Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made no secret about his desire to add a bat to play first base or handle DH at yesterday’s press conference to announce manager Alex Cora, as MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffrey writes. “We need to score more runs,” said Dombrowski, noting that while there’s room for internal improvements, the team can add outside the organization as well. “…But we do have probably the open spot of first base slash DH, and so that’s a place we’ll try to create some offense there.” Per Dombrowski, the Sox have received positive news from Hanley Ramirez’s surgeons, who believe that the 33-year-old’s shoulder operation will allow him to return to first base next season. Dombrowski stressed that Ramirez may yet be the DH, depending on the bat the team acquires, but his progress at least allows them some flexibility in their search.
A bit more out of Boston…
- Dombrowski also suggested that the team does not need to prioritize staying under the luxury tax barrier for a second consecutive season, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Asked if he thought that was a goal for his club, Dombrowski bluntly stated, “No, I do not.” Principal owner John Henry also suggested that the luxury tax barrier isn’t likely to be a deterrent for Dombrowski and his staff as the Boston front office looks to add to its lineup this offseason.
- Cora dedicated a portion of yesterday’s press conference to fielding questions on an increased implementation of data and analytics on the field, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The new skipper’s comments are well worth a full read-through, but Cora spoke about the power of presenting analytical data in a digestable format for players. Cora noted how quickly Justin Verlander took to the data presented to him following a trade to Houston, suggesting that Verlander “saw the light” and embraced the process with the Astros. Cora also indicated that the Sox could be more aggressive in terms of infield shifts in 2018 and beyond. “…And yes, we’re going to see more and more of those annoying shifts,” said Cora. “There’s going to be different formations, probably defensively, we’re going to help this infield to be better. The outfield, they’re amazing defensively, so we don’t have to make too much adjustments.” Other topics covered by Cora were the importance of analytics in baserunning as well as at times trusting the players on the field over preconceived, data-driven plans.