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Trade Deadline: Former Red Sox Marco Scutaro most likely Rockies player to be dealt 07.26.12 at 4:53 pm ET
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According to the Denver Post, former Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro is the most likely member of the Rockies to be dealt at the trade deadline by Colorado.

The report states that the Nationals — who recently lost Ian Desmond for a month — and the Rays were among the teams in attendance at Chase Field scouting Scutaro. The 36-year-old  infielder has $2.3 million remaining on his current deal, which runs out at the end of this season.

Scutaro has primarily played at second base for the Rockies (71 games), while manning shortstop for 27 games. He is hitting .271 with a .684 OPS, also totaling four homers and seven stolen bases. The infielder’s best month came in June, when he hit .337.

The Red Sox dealt Scutaro last offseason for pitcher Clayton Mortensen, in part to free up money to sign free agent outfielder Cody Ross.

Read More: 2012 Trade Deadline, Ian Desmond, marco scutaro, Red Sox
Why the 2011 Cardinals offer hope to the Red Sox 03.08.12 at 11:51 am ET
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JUPITER, Fla. — The 2011 Cardinals represented one of the more improbable champions in World Series history. The team went through a staggering degree of change en route to a title.

There was turnover at the shortstop position from Ryan Theriot to the trade deadline acquisition of Rafael Furcal, something that manager Bobby Valentine has referenced in discussing the Sox’ willingness to trade Marco Scutaro and commit to Mike Aviles and Nick Punto. There was the rotation, which lost co-ace Adam Wainwright to Tommy John surgery last spring but managed to fill in, in part, with a trade deadline acquisition of Edwin Jackson. There was the bullpen, in which Ryan Franklin opened the year as the closer only to lose his job in the early days of the season, with Jason Motte emerging as the closer in October.

For a Red Sox team that does have some questions as it faces a period of uncertainty and/or transition in its rotation, bullpen and shortstop situation, there is some reassurance to be drawn from last year’s Cardinals, even if the model of massive in-season changes isn’t exactly a blueprint that a team tries to follow.

“[The 2011 Cardinals are] a little bit of an outlier,” Valentine said on Thursday morning from Roger Dean Stadium, where his team is getting ready to play an exhibition game against the Cardinals. “I don’€™t think that formula can repeat itself continuously, but it’€™s out there that it can be replicated every once in a while.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 cardinals, marco scutaro, mike aviles, Nick Punto
Larry Lucchino on D&C: Red Sox would have handled Theo compensation differently 02.26.12 at 12:55 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox CEO and President Larry Lucchino, in a visit with the Dennis & Callahan show, said that in retrospect his team would have handled the matter of compensation for the departure of former GM Theo Epstein differently.

When the Sox accepted Epstein’s resignation so that he could leave to become the president of baseball operations for the Cubs, they did manage to get a concession that Chicago would give them player compensation. However, the two sides did not agree on precisely which player or players would go back to the Sox. In the end, Lucchino said, the Sox were “a little disappointed” that their yield on the deal was right-handed relief prospect Chris Carpenter and a player to be named.

“[Carpenter is] a very strong-armed young pitcher who pitched in the major leagues last year, pitched quite well last year in relief, very low ERA in September when he pitched with the Cubs. He’€™s a guy who throws 95-100 mph,” said Lucchino. “The short answer to your question, and this is not meant to be a reflection on Chris Carpenter ‘€“ we’€™re excited to have him and pleased to have him. Overall, are we disappointed in the process? I think the answer to that is yes. I think the Commissioner’€™s Office feels the Cubs are disappointed. They didn’€™t want to lose Chris Carpenter and another player who is going to be named later. They didn’€™t feel any player compensation was appropriate.

“They’€™re disappointed. We’€™re a little disappointed. The Commissioner’€™s Office probably says to themselves, ‘€˜If both sides are a little disappointed, no one feels that this is a clear win, maybe we did our mediation job right.’€™”

While Major League Baseball might feel that the right outcome was achieved, Lucchino said that the Sox do wish that, with the benefit of hindsight, they’d brought the issue of compensation to greater resolution before agreeing to let Epstein go.

“We did at that point secure the fact that player compensation had to be provided. We did get something at that point,” said Lucchino. “Certainly, if we were doing it over, there would be greater clarity about the specifics of the compensation. That’€™s the way Major League Baseball would like to have it done.”

Still, while the Sox would have liked to have received a player with a different profile, Lucchino said that the Sox were satisfied with the outcome of Epstein’s departure. He believes that the Sox are well positioned to succeed in Epstein’s absence, which opened the door for Ben Cherington to become GM of the Sox.

“The net result is that we have a change,” said Lucchino. “Theo is where he wants to be. He didn’€™t want to be in Boston, he wanted to be in Chicago, so he’€™s out there. Ben Cherington could not be hungrier, happier, more prepared guy to take the reins of the baseball operations department. And through that process, we ended up with Bobby Valentine. So we don’€™t just look at the compensation of these two players. We look at the state of the franchise right now. Is it in good shape? Is it poised to have the kind of positive successful season that we want? I think the answer to that is yes. In that sense, the offseason was successful.”

Lucchino also touched on several additional topics during his appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show. Highlights are below. To listen to the complete interview, click here. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, Bobby Valentine, Chris Carpenter, Jeremy Lin
Dustin Pedroia will be hitting ‘cage bombs’ and ‘going to the moon’ this spring 02.22.12 at 2:21 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia is ready.

The second baseman in his sixth year with the Red Sox is ready for a new outlook, new manager and new feel in 2012.

And he’s come up with a new catch-phase.

On his way out Wednesday, Pedroia, who spent seven hours shooting a Sullivan Tire commercial Tuesday, said he was on a mission.

“Heading out to hit cage bombs, going to the moon,” Pedroia said.

What was his offseason training like?

“I was trying to straight body build, man,” he said without cracking a smile. “That’s basically it, and hit cage bombs.”

Before that, he spent several minutes talking about why he feels good coming into this season.

“We’re going to play good baseball,” Pedroia said of the fundamental approach of new skipper Bobby Valentine. “I’m excited, I’m excited to go play. Last year, the end was tough but we have to regroup together, come out and play good baseball and do it all year long.”

As for Valentine, Pedroia knows he must get accustomed to a new message coming from the manager’s office. He’s ready to start getting a feel for the specifics.

“I’ve been here a day and a half and met him a couple of times but we’ll find out more once camp goes,” Pedroia said. “From what I hear, he’s thinking about baseball non-stop and thinking about fundamentals and trying to get this team where this team needs to be.

“Play the game the right way. That’s basically it. I don’t have answers for what went on last year. Last year is over. It was tough. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about it. You have to try and turn the page and come out and play well and play for your teammates. That’s what I’m going to try and do.”

Pedroia knows Valentine will have a different approach than Terry Francona, the manager he would play cribbage and cards with before games.

“It’s different,” Pedroia said. “That’s the only thing I’ve kind of known. Things change. It’s tough to see [Francona] go, especially the way that it ended for us last year. He’ll always be a close friend of mine. Whatever he chooses to do going forward, I’m pulling for him.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, cage bombs, Dustin Pedroia, marco scutaro
Red Sox pitcher Clayton Mortensen, acquired for Marco Scutaro, out to prove his worth 02.21.12 at 9:53 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — For the last month, it was a line of thinking that Clayton Mortensen heard many times. The Red Sox moved Marco Scutaro in a salary dump.

The Sox just wanted to shed his contract from their payroll, and were content to trade a starting shortstop for nothing simply to get salary relief. The so-called ‘€œnothing’€ in question is Mortensen, the pitcher whom the Sox acquired from the Rockies in the Scutaro deal.

Understandably, that portrayal was seen as unflattering by Mortensen, who is in Red Sox big league camp as a member of the 40-man roster.

‘€œIt was definitely interesting to me,’€ said Mortensen. ‘€œI don’€™t put the expectations so high on myself, but I don’€™t consider myself a schmuck either. I know what I can do. I’€™m going to come over here and show you got something of value. You can use me in any sort of way. I’€™m versatile, can be a starter or reliever, and can definitely show that you got some value.’€

Unquestionably, the primary motive for the trade from the Sox’€™ vantage point was indeed to shed Scutaro’€™s salary (which would have been calculated $7.67 million against the luxury tax threshold) and create greater payroll flexibility. The team used the available money to sign Cody Ross, and the club also now has an increased ability to take on salary with additional players in spring training or as the trade deadline approaches.

That said, the Sox did have a choice of a couple of Rockies prospects and chose Mortensen, a 2007 sandwich pick (No. 36 overall) who was traded by the Cardinals to the A’€™s in 2009 as part of a deadline deal for Matt Holliday, went from Oakland to Colorado a year ago in an exchange of minor league pitchers and now finds himself with his fourth organization in fewer than three years. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: clayton mortensen, colorado rockies, marco scutaro,
And so it begins: Bobby Valentine on the state of the Red Sox as spring training opens 02.19.12 at 2:58 pm ET
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FORT MYERS — It is an unusual spring for the Red Sox. As they return from a 2011 season that witnessed immense promise before ending in a startling collapse that yielded tremendous on- and off-field questions as well as turnover in both the front office and manager’s office, the Red Sox are a team that starts spring training with greater-than-usual uncertainty. The shape of the roster is less settled than is typically the case, and the mindset and dynamic of the organization will also be a work in progress over the coming six weeks in Fort Myers.

New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, the successor to Terry Francona‘s eight-year run at the helm of the Boston dugout, did not hide from that fact. He embraced the questions surrounding his club.

“At the start of season, you have all questions,” said Valentine. “You have questions about how the team will come together. How the pitching staff will work with the catchers. How the lineup will look and work together. I’€™d say we have all questions and questions of good health, too.

“As far as positions, we have a vacancy at shortstop, we have a vacancy in right field. Right now, [Carl Crawford]‘€™s health is of question for maybe Opening Day anyway ‘€“ for opening day of Spring Training. We’€™ll deal with left field. You know a couple of spots in our starting rotation and our bullpen has open spots also. If you mean just the personnel, those are the questions that need answers. The general idea of all the things coming together need to be answered.’€

Here are some of the questions that Valentine addressed on Sunday morning:

On what he think the team needs to do in the wake of its historic collapse in 2011: Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: andrew miller, Bobby Valentine, Daniel Bard, felix doubront
Dustin Pedroia on The Big Show: Punk’d by Andre Ethier 01.25.12 at 6:14 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia joined The Big Show for his weekly radio appearance to talk about the Marco Scutaro trade, Julio Iglesias, Nick Punto, Mike Aviles and his beloved San Francisco 49ers.

Yet the visit was particularly noteworthy for another reason, as the second baseman was confronted with a phone call from “Andrew, calling from his car.”

“People keep talking about this Punto and Aviles, I think they should be starting over you, they should be in the middle infield now,” the caller said. “I’ve been watching you play over the years and you ain’t that good.

“They already got rid of Scutaro, they should probably get rid of you, too,” the caller added in his rant.

Pedroia was quick to respond.

“Let me break it down for you, Andrew,” Pedroia, who won Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 and the AL MVP in 2008, responded. “I’ve got a couple of pieces of hardware at my house that says I’m pretty damn good.”

But lost in all the trash talk and back-and-forth banter was a simple truth — Andrew was, in fact, Dodgers All-Star rightfielder Andre Ethier, one of Pedroia’s closest friends. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: andre ethier, Dustin Pedroia, Julio Iglesias, marco scutaro
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington: ‘Don’t feel like we need’ to make a move at 5:40 pm ET
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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an interview on The Big Show, said that the Red Sox face a budget but not a mandate to stay under the $178 million luxury tax threshold for 2012, explained the rationale for the trade of Marco Scutaro to the Rockies and suggested that, while the Sox are exploring options (including starting pitching options) to reinforce their roster, that he is comfortable with where the team stands with its pitching.

Cherington suggested that the team is weighing whether there is more to be gained by using their available resources to sign players now or whether the team might be better served to maintain financial flexibility for potential deals either during spring training or leading up to the trade deadline.

“We would be content going [into spring training] with the pitching staff we have right now. Again, any decision you make, when it comes to acquiring a player, whether a free agent or a trade, there’€™s that decision and then there’€™s the opportunity cost of doing that. There’€™s something, by doing that, that you may not be able to do. Those are the things we weigh,” said Cherington. “If there’€™s something that helps the team now, that we think makes sense and is the right value, then we’€™ll do that. If not, we’€™ll keep our doors open, remain flexible and consider things during spring training and during the year.

“Teams evolve,” he continued. “Teams very seldom look the same way in July or at the end of the year that they do in spring training. In large part, that’€™s because baseball is such a difficult sport. It’€™s such a grind, it’€™s such a long season. It’€™s hard to predict exactly what you’€™re going to need. It’€™s hard to predict how players are going to react or respond. Sometimes flexibility can be a good thing.

“The Cardinals, in spring training last year, were getting beat up because they hadn’€™t extended Pujols and they lost Wainwright in spring training. Things worked out pretty well. That’€™s not to suggest it’€™s always going to happen that way, but things change a lot in baseball. We need to stay nimble and be prepared to react to things that we think make sense. If that’€™s next week, then it’€™s next week. If it’€™s a month from now, then it’€™s a month from now. If it’€™s July, then it’€™s July. We’€™ll just take every opportunity as it comes.”

As for reports that the Sox have made a contract offer to Roy Oswalt (and reportedly have also made an offer to Edwin Jackson), Cherington spoke in generalities.

“There’€™s a lot out there. If we acquired every player we are rumored to be on, we’€™d need, like, an 80-man roster. I’€™d never comment on a negotiation, specifically,” said Cherington. “We’€™re talking to a few different guys, we’€™re considering different things. If there’€™s a way to make our team better, whether it’€™s the rotation of the pitching staff or whether it’€™s another part of the team between now and spring training, we’€™ll do that.

“We don’€™t feel like we need to do that. We feel like we’€™re in a good position. If spring training started today, we like the mix that we have and we’€™ll have plenty of contenders for the end of the rotation and the last couple bullpen spots.”

To listen to the compete interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page. Here is a transcript of other highlights of the interview:

Are the Red Sox under orders to stay under the luxury tax threshold of $178 million in 2012? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, David Ortiz, edwin jackson, luxury tax
Sources: Red Sox add outfielder Cody Ross to the mix 01.23.12 at 9:05 pm ET
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According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox are finalizing a one-year deal with free agent outfielder Cody Ross. Ross will receive a $3 million base salary, with possible “high-level” performance bonuses also in the mix. News of the agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via twitter).

Ross, 31, is a career .261 hitter with a .323 OBP, .456 slugging mark and .779 OPS, along with 100 homers, in parts of eight seasons with the Tigers, Dodgers, Reds, Marlins and Giants. He owns a robust career line of .282 with a .349 OBP, .563 slugging mark and .912 OPS against lefties (with the caveat that he hit just .234/.336/.362/.698 against southpaws in 2011, and went from one strikeout per 5.8 plate appearances against lefties through 2010 to one per every 4.8 plate appearances in 2011).

The Sox said from the beginning of the offseason that they would like to add a right-handed hitting outfielder. Ross, who has played primarily center field while also spending extended time in both left and right in his career, would seemingly fit that bill.

Ross joins an outfield mix that now includes Carl Crawford in left (when he returns from wrist surgery), Jacoby Ellsbury in center and the left-handed Ryan Sweeney, right-handed Darnell McDonald and right-handed Ross. Sweeney, McDonald and Ross are all capable of playing all three outfield positions. The addition of Ross suggests that the Sox will be in position to use Mike Aviles primarily — if not exclusively — at shortstop.

The Sox had been interested in Ross throughout the offseason, but the team felt that it needed to clear some payroll in order to add him (or a player like him). The deal sending Marco Scutaro to the Rockies gave the Sox new financial flexbility to explore such deals, as it removed $7.67 million from the team’s payroll (as calculated for luxury tax purposes).

Read More: Cody Ross, darnell mcdonald, marco scutaro, ryan sweeney
What did the Red Sox get for Marco Scutaro? A look at Clayton Mortensen 01.21.12 at 7:20 pm ET
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The Red Sox‘ main motivation for dealing shortstop Marco Scutaro was to clear his $6 million payroll in order to make a run at addressing other areas of need, most likely their rotation. Even so, the team acquired a pitcher who could provide them with a depth option for either the rotation or the bullpen in right-hander Clayton Mortensen.

Mortensen, 26, has a 4-8 record and 5.12 ERA in 24 big league games (13 starts) over the past three seasons. A sandwich pick of the Cardinals in the 2007 draft, Mortensen was traded to the A’s as part of the deal sending Matt Holliday to the Cardinals in 2009 and then dealt by Oakland to the Rockies for minor league pitcher Ethan Hollisworth last year. He showed some promise with Colorado over the course of two and a half months in the majors last year, going 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 16 appearances (six starts). Mortensen was 2-3 with a 4.15 ERA as a starter and had a 3.42 ERA in relief. The sinkerballer had command issues, walking 24 and striking out 30 in 58 1/3 innings.

One major league talent evaluator described the right-hander as a sinker slider pitcher with a build that allows him to project as a starter, but his stuff has seemingly plateaued, and he is likely to define himself either as a future back-of-the-rotation starter or a middle reliever given his grounder-inducing sinker and “fringy” secondary pitches.

Last offseason, Mortensen was rated the No. 14 prospect in Oakland’s farm system by Baseball America, which described him thusly: Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: clay mortenson, marco scutaro, Rockies,
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