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Red Sox ‘not close’ to catching any fish in offseason ocean 11.12.14 at 5:53 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

PHOENIX – One of the biggest names of this offseason is now off the board with Victor Martinez having reportedly agreed to re-sign with the Tigers. Similar news about Red Sox offseason moves is not likely in the coming days.

GM Ben Cherington said that he “would not expect” the Red Sox to sign anyone this week. While the GM Meetings serve a useful purpose in terms of giving teams a chance to exchange information with teams and agents, they typically offer a springboard for more advanced conversations after the meetings break up.

“We’re working on stuff so there’s always a chance of getting something done, but I can’t predict [whether anything will happen prior to the December winter meetings]. … It’s really still more gathering information, looking at conceptual ideas, different permutations. We’re not close on anything, but we’ll continue to have those talks and see where they go,” said Cherington. “I think everyone still is really doing the same thing. You can put free agent possibilities and trade possibilities in the same ocean and everyone is swimming in that ocean, trying to figure out what fish they can catch. The deeper we get into the offseason, the closer teams get to the fish they want and seeing which ones they throw in the boat. We’re not close to doing that right now.”

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Ben Cherington on Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop and bullpen building at 5:26 pm ET
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PHOENIX — GM Ben Cherington said that the Red Sox have some interest in the idea of a reunion with left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. In some ways, the 29-year-old seems like an unlikely fit to come back given that some teams might want him to close, and give him money typically conferred upon closers.

The Sox do not have an opening for that role in their bullpen with Koji Uehara having signed a two-year deal earlier this month. Still, Cherington didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing back the pitcher who netted them left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez at the trade deadline. Miller had a 2.02 ERA with 14.9 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings in 72 appearances (62 1/3 innings) in 2014.

“We can add to the bullpen. We’ve got resources to add to the bullpen,” said Cherington. “He’s a free agent, obviously. He’s been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball for the last couple of years. We would have interest, but like anyone else who goes to free agency, he’s going to go through his process and see what’s out there. We’ve got a lot of respect for him, and he performed really well for us.”

Cherington said that the team would prefer to have at least two left-handers in its bullpen, and that the club believes it has internal candidates (presumably including Tommy Layne, Edwin Escobar and Drake Britton) for one of those spots, but may look to add to the candidates for the left-handed bullpen group. That doesn’t necessarily mean adding a high-end option like Miller, however, as Cherington noted that teams have used roster competition as an effective mechanism for building a bullpen corps in the past.

“Relievers can come out of nowhere,” said Cherington. “You have to be open to that kind of thing.”

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Ben Cherington: Deven Marrero drawing ‘steady interest’ 11.11.14 at 6:01 pm ET
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Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

PHOENIX — Whether by coincidence or design, Deven Marrero talk seems to be gaining steam with each passing day at the general managers’ meetings.

With Marrero excelling in the Arizona Fall League — hitting .333 with a .446 on-base percentage as of Tuesday — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was asked about the status of the 24-year-old, former first-round pick.

“There’s just been steady interest,” said Cherington of his young shortstop. “These things have a way of working themselves out, but guys who can play that position at a high level and produce a little offensively, those are valuable guys, they’re good bets to have good major-league careers, so we like having them.”

Marrero was deemed major league-ready defensively by the organization during his spring training stint with the big league club. It was his offense which seemingly needed development, having hit .291 in 68 games with Double-A Portland before totaling just a .210 batting average in 50 games with Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Because of who he’s coming after, maybe he doesn’t always get as much attention as some other guys that we have do, but he’s had a very steady progression,” said Cherington, citing Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “You can go back to this was a high-profile guy in high school, always a talented defender at Arizona State, he performed through the minor leagues, he performed in Arizona. A shortstop with really good defensive skills who’s got some ability with the bat. We’re glad to have him.”

(For Alex Speier’s look at how Marrero might compare to Brandon Crawford of the World Champion Giants, click here.)

Read More: ben cherington, deven marrero, gm meetings, Red Sox
Ben Cherington: Yoenis Cespedes’ agent switch ‘not going to change position’ of potential new contract 10.30.14 at 8:56 pm ET
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Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

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.”

Appearing on the Hot Stove show with Mike Mutnansky, Rob Bradford and Alex Speier, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington shot down both those claims.

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.”

Cherington, like manager John Farrell, was “surprised” by the report of the coaches not liking Cespedes.

“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.”€

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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
Ben Cherington on D&C: Rusney Castillo not elite, ‘but just good in a lot of categories’ 09.18.14 at 9:47 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about Rusney Castillo and how the team plans to rebuild for 2015. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Castillo made his major league debut in Wednesday night’s 9-1 loss to the Pirates, going 1-for-4. Cherington said the outfielder isn’t the kind of player who will shine in any one area, but the overall package is one that can be of value to the team.

“Just a good major league outfielder,” Cherington said. “I think what attracted us to him through the scouting process was just that he has kind of a broad base of skills. We think he can hit, he’s got some power, he can run, he can play defense. So this is not a player that you can say is elite in any one category, but just good in a lot of categories, and the sum of that adds up to what we hope is a good player.

“I don’t know if there’s a particular player comparable, but we certainly believe he can be a very good major league outfielder and part of a good team.”

Cherington would not commit to saying Castillo is pegged to be the team’s starting center fielder for 2015.

“We just haven’t gotten that far,” Cherington said. “As you guys know, we like to have two center field-caliber outfielders on the team at any time. I think our best teams have had that. Sometimes one of those guys plays right field, and sometimes one of those guys plays center. We just don’t know what the alignment’s going to be.

“I think we feel like having Rusney along with Jackie [Bradley] and Mookie Betts and the rest of the group — but those three in particular just because of the long-term control we have on those guys — gives us a better chance to have the outfield alignment we’re looking for over the long haul.”

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Rusney Castillo on joining Red Sox: ‘I’m just ecstatic to be here’ 08.23.14 at 10:49 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo still is learning his way around Boston.

But the 27-year-old Cuba native knows enough that playing in Boston is unlike any other city in the majors.

“It really means a lot for me to be a part of such a historic organization. I’m just ecstatic to be here,” Castillo said through Red Sox translator Adrian Lorenzo, answering the first question he was asked during his introductory news conference at Fenway Park after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Mariners.

Castillo said there was no debate about coming to America once he talked it over with his family.

“It really wasn’t that difficult of decision to make because I had a lot of support from my family back home,” Castillo said.

Castillo left immediately after the press conference to head back to Miami, where Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the player will stay while the team works on his work visa in the States. Once the paperwork is finished and cleared, Castillo is expected to make the trek across Florida to Fort Myers, where he will report to the player development complex for work, something that is crucial at this point since he hasn’t played competitively in some 18 months.

Castillo said he has spoken to fellow countryman Yoenis Cespedes about what it will take to adjust to playing in the majors, especially in Boston.

“So actually, I’ve spoken to Cespedes a little bit about this,” Castillo said. “He made me aware that it’s the same game we’ve played in Cuba. Success here will come down to working and grinding on a day-to-day level.”

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Read More: aroldis chapman, ben cherington, Boston Red Sox, Cuba
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