David Ross Rumors

Red Sox Notes: McCann, O’Flaherty, Lackey

Happy birthday to long-time Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who turns 42 years old today.  Varitek played all 1546 of his career Major League games in a Boston jersey, posting a .776 OPS and collecting two World Series rings along the way.  Varitek retired prior to the 2012 season and, since September 2012, has been working as a special assistant to Sox GM Ben Cherington.  Here's the latest out of Fenway Park…

  • David Ross tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that his good friend and former teammate Brian McCann had an interest in joining the Red Sox as a free agent last winter.  "Early on I did (think McCann would come to Boston). I knew he wanted to come here, a lot. I had just told him what it was like here and that interested him," Ross said.  Once McCann said that the Yankees had made him a big offer, however, Ross stayed out of the recruiting process out of respect for letting McCann handle his own business, plus the fact that "the Red Sox weren’€™t even close to what he got, so it really was a no-brainer."  
  • Also from Bradford's piece, he reports that the Red Sox had interest in Eric O'Flaherty last offseason.  O'Flaherty underwent Tommy John surgery last May and isn't expected to pitch until midseason, but the veteran southpaw still drew interest from several teams last winter before signing a two-year, $7MM deal with the Athletics.
  • Several Red Sox players contacted the players' union about their displeasure that players who had been suspended for PED use last season (namely, Jhonny Peralta) were eligible to play in the postseason, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  Players on other teams voiced similar concerns, and the revised joint drug agreement states that players who have been hit with a PED suspension during a season aren't allowed to participate in that same season's playoffs.
  • While John Lackey resurrected his career in 2013 and has pitched well in two 2014 starts, it may be premature for the Red Sox to explore an extension for the right-hander, Chris Villani of the Boston Herald opines.  Lackey is under contract in 2015 for a league minimum salary (a condition of his contract after undergoing Tommy John surgery) and since Boston has a number of good young pitchers in the minor league pipeline, Villani believes the Sox can afford to wait to see if Lackey is truly back to form before considering another contract.

Cafardo On Lowe, Blue Jays, Ross, Pirates, Norris

A few notes from Nick Cafardo's latest column in the Boston Globe:

  • Free agent Derek Lowe seems to have retired, telling Cafardo that he asked agent Scott Boras not to look for opportunties for him. Lowe pitched in nine games for the Rangers this year before being released in late May.
  • The Blue Jays' situation is "a nightmare," Cafardo says, noting that some in the organization don't know whether GM Alex Anthopoulos will stick with the team he has. Toronto is 27-35 after bringing in R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and others last offseason.
  • Catcher David Ross says the Rays, Yankees and Rangers pursued him, and the Pirates would have been interested in him if they hadn't signed Russell Martin instead. Ross signed a two-year, $6.2MM contract with the Red Sox in the offseason.
  • The Pirates, whose rotation depth has been damaged by injuries to Wandy Rodriguez, Jeanmar Gomez, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Kyle McPherson and Phil Irwin, "would now have to be interested in" Astros pitcher Bud Norris, Cafardo says. Cafardo also notes that talent evaluators wonder how Norris, a competitive player currently pitching for a last-place team, will do if placed on a competitive team.
  • It's unclear what the Tigers would do if they lost Jhonny Peralta to a suspension. Peralta has been connected to the Biogenesis scandal, and his production at shortstop would be tough to replace internally or in the trade market, Cafardo notes.
  • The Dodgers have already received calls about Andre Ethier's trade availability, Cafardo says.