Epstein On Crawford, Papelbon, Gonzalez

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Dennis & Callahan on WEEI that the Red Sox are vulnerable in certain areas, even after a successful offseason. Here's the latest from Epstein, including details on the team's pursuit of its new left fielder…

  • Epstein prefers to integrate young players onto the Major League roster with minimal fanfare. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, for example, came up through Boston’s system and are now top starters.
  • Epstein identified starting pitching depth as a possible area of weakness for the Red Sox. Boston has Tim Wakefield, Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves plus its starting five, but doesn’t necessarily have MLB-ready starters in the minors.
  • Catching depth is another one of the team’s “areas of vulnerability,” Epstein says.
  • The Red Sox didn’t expect Carl Crawford to want to sign with them, but soon realized that he wanted to stay in the AL East. It took lots of research on Boston’s part to determine its level of interest in the left fielder. “We covered him as if we were privately investigating him,” Epstein said. “We had a scout on him literally the last three, four months of the season at the ballpark, away from the ballpark.”
  • The Red Sox never expected to sign Crawford as swiftly as they did, despite their strong interest in him.
  • Epstein explained Boston’s approach to extensions for arbitration eligible players: “Our philosophy, which is actually a policy in writing, is if we’re going to sign arbitration-eligible players long term, we have to get one free agent year and we have to get an option for the club. Because we’re giving the player certainty. We need to be able get some of those prime years back in exchange. That makes it a fair bargain." 
  • It's a near-certainty that Jonathan Papelbon, who never signed an extension with Boston, will reach free agency after the season.
  • Epstein says there’s “no real timetable” for an Adrian Gonzalez extension.

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