Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was a recent guest on WEEI’s Hot Stove Show, and WEEI’s John Tomase has transcribed some of the highlights from his talk (while also providing a link to the full audio). Regarding Jackie Bradley and Rusney Castillo, Dombrowski said that as it stands right now, “there’s no question” that the duo will enter next season as starters in the Boston outfield. “Jackie’s one of the best defensive outfielders I’ve ever seen,” said Dombrowski. “So that’s a plus, and Castillo’s got the all-around game.” Dombrowski noted that each has strides to make to reach his potential, however, and I’ll point out that we, of course, cannot rule out the fact that one of the two is traded this winter. (Boston has, after all, recently been linked to free agent Alex Gordon.) Speaking about Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, Dombrowski stopped short of putting the “untouchable” label on either, though he did so as a means of saying he doesn’t consider any player untouchable. “If you have Miguel Cabrera, somebody may offer you two Miguel Cabreras,” said Dombrowski. “Probably not going to happen, probably never will happen, but unless you listen, you don’t know.” He went on to say he’d be “very surprised” if Bogaerts and Betts aren’t in the team’s lineup next season. Dombrowski also discussed exercising Clay Buchholz’s option, the perils of signing an ace in free agency and revealed that Matt Barnes will head to camp as a reliever next year. His full comments are well worth a read for Boston fans.
Here’s more from the division…
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes that while there’s been speculation that the Red Sox could trade Clay Buchholz now that they’ve exercised his $13MM option, the team might be wise to hold off on that front. Lauber notes that many in the industry believe Dombrowski will make a run at David Price, and while dealing Buchholz would free up some 2016 money for Price or another ace, the uncertainty throughout the rest of the rotation should give Boston pause when listening to offers on Buchholz. While Buchholz can’t be relied upon for 30+ starts and 200+ innings, it’s reasonable enough pencil him in for 100+ innings as a high-quality No. 2 starter based on his 2013 and 2015 performances.
- Brett Gardner’s woeful second half of the season was caused in part by a wrist injury suffered early in the year, Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell believes (via the Journal News’ Chad Jennings). Cockrell said that Gardner was hit on the wrist early in the season, and the pain bothered him on and off throughout the season. While it might seem odd to blame an April HBP for Gardner’s struggles in August and September, Cockrell explained that players are only allowed to receive three cortisone injections over the course of a given season. Gardner received his three cortisone shots, which alleviated the pain considerably, at unspecified intervals prior to Aug. 1. When he could no longer receive that treatment, Jennings notes that his production plummeted to .203/.288/.290 over the season’s final two months.
- The Orioles have scouted Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park and are believed to hold interest in signing him, reports MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. Park was posted by Korea’s Nexen Heroes on Monday, and teams have until Friday to submit blind bids on the 29-year-old, who has bashed 105 home runs over the past two seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization. Unlike the posting agreement with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball where multiple teams can negotiate with a player, though (assuming there are multiple winning bids of the maximum $20MM), only the winning team can negotiate with Park. That might make it difficult for Baltimore to bid heavily on Park at this time, as the team may still have hopes of being able to work out a deal with Chris Davis. Of course, Park could still be slotted at DH if the Orioles were to somehow win the bidding and still re-sign Davis, though that level of spending seems highly unlikely. I’d imagine that if the O’s win the bidding on Park, it’s a clear signal that Davis will sign elsewhere (though that’s the wide expectation regardless of the Park outcome).
- Kubatko also reports that there’s been little in the way of traction between the Orioles and Darren O’Day in talks of a new contract. Baltimore has exclusive negotiation rights with O’Day through Friday, after which he, like all other free agents, will be free to sign with any club. Kubatko was told that “all is quiet” right now after talks have failed to progress much, and he speculates that O’Day could possibly receive four-year offers in free agency.