|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.
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