|Trying to make sense of Yoenis Cespedes’ situation||10.27.14 at 12:02 pm ET|
October has not been kind to the public perception of Yoenis Cespedes.
Trade rumors. Surfaced concerns over his game. And now a report suggesting that not only would the Red Sox hesitate offering the four- to five-year deal they had been contemplating offering due to Cespedes’ switch in agents, but that (according to a “Red Sox insider”) “he marches to his own drum and the coaches all hate him.” (To read the entire New York Daily News report, click here.)
Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at the reality of Cespedes’ situation.
When last we saw the Red Sox left fielder, he was catching a bit of heat for some poorly played balls in left field while finishing his two-month stint in Boston with five home runs, 33 RBIs, 48 strikeouts, seven walks, four stolen bases, a .269 batting average, a .296 on-base percentage and a .719 OPS.
His new fan base loved his arm and ability to supply a much-needed commodity for an offense devoid of timing — the ability to drive in runners when it counted, hitting .338 with a .907 OPS with two outs and runners in scoring position (for the season).
Cesepdes also seemingly supplied some additional protection for David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup, while possessing the much-needed skill set of being able to hit a baseball over the fence.
And, as was the case in Oakland, he was a popular figure in the Red Sox clubhouse among his teammates.
But there were other factors that didn’t make a long-term commitment to the outfielder a no-brainer.
The initial issue came when, after the Red Sox publicly gushed about the notion that Cespedes would be using his excellent side-to-side speed in right field at Fenway Park, he never played a moment at the position. Instead, there were a few days of shagging balls next to Pesky’s Pole before abandoning the workouts in right altogether.
|Chili Davis: Yoenis Cespedes ‘has greatness written all over him’||10.23.14 at 9:45 pm ET|
In a conference call introducing Chili Davis as the new Red Sox hitting coach, the former A’s instructor talked about how he viewed one of his former player’s in Oakland, Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes and Davis were together since the outfielder’s arrival with the A’s up until his trade to the Red Sox at the non-waiver trade deadline this past season.
“Cespy is a special player, just a very special player with a lot of talent,” Davis said. “We saw that in Oakland and I’m sure that’s why they brought him here from Cuba and put him right into the big leagues. Big game guy, loves the noise, loves the lights. I feel like we formed a relationship but we weren’t quite finished building that relationship from the relationship we formed it wont be that difficult to pick up where we left off. As far as I’m concerned and I told him this to his face, he has greatness written all over him. He does. He does everything, he can run, throw, hit for power.
“It took him a while to get comfortable in Oakland as well but once he gets comfortable there there’s no telling what he might put up in a season as a player. He’s just, to me, I think he can be a great player. It’s all up to him, whether or not he wants to be there. But I think he has the ability to be a great player.”
Here are some of the other topics discussed on the call:
— John Farrell cited the organization’s (and his own) familiarity with Davis and being a key in bringing him on board: “It goes back to the person Chili is. You all will get to know him firsthand. This is someone that, setting aside a great playing career, it’s someone that cares about the individuals that he’s working with ultimately to make them better and to make us better. You’re talking about an incredible playing career, an incredible message, the person and the genuineness that Chili is, our players will feel that immediately. Some have already from their time in Pawtucket. It was the person that drew us to him, the experience we had with him back in 2011. We were teammates a number of years ago. Knowing him personally, knowing what our needs are here, this is an ideal fit with Chili joining our staff here in the organization.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Craig Breslow not optimistic about option being picked up||10.23.14 at 3:46 pm ET|
As time ticks toward the Red Sox having to make a decision on Craig Breslow’s contract, the reliever remains realistic.
The Red Sox have until five days after the completion of the World Series to decide whether or not to exercise Breslow’s $4 million option for 2015. The 34-year-old lefty is coming off a disappointing season in which he totaled a 5.96 ERA in 54 1/3 innings over 60 appearances.
“If you were to strictly look at 2014 with blinders without what had happened previously and what you might expect to happen going forward, $4 million is probably a hefty price tag,” Breslow said by ph0ne Thursday afternoon. “But I think if he look at the body of work from 2008-13, you can better appreciation for the pitcher that I’ve been and the pitcher that I will.”
He added, “If they were to decline it I would be a bargain for somebody and I’ll pitch to the value of the contract.”
Breslow noted his representatives had been in preliminary contract discussions with the Red Sox toward the end of the ’14 season.
The reliever seemingly never recovered from the workload of pitching through the Red Sox’ ’13 World Series run. Not only did he delay his throwing program due to the 993 pitches thrown during the championship season, but upon arriving in spring training it was determined his shoulder strength was still lacking.
Breslow wouldn’t pitch at throughout the club’s stay in Fort Myers, not making his ’14 big league debut until the 10th game of the season.
“Only having December and January to get ready becomes problematic,” he said.
From ’08-13, Breslow pitched in more games (392) than any lefty reliever, except Matt Thornton, totaling a 2.82 ERA, while limiting hitters to a .224 batting average.
The Connecticut native plans on spending the majority of his offseason working out at Mike Boyle’s training facility in Woburn.
|Mike Napoli slated to undergo surgery for sleep disorder||10.14.14 at 12:22 am ET|
The procedure is slated to be performed Nov. 4.
“I’ve been dealing with sleep apnea for a long time, my whole career,” Napoli wrote in a text to WEEI.com. “I’ve tried numerous things and none of them worked. Dental mouth piece, CPAP machine, medicines … It’s just gotten to the point where I have to get this done.”
Despite significant injuries to his finger, toe and back, Napoli will not undergo any other surgical procedures other than the one to correct his sleep disorder.
|Torey Lovullo no longer in running for Rangers job||10.13.14 at 10:33 pm ET|
According to a major league source, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo has been told he is longer under consideration for the Texas Rangers managing job. Also being told they were no longer under consideration for the position was former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora.
Lovullo is still being considered by the Minnesota Twins for their vacant managerial position.
The Red Sox bench coach has interviewed for three managing jobs this offseason, having also met with the Houston Astros prior to the hiring of A.J. Hinch.
|The man who was almost Red Sox general manager: Kansas City’s Dayton Moore||10.10.14 at 7:06 am ET|
Kansas City? Not so easy.
There is however one prominent name with the Royals who almost played an enormous role in Red Sox history: Dayton Moore.
It was nine years ago that the Kansas City general manager ‘ and then-Atlanta Braves assistant GM ‘ almost became the man who ran the show for the Red Sox.
“We always like to confirm our judgment about people,” said Red Sox president Larry Lucchino Thursday. ‘”It pleases me that a guy like this got his chance to make good, and it sort of confirms that maybe we were on the right track.’”
The track that Lucchino and the Red Sox found themselves on following the ‘05 season was one that possibly could have landed Moore as Theo Epstein‘s replacement.
Moore, — who has been the Royals GM since ‘08 — was brought in for an interview by the Red Sox during Epstein’s hiatus (which was brought on by a dispute with Lucchino over power within the organization).
While his name wasn’t well known at the time, Moore did have an ally within the Red Sox decision-making power structure.
“He was a guy who [former assistant to the GM] Bill Lajoie had touted from time to time to me,” Lucchino said. “During that [strange time], I was talking to Bill during that period.
“We had come to trust Bill’s judgment and experience. During that period he had pressed for us to interview Dayton Moore, and we did. He was a player personnel guy, but he had no GM experience or even administrative experience that I could remember. He was a player evaluator, which is of course what I consider to be the most important job when hiring a guy. How to evaluate player talent is No. 1 on the list.”
Moore had made his mark with the Braves working under longtime GM John Schuerholz. And while the Red Sox brought in others during Epstein’s absence ‘ such as former Montreal general manager Jim Beattie ‘ the then-38 year old was perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch for the Sox.
“He seemed like a precise kind of guy, and you add that to his reputation as an evaluator, you see someone who is going to almost inevitably be a GM,” Lucchino noted.
In the end, the uncertainty of the situation was not conducive to making the hire.
Sometime after the interview, Moore took his name out of consideration, with the Red Sox ultimately filling in the Epstein-free gap with assistant GMs Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington.
Clouding the process was also a divide within the Red Sox upper-management/ownership as to whether or not to move on from Epstein at al from the time. (“Some of us thought about it,” said Lucchino when asked if there was an impetus to hire a GM from outside the organization during Epstein’s leave.)
“It was all part of the unusual dynamic that was going on at that point,” Lucchino said. “If it was a clean, simple process I think you would have had an even better shot.”
Moore would get his shot with his hometown Royals. And after a somewhat rocky road (toiling through four losing seasons before the last two campaigns), he finds himself in a pretty good place.
|Russell Martin wouldn’t mind playing in Boston||10.09.14 at 7:21 am ET|
The chances that Russell Martin signs with the Red Sox this offseason aren’t good. But that doesn’t mean such a move shouldn’t be discussed, particularly when the player represents a potential solution to a potential problem.
“It’s definitely a place to consider if the option is there,” Martin told WEEI.com during a late September interview.
Martin is far and away (not even close) going to be the best catcher on the free agent market, having hit .290 with 11 home runs and an .832 OPS (.401 on-base percentage). Pittsburgh will likely offer the 31 year old the $15.3 million qualifying offer, having already stated they will stretch their payroll in an attempt to re-sign the backstop. (Some reports have stated Martin has already been offered a four-year deal from the Pirates.)
The likelihood is the Red Sox lean on Christian Vazquez for the majority of the games in 2015. The potential issues with that road, however, is the uncertainty regarding the righty hitter’s offense, and what you get to complement the young backstop.
Here are the free agent catchers not named Russell Martin: John Buck, Ryan Doumit, Gerald Laird, Wil Nieves, A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross and Geovany Soto. Nick Hundley ($5 million) and Jeff Mathis ($1.5 million) both are living under club options.
Switch-hitting Blake Swihart isn’t perceived to be quite ready for big league duty, having played 18 Triple-A games.
That leads us back to Martin.
Team sources suggest it is unlikely the Red Sox go hard after Martin, feeling he will want to go to a team guaranteeing catching around the 120 games he has averaged over the past four seasons. But they did previously explore the Canadian native’s services prior to the 2011 season before he inked a deal with the Yankees.
“I think with the injury I was coming back from, the hip injury, I think [the Red Sox] doctors were concerned and the Yankees were a bit more aggressive,” he remembered. “I think that’s what it came down to.
“It’s a great baseball town. People love their baseball. For the most part they’ve always been competitive. They’ve got a great team. [Dustin] Pedroia is one of personal favorites. I love the way he competes so it would be a pleasure playing with him.”
If the dynamic with Vazquez does change, and the Red Sox view Martin as one of the solutions for their offensive woes, there might be a built-in recruitment tool — Pedroia.
Martin has known the Red Sox second baseman since the two played in the Arizona Fall League for Scottsdale, with the duo working out together sporadically throughout recent offseasons. (Martin was part of a collection of players that included Pedroia, Conor Jackson, J.J. Hardy and Howie Kendrick who met at Andre Ethier’s Arizona home for daily workouts.)
“One of the first times I ever met [Pedroia] he was playing ping-pong with somebody and I thought he was joking around, the way he talking to the person he was playing against. He was just super feisty and cocky and everything,” Martin recalled. “It was just funny to see him go at it. It was just funny to see somebody as competitive, if not more competitive, than me. He can definitely dish it out. I just like to be there to listen.”
An in-season reunion for the two isn’t likely, but with free agency fast approaching, the Martin conversation — one involving one of the top free agents and a team boasting a significant chunk of money — is at least interesting think about.
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