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Red Sox mourn passing of Lou Lucier, who had been oldest living Red Sox player 10.20.14 at 2:44 pm ET
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The Red Sox released the following about the passing of former pitcher Lou Lucier, who played with the team in 1943-44:

The Boston Red Sox mourn the loss of former pitcher Lou Lucier, who passed away on Saturday, October 18.  At 96 years, six months, and 25 days old, Lucier was the oldest surviving Red Sox player.  He had suffered a stroke earlier this month.

A native of Northbridge, MA, he is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter.

The right-hander played parts of three seasons in the major leagues.  He came up through the Red Sox’€™ farm system and pitched for Boston from 1943-44, compiling a 3-4 record with a 3.97 ERA in 79.1 innings over 19 games.  In 14 appearances with the Phillies from 1944-45, he went 0-1 with a 2.21 ERA.

Lucier was among the 213 former Red Sox players, managers, and coaches who took part in Fenway Park‘€™s 100th Anniversary celebration in April 2012.  He last visited Fenway Park on August 17 for the annual Red Sox Alumni Day gathering.

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, October 21 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at Jackman Funeral Home in Whitinsville, MA.  The funeral mass will take place on Wednesday, October 22 at St. Patrick’€™s Church beginning at 11:00 a.m.

With Lucier’€™s passing, the oldest living former Red Sox player is now Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, who was born on April 7, 1918.  A nine-time All-Star second baseman, Doerr played his entire 14-year career for the Red Sox from 1937-51 and missed the 1945 campaign due to military service.  Below is a list of the 15 oldest living former Red Sox players. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bobby Doerr, lou lucier,
What does Yoenis Cespedes’ agency change mean for prospects of an extension? 10.20.14 at 2:32 pm ET
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Yoenis Cespedes will now be represented by Roc Nation Sports. (Getty Images)

Yoenis Cespedes will now be represented by Roc Nation Sports. (Getty Images)

Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has changed agents, moving to Roc Nation Sports from Wasserman Media Group. Roc Nation Sports is the same agency that represented Cespedes’ Red Sox teammate, Rusney Castillo, whose $72.5 million deal through 2020 represents the largest guarantee ever to a free agent from Cuba without prior big league experience. As with Castillo and fellow Roc Nation client Robinson Cano, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports will serve as the point of contact for baseball contracts involving Cespedes.

Cespedes has one season left on the four-year, $36 million deal he signed with the Athletics prior to the 2012 season, a deal that was negotiated by Adam Katz of Wasserman and that positioned Cespedes to arrive at free agency after the 2015 season, at an age (he turns 30 in October 2015) when power hitters rarely are available. The contract permits Cespedes relatively unfettered entry into free agency, as it specifies that he will be released after 2015, a procedural move that means that he will not be subject to a qualifying offer — and, accordingly, that a team that signs him in free agency won’t have to give up a draft pick.

Cespedes, who turned 29 on Saturday, has hit .263 with a .316 OBP, .464 slugging mark while averaging 24 homers and 87 RBIs a year in his three big league seasons with the A’s and (following his trade for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes on July 31) Red Sox. He hit .260/.301/.450 with 22 homers and 100 RBIs in 2014, posting a .269/.296/.423 line in Boston. Both his 100 RBIs and his 152 games played in 2014 represented career highs.

Given that Cespedes is one year from free agency, it’s natural to wonder how the agency switch impacts the possibility of the outfielder signing an extension with the Sox. In short: It probably doesn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: roc nation sports, Yoenis Cespedes,
Red Sox to open hitting coach interviews with Tim Hyers, Rich Gedman, Paul Sorrento 10.13.14 at 7:33 pm ET
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According to an industry source, the Red Sox wil begin interviews this week of both internal and external candidates for the position of their lead hitting coach. The initial candidates who are scheduled to be interviewed include Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator Tim Hyers (who served on the big league staff this summer while hitting coach Greg Colbrunn recovered from a brain hemorrhage), Double-A hitting coach Rich Gedman and Angels hitting coordinator Paul Sorrento (who served as the Halos’ interim hitting coach while hitting coach Don Baylor was sidelined by surgery). The Sox are considering an interview of one additional internal candidate, while the team plans to add to the list of candidates going forward.

The Sox are searching for a hitting coach after Colbrunn stepped down following the year. Colbrunn is deciding whether to seek a job closer to his year-round home in Charleston, S.C., or to take the year off.

Read More: paul sorrento, rich gedman, tim hyers,
Long before he threw 100: Hunter Strickland’s Red Sox tenure recalled 10.06.14 at 10:39 am ET
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Hunter Strickland was pitching for Single-A Greenville in 2009 when the Red Sox traded him to the Pirates. (Billy Crowe/Greenville Drive)

Hunter Strickland was pitching for Single-A Greenville in 2009 when the Red Sox traded him to the Pirates. (Billy Crowe/Greenville Drive)

It has represented a parenthetical remark to an extraordinary emergence. Hunter Strickland, the Giants reliever who has been unleashing 100 mph comets in the postseason (including in his 18th-inning save on Saturday night/Sunday morning in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Nationals), was once a Red Sox.

But when he was with the Red Sox, he didn’t resemble the fire-breathing late-innings force that he’s suddenly become in the past five weeks for the Giants.

Strickland was an unheralded right-handed in Georgia when the Sox drafted him in the 18th round of the 2007 draft and signed him to a low six-figures bonus. Area scout Rob English liked the young pitcher’s arm action, pitcher’s build (he was a sturdy 6-foot-5) and particularly his outstanding makeup. English felt that Strickland might grow into a bit more velocity beyond the 90-ish he was showing as an amateur, and that if he got close to the big leagues, his work ethic and drive would permit him to thrive.

That said, Strickland never got close to the big leagues while in the Sox system — or, until this year, anyone else’s. In parts of three seasons in the Sox system — a pro debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2007, an assignment to Short-Season Single-A Lowell in 2008 and three and a half months with Single-A Greenville in 2009 — he proved a solid performer, going 10-9 with a 3.66 ERA. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adam LaRoche, Greenville Drive, hunter strickland, kevin boles
Billy Beane says A’s wouldn’t have made playoffs without Jon Lester trade 10.02.14 at 5:46 pm ET
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Billy Beane insisted that the deal to acquire Jon Lester from the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes was the right one. (Getty Images)

Billy Beane insisted that the deal to acquire Jon Lester from the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes was the right one. (Getty Images)

At the time, the trade sending Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A’s in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes sent shockwaves through the baseball landscape. Those continue to reverberate more than two months later.

The A’s season came to a startling halt on Tuesday night, when Lester could not hold a 7-3 advantage that he carried into the eighth inning, with Oakland eventually falling, 8-7, to the Royals in extra innings. The July 31 deal between the A’s and Red Sox had long been controversial in Oakland given the plummeting productivity of the A’s lineup, which averaged 3.5 runs per game while going 22-33 following the trade deadline, going from the best team in the majors and a two-game lead in the AL West to losing 12 games to the Angels in the division and barely holding on to edge out the Mariners by one game for a wild card spot.

But Beane disputed the notion that the trade was the cause of his team’s collapse down the stretch.

‘€œSimply put,” Beane told reporters in Oakland, “if we don’€™t have Jon Lester, I don’€™t think we make the playoffs.’€

Lester was 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts with the A’s, pitching at essentially the same dominant level at which he’d been performing with the Sox prior to the trade. Cespedes likewise performed at a comparable level with the Sox (.269/.296/.423) that he did prior to the trade with the A’s (.256/.303/.464).

Beane suggested that the Angels’ dominance over the season’s final two months would have made it impossible for the A’s to keep pace in the division, regardless of whether or not the trade had occurred.

‘€œOne thing I’€™m going to say right now,’€ Beane told reporters, ‘€œthe Angels were going to catch us. They played nearly .700 ball from a certain point on.’€

Marlins president David Samson: Giancarlo Stanton will be on 2015 Marlins 09.30.14 at 3:13 pm ET
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Marlins president David Samson told the Miami Herald that the team plans to discuss a long-term extension with outfielder Giancarlo Stanton — who hit .288 with a .395 OBP and .555 slugging mark while leading the National League with 37 homers despite missing the final weeks of the season after getting beaned by a pitch — this coming offseason. That said, Samson also said that the team would not consider trading Stanton even in the absence of a long-term deal.

“He’€™s on this team [in 2015] either way,” Samson told the Herald. “I can’t wait until after the season to sit down with Giancarlo and [agent] Joel Wolfe and talk about contract. We’€™re ready. We want him to be a Marlin well past his arbitration years.

“We hope that he believes in us and believes in Miami and believes in the direction of this team and recognizes that he has a chance to be the leader of a successful team for many years to come.”

Stanton, 24, is under Marlins team control for two more years before he’s eligible for free agency following the 2016 campaign. He made $6.5 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2014.

Read More: giancarlo stanton,
Ben Cherington, John Farrell take stock of a season gone awry, and where the Red Sox go from here 09.29.14 at 3:52 pm ET
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On the one hand, Ben Cherington is the architect of a World Series winner. On the other hand, he’s steered the team to a pair of last-place finishes that have bookended that triumph.

Good luck reconciling those drastically different conclusions to the three years of Cherington’s GM tenure. Of course, Cherington is not interested in reconciling those finishes. He’s interested in avoiding further repetitions of seasons like 2012 and 2014. The fact that he has not represents a failure of sorts.

“It’s hard. It’s been hard on us, the extreme outcomes. Obviously I like the upside, but the downside is hard to deal with, painful for everyone, and it’s not at all what we want to be. It’s not at all what I’ve said we want to be in the past,” said Cherington. “We want to build something that’s got a chance to sustain and be good every year. I don’t think — you can’t plan on a World Series every year, but we ought to be planning on winning teams and contending teams and teams that are playing meaningful games in September and getting into October more often than not, so obviously, based on the results of the last three years, we haven’t accomplished that yet.

“We need to figure that out and find a way to do that. I still believe that we will,” he continued. “I believe that there are too many strengths in the organization not to do that, but we have to sort of, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves honestly what we can do to make sure that happens. That will be a big part of the offseason and moving forward. It’s a very competitive landscape, I think, in baseball. I think the talent is more evenly distributed than it was 15, 20 years ago. So we’re always going to need talent. We’re going to need good players. We’re going to need to construct the roster well. And then we also need to look for every other possible area of competitive advantage. If we do well enough in all of those areas, it will lead to what we want. We haven’t gotten there yet.”

Manager John Farrell likewise grimaced that the 2013 World Series triumph felt “longer ago than just one year.”

The struggles of the team’s young position players — most notably, Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. — played a meaningful role in contributing to that volatility (though it would be a mistake to point solely to that group, given the lackluster production that came from elsewhere).

Did the Sox rely too heavily on prospects? Cherington answered that question by offering context for how the team ended up with three young position players. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, christian vazquez, John Farrell, mookie betts
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