|Bobby Valentine on MFB: ‘I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed’ from Red Sox coaching staff in 2012||05.20.15 at 12:34 pm ET|
Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who will return to Fenway Park on Wednesday night to make an appearance with ESPN’s broadcast team, checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday morning and discussed some of the controversies that ensued during his brief tenure in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Now the executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, Valentine said he has no hesitation about returning to Fenway despite his inglorious exit after a 2012 season that included poor play on the field and numerous controversies off it.
“I could give a darn about anxiety,” he said. “I have a lot of friends that I left in Boston. I’ve been in Boston 15 times in the last couple of years. I’m excited about getting back there.”
Valentine was fired one day after a disastrous season in which the Sox finished last in the American League East at 69-92, but he insists he doesn’t worry about any regrets.
“I don’t really look back much at any of my life,” he said. “All I know is that it’s all about sevens — there was seven years in Texas and seven years in New York and seven years in Japan and seven months in Boston. It was all kind of fun looking back at all those things. But I don’t do the microscope. I try to look forward and enjoy what I’m doing today.”
Much was made of the issues Valentine had with his coaching staff that season.
“I think you hit on the key word there: trust,” Valentine said. “That was my mistake, that I wasn’t able to establish the trust that was needed throughout that entire group that were in uniform together. Whether it’s my fault or someone else’s fault, who knows. I’m not a blame-thrower. I can just tell you that when you bring me back to that year that probably the biggest problem was that I delegated the people who were going to speak my gospel, that they didn’t know the language that the gospel was written in.”
|John Henry believes Red Sox are ‘as strong as we’ve ever been’||02.24.15 at 2:35 pm ET|
“I think we’re as strong throughout the organization as we have ever been,” Henry said on Tuesday.
The reasons for Henry’s optimism? It’s partly the talent general manager Ben Cherington assembled this winter to help the big league club escape its second last place finish in three years, but it’s also the strong minor league system.
“I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” Henry said. “I feel good about the pitching. I feel great about the hitting. I feel great about the organization, about the fact that so many players came early this year, and there seems to be a focus. It has to make you feel good at this point.”
The Red Sox are in the process of signing 19-year-old Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada, with the deal expected to be announced on Friday. Moncada adds another impact prospect to a farm system rapidly filling with them.
“At certain times you might say we might have had greater depth, but depth in the minor leagues sometimes doesn’t translate into the major leagues,” Henry said. “What you need are a lot of A and B type players, and we have a lot of A players in the minor leagues these days, people that should make it to the majors. I think we’re in as good a shape as we’ve ever been in that regard. If anything, I think maybe we’ve rushed our players a little bit, because the difference between Double A and Triple A baseball and the major leagues has never been greater. We have to feel good about not only the major league camp, but the minor league camp.”
Anyone wondering why the Red Sox are in the process of signing 19-year-old Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada to a record $31.5 million signing bonus (with matching $31.5 million penalty payment to Major League Baseball), owner John Henry has an answer.
In not so many words, Henry suggested Moncada is the equivalent of the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
“We’ve never had a No. 1 pick, and this is our 14th spring training,” Henry said. “Would we pay up to get one? Yes.”
In today’s game, young players are more valuable than ever, and Henry makes no apologies over the Red Sox‘ aggressiveness in targeting them.
“We do our best to quantify risk,” Henry said. “It’s difficult to do, because predicting the performance of baseball players is an imperfect science. But you do your analysis and look at all of the other factors. … I think we’re more discerning than ever, despite what people might write this week. High-ceiling players, you have to take risks on, but especially young players.”
|John Henry isn’t averse to blowing through luxury tax threshold, ‘hopeful’ about Jon Lester agreement||11.25.14 at 8:04 pm ET|
John Henry offered some clarity Tuesday as to where the Red Sox might go from here when it comes to their offseason approach.
Following the press conference to introduce new left fielder Hanley Ramirez, the Red Sox principal owner said that he was not averse to blowing through the $189 million luxury tax threshold this offseason.
The comment was notable considering the Red Sox would need to reach such financial heights if they were to commit to signing a top-tier free agent pitcher, such as Jon Lester. The last time the team went past the threshold was 2011.
(The team’s payroll currently stands at approximately at $182 million.)
“The way it’s structured we can blow through one year,” Henry said. “Again for next year we have tremendous flexibility so we could go could through for one year and not overly affect us.”
In regards to Lester, Henry made it clear that the pursuit of the free agent pitcher is a top priority for the Red Sox, responding to the question of whether or not he was optimistic about signing the lefty with, “I am. I’m hopeful.”
When asked about the email sent to WEEI.com by one of Lester’s agents, Seth Levinson, saying that the Red Sox had shown “great respect” during the ownership group’s visit to the pitcher, Henry said, “I don’t know that it sends a signal. I guess the signal it sends is there’s never been a problem between Jon and the organization either way. He’s been a huge part of what we’ve accomplished here, and I think when we went to see him a large part of our presentation was finishing that legacy. We’re hopeful he can do that.”
Henry did add regarding how the Lester market is unfolding, “I don’t think we have any idea what the market is with regard to any other team.”
|Why you should have cared about Friday’s Red Sox game: Sox owner John Henry’s state of disbelief; Steven Wright’s case for 2015||09.26.14 at 10:14 pm ET|
It becomes a bit harder to write this on a night where the Red Sox owner wrote this:
Have you ever seen anything like this? pic.twitter.com/Qgogv0IhIM
So, we’ll keep this brief:
The Red Sox entered the year a wealth of upper levels pitching prospects in Triple-A and Double-A. Assessments of the team’s rotation depth naturally centered around Henry Owens (Baseball America’s No. 2 Red Sox prospect entering the year), Allen Webster (No. 4), Brandon Workman (No. 8), Matt Barnes (No. 9), Anthony Ranaudo (No. 11) and even Brian Johnson. Virtually no one was talking about Steven Wright, who — despite a solid first impression in some big league call-ups — went unranked by the publication.
Wright will not — or at least should not — be overlooked entering 2015.
The right-hander made his first big league start of 2014 on Friday night in an eventual 3-2 Sox loss to the Yankees. Against a New York lineup that looked like it was straight out of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he proved effective, allowing two runs (none earned) on four hits (all singles) in five innings. He walked two and struck out four, his knuckleball moving well enough that he gave fits to both the Yankees lineup and catcher Dan Butler (two passed balls). In 21 big league innings, he has a 2.57 ERA with 22 strikeouts and four walks. Of all the prospects whom the Sox have cycled through the big leagues from Pawtucket over the final two months of the year, Wright’s ability to throw strikes while eliciting either swings and misses or bad contact has been the most consistent.
The net result? Wright will be in the conversation going forward for innings at the big league level in 2015. His ability to change speeds and throw strikes with his knuckleball suggests a pitcher who has a chance to contribute to the Sox rotation. He will not be overlooked in prospect circles, and certainly not in the Red Sox organization, for what he might be able to offer going forward.
“He’s in the right place,” said manager John Farrell, “an organization that embraces this type of pitcher.”
OTHER REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE CARED ABOUT FRIDAY’S GAME
— Rusney Castillo, to underscore that Thursday’s home run power was no fluke, went deep again, crushing a slider from right-hander Shawn Kelly onto Lansdowne Street. In 30 big league at-bats, Castillo is hitting .267 with an .813 OPS. He’s showing a surprising ability to get his bat on the ball given that he’s facing big league pitching for the first time and that he’s doing so after what amounts to a 16-month stretch without playing in games following his defection from Cuba, and he’s not merely making contact but showing an ability to drive the ball.
|Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy on D&C: ‘We all need a little bit of patience’ as team struggles through April||04.17.14 at 9:44 am ET|
Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and said owner John Henry called manager John Farrell on Wednesday to offer his support during the team’s early season struggles. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“I think repeating [as champions] is probably one of the hardest things to do in professional sports, and we are off to an awful start. While there have been some positives, it’s been really bad,” Kennedy said. “April, you really like to get off to a good start, so it’s been disappointing. People say, ‘Is there a hangover, is there a letdown?’ Whatever it is, you can really point to the basics. We’re not hitting. I think we’re hitting about a buck-fifty with runners in scoring position. We were 1-4 going into last night’s game in one-run games. That’s not going to last. [Dustin] Pedroia, [Will] Middlebrooks, now [Mike] Napoli, [Shane] Victorino missing time, Koji [Uehara]. It’s a lot of factors to point to. I think we need to have some perspective.
“I know for a fact that John Henry reached out to John Farrell and Ben Cherington yesterday just to say, ‘Hey, guys, it’s early, hang in there, things are going to be OK.’ Because you could tell how frustrated those guys are. And we all are. But we do have to have a little bit of perspective. This is our 13th year here together in Boston. Things will get better. Guys will start to hit. Again, the pitching’s been there. So, we all need a little bit of patience. And I know that’s hard for most of us.”
The other big Red Sox news over the last week relates to the negotiations for a new contract with left-hander Jon Lester. A recent report indicated the Red Sox made a lowball offer of about $70 million for four years.
“You have to remember, we’re starting from a place where the Red Sox, from John Henry on down to Jon Lester, want to make a deal. That’s the starting place. I think everybody feels good about that,” Kennedy said. “The problem with negotiations and details from baseball negotiations getting into the public domain when you have a leak like we did this past week related to this deal is one data point gets into the media, gets out there, gets dissected. I can tell you there are lots of other data points related to this negotiation that are not in the public spotlight, in the media. All I’ll say is that Ben Cherington, Jon Lester, Larry Lucchino, our ownership group will continue to work on this. And it’s clearly best when baseball discussions are kept private, and then baseball decisions are made public. That’s been our philosophy.
“Do we want to see Jon Lester in a Red Sox uniform for a long, long time? Absolutely, yes. As a fan, I hope that he is with us for a long, long time. We’ll see where things go over the coming weeks and months. But I’m hopeful that we do end up getting something done there.”
|John Henry on M&M: 2013 not ‘that big of a factor’ thanks to early success||04.04.14 at 1:46 pm ET|
Red Sox owner John Henry joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the 2014 season and contract extensions. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For Henry’s comments on Jerry Remy, click here.
For Henry, Boston’s early success has allowed the team to turn the page on the World Series championship in 2013.
“Winning cures everything,” Henry said. “The fact that we have two wins under our belt, I don’t know if we feel like we haven’t already turned the page. If we were 1-2 or 0-3, we’d be thinking about it, but I don’t think it’s that big of a factor.”
Boston’s one loss came on the first day of the season when Jon Lester came away with the loss despite giving up just two runs on six hits in seven innings. During spring training, Lester and the team decided to put talks of a contract extension on hold.
“It’s not surprising that given where the market is right now, it’s just something we haven’t been chasing the market this way,” Henry said. “Some other teams have. Jon wants to come back. He really wants to be with this club. We’re going to do as we did with Dustin [Pedroia] last year — everything we can to bring him back. He’s an important part of this club, but we’re not going to do what some clubs might do.”
Lester has said that he will take a hometown discount to remain with the club.
“When someone says that, you need to treat them with respect,” Henry said. “I know Jon personally, so, no, you don’t try to take advantage. We didn’t try to take advantage of Dustin last year in his situation — I don’t feel we did.
“It won’t be easy to come to a deal, but we’re going to work very creatively, both sides, and hopefully there will be a deal.”
|John Henry: ‘I had no input whatsoever’ regarding Boston Globe editorial critical of Jerry Remy||at 12:56 pm ET|
Red Sox owner John Henry checked in with Mut & Merloni on Friday, shortly before the start of Opening Day at Fenway Park, and touched on the Jerry Remy controversy while clarifying his relationship with The Boston Globe staff after his purchase of the newspaper last year.
Henry has voiced support for the longtime NESN Red Sox broadcaster whose son sits in jail accused of murdering his girlfriend. Remy has acknowledged enabling his son, who has a long history of domestic abuse accusations.
A week after the Globe published a lengthy, detailed story about Jared Remy‘s sordid history and his father’s attempts to protect him, the paper posted an editorial calling for Remy to delay his return to the NESN booth. This created confusion among Red Sox Nation, as it was believed that Henry would have to approve of his paper’s editorial.
Henry explained that that was not the case, insisting: “I had no input whatsoever, and I disagreed with it.”
“If it’s my paper, they’re second-guessing me,” Henry said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s not my paper with regard to the Red Sox. They asked me if I wanted to see that article. There’s no way that I’m going to tamper with or even see in advance an article on the Red Sox. There has to be a wall there.”
Added Henry: “They have to be independent of me. If they can’t act independently, then it’s not The Boston Globe that we’ve all known over these years.”
Henry declined to reiterate his support for Remy, noting that he has done so already. However, asked if he thinks Remy will make it through the season, Henry replied: “I do.”
|John Henry on Jerry Remy: ‘All of us in Red Sox Nation stand behind him’||03.26.14 at 9:41 am ET|
Red Sox owner John Henry voiced his support for NESN analyst Jerry Remy, two days after a Boston Globe report painted a picture of Remy as an enabling father of an oft-troubled son who now stands charged with murder.
Remy has been broadcasting Red Sox games for NESN at spring training, but he returned to Boston this week in order to participate in negotiations regarding custody of his 5-year-old granddaughter. Jared Remy stands accused of killing the girl’s mother, Jennifer Martel, at the Waltham apartment they shared. He has pleaded not guilty and will go on trial in the fall.
The Martel and Remy families came to an agreement Tuesday that gives the Martels custody but allows the Remys visitation rights.
|Red Sox owner John Henry: Marlins ‘should apologize for their regular season lineup’||03.08.14 at 5:21 pm ET|
With word trickling out of Jupiter, Fla., that the Marlins were reportedly “outraged” about a visiting Red Sox lineup earlier this week that featured just one potential big league regular (Jackie Bradley Jr.) — a number that fell short of the four regulars required by Major League Baseball in all spring games — Red Sox principal owner John Henry offered a pointed return of such criticism.
“They should apologize for their regular season lineup,” Henry wrote on twitter.
They should apologize for their regular season lineup.
The timing of Henry’s dig was unexpected, given that Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill had said on Friday that he’d received an email from Red Sox GM Ben Cherington in the middle of Thursday’s contest apologizing for the absence of Sox regulars. Hill had told reporters on Friday that the Marlins had no issue with the Red Sox.
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