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Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield among first-time Hall of Fame nominees in list dominated by ex-Red Sox

11.21.16 at 1:29 pm ET
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Jason Varitek

Jason Varitek

The Baseball Hall of Fame released its ballot for the upcoming election, and a number of Red Sox are among the first-time nominees, including slugging outfielder Manny Ramirez, steady catcher Jason Varitek, and dependable knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Ramirez, catcher Pudge Rodriguez, and former MVP Vladimir Guerrero are among the highest-profile newcomers.

There are no fewer than nine former Red Sox nominated for the first time, in addition to the aforementioned trio: shortstop Orlando Cabrera, outfielder Mike Cameron, outfielder J.D. Drew, shortstop Edgar Renteria, infielder Freddy Sanchez, and outfielder Matt Stairs.

Ramirez represents the trickiest candidate of the bunch. His numbers — .312 average, 555 homers — are easily worthy, but he failed a pair of drug tests and is unlikely to attain enshrinement.

Varitek and Wakefield have little chance, though the former made three All-Star appearances and won a Gold Glove, while the latter was an All-Star and 200-game winner.

Of the players returning to the ballot, Jeff Bagwell (71.6 percent) is the likeliest to get in. Ex-Red Sox Roger Clemens (45.2) and Curt Schilling (52.3) remain a ways away.

Read More: Baseball Hall of Fame nominees, J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez

While some MLB teams start opening checkbooks, Red Sox remain reluctant to dive into free agent market

11.21.16 at 10:16 am ET
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Dave Dombrowski. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

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

For a second straight offseason, it appears Dave Dombrowski wasn’t steering us down the wrong path.

The Red Sox president of baseball operations proclaimed during the recent GM meetings that his team’s timeline when it came to signing free agents was going to be dictated by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (which expires Dec. 1). The Sox, Dombrowski explained, would have to wait to see what the new CBA stated when it came what level the luxury tax threshold would land at.

As Dombrowski insinuated, it would be preferred by the club if it could avoid going over the newly-defined tax threshold by managing their free agent acquisitions.

According to industry sources, that truly appears to be the Red Sox’ strategy.

Those talking with the Red Sox throughout the first few weeks of the offseason have come away with the feeling that they aren’t going to truly “play” in the free agent market until the new rules are set. Dombrowski is certainly expressing interest to key targets (such as Carlos Beltran), but as of Monday patience was still the priority.

While sources suggest some clubs have joined the Red Sox in their approach, showing some “trepidation” to dive head-first into the market, there has been some movement.

Reliever Brett Cecil, for instance, just agreed to a four-year, $30.5 million deal with the Cardinals, while outfielder Josh Reddick inked a four-year, $52 million contract to play for the Astros. It should be noted, however, that both clubs wouldn’t be near the luxury tax threshold, with St. Louis hovering around $145 million and Houston in the vicinity of $100 million.

The Red Sox are already committed to a payroll that is up against the current luxury tax threshold of $189 million. Dombrowski has stated the club’s focus this offseason is to find a replacement for David Ortiz, and a reliable eighth-inning relief pitcher.

Dombrowski suggested on the final day of the GM meetings that the relief pitcher may come before the potential designated hitter due to the level of financial commitment to each.

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily going to be a short, immediate type of situation,” said Dombrowski of a commitment to a new DH. “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.”

The current CBA runs out Dec. 1, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently stated that he believed both sides were close on getting a new deal done. The New York Times is reporting that the luxury tax threshold is, indeed, set to increase, although it is not known to what levels.

Red Sox max out 40-man roster by adding pitchers Kyle Martin, Luis Ysla

11.18.16 at 12:06 pm ET
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Luis Ysla

Luis Ysla

The Red Sox were going to make sure they didn’t lose Kyle Martin or Luis Ysla.

Both minor-league pitchers were added to the organization’s 40-man roster in order not to expose either to the Rule 5 draft. By making the moves, the Red Sox 40-man roster is maxed out at 40 players.

Here is the release sent out by the team:

Martin, 25, spent the entire 2016 season with the PawSox in his Triple-A debut. He converted each of his six save opportunities and went 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA (25 ER/66.2 IP) and 10.53 strikeouts per nine innings in 36 appearances, all in relief. Opponents were only 10-for-65 (.154) against Martin with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-10 with the bases loaded. In 17 outings from June 20 through the remainder of the season, the right-hander posted a 2.29 ERA (9 ER/35.1 IP) and held opponents to a .207 batting average (25-for-121). Selected by the Red Sox in the ninth round of the 2013 June Draft, Martin has made each of his 120 professional appearances in relief, going 15-12 with 24 saves, a 3.41 ERA (87 ER/229.0 IP), 242 strikeouts, 63 walks, and 19 home runs allowed.

Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

Ysla, 24, made 39 of his 40 appearances in 2016 with Double-A Portland before finishing his season with a solo outing for the PawSox. He combined to go 2-5 with four saves, a 3.99 ERA (25 ER/56.1 IP), and 62 strikeouts, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen for the first time in his career. From June 1 through the remainder of the season, the Venezuelan native held opponents to a .208 batting average (26-for-125) in 24 appearances between the two clubs. Originally signed by San Francisco as an international free agent in 2012, Ysla was acquired by the Red Sox from the Giants in exchange for Alejandro De Aza on August 31, 2015. He has made four relief appearances for Margarita of the Venezuelan Winter League, his third consecutive season pitching for the club.

BOSTON RED SOX 40-MAN ROSTER (40)

PITCHERS (22): Fernando Abad, Matt Barnes, Clay Buchholz, Roenis Elias, Heath Hembree, Williams Jerez, Brian Johnson, Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel, Kyle Martin, Henry Owens, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, David Price, Noe Ramirez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robbie Ross Jr., Robby Scott, Carson Smith, Brandon Workman, Steven Wright, Luis Ysla.

CATCHERS (4): Bryan Holaday, Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez.

INFIELDERS (9): Xander Bogaerts, Marco Hernandez, Brock Holt, Deven Marrero, Yoan Moncada, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Travis Shaw.

OUTFIELDERS (5): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Chris Young.

Rick Porcello explains why he doesn’t plan on pitching in World Baseball Classic

11.18.16 at 11:46 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

There is little doubt Rick Porcello would get an invitation to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. When you win the American League Cy Young, as the Red Sox pitcher just did, it is only natural your services would be in demand.

But according to Porcello, he will be politely declining the opportunity.

Speaking on the Dale, Holley & Thornton Show Thursday afternoon, Porcello explained why he has no intention to play for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

“I’m not planning to compete in that at this time,” he said. “Knowing the season I had this year, the workload I had, the toll it takes on you, I just feel like if I’m going to give the Boston Red Sox 100 percent best effort and try and go out there and duplicate the workload I put forth this year, I can’t be ready to pitch in competitive games in March.

“The other thing is the one thing that really worked for me last year was taking spring training extremely slow and just focusing on my delivery and not focusing on the results and really just concentrating on some little things that take some time to develop. I think I would be sacrificing that opportunity by competing in the World Baseball Classic. My loyalty is first and foremost to the Boston Red Sox and that’s kind of my focus. I could be completely wrong. I’ve never done it. But I’m not really willing to take the chance of not preparing well enough to have a good season for the Red Sox.”

Some pitchers who have already committed to playing for Team USA include Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer and Max Scherzer of the Nationals. Red Sox players believed to be participating are Eduardo Rodriguez, Sandy Leon, Xander Bogaerts, and Hanley Ramirez. David Price was listed on Team USA’s preliminary roster, but it is he hasn’t yet publicly committed to playing.

The tournament begins for Team USA March 9, with the championship game being held March 22 in Los Angeles.

TO HEAR THE ENTIRE RICK PORCELLO INTERVIEW, CLICK BELOW

Mookie Betts comes up just short for American League MVP, loses to Mike Trout

11.17.16 at 8:57 pm ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts will have to wait his turn.

The Red Sox outfielder finished second in the American League MVP race, losing out to Mike Trout. The Angels’ 25-year-old outfielder, who now has two MVPs, out-distanced Betts, 356-311, with Trout receiving 10 more first-place votes (19-9).

Trout joins Barry Bonds as the only two players to finish first or second for five straight seasons, with the Los Angeles star having now won the award two times.

Betts’ finish marked the 13th time a Red Sox player has finished in second-place, with Jacoby Ellsbury (2011) and David Ortiz (2005) the last two players to accomplish the feat.

The only other two players to pick up first-place votes were Texas’ Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz of the Red Sox. Ortiz finished in sixth-place, with Jose Altuve, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado placing just behind Trout and Betts. All six players were named on every one of the ballots.

Chicago’s Kris Bryant claimed the MVP for the National League, earning all but one of the first-place votes. (Washington’s Daniel Murphy finished second, narrowly edging the Dodgers’ Corey Seager.)

Betts received 17 second-place and four third-place votes.
Click here for all the voting.

Hot Stove Show: John Farrell talks contract, managing DH spot, 8th inning guy

11.17.16 at 10:57 am ET
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John Farrell. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Making his first radio appearance since the Red Sox were eliminated from the postseason via a three-game sweep at the hands of the Indians in the American League Division Series, John Farrell touched on a variety of topics when appearing on the Hot Stove Show Wednesday night.

In an interview with Mike Mutnansky, John McDonald and Rob Bradford, the Red Sox manager explained his thoughts on his contract status, the plan to replace David Ortiz, and a variety of other topics.

ON HOW HE WAS TOLD HE WOULD BE COMING BACK FOR THE 2017 SEASON (THE LAST GUARANTEED YEAR OF HIS DEAL)

My contract is what it is. The terms, it’s not like it needed to be negotiated. It’s in place, and continues to be in place. My focus has always been our team and what goes on on the field. Once you sign a contract you’re out trying to do the best job you can.

DID HE EXPECT THE CONVERSATION WOULD INCLUDE PICKING UP 2018 OPTION?

It wasn’t an option, and it was if I was coming back. And when you win the AL East, you log 93 wins, we had a number of challenges as a team throughout the course of the year, so, again, I thought there probably would be a point and time when the season was over … You’re always going to have dialogue with your general manager and Dave and I have had daily conversations over the course of the year and we still do now. Our conversations are frequent. I thought there would be a time once the final our was recorded, whenever that was going to be, that we would have that type of discussion. The fact that it happened in the manner it was, knowing he was probably going to be hit once I walked out of the room, that’s the way it happened.

HOW HE PLANS ON MANAGING THE DESIGNATED HITTER SPOT

If you don’t have a DH of David Ortiz caliber you would like to be able to rotate guys through to get them off their feet while you keep their bat in the lineup just to keep guys fresh. I think a lot of people might point to Hanley as the guy who would assume or take over David’s role. But Hanley has done a very good job at first base. He’s still got a lot of years ahead of him just from a defensive standpoint. We have to pick our spots to get Hanley off his feet, but we’re not talking about somebody who is hampered in any way. He’s still capable of playing 140-plus games at first base. So we would like to keep that flexibility open and rotate guys through.

The one thing we don’t know is how the market is going to unfold … Personally, Pablo Sandoval, the work that he’s put in, I think he has a chance to impact our club in a strong way next year, and we need him to. This is a guy who has three years remaining with us and we need to make Pablo a productive player again. So the flexibility with the DH role, that would be an advantage for us.

WHAT HE IS LOOKING FOR IN AN 8TH-INNING RELIEVER

Ideally you have a guy who has the capability of closing games out. That doesn’t mean he’s been a front-line closer all ready. … When you have an eighth-inning guy that means he has put-away stuff, and he likely has a strikeout pitch … Where this pitcher comes from, it remains to be seen.

ON JOE KELLY AS A LATE-INNING RELIEVER

I think the role fits his personality.

ON WHO MIGHT PARTICIPATE IN THE WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC

I think we’re going to have a pretty good number of guys. (Went on to mention Eduardo Rodriguez, Sandy Leon, Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez, Criag Kimbrel, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, David Price, and Rick Porcello as possibilities.)

ON RICK PORCELLO

He’s the most prepared pitcher I’ve ever been around.

Click below to listen to the entire interview with John Farrell

Cy Young winner Rick Porcello worried about celebratory wine, not Kate Upton’s tweets

11.16.16 at 11:32 pm ET
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Moments after Rick Porcello claimed the American League Cy Young Award, an explosion took place on Twitter.

The chaos came courtesy Justin Verlander’s fiance, Kate Upton, who fired off a series of tweets critical of how the voting snubbed the Detroit ace, who finished second. (For all of Upton’s tweets, click here.)

When asked about the salvos from Upton during his conference call with the media Wednesday night, Porcello took the high road.

“I honestly don’t care,” said the Red Sox pitcher. “I’m not the one that made that decision as far as who wins the Cy Young. All I know is I’ve got a lot of people around me right now that I love very much and have been instrumental in my success in getting to this point, and on top of that we’ve got some really good bottles of wine that still need to be drank. There’s not really a concern in my mind.”

For more on Porcello claiming the AL Cy Young, click here.

Kate Upton goes crazy on Twitter after Rick Porcello, not fiance’ Justin Verlander, wins AL Cy Young Award

11.16.16 at 7:19 pm ET
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Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young Award by five points over Justin Verlander despite Verlander getting more first-place votes, 14-8.

Verlander’s fiancée Kate Upton immediately took to Twitter and went insane. Here are some of her tweets. Visit her Twitter page for more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: justin verlander, Kate Upton, rick porcello,

Rick Porcello wins American League Cy Young Award

11.16.16 at 7:01 pm ET
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Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young Award. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young Award. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

For the first time since Pedro Martinez in 2000, the Red Sox have a Cy Young Award winner.

Announced Wednesday night, Rick Porcello won the 2016 AL Cy Young Award. Porcello barely beat out Justin Verlander as Porcello had 137 points and Verlander had 132.

The five-point differential is the second closest of any election since ballots permitted voting for more than one pitcher in 1970. Verlander had more first place votes, 14-8.

Porcello went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA, while striking out 189. The right-hander was exceptional at home as he went 13-1 with a 2.97 ERA at Fenway Park.

It is the seventh time a Red Sox pitcher has won the award. It’s worth mentioning the award is voted on before the postseason.

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

Read More: rick porcello,

Source: Carlos Beltran’s decision may be coming down to Red Sox, 3 other teams

11.15.16 at 8:18 pm ET
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Carlos Beltran.  (Jermone Miron/USA Today Sports)

Carlos Beltran. (Jermone Miron/USA Today Sports)

It appears the Red Sox have some familiar competition for Carlos Beltran’s services.

According to a source familiar with the negotations, four teams have currently shown the most interest in the 39-year-old outfielder/designated hitter — the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros. The Rangers, once thought to be in the mix for Beltran, are not involved at this point.

The Red Sox’ interest in Beltran has been prevalent since the outset of free agency, with Dave Dombrowski looking to replace David Ortiz with a shorter-term deal than the kind of four- our five-year contract Edwin Encarnacion figures to receive.

The switch-hitting Beltran is coming off another standout offensive season, totaling an .850 OPS and 29 homers in 151 games between stints with the Yankees and Texas.

Houston has been perceived as perhaps the most aggressive suitor, although both the Blue Jays have already shown the willingness to get out in front of the free agent market with the recent signing of designated hitter Kendrys Morales to a three-year deal.

And with the Yankees seemingly willing to deal Brian McCann, who would currently figure to slot into New York’s lineup as a designated hitter, Beltran could offer a logical replacement.

It is uncertain when any team might strike a deal for Beltran, with some teams, like the Red Sox, waiting to see what the luxury tax threshold will be under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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