|Ben Cherington on M&M: ‘We’re not going to proactively make a move just for the sake of making one’||12.10.13 at 12:38 pm ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Mut & Merloni at the MLB winter meetings to discuss Boston’s offseason plans, the signing of Edward Mujica, and the future of players like Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts.
The Red Sox have been active so far this offseason, signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal, agreeing with Mike Napoli on a reported two-year contract and inking Mujica to a two-year deal.
“We feel pretty good where we are,” Cherington said. “I think we’re in a position where we can take advantage of the rest of the time we have here and the rest of the time in the offseason just to explore. If there’s things we can do to make us better and that make sense short and long term, we’ll definitely work on those things, but if we had to start the season tomorrow, we’d feel pretty good about that, too.”
If Boston decides to stand pat for the remainder of the MLB offseason, the team will kick off Opening Day with three players who have only played a combined 224 regular-season games, as Middlebrooks, Bogaerts and Bradley all seem penciled in to start next season.
“We wouldn’t consider committing to a young player unless we really believed in the young player,” Cherington said. “We think we have some guys who are worth believing in. … There’s quite a bit of value for us in finding spots to commit to young players, because at some point, you have to.”
One interesting topic this offseason has been the discussion over whether the Red Sox will trade a starting pitcher, as the Sox currently have at least six potential starters on the roster.
“I don’t think so,” Cherington said. “Somehow, a pitching surplus in general tends to work itself out by the time you get to Opening Day, so we’re not going to proactively make a move just for the sake of making one. If something makes sense, we’ll listen, but certainly we’d rather go into spring training with more than enough options than too few.”
The signing of Mujica could prove to be a big boost to the Boston bullpen, as the 29-year-old reliever had a stellar first half of the 2013 season with the Cardinals, recording 26 saves while walking only one batter. However, Mujica struggled in September with an 11.05 ERA in 10 games due to a groin injury.
“He had a groin issue that cropped up in September where he just couldn’t push off the way he normally did. If you look at the first half of the season, he was dominant. … We don’t have any concerns about him physically,” Cherington said. “He’s actually been remarkably healthy for his career. … He, along with [Junichi] Tazawa and Koji [Uehara] and the others hopefully allow John [Farrell] and the staff to manage everyone’s workload.”
|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 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.”
|PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina hired as Angels third base coach||11.05.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
Multiple industry sources have confirmed a report by Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that the Angels have hired Gary DiSarcina — who spent 2013 as the manager of the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket — as their third base coach.
DiSarcina, 45, led the PawSox to an 80-53 record, a first-place finish in the International League’s North division and a spot in the Governor’s Cup championship series. But more significantly from the Red Sox perspective, in tandem with pitching coach Rich Sauveur and hitting coach Dave Joppie, he proved a critical contributor to the development of a number of key prospects during the season.
“DiSar is a really loose and upbeat personality, one who connects with a lot of different types of people well. That was absolutely one of his strengths throughout the year, especially coming in and not having managed at that level,” Sox farm director Ben Crockett recently noted. “It was impressive the way he took charge, got guys’ respect quickly but also managed different egos — both older players and younger prospects. He really did a nice job of dealing with challenges as they appeared.”
His imprint may have been most dramatic with infielder Jose Iglesias, who was admittedly disappointed after being sent to Triple-A following a strong start in early April, at a time when Stephen Drew was on the DL. Iglesias struggled not just offensively but also with his effort level in Triple-A, failing to run out grounders on multiple occasions.
DiSarcina pulled Iglesias in the middle of a game after one such incident, and the shortstop sat out of the next three games. But DiSarcina presented the approach not as a benching or a punishment, but instead an opportunity for Iglesias to catch his breath, to return to playing with the energy and joy that are often associated with the 23-year-old. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox pregame notes: Jake Peavy still potential Game 7 starter ‘as of now’; Jon Lester would be available in Game 7||10.30.13 at 5:20 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that, “as of now,” Jake Peavy remains the starter to whom he plans to turn should the World Series reach a winner-take-all seventh game. Each time Farrell has made this claim, he’s offered some sort of qualifier (“as of now,” “right now,” etc.). And so, the manager was asked, is there something that might transpire that would result in someone other than Peavy making the start, or is Farrell simply using a default phrase to preface his remarks?
“It’s probably more the way it’s prefaced,” said Farrell.
Still, the Sox will have the rest of their pitching staff available in a potential Game 7, should the series extend to that point. The available arms, said Farrell, would include left-hander Jon Lester as well as right-hander Clay Buchholz.
“They’ll be available before this is over,” Farrell said of the team’s Game 4 and Game 5 starters.
Farrell clarified that, while Buchholz wouldn’t leapfrog other members of the bullpen in terms of their defined late-innings roles, he could be available to pitch as soon as Game 6 tonight. As for Lester, Farrell said that the lower back discomfort that he was dealing with at the end of Game 5 did not represent a significant concern.
“If there is such a thing, it was normal wear and tear,” said Farrell. “That’s what he’s dealing with.”
Farrell also had more praise for left-hander Felix Doubront, and said that the team would not hesitate to use him out of the bullpen in Game 6. He will not be avoided over concerns about his Game 7 role.
“Doubront’s available tonight. We wouldn’t hold him back for tomorrow,” said Farrell.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, staples of the Red Sox lineup during the regular season, have found themselves relegated to reserve roles as the postseason has evolved, with Jonny Gomes and David Ross taking over primary responsibilities in left field and behind the plate. Farrell acknowledged that a drastic change of responsibilities can be hard for the players to accept, yet he can’t be beholden to player preferences in making his lineup decisions at this time of year. Read the rest of this entry »
|Cardinals pregame notes: Allen Craig and Shane Robinson in lineup; ‘The Cardinal Way’; Michael Wacha’s frosty beverage||10.23.13 at 7:39 pm ET|
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn’t have a whole lot of decisions to make concerning his World Series Game 1 lineup, and those questions that were present in effect answered themselves. St. Louis will feature Allen Craig, in his first game action since early September, at designated hitter and Shane Robinson, NLCS Game 6 hero, in center.
Craig, who has been fighting a foot injury for about a month and a half, is healthy enough to serve as St. Louis’ designated hitter while the Series is in Boston. Normally a first baseman, Craig hit .315 and drove in 97 runs in 134 regular-season games. He also hit a major league-best .454 with runners in scoring position.
“When we watched him hit live a couple of times and watched the bat speed … it became obvious he was going to be right back in the mix,” Matheny said.
As for Robinson, Matheny praised his defense while noting he deserved another start after a 2-for-4, two-RBI performance against the Dodgers Friday in what was his first start in 14 career playoff games. He is getting the nod over Jon Jay, who has hits in his last four games but is batting just .206 with zero extra-base hits and a .282 on-base percentage across 11 games this month.
“I made it clear [Tuesday] that I have a lot of faith in all our guys. We just try to make the best decision each individual day,” Matheny said. “And we know that [against] tough left-handers, you’re going to be scratching and clawing for runs. So we try to take every chance we can offensively when we can. … Whether it’s a straight platoon or not, I don’t know. We’ll see day to day as opportunities present themselves.”
Jay is a lifetime .269 hitters against lefties, while Robinson bats .233.
OTHER CARDINALS NOTES
– Much has been said about ‘The Cardinal Way’ in recent weeks, and Matheny — who Adam Wainwright said this week exemplifies the philosophy — noted that the way St. Louis conducts itself is not far off from the way the Red Sox do.
|‘A long way from Portland’: Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Workman make mark in ALCS||10.20.13 at 4:53 am ET|
Amidst the organized chaos on the field at Fenway Park as Saturday night turned to Sunday morning, Brandon Workman, dripping a combination of champagne and perspiration, sought out and embraced one teammate in particular: Xander Bogaerts.
These two rookies, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher and a 21-year-old infielder, savored part of the moment together — and for good reason. Six months ago, as the Red Sox began a turnaround season to just about everyone’s surprise, they were enduring long bus rides and frigid Maine nights with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs.
“I just grabbed Bogaerts and said, ‘We’re a long way from Portland right now, aren’t we?’ ” said Workman, about as jubilant as one would expect a veteran of exactly 24 major league games to be. “Obviously for both of us it’s what we planned on — well, not planned, but were hoping to do this year, and to be able to do it, and both of us contributing a little bit, it’s special right now.”
After pitching effectively with Portland for two months, Workman left Bogaerts and the Sea Dogs for Triple-A Pawtucket, where he stayed for about a month until injuries to the major league team necessitated his call-up. Bogaerts, meanwhile, made the jump to the PawSox five days after Workman did, and he continued to display the skills that made him the organization’s top prospect: power and patience at the plate combined with a will to learn in the field and maturity beyond his years off of it.
Bogaerts made his much-anticipated big league debut Aug. 20 in San Francisco, and despite sporadic play since has earned himself what seems to be a regular spot in the postseason lineup.
Now, with the Red Sox off to their third World Series in a decade, the pair has its fingerprints all over the Red Sox’ American League Championship Series title, clinched by Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Tigers.
Bogaerts struck first. He sent a screaming two-out double off of the Green Monster — a liner that would have been out in a lot of parks, including Fenway had it been a few feet to the right. Jacoby Ellsbury drove him in one pitch later with a single to right to break a scoreless tie.
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