|Red Sox OF Rusney Castillo likely done in Arizona Fall League; Puerto Rico in question||10.28.14 at 3:27 pm ET|
Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo, who suffered a bruised thumb and hand when getting jammed by a pitch on October 20 in the Arizona Fall League, remains sidelined, with the team and player working to determine the course of action for Castillo going forward this winter.
At this point, while multiple industry sources suggest that Castillo will simply need rest to treat the injury, a sidelining that was initially characterized as day-to-day has grown to the point where it’s likely unrealistic that Castillo will continue play in the Arizona Fall League. Indeed, there is a chance that the 27-year-old will not play in the Puerto Rico Winter League, though a determination on that front has yet to be made by Castillo and Red Sox officials.
Castillo, who signed a contract in August that runs through 2020 for $72.5 million, is hitting .278 with a .333 OBP and .361 slugging mark with three doubles, three walks and six strikeouts in 39 plate appearances for the Surprise Saguaros. He was named to the AFL Rising Stars team.
He’s up to a total of 125 plate appearances (39 in the AFL, 40 with the Red Sox in the big leagues, 46 in the minors after signing). The Sox had outlined a goal for Castillo of accumulating approximately 200 plate appearances by the time he concludes his first professional tour, though given his current time on the shelf, that goal may be in some jeopardy. The Caguas Criollos (the team for which Castillo is scheduled to play in Puerto Rico) open their schedule on Thursday.
|Red Sox talking to Koji Uehara; qualifying offer unlikely||10.28.14 at 9:59 am ET|
Tick, tock. Free agency looms.
The World Series will conclude either on Tuesday night (if the Giants win) or on Wednesday (if the Royals win Game 6 to force a winner-take-all Game 7). Hours after baseball crowns its next champion — thus formally displacing the Sox from the titlist pedestal — free agency will commence officially.
With it, as of 9 a.m. EDT the day after the World Series, players eligible for the open market can start to engage in informal talks with all 30 baseball teams. Free agency begins with a so-called Quiet Period during which the only formal offers to a free agent can come from the team with which he finished the 2014 season; after five days, the other 29 teams can start discussing contract terms with players.
The Red Sox have a handful of free agents-to-be. Most notable among them is closer Koji Uehara.
Uehara was amidst a second straight year of brilliance, forging a 1.27 ERA while converting 26 of 28 save opportunities, through August 15 before his season hit a considerable pothole. In the span of six outings, he allowed 10 runs, two more than he allowed in his other 58 appearances of the year. Though he closed out the year with three scoreless appearances in the season’s final three weeks, the blip essentially doubled Uehara’s ERA from 1.27 to 2.52, the second-worst mark of his career as a full-time reliever.
Still, the Sox made little secret of the fact that, despite the fact that he’s 39 and suffered some performance slippage, given the evident return of Uehara’s stuff in those final few outings, they wanted to bring back the pitcher who was one of the cornerstones of the 2013 championship. The team wants late-inning strike-throwers with swing-and-miss stuff. Uehara clearly, dazzlingly, fits that bill. He is the only pitcher in big league history with four seasons (min. 30 innings) in which he has a strikeout-to-walk rate in excess of 10-to-1; no one else has more than two. His 9.0 strikeouts per walk in his career represent easily the best such ratio in big league history (min. 200 innings); Giants free agent-to-be Sergio Romo is second on the list with 5.5 strikeouts per walk. Read the rest of this entry »
|Jackie Bradley Jr., Dustin Pedroia and Yoenis Cespedes finalists for AL Gold Glove||10.23.14 at 5:58 pm ET|
Three members of the Red Sox were named finalists for the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, which recognizes one player from each league at each position. Three-time winner Dustin Pedroia was named a finalist along with Robinson Cano of the Mariners and Ian Kinsler of the Tigers. Jackie Bradley Jr. was named a finalist in center field along with Adam Jones of the Orioles and Adam Eaton of the White Sox. And Yoenis Cespedes, acquired in midseason from the A’s, is a finalist in left field, along with Michael Brantley of the Indians and reigning winner Alex Gordon of the Royals.
Fangraphs had Pedroia as the major league leader by a considerable margin in UZR. John Dewan’s Plus/Minus system had Pedroia as second to Kinsler in both runs saved and defensive plays made above average.
Fangraphs had Bradley leading the American League, also by a significant margin, in UZR, while Dewan’s system had Bradley behind only Leonys Martin of the Rangers in runs saved (14), but placed him behind Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson of the Royals as well as Eaton in plus/minus.
Though Fangraphs had Cespedes being below average in range, his howitzer of an arm permitted him to rank second in the AL (behind only Gordon) in UZR, according to Fangraphs. Dewan’s runs saved system likewise pegged Cespedes as the second most impactful left fielder in the AL with 12 runs saved, behind only Gordon’s 27.
Arguably short-changed as a nominee for the second straight year: Mike Napoli, who according to Dewan, ranked third in the AL to a pair of Orioles (Steven Pearce and Chris Davis) in first base runs saved and led the AL with 10 plays above average. Fangraphs pegged Napoli as having the third best UZR (behind Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira) in American League UZR.
|John Farrell: Red Sox ‘looking forward to [Yoenis Cespedes] being part of our offense going forward’||10.21.14 at 6:23 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an interview on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, suggested that the notion that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes — acquired from the A’s at the trade deadline for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes — is being shopped had promoted him to “chuckle a little bit.” Farrell said that Cespedes remains in the team’s plans for 2015.
“I did see some of the reports and the rumors that are out there and I can tell you this: For the two months that Yoenis was with us he was a main member of our lineup, his work ethic was strong and very consistent,” said Farrell. “We did talk about the potential of a shift to right field because of our configuration. But when you look at the emergence of Mookie Betts, the addition of Rusney Castillo, the return of Shane Victorino, we want to put guys in the best position to succeed. And with the guys that we just mentioned in addition to Daniel Nava we’ve got a number of right field candidates. Allen Craig is also in the mix. So I kind of chuckle a little bit at some of the reports that were out there about Yoenis. And we’re fortunate that he’s on our club and very much looking forward to him being part of our offense going forward.”
Farrell said that, while the team was interested in the idea of having Cespedes in right field when it acquired him based on his potential outfield range, the idea of such a move is currently “on hold,” an approach the team decided to pursue in order to permit Cespedes to achieve comfort with his new team rather than introducing multiple variables (new team, new position) simultaneously.
“He has played center field. He has not played right field. And we felt that it was best for a player that comes in mid-year to find a way to get him on his feet with a new club, to get comfortable as best possible,” Farrell told MLB Network Radio. “We talked about it, how do we make the best situation of Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes. It was a discussion point. The range of two guys, particularly in our ballpark, you would say are reversed ‘ Allen Craig in left, Yoenis Cespedes in right. Allen did get injured with the foot and went down for some time so we tabled that and then thought, you know what, if we’re going to look to do this, depending on what players are on our roster and what’s the best team for the Red Sox, we would address it in spring training if it needed to be. But, like I said, with the addition of others guys and as well as Shane Victorino, who is rehabbing right now, that move to right field is on hold.”
Farrell also spoke enthusiastically about Chili Davis, whom the team has tabbed to be its next hitting coach.
“We’re extremely excited to have Chili with us. I think there are some details yet to be finalized but, you know, Chili obviously worked here in the past back in 2011 in Pawtucket, so there’s some initial relationships already in place with a number of the guys that are on our roster,” Farrell said. “When you consider the pedigree that he is, the player that he was, how successful he was, how he’s been able to transfer some of those skills’most of those skills’into a hitting coach now, his ability to connect with guys I think is one of the strong suits, as well as a long playing career that gives him a tremendous amount of reference to give his experiences to guys he’s going to be working with.”
|Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo day-to-day in Arizona Fall League with bruised hand/thumb||10.21.14 at 5:44 pm ET|
Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo, currently in the Arizona Fall League to get at-bats in preparation for an everyday big league role in 2015, left Monday’s game after two plate appearances due to a bruised hand/thumb from getting jammed while hitting. Castillo is considered day-to-day.
Castillo, who signed a contract in August that runs through 2020 for $72.5 million, is currently hitting .278 with a .333 OBP and .361 slugging mark with three doubles, three walks and six strikeouts in 39 plate appearances for the Surprise Saguaros. He’s up to a total of 125 plate appearances (39 in the AFL, 40 with the Red Sox in the big leagues, 46 in the minors after signing) with a goal of accumulating approximately 200 plate appearances by the time he concludes his first professional tour, which will wrap up with an assignment in the Puerto Rico winter league.
|Red Sox mourn passing of Lou Lucier, who had been oldest living Red Sox player||10.20.14 at 2:44 pm ET|
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 »
|What does Yoenis Cespedes’ agency change mean for prospects of an extension?||10.20.14 at 2:32 pm ET|
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 »
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