|John Farrell discusses offseason on Salk & Holley: Red Sox ‘jolted’ by Jacoby Ellsbury deal||12.04.13 at 10:47 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an appearance on WEEI’s Salk & Holley show, acknowledged that Red Sox players were “jolted” by the news of Jacoby Ellsbury‘s seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees, particularly given that word of Ellsbury’s signing came on the same day that the Red Sox elected to sign A.J. Pierzynski, thus opening the door for the departure of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Marlins on Tuesday.
Farrell said that he heard from a number of players — he estimated about a half-dozen — who were curious about the developments.
“Because Jacoby and Salty hit the airwaves that they both signed, it was, OK, are we bringing any guys back? That was part of the question,” said Farrell. “I said, ‘Absolutely, we’re in the works. We’re in the process.’ … That’s where [GM Ben Cherington] is doing the best he can with the two remaining guys, with [Mike Napoli] and [Stephen Drew], we’re going to do anything we can to bring both guys back.”
Farrell touched on a number of offseason topics facing the Sox. To listen to the complete interview, click here. Some highlights:
On learning about Ellsbury’s deal: “I did get a text message last night saying, hey, he’s heading in for a physical, it sounds like it’s done. Then the news broke on the numbers and, my gosh, congratulations to Jacoby. We’ll miss him. He’s a very good player, had a great run here, granted, missed some time because of some serious injuries he went through. But he played through a lot last year for us. The foot breaking. The left thumb that was in a lot of pain towards the end of the year. But you know what? He deserved the right to see what his market was, and obviously it’s a big one.”
On the challenge of replacing Ellsbury: “Losing Jacoby Ellsbury, those players don’t come along very often, evident by the contract he got in New York. … To say how much we’ll miss him will be dependent on what we do with the roster before next spring training — whether we stay internal and look at our overall team, what we’re capable of, that’s probably the answer — not specifically one player compared to Jacoby. … Read the rest of this entry »
|Buster Olney on Mut & Merloni: Could medical concerns be hindering Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s market?||11.27.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
In his weekly interview on WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show, ESPN’s Buster Olney took stock of the catching market now that free agents such as Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz and Geovany Soto have signed. Olney suggested that he believed that the Red Sox might pursue a short-term solution such as Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan (who hit .198/.306/.261 last year, but who owns a career line of .262/.359/.343 and is considered a strong defensive presence) based on the desire to keep the door open for the team’s up-and-coming prospects (Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart) behind the plate.
“I think Ryan Hannigan is an interesting stopgap for the Red Sox. We know that the Tampa Bay Rays have always had a lot of interest before 2013. He was a high on-base percentage guy who was dealing with a wrist injury last year so he wasn’t healthy, didn’t hit. He doesn’t really hit for power. In that regard, he doesn’t really fit the prototype for the Red Sox,” said Olney. “But it feels like it’s kind of a bridge year for their catchers. It feels like if they buy a little time, they can develop those catchers. I think he would be an option.”
Olney suggested that it seemed curious that a market had yet to take shape for free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Given his performance relative to that of other free agents on the market, Olney wondered whether medical issues might be hindering the 28-year-old’s market following a career-best season in which he hit .273/.338/.466 with 14 homers and 40 doubles while playing in 121 regular season games.
“I think the big question about Saltalamacchia — and believe me, you hear a lot of different things about a lot of different guys and I don’t know what’s in Jarrod’s file — but in some cases, some of the intransigence in the market is related to whatever’s in the medical file,” said Olney. “We saw it last winter with Mike Napoli where not only did the Red Sox reduce their file down to one year and $5 million but no other team jumped in based on the same information. With catchers, it’s certainly going to be one of the first things you’re going to look at. It says a lot that you have the Cubs and a number of other teams that are out there potentially looking at catchers, no one’s jumping up.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Scott Boras addresses Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew and NASA||11.13.13 at 5:47 pm ET|
ORLANDO — When Scott Boras executed his annual get-together with the media at the general managers’ meetings on Wednesday, there were few surprises. A few witty lines, yes. But no real surprises.
The agent for free agents Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew sang the praises of both his clients, while not offering any insight into how far along in the process the pair might be in terms of finding a team for 2014.
“I think every free agent wants to get their deal done yesterday,” Boras said. “There’s kind of a tide that works in this process, and every once in a while you have clubs that make quicker decisions than others, and a lot of that has to do with exhausting trade possibilities along with their plan and design with their owners. Really, it has to do a lot with the math the teams have to do to make the strike. Historically, there’s always a few that jump quicker. But for the most part a lot of teams respond to the pursuit of the player when they know that pursuit of the player has a timetable.”
Added Boras: “It’s hard to find talent in the marketplace that could replace them. There aren’t too many free agents I think you can acquire other than a Jacoby or a Stephen that certainly would be available to take their spots.
“It’s far more than normal for elite players these days just because the revenue structure of the game invites a lot more applicants and the rareness of the talent has a lot to do with the volume of interest. I won’t give you specific numbers, but it’s more than normal.”
Specifically regarding Ellsbury, this is what Boras had to say:
On how the market is unfolding: “We’re just looking at all the teams that have expressed interest. He’s going to take a good long look at all of them and decide what his preferences are from there. Frankly, I’m kind of here to collect that now. I’ve not had the discussion with him about all the teams involved yet.”
On Ellsbury’s power potential: “Ells conditioned himself and did things to become what he needed to become to help this style of team, and that was stealing bases, being a leadoff hitter and being on base, and, frankly, getting on second base as much as possible. And that’s really what he geared himself to. And he played a good portion of the season with a very, very swollen wrist and hand. The fact of the matter is Jacoby Ellsbury’s compensation is going to be based on all five of his tools. The fact in today’s game, having players that skilled at that position creates the value. It’s not just power. He hits the ball in the gap. If he hits the ball out and does it 18 times vs. 10 times, I’m not sure it has any difference in his value.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Buster Olney on M&M: ‘I thought [John] Farrell was going to win’ AL Manager of the Year||at 1:54 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the American League Manager of the Year award, as well as a number of Red Sox free agents.
The BBWAA announced on Tuesday that former Red Sox manager and current Indians skipper Terry Francona won the AL Manager of the Year award, his first in 13 years as the top man on the bench for a major league team.
“I think it’s a great award and it’s pretty cool for Tito that he won,” Olney said. “But I have been doing this for a long time and I have no idea what the criteria is, and I don’t think anybody else does. … Generally speaking they make those choices through the prism of who won and who lost and team success. I always thought that the big market teams were always at a big, big disadvantage.”
Francona (16 first-place votes) edged Boston’s John Farrell (12 first-place votes), with Oakland’s Bob Melvin third. Many expected Farrell, who led the Red Sox from a 69-93 season in 2012 to a World Series in 2013 in his first season at the helm, to be the winner.
“I thought Farrell was going to win, it surprised me that he didn’t,” Olney said.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli rejected Boston’s qualifying offers, which means they now can enter the offseason as free agents.
Ellsbury is expected to receive the most lucrative contract of the three. He’s been linked to a number of teams, most recently the Mariners and Rangers.
“I think the Texas Rangers are viewed as the wild card, because they so desperately need help with their lineup,” Olney said, adding: “I think Jacoby will end up getting an offer in the [Carl] Crawford range, because the Mariners know by now that they’ve got confederate money, that free agents don’t want to go there, and if they’re going to be interested in somebody like Jacoby, they’re going to have to go above and beyond to get him.”
|Buster Olney on M&M: Stephen Drew should accept Boston’s qualifying offer||11.06.13 at 4:32 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox’ offseason and the impending free agent frenzy.
With Boston not offering catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer, many have speculated that the Red Sox and free agent Brian McCann could be a match.
“Generally speaking, I can’t see them going absolutely nutty for a 30-year-old catcher who’s going to transition to DH,” Olney said. “And if the Yankees or the Phillies or the Rangers are going to go six [years] for [$]120 [million], I don’t think the Red Sox would chase them.
“However, if there are a number of offers that are within range of each other, and the Red Sox are one of those teams, there a lot of reasons why the Red Sox would consider it,” Olney said, adding, “Just knowing Brian, he was a great team guy, he fits totally into what the Red Sox built in 2013. I do think that if he feels like he can go to a good situation, and yeah it might cost him some money, I absolutely think he’d be open-minded about that.”
If Boston signs McCann, it would almost certainly spell the end of Saltalamacchia’s four-year run with the Red Sox.
“I got to believe he’s going to be somewhere else,” said Olney, who added that Saltalamacchia’s benching in the World Series could factor into the decision. “You don’t one week go from saying, ‘You know what, we’re going to play our backup catcher,’ and then say, ‘We’ll give you $50 million.’ ”
Boston did make the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer to shortstop Stephen Drew.
“When you talk to GMs of other teams, they just cant see other teams coming close to giving Stephen Drew a $14.1 million salary that would be close to a qualify offer,” Olney said, adding, “I think in the end, the smart play for Drew is going to be to accept a one-year deal with the Red Sox, we just don’t know if that’s something that Scott [Boras] would necessarily do.”
|Red Sox workout day notes: Clay Buchholz to start, John Farrell defends Stephen Drew||10.25.13 at 6:41 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS — Red Sox manager John Farrell, prior to his team’s workout on Friday’s World Series off-day, offered a number of updates regarding how he plans to use his roster in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series. Among them:
– Farrell said that Clay Buchholz will start Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday.
“He went through a throwing program today. Went back to about a hundred feet with some increased intensity along the way, and he’s starting Sunday,” said Farrell.
– Despite Stephen Drew‘s offensive struggles — which rank among the most severe ever in a single postseason — Farrell certainly didn’t sound like he had any plans to sit him anytime soon, based on the shortstop’s tremendous defense throughout the postseason in a low run-scoring environment.
“[Drew's defense has] been critical,” Farrell said. “While he has had his struggles, they’re well documented, we live it with him. But he has played such a strong defensive position at shortstop. Last night there’s probably three or four plays that he makes, that might otherwise build into a potential inning for the Cardinals. We can go back to Game 6 in inning seven where he saves a run with two outs, and throws out [Tigers slugger Miguel] Cabrera, that we come back and [Shane] Victorino hits a grand slam to give us the lead. Read the rest of this entry »
|Taking stock of Stephen Drew’s historic postseason slump||at 3:50 am ET|
Stephen Drew is not having the worst postseason offensive performance of all time. But he’s shockingly close to that inglorious status.
Before diving into that reality, it is worth noting: Drew has continued to offer strong defensive contributions at a key position on the field. He has found meaningful ways to contribute to multiple Red Sox wins this month, and he’s played a tangible role on a team that is in the World Series in no small part because it has held its opponents to the fewest runs per game (2.92) of any team in the postseason.
That said, he’s represented a lineup black hole like few others in baseball history.
Drew has stepped to the plate 43 times this postseason — one of 673 players in playoff history with 40 or more plate appearances in a single postseason. After an 0-for-3 night in World Series Game 2 on Thursday, he’s gone 4-for-42 with one walk and 15 strikeouts. That translates to a dreadful .095 average and .116 OBP.
How bad are those marks? Of the 673 players with 40 or more plate appearances in a single postseason, Drew ranks 669th in average — ahead of only Alex Avila (.073, 2011), Robinson Cano (.075, 2012), Chone Figgins (.086, 2009) and Mike Epstein (.094, 1972). Given his track record as a strong on-base presence, it is perhaps even more surprising to realize that Drew’s .116 OBP is the third worst ever, better than only Cano (.098 in 2012) and Avila (a nearly identical .116 OBP as the one Drew is currently carrying).
In some ways, he’s lucky that his numbers are that robust, given that two of his hits were of the infield variety (including the World Series Game 1 pop-up that landed between pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina).
Drew — who has 15 strikeouts against his one walk — is aware of his terrible results, a notion undoubtedly reinforced by the fact that he was replaced by pinch-hitter Daniel Nava in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday. Yet the shortstop, though frustrated, remains confident that his approach has been better than his results would suggest. Read the rest of this entry »
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