|The Red Sox and the quest for innings and left-handedness in their starting rotation||12.10.14 at 8:59 pm ET|
SAN DIEGO — In five full big league seasons from 2010-14, Clay Buchholz has averaged 145 innings. In his first season as a full-time big league starter in 2014, Joe Kelly logged 96 1/3 innings. Those are the only two known members of the 2015 Red Sox.
Neither pitcher has a demonstrated, reliable ability to handle a full-season workload of 200 innings. As such, the Red Sox may prioritize pitchers whose track records suggest the potential to do just that.
“We always go through an exercise in budgeting, or coming up with a budget number of innings that need to be accounted for,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “You take into account what individual pitchers have done in previous years and what you project them to be able to provide upcoming. We knew going in that there were going to be a couple of spots needed for innings eating and very quality innings pitched. Ideally, if you can get a couple of 200-inning pitchers, they don’t go on trees, but that’s the goal.”
That might help to explain some of the Sox’ interest in Diamondbacks lefty Wade Miley, who has logged at least 198 innings in each of the last three seasons. The need for innings stability might also have the Sox particularly intrigued by pitchers like Jordan Zimmermann (203 innings a year for the last three years) and Rick Porcello (who threw 200 innings for the first time in 2014 but has never been on the DL). Other potential targets such as free agents James Shields (averaging an astounding 233 innings a year over the last four years) and Ervin Santana (averaging 207 innings a year for the last five seasons) might gain prominence as Sox targets for the same reason.
Ideally, the Red Sox would like to add a left-hander to their rotation as well given that, for now, their only two starters (and, in all likelihood, all the candidates for the fifth starter’s spot) are right-handed. However, Farrell suggested that the necessity of having a lefty in the rotation has diminished in recent years in the American League East.
“I think you always like to have that at your disposal to match up or to map out your rotation how it might fall depending on the upcoming schedule,” said Farrell. “[But] when you look at what’s changing in our division, this once was and just was a few years ago a very left-handed hitting division. That’s shifting, when you see the changes that have gone in Toronto, in Baltimore, probably with some changes that still might take place down in Tampa, that might be the case as well, you’re seeing a little bit more right-handed offense starting to emerge in other cities.”
|John Farrell: Red Sox ‘are making every attempt’ to bring back Jon Lester||11.25.14 at 2:57 pm ET|
It comes as little surprise to see Red Sox manager John Farrell beaming at the shape that his 2015 lineup is starting to take. With Pablo Sandoval — a wrecking ball against right-handed pitchers — at third base and Hanley Ramirez (who hammers both lefties and righties) now slated to join the middle of the team’s lineup, the run-starved days of 2014 should prove far less frequent next season.
“We’ve made two very good additions, no doubt, particularly before [when] you’d sense the free agent market really coming into shape. [GM Ben Cherington] has done a great job of being able to add these two players before Thanksgiving,” said Farrell. “When you consider Hanley in left, Yoenis [Cespedes] in either center or right, you begin to look at power bats in a number of different positions and this is a really deep lineup as we stand today.”
Still, while the lineup (with that intriguing proposition of Cespedes at a different spot in the outfield) is now well-defined, Farrell acknowledged that the Sox’ offseason work is incomplete.
“What remains throughout the offseason is still an interesting proposition. … We’ve got a ways to go through this offseason,” said Farrell. “We’ve got complete trust in what Ben and his staff are doing. Clearly, there’s two prime pieces of evidence to suggest that. We’ve got work to be done, we’ve got additions to be made. So there’s going to be a number of things that are going to be interesting to follow here throughout the winter.”
Foremost among those will be the vacancy sign that hovers over 60 percent of the Red Sox rotation, with curiosity looming about whether the Red Sox might be able to bring Jon Lester back into the fold. Farrell acknowledged that the Sox are doing what they can to bring back the left-hander, though declined to handicap the likelihood of a return. Read the rest of this entry »
|Source: Red Sox open to talking contract extension with John Farrell||11.11.14 at 5:13 pm ET|
Farrell is headed into the last guaranteed year of a three-year deal he signed with the Red Sox following the ‘12 season. The Red Sox hold a team option on the deal for ‘16.
The 52-year-old Farrell, who is currently managing a group of Major League All-Stars during an exhibition tournament in Tokyo, has a 168-156 regular season record with the Red Sox. He finished second in the ‘13 American League Manager of the Year voting after guiding his team to a world championship.
|John Farrell: Notion that Red Sox coaches ‘hate’ Yoenis Cespedes ‘completely unfounded’||10.28.14 at 9:51 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an interview on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, made clear his displeasure with a New York Daily News report that cited a Red Sox insider in suggesting that all the members of the Red Sox coaching staff “hate” Cespedes.
“Totally surprised and completely off-guard,” Farrell told the station of his reaction to the report. “It’s unfortunate that a comment like that is made from elsewhere. We had two full months with Yoenis. I think you get a pretty good feel for a player or a person when you’re around them every day for the length of time in a given day that we are. We know him to be one thing, and that is a guy that works well. He became a very good and strong performer in the middle of our lineup. We’re happy he’s here. We’re certainly looking forward to building a lineup with him in the middle of it next year. Completely unfounded and kind of a shame that someone would write something like that because we see him and from what we know of him is completely 180 degrees from what was written.”
Cespedes hit .269/.296/.423 with five homers in 51 games after the Red Sox acquired him from the A’s in exchange for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes. The 29-year-old is entering his final season of a four-year, $36 million contract that will make him a free agent after the 2015 campaign.
|John Farrell: Red Sox ‘looking forward to [Yoenis Cespedes] being part of our offense going forward’||10.21.14 at 6:23 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an interview on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, suggested that the notion that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes — acquired from the A’s at the trade deadline for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes — is being shopped had promoted him to “chuckle a little bit.” Farrell said that Cespedes remains in the team’s plans for 2015.
“I did see some of the reports and the rumors that are out there and I can tell you this: For the two months that Yoenis was with us he was a main member of our lineup, his work ethic was strong and very consistent,” said Farrell. “We did talk about the potential of a shift to right field because of our configuration. But when you look at the emergence of Mookie Betts, the addition of Rusney Castillo, the return of Shane Victorino, we want to put guys in the best position to succeed. And with the guys that we just mentioned in addition to Daniel Nava we’ve got a number of right field candidates. Allen Craig is also in the mix. So I kind of chuckle a little bit at some of the reports that were out there about Yoenis. And we’re fortunate that he’s on our club and very much looking forward to him being part of our offense going forward.”
Farrell said that, while the team was interested in the idea of having Cespedes in right field when it acquired him based on his potential outfield range, the idea of such a move is currently “on hold,” an approach the team decided to pursue in order to permit Cespedes to achieve comfort with his new team rather than introducing multiple variables (new team, new position) simultaneously.
“He has played center field. He has not played right field. And we felt that it was best for a player that comes in mid-year to find a way to get him on his feet with a new club, to get comfortable as best possible,” Farrell told MLB Network Radio. “We talked about it, how do we make the best situation of Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes. It was a discussion point. The range of two guys, particularly in our ballpark, you would say are reversed ‘ Allen Craig in left, Yoenis Cespedes in right. Allen did get injured with the foot and went down for some time so we tabled that and then thought, you know what, if we’re going to look to do this, depending on what players are on our roster and what’s the best team for the Red Sox, we would address it in spring training if it needed to be. But, like I said, with the addition of others guys and as well as Shane Victorino, who is rehabbing right now, that move to right field is on hold.”
Farrell also spoke enthusiastically about Chili Davis, whom the team has tabbed to be its next hitting coach.
“We’re extremely excited to have Chili with us. I think there are some details yet to be finalized but, you know, Chili obviously worked here in the past back in 2011 in Pawtucket, so there’s some initial relationships already in place with a number of the guys that are on our roster,” Farrell said. “When you consider the pedigree that he is, the player that he was, how successful he was, how he’s been able to transfer some of those skills’most of those skills’into a hitting coach now, his ability to connect with guys I think is one of the strong suits, as well as a long playing career that gives him a tremendous amount of reference to give his experiences to guys he’s going to be working with.”
|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|
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.”
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 »
|John Farrell: Injuries not solely responsible for Will Middlebrooks’ struggles||09.24.14 at 6:59 pm ET|
Will Middlebrooks, who was scratched just prior to the start of Tuesday’s game against the Rays, is once again out of the lineup on Wednesday due to soreness in his left wrist. Manager John Farrell suggested that the third baseman is “day to day at this point,” but suggested that the team is hopeful that his season is not over.
“We’re going to continue to press and push to get him on the field as much as possible in these final five days even though one of them is today and won’t be on the field,” said Farrell. Tomorrow, through the weekend, we need to get him on the field as much as possible.”
At a time when there will be just four games beyond Wednesday’s contest, and with Middlebrooks having little remaining opportunity to improve his dreadful season stat line of a .191 average, .256 OBP and .265 slugging mark, Farrell was asked to explain the urgency he expressed for an opportunity to evaluate the 26-year-old further this year.
“More than anything, if a player is capable, we’re not just wanting to shut someone down,” Farrell said. “That’s not a precedent that we want to set or enable, to be honest with you.”
It has been a year in which Middlebrooks rarely has played at full health. He spent time on the DL with a calf injury. His current wrist sprain is believed to be related to when he got hit by a pitch in May. He lost months to a finger that was fractured by the line drive. The result has been fitful playing time at the big league level, which in turn has contributed to some of Middlebrooks’ struggles to remain in a sustained offensive groove.
That said, Farrell said that it would be a mistake to view Middlebrooks’ struggles as simply the product of injuries. He’s been healthy enough to play. His limited production — particularly the absence of his characteristic home run power (he has hit just two homers in 63 games this year) — is not entirely a function of health, in Farrell’s view.
“I don’t think he’s been limited any different than other players who deal with nagging ailments over the course of a full season. There’s been times when he’s been unavailable. To say it’s to the extent that he can’t go or can’t play, we’re not at that point,” said Farrell. “He’s missed time over the past couple of years as we know. The inconsistent playing time has had some effect. To say that there’s something existing here, sure, he’s banged up a little bit. Is that the sole reason why the power numbers have dropped? I can’t say that it is.”
|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.”
|Brandon Workman’s latest struggle raises questions about rotation future||08.23.14 at 11:43 pm ET|
Although his time in the majors has been brief, Red Sox starter Brandon Workman already has seen his career marked by two vastly different stretches of play.
Through his first eight big league starts, Workman looked like he belonged in the Red Sox rotation, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.91 ERA. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to make eight straight starts of five or more innings and three or fewer runs allowed since World War II.
Unfortunately for the 6-foot-5 righty, the last eight outings have been a far cry from his stellar debut, with an 0-8 record and a 6.75 ERA bloating his career numbers during the second half of the 2014 season. He now has achieved history of another sort, becoming the first Sox pitcher since Red Ruffing in 1929 to absorb a loss in eight or more consecutive appearances.
Workman’s latest outing fit his current trend of ineffectiveness, as the 26-year-old was torched for 10 hits and seven earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Saturday in what eventually resulted in a 7-3 Red Sox defeat.
Despite his discouraging box score, Workman began the game on a good foot, holding Seattle scoreless through the first three innings, including a 1-2-3 inning in the third.
“It was a quick inning,”Workman said. “I threw strikes, made some good pitches, got ground balls. … I didn’t execute like that in the fourth.”
|Koji Uehara suffers through worse relief outing of career||at 12:50 am ET|
What no one really expected was the culprit behind the collapse.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara entered the ninth as perhaps the closest thing that Boston has had to a sure bet this year, compiling a 1.53 ERA and .080 WHIP with 26 saves on the season.
Uehara seemed to be in prime position to put Seattle away, forcing Endy Chavez into an 1-2 count with two outs and Logan Morrison on first. Chavez would eventually battle back and work the walk to put runners on first and second.
Pinch hitter Chris Denorfia would then single on a soft line drive to right field to load the bases for Austin Jackson, who doubled on a sharp line drive to left that drove in two, cutting Boston’s lead to just one run. Seattle quickly grabbed their first lead of the night in the next at-bat, as Dustin Ackley forced a bloop single into left field between shortstop Brock Holt and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, driving in two more runs to give the Mariners a 4-3 lead.
Robinson Cano would tack on an additional run with an RBI single before Red Sox manager John Farrell emerged from the dugout to take the ball away from Uehara - but the damage was already irrevocably done. Uehara was charged with five hits and five earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning as the Red Sox fell to the Mariners, 5-3.
“To me, the key at-bat in the ninth inning was the Chavez walk,” Farrell said after the game. “We’ve got two outs, a man at first base and a 1-2 count, and he battles his way back into the count and works out a walk and then the 0-2 pitch to Denorfia, he pushes a base hit to right field, 0-2 pitch to Jackson for the double and unfortunately, Ackley finds kind of the Bermuda Triangle out there to drive in the two go-ahead runs. Maybe a lack of finish to Koji’s splitter was the difference tonight.”
Friday night made for one of Uehara’s worst outings in his MLB career. It was the most runs that the 39-year-old has allowed in an outing since surrendering six runs with the Orioles during a start against the Rays on May 5, 2009.
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