|12.06.16 at 8:19 pm ET|
The news of the Red Sox trading for Chris Sale quickly spread around baseball on Tuesday, including to David Ortiz.
The former Red Sox designated hitter posted a picture on Instagram from the Red Sox’ account of Sale with the caption: My god my boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking ?
Ortiz officially retired on Nov. 15 after the Red Sox exercised his $17.2 million option for 2017 earlier in the month.
|12.06.16 at 7:08 pm ET|
In the wake of the Red Sox acquiring left-hander Chris Sale to complete what could be a tremendous rotation in Boston, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman found his thoughts drifting to the NBA.
Speaking in Maryland at the winter meetings on Tuesday to Yankees beat reporters, including Newsday’s Erik Boland, Cashman compared the Red Sox to the Golden State Warriors.
“That’s a wow,” Cashman said. “Boston’s like the Golden State Warriors now in baseball. They got their [Kevin] Durant and their [Draymond] Green and [Klay] Thompson and [Steph] Curry.”
Hyperbole aside — the Red Sox did lose retiring Silver Slugger David Ortiz, after all — Cashman seemed to enjoy casting the Red Sox as overwhelming favorites, a position the Yankees routinely found themselves in when ex-Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino reveled in labeling them the Evil Empire.
Per Boland, he told the New York media that he’s not trying to put extra pressure on Boston.
“That’s got nothing to do with me,” he said. “That’s a byproduct of being in a big market and having a good team. . . . I would think the expectations of the Red Sox are sky high. I’m not doing that.”
|12.06.16 at 6:32 pm ET|
On a team with two former Cy Young award winners — including the reigning champ — what happens when you add a pitcher everyone assumes will claim the award himself one day?
If you’re Red Sox manager John Farrell, the first question you’re asked is who starts on Opening Day?
Conducting his annual press conference at the Winter Meetings in Maryland on Monday, Farrell told reporters he doesn’t know which if his aces will take the hill when the Red Sox open the season in April against the Pirates.
It could be defending Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. It could be $217 million former winner David Price. Or it could be potential future winner Chris Sale, acquired from the White Sox in a blockbuster earlier in the day.
“Oh, geez. Are you sitting in for Jonny Miller or what?” Farrell joked of the long-time WBZ reporter who likes to ask tough questions. “We’ll have plenty of time to figure that out. But the way that Rick emerged last year — first of all, just you think about Chris Sale as an addition, you think about the returning guys, another year in the progression of Eddie Rodriguez, I think as he continues to understand who he is as a pitcher and what makes him the most effective, David Price obviously, Steven Wright, get him back on track. And that’s not to leave out Drew Pomeranz or Clay Buchholz.
“There’s a surplus right now, but when you think about the high end of it, this is an exciting group.”
Where Sale slots into the rotation will be fascinating to watch. He’s probably the most talented of the three, though Farrell will have plenty of time to sort out the answer to that question.
|12.06.16 at 6:17 pm ET|
Dave Dombrowski is fitting all of his Christmas shopping into one day.
With ace Chris Sale and reliever Tyler Thornburg already in the fold, the Red Sox made more news on Tuesday night by agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.
Moreland, 31, spent the first seven years of his career with the Rangers and won a Gold Glove last year. The left-handed hitter will allow Red Sox manager John Farrell to use Hanley Ramirez as his regular DH, with Moreland’s superior glove shifting to first.
The move isn’t without risk. Moreland hit just .233 last year and saw his production against right-handed pitching dip significantly, from .294-.876 in 2015 to .221-.700 last year.
With Sale, Thornburg, and Moreland acquired, the roster appears set. Dombrowski’s next order of potential business could be finding a new home for one of his extra starters, be it Clay Buchholz or Drew Pomeranz.
|12.06.16 at 5:20 pm ET|
In just over a year on the job, Dave Dombrowski has stomped on the once giant sandcastle of Red Sox minor league talent and has left one small extension of the castle clinging on trying to avoid being swept out to sea.
Granted, because of their prospects the Red Sox have acquired Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Brad Ziegler, Drew Pomeranz, Fernando Abad, Aaron Hill and now Chris Sale, there isn’t much left to the once highly regarded Red Sox minor league system.
Consider the names that have been traded under Dombrowski: Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Luis Alexander Basabe, Luis Alejandro Basabe, Victor Diaz, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen, Jose Almonte, Aaron Wilkerson, Carlos Asuaje, Pat Light and Wendell Rijo.
Quite the talented group of players is gone and what remains does not even compare.
Below is what the Red Sox have left in their system (top 10 players in order as we see it):
Pitchers: Jason Groome, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, Trey Ball, Travis Latkins, Roniel Raudes, Mike Shawaryn, Shaun Anderson, Justin Haley, Jalen Beeks.
Analysis: Yikes. For a system that once had Kopech, Espinoza and Allen leading the way, what a difference 18 months make, as now their top pitching prospect is an 18-year-old in Groome, who was just drafted last year and has yet to pitch in a game past short-season, Single-A Lowell. Besides Johnson and Owens who have major question marks, the Red Sox do not have anyone who realistically can help the major league team in the next year or two in their system. The contrast to this is the team has Rick Porcello, David Price and Sale at the top of the rotation locked up for the years to come so they likely will not need to tap much into their minor league system for top talent, but it certainly is something to note that there simply is no depth when it comes to pitching in the Red Sox’ system. Shawaryn has some upside, but he too was just drafted last summer and it’s really hard to project where he will be two or three years down the road. Bottom line, look away when looking at the Red Sox’ minor league pitching depth chart.
Positional players: Rafael Devers, Sam Travis, Bobby Dalbec, Josh Ockimey, Nick Longhi, Michael Chavis, C.J. Chatham, Kyri Washington, Tate Matheny and Austin Rei.
|12.06.16 at 1:23 pm ET|
Dave Dombrowski just pulled off a blockbuster.
The Red Sox president of baseball operations on Tuesday swung for the fences and acquired White Sox ace Chris Sale, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports. The cost was steep — top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, along with two other prospects, later identified as outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and pitcher Victor Diaz.
Sale, 27, gives the Red Sox a third Cy Young-caliber starter, joining defending winner Rick Porcello and former winner David Price. Sale has never won a Cy Young, but he has finished in the top five four times, including this past season, when he went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA and a league-leading six complete games.
He set a career-high in innings (226 2/3) while striking out 233. He’s on one of the most affordable contracts in baseball, signed through 2017 with team options for 2018 ($12.5 million) and 2019 ($13.5 million).
The cost of acquiring Sale, who has also been linked to the Nationals, was astounding. Moncada is considered by many the best prospect in baseball, and Kopech has routinely hit 100 mph as a starter.
Sale attended Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, home of Red Sox spring training.
|12.06.16 at 12:31 pm ET|
Joel Hanrahan (elbow). Mark Melancon (performane). Andrew Bailey (elbow). Carson Smith (elbow). All seemed like good ideas at the time, and all found their careers taking a turn for the worse once immersed in Boston.
Next up: Tyler Thornburg.
The pitcher that the Red Sox scouted while with the Brewers is right in line with what Dave Dombrowski was looking for. He has the stuff and experience to pitch in the eighth and ninth innings, while possessing a contract that doesn’t allow for free agency until after the 2019 season.
But, with the aforementioned history of relievers for the Red Sox, there is always a wary eye to be cast. In this case, the trepidation is born from Thornburg’s right elbow injury that made him miss six months in 2014 and was treated with Platelet Rich Plasma injections.
“We feel good about it,” said Dombrowski of Thornburg’s health. “We looked at the medicals, reviewed them very thoroughly. It’s one of those situations where it looks like the PRP worked and like how it’s supposed to be. Last year, he didn’t miss any time. Pitched back to back days and held his velocity all year long so we feel good about it.”
Thornburg’s over-the-top delivery might lead some to continue their concern, but it also has paved the way for devastating movement on a fastball that lives between 94-97 mph. And with the results garnered after a permanent move to the bullpen in 2016, it wasn’t a tough sell for the Red Sox.
“He is somebody that we like a great deal,” Dombrowski told the local media at the MLB Winter Meetings, Tuesday morning. “We scouted him very thoroughly last year. He has nasty stuff. Did a good job for Milwaukee in closing games at the end of the year. We feel he’s a guy that projects to be a quality eighth-inning individual for us that can also close a game if needed. He gets lefties out as well as righties. He was what we were looking to try to find. We feel we gave up some good young players but it’s also a situation where I think stabilizing the bullpen for us in that eighth inning role has really been a necessity, something we really put our focus on. Now at the back end, you have guys like [Craig] Kimbrel and you have Thornburg and then you’re in a position where guys like [Joe] Kelly and [Matt] Barnes and [Heath] Hembree, in addition to anyone from the left-hand side.”
Dombrowski explained that the Red Sox’ interest in Thornburg dated back to before he became the Brewers’ closer for the final month of the season, with talks not really gaining traction until recently.
“This took place as far back in the summertime when they didn’t want to trade him,” Dombrowski said. “So right after the season going into the (GM) meetings when we start placing some phone calls. They were not interested in trading Thornburg. Then at the end of the GM meetings [Brewers general manager] David Sterns asked me, ‘Well one guy we have interest in as kind of being a key guy is Travis Shaw.’ Then when they signed [Eric] Thames they kind of backed off a little bit at that time. Then kind of rekindled once we got the deal. I think it was me that called them last week after the deal was made, the CBA deal was done, to touch base. We’ve been on the phone numerous times over the last five days starting back when I was in Boston to arriving here and then yesterday we had numerous conversations and trying to get the thing done.”
As for one of the relievers the Red Sox were counting on to reverse the trend of previous reliever transactions, Carson Smith, Dombrowski is optimistic the righty will be ready to contribute just about a year out from his Tommy John surgery.
“Some people and he are shooting to be ready for Opening Day. That’s what he would hope and he would like,” Dombrowski said. “And his progress has been good to date. But in my own mind, I really have tried to say more of June 1, which is about a year. And not even to put a specific date on that but I really don’t want to put any rush to have him pitch the eighth inning for Opening Day, for example. Having depth out there can only be beneficial. We saw what it did for us last year. All of a sudden we have Kimbrel and Thornburg and Kelly and Barnes and Hembree from the right-hand side. Carson Smith comes back, that’s a great situation to have.”
|12.06.16 at 12:04 pm ET|
The acquisition of reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers (in exchange for Travis Shaw and minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington), the Red Sox will be on the hook for whatever it costs to sign the first-year arbitration-eligible reliever. It presumably leaves the team wit about $6-7 million before bumping up against what they planned on maxing it’s payroll at heading into the season.
The Red Sox could now presumably make a deal involving starter Clay Buchholz, who is owned $13.5 million this season, and make a run at a high-end bat to help fill their DH/first base hole. But, speaking to the local media at the MLB Winter Meetings, Dombrowski said he is staying the course.
“It clearly now defines what our payroll spending will be for our setup guy. It puts us in a position where we have that type of knowledge of where we want to know,” Dombrowski said. “But I’m also not in a position to change our mindset that we want to go big dollars for a first baseman-slash-DH. It does give us the knowledge of where we need to go. Now we can kind of focus on other things.”
Dombrowski went on to say the Red Sox are indeed looking for a player who preferably hits from the left side and plays first base. Both free agents Mitch Moreland and Pedro Alvarez fit that description and have been linked to the Sox.
“I don’t know that we really have that person on board,” he said. “Brock Holt has played over there. We’ve talked about playing Pablo over there at some point. I can’t tell you 100 percent this would be the guy. It’s something we need to explore.”
|12.06.16 at 12:00 pm ET|
Now that Dave Dombrowski has his reliever, he’s turning his attention to a first baseman/DH, and defending Gold Glover Mitch Moreland is reportedly on his radar.
The free agent, who has spent his entire career with the Rangers, checks some boxes for the Red Sox. He’s left-handed, which Dombrowski wants in that spot, and he’s capable of not only playing first base, but playing it well, as evidenced by his 2016 Gold Glove.
What’s unclear is if Moreland would be willing to sign a short-term contract to fit what the Red Sox envision for the role. The team is looking for short years at short money to fill their DH opening, which manager John Farrell believes will rotate among players.
Moreland, 31, is coming off a down season offensively that saw him hit .233 with 22 homers and 60 RBIs. Two years ago, however, he batted .278 with an .812 OPS and was particularly effective against right-handed pitching (.294-.867, 18 HRs). His numbers against righties took a significant step back last year (.221-.700).
Moreland made $5.7 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility last season. The Indians are also reportedly in the mix.
News of the Red Sox’ interest in Moreland was first reported by Jeff Sullivan of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
|12.06.16 at 9:37 am ET|
OXON HILL, Md. — The Red Sox have seemingly taken care of their top offseason priority.
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have acquired hard-throwing relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers. Multiple outlets report that the Red Sox will be sending the Brewers infielder Travis Shaw, minor-leaguer infielder Mauricio Dubon and minor-league reliever Josh Pennington.
The 28-year-old Thornburg totaled a 2.15 ERA in 67 appearances for the Brewers in 2016, saving 13 games. He struck out 90 batters in just 67 innings, walking 25.
Thornburg, a third-round selection by Milwaukee in the 2010 draft, throws his fastball between 94-97 mph. He has had issues with his right elbow, having been shut down for a six-month period during the 2014 season, but found success (and health) once the Brewers committed to him as a reliever last season. (For more on Thornburg’s health, click here.)
Thornburg won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season. He is entering his first offseason of arbitration-eligibility.
(The Boston Herald was first to report a trade between the teams was happening, and the inclusion of Dubon. The Boston Globe was first to report the inclusion of Travis Shaw. Baseball America was first to report the inclusion of Pennington. FoxSports.com was first to report that Thornburg would be headed to the Red Sox.)
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