|John Farrell on D&C: ‘I believe in and I like the talent that we have’ on pitching staff||02.25.15 at 11:09 am ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell checked in with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning to talk about the outlook for the team this season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The biggest question mark as spring training begins is the pitching staff, with the lack of a true No. 1 starter.
“We all know that there’s a label that certain pitchers have earned. But I tell you this: I feel very good about the five that are in the rotation,” Farrell said. “There’s talent. There’s some question with the bounce-back capability of Justin Masterson, with an injury late in 2013 that seemingly affected last year; Clay Buchholz‘s durability, consistency, comes to mind, but when he has been healthy he’s pitched equivalent to a No. 1; and, to me, Joe Kelly, who’s got the stuff to be that type of guy — we’ve got to extend his overall innings workload.”
Kelly’s name has been mentioned as perhaps the most likely candidate to be the team’s top starter.
“I think Joe Kelly’s got the ability to go I think a step up as he’s learning himself as a pitcher. He’s got the best stuff in our rotation,” Farrell said. “You’re looking at a guy who’s mid- to upper 90s with a very good breaking ball, a strong, competitive streak that we saw in the starts that he made for us last year. I’m going to talk optimistically, there’s no doubt about it, because I believe in and I like the talent that we have.”
“I wouldn’t agree with that,” Farrell said. “Everyone certainly has the right to their own opinion. But having been with Clay for a number of years now, he loves to compete. He loves to be the best to his abilities. Now, there’s been some things that have held him back, and durability over the course of a career to date has come into play here a little bit. But I can tell you this: He’s driven and he’s got — as we all do — a lot of motivation coming off the year we just finished.”
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘My job is pretty much the same that it has always been’||02.25.15 at 10:07 am ET|
Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by for a visit with Dennis & Callahan from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday morning and downplayed reports that his power may have been diminished in the front office. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Red Sox minority owner Michael Gordon has increased his importance since purchasing more shares of the team, but Lucchino explained that Gordon’s role is more crucial with Fenway Sports Group than the day-to-day operations of the Red Sox.
“Mike plays a new and different role than he played the first few years since he acquired a much greater interest,” Lucchino acknowledged. “John addressed that yesterday. Very active in FSG matters, particularly Liverpool. But we use him as a consultant on Red Sox matters. He’s got a terrific financial mind.”
As for Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy questioning if Lucchino is “losing a power struggle at Fenway,” Lucchino brushed off that assertion.
“He may hear rumors that he believes. Believe me, I can’t explain Dan Shaughnessy’s machinations, nor do I try,” said Lucchino, who turns 70 in September. “I certainly am getting older, that’s a fact of life. At some point there will be some changes. But I don’t know what Dan’s sources are and where he’s getting that.”
Lucchino is one of the members of the group that purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox, adding to speculation that he might be looking for another venture as he eases out of his role with the parent club. He says that’s not the case.
“It’s pretty much been the same situation that we’ve had for 14 years except that Mike is more involved now, his role in FSG has expanded,” Lucchino said. “But no, my job is pretty much the same that it has always been. And even the new Pawtucket responsibilities will be more advisory and ballpark-oriented and will not change my day-to-day job.”
|Report: Former Sox coach Wendell Kim dead at 64||02.16.15 at 8:52 am ET|
Wendell Kim, who served as Red Sox third base coach from 1997-2000, died Sunday at the age of 64, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Kim was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease following his retirement from baseball 10 years ago.
Kim played minor league ball for the Giants in the 1970s and then coached in the organization’s minor league system in the 1980s. The diminutive Hawaiian moved up to the majors and coached for the Giants from 1989-96 before joining the Sox for four years.
He left Boston to serve as manager of the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Indianapolis. After one season, he returned to the majors, becoming the bench coach for the Montreal Expos. He moved on to the Cubs in 2003 and served as third-base coach for two seasons before leaving the game for good.
Known for his aggressiveness in sending runners home, Kim was nicknamed “Windmill Wendell” and “Wave ‘em in Wendell.”
Kim reportedly started suffering short-term memory loss while with the Cubs, and his situation worsened as he was taken care of by his family in Arizona.
|Former Red Sox coach Don Bryant dead at 73||01.28.15 at 1:52 pm ET|
Bryant, a former major league catcher best known for catching Don Wilson’s no-hitter for the Astros against the Reds in 1969, spent his final three seasons in the Sox’ minor league system. He was a player/coach for Triple-A Pawtucket under manager Darrell Johnson in 1973, and when Johnson was promoted to manager in Boston in 1974, Bryant followed him.
Bryant also followed Johnson when he was hired to be manager of the Mariners in 1977, serving there until 1980.
|Curt Schilling to D&C on Hall of Fame balloting: ‘I can’t spend my time being concerned about people’s opinions of me that I’ll never meet’||01.07.15 at 10:46 am ET|
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday, after falling short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the former Red Sox star said he believes some writers won’t ever vote for him because of his political leanings. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Schilling received 39.2 percent of the vote, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Four players were elected: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio and former Sox star Pedro Martinez, whose surprisingly low 91.1 percent result was more evidence to Schilling that something is wrong.
“The process isn’t flawed; stupid people do stupid things,” Schilling said. “I’ve seen so many in the past, voters making their vote into a news article, protesting this or protesting that, except just voting the player on his playing merits. And that’s normal, I guess, because we’re human, we all have bias, we all have prejudice. When Pedro gets 91 percent, that tells you something’s wrong.”
A case could me made that Schilling’s statistics are comparable to those of Smoltz, yet the Braves legend received 240 more votes. Schilling said Smoltz deserves enshrinement, but he noted that Smoltz’s political views are more consistent with many media members.
“I think he got in because of [Greg] Maddux and [Tom] Glavine. I think the fact that they won 14 straight pennants. I think his ‘Swiss army knife versatility,’ which somebody said yesterday, I think he got a lot of accolades for that, I think he got a lot of recognition for that. He’s a Hall of Famer,” Schilling said. “And I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat and so I know that, as a Republican, that there’s some people that really don’t like that.”
A proud conservative, Schilling has been outspoken in his support for Republican candidates. He also received heavy criticism when he moved his video game company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to take advantage of government assistance and then the company went bankrupt.
Schilling said there’s no question that he would have received more votes had he been more mainstream in his beliefs and less outspoken and controversial.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Listen, when human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice. Listen, 9 percent of the voters did not vote for Pedro. There’s something wrong with the process and some of the people in the process when that happens. I don’t think that it kept me [out] or anything like that, but I do know that there are guys who probably won’t ever vote for me because of the things that I said or did. That’s the way it works.”
|Wade Miley on Hot Stove show: ‘You can’t tell me Babe Ruth ever stopped eating gluten’||12.19.14 at 11:24 am ET|
New Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley checked in with Rob Bradford, Alex Speier and Mike Mutnansky on Thursday’s Hot Stove show, and the left-hander clarified his view of the gluten controversy with his former team, the Diamondbacks. To hear the interview, go to the WEEI audio on demand page.
Miley said his initial comments about the Diamondbacks pushing him to eliminate gluten from his diet were overblown.
“I said something a little sarcastic and I guess it got taken a little further than it needed to be taken,” Miley said. “They did not require you to be gluten free. They would like you to be a little healthier than I would think, than I would expect, but no, they definitely don’t require you to be gluten free. They just really worry about your health a lot.”
Added Miley: “I’m a big fan of old-school guys. You can’t tell me Babe Ruth ever stopped eating gluten.”
Asked what food he was most hesitant to give up, Miley responded, “Fried chicken.”
The 6-foot-0, 220-pound Miley is known for his durability, as he’s pitched 200 innings each of the past two seasons, after going 194 innings in 2012. While his ERA climbed from 3.33 in 2013 to 4.34 last year, Miley said he was surprised that the Diamondbacks were ready to move him.
“I had heard about some of the rumors, but I really didn’t think much of them,” he said. “Those things happen. I guess Arizona’s in the rebuilding stage and whatever they’re trying to do. I was looking forward to going back to Arizona and trying to win there, and then bam, just like that, things just got a little heavy. And I really didn’t know what team it would be, but I talked to a few people and they said looks like I’m going to get traded. And then Boston hops in the picture and then it happened.
“It was kind of nuts, those three days. It was a little drawn out more than I thought it would be. I’ve never been traded, so I didn’t really know the process it would be. It was kind of stressful a little bit, but it all worked out for the best.”
|Red Sox acquire RHP Anthony Varvaro from Braves||12.17.14 at 12:33 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they have acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Varvaro from the Braves, sending minor league right-hander Aaron Kurcz and cash to Atlanta. Varvaro had been designated for assignment Monday.
A five-year MLB veteran, the 30-year-old Varvaro went 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 2014, holding opponents to a .228 batting average. In 61 relief appearances Varvaro had a career-high 50 strikeouts vs. just 13 walks. He also set career marks for walks per nine innings (2.1) and hits per nine innings (7.6).
Kurcz, acquired from the Cubs in 2012 as compensation for Theo Epstein, pitched in Double-A Portland this past season, going 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 22 walks in 34 games.
|Jon Lester to Red Sox Nation: ‘I understand the disappointment’||12.10.14 at 1:31 pm ET|
Continued Lester: Extremely difficult decision for me and my family but we love the outcome and couldn’t be more excited to join the Cubs organization!
To Red Sox Nation, I understand the disappointment. Boston will always have a big place in my heart and we'll always consider y'all family!
— Jon Lester (@JLester31) December 10, 2014
Extremely difficult decision for me and my family but we love the outcome and couldn't be more excited to join the Cubs organization! #NVRQT
— Jon Lester (@JLester31) December 10, 2014
|David Ortiz on MFB: ‘Red Sox still have the ball on the court’ in Jon Lester pursuit||12.05.14 at 1:28 pm ET|
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz checked in with Middays with MFB from his charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic and shared his thoughts on the team’s contract negotiations with free agent left-hander Jon Lester and other topics. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
“We know that this year, offensively, we were terrible,” Ortiz said. “We scored less runs than everyone else. That tells you as an owner, as a GM, if you don’t have no offense you’re going nowhere. An example of that is the Kansas City Royals. The best pitching in the game, but they still could not make it, and it’s because they need the offense.
“So right now I think if we go out there and get some pitching, we get my boy Lester on board and go out there and get another starter, I think things will look even better. And remember, this division, everybody’s getting tied up.”
Regarding the Sox’ chances of landing Lester, Ortiz said it might require the Red Sox to show their appreciation in ways other than money.
“All the conversations talking to Lester and stuff, I think the Red Sox still have the ball on the court. And it’s because we all know that Lester loves Boston,” Ortiz said. “And there’s something that we need to make up, and it was that painful trade … during the season. I know my boy’s feelings were hurt when he got traded. And the reason his feelings were hurt was because he loves Boston.”
Added Ortiz: “So I think it’s time for us to kind of make that up, and appreciate that the fact that this guy has been part of a couple of World Series. He has given everything he has. His playoff numbers are ridiculous. And he can demand whatever he deserves.”
|Buster Olney on MFB: ‘Really surprised’ about Pablo Sandoval choosing Red Sox over Giants||11.24.14 at 1:53 pm ET|
With the Red Sox reportedly close to finalizing deals to land Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, ESPN’s Buster Olney checked in with the Middays with MFB crew for an update and analysis of the situation. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
“I was really surprised,” Olney said. “I thought that if the bidding were close, knowing Sandoval’s history with the Giants, knowing the Giants’ history of re-signing their own players, I thought that he would go back there. I thought that if any team was going to pry Sandoval away from the Giants it was going to be with a huge offer that far outweighed what San Francisco was putting on the table, and yet the offer that the Giants were talking about, which was $95 million plus the promise if Sandoval came back to them and asked for more was for something in the range of $100 million, that Sandoval just decided, apparently, that with two equal offers he wanted to go to Boston. And the Giants actually asked him in the last 24 hours, ‘Look, is there something we can do?’ And the answer they got back was no. That part of it really surprised me.
“It doesn’t necessarily surprise me that the Red Sox would be in on Hanley Ramirez, because I think once he — through his agent, Adam Katz — got it out there that he was willing to change positions, I think people looked at him very differently. Because as I mentioned earlier today, it’s a market that’s so lacking in good offensive players. Hanley Ramirez stands out, especially when you take him out of Dodger Stadium, which is a notorious pitcher’s park. You put him in other places, he can really rake.
“So for the Red Sox to land both those guys, it’s going to be a very different-looking offense than last year when it always seemed like they were bringing a knife to a gun fight.”
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