|Former Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop slams Tim Tebow signing because of $100k bonus||10.19.16 at 11:14 am ET|
Former Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop has no problem with baseball teams giving Tim Tebow a look. But signing him for $100,000? That’s where he draws the line.
Writing a column for MLB Trade Rumors, Badenhop blasted the Mets for disrespecting the work it took marginal prospects such as himself to reach the majors. He can’t believe Tebow received a bonus commensurate with a pick in the top 10 rounds when it’s clear he lacks the skill to be a big leaguer.
“Big leaguers are found all over the draft,” Badenhop wrote. “For every first-round superstar like Kris Bryant, you’ll find a Daniel Murphy in the 13th round. I was drafted in the 19th round as a college senior. I signed for $1,000. You could draft 100 of me for the price of one Tim Tebow. Such a thought only elicits feelings of disrespect.”
Badenhop was kinder to Tebow’s game, which many scouts consider limited and one compared to an actor attempting to play a baseball player, like Freddie Prinze Jr. in Summer Catch.
“Tebow’s swing looked fine to me,” Badenhop wrote. “It was definitely long, but it was powerful and fell far short of looking as bad as a Charles Barkley golf swing. Tebow’s outfield work definitely left more to be desired, though. He shagged fly balls with an awkward ‘five step drop’ type of footwork. And I couldn’t stop looking at his glove. Not the type of glove or the color or anything, but how it was broken in. It was just wrong. It didn’t have a pocket, it was bent in a weird way and he had all five fingers in each finger hole, which I’ve never seen an outfielder do.”
In any event, Badenhop resents the Mets seemingly allowing Tebow to short-circuit the process.
“To see a team give a 29-year-old with no baseball experience a six-figure bonus because he was good at college football was confusing,” he wrote. “The road to ‘The Show’ isn’t a walk in the park. You don’t get to the big leagues as a 19th-rounder and stay without earning it. It was a badge of honor for me. This signing makes it seem that maybe teams don’t take the grind as seriously as the players do. It sends a very mixed message.”
The rest of the piece is worth reading.
|Tom Tippett, Red Sox statistical analyst, is leaving organization||10.18.16 at 5:58 pm ET|
The off-field losses continue to mount for the Red Sox.
One day after Mike Hazen was introduced as the new general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Red Sox also lost one of their brightest minds when the club confirmed that senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett will leave the organization when his contract expires at the end of the month to pursue other ventures.
Tippett said by e-mail that he informed Hazen of his decision in September. Tippett’s departure marks the end of a 13-year career with the Red Sox. He rose to prominence in the early ’90s with his Diamond Mind computer simulation, which the Red Sox used to help determine their Division Series roster against the A’s in 2003.
A native of Canada and graduate of Harvard Business School, Tippett will continue working for the Red Sox through Halloween. He headed up development of their in-house statistical analysis systems and supplied data regarding player personnel decisions.
The news was first reported on Twitter by Peter Gammons.
|Dave Dombrowski on possibility of Torey Lovullo becoming Diamondbacks manager: ‘We would not stand in his way’||10.17.16 at 12:07 pm ET|
With Mike Hazen departing to become general manager of the Diamondbacks, the natural followup is if he’ll take Torey Lovullo with him as manager.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, speaking on a conference call Monday, made it clear he won’t deny him the chance.
“I’ll be surprised, I would say, if they don’t ask for permission to talk to Torey,” Dombrowski said. “I know how highly we think of him and how highly Mike thinks of him. But I can’t speak for that. That would have to be something that Mike would answer. Of course, we would not stand in Torey’s way, as we discussed last week. In my opinion, he’s ready to be a Major League manager. Would he end up being their top selection? I can’t answer that. We would not stand in his way.”
Lovullo and Hazen share a history that dates back to their time together in the Indians organization more than a decade ago. The Red Sox bench coach is considered a hot managerial property this offseason, and joining Hazen in Arizona makes sense. The D’backs have an opening because they fired manager Chip Hale after a 69-win season.
As for the Red Sox GM search, Dombrowski said he’s going to start with internal candidates before potentially broadening the search. Whomever he hires will essentially be an assistant GM, since Dombrowski calls all the shots in baseball operations.
|Mike Hazen leaves Red Sox to become general manager of Arizona Diamondbacks; could Torey Lovullo join him?||10.16.16 at 2:33 pm ET|
Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen has left the club to become general manager and executive vice president of the Diamondbacks, the D’backs announced.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 16, 2016
Hazen, 40, is an Abington native and Princeton grad who joined the Red Sox in 2006. He effectively served as an assistant GM under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, so the move to Arizona puts him in charge for the first time.
“I’m extremely grateful for this incredible opportunity to help the D-backs reach the next level,” Hazen said in a statement released by the team. “This is a franchise that has experienced a lot of success both on and off the field in less than two decades of existence, and I’m looking forward to working with Ken [Kendrick] and Derrick [Hall] to help bring back a tradition of winning to Arizona.”
Hazen’s move now opens the possibility that Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo could leave the club to become manager of the Diamondbacks.
|Brad Ziegler prepares to enter free agency for first time at age 37, hopes to close, believes he can still get lefties||10.12.16 at 1:49 pm ET|
Brad Ziegler reached the big leagues at age 28, set a record for most consecutive scoreless innings to begin a career (39), and has since saved 85 games, including four with the Red Sox this season.
One thing he has never done: reach free agency. But that’s about to change as Ziegler prepares to test the market for the first time this winter.
“I have no idea what the future holds,” he said after the Red Sox were eliminated from the American League Division Series by the Indians. “There’s a lot of factors. It’s just something I’m going to have to sit down with my family and discuss. I’m going to have a little more time to figure it out than I hoped I would, but at the same time, there’s a lot to figure out.
“It is unique. It’s probably the only time, I’m hoping anyways, it might be the only time I get to do this. Hopefully the process is enjoyable and I’ll get some offers that put my family in a good position going forward, not just financially, but location and everything.”
It appears unlikely that Boston will be that destination, though Ziegler said he enjoyed his two-plus months here, noting that, “one way or another, this year will be special for me.” He also said he won’t rule out anywhere at the moment.
That said, he’s intrigued by the possibility of closing again. He saved 30 games for the Diamondbacks last year and 22 between Arizona and Boston this year. The Red Sox are set at that spot with All-Star Craig Kimbrel.
“It’s one of 50 factors,” he said. “If the situation’s right, it’s not mandatory. I think I’ve proven I can do it and I’d love to do it. Obviously here they have an established closer. There’s a lot of other places where they have guys established, and if they feel like I’m a better fit somewhere else in the pen and it’s a better fit overall for my family, I’m not going to be dead set on that’s what I have to do.”
What Ziegler is eager to remind teams is that he needn’t be limited to right-on-right situations, which was largely how he was used in Boston after recording more walks against left-handed hitters (16) than strikeouts. In 2015, for instance, he limited lefties to a .217 average.
“I’ve worked hard to do it, and there’s stretches where if my changeup doesn’t feel just right and my fastball command isn’t what it should be, lefties are going to hit me better than righties,” he said. “I can still maybe get away with a little bit more against righties. At the same time, I’m completely confident facing lefties. When I was closing in Arizona, there were times I would face all lefties in the ninth inning and I handled those situations just fine. It didn’t matter, you were the guy. That’s not a concern for me going forward. In September, it’s a little different, because you can put 12 guys down in the bullpen and just play matchups.
“When you’re going through the whole season, you can’t match up every guy. I felt like I’ve proven I don’t need to be a matchup guy long-term, and hopefully wherever I end up next year, they’ll see that and they won’t be scared to use me in certain situations.”
|Dave Dombrowski on Xander Bogaerts’ defense: ‘I don’t think he has the range of some of the other shortstops that are out there’||10.11.16 at 6:32 pm ET|
All of the focus on Xander Bogaerts’ disappearing bat this season obscured the step back he took on defense, as well.
A Gold Glove finalist in 2015, Bogaerts regressed on that side of the ball as well, this year. According to Baseball Info Solutions, he didn’t cost the team any runs defensively last year, but in 2016, he cost the team 10 runs on defense.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski addressed Bogaerts’ defensive shortcomings on Tuesday.
“I think Bogey did fine at short,” he said. “I know the defensive metrics are not great. I don’t think he has the range of some of the other shortstops that are out there. With Bogey’s case, he plays well at short, but he’s also a guy you’d describe as an offensive shortstop. I don’t think he’s hurt us defensively. I think his offense more than makes up for whatever lack of range he may have compared to some of the other guys.
“You think of a guy like [Detroit’s Jose] Iglesias, who had much more range, but is nowhere near the offensive force Xander would be. So I think he did a fine job for us. He’s a good player, and we look for him to be our shortstop next year and for years to come. He’s going to have to keep working on it because he’s a big guy, and big guys like that have to continue to emphasize their quickness.”
Offensively, Bogaerts made his first All-Star team by hitting .329 with an .863 OPS in the first half, but he fell to .253 with a .718 OPS in the second, necessitating a drop to sixth in the batting order during the playoffs.
With the glove, the defensive component of his wins above replacement dropped from 0.9 last year to minus-0.1 this year.
|Dave Dombrowski doesn’t care that you hate John Farrell’s in-game managing, because he considers other skills more important||at 4:17 pm ET|
John Farrell’s most vocal critics inevitably cite his perceived deficiencies as an in-game manager when pushing for his dismissal.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has a response for those people: it’s nowhere near the most important part of the job.
“I do not feel in-game strategy is the biggest thing as a manager,” Dombrowski said on Tuesday, hours after the Red Sox were swept from the American League Division Series by the Indians. “I think it’s important, but there are other things that are probably more important.
“To me, the most important thing for a manager is that their club plays up to their capabilities day-in, day-out, which means they’re communicating with their players and getting everything they can. That means their club is playing hard. In-game strategy, of course, is very important. But having been through this so much, and I’ve answered the question in the past here and I hope I’m not being too redundant, I think that’s what makes our game so interesting. A lot of people think they know more than the manager when it comes to strategy.”
Dombrowski noted that he has extensively talked strategy with Tony LaRussa, Jim Leyland, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox, four Hall of Fame-caliber skippers.
“There’s a man on first base in a 2-2 game in the eighth inning and this is how it shapes up,” Dombrowski said. “One of them bunts, one hits-and-run, one steals and one does nothing. They all have their reasons in doing it. I think it’s most important that they are able to have a reason why they’re doing it, and so for me it’s a situation where there’s a lot of different ways to go about that. I think it’s having a pulse of your personnel and what works for you.
“John Farrell, you’re going to sit up there and you are not going to agree with the strategy all the time of anyone that is your manager. I learned that having Jim Leyland and Tony LaRussa. Tony’s already in the Hall of Fame and Jim should be. It’s just one of those things that comes with the territory.”
|Dave Dombrowski announces that John Farrell and entire Red Sox coaching staff will return in 2017; Torey Lovullo will be allowed to interview for managerial openings||at 2:10 pm ET|
John Farrell will be back in 2017.
Wasting little time at his post-season postmortem press conference, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday announced that Farrell and his entire coaching staff will return next season.
“John Farrell will be our manager for 2017,” Dombrowski said. “He is all set and his whole staff will be invited back. . . . He has the respect of the clubhouse. We played well.”
Farrell is signed through 2017, with a team option for 2018. Dombrowski broke the news to Farrell as the two passed each other in the hall between their respective press conferences.
Farrell led the Red Sox to the playoffs for the second time in four seasons. The Red Sox went worst-to-first en route to 93 wins and their second AL East title on Farrell’s watch.
His coaches include Carl Willis (pitching), Chili Davis (hitting), Brian Butterfield (third base), Ruben Amaro (first base), Brian Bannister (assistant pitching), and Victor Rodriguez (assistant hitting).
Dombrowski added that bench coach Torey Lovullo will be allowed to interview for managerial openings, but that the team hopes to retain him.
He also said that Bannister will remain in uniform at the big-league level, but also have other responsibilities on the analytical side.
|Dustin Pedroia becomes longest-tenured Red Sox player after saying goodbye to David Ortiz||at 12:09 am ET|
This is Dustin Pedroia’s team now.
The Red Sox second baseman officially became the team’s longest-tenured member after Monday’s 4-3 season-ending loss to the Indians sent veteran slugger David Ortiz into retirement.
Pedroia debuted in 2006, two years after being drafted out of Arizona State in the second round. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 en route to his first World Series title, and then won an MVP award in 2008.
He was the youngest member of veteran teams at the time, but now the 33-year-old takes the mantle of leadership from Ortiz.
“It’s a little different,” he admitted. “Obviously it hasn’t sunk in that David won’t be around. But you know, it’s tough. . . . I mean, your mind tells you he’ll be here when the game ends and be here tomorrow. It’s got to end some way. But this is definitely not how we expected it to. It’s going to be tough not having him around.”
Pedroia had no explanation for baseball’s best offense getting shut down in the American League Division Series.
“We just couldn’t find our rhythm,” he said. “We couldn’t string consecutive hits or at-bats or anything. And to be honest with you, it’s more a credit to them. I mean, they were on the corners with good stuff. I mean, they pitched good. They played great. Sometimes, as frustrating as it is, you have to tip your cap. That’s why they’re moving on.”
Pedroia believed the Indians played near-perfect baseball in completing the sweep.
“It’s surprising, but they’re good, too,” he said. “It’s not what we expected to happen, but they played great. They played great. They played flawless, man. There wasn’t one part of their game that was off. They were on, and that’s why they’re winning, moving on.”
Pedroia couldn’t call the season a disappointment, not after the Red Sox went worst-to-first and won the American League East.
“I mean, everybody looks at it different,” he said. “We made a ton of steps forward. Obviously our goal is to win the World Series, and we didn’t do that. But I’m proud of every guy in here. I’m sure nobody in this room can sit back and say they could’ve done something different. We played as hard as we could. They just played better than us.”
And now the Red Sox move on to the next chapter, without Ortiz. Pedroia will have to fill that void.
“We made a ton of steps,” he said. “We’re in good shape. I think, especially what David did leadership-wise with a ton of guys, you know, he’s leaving us in good shape. We’ll be all right.”
|Red Sox manager John Farrell declines to speculate on his future in wake of playoff elimination||10.10.16 at 11:44 pm ET|
With the Red Sox swept out of the American League Division Series on Monday in a 4-3 loss to the Indians, speculation immediately turned to the future of manager John Farrell.
Farrell declined to speculate on whether he’ll return next year, but he believes the team is pointed in the right direction.
“I’ve not thought anything beyond today’s game,” he said. “And that’s the approach I take every day, through 162 games and through the postseason. But given where this team finished last year, there’s a lot for them to be proud of. We had a chance to talk right at the end of the ballgame, we’re AL East Champions, and I know that doesn’t mean much sitting right now. But there’s been sizable progress made on the part of so many individual players for us as a team. This is a big stepping-stone for a lot of players in our clubhouse. This team is in very good shape as we move forward.”
Farrell returned from cancer to win 93 games and lead the Red Sox to the American League East title. He now has as many first-place finishes (2) as last-place finishes in the Red Sox dugout. He’s 339-309 (.523) as Red Sox manager.
Farrell’s contract runs through 2017, with a team option for 2018.
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