|11.02.15 at 8:26 am ET|
With Kansas City GM Dayton Moore now slated to get the congratulatory handshakes at next week’s general managers meeting, front offices throughout Major League Baseball are lining up by the phones ready to kick off their Hot Stove season.
For the Red Sox, one of their first decisions will have to be made within the next three days. That would be whether or not to exercise the $13 million option for Clay Buchholz‘s 2016 season. (That would be three days after the final World Series game, which is Wednesday.)
The Sox seem certain to pick up the team option — keeping Buchholz’s $13.5 million team option for 2017 in play — but it’s nice to know when that might become official.
While we’re waiting for the Buchholz news, Monday marks the day eligible players can file for free agency. For the first five days of the process, however, those candidates can only sign with their 2015 club.
Another deadline looming five days after the final World Series game is the opportunity for teams to extend the $15.8 million qualifying offer to their prospective free agents. Those players afforded the one-year deal then have until 12 days following the World Series to make a determination if they are going to accept.
In three offseasons under the qualifying offer system, none of the 34 players offered the QO have decided to accept the proposal.
While the Red Sox don’t have to worry about offering any of their own players the one-year contract, they will be keeping a close eye on which prospective free agents are getting tagged with such a designation. (For more on the Red Sox’ decision regarding whether or not to sign qualifying offer free agents and sacrifice the No. 12 pick in the draft, click here.)
Some other dates to keep in eye on: 1. Teams need to set their 40-man rosters by Nov. 20, defining which players will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft; 2. Teams need to determine who they are going to tender contracts to. Last offseason, for example, Texas chose not to offer Alexi Ogando a contract, allowing the Red Sox to sign him as a free agent.
(For more offseason baseball banter, tune into the WEEI Sports Radio Network for the Hot Stove Show, Tuesday at 9 p.m.)
|11.02.15 at 12:34 am ET|
The Royals are World Series champs.
Christian Colon’s 12th-inning, one-out single scored Jarrod Dyson for the game-winning run, ultimately giving Kansas City a 7-2 win over the Mets and its first world championship since 1985. It opened the door for what resulted in a five-run inning for KC.
But what will be remembered from the World Series’ decisive Game 5 isn’t Dyson scoring, or even Eric Hosmer’s game-tying, dramatic race home in the ninth on Salvador Perez’s broken bat grounder to third.
It will be Mets manager Terry Collins.
Collins fell victim to one of any manager’s worst nightmares: he let a player talk him out of his initial decision, only to watch the choice backfire in a big way. In this case, the biggest way.
With the Mets carrying a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, and Matt Harvey having dominated throughout his eight innings, Collins sent Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen over to tell the New York starter his night was done.
But Harvey, who was at 216 innings for his season, had other ideas.
Having thrown 102 pitches, Harvey left his conversation with Warthen and stormed over to Collins to make his case to stay in the game. He offered won the argument, remaining in for the ninth.
I might watch this on repeat a thousand times pic.twitter.com/YbGrIQrdsa
— Mike (@TheMikeDonnelly) November 2, 2015
It was the wrong decision.
First, Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain on seven pitches. Collins still left his starter in the game. After a steal of second, Cain came around on Hosmer’s double, finally ending the pitcher’s night.
After moving to third on a Mike Moustakas ground out, Hosmer would knot the game up by racing home after Mets third baseman David Wright threw Perez’ slow roller to first. The throw from first baseman Lucas Duda would be wild, while Hosmer dove in head-first.
It would be three more innings before sealing the deal, but the storyline had seemingly already been written.
The Collins decision is made worse because it wasn’t his initial instinct. He didn’t stand firm by his first instinct, letting the emotion of a player drive the bus. And then the managing of the inning got worse when Harvey wasn’t lifted after that first batter reached.
It’s why some managers — such as Terry Francona — won’t go to the mound unless he is definitely taking out his pitcher. The manager can’t leave any door open for debate.
Collins did, and it allowed the Royals to sprint into a World Series title.
|10.30.15 at 4:17 pm ET|
According to FloridaToday.com, the Red Sox pitching prospect escaped a carjacking incident in Cocoa Beach, Fla. without injury. Both Johnson and the driver of the car were reportedly approached in the parking lot of a convenience store at around 2 a.m.
The report states that Johnson was approached by a man later identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Oshaun Gould, who fired a round at the ground with the pitcher still in the car.
Gould would be arrested a short time after the incident and charged with carjacking, aggravated assault, persons engaged in a criminal offense having weapons, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and violation of felony probation.
Johnson had been in Fort Myers for the final month of the regular season, and the early portion of Oct., rehabbing his injured left elbow. He had returned to his hometown of Cocoa Beach, telling WEEI.com shortly after the regular season that he expected to be ready for spring training without limitations.
|10.30.15 at 8:30 am ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski insinuated after the season he was pleased with his complement of position players, leaving the offseason plans focusing on finding a top of the rotation picture.
“The Red Sox’s main priority is a top-of-the-rotation starter ‘ perhaps even going for David Price ‘ and so that is where they are expected to put their big money this offseason. In addition, Gordon’s defensive skills would be a bit of a waste in the small left field at Fenway, unless he was moved to right.
“But those executives who expressed Boston could play for Gordon offered a scenario in which the Red Sox find their starter on the trade market and use outfielders to get it. One scenario presented was that if Boston officials think Jackie Bradley Jr.’s strong finish inflated his value beyond his actual skill, this may be the best time to maximize dealing a young, defensive-star outfielder.”
I believe all of this could be true, particularly since the Red Sox’ interest in Gordon has been very real. (Note: In order to hit free agency, the outfielder would have to opt-out of his $12.5 million player option for 2016.)
The 31-year-old outfielder had been highlighted by some in the organization for a few years now as someone who would thrive in Fenway Park. When the notion led to more research by the analytics folks (i.e. Bill James, Tom Tippett), such a hypothesis was reinforced.
Even without getting into next-level analytics, there is a pretty good hint that Gordon — a premier defender, a notion highlighted by the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier — likes hitting in Fenway Park.
The lefty hitter carries a lifetime .375 batting average and 1.057 OPS in 21 games, with 14 of his 30 hits going for extra bases.
Such a free agent signing would be somewhat risky considering Gordon’s age (he turns 32 in February) and good but not great regular season offensive production. Since emerging as an everyday player in 2011, Gordon has hit .281 with an .809 OPS, with his best year coming in ’11 (.879 OPS).
But there is that defensive prowess, the likes of which would keep the Red Sox’ outfield as one of the best defensive groups in the majors even with if the likes of Bradley Jr. is dealt.
This we know, in the inner-circle of the Red Sox, the idea of Gordon has at least been considered.
|10.29.15 at 1:33 pm ET|
For all the criticism Xander Bogaerts received for his fielding in 2014, he turned things around in a big way in 2015.
The shortstop was named a finalist for the American League‘s Rawlings Gold Glove Award for the position on Thursday. The two other shortstop finalists are Alcides Escobar of the Royals and Didi Gregorious of the Yankees.
In 676 chances this season, the 22-year-old Bogaerts made only 11 errors and showed tremendous improvement, especially with his range, from a year ago.
The winners will be announced on November 13.
|10.29.15 at 9:21 am ET|
According Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has rejected an extension offer and will leave the team.
The Blue Jays recently hired former Indians president Mark Shapiro, which could have been a reason for Anthopoulos wanting out. This season Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays traded away a number of their prospects to acquire Troy Tulowitzki and David Price in making a run at the playoffs.
The Blue Jays lost to the Royals in the ALCS, but made the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Anthopoulos became the Blue Jays general manager in 2009.
|10.27.15 at 8:49 am ET|
|10.27.15 at 7:53 am ET|
Moncada continues to deal with a left hand injury, having been struck by a pitch during an Instructional League game earlier this month. The team hasn’t identified an official diagnosis of the ailment, having to wait for the inflammation to leave the injured area.
Moncada, who is still reportedly feeling some discomfort, was slated to play for Caguas (where Rusney Castillo spent 10 games last offseason). The league kicks off Friday and stretches until Jan. 4. Red Sox players Travis Shaw and Christian Vazquez are still expected to participate in Puerto Rico.
The second baseman played in 81 games with Single-A Greenville during his first professional season, hitting .278 with an .817 OPS and eight home runs. He also stole 49 bases in 52 attempts, ultimately being named the South Atlantic League‘s top prospect by Baseball America.
Some other notable Sox prospects playing this offseason include first base prospect Sam Travis (.286 batting average, .790 OPS in 8 Arizona Fall League games), Rafael Devers (.294, .686 OPS, 17 at-bats in Dominican Baseball League) and Manuel Margot (.190, .476 OPS, 21 ABs in Dominican).
|10.26.15 at 12:42 pm ET|
According to a press release, Cherington will be an executive in residence and “will be instructing a class on the topic of leadership in sports this spring, in the Master of Science in Sports Management degree program.”
The program is directed by Vince Gennaro, who also serves as president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
“I’m honored to join the team at Columbia. Vince and his team have built a program that brings students and industry leaders together in the most current and impactful ways,” said Cherington, who has an undergraduate degree from Amherst College and a graduate degree in sports management from UMass-Amherst. “Two of my favorite parts of working in baseball have been to collaborate with outstanding people looking to make a difference, and, to help others grow. I hope sharing my experience can help play a small role in Columbia’s mission to prepare its students for a meaningful and impactful career in the sports industry.”
Said Gennaro: “The addition of Ben to our Columbia program reflects our commitment to building a curriculum that combines the real world experiences of sports industry leaders, with the academic rigor of an Ivy League University. Ben and I will continue to explore additional ways in which he can add value to our students and our program.”
|10.26.15 at 11:05 am ET|
The Red Sox have their coaching staff set for 2016 thanks to the addition of a somewhat unique hire.
The man so many referenced throughout last season thanks to the possibility of a Cole Hamels deal with the Red Sox, former Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., is joining the Sox as their first base coach.
Amaro, who has never coached on any level, replaces Arnie Beyeler. The former GM is signed with the Red Sox through the 2017 season.
Besides serving as first base coach, Amaro also will be the club’s outfield instructor while assisting with baserunning instruction.
Amaro who had been the Phillies general manager since 2008 before being let go after the ’15 season, has some familiarity with manager John Farrell, with the pair having both played for the 1995 Indians.
“It is [unconventional],” said Farrell during a Monday afternoon conference call. “When Dave came in and felt like there was a need to mix things up, to change things and add a different mix to our staff. You start to go back through and think about the potential candidates. This has obviously come about relatively quick. But having known certainly Ruben as a former teammate and reading there were some articles written on his potential interest in getting back to the field and lobbed a call to him. Other than knowing Ruben’s intelligence from who he was as a player, we’re talking about someone who had to learn all three outfield positions as a former infielder. The steps he went through as a player certainly has given him an incredible reference point to go back to to begin to teach and to help others. It’s his personality, it’s his intelligence.
“The thing that really stood out to me was when I made the first call and we had a conversation about it, he said he needed some time to think about this. We set up, ‘Give me a holler back in three or four days.’ The next morning, the phone rings and it’s Ruben, ‘I just want to be sure that you don’t think I’m taking this lightly.’ And then there was another call the next day and then the next day from him. It really started to shine through that not only was he interested, but his passion about getting back on the field in this role became much more clear. It came about quick, but it was clear that Ruben had genuine interest in it, and it brought us to this point today.”
The former outfielder jumped right into the Phillies front office after an eight-year big league career.
“I talked to a lot of people, my family first, obviously,” Amaro Jr. said on the conference call. “It’s a bit of a digression for me obviously. But I did talk to a lot of people, people like Gary DiSarcina who I’m very close with, Terry Francona, who has had a history there in Boston obviously and had great success there. I talked to other mentors like Pat Gillick and others. I actually talked to a whole slew of people. Ed Wade was also someone I talked to. At the end of the day, I felt like this opportunity is one that doesn’t arrive all that often. I have been thinking about getting back on the field in some capacity. My current goals are really just to help the Red Sox get to where they need to be and I know just from having talked to Dave Dombrowski and John about where they went to go, it’s about winning and holding a championship trophy up again. As I said, I don’t have to say this, no disrespect to other organizations but had it not been the Red Sox, frankly I probably would not be doing this.”
Besides Farrell, the rest of the Red Sox coaching staff consists of third base coach Brian Butterfield, hitting coach Chili Davis, assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez, pitching coach Carl Willis and bullpen coach Dana LeVangie.
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