way, the industry has come a long way on separating out the myth from the facts — this is what we know, this is what we can predict, this is what we can’€™t predict,” said Cherington of measuring defense. “There’€™s probably more volatility in the defensive projections than there are in other areas because so much of it is environmental and contextual. There’€™s more noise in the data. You look at longer sample sizes with defense to try to get as long a sample as possible when you’€™re evaluation as opposed to offense, where you may be able to look at smaller. It’€™s not precise, but I think teams are a lot further ahead than they were 10 years ago.”

— Cherington said no definitive decision had been made on whether Rusney Castillo would be playing in the Puerto Rico Winter League (as planned). The GM did note, however, that Castillo’s bruised hand was no longer a concern.

“He got seen yesterday in Boston. He’s fine, coming along, basically passed everything,” Cherington said. “We’re going to make a determination in the next several days as to whether to continue the offseason get him back to Puerto Rico at some point. He would need a period of ramp up now, but the injury essentially is healed.”

Castillo, who signed a contract in August that runs through 2020 for $72.5 million, hit .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 in the Arizona Fall League. He was originally scheduled to start playing for former Red Sox’ infielder Alex Cora‘s team in Puerto Rico on Nov. 7.

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Ben Cherington: Deven Marrero drawing ‘steady interest’

11.11.14 at 6:01 pm ET
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Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

PHOENIX — Whether by coincidence or design, Deven Marrero talk seems to be gaining steam with each passing day at the general managers’ meetings.

With Marrero excelling in the Arizona Fall League — hitting .333 with a .446 on-base percentage as of Tuesday — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was asked about the status of the 24-year-old, former first-round pick.

“There’s just been steady interest,” said Cherington of his young shortstop. “These things have a way of working themselves out, but guys who can play that position at a high level and produce a little offensively, those are valuable guys, they’re good bets to have good major-league careers, so we like having them.”

Marrero was deemed major league-ready defensively by the organization during his spring training stint with the big league club. It was his offense which seemingly needed development, having hit .291 in 68 games with Double-A Portland before totaling just a .210 batting average in 50 games with Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Because of who he’s coming after, maybe he doesn’t always get as much attention as some other guys that we have do, but he’s had a very steady progression,” said Cherington, citing Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “You can go back to this was a high-profile guy in high school, always a talented defender at Arizona State, he performed through the minor leagues, he performed in Arizona. A shortstop with really good defensive skills who’s got some ability with the bat. We’re glad to have him.”

(For Alex Speier’s look at how Marrero might compare to Brandon Crawford of the World Champion Giants, click here.)

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Source: Red Sox open to talking contract extension with John Farrell

11.11.14 at 5:13 pm ET
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PHOENIX — According to a major league source, the Red Sox are open to the idea of engaging manager John Farrell in talks regarding a contract extension prior to the beginning of the 2015 season.

Farrell is headed into the last guaranteed year of a three-year deal he signed with the Red Sox following the ‘€˜12 season. The Red Sox hold a team option on the deal for ‘€˜16.

The 52-year-old Farrell, who is currently managing a group of Major League All-Stars during an exhibition tournament in Tokyo, has a 168-156 regular season record with the Red Sox. He finished second in the ‘€™13 American League Manager of the Year voting after guiding his team to a world championship.

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Making (dollars and) sense of Cole Hamels’ contract as an alternative to Jon Lester

11.11.14 at 5:08 pm ET
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Left-hander Cole Hamels had a 2.46 ERA for the Phillies in 2014 -- the same mark as Jon Lester had for the Red Sox and A's. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Left-hander Cole Hamels had a 2.46 ERA for the Phillies in 2014 — the same mark as Jon Lester had for the Red Sox and A’s. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Don’t want to pay the going rates for an elite free-agent pitcher? The Phillies’ phone lines are apparently open.

Philadelphia is willing to discuss left-hander Cole Hamels, a pitcher who is coming off a dominant season at age 30. Though he went just 9-9 for the Phillies, he posted a career-best 2.46 ERA in 30 starts with 8.7 strikeouts and 2.6 walks per nine innings in 204 1/3 innings this year. Those numbers align closely with what Jon Lester (16-11, 2.46, 9.0 Ks/9, 2.0 BBs/9) did in 2014.

The similarities go beyond that. The two pitchers were born just 11 days apart, Hamels at the end of December 1983, Lester in early January 1984. Hamels has a career 108-83 record with a 3.27 ERA and 125 ERA+. Lester is 116-67 with a 3.58 ERA and 121 ERA+. Both have dominant World Series performances and a history of thriving in some of the most highly scrutinized environments in baseball. It goes without saying that Lester will use Hamels’ six-year, $144 million contract (signed just months before he reached free agency in 2012) as a very relevant data point for his own contractual discussions.

And so, the notion has been articulated many times: The Red Sox can re-sign Lester for full market value, but if they don’t want to commit, say, five or six years to a pitcher who turns 31 in January, they could trade for Hamels, who is owed $90 million (four $22.5 million salaries) in the next four years.

But the contractual contrast between the two pitchers might have been overstated, in part based on some misunderstanding about Hamels’ contract — particularly given the possibility that, if the Sox were to trade for Hamels, because he reportedly has the right to veto a deal to Boston and can thus extract negotiated concessions from a team that deals for him, they might have to pick up his $20 million for his age 35 season in 2019.

Here’s the shakedown:

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Report: Jake Peavy turning San Francisco cable car into mobile bar

11.11.14 at 11:25 am ET
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After winning the World Series with the Red Sox last season, Jake Peavy bought himself a duck boat. This season, after winning the World Series with the Giants he bought himself a San Francisco cable car, and he isn’t done there.

According to a TMZ Sports report, Peavy will turn the cable car into a mobile bar on his 5,000-acre estate in Alabama called Southern Falls Plantation.

Peavy’s brother Luke says, “Once it’s in ‘Bama, it will be turned into a mobile bar in Southern Falls.”

The veteran right-hander was traded to the Giants just before the July 31 trade deadline from the Red Sox. In 12 starts with San Francisco during the regular season, he went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA. Things didn’t go as well in the playoffs, as he went 1-2, but he still collected his second World Series ring in as many years.

For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

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