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Cody Ross Rumors
Earlier today, the Red Sox assured that longtime designated hitter David Ortiz would be in Boston through 2014 when they signed him to a two-year deal. Earlier today, general manager Ben Cherington addressed the media regarding the makeup of his team and the upcoming offseason. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has a rundown…
- The team has decisions to make at first base, shortstop, both corner outfield positions and in the fifth spot of the rotation. Speier notes that the team must also look beyond 2013 at the team's long-term plans for center field and catcher.
- Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey should occupy the first four spots in the rotation, but the team will go outside the organization to acquire a fifth starter. That could happen via either free agency or trade.
- Cherington didn't sound overly optimistic when discussing his chances of re-signing Cody Ross: “We’ve had a number of conversations. Obviously we’re into free agency now. We didn’t sign him before that started. The door will remain open, and we’ll continue to talk, but once we’re in free agency, he’s got opportunities to talk to other teams, and we fully expect him to do that … We'll keep talking. At the same time, we've got to consider alternatives, too."
- The Red Sox were never particularly close to completing a trade for either Ervin Santana or Dan Haren when the Angels made both right-handers available last week.
- Boston could hire a new pitching coach and hitting coach within a week's time.
- Cherington told Speier that he hopes Ortiz retires as a member of the Red Sox (Twitter link). He added that he hopes that retirement is several years away.
As it stands now, the Mets don't have a great deal of money to spend in free agency after exercising the options on David Wright and R.A. Dickey for 2013. However, the club could free up cash by opting to trade one or both if they are unable to come to terms on contract extensions. The Mets have a serious need for outfield help and multiple baseball officials told Mike Puma of the New York Post that they see Cody Ross as a possible free agent target for the team. Here's more from the AL and NL East:
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom that "the Blue Jays have kicked the tires about possibly interviewing" Matt Williams for their managerial vacancy, but have yet to formally ask for permission. Williams is scheduled to meet with top Rockies officials at Coors Field and will be the final candidate to do so, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com.
- James Shields, who is set to become the highest-paid player in Rays' franchise history, is prepared to be a prime subject of the Hot Stove rumor mill this winter, writes the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin. "Obviously my name's been thrown around a lot," the right-hander said. "I'm just going to go about my business and not really worry about it. Obviously I want to be a Ray. I've been here 12 years, this is my home. If it does happen, it'll be a sad day."
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald suggests that the Red Sox should trade Jacoby Ellsbury as they are unlikely to come to terms with him on a contract extension. The Red Sox could find a partner in the Rangers as they may prefer to give Ellsbury a long-term commitment rather than Josh Hamilton and can afford to part with shortstop Elvis Andrus.
- The Red Sox are bolstering their scouting department in anticipation of having, for the first time since 1993 and just the second time since 1967, a top ten pick in the amateur draft, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier. The team rehired John Booher, the person most directly involved in the scouting process of Ellsbury in 2005 and Nick Hagadone in 2007, and hired former MLB pitcher Brian Moehler as an area scout for Georgia.
- Tom Kotchman, who resigned last week as a manager and scout in the Angels organization, interviewed with the Red Sox on Thursday, tweets Conor Glassey of Baseball America. Glassey points to former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane's position with Boston as the club's new Special Assistant to Player Personnel for the mutual interest.
- The Red Sox wanted to hold on to reliever Michael Olmstead, but their current 40-man roster crunch made it impossible, explains Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The 6'7", 245-pound right-hander signed with the Brewers as a minor league free agent last night.
- For now, people familiar with the Nationals’ thinking expect them to either trade arbitration-eligible John Lannan or allow him to walk, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nats could instead convert Christian Garcia from a reliever to a starter to fill out the rotation, but his history of arm trouble may make that too risky.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
In an Insider-only piece, ESPN's Keith Law broke down the market for corner infielders. He lists Kevin Youkilis as the best value buy and James Loney as the worst. Both players ended the season in the AL, and here are some more links from the so-called Junior Circuit…
- Cody Ross told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he and the Red Sox never got close to a new deal during the exclusive negotiating period this week. "They had a ton of opportunities," said the outfielder. "We talked about this back in July and we couldn't work anything out up until the deadline. Now it only makes sense to listen to other teams."
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Angels have lost leverage against Zack Greinke following the trade of Ervin Santana and the declining of Dan Haren's option. GM Jerry Dipoto still has plenty of time and pitching options available to him at this point of the offseason, however.
- Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore.com listed the five worst contracts in Orioles history, led by the five-year, $65MM pact given to Albert Belle. He hit a superb .297/.400/.541 in the first year of the deal, but he slid to .281/.342/.474 in year two and didn't play at all in years three, four, and five.
Earlier today, the Red Sox (re-)introduced John Farrell to the Boston media, two days after sending Mike Aviles north of the border to free him from the manager from his contract with the Blue Jays. Here's more on the Red Sox..
- In an interview with NBC's Bob Costas, former Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine opined that David Ortiz quit on the team after their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers, writes Matthew Pouliot of HardballTalk. "He realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there," said Valentine. The slugger is currently working to iron out a new deal with Boston.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) found it interesting that Farrell mentioned Cody Ross right away when asked about players that he has reached out to. Ross is set to hit the open market after turning in a strong campaign on a one-year, $3MM deal.
- There has been talk that the Blue Jays are upset with the Red Sox over what they perceive as tampering in the courtship of John Farrell, but GM Ben Cherington says that nothing of the sort took place, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. "I can say definitively that wherever that speculation was coming from, it wasn't coming from me. The only conversations I had about the situation were directly to [CEO] Paul [Beeston] and [GM] Alex [Anthopoulos]'s until Saturday, when I got a chance to talk to John," said Cherington.
- The solid relationship and familiarity between Cherington and Farrell will be key to the club's success going forward, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Contract talks between the Red Sox and Cody Ross have gained “some momentum,” Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The Red Sox are attempting to re-sign the outfielder, who is on track to hit free agency once the World Series ends.
The Red Sox had some preliminary extension talks with Ross throughout the second half of the season, but the team never presented the SFX client with a formal offer, according to Bradford. Boston’s front office executives continued talks with Ross and fellow free agent David Ortiz earlier in the month.
Ross, 31, posted a .267/.326/.481 batting line in 528 plate appearances for the Red Sox this past season. He contributed 22 home runs and 34 doubles while playing all three outfield positions and earning $3MM.
General Manager Ben Cherington confirmed to reporters that the Red Sox have begun contract talks with both David Ortiz and Cody Ross, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). Both players are set to hit the open market after this season.
Ortiz has made it clear that he is looking for a two-year deal this offseason, but isn't seeking anything longer than that. In the slugger's view, a two-year pact will allow him to avoid questions about his contract status in the 2013 and would mark a sign of respect from the organization. The soon-to-be 37-year-old earned his eighth All-Star selection this season, hitting .318/.415/.611 with 23 homers.
Ross, 31, says that his top priority this offseason will be signing with a contender. The Red Sox picked up the outfielder on a one-year, $3MM deal last winter and figures to see a significant bump in pay and contract length this time around.
The Tigers can tie the White Sox for the AL Central lead today, but it'll take a win over the Royals and some help from the Indians, who are visiting the south side of Chicago. Here are today's links…
- Athletics first-round selection Addison Russell tops Baseball America's list of the 20 best prospects from the rookie-level Arizona League. The A's selected the high school shortstop 11th overall, and he hit .415/.488/.717 in 26 games in the Arizona League before being promoted to Class A ball.
- Cody Ross has been a bargain acquisition in the past, but he’s likely headed for a raise as a free agent following a strong offensive showing with the Red Sox, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. As Speier explains, Ross has been traded for next to nothing in the past.
- Kerry Wood will work with the Cubs next year, likely as an on-field instructor, Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Wood, who retired in May, said he hopes to have some kind of role in uniform with the Cubs, ideally alongside some of his former teammates.
- The Rockies will enter the 2013 season with questions related to Todd Helton, Drew Pomeranz, Jim Tracy and others, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The Rockies want to bring Jeff Francis back when he hits free agency this offseason, according to Saunders.
The Red Sox lost their 82nd game of the season last night, clinching the franchise's first losing season since 1997. Needless to say, the Sox will be busy this offseason to ensure they get back over the .500 mark and beyond in 2013. Here's the latest out of Fenway Park…
- The Red Sox are looking to add an experienced front office executive to assist GM Ben Cherington, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava has been rumored in connection with this role, though since the Jays would only allow LaCava (or any employee) to interview with another team if he was being offered a promotion.
- Larry Lucchino was non-committal about Alfredo Aceves' future with the team in an interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. (WEEI.com's Alex Speier provides the partial recap.) Aceves has had some disciplinary issues in Boston and the decision about his role in 2013 "will be made next spring by whatever team he is with," said Lucchino. "Maybe he’s with us. We’ll see. Maybe he’s elsewhere. It’s a little early to answer that question. We have so far [put up with his activities].” Aceves is arbitration-eligible for the second time this offseason.
- Lucchino also discussed several other Red Sox players, including pending free agent Cody Ross, who the team "loves" and would like to bring back. Lucchino said the club is "at the beginning stages of that process.” Earlier today, Ross said his top priority for free agency would be to sign with a contending team.
- James Loney tells Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he would be interested in returning to Boston if the Sox make him a contract offer this winter. Loney is set to hit free agency and could prefer to sign with an AL team if he has a choice, as the first baseman says he prefers playing under American League rules.
- The Sox should move quickly to find a new manager, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, arguing that the team can't afford another long managerial search or protracted negotiations with the Blue Jays over John Farrell. "The easiest choice" would be to hire bench coach Tim Bogar, who is a management favorite and has already interviewed for the Astros' job.
Cody Ross is open to discussing an extension with the Red Sox before he hits free agency in six weeks or so. But he knows what he’ll be looking for if he does reach the open market. The 31-year-old told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that his top priority will be joining a contender.
“Number one this season is probably going to be winning,” he told Bradford. “I’m to that point where I want to win.”
Ross noted that he’ll also take into account role, location, and length and value of contract when weighing offers. The Red Sox have exclusive negotiating rights with Ross until five days after the World Series ends.
The SFX client has a .274/.339/.500 batting line with 21 home runs and 32 doubles in 479 plate appearances for Boston this year. He has played all three outfield positions and continues to thrive against left-handed pitching (11 home runs, .313/.398/.670 batting line). Ross suggested that he can repeat — and even improve upon — these numbers.
“I’m me now. This is me now. What I’m doing this year. This is me,” Ross said.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe asked baseball executives which team has more work to do between the Red Sox and Phillies. The general feeling was that Boston has more work to do than Philadelphia, even though they'll have more payroll room to work with. One AL executive, however, sees both teams returning to prominence sooner rather than later. “Both of these teams, I predict, will be back at the forefront of their respective divisions in no time. The Red Sox made a sensational, dream-come-true deal with the Dodgers, and now they have so much payroll flexibility that they’re the envy of baseball. They can shape that team any way they want," said the exec. Here's more from Cafardo..
- Despite the turmoil in Boston, Cody Ross is still high on the organization and hopes to return next year, Cafardo writes. Ross came to the Red Sox on a one-year, $3MM deal last year but could fetch a contract in the neighborhood of Josh Willingham's three-year, $27MM pact.
- Corey Hart of the Brewers is always an interesting name for teams looking for an outfielder or a first baseman, but he won't be happy if he's traded from Milwaukee. The Brewers passed on trading Hart prior to the deadline despite significant interest from other clubs.
- There could potentially be seven managerial openings this winter with the Astros, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Indians, Phillies, Padres, and Rockies possibly looking to shake things up. While San Diego's Bud Black is a well regarded manager, the Padres' new ownership may look to install their own hire.
- After getting fired from the Astros, Cafardo writes that Brad Mills will be atop the managerial lists this winter along with Terry Francona, Jim Riggleman, DeMarlo Hale, and Joey Cora.