|Jon Lester would have said ‘probably yes’ to 5-year, $120 million offer last spring from Red Sox||12.18.14 at 8:46 pm ET|
Former Red Sox pitcher and current Cubs pitcher Jon Lester joined the Hot Stove show Thursday night with Mike Mutnansky, Rob Bradford and Alex Speier to discuss what the free agent process was like, what the negotiations last spring training were like with the Red Sox, and also what it was like the hours and days following officially signing with the Cubs.
Lester signed with the Cubs for six years and $155 million, with a vesting option for a seventh year.
Everyone keeps coming back to the reported four-year, $70 million offer the Red Sox gave to Lester during spring training last season. What if the Red Sox came in with a higher offer — such as the Cliff Lee, five-year, $120 million deal — would Lester have accepted?
“That is one of those deals where hindsight is 20/20. You go back in time and you look at it and you go, ‘probably yes,’ ” said Lester. “I mean you don’t know. I mean it is one of those deals where when it is sitting in front of you that is a lot of money to turn down. That would have made it very difficult to turn it down.”
Following spring training, Lester and his camp were under the impression the two sides would not discuss a contract during the season because that was what was agreed between them and the Red Sox, and they didn’t want any distractions for he and his teammates during the year.
“As far as I understood, and that is not coming from my agent, that is from what I understood coming out of everyone’s mouth was that once the season started, I think we had all agreed upon that and it wasn’t just one side saying we don’t negotiate during the season,” Lester said. “I think it was more a group discussion and a group decision that if we weren’t able to come to a conclusion with the contract negotiations before the season started we thought it was in the best interest of everybody to table it ’till the offseason and wait until the season is over and all the distractions of playing, the ups and downs of the season and all that to get after it again.
“Like I said the other day, I don’t know if that is a bad quality or a good quality, but I am kind of hard-headed when it comes to that. If we make a decision one way or the other, just like if we would have made the decision to continue talking I would have expected that to continue. I think we all kind of decided at that time with the distractions of everything going on it wasn’t the right time or place to continue the discussions.”
|Devil in the details: Contract possibilities for Jon Lester and the Red Sox||11.19.14 at 2:52 pm ET|
The Red Sox have made no secret of their desire to make a push for Jon Lester, a notion that has gained further credence with the reports (the first one of which came from ESPNBoston.com) that the team has made an offer to the left-hander.
But, of course, it is one thing to make an offer, another to find common ground to satisfy Lester’s interest in a salary befitting his status as an elite pitcher and the Sox’ interests in accounting for the risks associated with a long-term deal for a pitcher in his 30s. In the absence of concrete details about what shape that offer has taken, here are a few potential models and/or features of an offer that the Sox may try to incorporate as they attempt to reacquire an elite pitcher while minimizing the risk on the back end of the deal:
Model 1: Cliff Lee (fewer years, more dollars)
In the 2012-13 offseason, the Red Sox proved aggressive in terms of the average annual value they put on the table while trying to limit the number of years they committed to players. In doing so, they got (for instance) Shane Victorino to pass on a four-year deal worth roughly $11 million a year from the Indians in favor of a three-year, $39 million deal to come to Boston.
In the winter following the 2010 season, left-hander Cliff Lee walked away from potential deals of six-plus years (with offers typically rumored to be for $23 million or so per year) in favor of a five-year, $120 million deal ($24 million per year) with the Phillies. It’s worth noting that there are similarities between Lester’s situation and Lee’s.
|Dustin Pedroia on MFB: ‘There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people’ next season||11.05.14 at 11:31 am ET|
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who on Tuesday was named winner of his fourth Gold Glove, checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday morning and said he’s feeling substantially better since having surgery on his wrist. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Pedroia had surgery on Sept. 11 to repair a tendon in his left wrist. It caused an early end to a disappointing offensive season in which he hit .278 with seven home runs and 53 RBIs. In the field, however, he continued to shine, posting a .997 fielding percentage that ranks as the best ever for a Red Sox second baseman.
“It was just frustrating,” he said of the injury that nagged him during the season. “The year before, I found a way to perform, playing nicked up. The year before it was a loose feeling — I tore that ligament in my thumb and everything just felt loose, so I was able to figure it out and let the ball travel more and just try to slap balls the other way and get hits and not try to drive the ball. This year it was more, I was restricted. I didn’t have any motion. It was so swollen and tight all year, I couldn’t get a feel of how to get through it. It was tough. I fought it all year.
“Now that it’s fixed, it’s night and day. I can already tell that. There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people, so I’m pretty excited about it.”
Added Pedroia: “I feel great. I’m back to a hundred percent. I’m doing all my lifts and everything. My rehab’s going good. I’m full strength and I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been myself. It’s going to be a lot of fun next year.”
Pedoria received a reported eight-year, $110 million contract in the middle of the 2013 season. There are critics who say the Sox overpaid for an aging player who has struggled with injuries of late.
“Honestly, I never put any pressure on me about that,” Pedroia said. “My job is to come out and win games. For what I do to try to help the team win, I don’t know how much they’re paying for that these days but I’m sure it’s a lot, and my contract’s a lot, so there’s not anybody that puts the amount of expectations to perform well than me.
“So, trust me, I don’t need anybody to get on me or anybody to say anything bad about me if I don’t play well. Trust me, I’m pretty hard on myself as it is. I don’t ever look at it like that. I view everything as wins and losses. And obviously when your team’s in last place, that’s how I view it as not good. I’d rather live up to wins and losses than anything else.”
The Red Sox went from last place in 2012 to World Series champions in 2013 back to last place last season. Pedroia is eager to get the Sox back to the top next year.
“I’m trying to do my job, and that’s get ready to help us any way I can to win games, because we’ve got to do that,” he said. “Because last year was pretty painful.”
For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|Jackie Bradley Jr., Dustin Pedroia and Yoenis Cespedes finalists for AL Gold Glove||10.23.14 at 5:58 pm ET|
Three members of the Red Sox were named finalists for the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, which recognizes one player from each league at each position. Three-time winner Dustin Pedroia was named a finalist along with Robinson Cano of the Mariners and Ian Kinsler of the Tigers. Jackie Bradley Jr. was named a finalist in center field along with Adam Jones of the Orioles and Adam Eaton of the White Sox. And Yoenis Cespedes, acquired in midseason from the A’s, is a finalist in left field, along with Michael Brantley of the Indians and reigning winner Alex Gordon of the Royals.
Fangraphs had Pedroia as the major league leader by a considerable margin in UZR. John Dewan’s Plus/Minus system had Pedroia as second to Kinsler in both runs saved and defensive plays made above average.
Fangraphs had Bradley leading the American League, also by a significant margin, in UZR, while Dewan’s system had Bradley behind only Leonys Martin of the Rangers in runs saved (14), but placed him behind Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson of the Royals as well as Eaton in plus/minus.
Though Fangraphs had Cespedes being below average in range, his howitzer of an arm permitted him to rank second in the AL (behind only Gordon) in UZR, according to Fangraphs. Dewan’s runs saved system likewise pegged Cespedes as the second most impactful left fielder in the AL with 12 runs saved, behind only Gordon’s 27.
Arguably short-changed as a nominee for the second straight year: Mike Napoli, who according to Dewan, ranked third in the AL to a pair of Orioles (Steven Pearce and Chris Davis) in first base runs saved and led the AL with 10 plays above average. Fangraphs pegged Napoli as having the third best UZR (behind Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira) in American League UZR.
|Buster Olney on MFB: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval would be ‘really good fit’ with Red Sox||09.24.14 at 2:37 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Derek Jeter‘s farewell tour and possible Red Sox offseason targets. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Asked about the future of promising rookie Mookie Betts, who has played center field and second base in the majors this season, Olney suggested that Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval might be a good fit for the Red Sox, and the acquisition of a player like him would affect where Betts would end up.
“I saw the Giants the last couple of nights, and there’s a lot of anticipation within that organization that someone’s going to make a run at Pablo Sandoval. That team could turn out to be the Red Sox,” Olney said. “He would fit them in a lot of regards. When I talked to some people with the Giants about that, they were nodding their heads and said, ‘You know what? He’d be a really good fit.’ Because he could play third base, and he had a good year defensively. He’s regressed toward the end of the year. You guys now, he’s had conditioning issues, he’s put on some weight during the year. But he squares up a baseball. And if you sign him to a four- or five-year deal and the first couple of years he’s playing third base, and when David Ortiz moves on he could slide into DH. He’d be a nice fit.
“And if you had Sandoval then that obviously changes the equation with Betts. So we’ll just have to wait and see what other moves they make. I think the bottom line is wherever you put Mookie Betts, he’s going to be a good player. The number that really jumps out at me is pitches per plate appearance. It’s almost 4.5. Which means even as a guy in his first days in the big leagues, he’s demonstrating that ability to work the count, to get on base, to be an on-base percentage guy. And I do think we have to remember that after the postseason last year we all thought Xander Bogaerts would come in this year and be a major star, and he’s had some growing pains. And that may be what happens with Betts. But when you talk with people on other teams, they think he’s a legitimate, high-end player who is going to be with them for a long time.”
Another option at third base could be Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, who might be available via a trade after having some defensive issues this season before being diagnosed with a season-ending stress reaction in his left foot.
“He is a guy who this year really struggled with his confidence at third,” Olney said. “It seems like he’s got what’s referred to as ‘the thing’ in terms of throwing. And I don’t think if you were the Red Sox you would acquire him with confidence that he could play third base. Now, he is a big-time power hitter. … But I do wonder, when you’re talking about someone who is dealing with a confidence issue in terms of throwing, is Boston the best place for him? That would be one of the questions that I would ask.”
|John Farrell on MFB: ‘Probably likely’ Dustin Pedroia inactive for remainder of season||09.10.14 at 11:01 am ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell, making his weekly WEEI appearance Wednesday, told Middays with MFB that Dustin Pedroia is “probably likely” to miss the rest of the season due to an injury to his left hand/wrist. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Pedroia, in the midst of a subpar offensive season (.278/.337/.376), had an MRI on Tuesday that revealed inflammation in the wrist. The 30-year-old was scheduled to meet with team representatives Wednesday to determine a course of action.
“Nothing has been arranged as far as surgery,” Farrell said. “Information is still being gathered. There’s not been a final, like I said, target date or decision in this way. It’s pointing towards him having the procedure done. So, whether or not he remains inactive — it’s probably likely he is inactive the rest of the way.
This injury is the latest in a series of issues with Pedroia’s hands. He had surgery on his left thumb last offseason.
“Let’s face it, he’s had a number of collisions, headfirst slides, a number of things that have affected the hands, and he’s dealing with it in the left hand right now,” Farrell said. “We look at it like, if this procedure is needed, which, the initial reports — and let’s face it, surgery is always something you have to be concerned with, but … the severity of it is not like a high-risk situation with him.
“So, we look at it like if there’s a chance to get an additional two weeks of recovery time so he can get into some strength training throughout the winter and go through a normal offseason workout program as he gets into later November and beyond, that’s probably the avenue chosen here.
“What Dustin means to us is obvious. This is the heartbeat of our team, and we’ve got to get him back to 100 percent as soon as we can.”
|Dustin Pedroia: Surgery possible for thumb/wrist inflammation he’s been managing all year||09.09.14 at 11:39 pm ET|
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed inflammation in his left wrist (near the same thumb on which he had surgery last offseason), acknowledged that season-ending surgery is a possibility for the issue. The 30-year-old said that he will meet with club officials and medical personnel on Wednesday to decide the proper course of action.
“There’s getting rest, continue to play, or surgery. There’s three things we could do,” Pedroia said after the Sox’ 4-1 loss. “We’ll come up with a plan the best we can that’s best for the team.”
Pedroia said that he’s been dealing with discomfort for much of the year. His surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb last offseason required ongoing rehab that stretched into the start of the season. But when he was wiped out at second base on a double play early in the year (though he didn’t identify a date, Pedroia was wrecked at second base by Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez in the first home series of the year), he experienced discomfort that has lingered throughout the season and that has gotten worse recently.
“Obviously I’ve been kind of dealing with it for most of the year, but I mean, that’s the part of the job. The training staff and everyone’s done a great job getting me out there. Obviously, dealing with little injuries and things like that, it’s a part of it. You try to find a way to play through it,” said Pedroia. “I fell early in the year, I got taken out at second, and you know, it’s pretty inflamed. We tried to manage it the best we can, and it just gets to a point where obviously it hurts. It’s tough going out there and trying to do what you’re accustomed to doing and you can’t. But I will soon.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘I don’t think you give up on a Will Middlebrooks’||09.05.14 at 12:29 pm ET|
MLB Network’s Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the Red Sox following Thursday’s disappointing loss to the Yankees. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
In Thursday’s game, Sox closer Koji Uehara continued to struggle, allowing a pair of solo home runs in the ninth inning as New York walked off with a 5-4 decision. There has been discussion that the team might shut down Uehara and let him rest up for next season.
“There’s nothing to lose now,” Millar said. “It’s kind of an odd season, guys, let’s get it straight. From last place, first place, last place. You’ve got things to address, go ahead and address them. He’s given up big-time home runs this year; last year he was invincible. It’s pretty funny how the years are different. Everything went right last year and now he’s in the scuffle mode. I’m a big fan of Koji, but he’s had a tough time getting some outs late in the game.”
The Red Sox have expressed an interested in having Will Middlebrooks play winter league in order to be better prepared for next season. It’s not clear that Middlebrooks is on board with that idea, but Millar supports it.
“He’s still got to look in the mirror and say, ‘Listen, I’ve got to get something done. I’ve got to get something right.’ Whether that’s your swing, whether that’s your defense, whatever you’ve got to work on,” Millar said. “I think winter ball’s great. I played it a lot. I played it everywhere but Venezuela. It gives you the chance to basically get that confidence back. Because you see the talent, you see the ceiling. This is a guy, if he hits 25-30 home runs at some point in his career it wouldn’t shock you. But he hasn’t produced. He produced his first three, four months up in the big leagues, and got everybody fired up. But it’s been a struggle-bunny since. So I think winter ball’s a great call.”
Added Millar: “I don’t think you give up on a Will Middlebrooks. I like the size, I like the talent I see. ‘¦ I don’t think you give up on a kid, because corner guys, right-handed power right now, aren’t out there. Will hasn’t shown a whole lot of consistency at this level, but you also understand if something clicks he can become a guy that’s above average to a star. And it wouldn’t shock you, would it? We’ve seen a little bit of it.”
There has been some speculation that the Red Sox might considering trading Dustin Pedroia as part of their move to a younger lineup.
“No, you don’t trade Dustin Pedroia. You don’t even mention trading Dustin Pedroia,” Millar said, adding: “I’m not saying he’s untouchable, but he’s your makeup of the club. So if he has an off year this year, yeah, OK, now we’re going to trade Dustin Pedroia? He’s the only makeup and the grit and everything about the Red Sox.”
For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen on D&C: ‘We know we have some redundancies in some areas,’ including crowded outfield||09.04.14 at 9:47 am ET|
Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the future of the team and other news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Red Sox recently signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, but Mookie Betts has shown promise with his play in center field of late. That’s led to questions about what the outfield will look like next season.
“We have a long offseason to go. ‘¦ I think both Castillo and Betts, I see them on the team. What position they’re playing, who’s in the lineup, how it all shakes out, we have a long way to go in this offseason,” Hazen said.
“I think what we’ve tried to do as we’ve moved through the trading deadline and into the rest of the regular season was to acquire or amass as many really good major league players as we could. We know we have some redundancies in some areas, we have some holes in other areas that need to be plugged. And there’s two ways we’re going to plug those holes. We’re going to do it with money in the free agent market, and we’re going to be able to do it via trade, having good major league players, not just minor league players to trade. We may trade some minor league guys as well, but having those good, established major league hitters — a lot of these guys that have power, which is a commodity in the game, set us up fairly well in a strong position at least.
“I know trades are tough to pull off no matter what you’re dealing with because you need two to tango on this. But we’re going to be in a pretty good position we think going into the offseason given the assets and the players that we have both on the roster and in the minor leagues, and the financial resources that we have coming off the books currently to be able to fill the holes that we need to fill.”
|Red Sox being cautious with Dustin Pedroia after hit to head||09.01.14 at 1:29 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia, sidelined since displaying concussion-like symptoms after taking an elbow to the head during Saturday’s game, remained out of the lineup for Monday’s series finale with the Rays at Tropicana Field.
“A little bit better, and yet he still has some of the symptoms. So this is clearly a day-to-day thing,” manager John Farrell said of Pedroia, who was was hit by Rays baserunner Logan Forsythe on a play at second base. “We’re probably at least another day from any kind of exertion test or any kind of ramping up of the heart rate to see if there’s still some residual … but he’s sore where the impact took place on the side of the head. As I mentioned the other day, we’ll be cautious with this.”
“I think if he returns at some point during the Yankees series, that’s optimistic,” Farrell said. “Not ruling it out. Dustin may have a different view of that right now. We still have to go through all the required steps, regardless of DL or not, and that’s documentation, that’s testing, that’s examination by medical people, doctors included. We’re in the midst of that.”
Brock Holt started a second base Monday for the second straight day. Mookie Betts was primarily a second baseman in the minors before transitioning to center field this year, but Farrell said the team has no plans to return the rookie to the infield now.
“No, because it’s been quite a while since Mookie has had any reps at second,” Farrell said. “He’s had a lot on his plate this year with defensive positioning and changes to it and don’t want to take him back and forth.”
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