|Hot Stove: Mariners agree to terms with Jason Bay||12.05.12 at 2:21 pm ET|
Bay played the last three seasons with the Mets before the sides agreed to terminate his contract one year early. Injuries and a lack of production plagued Bay’s time in New York, as he hit .165/.237/.199 with eight homers and 20 RBI in 70 games last season.
|Trade Deadline: Orioles acquire Mets SS Omar Quintanilla||07.20.12 at 9:12 pm ET|
The Mets on Friday sent shortstop Omar Quintanilla to the Orioles for cash.
Initially the 30-year-old had been designated for assignment to make room for Jason Bay, but the Mets decided to trade Quintanilla because they were afraid of losing him on waivers.
In 29 games with the Mets this season, Quintanilla batted .257 with five doubles, one home run, four RBIs and 17 strikeouts. He appeared in 23 of those games as a shortstop.
He played five seasons with the Rockies and one with the Rangers before the Mets signed him as a free agent before this season. The most games Quintanilla has played in a single season was 81 with the Rockies in 2008.
|Red Sox could look to address future needs at deadline||07.25.11 at 11:40 am ET|
The trade deadline is most commonly used to reinforce a club for the stretch run, but if one merely tries to read the trade tea leaves by looking at the shape of the 2011 Red Sox, it would fail to provide a complete picture of how the team approaches the buildup to July 31. After all, the Sox have made a habit of using the deadline not just to position themselves for the season at hand but also for the following campaign.
A year ago, the team addressed a potential offseason vacancy at the catching position (with Victor Martinez seen as likely to leave as a free agent) by trading for Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the middle of the year. It was a deal that reflected some foresight on the part of the club as well as serendipity to make a long-coveted player available at a low price. (For more on that, click here.) But the deal also underscored an important point: For the Sox, the trade deadline represents one of the few times during the year when you can make deals to address future needs, for a couple of reasons.
First, the deadline stimulates dialogue. Virtually every team is in contact with every other team as July 31 approaches. The result is a fairly complete inventory of available players. Secondly, late-July is a time when teams are engaged in a thorough process of critical self-evaluation, and so important assessments are made by teams about what they will need not just for the duration of an individual season but also beyond it.
Saltalamacchia is perhaps the best example of the Sox making a deadline deal motivated by the future (in no small part because the decision to acquire him was motivated almost solely by concerns for 2011 and beyond, and not by the 2010 campaign in which the trade occurred), but the deal to bring him to Boston from the Rangers is not the only one that the team has made with the future in mind. For instance, the deal to acquire Martinez from the Indians at the 2009 trade deadline reflected the Sox’ need to improve its catching in 2009 and the fact that there was no in-house solution at the position beyond that season; with Martinez, the team was able to acquire an everyday catcher who was under contract through 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
|Terry Francona on Carl Crawford: ‘I don’t see any panic’||04.10.11 at 10:42 pm ET|
The struggles of Carl Crawford continued Sunday night in front of a national TV audience as he failed to get a hit in his five at-bats to lower his average to .132 on the season, including 1-for-15 in his first series against the Yankees as a member of the Red Sox.
“When he gets on base a bunch and starts creating havoc, he’s going to feel fine,” Sox skipper Terry Francona said. “Until that happens with a lot of guys, they’re searching a little bit. We had extra hitting [Sunday], that’s the best way I know how to remedy things like that. He went out there and hit. That’s what you do. It’ll fall into place.”
Will Francona say anything?
“I don’t think we pull him aside and tell him anything,” Francona said before Sunday night’s game. “I think in the normal course of a day’s events, you have your conversations and try to stay consistent. I think players smell when you’re telling them something you don’t normally tell them.
“It’s human nature but everybody is a little bit different. Everybody talked when Jason Bay came, how well he did and how he handled it. The fact that in his first game, he hit a ball off the wall, helps. You can’t just press a button and get hits or we all would. I think everybody is different.”
Between Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, it was Crawford whom many figured would have a more difficult time early on in Boston trying to adjust to the attention of signing a seven-year, $142 million deal in the winter.
“I think he is very conscientious but I don’t see any panic or anything like that,” Francona said. “This guy’s been playing a long time and he’s been playing in this division.”
|Mike Stanton, destroyer of baseballs||03.24.11 at 5:54 pm ET|
JUPITER, Fla. — Mike Stanton hadn’t played for four weeks. The 21-year-old outfielder — who hit 22 homers in just 359 at-bats in his rookie season last year — had been sidelined since straining his quad on Feb. 27 in an exhibition game against a college team, a contest in which Stanton had smashed a homer in his first trip to the plate.
The Marlins outfielder looked rusty in his first trip to the plate, swinging and missing badly at Clay Buchholz‘ offerings en route to a strikeout. In his subsequent trips to the plate, however, he made his mark…literally.
Stanton crushed a pair of three-run homers against Buchholz in his next two at-bats, one on a hanging changeup, another on a cutter that backed over the plate. The first shot was prodigious, clanging about halfway up the Roger Dean Stadium scoreboard in left-center field, the sort of moonshot that is rarely seen.
“I quit watching,” marveled Sox manager Terry Francona. “At some point, I just quit.”
The blast was impressive enough in its own right, but even more so given that the stiff breeze was blowing out to right field throughout the day. On the day, Stanton was 3-for-4 with two homers while driving in seven, and giving a glimpse of why he is so highly regarded throughout the game, including by the Sox.
“He’s a giant. He’s a big boy, man. He’s not afraid to swing, obviously. But he’s a big strong kid,” said Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia after his first glimpse of the Marlins outfielder. “He puts it in the air, it’s going to go somewhere.”
At the 2008 trade deadline, when the Sox were exploring deals in which they would part with Manny Ramirez, one of the teams with whom they were engaged was the Marlins. They discussed a number of scenarios with Florida, including some scenarios in which the Sox would have tried to negotiate a multi-team deal that would have netted them both outfielder Jason Bay from the Pirates as well as prospects from the Marlins.
The Sox had targeted Stanton (then destroying Single-A pitchers for 39 homers) as the top prospect in the Marlins’ system at the time, so his name came up in talks. But the Marlins knew what they had in the 2007 second-round selection, and so they were uninterested in parting with Stanton, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. And so it was instead the Dodgers who ended up becoming the partner in a three-way transaction that sent Ramirez to Los Angeles, Bay to Boston and four prospects (Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss from the Red Sox, and Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris from the Dodgers) to Pittsburgh.
Instead, the Red Sox can now have only rare glimpses of his jaw-dropping power, as was the case on Thursday.
|Why these Red Sox are perfect role players to Terry Francona||02.23.11 at 3:43 pm ET|
There was the perception that he cared more about his own career than winning a third World Series title with the Red Sox. It was ultimately that perception that clouded the clubhouse and made life so difficult for manager Terry Francona that the Red Sox dealt him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-way trade that brought Jason Bay to Boston minutes before the July 31 trade deadline.
Francona didn’t mention Ramirez by name on Wednesday but when he was asked indirectly about one of his least favorite subjects – how a particular player might fit into the batting order – he talked not about the lineup but team chemistry and unity.
“You can have some guys that maybe don’t always have the team’s goals the same but they better really be good. And we’ve had that sometimes in the past,” Francona said. “It’s not a perfect world but it certainly makes for a much better atmosphere when you have guys that care about winning.
“It sets the tone for young guys better buy in. It’s a heckuva a lot easier for me to make examples of people when you have veterans running around working harder than anybody in camp.”
Ramirez hit .312 and belted 274 homers in a Red Sox uniform, winning the 2004 World Series MVP. Clearly, he put up some of the biggest numbers in club history and was arguably the greatest right-handed hitter to ever play for the team. But eventually, he became a distraction that no one could manage, not even Francona.
Last Friday, when GM Theo Epstein addressed reporters at the Red Sox player devolopment complex, he recalled not Manny being Manny but a far more subtle and far less recounted example of team chemistry gone bad. And in this case, Epstein DID mention the name.
Jay Payton played just 55 games with the 2005 Red Sox – primarily as a fourth outfielder behind Ramirez of all people. After a confrontation with Francona in late June about the way he was being used, he was designated for assignment and eventually dealt to Oakland on July 13 for reliever Chad Bradford.
And on Wednesday, it was “What about David Ortiz?” How easy will it be for him to hit wherever Francona decides to bat him in the order?
“Again with David, I don’t think you’ll see a role change,” Francona said. “The batting order will take care of itself. Anytime you have good players that want to place the team’s goals first, that makes for a real good atmosphere, that’s what we’re shooting for.”
|Jason Bay reflects on first year in New York||01.31.11 at 3:37 pm ET|
Outfielder Jason Bay, who suffered through one of the most difficult seasons of his career in 2010 after leaving the Red Sox as a free agent to sign a four-year, $66 million deal with the Mets, made no excuses for his rough first year in New York in an interview with ESPN.com. Bay was limited to a career-low 95 games after suffering a concussion last summer. Prior to that, however, he suffered one of the worst offensive seasons of his career, hitting .259 with a .347 OBP, .402 slugging mark, .749 OPS and just six homers.
Bay declined to blame either his new home ballpark — CitiField in New York, a venue that has stifled offense in its three years — or the transition to a major media market.
“I just had a bad year. I was the first to admit it as I was living it, and I’ll be the first to admit it looking back on it,” Bay told ESPN.com. “For whatever reason, I never got in a rhythm at the plate, and I felt like I was swimming upstream all year trying to catch up. The next thing you know it’s July and you’re like, ‘Wow, I haven’t been able to piece anything together.’ The question is, what did you learn from it? I feel like I learned a lot.”
Bay said that he is healthy and pursuing a rigorous workout schedule this winter in hopes of resembling the player who, from 2005-09, averaged 31 homers and 103 RBI while hitting .279/.378/.515/.892.
|Theo Epstein’s take on the MLB trade market||07.14.10 at 10:48 pm ET|
The Atlanta Braves made the first major move of the post-All Star break to enhance their roster by adding former Red Sox and Cincinnati shortstop Alex Gonzalez to their roster in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.
And while that move indicates what Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein termed on Wednesday an “active market,” that doesn’t mean he will be willing to wheel and deal with all of the injuries the Red Sox are attempting to overcome to stay in the AL East race with the Yankees and Rays.
“I think it’s pretty active out there because there are teams with needs so there’s a lot of talk,” Epstein said. “I don’t think it’s the greatest crop in the world of available players. If you compare this year’s likely crop to last year’s, for example, there’s a big difference. You’re not always out there to acquire an All Star-type. You can sometimes get a nice role player, who happens to be a nice fit for your club, which is a good thing because there aren’t too many All Star-type players out there right now.”
In 2004, the Red Sox dealt Nomar Garciaparra at the trade deadline and wound up replacing him with Orlando Cabrera. In 2007, the Red Sox traded David Murphy and Kason Gabbard to Texas and received Eric Gagne in return. In both cases, the Red Sox won the World Series. In 2008, the Red Sox shipped away disgruntled Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers in a three-way trade that netted them Jason Bay.
The Red Sox lost to Tampa Bay in the ALCS in seven games.
This year, the Red Sox might be waiting on their slew of injured players to return to provide what could be a similar boost to a team with 51 wins, the third-most in the American League but third-most in the AL East.
‘We’re always active looking. It’s really the same position we’ve been every year,” Epstein said. “Our job is to be as thorough as possible, find any possible fit to make us better. It doesn’t mean we’re going to do [just] anything. Sometimes, the only moves you can make, make you worse. I do think we’re going to get so many guys back off the DL, we’re going to get a boost no matter what we do. But, yeah, we’d like to find a fit from the outside to make us better. We’ll see.
‘Tito’s done a good job, the whole coaching staff,” Epstein said. “Ultimately, it falls down on the players, holding things together and playing well and you find out what kind of organization you have as a whole when you’re without some of your best players. Things are a lot easier, in general, when you have no injuries like ‘04 and ‘07.’
|Bay finds his home in New York||05.15.10 at 3:36 pm ET|
Martinez showed some signs of offensive promise during the recent 10-game homestand, but then went 0-for-4 to kick off the Sox’ current roadtrip on Friday. That continued something of a pattern through the first six weeks of the 2010 season.
Martinez has respectable numbers at Fenway Park, where he is hitting .284/.341/.444/.785 with three homers and 14 RBI. But away from Fenway, he’s been one of the worst offensive producers in baseball thus far.
Of the 320 major league players with at least 25 plate appearances on the road through Friday, Martinez ranks near the bottom of the list in road average (.149, 300th), OBP (.200, T-307th), slugging (.191, 305th) and OPS (.391, 309th). He has yet to go deep away from Fenway, and has just 3 RBI. (In his career, it is worth noting that Martinez shows very little difference between his home (.296/.374/.451/.824) and road (.298/.365/.472/.837) performances.)
But Martinez is not the only player with Sox ties who is expressing interesting home/road splits at the start of the 2010 season. But what makes Jason Bay’s disparity between his home and road performance so interesting is that he was expected to be stripped of offensive productivity by CitiField, the home ballpark of the New York Mets.
Unexpectedly, Bay has enjoyed tremendous home numbers while struggling in almost as dire a fashion as Martinez on the road.
Bay is hitting .170/.250/.189/.439 away from New York this year, marks that rank 289th, 269th, 307th and 301st among major league regulars with at least 25 road plate appearances. Like Martinez, he has no homers and 3 RBI on the road, and he has just one extra-base knock.
But at home, though Bay has just one homer at CitiField, he is putting up the sort of big numbers that inspired the Mets to sign him to a four-year, $66 million deal this winter. In his new home park, Bay is hitting .329/.432/.519/.951 with a homer, 10 extra-base hits and 12 RBI.
In all likelihood, the splits for both Martinez and Bay will level out as the season progresses. Nonetheless, given the perception in some quarters that Bay was heading to a new ballpark where his strengths as a right-handed power hitter would play poorly, the early-season returns, at least, have suggested that if the outfielder struggles with the Mets, it will not necessarily be a byproduct of his home park.
|What’s New with the Red Sox: Thursday||03.12.10 at 9:11 am ET|
Sometimes fancy, sometimes facts.
It was a day when the Red Sox and Mets got to compare shiny new baubles in Port St. Lucie. Jason Bay, who signed a four-year, $66 million deal with New York that included a fifth-year vesting option this offseason, shared pleasantries with his old teammates while donning his new uniform. John Lackey, the man whose five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Sox effectively ended Bay’s career in Boston, was on the mound for his new club against the Mets, a team that considered signing him before turning to Bay.
But while Bay largely declined to delve back into the details of the negotiations that led to his departure from the Sox, he did endorse his former team’s move to acquire the Angels ace.
“It’s genius,” he said of the addition of Lackey.
For more on the crossing paths of Bay and Lackey, click here.
— Bay also expressed complete comfort in his new surroundings. The outfielder said that, more than any time in his career, he has a sense of security about his future thanks to a deal that includes a no-trade clause. He also described how seamlessly he’s been able to mix into the Mets clubhouse as part of the reason for that sentiment.
— According to a major league source, the Mets considered signing Bay for four years (with a vesting option) to carry less medical risk than a five-year deal for Lackey. The Sox, of course, thought otherwise, with concerns about Bay’s knees having unraveled a four-year, $60 million deal to which the two sides agreed in principle last July. The Mets also felt that concerns about Bay’s defense were exaggerated.
— In the exhibition game itself, Bay went 0-for-2, and is now hitting .143 this spring. He was booed by the contingent of Red Sox fans on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, a treatment that seemed to amuse Bay. New teammate David Wright seemed to take umbrage at the response of Boston fans to their former outfielder.
‘For everything you brought to that city, they should cheer for you,’ Wright told Bay.
For more, click here.
— Lackey had an opportunity to sneak in his work before the weather turned sour, with storms prompting a rain delay. The right-hander tossed three scoreless innings in which he pronounced his two-seam fastball to be working well, and he also pronounced his enjoyment of the opportunity to work for the first time with Victor Martinez behind the plate. For more, click here.
— While Lackey enjoyed his first pairing with Martinez, another Red Sox battery proved diabolical. On Wednesday, Daniel Bard worked with Luis Exposito, the Double-A catcher who also worked with the right-hander in Greenville at the start of the 2008 season. Bard’s fastball exploded in the catcher’s mitt, with the pop of his pitches resembling a sonic boom. “That,” said Bard, “was awesome.”
— With poor weather in the forecast for the contest against the Cardinals in Jupiter on Friday, manager Terry Francona told Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell and Adrian Beltre not to make the cross-state journey. Varitek is still waiting to get into his first Grapefruit League action of the spring after spending time away from the club to tend to his sick father. Lowell is likely to play his first spring game on Monday.
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