Boston Red Sox – MLB Trade Rumors Sun, 24 Jun 2018 03:30:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Red Sox Interested In Mark Canha Sun, 24 Jun 2018 01:33:10 +0000 The banged-up Athletics will turn to veteran Edwin Jackson to fill a spot in their rotation, but they’re on the hunt for more starting depth, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Athletics have had discussions with the Red Sox, who are seeking outfield depth and have “unsuccessfully asked” the A’s about Mark Canha, according to Slusser. The 29-year-old Canha has been effective this season, his last pre-arbitration campaign, with a .250/.322/.452 line and nine home runs in 208 plate appearances. It’s unclear which pitcher(s) the A’s requested in their discussions with Boston, though Slusser adds that the teams could revisit talks in the coming weeks.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Jones, Orioles, Sanchez, Blue Jays Sat, 23 Jun 2018 14:03:16 +0000 It’s still early in the season relative to the league’s non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July, so with the disclaimer that trade are still subject to change before then, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Red Sox “have an eye on” adding a reliever and a right-handed hitter to complement the team. Drellich points out that these types of additions would not mean “mortgaging” the team’s already-thin farm system, as the addition of a righty-bat would likely be an infielder to balance out the club’s lefty-heavy group. He also cites some troubling statistics about the usage and performance of pinch-hitters for the club, signaling that a backup plan for Dustin Pedroia could help the team in matchup situations. The veteran was seen as likely to resume baseball activities shortly after returning to the DL on June 2nd, but still has yet to be cleared for such activities three weeks later.

Other news and notes from around a topheavy AL East division…

  • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun takes a look at the situation of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who’s enjoying one of his best calendar months in years. Per Meoli, Jones isn’t concerned about all the resulting trade chatter surrounding him. “I can’t let it bother me. I’m in a different part of my life to where I’m not anticipating a $150 million, $200 million, $300 million offer this offseason. I’m more just, ’Let me go be a pro, do what I do best,’ and that’s play the game hard and live with the result. All the other stuff, all the projections and this and that, that’s all whatever.” Notably, Jones is well aware that he “holds all the cards” in regards to where (or if) he’s traded, as the veteran’s been with the O’s long enough to qualify for ten-and-five rights.
  • Speaking of the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of takes a look at what the club’s infield (and roster) could look like post-Machado, if and when the veteran is shipped to another club. Kubatko notes that where fellow infielder Tim Beckham plays will depend upon whether or not the O’s get a major-league ready shortstop as part of the return for their superstar (if the don’t, Beckham seems likely to take over the position). In addition to all this speculation, Kubatko adds that Danny Valencia could see time at third in that case, but has also played himself into potential trade-chip status.
  • Young Blue Jays hurler Aaron Sanchez left last night’s game with a finger contusion, Shi Davidi of reports, noting that his departure throws a question mark into Toronto’s rotation. It’s not clear at this juncture whether Sanchez’ current finger issue is in any way related to the blister-related issues that limited him to just 36 innings last season, though reports of a contusion would seem to make that improbable. With so many moving parts on the Jays’ pitching staff, the Davidi wonders how the rotation alignment will shake out; there’s been some suggestion that Jaime Garcia could move to the bullpen with Marcus Stroman and Sam Gaviglio set to return from the DL and paternity list soon, respectively.
2018 Amateur Draft Signings: 6/21/18 Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:49:42 +0000 We’ll use this post to cover the day’s notable draft deals. The rankings referenced come courtesy of FangraphsMLB.comBaseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law; Fangraphs and scouting reports are available to the public free of charge, while the others require subscriptions.

  • The Red Sox announced a variety of signings, including that of second-rounder Nick Decker. A New Jersey high-school outfielder who was slated to attend the University of Maryland, Decker will instead take home a $1.25MM bonus to join the Boston organization, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). That payday lands just north of the $1,010,500 allocation for the 64th overall pick. Decker drew a variety of grades entering the draft, with Fangraphs placing him just on the cusp of its top fifty. While the jury is out on Decker’s pure hitting ability, scouts love his present-day physical ability and big power at the plate.
Dombrowski On Red Sox’ Deadline Plans Thu, 21 Jun 2018 01:39:42 +0000 As the summer trade period begins to take shape, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski discussed his team’s plans with Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. The full interview is essential reading for Boston fans, but we’ll discuss a few key elements here.

One major topic was the team’s potential need for infield help. There have been a variety of suggestions from outside the organization, mostly focused on the struggles of third baseman Rafael Devers and the injury issues clouding the picture at second base.

Regarding the hot corner, Dombrowski says that the organization is “not looking for a third baseman.” To the contrary, he indicated, the Sox are more than content with their existing situation. “We love him,” Dombrowski said of Devers, a still-youthful player who struggled out of the gates this year but has shown more pop thus far in the month of June.

Still, Devers has come up in a variety of outlets as a speculative trade piece. Of course, there’s no indication from any reports that he has specifically been discussed in any talks to this point. And it’s even less clear that the Sox would be willing to consider dealing him. Certainly, Dombrowski indicated that’s unlikely.

Perhaps the likelier route, if the Boston organization does seek to improve in the infield, is to look for a quality veteran that can contribute at second or third — much as the team did last year. While the hope was to avoid that necessity this time around, Eduardo Nunez has not performed and Dustin Pedroia’s health is an ongoing question mark. It’s only fair to note, though, that Brock Holt has been hitting as well as ever.

For now, Dombrowski indicated, the team is planning to wait and see how things shake out with Pedroia. There’s still no clear expectation for when he’ll be ready to return, but certainly the Sox will want to give him every chance to do so before settling on an approach. Likewise, Dombrowski notes that there are a few potential “internal fixes” to any pitching needs currently residing on the DL.

The general viewpoint that Dombrowski expressed was one in which there’s still quite a lot to take in and assess. That’s a reflexive position to take for a MLB executive, perhaps, though it’s also a valid one in this case. As he notes, the club is playing quite well, and its problem areas may look somewhat different in five weeks than they do today.

All that being said, there’s a fascinating dynamic lurking in the background, as Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes. Contending teams are always looking to get better at the deadline, but the current AL East alignment could portend a veritable arms race between the Sox and rival Yankees. Taking the division is not only a prize in and of itself, but represents a major advantage in the postseason due to the Wild Card play-in format.

So, can the Boston organization keep pace with their familiar foes from New York, not only in the standings but in the deadline acquisition game? That remains to be seen, but Dombrowski says there’s little reason to fear that his club’s relatively under-stocked farm system will prove a hindrance to mid-season trades. While he tells Mastrodonato that he’s not yet committed to making “big additions,” Dombrowski adds that he has “no question that if we want to make a move, we have the type of players that can help us do that.”

Red Sox Could Try To Upgrade Over Struggling Jackie Bradley Jr. Mon, 18 Jun 2018 03:05:00 +0000
  • In the event the Red Sox upgrade their offense this summer, it will probably come at center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.’s expense, Chad Jennings of The Athletic writes (subscription required). For the most part, Boston’s offense is well positioned, Jennings observes, but Bradley hasn’t helped matters with a .184/.280/.301 line in 236 plate appearances. Barring a turnaround, then, he may be head to the bench or even another team via trade. Speculatively, the Red Sox could seek a solid-hitting corner outfielder on the market and have left fielder Andrew Benintendi take over for JBJ in center.
  • ]]>
    Red Sox Return Eric Filia To Mariners Sat, 16 Jun 2018 00:50:10 +0000 JUNE 15: The teams have announced that Filia will be returned to Seattle after failing his physical. Instead, Boston will receive cash considerations to complete the swap.

    JUNE 12: The Red Sox announced that they’ve acquired minor league outfielder Eric Filia from the Mariners as the player to be named later in April’s Roenis Elias trade. FanRag’s Robert Murray was the first to reports that Filia was going to the Red Sox (Twitter link).

    Filia, 25, was Seattle’s 20th-round pick back in 2016 and ranked as the No. 11 prospect in a thin Mariners farm system, per, though he missed the early portion of the season while serving a 50-game suspension due to a second positive test for a drug of abuse. He was recently activated and has batted .426/.508/.537 with a home run, three doubles and more walks (nine) than strikeouts (four) in 63 Double-A plate appearances.

    Of course, Filia is older than the average competition he’s facing in Double-A, as was the case in 2017 when he batted .326/.407/.434 with five homers in 564 plate appearances as a 24-year-old in Class-A Advanced. Filia has punched out in just 7.3 percent of his professional plate appearances, and while that’s in part a testament to the younger competition he’s faced, it’s also an undeniable testament to his above-average bat-to-ball skills. He’s also walked at a 12.3 percent clip in the minors.

    Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of laud those on-base and bat-to-ball skills, though their report also indicates that he’s limited to the outfield corners on the defensive spectrum and has “average-at-best tools” in other facets of the game. Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen called him a potential bench bat in running through the Mariners’ system this offseason, noting past injury issues and recreational drug usage have slowed his path to the Majors.

    Pomeranz Yet To Resume Throwing Thu, 14 Jun 2018 04:19:30 +0000
  • Drew Pomeranz has been on the shelf for nearly two weeks, but the Red Sox lefty doesn’t sound especially close to returning. WEEI’s Rob Bradford tweets that Pomeranz says the pain in his arm has mostly dissipated, but he has limited mobility in his neck, which is still preventing him from even throwing. Pomeranz, 29, originally hit the DL due to tendinitis in his left biceps, though it would appear that he’s experiencing additional discomfort at this point. Knuckleballer Steven Wright has stepped into Pomeranz’s spot in the rotation and tossed 13 2/3 shutout innings in two starts.
  • ]]>
    Carson Smith To Undergo Shoulder Surgery Tue, 12 Jun 2018 21:21:49 +0000 Red Sox reliever Carson Smith is set to undergo shoulder surgery tomorrow, the team announced to reporters (Twitter link via Rob Bradford of The operation will likely put an end to the 28-year-old’s season.

    It’s the latest setback in what is becoming an increasingly injury-plagued career for Smith, who missed the majority of the 2016 and 2017 seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Tomorrow’s surgery will repair a subluxation in his throwing shoulder, which the right-hander reportedly incurred after angrily tossing his glove out of frustration following a poor outing last month. However, there’s additional damage in his shoulder, it seems, as head athletic trainer Brad Pearson tells reporters that Smith also has some tearing in the labrum (Twitter link via the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier).

    Originally acquired by the Red Sox in the Dec. 2015 trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners, Smith has spent three seasons in the organization but pitched just 20 innings at the Major League level. Obviously, the Sox had higher hopes when trading for him, as he was coming off a dominant rookie campaign in Seattle that saw him pitch 70 innings of 2.31 ERA ball with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a hefty 64.8 percent ground-ball rate.

    Smith drew some ire from Boston skipper Alex Cora last month after suggesting that heavy usage may have contributed to the wear and tear on his shoulder. Cora bluntly said that he “doesn’t agree” with Smith’s comments and spoke at length about the frequency with which the Red Sox staff checks in on its relievers to see who is and isn’t available to take the hill on a given night.

    Given Smith’s ongoing injury woes and the fact that he’s arbitration-eligible for a second time this offseason, it’s possible that the Sox could move on from Smith via non-tender this offseason. But, he won’t be in line for much of a raise on this season’s $850K salary after pitching just 14 1/3 innings, so they may also opt to hang onto the affordable depth even with the health concerns.

    Red Sox To Sign First-Rounder Triston Casas Sun, 10 Jun 2018 17:54:44 +0000 The Red Sox are set to sign first-round corner infielder Triston Casas to a $2,552,800 bonus, which is full slot value for his pick (26th overall), Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. The deal is pending a physical.

    The 18-year-old Casas, a high school star from Florida, was anywhere from the 20th- to 48th-best prospect in the draft, according to, Baseball America, ESPN’s Keith Law and FanGraphs., the outlet with the highest opinion of Casas, noted entering the draft that the lefty-swinger’s “all about his bat and the power he can produce with it.” Casas packs a wallop when he puts the bat on the ball, though there are some questions about his ability to make contact. Defensively, while Casas currently plays third base and has an impressive arm, he’s likely headed for first, per

    The fact that Casas will sign with the Red Sox means he won’t attend the University of Miami, where he had committed. Boston left quite an impression on him during a pre-draft visit, Drellich relays.

    “It was a great experience going to Boston,” Casas said. “It was my first time in Boston and in Massachusetts, so I really enjoyed my time there, I really loved the city and I love the build of it and I love the way that Fenway fit right in the middle of it, just like another building. I’m really excited and I can’t be more happy with the way [the draft] turned out. I feel like the park suits my swing well, and hopefully I get up to the big-league club soon and make an impact.”

    Red Sox Select Contract Of Justin Haley Fri, 08 Jun 2018 16:18:09 +0000 The Red Sox announced Friday that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Justin Haley from Triple-A Pawtucket and optioned lefty Jalen Beeks back to Pawtucket in his place. Boston’s 40-man roster is now up to 39 players.

    While this will mark the Red Sox debut for Haley, whom the club selected in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, it won’t be his MLB debut. Haley was selected by the Twins in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft and broke camp in Minnesota last year, but he was ultimately designated for assignment and returned to the Sox after posting a 6.00 ERA over 18 innings as a seldom-used long reliever.

    Things have gone much better for the now-26-year-old Haley in Triple-A, where he owns a career 3.28 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in 203 1/3 innings. That production is right in line with his marks so far in 2018: a 3.18 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 44 percent ground-ball rate in 56 2/3 innings out of the Pawtucket rotation.

    The 24-year-old Beeks, meanwhile, will head back to Triple-A for continued development. He was called upon to make a spot start last night against the Tigers and was ambushed for five runs in his first Major League inning, though he settled down and allowed just one run over the next three innings. While it wasn’t a great debut, Beeks should still have ample opportunity to factor into Boston’s long-term plans. The former 12th-rounder owns a 3.38 ERA with 10.5 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 152 Triple-A innings.

    Red Sox Lacking In Minor League Trade Chips? Mon, 04 Jun 2018 04:31:20 +0000 Hanley Ramirez is getting interest from “multiple teams” since officially becoming a free agent, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweets.  It isn’t any surprise that the veteran slugger is drawing some attention, particularly since he’d be available at a prorated minimum salary while the Red Sox cover the approximately $14.5MM remaining on Ramirez’s contract.  Considering the low price tag, any number of teams could have interest — consider that the Orioles, who are already loaded with first base/DH candidates, have already been linked to Ramirez.  It was only weeks ago that Ramirez was one of the league’s hottest hitters (posting a .330/.400/.474 slash line over 110 plate appearances in March and April) before he fell into a deep slump that led to his release from the Sox.

    • Also from Cafardo’s piece, he notes that tomorrow’s amateur draft carries particular import for a Red Sox farm system that has been thinned out by trades in recent years.  Between those losses, Jay Groome’s Tommy John surgery and Michael Chavis’ PED suspension, Boston doesn’t seem to have enough young trade chips to make a splash at the deadline.  “Let me put it this way, there isn’t anyone in their farm system that a team would say, ’I have to have that guy.’ Not saying they don’t have anything to make a deal, but they don’t have enough to make a major deal,” one AL scout tells Cafardo.  Of course, it remains to see if the Sox will necessarily be looking for a blockbuster upgrade given that the roster is already in very good shape and cruising towards a postseason berth.
    Red Sox Links: Pedroia, Swihart, Hanley Mon, 04 Jun 2018 02:42:43 +0000 Some news and notes out of Boston…

    • Dustin Pedroia’s return from left knee surgery lasted just three games before the Red Sox second baseman returned to the disabled list with inflammation in that same knee.  Speaking with reporters (including the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato) about the latest injury, Pedroia noted that he was feeling discomfort in a different part of the knee than the area that was operated on back in October.  He is scheduled to meet with the doctor who performed the original surgery on Tuesday “and see what he has to say. It could be just normal or scar tissue or something, but that’s it.”  Pedroia didn’t feel he came back from his first DL stint too quickly, or that he or the team did “anything wrong” during his rehab process to incur this new issue.  The current absence is somewhat being viewed as part of the overall recovery from last fall’s surgery and the knee problems that had bothered Pedroia for some time.  “It just might take a little time,” Pedroia said.  “Last year, if I didn’t have surgery, it wasn’t going to get any better. It’s going to get better. So, just stinks going through it.”
    • Blake Swihart’s first start at catcher this season is likely to come this week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo and other media.  Swihart has been behind the plate twice this season as a sub, though he has yet to actually start at catcher since April 2016 due to injuries and trials at different positions, due to concerns about Swihart’s defensive capability as a backstop.  Opposing scouts are greatly interested in whether Swihart can handle catching, Cafardo writes, and showcasing Swihart behind the plate would help the Sox in their efforts to trade the former top prospect.  There’s even a possibility that Swihart could stick in Boston in regular catching duty, as Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon have provided little offense this season.
    • The Red Sox have already been quite public with their reasons for releasing Hanley Ramirez, though in a video report for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal adds that the some with the club felt that Ramirez’s departure would allow for new voices to take a leadership role in the clubhouse.  Rosenthal mentioned J.D. Martinez as a potential veteran leader, particularly as he is the most experienced member of the position player roster with Pedroia out of action.
    Cafardo: Red Sox "Have Been Watching" Kelvin Herrera Sun, 03 Jun 2018 00:35:06 +0000
  • Boston’s among the teams keeping an eye on Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. If acquired, the 28-year-old would return to a setup role with the Red Sox, thanks to the presence of closer Craig Kimbrel, and would further bolster a late-game mix that also includes Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes. Herrera, who’s in his last year of team control and making $7.94MM, has allowed just two earned runs and hasn’t issued a walk in 22 2/3 innings this season.
  • ]]>
    Red Sox Place Dustin Pedroia on 10-day DL Sat, 02 Jun 2018 16:21:11 +0000 Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has landed back on the disabled list due to what is being described as left knee inflammation, as Evan Drellich of the Boston Globe was among those to tweet (separate links). The move is retroactive to May 30th.

    It’s clearly a concerning development for the Red Sox, who waited patiently during the first quarter of the season for Pedroia to return to the field after undergoing offseason surgery to address a cartilage issue in the same knee. Pedroia collected just one hit and two walks in 13 plate appearances in his brief time between DL stints, and no timetable has been given thus far for his return.

    Pedroia’s initial activation from the DL resulted in the recent DFA of Hanley Ramirez, whom Boston just released. Clearly, Boston did not expect Pedroia to reaggravate his knee so soon, and thus the removal of Ramirez from the roster now seems like a questionable decision. That’s particularly true considering Swihart is hitting just .163/.250/.186 on the season, and is looking more and more like a strain on the club’s roster.

    One has to wonder about the long-term ramifications of Pedroia’s knee issues as well. Long a productive member of the Red Sox infield, Pedroia is now 34 and coming off an injury-shortened 2017 campaign that saw him post his lowest fWAR total since his rookie season. For the time being, it seems likely that Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez will see reps at the keystone. The club has also recalled Sam Travis to boost its depth for the time being.

    Red Sox Place Mookie Betts On 10-Day DL Sat, 02 Jun 2018 00:02:35 +0000 The Red Sox have placed star outfielder Mookie Betts on the 10-day DL, the team announced. He has been diagnosed with a left abdominal strain.

    Boston had been hoping to avoid this outcome. Betts last played on May 26th, but the move can only be made retroactive to the 29th. That same consideration explains why the team made the placement today: the club will be shorthanded tonight anyway — by two players, in fact, with Dustin Pedroia also in a holding pattern — but this way Betts can return one day sooner.

    Clearly, then, there’s going to be another hitter on the way tomorrow. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets that Sam Travis has been pulled from the lineup at Triple-A, which certainly suggests that he will be tabbed to function as a bench bat.

    Needless to say, there won’t be any replacing Betts, who has been on an otherworldly tear all season long. He’s sporting a monster .359/.437/.750 slash with 17 home runs, 13 steals, and 24 walks against just 25 strikeouts through 213 trips to the plate thus far in 2018.

    While the Sox need everything they can get from their star outfielder, as the division race is shaping up to be a season-long epic, they are surely also mindful of avoiding any complications from what seemed initially to be a fairly minor injury. Hopefully, that’s still the case, but Betts will now be given as much time as he needs to rest and heal up without any concerns as to whether the team will be down a man in a given game.

    Red Sox Release Hanley Ramirez Fri, 01 Jun 2018 17:15:07 +0000 June 1: The Red Sox formally announced that Ramirez cleared waivers and has been released. He is now a free agent.

    May 30: The Red Sox have requested release waivers on first baseman/designated hitter Hanley Ramirez, whom they designated for assignment late last week, reports Rob Bradford of (via Twitter). He’ll likely clear those waivers in 48 hours and become a free agent who can sign with a new club for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum.

    The move to release Ramirez comes as no surprise. While Boston surely explored trade possibilities for Ramirez, the slugger had more than $15MM remaining on his 2018 salary at the time of his DFA, and his contract also contains a $22MM vesting option that would trigger if he received another 302 plate appearances. Any team acquiring him via either trade or waivers would also be on the hook for that salary and the potential vesting option, both of which are highly unappealing for potential suitors.

    However, once Ramirez is released by the Red Sox, those provisions will fade away. He’ll still be owed the balance of this season’s $22MM salary, but the Red Sox will be on the hook for that sum (minus the pro-rated league minimum he’d be paid by another club). The vesting option, meanwhile, is tied to the contract from which he is about to be released and will not apply when he signs a new contract with a new club.

    Ramirez, 34, looked resurgent early in the season, raking at a .330/.400/.474 clip in the month of April as he distanced himself from last year’s shoulder troubles. However, Ramirez’s bat has gone ice cold in recent weeks; his Red Sox tenure ended in an 0-for-21 freefall, and he’s posted a putrid .163/.200/.300 batting line since May 1, which has more than offset his strong April showing. By measure of OPS+ (88) and wRC+ (90), his overall offensive output on the season rates worse than that of a league-average hitter.

    All that said, a player with Ramirez’s raw ability and track record will surely attract interest from teams in need of help at first base/DH or a corner bat off the bench. He’ll soon have the chance to listen to offers from interested parties before ultimately selecting a new team. Speculatively speaking, it seems likely that a 34-year-old with postseason experience will prefer the opportunity to latch on with a contending club.

    Red Sox Notes: Hanley, Kelly Thu, 31 May 2018 16:57:17 +0000 As Rob Bradford of reported last night, Hanley Ramirez is going through release waivers at the moment, which makes it likely that he’ll clear and become a free agent tomorrow afternoon. Red Sox skipper Alex Cora appeared on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM this week to discuss the team’s decision to cut ties with Ramirez in one of the highest-profile DFAs in recent memory (Twitter link, with audio). Per Cora, the decision came down to one of roster flexibility and a desire to get Mitch Moreland’s left-handed bat and superior glove into the lineup with more regularity.

    “We’ve been talking about when Pedroia comes back since February,” said the Red Sox’ skipper. “We had different scenarios, different options, and at the end, I talked about being flexible as far as versatility — being able to maneuver the last part of the game with pinch-hitters, pinch-runners, defensive replacements and being able to match up with the opposition. It’s nothing against the player, because Hanley is a good player. He was going through a slump. That’s part of it. Everybody goes through it. … I did feel as an organization, our roster was going to be a little bit tight with him not playing every day.”

    • Bradford spoke with setup man Joe Kelly about the manner in which the right-hander has now fully embraced his role as a reliever. Kelly wasn’t exactly keen on the idea of moving to the bullpen earlier in his career and had preferred to remain in the rotation, but he’s thriving in and enjoying his role as a late-inning weapon for the Red Sox. Kelly, a free agent at season’s end, said he wouldn’t reject the idea if a club approached him about returning to the rotation this offseason, but it doesn’t sound as if that’ll be a priority for him, either. “I like the job I’m in right now,” he said. “I kind of like the thrill, the adrenaline rush.” Kelly and Bradford also discuss the different mindsets that come with pitching in different roles, his move from the outfield to the mound during his amateur days, and his stress-free approach to his impending free agency in a candid interview that’s well worth a full read.
    Red Sox Sign Adam Lind To Minor League Deal Tue, 29 May 2018 23:05:04 +0000 The Red Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran first baseman Adam Lind, reports Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter links). The ISE Baseball client was recently released by the Yankees. Drellich notes that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has confirmed the agreement to him, though the club has not yet issued a more formal announcement of the signing.

    Lind is coming off a strong season with the Nationals, having raked at a.303/.362/.512 clip and clubbed 14 homers in 301 plate appearances. The 34-year-old has posted an OPS+ of 123 or better in four of the past five seasons — an ugly 2016 in Seattle being the lone exception — and batted a combined .282/.348/.473 through 2142 plate appearances in that time. He’s totaled 94 plate appearances between the Yankees’ Class-A and Triple-A affiliates this season, slashing a combined .302/.362/.477 with three homers in that time.

    The addition of Lind will give the Red Sox some additional depth at first base and designated hitter following the surprising DFA and seemingly likely release of Hanley Ramirez. He’s a bit redundant with Mitch Moreland — a hitter who comes with similar platoon issues and a much better glove at first base, though. Lind, after all, has a disastrous .217/.263/.329 slash against left-handed pitchers over the course of 12-year MLB career. He’s been mostly limited to first base, though the Nats did trot him out to left field for 197 innings last season. That marked his first work on the outfield grass since 2010, and he unsurprisingly did not rate well there in the estimation of defensive metrics.

    Red Sox Facing Luxury Tax Concerns In 2019 Sun, 27 May 2018 23:36:33 +0000
  • Even after designating Hanley Ramirez for assignment and sidestepping his potential $22MM salary for 2019, Rosenthal notes that next year’s Red Sox could still be approaching the maximum penalty limit for surpassing the luxury tax threshold.  If the Sox were more than $40MM over next year’s $206MM tax threshold, they would face up to a 90 percent tax on the overages and their top pick in the 2019 draft would drop by ten positions.  Boston already has over $137MM committed next season towards seven players, plus Pablo Sandoval and Rusney Castillo.  Beyond that $137MM already on the books, Chris Sale’s $13.5MM club option is a no-brainer to be exercised, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are on pace for huge arbitration raises, and key players like Craig Kimbrel and Drew Pomeranz are free agents.
  • ]]>
    Dombrowski, Cora On Decision To Remove Hanley Ramirez From Roster Fri, 25 May 2018 20:55:00 +0000 Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager Alex Cora each addressed the media today following the team’s decision to designate first baseman Hanley Ramirez for assignment. All links below are to the Twitter accounts of Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, and Rob Bradford of, who were among the reporters covering the respective discussions.

    As interesting as anything was simply the fact that the leadership duo divulged an unusual amount of information about how the move went down. And the story behind the decisionmaking process was certainly notable in its own right.

    Both men stated that Cora reached out unprompted to suggest that Ramirez ought to be the player removed to make way for the return of Dustin Pedroia. Though Dombrowski says he was surprised to hear that recommendation from the rookie skipper, and noted that he had been “prepared to go in a different direction,” the veteran baseball ops executive elected to cut ties with the highly paid Ramirez. In his comments, Cora thanked Dombrowski for trusting his judgment.

    It seems there was some concern on the part of all involved that Ramirez would not be a good candidate for a part-time role, which he was headed for after a tough recent run at the plate. On the flip side, Dombrowski says Cora assuaged any worry that bumping Ramirez would harm chemistry in the clubhouse.

    The fact that Ramirez’s contract includes a vesting option for the 2019 season did not come into play, Dombrowski was careful to note. “The vesting option has nothing to do with it,” he said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to win.” Whether or not it was a driving factor in the decision, the option can no longer vest, as it had been on track to do had Ramirez remained a semi-regular part of the Boston lineup.

    At the end of the day, the Sox decided to abandon the alternative roster decision they had originally intended to make. Dombrowski told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe a few days back that he knew how he’d proceed, though he wouldn’t say. And Cora confirmed today that the expectation internally had been the same as it was outside the organization: namely, that little-used, out-of-options reserve Blake Swihart would be the player moved off of the roster.

    Swihart, of course, is a catcher that the team really has not trusted behind the dish. He requested a trade; we even examined possible landing spots. Evidently, so did the Red Sox. Dombrowski says they weren’t just interested in sending him out for a return that did not hold any appeal, though he also says the team wasn’t placing a particularly high price.

    Now that it’s clear Swihart will remain in Boston, at least in the near-term, it seems there’s a renewed sense that he’ll be given some action. (Of course, the return of Pedroia also means that other players will be left looking for additional opportunities.) Cora indicated he may start Swihart at the catching position. Swihart will also evidently be considered for some time at first base, if he can show enough aptitude at a position where he has little experience.

    Red Sox Designate Hanley Ramirez For Assignment Fri, 25 May 2018 15:34:36 +0000 10:34am: The Red Sox have formally announced the move via press release. Pedroia has been officially activated from the DL.

    10:13am: In a surprising move, the Red Sox will designate first baseman/designated hitter Hanley Ramirez for assignment today in order to clear a spot on the roster for Dustin Pedroia’s activation from the disabled list, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports.

    Hanley Ramirez | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Though the move is jarring considering the fact that Ramirez opened the season as Boston’s No. 3 hitter and showed quite well early on, he’s gone cold as of late and places some complicated financial constraints on the team. Ramirez’s contract contains a $22MM mutual option that would vest if he accumulated even 497 plate appearances this season, as MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently examined at greater length, and the organization surely doesn’t want that lofty salary to lock in. Keeping Ramirez on the roster but attempting to organically suppress his playing time would’ve been awkward and could have potentially even led to a grievance on his behalf if he felt the team’s motivation for keeping him out of the lineup were purely financial in nature. By cutting ties with him, albeit in surprising and abrupt fashion, the Sox spare themselves that difficult situation.

    Still, such a move would’ve been virtually unthinkable not even four weeks ago. Ramirez looked resurgent early in the season, absolutely raking his way through April by hitting at a .330/.400/.474 clip as he distanced himself from last year’s shoulder woes in emphatic fashion. However, Ramirez’s bat has gone ice cold in recent weeks; he’s currently in an 0-for-21 freefall at the plate and, since the calendar flipped to May, has delivered a putrid .163/.200/.300 slash that has largely counteracted his terrific April. By measure of OPS+ (88) and wRC+ (90), his overall offensive output on the season now rates decidedly worse than that of a league-average hitter.

    As with any player who has been designated for assignment, the Red Sox will have a week to trade Ramirez, place him on outright waivers or release him. Given the remaining $15.17MM on this year’s $22MM salary and that easily attainable vesting option, it’s all but certain that Ramirez will be released rather than sent elsewhere. At that point, he’d be free to sign a new contract with a new club that would only owe him the pro-rated league minimum and wouldn’t need to worry about the vesting provision in his prior agreement in Boston.

    Looking ahead, the stunning decision to move on from Ramirez should lock J.D. Martinez in as Boston’s primary designated hitter and give Mitch Moreland and his superior glove regular reps at first base. The move also prolongs Blake Swihart’s purgatorial stay in Boston, though perhaps by jettisoning Ramirez from the roster, the Sox will open up a few more opportunities to work the scarcely used former top prospect into the lineup.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Red Sox To Activate Dustin Pedroia Thu, 24 May 2018 21:42:43 +0000 The Red Sox will activate second baseman Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list on Friday, manager Alex Cora told reporters this afternoon (Twitter link via Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe). While the team didn’t announce a corresponding move, Abraham notes that neither Eduardo Nunez nor Brock Holt seems to be in danger of losing his roster spot to clear way for Pedroia, based on Cora’s comments.

    Pedroia, 34, has yet to take the field for the Sox this season thanks to offseason surgery to address a cartilage issue in his left knee. In his absence, Nunez has shouldered the bulk of the workload at second base, though he’s posted a disappointing .243/.261/.361 slash through 177 trips to the plate. As a whole, Boston second basemen are slashing just .241/.269/.361, so Pedroia’s return will be a welcome one, should he be able to manage anything even close to his recent levels of production at the big league level.

    [Related: Boston Red Sox depth chart]

    While Pedroia, of course, isn’t the superstar that he was early in his career when he won American Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors in successive seasons (2007-08), he’s remained a productive player throughout his early 30s, slashing .296/.360/.415 in 2195 plate appearances across the past four seasons. Last year, he slashed a roughly league-average .293/.369/.392 in 463 PAs.

    It’s certainly possible that there’ll be some rust to be shaken off, as Pedroia went 1-for-14 with three walks in a minor league rehab assignment with the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket. Results aside, however, Pedroia has played consecutive days at second base on two occasions now and has clearly shown enough that the organization feels him capable of stepping back into the big league lineup. Off days may be more frequent for him early on as he eases back into the rigors of an everyday schedule, but provided his knee is indeed healthy, he should provide a notable boost to an already dangerous lineup once he gets back up to speed.

    Red Sox Make Big Demands In Swihart Trade Talks Wed, 23 May 2018 04:27:31 +0000
  • The Red Sox have put a high price tag on Blake Swihart in trade negotiations with other teams,’s Evan Drellich reports.  “Hard to find a trade partner when you’re asking for some of teams’ best prospects,” one rival talent evaluator tells Drellich.  Swihart has barely played at all this season coming off the Sox bench, and his previous two seasons also saw little MLB action (though injuries were a big factor in the lack of activity).  While these factors have seemingly dimmed Swihart’s former top-prospect status, the Sox are still aiming for a big return for Swihart, with Drellich noting that some familiar with the trade talks have described Boston’s demands as “unreasonable.”  The Sox may end up designating Swihart for assignment when Dustin Pedroia returns to ensure that a Swihart deal will happen, though this may or may not create the “bidding war” the Red Sox hope will then occur.  MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently broke down the potential market for Swihart, and while there are several teams that could use catching help, it hardly seems like Boston will score multiple quality minor leaguers in exchange for Swihart.
  • ]]>
    Carson Smith Seeks Third Opinion On Shoulder Wed, 23 May 2018 02:51:38 +0000
  • Carson Smith will seek out a third opinion on his injured shoulder to see if he can avoid surgery, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports (Twitter link).  The Red Sox reliever suffered a subluxation in his right shoulder last week after angrily tossing his glove in frustration over a poor outing.  This would be another brutal injury setback for Smith, who missed most of the 2016 and 2017 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • ]]>
    Red Sox Rumors: Swihart, JBJ Sun, 20 May 2018 21:59:18 +0000
  • The Rangers had interest in Red Sox utilityman Blake Swihart as recently as a week ago, per Cafardo, who notes “that avenue may still be available.” A catcher by trade, Swihart’s out of options and doesn’t seem to have a place on this year’s Red Sox, which led his agent to request a trade earlier this week. Still, Boston’s unsure about parting with the 26-year-old, Cafardo suggests. If the Sox do explore a deal, though, there are other fits besides Texas, as MLBTR’s Steve Adams pointed out Wednesday.
  • More on the Red Sox, who’d “likely want bullpen help and/or a prospect” in a trade for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., Cafardo observes. Boston spurned teams’ interest in Bradley in the offseason and has since gotten off to one of the majors’ best starts, though the 28-year-old hasn’t contributed to that as much as expected. Bradley has posted an ugly .165/.267/.252 line in 146 trips to the plate, leading Alex Speier of the Boston Globe to wonder if the Red Sox could consider demoting him despite his $6.1MM salary when second baseman Dustin Pedroia comes off the disabled list soon. While it’s a long shot, Speier concedes, a Bradley-less Red Sox team would still feature the enviable outfield trio of Mookie Betts in right, Andrew Benintendi in center and J.D. Martinez in left.

  • ]]>
    East Notes: Yankees, Eickhoff, Smith, Garcia Sat, 19 May 2018 16:59:09 +0000 Aaron Boone recently offered some words of encouragement regarding the imminent return of first baseman Greg Bird to the lineup (h/t Marc Carig of The Athletic). But while Bird’s activation appears to be “around the corner”, news surrounding fellow Yankees hitter Jacoby Ellsbury is not as promising. Ellsbury is reportedly dealing with a minor back injury and as such is not participating in baseball activities at this time. The outfielder made just 406 plate appearances last season and has yet to make his 2018 debut. Unfortunately, Ellsbury’s absence is not the end of the bad news for the Yankees this week, as it turns out hard-hitting outfield prospect Estevan Florial will require surgery on a broken hamate bone (according to a tweet from George A. King III of the New York Post). The injury will keep him sidelined until at least August. Florial was off to somewhat of a slow start at the High-A level, posting a .246/.353/.343 slash line across 156 plate appearances.

    More out of the East…

    • Phillies righty Jerad Eickhoff is set to begin a rehab assignment, according to Matt Breen of the Philly Enquirer. He’ll kick it off at Triple-A LeHigh Valley. Eickhoff has been sidelined since spring training due to a lat strain, and at this time it’s not clear how he’d fit into a suddenly crowded Phillies rotation that includes Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Jake Arrieta, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin.
    • The Red Sox haven’t gotten any particularly good news about Carson Smith in recent days. According to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, manager Alex Cora says the club can’t determine at this time whether or not the righty will pitch again this season. Smith was off to a serviceable start this season, posting a 3.77 ERA and 11.30 K/9 in his first 14 1/3 innings before going down with a shoulder subluxation.
    • The Blue Jays are describing left-hander Jaime Garcia’s injury as “left shoulder inflammation”. He’s been placed on the DL retroactive to May 16th. The Jays brought Garcia into the fold this past offseason on a one-year deal worth a guarantee of $10MM, but he’s disappointed thus far with a 6.28 ERA across his first 38 2/3 innings. In a related move, the club has recalled righty Deck McGuire from Triple-A Buffalo.
    Red Sox To Sign Josh Smith Thu, 17 May 2018 14:58:39 +0000 The Red Sox have reportedly agreed to a minor-league deal with righty Josh Smith. The Roster Roundup Twitter account (link) first conveyed the move, which Chris Cotillo of confirms on Twitter.

    Smith was released recently by the Mariners after originally joining the Seattle organization on a minors deal. The 30-year-old had allowed seven earned runs on 17 hits in 10 1/3 innings to open the season, compiled over one start and three relief appearances at Triple-A. He had also run up a much more promising 14:2 K/BB ratio.

    It seems that Smith could function as bullpen/swingman depth for a Boston organization that has faced some questions in its relief unit. He has appeared in the majors in each of the past three seasons, working to a cumulative 5.30 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 over 127 1/3 innings.

    Notably, if Smith ends up reporting to Triple-A Pawtucket, he’ll join another player of the same name on the roster. The Boston organization already employs lefty Josh Smith at its top affiliate.

    Cora Disagrees With Smith's Comments Regarding Workload Thu, 17 May 2018 02:03:40 +0000 Shortly after landing on the disabled list due to a subluxation in his shoulder that occurred upon throwing his glove out of frustration in the dugout, Red Sox reliever Carson Smith suggested that arm fatigue may have contributed to his injury (link via Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald). “I’ve thrown a lot lately and I think my arm was just tired,” said Smith, though his comments didn’t sit well with manager Alex Cora. Cora flatly told reporters that he “[doesn’t] agree” with Smith’s assessment, adding that Boston’s coaching staff checks in with its pitchers each day when determining who is or isn’t available in relief. Smith gave the team no indication that he was feeling overworked. “It caught me by surprise,” Cora said of Smith’s comment. “If he felt that way he should’ve told it to us or he should’ve mentioned it.” Smith, of course, has placed much of the blame for his injury on himself as well and expressed regret over the manner in which the injury occurred.

    Looking For A Match In A Blake Swihart Trade Thu, 17 May 2018 00:16:23 +0000 Blake Swihart’s career path has been anything but conventional. The former first-round pick was considered one of the game’s elite prospects prior to the 2015 season and was heralded as a potential cornerstone behind the dish before injuries, questions about his defense and the emergence of Christian Vazquez changed his role. Swihart took to the outfield in 2016 with the hope that he’d be able to improve his defense there on the fly while keeping his bat in the lineup, but an ankle injury cost him most of the season. By the time he returned, Andrew Benintendi was entrenched as Boston’s everyday left fielder.

    Swihart is now a man without a real role on a Red Sox team that is effectively employing a 24-man roster. Vazquez and Sandy Leon continue to handle the catching, while Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and J.D. Martinez are all more frequently used in the outfield. Swihart has appeared in only 15 games for the Sox this season and totaled 32 plate appearances. His only four starts have been at DH. He’s played a grand total of 24 innings in the field — 19 in the outfield, four at first base and one behind the plate. The Red Sox have used Swihart about as often as the rebuilding Tigers have used Victor Reyes — a 23-year-old Rule 5 outfielder they’re trying to hold onto for the entire season despite the fact that he’s not quite MLB ready.

    Suffice it to say, no one should have been surprised to learn this morning that Swihart’s agent, Brodie Scoffield of the Legacy Agency, asked the Red Sox to trade his client. The current setup is a poor one for team and player. Boston can’t send Swihart to Triple-A for regular at-bats because he is out of minor league options and would surely be lost on waivers. He’s not going to provide virtually any value in such a limited role, though, and the Red Sox could probably make better use of that spot by giving it to a true fourth outfielder, a utility infielder capable of handling several positions, or a reliever with options remaining to create some additional flexibility in the ’pen.

    Assuming president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski eventually honors the request and gauges interest in Swihart, there’ll probably be no shortage of clubs interested in taking a shot on the once-vaunted prospect. Some speculative fits for the switch-hitting 26-year-old…

    • Nationals: It was a surprise that the Nats didn’t add any catching help this offseason, as Matt Wieters turned in a terrible first year in D.C. and the organization had limited options beyond him. Miguel Montero signed a minor league deal but was quickly jettisoned, and the Nats now have Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom behind the plate with Wieters on the disabled list. Swihart is hardly a definitive upgrade, as he’s yet to prove himself over an extended period in the Majors, but he has more upside than their internal options.
    • Twins: Minnesota found out on Wednesday that Jason Castro will miss the remainder of the season after surgeons discovered more damage than expected when operating on his right knee. Rookie Mitch Garver and journeyman Bobby Wilson now top the team’s depth chart behind the plate, so perhaps the Twins would be open to flipping some pitching depth for a chance at Swihart.
    • Brewers: Milwaukee catchers are hitting a combined .197/.274/.333 on the season, as neither Manny Pina nor Jett Bandy has been performing well. Veteran Stephen Vogt’s season is over due to shoulder surgery, leaving Jacob Nottingham and former prospect Christian Bethancourt as the only upper-level alternatives currently within the organization. Swihart won’t see much, if any playing time in a crowded Milwaukee outfield, but there should be at-bats up for grabs at catcher.
    • Mets: Catching is an obvious area of need for the Mets, though they’ve already made one move in the past week, acquiring Devin Mesoraco from the Reds. Given that Kevin Plawecki is nearing a return from a broken hand, it doesn’t seem likely that the Mets would swing a second trade in the near future. But if Swihart is still in Boston as the All-Star break approaches and the Plawecki/Mesoraco tandem is struggling, perhaps the Mets would make another change.
    • Athletics: Jonathan Lucroy is only on a one-year deal with the A’s, and Bruce Maxwell’s lack of production was already enough to make him a questionable long-term option before his highly publicized off-field issues. Oakland has room in the outfield corners as well and certainly has never had an aversion to rotating players through multiple positions.
    • Rangers: Robinson Chirinos is signed affordably through 2019, and the Rangers do have a fair bit of catching talent in the pipeline, though most of those prospects are still several years away from the Majors. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has done some catching in the minors but has only caught three games this season and has been working primarily as an infielder. There’s not much room in the outfield corners once Willie Calhoun arrives for good, and the Rangers do have former Phillies backstop Cameron Rupp in Triple-A. Still, there’s more playing time available for Swihart in Arlington than there is in Boston.
    • White Sox: Welington Castillo is the primary catcher for manager Rick Renteria, and that won’t change after he signed a two-year, $15MM contract in the offseason. But Swihart could easily displace Omar Narvaez as the backup and see some occasional outfield time as well.
    • Padres: No one questions Austin Hedges’ defensive prowess, but he’s yet to prove that he can get on base at the highest level. Hedges mashed 18 homers last season but did so with a .262 OBP that ranked dead last in the National League (min. 400 PA). San Diego has a stacked farm system but is still light on catching talent in the upper minors. The Padres don’t really have much to offer in the way of playing time in the outfield or at first base, so they’d need to believe that Swihart can make an impact behind the dish.
    • Marlins: J.T. Realmuto is among the game’s best catchers, but he’s also one of the most easily identifiable trade candidates in Major League Baseball as well. The Marlins will get offers on Realmuto this summer, and while they won’t simply take the best one that’s presented with Realmuto controlled through 2020, there’s still a chance that he moves. If they hang onto him, the rumor carousel will fire up again this winter. There’s no real catching help on the horizon beyond Realmuto, and the Marlins are the exact type of rebuilding club that can afford to give Swihart a lengthy look behind the plate.
    • Diamondbacks: Arizona GM Mike Hazen and assistant GMs Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter all have Red Sox roots, and D-backs catchers haven’t hit whatsoever in 2018. The Diamondbacks added Alex Avila on an affordable two-year deal in the offseason, but that’s yet to pay dividends. Defensive specialist Jeff Mathis isn’t hitting, either, and John Ryan Murphy has a .259 OBP. The Diamondbacks have carried three catchers in each of the past two seasons, and the Hazen-led front office took a similar roll of the dice on another out-of-options former Boston first-rounder, Deven Marrero, late in Spring Training.

    Other clubs could and almost certainly will inquire, as well, of course. It stands to reason that while some organizations may not be sold on Swihart as a catcher, they’d be perfectly content to give him a tryout in left field and/or at first base. Some clubs are probably keen on simply shuffling him around at all three positions. In that sense, one could make an argument for Swihart fitting on just about any club in the league, given that he’s likely to have a low cost of acquisition and comes with a fair bit of upside even if his prospect star has undeniably dimmed.

    Of course, if the goal of this exercise is to find an organization in need of an upgrade behind the plate, where he brings the most potential value, it’s worth stressing that perhaps no club in baseball could use a boost more than Swihart’s current team. Vazquez and Leon are batting a combined .174/.224/.219, but the Red Sox have still not seen fit to give Swihart more than that one lone inning behind the dish.

    Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston recently chatted with Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson about the work Swihart is putting into catching drills in taking a lengthier look at Swihart’s unusual role (or lack thereof) with the team. Within, pitching coach Dana LeVangie acknowledged the dilemma facing the Red Sox: in order for Swihart to improve, the biggest thing he needs is consistent reps behind the plate. Those simply aren’t available in Boston right now, despite the struggles of the team’s top two catchers.

    The Sox, of course, signed Vazquez to a $13.55MM extension this offseason due in no small part to his defensive talents. It’s somewhat more puzzling that there doesn’t appear to be any thought to displacing Leon, however, as he’s hit just .217/.280/.336 in 351 plate appearances dating back to last season.

    That the Sox aren’t willing to displace either struggling bat to give Swihart a more legitimate look behind the plate certainly seems like a statement on how they view his current defense. But it still seems likely that another club would be happy to acquire his bat at a discount rate in hopes that increased reps will help him to hone his craft. And for the Sox, who figure to spend the season vying for the AL East crown with the Yankees, having a 25th man on the roster whom they could actually use from time to time certainly seems like an endeavor worth pursuing sooner rather than later.

    Blake Swihart’s Agent Asks Red Sox For Trade Wed, 16 May 2018 13:32:02 +0000 Blake Swihart’s agent, The Legacy Agency’s Brodie Scoffield, tells Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston that he has asked the Red Sox to trade the little-used player to another organization.

    It has been an awkward arrangement from the start of the season, as the out-of-options Swihart has seen just 24 innings in the field (mostly in left) while picking up 32 plate appearances off of the bench. A catcher by trade, he’s obviously not a part of the team’s plans behind the dish, as he has caught only a single inning despite the marked offensive struggles of Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez.

    In all likelihood, the trade request won’t have any meaningful impact on Swihart’s future. But it’s also likely to be fulfilled on the team’s own volition. After all, the Sox are engaged in what promises to be a season-long battle for supremacy in the AL East. It feels as if something has to give at some point, given that Swihart is effectively being treated as something like a Rule 5 pick.

    Frankly, it’s a curious situation all around. Surely, some other teams would be glad to give a shot to the 26-year-old Swihart, a former first-round pick and top-100 prospect. But it’s also tough to imagine he’ll be valued too highly in a trade. Swihart produced good, but hardly overwhelming, offensive numbers on the way up the ladder. Since his first MLB action in 2015, he hasn’t hit much at any level and still hasn’t settled in anywhere defensively while dealing with injuries and inconsistent opportunities. The fact that Swihart cannot be optioned will make it tough for a team that wishes to try him out behind the plate, since he’d have to be thrown right into the fire at the MLB level despite minimal time under the mask this season.

    As Drellich explains, it seems that a decision point could soon be approaching, as Dustin Pedroia’s pending return from the disabled list will make it all but impossible to continue carrying Swihart. It could be that the Sox are simply waiting until the last possible moment to make a decision. After all, an injury could arise that would enhance Swihart’s utility to the Boston organization (or to a potential trade partner). Presumably, the Boston front office already knows which rivals have serious interest and what sort of return — a useful MLB reliever? some far-off young talent? — might be achievable, if any. In the meantime, there’s little for Swihart to do but sit back and wait.

    Red Sox Acquire Josh Taylor From Diamondbacks Wed, 16 May 2018 01:02:19 +0000 The Red Sox announced Tuesday that they’ve acquired minor league left-hander Josh Taylor from the Diamondbacks as the player to be named later in the trade that sent infielder Deven Marrero to Arizona back on March 24.

    Originally signed by the Phillies as a non-drafted free agent, Taylor was traded to the D-backs alongside right-hander Chris Oliver back in the 2015 trade that sent the top international bonus slot from Arizona to Philadelphia. He’s in his first full season as a reliever after struggling as a starter in the minors and has pitched to a 2.81 ERA with a 20-to-5 K/BB ratio in 16 innings, albeit as a 25-year-old pitching against younger competition at the Class-A Advanced level. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets that Taylor is headed to Boston’s Double-A affiliate in Portland, Maine.

    Last season, Taylor worked to a 4.96 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and a 49 percent ground-ball rate in 98 minor league innings — 97 of which came at the Double-A level. He’s not considered to be among the D-backs’ 30 best prospects by either or Baseball America.

    The Marrero pickup, thus far, has provided the Diamondbacks with some quality glovework at multiple infield positions but netted sub-par value with the bat. In 56 plate appearances, Marrero is hitting just .196/.250/.235, with a triple representing his lone extra-base hit of the season. Of course, he’s played sparingly and can’t be sent down to sharpen his approach with regular at-bats, given the fact that he’s out of minor league options.

    Red Sox Place Carson Smith On 10-Day DL Tue, 15 May 2018 19:46:15 +0000 The Red Sox announced that righty Carson Smith has been placed on the 10-day DL with a subluxation of his right shoulder. He’ll be replaced for the time being by lefty Bobby Poyner.

    It’s obviously not terribly promising news to hear that the injury is to Smith’s throwing shoulder. It’s still unknown at this point just what kind of absence the team expects from the veteran reliever, but it seems that it could be a rather serious matter.

    President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters, including Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston (via Twitter), that “it’s got the potential of being a major injury.” Smith, who hurt himself flinging his glove after a poor outing, will go for a second opinion.

    The 28-year-old Smith had been playing a significant role in the Sox pen after missing most of the past two seasons. He carries a 3.77 ERA in 14 1/3 innings on the year, with 11.3 K/9 (on an 11.8% swinging-strike rate) against 3.8 BB/9 as well as a 52.5% groundball rate.

    Red Sox Activate Steven Wright Tue, 15 May 2018 02:22:33 +0000
  • Red Sox right-hander Steven Wright has been activated for the first time this year, the club announced. To create a roster spot, fellow righty Hector Velazquez is going onto the 10-day DL with a lower back strain. Wright served a 15-game suspension after opening the year on the shelf while recovering from knee surgery. He’ll likely work as a long man out of the Boston bullpen upon arrival, though he’s also likely the first man up if a rotation need arises.
  • ]]>
    Red Sox Soon To Face Roster Crunch Sun, 13 May 2018 18:20:46 +0000
  • With second baseman Dustin Pedroia nearing a return from offseason knee surgery and knuckleballer Steven Wright set to come back Monday from a 15-game suspension for a violation of the league’s domestic violence policy, the Red Sox have some difficult roster questions looming, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic observes (subscription required). Pedroia’s return looks likely to force a choice between Brock Holt and Blake Swihart for Boston’s utility infielder spot. Holt’s better suited for that, even though he has an option left and Swihart doesn’t, McCaffrey argues. On the pitching side, the Red Sox may have to select between sending down righty Hector Velazquez (who does have an option left) or losing the out-of-options lefty Brian Johnson once Wright’s back. Alternatively, the Red Sox could keep those two and jettison Wright, who’s also out of options, McCaffrey notes. Wright’s only two years removed from earning an All-Star nod, but injury issues – including season-ending left knee surgery last May – have helped derail him since then. He hasn’t made a big league appearance since April 29, 2017.
  • ]]>
    Dustin Pedroia Nearing Rehab Assignment Sat, 12 May 2018 04:06:25 +0000
  • Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is hoping to begin a rehab assignment early next week, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. He has been building back to full strength following offseason knee surgery. While the Sox have managed just fine without the veteran star, a return from Pedroia will certainly be most welcome, as fill-in Eduardo Nunez has struggled thus far at the plate.
  • ]]>
    Price Tag On Betts Only Rising Thu, 10 May 2018 03:24:37 +0000 Mookie Betts tells WEEI’s Rob Bradford that nothing has changed on his end regarding a potential extension with the Red Sox, as the 25-year-old still has no intention of discussing a long-term deal during the season. Controlled for just two years beyond the current campaign, Betts’ increasing proximity to free agency and his continually elevated level of play have priced a theoretical extension out of bargain territory and into a massive financial undertaking, as Bradford examines. Certainly, that’s the case with any young star as he navigates through the arbitration process, but Betts already has one record arbitration payday in his back pocket, and he’s turning in the best season of his young career thus far. The $30MM annual rate that Jose Altuve secured on his recent extension with the Astros seems like an increasingly relevant comp, if not a baseline, Bradford posits in highlighting the difficulties that the Sox could face in locking up their brightest young star.

    David Price Has "Mild Case" Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Wed, 09 May 2018 23:59:23 +0000 After being scratched from today’s start due to numbness in his left hand, David Price has been diagnosed with a “mild case” of carpal tunnel syndrome, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said in a radio appearance on WEEI today (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey). The hope, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes, is that he’ll only be required to miss one start and can avoid the disabled list. “We’re glad it’s only this,” said Cora. “We know how we’re going to attack it. We’re going to get him healthy.” It’s been an uneven season for Price, who was brilliant in his first two starts of the year but has struggled since initially reporting numbness in his hand in mid-April. He’s now sporting a 5.11 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 and a 42.7 percent ground-ball rate in 37 innings this year.

    Red Sox Prospect Jay Groome To Undergo Tommy John Surgery Wed, 09 May 2018 22:35:14 +0000 5:35pm: The Red Sox have announced the news. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the operation next week, on May 15.

    5:20pm: Top Red Sox prospect Jay Groome will miss the remainder of the 2018 season and part of the 2019 campaign due to a UCL injury that will require Tommy John surgery, reports Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal. Groome, the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft, will have the surgery either later this week or early next week, per McAdam.

    Groome, 19, missed much of the 2017 campaign due to a flexor strain in his left arm as well, throwing just 55 1/3 innings on the season as a whole. He’s yet to pitch this season, either, after opening the season on the disabled list with what the team called a similar flexor issue to the one that plagued him last year.

    Obviously, given his age and the fact that he’s yet to pitch above A-ball, Groome wouldn’t have factored into Boston’s immediate plans anyhow. Losing a year of development and adding a major arm surgery to his medical file at a young age, however, is a disconcerting outcome all the same. It also saps some of Groome’s trade value, lessening the possibility that he could be used to acquire a key piece in trades this summer as the Sox look to bolster their standing in a competitive AL East.

    Heading into the 2018 season, Groome was a consensus Top 100 prospect throughout the league, ranking 83rd per Baseball America, 85th per, 78th per Baseball Prospectus and 98th per Fangraphs. He’s touted as a potential top-of-the-rotation arm given an above-average fastball and a knockout curveball, but it now looks as though the 2020 season will be his best bet at turning in a full season of development at the minor league level.

    It’s been a rough start to the season for Boston’s farm system, with Groome now requiring Tommy John surgery and infield prospect Michael Chavis already having been hit with an 80-game suspension following a failed PED test.

    David Price Scratched, Undergoing Testing For Numbness In Hand Tue, 08 May 2018 22:09:13 +0000
  • David Price has been scratched from tomorrow’s start by the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. He’s headed back to Boston after experiencing numbness in his hand and being unable to complete his most recent bullpen session on Sunday, per the report. Abraham’s colleague, Alex Speier, recently examined Price’s velocity drop this season in a column, noting that he exited a start earlier this year due to similar feelings of numbness, though he attributed that instance to the cold weather. That wasn’t the case this time around, as Sunday’s bullpen session took place in Arlington. Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald has quotes from manager Alex Cora in the wake of today’s news. Cora doesn’t believe the injury is related to Price’s elbow, though the tests he undergoes in Boston will obviously be more telling in that regard. Rick Porcello is stepping up to start in Price’s place tomorrow.
  • ]]>
    MLB Announces London Series Tue, 08 May 2018 15:21:45 +0000 As expected, Major League Baseball has announced that it is taking its show across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom next year. The Yankees and Red Sox will play a two-game set on June 29th and June 30th at London Stadium, the facility that hosted the 2012 Olympics.

    This initiative is the latest in a line of MLB overseas adventures, but the first that is located in Europe. Previously, the league has held regular season contests in Japan, Mexico, and Australia. (Additionally, games have been held on U.S. territory in locales that lack MLB franchises, with recent events in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.) That’s all in addition to the World Baseball Classic.

    It’s not surprising that the league has first focused on other international markets. The game of baseball has a greater foothold, of course, in Asia and Latin America. That’s not to say that it’s completely unknown in Europe, though. Those interested in learning more about Euroball may enjoy listening to the MLBTR Podcast episode on the topic, featuring subject matter expert Josh Chetwynd, from a few years back.

    International engagement is hardly a new concept in baseball or other professional sports, of course. Even the NFL has recently been holding games in London of late. But staging games that actually count in the standings is a relatively more challenging undertaking — and one that was specifically contemplated in the most recent collective bargaining agreement. That’s particularly true for baseball, with its intense travel schedule and near-daily games.

    Would Matt Harvey Be A Fit For The Red Sox? Mon, 07 May 2018 04:58:44 +0000
  • While a Matt Harvey-for-Blake Swihart trade doesn’t seem to be in the cards, The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey (subscription required) wonders if the Red Sox could still have interest in Harvey as a reclamation project given assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister’s recent success in reviving struggling veteran starters.  The Sox also have some experience in dealing with pitchers returning from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in the form of Tyler Thornburg, though Bannister notes that “we’re all kind of still learning about” how to best rehab pitchers after the TOS procedure.
  • ]]>
    Mookie Betts Day-To-Day With Shoulder Injury Mon, 07 May 2018 02:56:45 +0000
  • Mookie Betts left today’s game in the second inning after a wild throw from Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman hit Betts’ shoulder blade.  The throw “got me right on the bone,” Betts told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham and other reporters, and while manager Alex Cora chose to be cautious in removing the star outfielder, the injury doesn’t seem too serious.  Betts didn’t receive x-rays, and he hopes that Monday’s off-day in the Red Sox schedule will be all the recovery time he needs.
  • ]]>
    Red Sox Not Interested In Swihart-For-Harvey Trade Sun, 06 May 2018 22:59:38 +0000
  • The Red Sox don’t seem to be interested in a Matt Harvey-for-Blake Swihart trade.  The Mets’ injury problems behind the plate have made them into logical suitors for Swihart, though while a Harvey deal may not be in the cards, the Sox will soon have to figure out what to do with Swihart’s roster spot.  Swihart has been unable to find much playing time whatsoever, let alone as a catcher, and the Red Sox may be forced to eventually trade the former top prospect once Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt return from the DL in the next month.  MLB Trade Rumors’ Connor Byrne polled readers earlier today about Swihart’s situation, with over 71% of respondents voting that Swihart won’t finish the season in a Boston uniform.

  • ]]>
    Poll: Blake Swihart’s Future Sun, 06 May 2018 19:57:34 +0000 The Red Sox entered Sunday with the majors’ best record (24-9) and second-ranked run differential (plus-62), feats that are all the more impressive when you consider they’ve received almost no offensive production from their catchers. Boston’s backstops, Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon, have combined for a hideous .169/.226/.202 line with no home runs in 134 plate appearances. That amounts to a wRC+ of 15, which falls well short of 29th-place Baltimore’s mark (41).

    Given the dreadful starts Vazquez and Leon have gotten off to at the plate, it stands to reason the Red Sox will give the catcher-capable Blake Swihart an opportunity to grab the reins at some point. There aren’t any signs that’s going to happen, however, as Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston wrote earlier this week.

    Although Swihart was a first-round pick (26th overall) in 2011 and was once among the game’s most heralded catching prospects, he hasn’t been able to establish himself in Boston. The switch-hitter looked to be on his way when he amassed 309 PAs and batted a respectable .274/.319/.392 (93 wRC+) as a rookie in 2015, but he has only come to the plate 106 times since then. Of course, there were obvious causes for Swihart’s lack of MLB time from 2016-17, including nagging ankle problems, major questions about his defense and poor production at Triple-A Pawtucket last season. Meanwhile, at the big league level, Leon enjoyed a breakout year in 2016 to grab hold of the Red Sox’s catching job that season. And while Leon took sizable steps backward last year, Vazquez stepped up, thus earning himself a contract extension prior to the current campaign.

    Despite the struggles Vazquez and Leon have endured this year, the Red Sox clearly trust those two more than Swihart, who has transitioned to a utility role. The 26-year-old has barely played in the field, though, and has only caught one inning (in a blowout loss to Texas this past Thursday). Although Swihart has been working on bettering his behind-the-plate skills with Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson and retired catcher Jason Varitek, as Drellich details in his piece, pitching coach Dana LeVangie noted that the best way for him to improve is by actually seeing game action at the position.

    “He needs to play through failure, he needs to play through success, he needs to get comfortable,” LeVangie told Drellich. “And the only way to do it is to play. And for him to figure it out behind the plate, the only way to get more comfortable is more reps. He can get better in every facet.”

    If Boston’s not going to be the team that gives Swihart a shot at catcher this year, he may wind up on another roster soon, Drellich points out. When on-the-mend second baseman Dustin Pedroia returns from offseason knee surgery in the coming weeks, Swihart’s time with the Red Sox could end, given that he’s out of options. Boston has turned down opportunities to trade Swihart in the past, but it might have to either deal him or expose him to waivers soon. For his part, Swihart’s not asking for a trade.

    “I don’t think that you do that,” he told Drellich. “That’s my agent’s job to call and do that, you know? Me personally, the player, this is all I know, is the Red Sox. I know there’s other teams that probably tried to call and there’s stuff moving. But I’m not the type of person that’s just going to walk in and say, ‘Hey, I’m not playing, so get rid of me.’ I mean, I want this team to win, and when I’m here, I want to be able to help contribute any way I can.”

    Swihart perhaps has the ability to contribute not only at catcher, but in both the corner infield and outfield. The problem is that the Red Sox are set in all of those areas, with Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland at first, Rafael Devers at third and an enviable group of corner outfielders (Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez). The club’s embarrassment of riches at those spots has made it that much more difficult for Swihart to emerge as a factor in the majors – evidenced in part by his meager 25 PAs this year – though it’s possible he’ll soon have a chance to return to his natural position with another franchise.

    Drellich names Texas as a possible fit for Swihart, which makes sense considering the Rangers have had interest in him the past. Further, they’ve clearly been in the market for a competent backup to Robinson Chirinos, having added Carlos Perez and Cameron Rupp in recent weeks. The Mets have also come up as speculative suitors for Swihart, thanks largely to starting catcher Travis d’Arnaud’s season-ending elbow injury and the fractured left hand backup Kevin Plawecki suffered a few weeks ago. New York hasn’t found anything resembling a solution behind the plate in those players’ absences, as fill-ins Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido have combined for a mere eight hits (two for extra bases) in 70 PAs.

    Regardless of whether he ultimately hooks on with the Rangers, Mets or someone else, it does appear Swihart’s days with the Red Sox are on the verge of concluding. If so, it would bring an end to what has been a disappointing Boston tenure for a player who once looked as if he could be its first long-term answer at catcher since Varitek retired after the 2011 campaign.

    (poll link for app users)

    Injury Updates On Betts, Pedroia, Thornburg Mon, 30 Apr 2018 00:31:24 +0000
  • Red Sox manager Alex Cora provided some updates (to’s Ian Browne and other reporters) about some injury situations, including Mookie Betts’ day-to-day status with right hamstring tightness.  Betts didn’t play on Sunday as the Sox are being cautious with their superstar: “If this game is September, October, November, I guarantee he’d play, but we have to take care of him,” Cora said.  As for other sidelined Sox players, Dustin Pedroia is begun play in extended Spring Training games as the second baseman continues his rehab from knee surgery last October.  Tyler Thornburg is also beginning a Triple-A rehab assignment on Monday, which will be his first taste of game action at any level after missing all of 2017 due to shoulder problems that resulted in thoracic outlet surgery.  Given the extended layoff, Browne thinks Thornburg’s rehab assignment could last for the maximum 30 days as the right-hander gets himself back into game shape.
  • ]]>