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Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I can’t imagine’ Red Sox will sign Jon Lester to long-term deal 11.14.13 at 11:46 am ET
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ESPN’s Curt Schilling  joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the MLB offseason, the Red Sox’ World Series title and the results of the Manager of the Year vote.

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

The AL Manager of the Year was announced on Tuesday, as former Red Sox and current Indians manager Terry Francona narrowly edged Boston manager John Farrell, with just 16 points separating the two skippers.

“It was hard,” Schilling said. “I thought the American League one was incredibly challenging, because I thought you had a bunch of guys that had phenomenal seasons. … I thought either one of them could have won it. I think the job that they both did was amazing.”

The offseason is in full swing, as the annual GM meetings have kicked off in Orlando. The Sox already have been linked to multiple players, including Carlos BeltranBrian McCann and Carlos Ruiz.

One storyline that has been discussed is what the Sox will do with pitcher Jon Lester once he enters free agency after the 2014 season. If Lester is able to post another great campaign in 2014, the southpaw could command a long-term deal worth over $100 million.

“I think if [Ben Cherington] is allowed to do the things that baseball ops people should be allowed to do and there’s no interference from people that shouldn’t be interfering, I think he’ll stick to [his previous offseason plans],” Schilling said. “You’re not going to see another eight-year, $240 million deal out of this organization, and rightfully so. … There’s literally almost maybe two or three guys in the history of the last 25 years that would have played to [$200 million-plus contracts]. He can’t do it.

“I can’t imagine they would [sign Lester to a six- or seven-year, $100 million-plus deal]. I don’t think you’ll see any team other than probably the Dodgers with [Clayton] Kershaw turn around and give their homegrown player six or seven or eight years, I don’t see it, not from this team anyway. You saw what happened when they tried to go down that path, and I think that is going to be fresh in their minds as long as these guys are still making decisions here.”

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Read More: AL Manager of the Year, ben cherington, Curt Schilling, Jacoby Ellsbury
Buster Olney on M&M: ‘I thought [John] Farrell was going to win’ AL Manager of the Year 11.13.13 at 1:54 pm ET
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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.

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

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.”

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Read More: buster olney, Jacoby Ellsbury, jarrod saltalamacchia, John Farrell
BBWAA member Asuka Brown on leaving John Farrell, Terry Francona off AL Manager of the Year ballot: ‘My heart says my votes are correct’ at 11:42 am ET
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Asuka Brown of the Japanese wire service Jiji Press, one of two members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who did not include Red Sox manager John Farrell on her ballot for American League Manager of the Year, joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to explain her thought process.

John Farrell was named AL Manager of the Year. (AP)

John Farrell did not get a thumbs up from all the members of the BBWAA. (AP)

Brown tabbed Athletics manager Bob Melvin first, followed by Rays skipper Joe Maddon and Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Brown’s vote for Showalter, last year’s runner-up, was his only top-three vote this year. Melvin, last year’s winner, finished third this year, behind winner Terry Francona and Farrell.

The Seattle-based Brown, who said she has been covering Major League Baseball since 2002 and joined the BBWAA in 2011, indicated Farrell had a stronger lineup and a higher payroll.

“I think Boston had so many premium players like [David] Ortiz, [Dustin] Pedroia. They have enough leadership to manage itself pretty well,” she said. “There’s no doubt Farrell is an outstanding manager in a competitive division. However, my first vote went to Bob Melvin. I highly respect those teams that [succeeded] on very limited budgets. So, my first two votes went to those managers — Melvin and Maddon.”

Added Brown: “Also the payroll was the reason I didn’t choose Boston. I always highly respect those teams with limited budgets. Boston and maybe the New York Yankees, they have I think big payrolls. Probably managers have, if they correctly manage, they have resources, always. That’s why.”

As for the absence of Francona, who won the award, Brown said his team’s record against weaker teams played too big a role in Cleveland’s success.

“My first two votes went to those managers from limited-budget teams. Then I thought that third vote should come from the division which is the toughest division in Major League Baseball,” she said. “The reason why I didn’t vote for Francona was that a number of their wins came from easier teams to beat, or struggling teams. So, that’s why my third vote went to Showalter, who maintained the same level as last season.”

Brown said she does not regret her choices despite the criticism she has been receiving.

“That’s what I thought,” she said. “They should be honored. My heart says my votes are correct.”

The other writer to leave Farrell off her ballot was Christina Kahrl of ESPN.com, who chose Francona first, Melvin second and Maddon third. She explained her vote in an article for the website, using the Red Sox’ big budget as the main reason for the exclusion of Farrell.

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com.

Read More: Asuka Brown, Buck Showalter, John Farrell, Terry Francona
John Farrell named Sporting News AL Manager of the Year 10.22.13 at 2:17 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

The first of what is expected to be many awards for the Red Sox this year was bestowed upon John Farrell on Tuesday, as the Sox skipper was named American League Manager of the Year by the Sporting News.

One year after the Red Sox lost 90 games, Farrell took over following a stint as manager in Toronto and led the Sox to a league-best 97-65 record and the American League pennant.

Pirates bench boss Clint Hurdle was the National League winner after guiding Pittsburgh to its first winning season (94-65) and playoff appearance since 1992.

Voting was done by a panel of 19 major league managers, who voted only in their own league.

Farrell received five votes, two more than Indians manager Terry Francona, who was manager in Boston when Farrell was the team’s pitching coach from 2007-10. Bob Melvin (A’s) and Ron Washington (Rangers) received one vote apiece.

Hurdle also received five votes, beating out the Braves’ Fredi Gonzalez (3) and the Cardinals’ Mike Matheny (1).

Read More: Bobby Valentine, Clint Hurdle, John Farrell, Terry Francona
John Henry on M&M: ‘I probably would have preferred to play Cleveland’ 10.03.13 at 1:09 pm ET
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John Henry

John Henry

Red Sox owner John Henry joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday, one day before the Red Sox open the American League Division Series against the Rays at Fenway Park, and talked about the challenge his Red Sox face against their AL East rivals.

“I was watching the game last night, and I probably would have preferred to play Cleveland, because Tampa is so tough,” Henry said. “We play them 19 times a year. Every game is tough. We got the better of it this year. But their pitching is extraordinary. And our offense is the best in baseball. So it should make for an exciting three, four or five games.”

A meeting with Cleveland would have meant a reunion with former Sox manager Terry Francona, who had a falling out with Henry and the Sox ownership after his departure following the 2011 season.

“It would have added an extra dimension, no doubt about it,” Henry said. “It would be sort of like playing the Dodgers in the World Series.”

Henry said the in-house projection for this year’s Red Sox team was to post a win total in the high 80s, as it was a year ago when the Sox stumbled to a 69-93 mark.

“It was an incredibly frustrating year,” Henry said of 2012. “You lose 93 games, that’s 93 nights — and more, because you have off nights sometimes following. It’s just, I don’t know how to put it other than pure suffering. You suffer through that. The games were painful.

“This year it was just really fun to watch and be a part of.”

Henry said the key was a return to the team’s core philosophies, including on-base percentage.

“If you just look at simple things like the at-bats the players had, grinding out at-bats,” Henry said. “The difference between last year, when we had consistently poor at-bats, and this year, it’s amazing to see that turnaround in one year.”

Added Henry: “I think the players and John Farrell and his great staff and Ben [Cherington] and his staff are what got us back to where we were. You saw our on-base percentage last year dropped to either 13th or 14th. And we led the majors this year in on-base percentage. So, there’s definitely been a change in that regard.”

Henry also pointed to the Red Sox’ strategy last offseason, when they stayed away from the big-name free agents and instead loaded up on solid but unspectacular players.

“You saw Ben become much more depth-oriented, as opposed to going after, say, Josh Hamilton or someone like that last year,” the owner said.

Added Henry of Hamilton: “To my knowledge, we didn’t pursue him. Any time he was brought up for discussion, we weren’t pursuing him.”

Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino‘s name has come up as a possible candidate for MLB commissioner following the departure of Bud Selig next year.

“People have talked about Tom [Werner], as well, as commissioner. But they both seem pretty happy here,” Henry said. “Last year, I think people on the outside thought we were — you remember we had one phone call over whether or not the team was for sale.

“Even at the worst of it, I think Tom and Larry were committed. We were all three — and everyone in the organization — pretty much committed to getting back on track. And now that we are, I don’t see any of that changing, at least personnel-wise.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: ben cherington, John Farrell, John Henry, Josh Hamilton
Buster Olney on M&M: John Farrell deserves Manager of the Year award 10.02.13 at 1:33 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney appeared on Mut & Merloni on Wednesday and made his picks for the Manager of the Year award and the World Series winner.

“I turned in my picks the other day, I’ve got John Farrell,” said Olney. “I think we can’t have a conversation last year about what a disaster Bobby [Valentine] was and see the team improve as much as it did and see John Farrell’s presence make as much of a difference — and I know they added other players as well — without giving him a lot of the credit for the turnaround there.

Farrell took a 69-93 team from last year and made the Sox into AL East winners with the best record in baseball (97-65) in his first year at the helm.

“I think Terry [Francona] has done a phenomenal job in Cleveland, but I’d give it to John,”  Olney said.

Before the start of the playoffs, Olney chose Boston as the team to beat in baseball. However, he’s had a change of heart.

“I wound up picking Oakland, because I think they’re playing really well down the stretch, I do think that like Boston, they have a heck of a home-field advantage,” said Olney, who added that one could make a case for seven of the eight playoff teams (leaving out the Indians due to their lack of pitching depth). “The way they’re playing right now, they’re not concerned with convention or how people perceive them, they are going really well and to me that’s a really dangerous team.”

The wild card-winning Indians and Rays square off in Cleveland on Wednesday night for the right to play the Red Sox, the top seed in the AL. This is Cleveland’s first playoff appearance since 2007.

“The city’s all fired up, everywhere you go everyone’s wearing Indians garb,” Olney said. “I was in the Indians clubhouse after they clinched they other day, and they celebrated hard. This means a lot to those guys, and I think Terry Francona especially.”

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Read More: Alex Cobb, Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Valentine, buster olney
Cardiac Kids redux: Top 10 Red Sox victories of 2013 08.08.13 at 10:18 am ET
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If nothing else, the 2013 Red Sox certainly have a flare for the dramatic. They own the best record in the American League (70-46), and nearly one in five of their home games has ended with them hopping off celebrating a sudden win. They had that magic on the road with them Wednesday night when Stephen Drew‘s three-run homer in the ninth proved to be the difference in a 7-5 win over the Astros.

Stephen Drew is congratulated by David Ortiz after hitting a game-winning home run in Wednesday's victory over the Astros. (AP)

Stephen Drew is congratulated by Red Sox teammate David Ortiz after hitting a game-winning home run in Wednesday’s 7-5 victory over the Astros. (AP)

Here is a subjective, unscientific look at the top 10 Red Sox wins of the season, walkoff or otherwise:

10. May 6, 6-5 over Twins — In one of a number of nearly five-hour affairs, Drew collected his fourth hit of the night at a very opportune time — with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, the winning run on second in the form of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Drew sent a double to left-center to end it, bailing out soon-to-be-injured closer Joel Hanrahan and giving the Sox their only win in a seven-game stretch.

9. June 18, 3-1 over Rays — A long day of baseball at Fenway ended on a very bright note, with Jonny Gomes punting his helmet after rounding third during a celebratory trip around the bases following his walkoff two-run home run. It gave the Sox a sweep of their doubleheader with Tampa Bay, and salvaged a game in which eight shutout innings from Felix Doubront went to waste after Andrew Bailey blew the save in the ninth.

8. June 6, 6-3 over Rangers — In a season chock full of walkoffs, it comes as no surprise that David Ortiz has had a hand in the late-inning heroics. What may be a surprise, however, is that the opposing team intentionally walked the batter in front of him to get to Ortiz. Such was the case with first base open and the game on the line with Dustin Pedroia at the plate. When Pedroia took his base, Ortiz sent a first-pitch splitter into the Rangers bullpen for the 19th game-ending hit of his career.

7. May 26, 6-5 over Indians — Down 5-1 with an inning and a half to play, the Red Sox got one in the eighth and four more in the ninth for their third win in a row against Terry Francona’s crew. Jacoby Ellsbury did the honors this time around, as his double to left-center field scored Gomes with the tying run and Drew as the winning run. He has been one of the hottest hitters in the majors ever since.

6. July 3, 2-1 over Padres — Gomes started celebrating the Fourth of July a little early with a different kind of fireworks, but not before sitting on the bench for three hours. John Farrell sent him to pinch-hit for Brandon Snyder to lead off the ninth inning of a 1-1 game at Fenway, and he promptly sent a no-doubter over the Monster to end it.

5. April 15, 3-2 over Rays — The annual Patriots Day matinee ended in dramatic fashion courtesy of a Bailey blown save in the top of the ninth, then a Mike Napoli double to left-center in the bottom half to bring Pedroia to the plate. Ryan Dempster turned in his best outing of the season: seven innings of one-run ball, giving up only two hits while striking out 10. The game ended less than an hour before the explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, daniel nava, David Ortiz, felix doubront
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