|Report: Yankees will not pursue Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields, Pablo Sandoval||11.04.14 at 10:59 am ET|
It’s no secret the Red Sox will be very active this offseason in their pursuit of free agents.
Usually the Yankees are as well, but according to a N.Y. Daily News report, the Yankees have no plans to target four free agents the Red Sox could be potentially going after — Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields and Pablo Sandoval.
The report says the Yankees are interested in bringing back two of their own free agents in pitcher Brandon McCarthy and third baseman Chase Headley. Since they were traded to the Yankees during the season both players cannot be offered a qualifying offer. McCarthy went 7-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 14 starts after being traded to the Yankees from the Diamondbacks, while Headley hit .262 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 58 games after coming over from San Diego.
|Terry Francona agrees to 2-year contract extension with Indians||11.04.14 at 8:56 am ET|
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona was under contract with the Indians until following the 2016 season, but now he will be around a little longer as the Indians and Francona have agreed to a two-year contract extension through 2018. The contract also includes club options for 2019 and 2020.
Francona has managed the Indians for two seasons and led them to a 92-70 record in 2013 before falling in the Wild Card play-in game. He did win the 2013 American League Manager of the Year Award. This past season the Indians finished with a 85-77 record, but missed the playoffs. He now has 1,206 career wins, the fourth-most wins among active big league managers.
The Indians are the third team Francona has managed. He spent four years with the Phillies from 1997-2000 before spending eight seasons and winning two World Series titles with the Red Sox from 2004-11.
Here are Francona’s thoughts on the extension:
|Ben Cherington: Yoenis Cespedes’ agent switch ‘not going to change position’ of potential new contract||10.30.14 at 8:56 pm ET|
It has been an interesting week for all things related to Yoenis Cespedes.
A report in the N.Y. Daily News came out saying with Cespedes switching agents to Roc Nation, that “increased” the chances of the Red Sox trading him this offseason with Roc Nation, like it did with Robinson Cano, seeking a larger, long-term contract.
The report also said, “[Cespedes] marches to his own drum and the coaches all hate him.”
When the Red Sox traded for Cespedes at last year’s trade deadline they knew his contract status — a free agent after the 2015 season without the chance to give him a qualifying offer. Cherington said Cespedes changing agents isn’t going change the Red Sox‘ stance of possibly signing him long-term.
“We evaluated [the trade] based on having him a year-plus,” Cherington said. “I think to put in anything more than that would have been presumptuous and not would have made sense in terms of our evaluation of that field versus the alternatives we had at the time. We look at it as OK we have him for a year-plus. Once we have him, we’ll get to know him and we’ll see if it makes sense to talk about a contract past 2015.
“So now that we’ve had him, we have a sense of who he is and the change in agents is not going to do anything to our perspective on that. It’s not going to change our position on it. Obviously right now he is under contract for next year and we are looking forward to having him in the lineup next year.”
“I was surprised,” he said. “I think most of the people in the office, and John — we were talking about all sorts of stuff each day to gear up for the offseason and we saw that and it was a surprise because of the words that were used and it was so far from anything any of us had heard. John said what he said and I would echo that.
“We were excited to get Yoenis at the deadline and he fit in very quickly we thought in the clubhouse. He’s an extremely talented guy, an important guy for our team, an important guy for our lineup. All we’re trying to do is put him in the best position to succeed and to maximize his ability. We think he has the ability to be a terrific impact player for us and in baseball for a long time. We’re trying to help him be that guy and we really enjoy having him. The article was surprising on that front.”
|Yoenis Cespedes will immediately bolster power-starved Red Sox outfield||08.01.14 at 10:11 am ET|
There is no question the Red Sox were lacking power in their outfield, as going into Thursday the team was last in the American League with a .344 slugging percentage among outfielders and a major league-low 14 home runs.
With the trade for righty-hitting Athletics slugger Yoenis Cespedes, this will change in a big way.
The 28-year-old is hitting .256 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs this season after belting 23 and 26 home runs in his first two seasons in the majors, all while playing his home games in the pitcher-friendly confines of O.co Coliseum. He’s also won the All-Star Home Run Derby the past two seasons.
The lack of outfield power was something that led the Red Sox to Cespedes.
“We think he will thrive — he is a guy we’ve gotten to know a bit when he signed and we had a chance to scout him ourselves in the Dominican before he signed,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “We obviously followed him during his time in Oakland. He is someone who seems comfortable on the stage given his performances in different events and whatnot, the postseason. It’s a really powerful dynamic player in his prime that in our ballpark and in the outfield, we will probably take a look at him in right field and see how he looks out there. He obviously can play center and left, too, but we will take an opportunity to see how that looks.
“He’s obviously a power bat who hits the ball out to all parts of the park and should benefit from Fenway. He’s going from a ballpark in Oakland that doesn’t help right-handed power hitters quite as much as Fenway does, so we’re excited to have him. He’s clearly someone we don’t have. As we were going through the options, finding someone we didn’t have was appealing to us.”
|With additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, what will Red Sox outfield look like?||07.31.14 at 10:20 pm ET|
With the addition of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, the Red Sox outfield is a crowded one.
In addition to the newly acquired players, the team still has Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava, Mike Carp and super-utility guy Brock Holt.
General manager Ben Cherington gave some clarity to how that will work when speaking Thursday night, as he said Cespedes will play right field, despite never playing there in the majors, and Craig will man left field.
“As far as the alignment goes, it looks like right now [Victorino] is going to miss some time,” Cherington said. “He is still fighting some back stuff. Since he is probably going miss some time, we will use that time to try and acclimate Cespedes to right field. Even though he hasn’t played there in the major leagues, he’s played there in the past in Cuba, but not in the major leagues and more likely Craig in left field. We are not writing anything in stone where that goes in the future, but we’d like to get both guys acclimated in that way and we will see where we are.”
Holt, who has played every position except pitcher and catcher this year, will continue to play the super-utility role, just not as much corner outfield.
“I think that’s something John [Farrell] will decide, I think you’ll see him used much the same way he has, moving him around, playing a lot,’ Cherington said. “Outfield, infield, that’s something John will figure out. He’s earned a lot of playing time. I expect he’ll continue to get it.”
With Victorino likely headed to the disabled list, Bradley Jr. should expect to see the same amount of playing time in center, with Holt filling in to give him an occasional off day. Nava, who has hit much better from the left side, .288 compared to .122 from the right side, could be used to give the right-handed hitting Craig or Cespedes a day off here and there. Carp, who returned July 8 from a broken foot, has only started in games at first base since. There is also a chance the club could look to make a waiver trade or even DFA him, as he requested a trade prior to the deadline.
No matter what happens, there will be plenty of excitement in the outfield as Cespedes and Bradley Jr. have two of the best arms in baseball as the two each have 12 outfield assists on the year, which leads both leagues.
|Shane Victorino ‘possibly’ headed to DL||07.31.14 at 9:01 pm ET|
Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino was pulled from Wednesday night’s game with the Blue Jays in the fifth inning. Following the game, manager John Farrell said it was as a precaution due to “a little bit of change in his gait.”
On Thursday it was learned that the right fielder could be going on the disabled list for the third time this season.
“It looks like right now [Victorino] is going to miss some time,” general manager Ben Cherington said in his press conference Thursday night. “He is still fighting some back stuff.”
Later he added: “[DL’ing Victorino] is a possibility,” when asked about creating roster spots for the players traded for Thursday. “We’re waiting on a little more information on Vic, but it’s possible it could be a DL.”
Cherington said Yoenis Cespedes is going to start his time with the Red Sox in right field and Victorino going on the disabled list likely would give Cespedes everyday time at the position.
Victorino has played in just 30 of a possible 108 games this season. He was playing well since his return from the disabled list on July 19, hitting .343 (11-for-32).
|Stephen Drew trade opens door for Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks to shine||07.31.14 at 8:52 pm ET|
Is Xander Bogaerts a shortstop or is he a third baseman? Is Will Middlebrooks still considered a major league player?
Those were the questions asked when Stephen Drew was re-signed by the Red Sox in late May. Bogaerts was shifted from his natural position of shortstop to third base with the hope of improving the team, thus leaving no room on the roster for the 25-year-old Middlebrooks.
With how poorly the team has performed of late and the focus now towards 2015, general manger Ben Cherington and Co. made it one of their priorities to get Bogaerts back to playing shortstop and Middlebrooks back to playing third base regularly at the major league level.
“One of the things we wanted to do if we could was find a way to let [Bogaerts] go back to short and give him an opportunity to play there a lot the rest of the way and give Middlebrooks the opportunity to come up and play a lot at third,” Cherington said Wednesday. “Both those things will happen partly as a result of the [Stephen Drew] trade — not that other guys won’t be in the mix at those spots, too. That was one of the things we wanted to try and accomplish the rest of the way.”
|Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz explain being thrown out on bases in 1-run loss to Orioles||07.06.14 at 9:11 pm ET|
In close losses, players always look back on a few plays here or there that could have gone differently and changed the outcome in the game. A few of those plays occurred for the Red Sox on Sunday, especially on the bases.
In a 6-6 game with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dustin Pedroia lined a single to right-center. With David Ortiz up, Pedroia attempted to steal second base and was thrown out on a close play by catcher Caleb Joseph. The Red Sox challenged the call but lost.
“In that situation [Pedroia] probably slid a little bit early,” manager John Farrell said. “I think, in that situation, we’re trying to be aggressive, trying to add 90 feet. We had a key on [Brad] Brach, the pitcher on the mound at the time. Unfortunately we came up a half a hand short.”
There were some questions asked after the game if attempting to steal was the right decision, as if Pedroia reaches second base the Orioles could have intentionally walked Ortiz with first base vacant.
“I’m trying to score, man,” Pedroia said. “If they walk David, whatever. Trying to get into scoring position to win the game, that’s it.”
Farrell also defended the move, noting the club was just trying to get a runner into scoring position for the game-winning run.
“No guarantee of a base hit in that situation, but we’re trying to get a man in scoring position when we’re in the middle of the order,” Farrell said.
Ortiz then walked and Mike Napoli struck out to end the inning.
|David Ortiz on not being named to All-Star team: ‘There are a couple of guys ahead of me this year at my position’||07.06.14 at 8:21 pm ET|
For the past four summers and nine of the last 10, David Ortiz has had one thing certain — a trip to Major League Baseball‘s All-Star Game. This July will be a little different, as for the first time since 2009, Ortiz will not be making the trip to the Midsummer Classic. But, it’s something the designated hitter accepts and was in favor of.
“All-Star Game is you know, something that you have a lot of choices and there are a lot of guys doing really well,” said Ortiz. “Me and John [Farrell] had a conversation. I’m a big fan of guys that have a really, really good first half making the All-Star Game. There are a couple of guys ahead of me this year at my position.
“Me and John had a conversation about it and he asked me how I felt and I was like, ‘I just don’t feel like taking those guys’ places.’ I don’t think it’s fair to guys like Nelson Cruz and Victor [Martinez] and [Edwin] Encarnacion having an unbelievable season. They don’t have that many All-Star Games that I have. So, you just keep it real. Having a better season than what I am having and they’re well-deserving.”
Ortiz is hitting .261 on the year with 19 home runs and 55 RBI.
Farrell, the AL’s manager this year, also spoke of the conversation the two had and ultimately Ortiz was in favor of the manager’s decision to leave him off the roster.
“There was a couple of conversations that led up to the selection of it,” said Farrell. “When you start to look at those who have been voted in both by the fans and by the players and then you get a stack of guys at each position — and then had a chance to talk to David and felt like the four days of rest might be more advantageous to him. And he was a pro about it, spoke his mind and really had a lot of input into the decision.”
|Closing time: Red Sox bullpen allows 5 runs in loss, spoiling 5-run comeback against Orioles||07.06.14 at 6:42 pm ET|
Uncharacteristically, the group allowed a total of five runs in the Red Sox‘ wild, 7-6, extra-innings loss to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon.
Burke Badenhop and Junichi Tazawa allowed four runs on six hits in the seventh inning to allow the Orioles to take a 6-1 lead — this following another shaky but quality outing from Jake Peavy.
“They strung some hits together,” Farrell said of the top of the seventh. “This is a very good hitting lineup that we’re going up against. That same part of the order, once again as it was the case last night, they’re able to string some base hits. They use the whole field. Combination we tried to throw at them didn’t slow them down.”
Following a dramatic rally to force extra-innings, the Red Sox eventually fell in the 12th inning when Edward Mujica allowed a run in his second inning of work. David Lough tripled to lead off the inning and then was driven in by J.J. Hardy on a single to left for the game-winning run.
This put a damper on a terrific seventh-inning rally, as the Sox scored five runs to tie the game at 6 at the time. David Ross started things by clubbing his fifth homer of the season to the triangle in right-center. Then the Sox had a string of five straight hits off Orioles relievers as Xander Bogaerts, Daniel Nava, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli all collected RBI singles in the inning.
“I thought our guys did a tremendous job in that seventh inning to come back and erase a five-run deficit,” Farrell said. “We get five consecutive base hits, strung some hits together finally to mount that inning.”
The Red Sox dropped two of three to the Orioles over the weekend and fell to 39-49, 10 games below .500.
Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox‘ loss.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— After recording his first hit in 27 at-bats in the bottom half of the third inning, Bogaerts didn’t carry over any momentum to the field as his throwing error allowed the first Orioles run to score in the top of the fourth.
Nelson Cruz led the inning off with a double, and then Delmon Young hit a grounder to third. Bogaerts double-pumped and airmailed his throw into the Red Sox dugout, allowing Cruz to score from second base.
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