|Bobby Valentine: Red Sox player complaints ‘unique to that group of guys’||10.23.12 at 11:02 pm ET|
Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, in an interview on “Costas Tonight” on the NBC Sports Network on the same day that John Farrell was introduced as his successor, suggested that he remains “incredulous” that Sox players reacted badly to occurrences such as his suggestion that Kevin Youkilis was not as physically or emotionally invested in the game, his feedback on how Mike Aviles performed in a pop-up drill in spring training and his alleged quip after Will Middlebrooks committed an error.
“The thing with Aviles, it was absolutely mind-boggling. … We were going to have a discussion about it while we were running a drill,” Valentine said. “I just said, ‘Guys, on this matter, this is not a democracy. We’re doing it the way you do it in baseball.’ I did it in a loud voice. Guys came into my office and said, ‘Please, don’t yell at Mike like that.’ … I’m still incredulous.
“Was I surprised that guys came in in that situation [after he critiqued Aviles' work]? Yes. I think … that’s unique to that group of guys. I don’t think it’s indigenous to all of baseball. At least I pray it’s not,” Valentine continued. “It’s not functional with the tail wagging the dog, and taking a vote every time you have to decide how to do things. A leader needs to lead. He leads by forming the pack, patting down the pack and having other people follow. You can’t have the guy at the back of the line coming up and deciding which direction you’re going to go in.”
Valentine described the Youkilis statement as “benign” (agreeing with the assessment of host Costas). He suggested that the Middlebrooks incident — in which members of the Red Sox other than Middlebrooks expressed concern to front-office members that Valentine said, “Nice inning, kid,” to Middlebrooks after a pair of misplays, resulting in owners sharing those concerns to him — did not occur.
“Just because we’re in the fact-checking era,” said Valentine, “I don’t think the thing with Will ever happened. He told me he didn’t remember it, and I didn’t remember it.”
Of his dismissal, Valentine said that he was not surprised, and that he did not experience disappointment upon receiving the news that his tenure with the Red Sox had come to a conclusion after the first season of a two-year deal.
“I was relieved that I was not disappointed,” said Valentine. “It was a real trying season. By September, I knew. There was writing on the wall. We had to have themeeting. We had the meeting and made it official.”
As for where his relationship now stands with the team, Valentine chuckled, “They’d kill me. If I ever say anything, they’d send out a hit man. They’d whack me, and it would be all over.” Read the rest of this entry »
Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino, who was in charge of much of the responsibility for negotiating with Blue Jays counterpart Paul Beeston to release John Farrell from his contract, said that he was concerned at times in the process that Farrell would not be granted permission to come to Boston.
“Yes there was [concern that the Blue Jays wouldn't let him go],” said Lucchino. “That’s why the suggestion that somehow we were making a mistake in bringing in other people to interview is I think unfounded. There was a lot of uncertainty as to whether this thing could be done. We had to prepare for Plan B.”
Asked what happened to breathe life into the discussions between the teams, Lucchino suggested only, “I like to think it was sweet reasonableness that somehow reared its lovely head in the middle of the process.”
Still, he acknowledged that the discussions with the Blue Jays this year were dramatically different from the ones that took place a year ago, after Terry Francona was fired following the 2011 season, when sources have said that Toronto sought starter Clay Buchholz in exchange for Farrell. This year, the two sides ended up agreeing that the Sox could compensate Toronto by sending shortstop Mike Aviles to the Jays. Even so, Lucchino noted that a player who was an everyday shortstop in 2012 represented a more substantial form of compensation than Chris Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz, the players whom the Sox received from the Cubs in March as compensation for the departure of former GM Theo Epstein.
“Let’s just say [the Blue Jays] made substantial demands on us throughout the process. It had to evolve over time for us to find the right combination of consideration, because they absolutely deserved important consideration, and they got it in our last year’s starting shortstop,” said Lucchino. “It’s a far cry from the process we went through last year with regards to our general manager.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos on John Farrell’s dream job; Mike Aviles; David Carpenter; and ‘unfortunate,’ ‘false’ leaks and ‘gamesmanship’||10.21.12 at 5:34 pm ET|
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, in a 40-minute conference call, discussed the conversations that led his organization to release John Farrell from the final season of his three-year contract as Toronto manager so that the former Red Sox pitching coach could return to Boston as a manager. He also discussed the appeal of Mike Aviles, the player whom the Jays received as compensation for Farrell’s departure; David Carpenter, the player whom the Jays sent to Boston to make the transaction official; and his concerns about the leaks — some of which Anthopoulos characterized as being flatly false — regarding the situation with Farrell and the Blue Jays throughout the process.
- After the season, Farrell informed Anthopoulos that managing the Red Sox represented a “dream job” that he’d like to pursue. Given that stance, once the Jays were contacted, they wanted to see if an agreement could be reached that would justify a decision by Toronto to let go of an employee who remained under contract in a lateral move.
- Anthopoulos suggested that he understood Farrell’s motives, and that he wasn’t disappointed in his manager’s desire to leave. However, he did express disappointment with how the process unfolded — chiefly, with leaks that occurred about the process and what he termed “false” information and potential “gamesmanship” about Farrell’s relationship with the Jays front office. Anthopoulos noted that those leaks appeared to emanate from Boston.
- The Jays never discussed an extension with Farrell to keep him in Toronto before 2013. Still, Anthopoulos said that the team fully intended to retain him as manager for 2013 if a sufficient deal with the Sox could not be struck.
- Toronto acquired Mike Aviles from the Red Sox as a middle infielder with the ability to provide good defense around the infield, viewing hi as a high-energy player with power at a time when such players are rarely available on the market. The relatively poor middle infield options in the free-agent market underscore why Toronto valued a player like Aviles, despite his low on-base percentage.
- While the Jays parted with right-hander David Carpenter to complete the deal, the team was almost inevitably going to lose him, since Toronto planned to remove him from the 40-man roster this offseason.
- Anthopoulos said that speculation that Adam Lind might head to the Red Sox in the deal was completely false.
- He also said that all members of the Blue Jays coaching staff are free to talk with any team, including the Red Sox, about job openings.
Here are some highlights from his conference call:
On whether the Jays ever discussed an extension with Farrell (whose three-year contract with Toronto ran through the 2013 season), and the timeline of events that led to the deal with the Sox:
“We did not [discuss an extension]. … [On either the Sunday or Monday after the end of the season] I spoke to John, starting going through offseason plans and so on, and that was the first time we talked about the Boston circumstances, the rumors and everything else. That was the first time we sat down all season even and addressed it and even spoke about it. John expressed to me that he’d really like an opportunity to pursue that if it came about. I explained to him that at that time, we hadn’t gotten any phone call at all, and that obviously we couldn’t hold up our offseason and even go down that path if we hadn’t gotten a phone call and we couldn’t wait forever. Read the rest of this entry »
|Mike Aviles has a pretty good idea when we might see Carl Crawford playing again||08.22.12 at 8:52 am ET|
When trying to guess when Carl Crawford might be returning from Tommy John surgery, you might want listen to Mike Aviles.
Aviles underwent the procedure on July 9, 2009.
“Around 7½ months I was playing in spring training games, and that was kind of rare,” Aviles said. “I still wasn’t able to play shortstop, but I was able to play second because my throws just didn’t have the extra carry that I needed.
“I felt fully healed one the season started, but you could still feel as the months went on that your arm continued to get stronger. I would say right around the year mark is when I felt completely, fully, fully back to normal.”
Aviles came back for the 2010 season, playing in 110 games for the Royals. He did, however, play mostly at second base (87 games) while getting the strength back in his elbow.
And while Crawford first threw out a timeline of 5-6 months for a position’s player recovery time, Aviles suggests a different path.
“Usually with pitchers it’s 12-plus [months], but when it comes to position players 9-10 is usually a good benchmark,” the Red Sox shortstop said. “But it all depends on the person’s anatomy. I remember Dr. [Lewis] Yocum telling me not to expect to be back until the All-Star break the following year. But I felt good earlier and the whole thing has to do with the person’s anatomy, how the body feels.”
It is experience that Aviles knows can help Crawford, both now, and as his road back to the baseball field unfolds.
“I talked to CC quite a bit about it because I want him to understand what he has ahead of him,” Aviles said. “I told him, ‘If you have any questions on anything, I’ve been through it, just ask.’ It’s kind of weird because he’s been in the year 10 years so I would be asking him for things. This is the one time I can actually help him out. I told him, ‘Call me, text me, anything.’ I’ll gladly let him know if it’s the same thing, because there were times I felt a certain thing and they might say it’s normal, but as a player you don’t know it’s normal because you’ve never had the surgery.
“I remember asking Joakim Soria and Bruce Chen, just to make sure things were normal. Sometimes as a player you need that reassurance from a person who has had the surgery. I know CC has asked me about it and I’ve tried to help him as much as possible for what he has to prepare for.”
|Sources: Chances of Red Sox dealing Beckett less than 50-50; team not close on adding or subtracting||07.30.12 at 9:40 pm ET|
With a bit more than 18 hours left until the trade deadline, here is where things stand with the Red Sox, based on conversations with multiple major league sources:
– A major league source disputed the notion that the Sox were actively shopping or looking to engage in an outright dump of Josh Beckett, in which the team would be willing to absorb the lion’s share of his contract. If the Sox were to move the right-hander, part of the reason would be financial relief from one of the team’s biggest long-term deals. That said, the team has engaged in conversations about the right-hander with other teams, discussing a variety of packages that might offer the framework for a potential deal.
For now, the source portrayed the Red Sox as being more likely to retain Beckett than to trade him, pegging the chances of a deal as less than 50 percent. There is considerable complexity related to a deal involving the pitcher, including: a) the player return for the pitcher; b) the amount of the remaining roughly $37 million on his deal that would be assumed by both teams in a deal; and c) Beckett’s right, as a player with 10 years of major league service and five with the same team, to veto a trade.
The source said that the Red Sox have not gotten to the stage in negotiations with other teams at which they would have asked Beckett about his willingness to waive his 10/5 right to veto a deal.
– The team is not discussing Jon Lester with other teams. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bobby Valentine: ‘I’ve never been told that [Carl Crawford] needs an operation’||07.29.12 at 9:43 pm ET|
NEW YORK — With Carl Crawford back in the lineup after sitting on Saturday against left-handed starter CC Sabathia, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine suggested that he was comfortable with the four-day plan that has been outlined for the outfielder’s usage. Valentine also said that, if his playing time is managed properly, that the injured ulnar collateral ligament in Crawford’s left elbow could improve.
“It’s a very simple thing. It bothers him and you don’t want it to get to the point where it’s intolerable. It made sense to me,” Valentine said of the idea of managing Crawford’s playing time. “And we’re hoping that it’s going to hurt less and bother him less and that’s why we have a prescribed program.”
Given that the Sox are hopeful that Crawford’s elbow will improve, Valentine suggested that Crawford’s pronouncement that he will need Tommy John surgery may not prove accurate.
“I heard what Carl said,” said Valentine. “I’ve never been told that he needs an operation. I don’t think that’s a definitive situation.”
Even so, Valentine did check in with his outfielder to make sure that the two remained on the same page after what appeared to be confusion about his usage and playing time on Saturday.
“I said, hey, if I do anything to confuse you or make you anything more than as comfortable as possible, you’ve just got to let me know. I guess when everyone came to him at his locker, he got uncomfortable,” said Valentine. “He says he’s fine.”
- Valentine suggested that the fact that former Red Sox manager Terry Francona held court in the Red Sox clubhouse on Saturday with a number of his former players was a non-issue.”I didn’t think it was any big deal. I didn’t see it,” Valentine said. “I wasn’t there partaking in the conversation but what’s the big deal?” Read the rest of this entry »
|Closing Time: Red Sox win on Mike Aviles’ ninth-inning single||07.24.12 at 11:43 pm ET|
Mike Aviles had already left four runners on base in the game, but with two outs in the top of the ninth he came through with a perfectly lofted single over the head of shortstop Elvis Andrus to drive in Daniel Nava, give the Red Sox a 2-1 win and bring them back to .500.
Clay Buchholz pitched another gem for the Red Sox, but once again Boston’s offense was unable to provide him the run support to get him a win. Buchholz has back-to-back no-decisions in which he has only allowed two runs in 15 innings pitched.
The Red Sox struggled against young lefty Martin Perez, who only allowed one run on five hits in six innings. However, Boston did a good job of working his pitch count and getting to the bullpen by the seventh inning.
A lack of run support has become a theme for the Red Sox against the Rangers, as they have only scored eight runs in four games against Texas this season. However, the combination of Buchholz, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves was enough to hold off Texas’ big bats and give Boston its first win against the Rangers this season.
The Red Sox will send Josh Beckett to the mound on Wednesday against Derek Holland to try to win the road series before their trip to Yankee Stadium on Friday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
• Buchholz continues to be the Red Sox’ best starter, as he put together another excellent and efficient outing on Tuesday night. The 27-year-old only allowed one run in the game, when a fielder’s choice pushed Andrus across the plate in the sixth inning. Buchholz only allowed four hits, three walks and one earned run on 105 pitches through seven innings.
What might be the most important aspect of Buchholz’s performances as of late is how deep into the games he has been pitching. The Texas native has lasted at least six innings in his past eight starts, three of which he has lasted eight innings or more. Buchholz’s efficiency and stamina has helped preserve a bullpen that has been relied on a lot this season.