|Dave Dombrowski defends his Red Sox track record on OM&F: You have to trade talent to get talent||04.13.17 at 11:58 am ET|
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has been criticized in some circles for his tendency to trade away top prospects and acquire pitchers with arm injuries. He defended his track record in Boston during an interview with OM&F Thursday.
When asked about all of the highly regarded young players who have left the organization, such as infielder Yoan Moncada and pitchers Michael Kopech and Anderson Espinoza, Dombrowski said you have to trade talent to get talent.
“I’ve never been cognizant of how people think you’re going to acquire good performers and not give anything up for them,” he said. “It doesn’t happen. That’s not how the game works. So if you want to be better, if you’re in a spot where, for example, we needed pitching in general a couple years ago. We made some moves to do that, and we traded some good young guys. But we also have some other good young guys not only on our big league club, but in our farm system. When you look down the road, I don’t see why you can’t have good clubs year in and year out.”
On three occasions over the last year, newly acquired pitchers experienced significant arm problems almost immediately after arriving in Boston. Reliever Carson Smith underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, setup man Tyler Thornburg is currently sidelined with an elbow injury and the team received incomplete medicals on left-handed hurler Drew Pomeranz.
Ace David Price is on the disabled list, too, less than two years after signing a $217 million contract. (Dombrowski told OM&F he still expects Price to pitch this season.)
While Dombrowski said the injuries are unfortunate, he also believes they’re unavoidable.
“I don’t remember the last time that we have acquired nor traded a player with a pristine MRI,” he said. “Your only chance is you’re dealing some young players. But with the sophistication we have with MRIs and the medical field nowadays, everybody has something. I think you just have to go back and you analyze those very thoroughly.”
Dombrowski added that pitchers’ medicals in particular are difficult to examine.
“I don’t know of a pitcher’s elbow that I’ve acquired in the last 10 years that you haven’t sat down and people have looked very thoroughly at it and said, ‘You know, there’s this, I don’t think it’s a problem.’,” he said. “A lot of difficulties you have to remember when you’re dealing with pitchers is, you’re not only examining what they show you, but you also deal with the ability of a pitcher to perform with what they have. Because a lot of pitchers have torn rotator cuffs. In fact, I’d say the majority of pitchers have some kind of tear in there. Some people can handle that, other people it bothers them more.”
|David Ortiz may not immediately agree to post-career role with Red Sox||04.03.17 at 9:12 am ET|
David Ortiz will be at Fenway Park this season when the Red Sox retire his No. 34 on June 23. But besides that, Big Papi may not be around too often during his first year of retirement.
In an interview Sunday on Comcast SportsNet’s “The Baseball Show,” team president Sam Kennedy said the organization may not work out a post-playing deal with Ortiz until late in 2017.
“We’d like to have a more meaningful role and helping him with his marketing partnerships, have him have a meaningful role with our young players. And so we’re talking through it,” Kennedy said. “There’s no rush to get it done, because at least according to him, he is not coming back. So we’re talking and I would expect we’ll get something done this year, but he’s really enjoying taking time off. He’s been traveling a lot. My understanding he’s going to be gone for sort of the first month of the half of April.”
Earlier this year, in an appearance on Boston Herald Radio, Kennedy floated the possibility of Ortiz joining the NESN team. Despite those overtures, the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reported last month Ortiz is undecided about his future in broadcasting. Finn says Fox Sports has also expressed interest in the slugger’s services. Ortiz was a part of the network’s 2014 World Series coverage.
On WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” Monday, Kennedy reiterated his desire to see Ortiz in the booth.
“I think [Ortiz] has mild interest in broadcasting,” he said. “I personally would love to see him on NESN. I think our viewers would love to see him on television. We’ll see if he wants to do that.”
Author’s note: this post has been updated to include Kennedy’s comments on K&C.
|Hanley Ramirez hasn’t cut his hair in five years||03.14.17 at 5:04 pm ET|
When Hanley Ramirez steps into the batter’s box, it’s difficult to ignore the long blond dreadlocks that seem to overtake his batting helmet. In a Boston Globe profile, Ramirez reveals the secret behind them.
Ramirez, who is one of the players tasked with replacing David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup this season, says he hasn’t cut his hair in five years. He also explains the reason why he doesn’t wear new helmets, instead opting to smear pine tar on his old ones.
“I don’t like new helmets,” he says.
At 33 years old, Ramirez is now an elder statesman on the Red Sox. He’s coming off an impressive bounce back season, in which he hit 30 home runs and knocked in 111 runs with an .866 OPS.
As a DH, Ramirez’s career track record is an even better than that. He’s batted .331 with a 1.014 OPS and 10 homers in 36 games at the position. If those numbers are an indication of how he’ll produce this season, Ramirez will only continue to win over Red Sox fans after a disastrous debut campaign in 2015.
If all goes according to plan, those blond dreads will take a lot of trips around the bases this summer.
|Clay Buchholz on Bradfo Sho: ‘Not surprised Red Sox traded me’||03.13.17 at 11:17 am ET|
Clay Buchholz says he wasn’t surprised when the Red Sox traded him to the Phillies last December. In fact, he was expecting it to happen sooner.
In an appearance on the Bradfo Sho, Buchholz said he knew he was probably going to be dealt when the team acquired Chris Sale.
“I knew when they [traded for] Chris Sale, I knew I was probably the odd man out. That’s just the scenario that popped up,” he said. “I thought if that was going to happen, I thought I was going to go somewhere involving in that trade. And that wasn’t the case. But coming to a place like [Philadelphia], this team’s been really good in the past, and a lot of people think this team is rebuilding, but for me coming in, looking from the outside perspective, there’s a lot of good talent here. I’ve been on teams that aren’t as talented as this team that we did pretty good. So that’s the way I’m looking at it. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong, and the veteran people in this clubhouse, I think that’s what we’re trying to instill in everybody that’s sitting here right now.”
Few Red Sox players in recent memory were as enigmatic as Buchholz, who was both dazzling and maddening during his decade in Boston. He debuted with a splash, throwing a no-hitter in his first career start against the Orioles in September 2007. But the following season, the right-hander struggled to get hitters out. He posted a a 6.75 ERA in 15 starts and was sent back to the minor leagues.
It was a harbinger of things to come for Buchholz, who made two All-Star appearances with the Red Sox but was also bumped from the rotation on a couple of occasions as well.
“I got sent down to Double-A in the middle of the  season and that was a shell-shock for me,” Buchholz said. “There was only two ways to go about it: Either suck it up, swallow your pride and get better, or you can sulk about it. I felt like I came back from that and that made me a better person, better player, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m still here today. I know that the bad times don’t necessarily define you as a player or person. You’ve got to learn from them, and I feel like I did a pretty good job of that for the most part. It’s tough to struggle at a game that you’ve never struggled at ever in your life, and that was the shell-shock of it. The first time I ever struggled was in the big leagues, and it’s hard to come back from that. But I found a way to do it, and here I am today.”
As a veteran player on a rebuilding Phillies squad, Buchholz says he hopes he can now be a role model for his younger teammates.
“I was blessed to get the opportunity to [play in Boston],” he said. I thought I knew going into it how hard the game was, but it’s a really humbling game. If you can play in Boston, I think you can pretty much play anywhere –– Boston, New York, where everything is magnified by quite a bit. That’s part of the game, that’s part of the reason why people play the game. You’re going to struggle –– and nobody wants to struggle –– but when the struggles come, it’s how you take it and how you learn from it. That’s the cool thing about being older now and being around the group of guys I’m around now. You’ve got a young crew of guys here, and if I can help in any way –– from my success in the past, from my failures in the past –– if I can try to preach a little bit about how to take it and what to look for and what not to look for, and go from there, that’s why I’m here.”
|David Price rants like a crazy person in bizarre Boston Globe interview||03.08.17 at 10:47 am ET|
David Price is the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history. And he’s losing his mind because of Twitter trolls and bloviating talk radio hosts. We’re witnessing the self-destruction of a man.
In a bizarre interview with Stan Grossfeld of the Boston Globe, Price laments the treatment he received in Boston last year. He led the league in starts and innings pitched, but also gave up more hits than any other starting pitcher as well. In his lone postseason outing, Price surrendered five runs over 3.1 innings. The Red Sox wound up getting swept by the Indians, and his career playoff record as a starter fell to 0-8.
Given Price’s astronomical salary, it was an underwhelming debut season. As a result, he faced some heat. The vitriol wasn’t immense –– Tom Brady’s Week 5 return against the Browns overshadowed the Red Sox’s October flop –– but his Twitter mentions probably weren’t pretty. Dan Shaughnessy wrote a mean thing about him in the Globe, too. If Price can’t handle that, imagine how he would’ve fared when the Red Sox were the No. 1 team around here.
Throughout his conversation with Grossfeld, it’s apparent Price is paranoid. He rants about Red Sox fans being out to get him, and bemoans sports writers for not learning about his charity. Nearly the entire interview should disturb Red Sox management, but the most troublesome exchanges are below:
Q. What is your passion?
A. I have a foundation, Project One Four. That’s one of the things that honestly chafed me about being in Boston — with the reporters, not one time did anybody take the time to get to know me or my foundation or anything I do away from the field?
Baseball writers get paid to cover Price as a baseball player. They don’t get paid to publicize his charitable endeavors. That may seem callous, but it’s the truth. It doesn’t bode well for Price if he doesn’t understand that.
Q. One of your heroes is Satchel Paige, right?
A. Oh yeah.
Q. So Satchel Paige always said, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.” So why are you still looking behind you on this 0-8 (playoff record) thing?
A. It’s what’s going to be said. If I say it first, what do you have to say about me? You have nothing to say about me personally. That’s the only thing you have to say.
|David Price mocks proposed new extra-innings rule on Twitter||03.06.17 at 11:02 am ET|
Count David Price among those who are opposed to starting extra innings with a runner on second base.
In a tweet Monday, the Red Sox hurler mocked the proposal rule change, which will be implemented during the World Baseball Classic. The first game of the tournament between Israel and South Korea went into extras, with the Israeli team scoring the upset win after an infield single in the 10th inning. During the WBC, teams will start with runners on second and first base from the 11th inning onwards.
— David Price (@DAVIDprice24) March 6, 2017
In addition to the WBC, the rule will also be tested in the low minor leagues this season. MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre told Yahoo! last month the change is supposed to shorten game times and save pitching staffs.
“Let’s see what it looks like. It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch. As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time,” he said.
It’s difficult to argue with Torre’s logic. Considering stadiums routinely empty out during extra innings, it seems like fans wouldn’t be against changing the format. But Price’s objection to the idea is a reminder of the uphill climb MLB faces whenever it wants to mess with tradition.
|David Ortiz reportedly undecided about announcing Red Sox games this season||03.03.17 at 9:09 am ET|
David Ortiz may not call Red Sox games after all this season.
According to the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn, Ortiz is undecided about what he wants to pursue in broadcasting. In addition to NESN, Finn says Fox Sports has also expressed interest in his services. Ortiz was a part of the network’s 2014 World Series coverage.
In an interview with Herald Radio last month, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy floated the possibility of Big Papi joining the NESN team.
“It’ll be fun to watch the next stage of his career,” Kennedy said. “He’s got a lot of different interests. Broadcasting is certainly one. It’d be interesting to see if he goes into national broadcasting. We’d certainly love to have him part of our local broadcast team on a limited basis. He wanted to dip his toe into that water.”
In a follow up conversation with the Globe, Kennedy said nothing is imminent. Regardless, Ortiz will be around Fenway Park this season. The team will retire his No. 34 on June 23.
|Dustin Pedroia on Bradfo Sho says he’s taken some training tips from Tom Brady||02.27.17 at 12:11 pm ET|
As an elder statesman on the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia says he now trains differently than he did as a young player. And he takes some of his cues from Tom Brady, the Benjamin Button of quarterbacks.
In an interview on WEEI’s Bradfo Sho, Pedroia extolled Brady’s approach to playing football. He also cited ways in which he’s carried over some of TB12’s techniques to his own training regimen.
“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia said. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age, and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles –– the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”
Instead of weight training, Brady focuses on muscle pliability. In a New York Times profile, he attributes his remarkable ability to stay on the field to his muscle’s elasticity. Brady hasn’t missed a single game due to injury since he tore his ACL in 2007.
After missing time at the end of the 2014 and 2015 campaigns, Pedroia played in 154 games last season. He posted his highest OPS since 2011, stopping a five-year decline. At 33 years old, Pedroia says he recognizes the pitfalls of intensive weight training, and the advantages that can be gained from living a healthy lifestyle.
“There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” he said. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more –– whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”
Pedroia didn’t reveal how much longer he wants to keep playing baseball, but did say he intends to honor the five years remaining on his Red Sox contract. Whether he keeps playing or not, it’s apparent Pedroia will continue to be cognizant of his body long after he hangs up the spikes. He wants to live until he’s in the triple-digits.
“I plan on living until I’m 100. So, we’re not even halfway home,” he said.
|Dave Dombrowski on Kirk & Callahan: John Farrell’s job was never in jeopardy last season||02.23.17 at 9:38 am ET|
Dave Dombrowski joins us now live from JetBlue Park! pic.twitter.com/a3SM6vtjDd
— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 23, 2017
At various points last season, there were questions about whether Red Sox manager John Farrell was on the brink of losing his job. But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said on Kirk & Callahan Thursday the thought didn’t cross his mind.
“I don’t think we were ever in that spot. We had a good consistent season,” he said from JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. “I don’t think we lost more than three games in a row at any point last year. I think last year our club played well, we played solidly, we won 93 games. So no, not at all.”
When Dombrowski announced last October Farrell would return to the club in 2017, he said in-game strategy isn’t the most important job for a manager. He reiterated that claim in his conversation with K&C.
“I think an example of the most important part is your ability –– and I always tell mangers this, I’ve talked to Leyland, La Russa –– [your] ability to get your players to play up to their capabilities on a consistent basis is the most important part for a manager,” Dombrowski said. “Now, you just can’t be motivational also. You have to be a lot of other things, but your players coming in and playing hard on a consistent basis, having the respect of the players is extremely important for a manager. Having control of the clubhouse, communication skills. There’s just so many things that make up a good manager to me in today’s world.”
Even though Dombrowski doesn’t put in-game managing at the top of his list, it doesn’t mean he thinks Farrell is incapable of making sound strategic decisions. He says he has full confidence in Farrell’s abilities.
“I think he is a good in-game manager,” Dombrowski said. “It’s interesting people talk about that. I always say, point to examples. But the realty is, you start with the pitching staff. He handles the pitching staff very well. He’s, I think, very well-regarded in the industry at handling the pitchers. He’s got a good pulse of his bullpen, how guys should be used, when they should not be used. From an offensive perspective, I think in our league, the reality is that you don’t do a lot of maneuvering during games very often. You’re really in a spot with the DH where you keep your guys out there most of the time. It’s really a determination most of the time when somebody needs rest or somebody needs a day off. And then if you point to, well, somebody –– I hear often, well, somebody is a good in-game manager from an offensive perspective. We led the league in runs scored by 101 last year. I’m not saying he’s the reason behind that, because the hitters are very involved and the main reason. But I think the reality is, he does a fine job.”
|Chris Sale on Kirk & Callahan: Media distractions are ‘just a bunch of crap’||02.22.17 at 9:14 am ET|
— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 22, 2017
It’s apparent that Chris Sale has the right attitude to not just play in Boston, but flourish.
In an interview with Kirk & Callahan Wednesday from Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers, Florida., the southpaw said he’s unfazed by the pressure that comes with stepping inside Fenway Park on a nightly basis.
“It’s just a bunch of crap,” Sale said. “Working hard, being a good teammate and leaving it all out there when I’m out there. Those are the important things. It’s not this [or] that stat, this year [or] that year, or anything else. It’s about winning games and being a good teammate.”
While it’s been a drama-free camp so far for the Red Sox, Sale caused quite a stir with the White Sox last year. He was involved in a number of controversies, including an incident in which he cut up the team’s throwback jerseys prior to a game in July. Sale also feuded with White Sox management over whether Adam LaRoche’s teenage son would be permitted to hang around the team on a daily basis.
Though those issues may have expedited Sale’s departure from Chicago –– there are two years left on his contract –– he says the media exaggerated them.
“That’s another thing that I think gets blown out of proportion a little bit. I was there for, what, seven years, and there were maybe two or three incidents,” he said. “I think people make it out like we were at the Royal Rumble and boxing gloves were the next step. It was nothing like that, it couldn’t have been further from that. It’s just one of those things when you’re passionate about something and you have drive and you care a lot, stuff like that is going to happen.”
The Red Sox traded two of their top prospects, infielder Yoan Moncada and flamethrower Michael Kopech, to acquire Sale this offseason. He says the steep price the Red Sox paid to bring him aboard only further motives him to produce on the field.
“When someone makes a move like that, and they put all of their marbles out there, it’s exciting,” Sale said. “They put a lot on the line to get me here, and I’m very appreciative of that. I want to try to do everything I can to help this team get to the championship, get to the postseason, get to the World Series and win it. I’ve said it before: this was one of the best teams in the league without me. So I’m just here to help them push through and get over that hump.”
Despite finishing in the top 10 in Cy Young voting in each of the last five years, Sale has never pitched in the postseason. His performance on the mound will ultimately dictate whether the Red Sox play in October, but right now, he’s saying all of the right things.
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