Archive for November, 2011

Red Sox announce select tickets on sale Dec. 10

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The Red Sox announced Wednesday that select tickets for the 2012 season will go on sale Saturday, Dec. 10, starting at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the ninth annual Christmas at Fenway event. Online registration begins Wednesday for Christmas at Fenway.

Tickets made available include select April and May games as well as four-game “Sox Pax.”

Hot Stove: David DeJesus reportedly reaches agreement with Cubs

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Outfielder David DeJesus has reportedly reached an agreement to sign with the Cubs, tweets’s Ken Rosenthal. He is expected to be Chicago’s starting right fielder. Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman reports that the deal is for two years and $10 million, with an option for a third year.

DeJesus spent last season with the Athletics, hitting .240 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs. Prior to his stint in Oakland in 2011, DeJesus played the first eight years of his MLB career as a member of the Royals. DeJesus batted .289 over the course of his time in Kansas City.

Rosenthal also tweeted that the Cubs are bringing in DeJesus to replace Alfonso Soriano, who Theo Epstein and the Cubs front office are trying to move. According to’s Jon Morosi, Epstein, as GM of the Red Sox, tried to acquire DeJesus from the Royals in 2010 before the left-handed hitter tore the tendon in his left thumb.

Kevin Millar on M&M: Bobby Valentine has to ‘create some kind of fear’ in players

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Former Red Sox player and current MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Mut & Merloni to give his take on Boston’s imminent hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager.

While it was reported last week that the managerial search had come down to Valentine and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, Millar said that Lamont never really had a shot.

“I think the writing was on the wall for the last couple of weeks,” Millar said. “I don’t think Gene Lamont was going to be in consideration at that point, and when I saw those two names, I thought Bobby V. was going to be the guy. It was just a matter of time and what goes on behind the scenes.”

Added Millar: “I think this will be a good situation for the Red Sox.”

It has been speculated that Valentine’s more hard-line approach toward players will be difficult for some of the Red Sox to adjust to after playing for Terry Francona. Millar said that while Valentine’s personality can hurt him, he might have changed since last managing in the MLB in 2002.

He hasn’t managed in, what, the last 10 years in the big leagues? We can all learn from our mistakes,” Millar said. “There is an ego there, that’s a fact. I think that’s Bobby’s downside. I think that’s what makes him not appealing to other clubs. But right now I think the man’s 61 years old, and of age, you get smarter, you learn some stuff, he’s been able to sit here and analyze the game on television. He’s coached in Japan for six years. He brings some of that fire that I think the city likes to see.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On how Valentine will deal with the players: “He wasn’t liked at times. But as a manager, you don’t have to be liked by everybody. I think you have to create some kind of fear. You have to fear somebody when you play this game.

“The best approach is to treat men like men, these are dads, these are baseball players, these are great athletes. There are some situations that need to be tightened up, whether that’s the conditioning situation, whether that’s the eyes in the clubhouse situation. One thing I don’t want is snitches. What happened with the [John] Lackey and the [Josh] Beckett and the [Jon] Lester, and all this stuff about beer and chicken: snitches. I don’t want anybody snitching.”


Red Sox had told players that they would not hire someone like Bobby Valentine

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

According to multiple industry sources, after the Red Sox parted ways with Terry Francona after the season, Red Sox officials told at least one player that the team had no plans to hire “someone like Bobby Valentine.” The implication was that the team did not anticipate hiring a manager who ran counter to the mold of a so-called player’s manager such as Francona, who typically tried to keep clubhouse matters in house.

The revelation offers a glimpse into what sources described as a shift that occurred as the Red Sox’ managerial search took place, leading to the announcement of Valentine in the coming days (once a formal agreement is reached, something that, as of this morning, has not yet occurred). Eventually, the Sox came to place greater emphasis on different attributes as the search unfolded, most notably, assigning more weight to the value of experience than had been the case at the start of the process. That, in turn, explained the emergence of Valentine and Gene Lamont as the two finalists for the position.

With Valentine specifically, the team found in its background research not just someone who had been subject to rifts with both players and front office members in New York, but also someone who had stepped in as interim manager at the end of the 1996 season with the Mets and helped the team improve from a 71-91 record in ’96 to an 88-74 mark in 1997.

Now, in the aftermath of a once-promising season that ended with a 7-20 September collapse that cost the Sox the playoffs, the team is hoping that Valentine will again prove the right fit to help restore order to a club.

Hot Stove: Giants reportedly trying to trade relievers Jeremy Affeldt, Ramon Ramirez

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The Giants are trying to trade relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Ramon Ramirez, as the team has a lot of money invested in the bullpen, tweets’s Ken Rosenthal.

Affeldt had his $5 million option for 2012 exercised by San Francisco in October. The 32-year-old left-hander had a 2.63 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 13 holds in 61 2/3 innings this past season. Ramirez, meanwhile, is set to earn $2.3 million in 2012 before entering free agency the next season. A 30-year-old right-hander, Ramirez posted a 2.62 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 11 holds in 68 2/3 innings in 2011. He pitched for the Red Sox in 2009 and part of 2010 before being traded to San Francisco for minor league pitcher Daniel Turpen.

With players like closer Brian Wilson and relievers Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla already in the bullpen, the Giants are looking to move Affeldt and Ramirez to free up payroll space. According to, the Giants bullpen will make a total of $23.25 million in 2012.

Among teams looking for bullpen help this offseason are the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays.

Valentine’s Day: Bobby Valentine to become next Red Sox manager

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Sixty days after the Red Sox parted ways with Terry Francona, the team has identified his successor. The long wait for a Red Sox manager has reached its conclusion. According to an industry source, confirming multiple media reports, the Sox expect to name Bobby Valentine the 45th manager in team history.

News of a verbal agreement was first reported by Mike Lynch of WCVB (via twitter). Multiple outlets suggest that a final agreement is not yet in place, however.

Colorful and controversial, Valentine has built a reputation as a brilliant dugout tactician who has been a polarizing figure for both players and front offices in the past. Yet there is little question that he represents a different managerial style from Francona, something that the Sox may have ultimately sought in order to provide the different voice that the former Sox manager himself suggested the team needed to engage the clubhouse.

Meanwhile, Valentine suggested that while he has resisted input from front offices in the past, he remains open to the idea of a partnership with the Red Sox’€™ baseball operations department.

‘€œI would expect it. I would hope for it,’€ Valentine said of input from a front office. ‘€œThis is a growth opportunity for me. ‘€¦ I know I’m old. The back of my card gives my date of birth, but I want to understand what’s going in my life, and my life is baseball. I’ve been outside the information age of baseball for the most part.’€

Valentine spent eight years as the manager of the Rangers from 1985-92, going 581-605 (.490) and never reaching the playoffs, finishing as high as second place once. He spent one year managing in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1994, but was fired after that season.

He then joined the Mets in late-1996 and spent the next six full seasons in New York, going 536-467 (.534). While the Mets never won the NL East, they twice reached the postseason as a wild card, advancing to the NLCS in 1999 and then reaching the World Series in 2000, where they lost to the Yankees.

Valentine was fired by the Mets after the 2002 season. He returned to manage Chiba Lotte, guiding the Marines to both the 2005 Japan Series title and the Asia Series. His second run in Japan lasted six seasons, but Valentine was let go by the Marines after 2009. At that point, Valentine elected to return to the U.S. in hopes of landing one last managerial job in Major League Baseball. (more…)

Hot Stove: Astros get permission to interview Rays GM Andrew Friedman

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Just a couple of days after the of firings general manager Ed Wade and team president Tal Smith, the Astros have set their sights on who many consider to be one of the best general managers in baseball. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Astros have received permission to interview Rays GM Andrew Friedman.

Houston will also interview Rangers executives Thad Levine and A.J. Preller, but it appears that Friedman is the top choice for new team owner Jim Crane and president/CEO George Postolos. While it will be difficult to pry Friedman away from the Rays, they may be banking on the fact that Friedman is a native of Houston and grew up rooting for the Astros.

Friedman was hired as Director of Baseball Operations for Tampa Bay in 2004 and was quickly elevated to GM in 2005. Under his guidance, Tampa was rebuilt from a perennial bottom-feeder into a contender in the AL East. Friedman was named Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2008 after the Rays won the AL East for the first time in franchise history.

Hot Stove: When might the Cubs make Matt Garza available?

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Last winter, under former GM Jim Hendry, the Cubs made a surprisingly bold trade with the Rays for right-hander Matt Garza. In exchange for the 27-year-old (as well as minor leaguer Zach Rossup and outfielder Fernando Perez), the Cubs gave up highly regarded right-hander Chris Archer and shortstop Hak-Ju Lee (both of whom were ranked as top 100 prospects entering 2011 by Baseball America), along with briefly legendary outfielder Sam Fuld (a top defensive outfielder), outfielder Brandon Guyer and catcher Robinson Chirinos.

At the time, the Cubs were looking to capture three pre-free agent seasons of Garza, a right-hander with the stuff to handle AL East lineups, thereby making him a good candidate to dominate in the National League Central. And Garza largely lived up to that expectation. Despite a 10-10 record (a reflection of his team rather than his individual performance), he had a 3.32 ERA while striking out a career-high 9.0 batters per nine innings and walking 2.9 per nine frames. He also gave up fewer homers than ever (0.6 per nine innings). (more…)

Ron Johnson finds a job as manager for Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate

Monday, November 28th, 2011

According to the Baltimore Sun, former Red Sox first base coach Ron Johnson will become the manager for the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate for the Baltimore Orioles. Johnson, who was let go by the Sox after the 2011 season, replaces former Red Sox catcher Gary Allenson, who had managed the Tides for the previous five seasons.

It is a return to the International League for the 55-year-old Johnson, who managed the Pawtucket Red Sox from 2005-09. He was originally brought into the Red Sox organization by current Orioles GM Dan Duquette in 2000.

Hot Stove: Rays reportedly sign catcher Jose Molina to replace traded John Jaso

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The Rays’ catching situation had been in a state of flux Sunday after they traded starting catcher John Jaso to the Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke, but according to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Rays took a step toward replacing Jaso Monday when they agreed to terms with veteran backstop Jose Molina.

The 2012 season will be Molina’s 13th in the major leagues, and he has won two World Series championships during his career. The first came in 2002 with the Angels, and Molina most recently earned a World Series ring with the Yankees in 2009. Molina spent the last two seasons as a backup catcher for the Blue Jays.

The 36-year-old seems to be a backup option for the Rays since he has played less than 60 games in the last three seasons. Molina is not a standout slugger, as he is a career .241 batter with a .286 OBP and 29 career home runs. Despite his lackluster abilities at the plate, however, Molina remains a decent defensive catcher. He caught 27-of-70 runners in steal attempts during his time with the Blue Jays and led the league in caught stealing percentage in 2008 and 2010.

Molina is the middle brother of the Molina brothers catching trio. Older brother Bengie last played for the Rangers in 2010, and younger brother Yadier plays for the Cardinals.