|11.10.14 at 6:14 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Listen to Jay Alou — agent for free agent outfielder Yasmany Tomas – for his first two sentences and you’ll come away with a dose of reality.
“I don’t see a need. They have their outfielders,” Alou said when asked at the general managers’ meetings Monday about the Red Sox‘ interest in the 23-year-old slugger.
But then, in mid statement, came the push.
“I mean, he could play third base. Everybody could use some pop,” Alou added.
Alou was simply doing his job when talking to a small group of Boston-area reporters — building up his client for the rest of the baseball world.
Sure, the Red Sox had viewed Tomas during both a showcase and a private workout (held at the team’s facility in the Dominican Republic). But their interest has never been at the level of other teams, citing a concern over the outfielder’s swing-and-miss ratio while playing in Cuba, along with the Sox’ glut of outfielders.
The wheels did start turning a bit when Alou mentioned the prospects of playing third base, a need for the Red Sox. (“He caught some ground balls [at the workout]. He wants to work everywhere. He’ll take ground balls anywhere. He just wants to play,” the agent said.)
But, unless there is a change of course, no matter what the position, it doesn’t appear as the though the Red Sox view Tomas as valuable an investment as they did for the seven-year, $72.5 million they paid Rusney Castillo.
If that is the case, the interest in Tomas from Red Sox fans’ point of view should be in regards to what the outfielder might become.
When told Castillo compared Tomas’ power to that of Jose Abreu (he of 35 home runs), Alou immediately shot back, “He’s got more power than Abreu. He’s got a lot more power. Abreu’s a little older, more mature with his bat. Sometimes it takes guys longer to figure things out. And the last couple of weeks, a lot of things have clicked for Yasmany. I can tell you he’s got a lot more power than anyone I’ve ever seen. A lot.”
For multiple reasons, Tomas will be linked to Abreu. The Red Sox (and other teams who are shying away from the outfielder) just have to wait and see if the youngster will spawn the same wave of regrets.
“I’m not the team owner. They have to decide when to pull the trigger,” said Alou regarding a timeline for Alou to sign. “After Jose Abreu did what he did this year, I’m sure there were plenty of teams out there that said, ‘Why didn’t I get that guy?’ What happened? What went wrong? Why didn’t I get him?
“Yasmany Tomas is very very special. You don’t find that kind of power, and we might not find that kind of power for a while, because the guys with that build, they’re playing in the NFL.”
|11.10.14 at 10:06 am ET|
Sure, it happens.
Last year, the Phillies signed Marlon Byrd to a somewhat sizable contract. The year before, David Ross agreed to a deal with the Red Sox on the final day of the meetings. In 2010, not only did two set-up guys (Joaquin Benoit, Scott Downs) agree to three-year deals during the three-day event, but catcher John Buck also was locked up by the Marlins.
It was also in ’10 at the GM meetings in Orlando that Red Sox chairman Tom Werner went on WEEI and proclaimed, “”We are going to sign a significant free agent. We are going to make a trade.” A few weeks later along came Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
But the importance of the get-together at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel this week stretches beyond any sort of actual transactions. This is truly where the rubber meets the offseason road. In ’09, it was the commitment shown by the Red Sox (with then-manager Terry Francona joining GM Theo Epstein in Chicago) towards John Lackey at the GM meetings that was later identified as a difference-maker when wooing the starter.
The Red Sox will not be meeting with any players this week, just agents and teams — a lot of them.
Cherington will meet up with Gustavo Vasquez (Pablo Sandoval’s agent), Sam and Seth Levinson (Jon Lester‘s agents), Page Odle (James Shields‘ agent), Adam Katz (Hanley Ramirez‘s agent), and, yes, Scott Boras (Max Scherzer‘s agent). The list will be a lot longer, but you get the idea.
There will be a session in which all the general managers are put in a ballroom for the media to have at them for about 45 minutes. And, typically, the GMs might break off from their meetings to partake in some sort of outing (although this year that is supposedly consisting of simply checking out some Arizona Fall League action).
Last year served as a pretty good cheat sheet for how a big league offseason unfolds once the GM meetings’ meetings come to a close. The GMs filtered out of Orlando last year on Nov. 13. Exactly three weeks later, everything and anything of significance that was going to take place for the Red Sox (signings of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltamacchia, Mike Napoli) unfolded in a matter of just a few days.
About a week before, there was a smattering of activity throughout MLB, with David Murphy (Indians) and Jhonny Peralta (Cardinals) signing free agent deals. The Angels and Cardinals also made a deal Nov. 22, with World Series hero David Freese being sent to Anaheim.
Will this year be different? There’s a chance. Often times one signing and domino into a bunch. There are enough high-leverage bullpen arms, for instance, that an Andrew Miller decision could push things along. Or maybe one of the big ticket starters surprises and jumps early.
If nothing else, the tone of the coming month will be set in the coming days. Here’s a promise: it will be the biggest event in Arizona for Boston sports fans until some football game is played here Feb. 1.
|11.09.14 at 7:05 pm ET|
PHOENIX — According to a major league source, the Red Sox are not expecting to meet with any players during the general managers meetings this week.
There had been reports suggesting that the Sox might be not only meeting with Pablo Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez, but also the free agent third baseman, himself. The Red Sox contingent — headed up by general manager Ben Cherington — is only scheduled to hold discussions with agents and teams during the three-day event at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
It would not be surprising if the Red Sox don’t conduct any get-togethers with players during the front office’s time in Arizona, with such get-togethers usually reserved for the winter meetings. (Even those such meetings aren’t common, with the Red Sox last conducting one with then-free agent Josh Hamilton following the 2012 season.)
The 28 year old Sandoval typically spends his offseason working out in his native Venezuela.
|11.08.14 at 2:56 pm ET|
(On interest Red Sox might be getting from teams in regards to Yoenis Cespedes)
“We’ve gotten calls. By this time we’ve talked to just about every team. Several teams have asked about our outfielders, not any one in particular. Because we have some depth there, theoretically, we’ve gotten asked on that, particularly with teams that may match up. I’m not ruling out getting into a trade conversations where we might match up. But there is no particular player that we’re looking to move, including Cespedes. But we’re going to make the team better where we can and we’ll try to be open-minded when trying to do that.”
(If Cherington believes the Red Sox have a solid enough relationship with Jon Lester and his representatives to get a deal done)
“I do. I don’t think there is anything in the relationship that would prohibit that. In fact, the history we have together eliminates some work in a way because you really don’t have to do the due diligence you normally would on a free agent of his caliber. Look, he’s earned the right to free agency and players don’t get that right all that often so he’s going to need to go through his process and obviously there will be other teams interested and we look forward to being one of those teams and we’ll see where it goes. I feel confident that we will be able to have a constructive conversation. There’s nothing that has gone on that would prohibit that, but we’ll see where it goes. Other teams will be interested, too, no doubt.”
“What I would say is that we are committed to building a winning team next year. We want to do that in a way that makes sense for the long-term. We are committed to building a winning team for next year. It’s no secret that a big part of doing that is adding to the rotation, and maybe that comes in different forms. It happens to be an offseason where there are options to do that, both in free agency and trades. I think we’ll certainly have support of ownership to make good offers. We’ll just have to see where that goes. As you know, the thing about free agency is nobody really knows exactly where it goes. So we’ll just have to get in there and see, but we look forward to having that conversation and being part of the mix.”
(On the Red Sox interest in free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval)
“I’m sure we’ll talk to his agent, but as you know we’re going to talk to a lot of agents next week. I think because we stated an interest in adding a left-hand bat somewhere and because theoretically third base could be a place to do that, that is sort of an obvious link between us and Sandoval. Look, he’s coming from a team that just won a World Series and is interested in keeping him, and we have to look at every alternative for that kind of guy who we’re looking to add, the left-handed hitter somewhere, and there’s different ways to do that. … He’s a good hitter at a position that’s tough to find, and that’s why there will be a lot of teams interested, including the one he’s playing for.”
|11.07.14 at 9:49 pm ET|
The Dodgers announced that they’ve hired former Red Sox outfielder (and minor league manager) Gabe Kapler as their director of player development. Kapler spent parts of 12 years in the big leagues, including a stretch from 2003-06 with the Red Sox, before retiring after the 2006 season in order to become the manager of the Greenville Drive, the Red Sox’ Single-A affiliate. At the end of that year, however, Kapler resumed his playing career, spending three more years with the Brewers (2008) and Rays (2009-10). He went to spring training with the Dodgers in 2011, but was released near the end of camp. He’s been working as an analyst for Fox Sports since 2013.
Additionally, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com is reporting (via twitter) that the Dodgers will hire Red Sox special assignment scout Galen Carr. Carr — who has been with the organization for 14 years — was considered one of the top evaluators in the Red Sox organization.
|11.07.14 at 2:00 pm ET|
Gustavo Vasquez, the agent for free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, has told the San Francisco Chronicle that his client is seeking a six-year deal. Vasquez went on to suggest to the newspaper that the length of deal was more important to Sandoval than the money.
“Pablo is 28,” Vasquez said in the report. “He is still young. Maybe if he was 30 or 31 we could talk about four or five years. But he’s 28. He deserves more than that.”
The Red Sox are believed to have interest in Sandoval, who would fill a need for the Sox as a run-producer who can hit from the left side. The third baseman also is considered an above-average fielder.
Vasquez told the Chronicle that once his client identifies an offer he likes, “He’ll sign fast.”
|11.07.14 at 9:45 am ET|
In an interview on WEEI’s Hot Stove Show, Mets beat reporter Marc Carig or Newsday described New York’s National League club as being “somewhere in between” as they chart an offseason course, particularly as it pertains to the possibility of dealing starting pitchers.
At a time when Matt Harvey is expected back for the start of next season, the team has a number of high-end talented young pitchers from which to deal — including Rookie of the Year finalist Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.69, 9.2 Ks/9 in 140 1/3 innings in 2014), right-hander Zack Wheeler (11-11, 3.54, 9.1 Ks/9 in 185 1/3 innings) and top prospect Noah Syndergaard (a 22-year-old with a 3.25 ERA, 10.0 Ks/9 and 2.6 walks per nine in his minor league career, including a 4.60 ERA in the hitter’s paradise of Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014). The team’s pitching inventory also includes less glamorous but nonetheless useful options such as left-hander Jon Niese (9-11 with a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts in 2014, under contract for $16 million total over the next two years with two team options through 2018) and right-hander Bartolo Colon (15-13, 4.09 ERA in 202 1/3 innings in 2014; one year remaining on his two-year, $20 million deal).
“They’ve certainly got some choices. They’re somewhere in between,” explained Carig. “Their two biggest needs are a corner outfielder with power, particularly a right-handed bat. That would be one. And right behind that would be a shortstop. I think any team that could offer one of those things to them becomes of extreme interest. Now it becomes a question of whether the Mets want to put in play their best trade chips. ‘¦
“They’ve got a really good core of young arms who would make a deal go. We’re taking Noah Syndergaard, their top pitching prospect, Jacob deGrom, who’s probably going to be the Rookie of the Year. It’s those guys where they’ve got to decide, are we going to put that in play? Zack Wheeler had a very good first full season in the major leagues this year. If you start talking about those types of guys, now you’ve got the keys to the kingdom. Now you can make something happen. I don’t think they’ve shown much indication of wanting to do that. So the second level would be some of the veteran pitchers they’ve got. Read the rest of this entry »
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