MLB Trade Rumors » » Boston Red Sox 2017-10-18T02:11:25Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Eduardo Rodriguez Undergoes Knee Surgery]]> 2017-10-17T20:01:00Z 2017-10-17T19:44:28Z Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez has undergone a significant knee surgery, per a team announcement. Specifically, he had a patellofemoral ligament reconstruction performed on his right knee. The joint has been a source of problems for Rodriguez for some time, though he was able to turn in a mostly complete 2017 season.

Per the announcement, it is expected that Rodriguez will not be able to resume pitching for around six months. That would put him on course to be ready by mid-April of next year, though of course he’ll need some time to build up into full game condition. Accordingly, it seems clear he won’t be available for the club for some time early in the 2018 campaign.

That will leave Boston looking for options to fill out the rotation at the start of the year, though perhaps the club will feel confident enough in Rodriguez’s return that it will be happy with a shorter-term fill-in. The Sox are also hoping that Steven Wright will be back at full strength, potentially providing another option to join a rotation that’ll feature Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Drew Pomeranz. But there’s now rather clearly some cause for the team to pursue added depth — if not even to go ahead and add a full-time starter if a reasonable opportunity arises.

Rodriguez, 24, has steadily provided Boston with good innings over the past three seasons — when he has been available. While he has yet to take more than 24 starts in a given campaign, and hasn’t yet taken a final step to producing dominant results, Rodriguez is quite a valuable asset and still seems capable of more.

In 2017, Rodriguez threw a personal high of 137 1/3 innings, working to a solid 4.19 ERA. While he recorded 9.8 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9, he also surrendered 1.25 home runs per nine. ERA estimators all landed in range of his actual results, but perhaps there’s still another gear for a pitcher who has steadily increased his swinging-strike rate (most recently, 11.6%) and managed to produce despite a series of lower-body issues. Surprisingly, he has maintained rather pronounced reverse platoon splits in the majors; beyond getting healthy, then, perhaps the biggest challenge Rodriguez faces is to find a way to tamp down on the .270/.338/.447 batting line that southpaw swingers have put up against him.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Hanley Ramirez Undergoes Shoulder Surgery]]> 2017-10-17T19:46:09Z 2017-10-17T19:43:36Z 2:43pm: Ramirez underwent an arthrocopy and debridement. It is not expected to prevent him from being ready for a full 2018 campaign.

12:50pm: Details remain unknown, but Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets that it’s believed to be a “relatively minor” surgery.

12:06pm: Red Sox first baseman/DH Hanley Ramirez underwent surgery today on his left shoulder, he announced. The details of the procedure, which comes as something of a surprise, are not yet known.

Shoulder issues plagued Ramirez throughout the season, but he had not previously given any indication that he was set to go under the knife, as Rob Bradford of notes on Twitter. And president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said less than a week ago that he was not aware of any players who’d need surgery. (Of course, it was later announced that lefty Robby Scott underwent a procedure that very day.)

Ramirez, who’ll turn 34 in December, is owed $22MM next year. If he takes at least 497 plate appearances and passes a physical, he’d also trigger a $22MM vesting option for the 2019 campaign, though odds are the club won’t allow that to happen unless Ramirez is playing well enough that the extra year doesn’t seem like a burden.

Boston will hope that Ramirez can bounce back from another rough season. He was productive in 2016, but otherwise has given the organization below-average offensive work since joining the organization before the ’15 campaign.

This year, Ramirez managed only a .242/.320/.429 slash with 23 home runs over 553 trips to the plate. He did not show significant erosion in plate discipline, with a typical 9.2% walk rate and a slightly elevated 21.0% strikeout rate. And perhaps there’s some hope that a reversal in fortune on batted balls will help Ramirez make up lost ground. After all, he managed only a .272 BABIP, well below his career .322 measure, despite a batted-ball mix that mostly mirrors those of recent seasons.

Ramirez was signed for his bat, and perhaps it can still come alive with a healthy shoulder. If not, he won’t hold much function for the Red Sox. Though he once ran well, Ramirez racked up -5.3 runs on the bases in 2017 by Fangraphs’ BsR measure. And at this point, the former shortstop is only an option at DH or first base. He wasn’t able to play the field much at all this year due to the shoulder problem, but perhaps there’ll be greater availability in the future.

Regardless of Ramirez’s availability, the Red Sox will likely look for more pop over the offseason to come. But HanRam’s outlook matters, too. If he’s healthy and capable of lining up at first base, perhaps the team would have greater positional flexibility in adding a bat. At this point, though, it seems likely that the Boston organization will assume it needs to add a player capable of playing first in 2018. Indeed, it’s even possible to imagine pursuit of multiple hitters, depending upon the post-surgical prognosis.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Payroll, Chili Davis]]> 2017-10-17T19:29:01Z 2017-10-17T19:29:01Z Whatever the Red Sox may prefer, the odds are that the organization will again go over the luxury tax line in 2018, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe explains. Indeed, with a hefty arbitration class set to land on top of an already robust set of guaranteed contracts, the team will enter the offseason without much hope of improving unless it’s willing to exceed the $197MM luxury tax line. Of course, the club reset its luxury tax status by staying under the 2017 mark, which reduces the penalty for going back over (but would also begin a new climb upward in the escalating tax scheme).

  • As the Red Sox continue looking into candidates for the team’s open managerial position, the team is allowing its coaches to look into their own alternatives. Well-regarded hitting coach Chili Davis is set to visit with the Padres, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter links). San Diego parted ways with hitting coach Alan Zinter, leaving the club looking at alternatives. Of course, it’s still also possible that a new Boston manager would prefer to keep Davis or certain other members of the staff, but the staff is now free to make its own decisions at this stage.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[The Red Sox’ Managerial Search]]> 2017-10-17T18:37:06Z 2017-10-17T18:36:15Z After back-to-back early postseason exits in the ALDS, the Red Sox decided to part ways with manager John Farrell.  There was already speculation before the dismissal that Farrell was on the hot seat, and the rumor mill has only picked up speed now that Boston’s search has officially begun.  President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will now have his first opportunity to personally hire a manager since joining the Red Sox in the summer of 2015.

As we’ve done with the Tigers, Mets, and Phillies, we’ll begin to house all of the managerial chatter for the Red Sox in one place and update accordingly as candidates either further their case or are removed from consideration. Here’s where Boston’s search stands, at present:

Latest Updates

  • The club is expected to conduct a second round of interviews before making any offers of employment, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston (via Twitter). There’s a sense inside the organization, though, that Cora is the front-runner, Drellich further writes.’s Buster Olney (Twitter link) hears that both Cora and Ausmus are “at the center of conversations,” with expectations being that it won’t take long to name a new manager.

Will Interview/Have Interviewed

  • Recently departed Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus has interviewed for the position, as Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald reported on Twitter and we covered further in another post.
  • Astros bench coach Alex Cora is expected to interview with the Sox on Sunday, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe reports.  He’s Boston’s top candidate for the job, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter). Cora is also expected to interview for the Tigers and Mets openings.  Though Cora is still in the midst of his first coaching stint on a big league staff, the 41-year-old has long been considered a promising managerial candidate, previously receiving interviews for openings with the Diamondbacks, Marlins, Nationals and Padres in recent years.  Cora enjoyed a 14-year career in the big leagues (including a stint with the Red Sox from 2005-08) before moving on to work as an analyst for ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and as a general manager in the Puerto Rican Baseball League.
  • The Red Sox have requested the Diamondbacks’ permission to interview bench coach Ron Gardenhire, Rosenthal tweets; he’s expected to chat with the team later this week, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The former Twins manager is one of the “final three” candidates for the job, according to Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter)

Preliminary Candidates (Interview Status Unknown)

  • In addition to Ausmus, Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren, Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens have all been mentioned as likely or speculative candidates by several reporters (including Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe,’s Evan Drellich and the Boston Herald’s Chad Jennings).  Ausmus may be a particular name to watch, as Dombrowski hired him as Detroit’s manager after the 2013 season and (according to Peter Gammons) Ausmus delivered a very strong performance when interviewing for Boston’s last managerial opening in the 2012-13 offseason.

Not in the Mix/No Longer in Consideration

  • Current members of the Red Sox coaching staff have been told that they are free to look for jobs outside the organization.  When asked if an internal candidate could be hired, Dombrowski said “most likely not, but I’m not going to say for sure not.”  This would more or less seem to rule out names like bench coach Gary DiSarcina, hitting coach Chili Davis or third base coach Brian Butterfield, who have all been linked to previous managerial openings in the past.
  • Dombrowski also expressed a preference for candidates with past managerial or coaching experience on a Major League staff, so longtime Red Sox catcher and current Dombrowski special assistant Jason Varitek doesn’t seem to be in the running.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brad Ausmus Interviews With Red Sox, Is Not Interested In Mets]]> 2017-10-16T22:12:50Z 2017-10-16T21:51:04Z Since losing his job as the Tigers skipper  a few weeks back, Brad Ausmus has drawn quite a lot of interest from other organizations looking to replace outgoing managers. Ausmus interviewed today with the Red Sox, per Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald (via Twitter), but has pulled out of the running for the Mets’ job, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag.

Boston recently announced that it would move on from manager John Farrell, opening one of the game’s premium posts. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski hired Ausmus to his former job in Detroit, leading to immediate speculation about a possible match.

While some believe that others are more likely to earn the position — Alex Cora, in particular, has drawn plenty of attention — there’s obvious reason to suspect that Ausmus will be strongly considered. We have been tracking the early-stage developments in Boston’s search right here.

As for the Mets’ job, it’s interesting to hear that Ausmus has pulled out of the hunt before meeting with the organization or landing elsewhere. New York was said to have real interest in Ausmus, and certainly has a talent-laden roster in spite of an undeniably rough 2017 campaign. Of course, we don’t know just what considerations Ausmus is bringing to bear on the situation; as Heyman notes, he does have particular ties to the broader area surrounding Boston, though New York is the next closest MLB city to that particular region (and is even closer to Ausmus’s hometown of New Haven, Connecticut).

In any event, that leaves New York considering a variety of alternatives. One other notable former MLB skipper that won’t be under consideration, it seems, is former White Sox manager Robin Ventura. He “does not appear to have a strong interest” in the Mets’ job, per Heyman’s report, despite being mentioned as a possible candidate previously. The team’s other candidates (including Cora) are covered in this omnibus post on the search for a Terry Collins replacement.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Potential Offseason To-Do List For Red Sox]]> 2017-10-15T21:52:42Z 2017-10-15T21:52:03Z
  • Landing a big bat, adding depth in their rotation and middle infield, and finding another setup man could be on the Red Sox’s offseason to-do list, Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald writes. Regarding Boston’s power-needy offense, which we touched on earlier today, Jennings lists impending free agents J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Jay Bruce as possible fits.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Poll: Improving Boston’s Offense]]> 2017-10-15T15:34:43Z 2017-10-15T15:34:43Z From an offensive standpoint, the Red Sox didn’t thrive in Year 1 of the post-David Ortiz era. While Boston finished 93-69 and won its second straight American League East title in 2017, the club wasn’t the hitting juggernaut it had been throughout Ortiz’s tenure from 2003-16. The Red Sox led the majors in runs scored six times during that 14-year span, including in 2016, and only landed outside the majors’ top 10 in runs and FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric one time apiece – in 2014, when they placed 18th and 25th in those categories.

    This year’s Red Sox, whom Houston dismissed from the playoffs in a four-game ALDS, did cross the plate the 10th-most times in the league, but they fell to 22nd in wRC+ after the Ortiz-led outfit ranked first last season. The majority of the Red Sox’s regulars posted mediocre numbers at the plate, and according to Statcast’s xwOBA metric (via Baseball Savant), the only ones who outperformed their results were Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez.

    An Ortiz-esque thumper obviously would have been of use to the Red Sox this year, and it’s possible president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will attempt to find one in the offseason. That said, the vast majority of Boston’s position player group already looks settled for next year. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, third baseman Rafael Devers, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz’s DH successor, Ramirez, are locks. Sure, the Red Sox could stand to improve offensively behind the plate, where catchers Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon combined to rank a below-average 19th out of the majors’ 30 teams in wRC+, but each offered significant value in the pitch-framing department (per Baseball Prospectus). And with Jonathan Lucroy having fallen off in 2017, there don’t appear to be any surefire upgrades set to hit free agency next month.

    J.D. Martinez

    While the aforementioned players are good bets to return to Boston next year, the status of center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. looks less certain. The Red Sox could trade the 27-year-old Bradley, who’s controllable for three more seasons, move Benintendi from left to center and reel in an offensive force such as J.D. Martinez or Justin Upton via free agency to join Beninendi and Betts in the grass. Martinez and Upton (if he opts out of his contract with the Angels) will come at much higher prices than Bradley, who will earn around $6MM in 2018, but the righty-swingers would likely mash at Fenway Park. And it’s worth noting that Dombrowski has already acquired Martinez in the past. When he was the Tigers’ general manager in 2014, Dombrowski took a flyer on the then-struggling Martinez.

    Despite Dombrowski’s familiarity with Martinez, it’s possible the Red Sox will elect to stick with Bradley. Although he had a subpar year offensively, batting just .245/.323/.402 in 541 plate appearances, he was an easily above-average hitter the previous two seasons. Further, even if he doesn’t revisit his 2015-16 levels with the bat, Bradley’s still capable of providing surplus value in other ways. In fact, Bradley ranked third at his position in Defensive Runs Saved (nine) and seventh in Ultimate Zone Rating (4.2) in 2017. He also fared nicely on the bases, placing 11th in FanGraphs’ BsR metric. So, even in a down 2017, Bradley was still part of the overall solution for the Sox.

    It’s up in the air whether Boston will have a new outfield alignment next year, whereas change at first base looks highly likely. Moreland is probably going to leave as a free agent, and the Red Sox don’t seem to have a ready-made replacement on hand. Prospect Sam Travis, 24, is fresh off an uninspiring year at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he hit for almost no power across 342 PAs (six home runs, .105 ISO), and didn’t distinguish himself during an 83-PA major league debut in Boston. The Red Sox would be hard pressed to count on him, then, which could point them toward free agency or the trade market for a first baseman.

    Free agents-to-be Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana, Logan Morrison, Jay Bruce and Yonder Alonso all had successful offensive seasons in 2017 and could land on Boston’s radar. On the other hand, Dombrowski has never been shy about making deals and is only a year removed from swinging a blockbuster with the rebuilding White Sox, who have a star first baseman and potential trade candidate in Jose Abreu. The soon-to-be 31-year-old Abreu and his two remaining seasons of team control would warrant a quality haul, but the right-handed slugger and Fenway Park would make for an enticing match.

    Whether the Red Sox make a play for Abreu or another high-profile hitter over the winter, it does seem fair to expect an offensive upgrade to come in some form. What do you think Dombrowski will do?

    (Poll link for App users)

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[A Look At Boston's Impending FA Class]]> 2017-10-14T23:21:48Z 2017-10-14T23:21:48Z
  • It’s not particularly likely that the Red Sox will bring back any of their impending free agents, Jen McCaffrey of suggests. Out of Eduardo Nunez, Mitch Moreland, Chris Young, Doug Fister, Fernando Abad, Addison Reed, Rajai Davis and Blaine Boyer, it seems Boston is most interested in re-signing Nunez, but McCaffrey points out that he may be able to land more playing time someplace else. Should the Red Sox re-up Nunez, it could be a sign that they’re concerned about second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s health, McCaffrey observes. The 34-year-old Pedroia went on the disabled list twice because of knee issues in 2017 and only appeared in 105 games – down from 154 the previous season.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Could Jackie Bradley Jr Be A Trade Chip?]]> 2017-10-14T20:34:04Z 2017-10-14T20:34:04Z
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. could be a big commodity on the trade market, as Cafardo opines that the Red Sox could deal Bradley, move Andrew Benintendi to center field and then sign J.D. Martinez to play left field.  Boston’s “need for power is so critical,” Cafardo writes, that the Sox may have to take the hit on defense, not to mention the payroll hit of dealing Bradley (controlled via arbitration through the 2020 season) and spending big on Martinez.  Cafardo also noted Martinez as a potential Boston target in his column last week, citing the past relationship between Martinez and Dave Dombrowski from their time together in Detroit.  The Giants, Phillies, Royals and Braves are all listed as potential suitors if the Red Sox did shop Bradley, and several more teams would certainly check in on the 27-year-old.  Bradley took a step backwards at the plate this season, though he posted above-average hitting numbers in 2015-16 and is one of the game’s better defensive players.
  • Jim Hickey has drawn a lot of attention for pitching coach vacancies around the sport, though Cafardo writes that some around the game consider Hickey to be a potential managerial candidate.  He speculates that “the Mets could take a long look” at Hickey, or potentially the Red Sox as they look to replace another former pitching coach-turned-manager in John Farrell.
  • Speaking of the Phillies job, Cafardo also notes that Red Sox bench coach Gary DiSarcina’s name has come up as a possible candidate.  DiSarcina worked for the Angels as a coach and front office assistant during Klentak’s stint with the club as an assistant GM.  The longtime former Angels infielder has several years of experience in a variety of front office, coaching and minor league managerial roles with the Halos and Red Sox.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Scott, Gardenhire, Ausmus, Swihart]]> 2017-10-12T21:21:05Z 2017-10-12T21:21:05Z The Red Sox announced on Thursday that southpaw reliever Robby Scott underwent a “left elbow arthroscopy and debridement” procedure but is expected to be back to full strength by Spring Training 2018. As several have pointed out (including CSN New England’s Evan Drellich, on Twitter), it’s rather confounding that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told the media just yesterday that he wasn’t aware of any Sox players that required offseason surgery on the very day on which Scott was undergoing this procedure.

    The 28-year-old Scott has emerged as a viable lefty option in the bullpen in the past two seasons with Boston, pitching to a combined 3.24 ERA with a 36-to-15 K/BB ratio across 41 2/3 innings of work. Right-handed batters haven’t had much trouble with Scott (.254/.338/.463), but he’s held lefties to a paltry .141/.227/.295 slash in the big leagues.

    A bit more on the Red Sox…

    • Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter) that former Twins skipper and current Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire is among the three favorites to succeed John Farrell as the next manager of the Red Sox. Indeed, Walters calls Gardenhire one of the “final three” for the post — a surprising development just over 24 hours after Farrell was dismissed. Yesterday alone, there were six external candidates linked to the Red Sox’ job, for instance (Gardenhire included), though it’s possible that Dombrowski has been crafting his list of top options for awhile now.
    • Meanwhile, Peter Gammons of MLB Network and has penned a lengthy and must-read look at Boston’s managerial opening as well as a number of offseason questions they’re facing. Per Gammons, one executive who was on hand for the last time that Brad Ausmus interviewed for Boston’s managerial spot (the 2012-13 offseason) called Ausmus’ interview the best he’d ever seen. Gammons writes that had the Sox not been able to pry Farrell away from the Blue Jays, Ausmus would’ve been the team’s manager years ago. Further in Ausmus’ favor, per Gammons, is that David Price feels that Ausmus is the best manager for whom he’s ever played. Gammons also notes that Alex Cora will be in consideration and that Sandy Alomar Jr. will likely receive an interview as well. Like Ausmus, Alomar has previously interviewed for the Red Sox’ managerial post.
    • Within that same column, Gammons reports that Blake Swihart’s surgically repaired ankle bothered him as late into the season as Labor Day, which would in part explain a disappointing .190/.246/.292 batting line in 53 games at the Triple-A level this year. Swihart, who received just seven MLB plate appearances in 2017, was once one of baseball’s most untouchable prospects but has seen his star fade in the wake of repeated injuries and defensive concerns behind the dish. Nonetheless, one Red Sox exec tells Gammons that with his ability to play catcher, first base, third base and the corner outfield, “Swihart can be a huge part of this team.”
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[An Early Look At The Red Sox’ Managerial Vacancy]]> 2017-10-11T22:56:08Z 2017-10-11T22:56:08Z Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s decision to dismiss manager John Farrell earlier today wasn’t entirely unexpected, though like any managerial firing, it’ll lead to a wide swath of questions in the coming weeks as Boston seeks to hire a new skipper. As Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes, Dombrowski said Wednesday that his priority will be to hire a replacement that has previous experience as a manager or a Major League coach.

    “Being in a dugout during a game and seeing what the manager encounters is probably helpful,” Dombrowski told reporters. “I do think it would be difficult for a person more so [in Boston] than in some other places to walk directly onto the field without some on-field managerial experience at some level or big league coaching.”

    That, as Abraham points out, likely crosses off fan-favorite suggestion Jason Varitek — the former Red Sox catcher who has been working as a special assistant to Dombrowski in the team’s front office. Varitek has been an oft-speculated managerial candidate in past years, but he’s yet to get his feet wet as a coach in either the Majors or the minors.

    Names of potential candidates should emerge over the next week or two, though Abraham and a few other reporters have made some initial suggestions. Abraham lists bench coaches Alex Cora (Astros) and Ron Gardenhire (D-backs) as well as recently dismissed Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus as possibilities. Gardenhire, of course, spent more than a decade managing the Twins while Dombrowski was GM over the AL Central rival Tigers, and it was Dombrowski who originally hired Ausmus as the skipper in Detroit. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has also suggested that Gardenhire could emerge as a candidate, while ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that Cora could get strong consideration as well. Meanwhile, CSN New England’s Evan Drellich tweets that Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens could get consideration as well.

    Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald also lists Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren as names to watch. Current bench coach Gary DiSarcina may seem a natural candidate, though he notes that Farrell suggested that an in-house option may not be in consideration. “At this point, successor from the staff, I don’t really know,” said Dombrowski. “…I’d say most likely not, but I’m not going to say for sure not.”

    As to the reasons that Farrell was ultimately dismissed, Abraham details a number of instances of Farrell’s communication with his players deteriorating. Abraham reports that Dombrowski and Farrell strongly disagreed with how the team handled Manny Machado’s controversial slide into Dustin Pedroia earlier this year. Farrell’s claims that he was in the dark during the ridiculous Apple Watch scandal also reflected poorly on him, and the drama between David Price and commentator Dennis Eckersley also suggested further lack of communication between Farrell and the clubhouse, Abraham writes.

    If there’s any bad blood between Farrell and the organization, he certainly didn’t air his grievances to the public. In a statement released via the Red Sox communications department, Farrell spoke warmly and gratefully about his time in Boston:

    Despite an end to this season that we all wanted to be different, I am proud of this ball club and the resiliency shown. I have enjoyed every moment of this job – its peaks and its valleys. There are few, if any, positions in life that create so much passion on a daily basis.

    I am grateful to an ownership group that gave me such a unique opportunity, and one that shared my desire to bring World Series championships to this great city. They supported me through a challenging and scary period in my own life, and I remain forever indebted.

    I am grateful to two front office groups that worked tirelessly to provide me with the players that could consistently match up with the very best in the game. Their time and resources made my job so much easier and fulfilling.

    I am thankful for fellow coaches who are far more than that – they are close friends. They have provided the necessary direction, guidance, and humor that have made the daily activities of a long season all that much more enjoyable.

    I am especially grateful for five years of great players – and people. This game has always been built around and for the players, and I have tried to respect that for five years in Boston. I have witnessed Hall of Famers, memorable Fenway wins, and countless private moments that will always be with me. Those relationships will remain cherished for years.

    The legions of fans who support this franchise keep their manager on his toes day in and day out. There are no days off when managing this proud franchise. I would not have wanted it any other way.

    Again, I thank John Henry, Tom Werner, Michael Gordon, and the ownership team for their faith in me and wish them nothing but the best moving forward.

    Beyond the managerial change, it seems likely that the Sox will be in for several coaching changes as well. Drellich writes that the team’s coaching staff has been informed that they can pursue opportunities outside the organization — an indication that whoever is tabbed as the next skipper will be able to bring on his own coaching staff.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Fire John Farrell]]> 2017-10-11T14:02:59Z 2017-10-11T13:29:14Z The Red Sox have announced that John Farrell will not return as manager. The team had previously exercised its 2018 club option over the skipper, but will now change course and pursue another option.

    Sep 15, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    A search is set to begin immediately, per the club announcement. The Mets, Phillies, and Tigers are also looking for new managers at this point, so there will be some competition.

    Farrell took over in Boston after the team’s ill-fated 2012 season. The relationship got off to quite a start, as the Sox ran up 97 wins and streaked to a World Series win in 2013.

    Two-straight last-place divisional finishes followed, however, leading to the departure of then-GM Ben Cherington. His replacement at the top of the baseball ops pyramid, Dave Dombrowski, decided to retain Farrell for each of the last two seasons.

    Regular-season results have followed, as the organization added significant new pieces and paced the AL East with 93 wins in both 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately, though, the postseason results have also been the same: consecutive first-round wash-outs.

    Of course, there’s only so much Farrell could have done differently to stave off elimination. The Sox were swept last year by the eventual American League champion Indians. And this year, the team ran into an Astros buzzsaw, rebounding to avoid another sweep and make the fourth game competitive but ultimately falling short.

    Farrell’s tenure had its ups and downs off of the field as well. He battled through lymphoma during his tenure. And Farrell also kicked up some controversy when he and his wife divorced and rumors arose of a relationship with a local reporter.

    Ultimately, it seems the Boston higher-ups felt that gains could be achieved by pursuing a new direction. Plenty of names have been tossed around in the immediate aftermath of the move, though as yet no clear connections have been made. Clearly, Boston will be looking for someone that can move the team into and through the postseason, though otherwise little is known. Dombrowski is expected to meet with the media later this morning.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Changes Coming If Red Sox Are Swept?]]> 2017-10-08T16:19:00Z 2017-10-08T16:16:44Z
  • “There is considerable curiosity within the industry about” how the Red Sox will handle another potential early exit in the ALDS, ESPN’s Scott Lauber writes, with John Farrell’s job security being a major topic.  A managerial change might be popular with Boston fans, though Lauber points out that some of the team’s larger issues (such as the lack of power on the roster) aren’t Farrell’s fault.  Farrell has a World Series championship, three AL East titles and a 432-378 record in five years as the Red Sox manager, though his contract only runs through the end of the 2018 season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Rumors: J.D., Santana]]> 2017-10-07T23:10:35Z 2017-10-07T23:10:35Z It “would appear” the Red Sox will be involved in the chase for Diamondbacks outfielder J.D. Martinez if he hits free agency in the offseason, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. As Cafardo points out, there’s a connection between Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski and Martinez, whom the former plucked off the scrapheap when he was Detroit’s general manager in 2014. Now one of the premier hitters in the game, Martinez would provide some much-needed punch to a Red Sox club that’s lacking in the power department, though it’s unclear where he’d play in Boston. On paper, the Red Sox look set in the outfield for the next few years with Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fold.

    • Indians first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana is another free agent-to-be who’s likely to land on the Red Sox’s radar, per Cafardo, who also names the Mariners as a probable suitor. Considering their positions, the switch-hitting Santana would seem to be a more natural fit than Martinez for Boston, which has gotten subpar production at first from impending free agent Mitch Moreland this year. Meanwhile, Mariners first basemen ranked last in the majors in fWAR (minus-0.7) during the regular season. Their top option, Yonder Alonso, could depart in free agency, which may lead to a Santana pursuit.
    • Royals GM Dayton Moore will only head to Atlanta if the Braves give him complete control, according to Cafardo. That jibes with a previous report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and suggests that president John Hart would have to exit for a Moore-Braves union to come to fruition. Hart isn’t planning on leaving, however, Cafardo reports. Two members of the Nationals’ front office – assistant GM Doug Harris and the previously reported Dan Jennings – as well as ex-Red Sox GM Ben Cherington (now in Toronto) are on Hart’s radar as he seeks a replacement for John Coppolella, Cafardo relays.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Notes: Red Sox, Royals, Buxton, Chris Davis]]> 2017-10-07T21:42:12Z 2017-10-07T14:35:40Z In a strongly worded piece, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports hammers the Red Sox ownership for being too strict regarding the luxury tax threshold. According to Drellich, many in Boston believed that Edwin Encarnacion would be the replacement for franchise icon David Ortiz. Instead, the Indians got him on a contract that many consider to be a bargain. Meanwhile the Red Sox finished 27th of 30 major league teams in total home runs, and 20th in wOBA. That hasn’t changed in the postseason, as they’ve been outscored by the surging Astros 16-4 so far in the ALDS. Now the Red Sox are in an 0-2 hole heading back to Boston for Game 3, and their offense faces a daunting task in trying to defeat Houston in three straight games. “The Sox’ greatest stumble this year might have been over a pile of cash,” Drellich writes. The article provides a harsh criticism of the Red Sox ownership and is certainly an interesting read.

    More from around the AL…

    • The Baseball America Twitter account took us back in time this morning by tweeting out an article J.J. Cooper wrote about the Royals back in 2011. With Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas all set to hit free agency (among others), it’s fair to wonder whether Kansas City’s window of contention has closed, so it’s certainly fun to take a nostalgic look back at BA’s assessment of a farm system that was stacked with so much talent. The Royals, of course, ended up going to the World Series in both 2014 and 2015, coming away with a title in the latter year.
    • Twins center fielder Byron Buxton left the Wild Card game early with an injury that was initially described as “upper back tightness”. But according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, Buxton was trying to play through a cracked rib. Berardino’s source tells him that the injury is unlikely to affect Buxton’s offseason training program. Buxton hit .300/.347/.546 with 11 homers and 13 stolen bases in the second half, and is under team control through the 2021 season.
    • The seven-year, $161MM contract given to Chris Davis has been disappointing for Orioles fans so far, Rich Dubroff of writes. Indeed, Davis missed significant time in 2017 with an oblique strain and was barely above replacement level when he was in the lineup. Dubroff points out some absolutely horrific stats, such as Davis’ 42.8% strikeout rate and that he went 1-for-53 after reaching an 0-2 count, striking out in 42 of those at-bats. A resurgent Davis would certainly be helpful to a Baltimore club that plans to contend next year, so the O’s will surely be hoping he can return something closer to his 2013 and 2015 production.
    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[How They Were Acquired: Boston Red Sox ALDS Roster]]> 2017-10-05T20:30:46Z 2017-10-05T18:31:24Z The Red Sox have now captured consecutive AL East titles with identical 93-69 records. Boston’s success continues to be spurred by the homegrown core of position-player talent compiled by prior front office administrations. But that’s not to say that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski hasn’t had an impact. In particular, many key members of the pitching staff have come from outside the organization, quite a few via recent trades.

    Here’s how every member of the Red Sox’ 2017 ALDS roster was originally acquired:

    [Related: Boston Red Sox Depth Chart and Payroll Outlook]

    The bulk of Boston’s roster remains under control beyond the present season. Most of the team’s players that will head to the open market — Reed, Fister, Nunez, and Davis — were picked up during the current season. Moreland is the only other player to make this roster who’ll depart via free agency. He’ll be joined by outfielder Chris Young, who was perhaps the most notable omission from the postseason unit.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Coaching/Managerial Notes: Hot Seats, Royals, Scioscia, Snitker]]> 2017-10-02T19:41:32Z 2017-10-02T19:41:32Z Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic runs down the big league managers that could be on the hot seat (subscription required and strongly recommended). Rosenthal lists Braves skipper Brian Snitker as an immediate candidate and notes that Red Sox skipper John Farrell, too, could be on the hot seat if the Sox are bounced in the ALDS for a second straight season. Farrell was inherited rather than hired by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. While Orioles owner Peter Angelos isn’t likely to dismiss Buck Showalter, the tension between him and GM Dan Duquette continues to loom large in the organization. Rosenthal also covers several other managers on shaky ground that could find themselves in jeopardy with poor team showings in 2018.

    A bit from MLB’s dugouts around the league…

    • The Royals and pitching coach Dave Eiland reached a mutual agreement to part ways, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The 51-year-old Eiland spent six seasons as the pitching coach for manager Ned Yost in Kansas City, helping the team to consecutive World Series appearances in 2014-15 and, of course, a World Series victory in the latter of those two seasons. He also spent 2008-10 as the Yankees pitching coach, so Eiland’s considerable experience should get him some type of opportunity with another organization, even if the Royals’ pitching staff as a whole underperformed in a disappointing 2017 campaign. Rustin Dodd and Pete Grahoff of the Kansas City Star, meanwhile, report that bench coach Don Wakamatsu, bullpen coach Doug Henry and assistant hitting coach Brian Buchanan are also expected to be dismissed. Kansas City has since announced that Eiland and Wakamatsu will not have their contracts renewed.
    • Angels manager Mike Scioscia will be back with the team in 2018 — the final season of his 10-year contract as skipper of the Halos, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Scioscia hopes to manage the Angels beyond the 2018 season, Fletcher notes, but he’s content heading into the final season of his contract without signing an extension. The 58-year-old Scioscia is Major League Baseball’s longest tenured manager, as he’s been skipper of the Angels since the 2000 campaign. The Halos were in contention for the American League’s second Wild Card spot up until the final week of the season despite a slew of injuries that decimated their pitching staff for much of the year.
    • Braves president of baseball operations plans to meet with manager Brian Snitker to discuss his future “as early as today,” tweets’s Mark Bowman. The Braves will have a decision on the coaching staff at some point midweek, per Bowman. Notably, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that Hart said today’s sudden resignation of GM John Coppolella in the wake of an MLB investigation isn’t likely to impact the decision one way or another (Twitter links). O’Brien guesses that the option on Snitker will be exercised, though it seems that a formal decision has not yet been made.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Who Will Win The World Series?]]> 2017-10-01T18:01:08Z 2017-10-01T18:01:08Z Aside from Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton’s pursuit of 60 home runs, the final day of Major League Baseball’s regular season won’t bring much drama. Colorado on Saturday became the last team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot and will be one of 10 clubs vying for World Series glory over the next month-plus. Here’s a rundown of the participants by league and seeding:

    National League

    1.) Los Angeles Dodgers (record: 103-58; most recent title: 1988): The Dodgers are loaded with stars and depth, which explains how they easily exceeded the 100-win mark despite enduring a 1-15 stretch from Aug. 26 through Sept. 11. They recovered from that nightmarish 16-game showing over the season’s final couple weeks and once again look formidable entering the postseason. While the Dodgers have scored the second-fewest runs of this year’s playoff teams, they’ve still managed to pace all NL clubs in position player fWAR. Plus, with a Clayton Kershaw-fronted rotation and a Kenley Jansen-led bullpen, their staff is atop the NL in pitching fWAR.

    2.) Washington Nationals (record: 97-64; most recent title: never): The Nationals cruised to an NL East crown this year despite losing center fielder Adam Eaton in April and having to go without arguably their best player, right fielder Bryce Harper, from mid-August until late September. Harper suffered a knee injury that looked like a season-ender when it happened, and while the missed time derailed his MVP chances, he’s back to lead a lineup that also includes other standouts in Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman. On the pitching side, it seems ace and Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer avoided a serious hamstring injury during his start on Saturday. If that’s the case, Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez could be the premier starting trio in the playoffs. They’ll hand off to a bullpen that has featured offered plenty of shaky performances in 2017, though midseason additions Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler have helped stabilize the Nationals’ relief corps.

    3.) Chicago Cubs (record: 92-69; most recent title: 2016): At this time a year ago, Chicago was putting the finishing touches on a 103-win regular season and preparing to enter the playoffs as the odds-on favorite. Ultimately, the Cubs lived up to the billing last fall and broke a 108-year title drought in an unforgettable World Series against the Indians. They haven’t been as sharp this year, owing in part to worse performances from their pitching and defense, but are still laden with talent. There’s no shortage of quality position players on hand, including reigning MVP Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, but the Cubs will need more from their staff – particularly Jake Arrieta, who’s dealing with a hamstring issue right now, and Jon Lester.

    4.) Arizona Diamondbacks (record: 92-69; most recent title: 2001): One of this year’s surprise teams, the Diamondbacks rode an underrated starting staff and a top 10 offense (by runs scored) to a playoff berth. Starters Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Patrick Corbin and Taijuan Walker have all turned in good to great seasons, which is why the D-backs’ starters lead the NL in fWAR. They also have a pair of offensive superstars in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, though he had a horrid September that likely ruined his MVP chances, and outfielder J.D. Martinez. The latter has been a revelation since coming over from the Tigers in a July trade, having smashed 29 home runs in 61 games and batted .304/.369/.746 in 255 plate appearances. If you’re looking for a potential Achilles’ heel, no playoff entrant has a worse wRC+ (84) against left-handed pitchers than Arizona. That doesn’t seem to bode well for a team that will face the Dodgers, whose southpaws include Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson, if it wins the NL wild-card game.

    5.) Colorado Rockies (record: 87-74; most recent title: never): Primarily on account of NL MVP candidates Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies are near the top of the league in runs scored, which is what you’d expect from a team that plays half its games at Coors Field. The Rockies managed to break a seven-year playoff skid this season largely because of an improved pitching staff that sits eighth in the majors in fWAR. Still, despite the presence of Jon Gray, their rotation doesn’t look particularly imposing relative to other playoff teams’ staffs. They do, however, feature a few highly capable relievers in Greg Holland, Chris Rusin, Pat Neshek and Jake McGee.

    (Poll link for app users)


    American League

    1.) Cleveland Indians (record: 101-60; most recent title: 1948): At 48-45, the reigning AL champions were a mere three games above .500 on July 18. Since then, they’ve run roughshod over the rest of the league en route to a 53-15 mark, including a historic 22-game winning streak from Aug. 22 to Sept. 14. The Indians lost a meaningless game to the White Sox on Saturday, but that was just their fourth defeat in the past 35 contests. Needless to say, they’re heading into the playoffs on a roll. As you’d expect, Cleveland’s roster is chock-full of excellence. MVP hopeful Jose Ramirez and all-world shortstop Francisco Lindor are at the helm of a talent-rich offense, one that supports what could be an all-time great pitching staff from top to bottom. Ace/Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber, righty Carlos Carrasco and super reliever Andrew Miller, one of the faces of last year’s postseason, deservedly grab the most headlines, but good luck finding any weak links among the other pitchers the Tribe will use in the playoffs.

    2.) Houston Astros (record: 100-61; most recent title: never): With a league-high 892 runs and a 121 wRC+, it’s a wonder how anyone gets the Astros out. Much of the damage has come from AL MVP front-runner Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, the latter of whom missed significant time earlier this season, but ancillary pieces such as Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Bregman, Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel have all been no worse than very good at the plate. And then there’s the one-two pitching punch of recently acquired ace Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, not to mention a deep starting staff/bullpen behind them. If there’s one big concern here, it’s that Houston may be the worst defensive team in the playoffs.

    3.) Boston Red Sox (record: 93-68; most recent title: 2013): This year’s Red Sox have deviated from past Boston teams that used the likes of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to pound opponents into submission. In fact, this is the first playoff-bound Red Sox club since 1995 to qualify for the postseason without scoring at least 800 runs. Nevertheless, they have several especially well-rounded position players (Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi and the banged-up Dustin Pedroia, to name a few) who have done enough in the field to make Boston an elite defensive outfit. That defense supports the AL’s foremost southpaw, Chris Sale, and superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. Boston is entering the playoffs with some concerns in its rotation, though, including the recent struggles of Sale and the yearlong issues 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello has had. Fortunately for the Sox, starter Drew Pomeranz quelled some late-season concerns with an encouraging start against the Astros on Saturday.

    4.) New York Yankees (record: 90-71; most recent title: 2009): Baby Bombers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez have more than lived up to the hype this season, combining for 85 home runs and 11.7 fWAR in 1,203 PAs. Fifty-one of those long balls have come from Judge, an OPS machine and an AL Rookie of the Year shoo-in whose 8.2 fWAR leads the majors. The rest of the Yankees’ offense isn’t exactly subpar, either, as a laundry list of their other hitters have notched above-average seasons at the plate. And New York’s pitching staff could be built for October, with an incredibly strong bullpen and a rotation that features perhaps the AL’s third-best starter, Luis Severino. One of the major questions regarding the Yankees is which versions of Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka will show up in the postseason – if the team gets by the wild-card game, that is. Gray allowed between four and six earned runs in three of five September starts, while Tanaka was a mixed bag throughout the regular season. He did conclude the slate with a seven-inning, 15-K shutout against the Blue Jays on Friday, though.

    5.) Minnesota Twins (record: 84-77; most recent title: 1991): In terms of teams, there probably hasn’t been a better story during the regular season than the Twins, who were 103-game losers and owners of the majors’ worst record a year ago. Adding to the improbability of their Cinderella run to the playoffs, the Twins were sellers at this year’s trade deadline, when they dealt starter Jaime Garcia to their wild-card opponent, the Yankees, and Kintzler to the Nationals. However, Brian Dozier, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Joe Mauer & Co. were undeterred in the face of those deals and the late-summer absence of slugging third baseman Miguel Sano, who missed over a month with a left shin injury but just returned this week. Given its relatively underwhelming pitching staff, Minnesota is obviously a long shot to claim its first World Series in 26 years. For now, the Twins are focused on the Yankees, who have historically owned Minnesota in the playoffs. But New York’s past triumphs came during series. The wild-card round is a one-off, increasing the odds of an upset. The Twins’ No. 1 starter, Ervin Santana, allowed two or fewer runs in 20 of 33 starts during the regular season. If he’s that stingy against the Yankees on Tuesday – an admittedly tall order – an upset could be in the offing.

    (Poll link for app users)


    And now for the most important question (poll link for app users)…

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Could Red Sox Be A Landing Spot For Brad Ausmus?]]> 2017-09-30T21:22:35Z 2017-09-30T21:22:35Z
  • Departing Tigers manager Brad Ausmus says he would be open to managing a new team immediately, although he tells Rosenthal that there don’t seem likely to be many possibilities. Rosenthal, though, points out several, including the Phillies job as well as the Mets job, which is expected to open. The Braves could also be a possibility, and Rosenthal notes that if the Red Sox have a quick playoff exit and opt to part with John Farrell, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski hired Ausmus while he was an executive in Detroit.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Xander Bogaerts' Hand Injury]]> 2017-09-29T21:38:35Z 2017-09-29T21:38:35Z
  • In a podcast interview with’s Rob Bradford (transcript link), Xander Bogaerts provides details on the hand injury that curtailed his production over the summer.  Bogaerts was hit on the right hand by a pitch on July 6 and simply wasn’t the same afterwards, hitting just .193/.270/.293 over his next 200 plate appearances.  “Looking back I probably should have taken a few days off. I thought with the All-Star break coming up I would have been find, home resting it,” Bogaerts said.  “But when I came back it never got better….It was a little more serious than I thought.”  The Red Sox shortstop received two cortisone shots to treat his injured hand and said he has started to feel like his old self over the last month, as evidenced by his .800 OPS in the month of September.  Needless to say, an in-form Bogaerts would provide a big boost to the Sox in the postseason, especially given other injury concerns within Boston’s lineup.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Agency Changes: Duensing, Groome]]> 2017-09-28T01:49:09Z 2017-09-28T01:49:09Z Cubs lefty Brian Duensing and top Red Sox prospect Jason Groome have switched representation and are now clients of the Legacy Agency, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter links). Duensing’s switch is especially pertinent, as he’s slated to hit free agency at the end of the 2017 season.

    Chicago inked Duensing to a then-surprising $2MM big league deal early in the 2016-17 offseason. While the 34-year-old had previously had some success out of the Twins’ bullpen, Duensing had a lackluster 2015 season in Minnesota and totaled just 13 1/3 innings in the Majors all of last year, logging a 4.05 ERA with the Orioles.

    The Cubs, however, saw enough to pique their interest and have been rewarded with what now looks to be one of the best one-year, Major League contracts issued last winter. Through 61 1/3 innings out of the Chicago ’pen this year, Duensing has posted a 61-to-18 K/BB ratio and a 47.3 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 2.79 ERA. Duensing has relatively even splits versus lefties and righties, though his K/BB numbers are vastly superior against lefties and he’s traditionally had problems against right-handed bats.

    As for Groome, the former No. 12 overall pick (2016) posted terrific numbers in three starts in the Low-A New York Penn League but has had more struggles in the Class-A South Atlantic League. Groome has missed bats at a high level in 2017 (11.7 K/9) but has averaged nearly five walks per nine innings and was a bit homer-prone when pitching in the more advanced of his two leagues this season (1.22 HR/9). He only just turned 19 last month, though, meaning he was routinely squaring off against considerably older and more experienced opponents.

    Both switches are now reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which contains representation info on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players. If you see any notable errors or omissions, let us know via email:

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Altuve, Yadi, Olson, Red Sox]]> 2017-09-26T05:04:23Z 2017-09-26T05:04:23Z Here are the latest health notes from around the game:

    • The Astros dodged a bullet tonight when star second baseman Jose Altuve left the game after being struck on the forearm by a pitch. Thankfully, as Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets, x-rays came back negative. The diminutive 27-year-old is leading the American League in hits for the fourth consecutive year and in batting average for the third time in four seasons. He’s also pacing qualified batters with a career-best 168 OPS+.
    • Also departing with an injury tonight was Cardinals veteran Yadier Molina. The team announced that he’s undergoing testing as part of the concussion protocol after taking two consecutive foul balls off of his mask. His status for the rest of the regular season remains uncertain, but it could become a bigger issue if St. Louis can claw into Wild Card position.
    • Athletics slugger Matt Olson has been diagnosed with a grade 2 hamstring strain, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. He’s very likely to miss the remainder of the season, but it won’t put a damper on an exciting campaign. Olson, 23, has streaked to 24 long balls in 216 trips to the plate, with a robust .259/.352/.651 batting line. He’ll fall shy of a full year of service, too, so the A’s will control Olson for six more campaigns.
    • Things didn’t go quite as hoped for the Red Sox tonight. Lefty Drew Pomeranz was sitting in the high-eighties with his fastball, though he says that was part of a plan to save some gas for the later innings, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports. Star outfielder Mookie Betts left with a wrist issue, though there’s no reason as yet to think it’s significant. Of the greatest concern, perhaps, infielder Eduardo Nunez tweaked his injured knee. He suggested that he’ll sit out a few more games and try again to return, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald tweets.
    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Christian Vazquez Likely To Receive More Starts In 2018]]> 2017-09-24T23:25:13Z 2017-09-24T22:46:59Z
  • The Red Sox acknowledge that catcher is a “two-man position,” although manager John Farrell thinks Christian Vazquez could take 110 to 120 starts next year. That means Sandy Leon could lose playing time. Vazquez has batted  .298/.336/.420 this season, including .336/.376/.493 in the second half. Leon hasn’t had a good season and is eligible for arbitration this winter, although it seems very likely, from my perspective, that the Red Sox will bring him back — Blake Swihart has struggled at Triple-A, and Leon is a strong framer who works well with pitchers, including ace Chris Sale.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Time For The Red Sox To Decide On John Farrell]]> 2017-09-23T19:00:35Z 2017-09-23T18:38:57Z
  • John Farrell’s contract as the Red Sox manager only runs through the 2018 season, and given Farrell’s relative lack of job security since Dave Dombrowski took over Boston’s baseball ops department,’s Evan Drellich argues that the team should either give Farrell a long-term extension this winter or part ways with the manager.  Either decision would remove Farrell’s status as a distraction both inside or outside the clubhouse.  With the Sox closing in on their second straight AL East title, Farrell’s performance certainly seems worthy of a longer commitment, though there have been whispers that Dombrowski (like most executives) would prefer to hire his own manager, rather than stick with the manager inherited from the old regime.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Nunez, Moreland, Bullpen, Price]]> 2017-09-19T22:02:44Z 2017-09-19T22:02:44Z
  • The Red Sox don’t have many important players slated to hit free agency next year, but veterans Eduardo Nunez and Mitch Moreland are among those on the cusp of the open market. Both say they’d like to return to Boston, however. For Nunez, as Rob Bradford of writes, settling in with the Sox has been easy. It’s not clear, though, whether there’ll be enough playing time to warrant pursuit of a player who’ll be in some demand. Chris Mason of CNHI Sports Boston writes about Moreland’s case. The first bagger says he has “loved it” with the Red Sox, though he’s focused on the season at the moment. Unsurprisingly, the sides haven’t discussed a new contract.
  • While bullpens have long plagued teams constructed by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, it seems he has built a compelling unit this year with the Red Sox, as Evan Drellich of writes. While everything hasn’t worked out as hoped, at least not initially, the Sox have kept moving forward and have now compiled a strong group as the club nears an AL East crown.
  • One possible piece of the Red Sox relief core, long-time starter David Price, figures to be one of the most closely watched players of the postseason. As Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes, while there have been some issues during Price’s tenure, he still has the support of the clubhouse. The veteran hurler could play a fascinating role in Boston’s hopeful march through the postseason.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Betts, Pomeranz]]> 2017-09-18T01:24:58Z 2017-09-18T01:24:58Z Mookie Betts left today’s game in the fifth inning due to a bruised right thumb, suffered when his own helmet was knocked off by a Lucas Duda tag attempt and landed on the thumb.  X-rays were negative and Betts told reporters (including’s Connor Mount) that he hopes to play as soon as tomorrow.  Betts also added that he has been dealing with nagging thumb problems “for a couple months” but it hasn’t been serious enough to keep him off the field.  While this doesn’t look like a major injury, Betts is such a major part of the Red Sox lineup that his condition bears mention as the team heads towards a likely postseason appearance.  Here’s some more from around the AL East…

    • The Drew Pomeranz trade is looking like a win for Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox,’s John Tomase writes.  After the controversial deal with the Padres last year that saw top prospect Anderson Espinosa go to San Diego, Pomeranz was plagued by injury problems that continued into the offseason.  This year, however, Pomeranz has delivered a 3.28 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 2.59 K/BB rate over 159 1/3 innings, emerging as a much-needed stabilizer to a rotation that has been without David Price for much of the season.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Rumors: Nunez, Holt]]> 2017-09-17T20:31:41Z 2017-09-17T20:31:41Z The Red Sox plan to explore a new deal for utilityman Eduardo Nunez after the season, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports. Nunez is currently out with a knee injury, but when healthy, the impending free agent has been a valuable addition since the Red Sox acquired him from the Giants in July. The 30-year-old has slashed an excellent .319/.351/.534 with eight home runs and six steals across 171 plate appearances as a member of the Red Sox, with whom he has lined up at second base, shortstop and third base. Nunez’s future may affect fellow utilityman Brock Holt’s, as Mastrodonato relays that he could be a non-tender candidate in the offseason. Holt was a key piece for the Red Sox from 2014-15, but injuries have slowed his career since then. The 2015 All-Star has taken 140 trips to the plate this season and batted a meek .175/.286/.208. Holt, 29, is on a $1.95MM salary this year and is scheduled to go through arbitration for the second time in the offseason. He’s controllable through 2019.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Doug Fister Being Scouted For 2018]]> 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z
  • Red Sox righty Doug Fister, a free agent to be, is being scouted by teams considering adding him over the winter, Cafardo writes. Fister did not sign until May of this season, but Cafardo notes that he’s unlikely to have to wait that long to find a big-league deal in the coming winter. Fister’s 4.40 ERA in 77 2/3 innings this year is similar to those of his last two seasons, but he’s bumped his K/9 from 5.7 in 2016 to 8.0 this season. He’s also fared well in the season’s second half. Those factors could make him a more attractive free agent this time around.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Benintendi, Devers Rank Among MLB's Top Rookies]]> 2017-09-16T16:14:45Z 2017-09-16T16:13:59Z Two Red Sox position players, Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers, feature prominently on Jim Callis of’s list of the MLB rookies with the most potential. Benintendi, Callis writes, “combines pure hitting ability, power, speed and defense in a manner reminiscent of former Boston star Fred Lynn.” In fact, three of the top four players on the list are Red Sox products, with Chicago’s Yoan Moncada squeezing in between Cody Bellinger and Devers. Here’s more from the American League.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Hanley Ramirez Undergoes Biceps MRI]]> 2017-09-16T05:50:59Z 2017-09-16T00:26:20Z Red Sox skipper John Farrell says that DH/first baseman Hanley Ramirez underwent an MRI on his left biceps, as Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. A diagnosis and anticipated course of treatment aren’t yet available, but Abraham suggests the team is anticipating some absence from the veteran. The 33-year-old Ramirez has fallen off at the plate this year, slashing just .238/.320/.423 over his 522 plate appearances, with a shoulder problem seemingly bothering him throughout. The club surely hoped for a turnaround for the long-time slugger, but now there’s increasing uncertainty with this new injury.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Announces Fines For Red Sox & Yankees]]> 2017-09-15T22:07:31Z 2017-09-15T20:58:42Z Major League Baseball has announced punishment arising out of its investigation of mutual accusations of improper gamesmanship between the Red Sox and Yankees. Both clubs will receive undisclosed fines, with the latter said to be tagged with a lesser amount.

    Those interested in reading more about the allegations can read about it in full right here. In essence, the Yanks claimed that their long-time rivals were improperly stealing signs with the aid of an Apple Watch and other technology. In turn, Boston accused the Bronx Bombers of taking advantage of YES Network cameras to the same end.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred found that the Red Sox did wrongfully use technology in the dugout, leading to the discipline. He did also note that certain factors were present that warranted some leniency, including that the misstep took place without any involvement of ownership or the front office and that the club cooperated in ceasing the activity and aiding the ensuing investigation. While the league could not substantiate the allegations against the Yankees, they were fined due to a finding that the club had wrongly utilized a dugout phone in a prior season.

    Some may charge that Manfred gave the Red Sox only a slap on the wrist after taking away the watch. But he did put Boston and the rest of the league on notice not to expect such treatment going forward. “[A]ll 30 Clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks,” Mandred stated in the announcement.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Activate David Price]]> 2017-09-14T16:05:58Z 2017-09-14T14:58:38Z The Red Sox have activated lefty David Price from the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. He last pitched on July 22nd but will return to help the organization down the stretch.

    Price will function as a multi-inning reliever for the rest of the season, manager John Farrell tells reporters including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. Its likely that he’ll first appear in game action this weekend.

    The veteran has long been a starter, of course, but says he “just want[s] to pitch, whatever it is.” Price has been troubled all year long by elbow issues and may not quite be prepared to handle a full starter’s workload. Plus, with the emergence of Doug Fister, Boston already has a solid five-man unit in place.

    Price ought to represent a notable addition as the club looks to hold onto the AL East lead down the stretch. Though he hasn’t been as effective as expected when Boston inked him for $217MM over seven years, the 32-year-old has still been a quality MLB pitcher when healthy.

    This year, through 66 frames, Price has posted a 3.82 ERA with 63 strikeouts against 22 walks. He has also continued to work in the 94 mph range with his average fastball and generate swings and misses on about 11% of his pitches — much as he did for the three seasons prior.

    All said, it’s possible to imagine Price turning into an intriguing weapon out of the pen, where he could bail out an inefficient starter or enter in an early, high-leverage spot and go on to provide innings. In the long run, though, Boston will surely hope that he can regain both his health and his form and contribute once again from the rotation.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:


    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Farrell: Bringing Price Back As Starter Would Be "Aggressive"]]> 2017-09-14T03:14:00Z 2017-09-14T03:14:00Z Time is running out for David Price to return to the Red Sox, and manager John Farrell conceded today that it would be “aggressive” to bring Price back as a starting pitcher in 2017, Evan Drellich of CSN New England writes. Farrell suggested that Price would require at least one more simulated game before being ready to start. The skipper alluded to the possibility of giving Price a fairly short start and allowing the expanded bullpen to cover whatever innings are needed beyond that point, though he noted that no decision has been made. “[T]hese are things we have to sit down and discuss and determine what’s best for him.” As for Price himself, he told reporters that, more than anything else, he just wants to get back onto a Major League mound regardless of his role: “I just want to pitch. Whatever it is, that’s fine.”

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Announce New Long-Term Role For David Ortiz]]> 2017-09-13T21:14:20Z 2017-09-13T21:14:20Z The Red Sox announced today that they’ve reached a long-term agreement with retired designated hitter David Ortiz that “should link him with the organization forever.” Details surrounding Ortiz’s role with the team for which he starred from 2003-16 are somewhat nebulous, though the team’s press release on the matter indicates that Ortiz “will act as a mentor for current players, participate in recruitment efforts, make a variety of special appearances for the club, and work in a business development capacity for Fenway Sports Management and its partners.”

    Ortiz himself revealed to’s Rob Bradford yesterday that he’d agreed to some kind of new front-office role with the club. “I’m going to be up in the front office,” said Ortiz to Bradford. “Doing some things like going seeing players. That’s going to happen. At some point you’re going to see more often around, things like spring training.”

    The 2017 campaign marks the first in which Ortiz hasn’t appeared in a Red Sox uniform since 2003 and the first in which hasn’t been active as a player since 1997. The 10-time All-Star retired following the 2016 campaign, bringing his career to a close with a terrific .286/.380/.552 batting line and 541 home runs across parts of 20 Major League seasons. Ortiz’s success with the Red Sox and postseason heroics had already cemented him in the team’s lore, though there’s been a longstanding belief that he could also return to the club in some type of off-the-field capacity.

    As Bradford notes, Ortiz will follow in the footsteps of former Red Sox stars Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek in serving the organization in an advisory capacity, although today’s announcement seems to indicate that Ortiz’s agreement is more formal and elaborate in nature.

    “Like David himself, this agreement is unique and the first time we have made a commitment of this kind or this length to a player, retired or active,” said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner in the team’s announcement. “I am delighted we have a lasting partnership with him; one that brings to us the wisdom, experience, and character that has lifted this club time and again.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Nunez, Nelson, Delgado, Kela, Capps, Rasmussen]]> 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z Red Sox utilityman Eduardo Nunez feels he has dodged a bullet with his right knee injury, as Evan Drellich of reports on Twitter. Nunez sprained his posterior cruciate ligament, but he says he anticipates returning before the year is up. That said, he’ll understandably also take his time to ensure he makes it back to full health. While Boston hasn’t yet nailed down a postseason spot, it is in excellent position and (at this point, at least) doesn’t seem in need of rushing back an important player.

    Here’s the latest on some other health issues from around the game:

    • The Brewers are still waiting to learn more on the status of key righty Jimmy Nelson, as Adam McCalvy of reports on Twitter. He received a second opinion on his shoulder injury today, though the outcome isn’t yet known. Nelson is expected to miss the rest of the season regardless, but the precise course of treatment hasn’t been determined.
    • Diamondbacks righty Randall Delgado is indeed dealing with a flexor strain, Jack Magruder of Fan Rag tweets. That initial diagnosis has now been confirmed; while that seemingly takes some worst-case scenarios out of play, he’s already slated to miss the remainder of the year. Delgado had thrown 62 2/3 frames of 3.59 ERA ball, posting 8.6 K/9 and an uncharacteristically low 2.0 BB/9, before going down. That should set him up for a decent raise on his $1.775MM salary for his final year of arbitration, though the price will still likely be low enough for Arizona to pick up the tab unless there’s real concern he won’t bounce back.
    • The Rangers announced that they’ve activated righty Keone Kela from the DL. The 24-year-old has been dealing with a shoulder injury, but could represent a nice boon to the club’s relief corps if he can get back in the swing of things late this year. Kela had pitched to a 2.36 ERA over 34 1/3 innings before hitting the DL.
    • Padres righty Carter Capps has been diagnosed with a blood clot, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports (Twitter links). He’s heading to the 60-day DL, ending his season and allowing the club to select the contract of Cory Mazzoni. The broader outlook for Capps isn’t clear. San Diego will have to decide whether to tender him a contract this winter. He hasn’t been all that inspiring thus far since returning from Tommy John surgery, allowing nine earned runs with a 7:2 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 innings while averaging just 93.2 mph with his fastball (over five mph off of his most recent readings from 2015). That said, Capps will likely command only around $1MM; the club could at least take him into camp and cut bait before that full amount is guaranteed if he can’t turn the corner.
    • Recent Rays draft pick Drew Rasmussen has undergone his second Tommy John procedure, Danny Moran of the Oregonian reports on Twitter. Rasmussen, an Oregon State hurler, went to Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in this summer’s draft but did not sign with the team. The Rays evidently found some reason to be concerned with the medicals from the talented youngster, who had returned from his first TJ procedure only months before the draft.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 9/12/17]]> 2017-09-12T22:29:01Z 2017-09-12T22:29:01Z Here are the day’s minor moves from around the game:

    • The Red Sox have outrighted right-hander Kyle Martin, per a team announcement. He had been designated for assignment recently but will remain with the organization. Martin, 26, was regarded as a legitimate prospect entering the current season; indeed, he ranked 14th on the club’s list, per Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs. Though he did reach the majors for the first time this year, Martin made only two appearances but showing a 93.5 mph average heater. Unfortunately, too, he hasn’t been quite as good at Triple-A as he was in 2016, showing declines in strikeouts (from 10.5 K/9 to 8.4 K/9), walks (from 2.8 BB/9 to 4.4 BB/9), and groundball rate (45.1% to 33.1%).
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On David Price]]> 2017-09-09T23:40:50Z 2017-09-09T23:40:50Z Red Sox southpaw David Price threw a two-inning sim game Saturday as he continues to work back from forearm problems, Scott Lauber of was among those to report (links here). While Price hasn’t taken the mound for the Red Sox since July 22 and only threw 32 pitches Saturday, they’re hopeful he’ll be able to come back this year as a starter, Lauber notes. The Sox will have a clearer idea about Price’s future after he throws another sim game midway through next week, but the likelihood is that he’ll finish 2017 as a reliever because he won’t have enough time to ramp back up as a starter, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Nunez, Brentz]]> 2017-09-09T17:23:27Z 2017-09-09T17:23:27Z
  • Red Sox utilityman Eduardo Nunez is likely to find a better contract and a bigger role elsewhere in the offseason, Cafardo suggests. The 30-year-old has slashed an outstanding .311/.343/.528 with eight homers in 169 plate appearances since the Red Sox acquired him from the Giants on July 26. Most of Nunez’s work in Boston has come at second base, where Dustin Pedroia was out from July 29 until the end of August. Pedroia is now back, though, and is obviously the team’s top option at the keystone. He’ll continue to man second next season, and Boston also has everyday players locked in at Nunez’s other positions (third base, shortstop and the corner outfield). A team with less certainty in any of those areas could be a more realistic fit for Nunez going forward, then, and Cafardo lists the Mets as a possible suitor. With the exception of shortstop, where the Mets figure to stick with top prospect Amed Rosario, they’ll enter the offseason with questions at all of Nunez’s positions.
  • Red Sox Triple-A outfielder Bryce Brentz is drawing interest from Japan, according to Cafardo. However, the 28-year-old would like to parlay his .271/.334/.529 line with 31 home runs in 494 plate appearances into a major league contract during the offseason. Brentz has been a member of the Red Sox since they used a first-round pick on him in 2010, but he has accrued just 90 PAs with the club and hasn’t seen the majors this year. Despite his 2017 power surge, the Red Sox didn’t summon Brentz to the majors Sept. 1, perhaps sealing his fate with the organization.

  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Could Face Punishment For Illegal Use Of Electronics To Steal Signs]]> 2017-09-05T22:49:31Z 2017-09-05T22:00:00Z 5:00pm: Drellich tweets that Manfred has stated there’s no specific rule against sign-stealing. The punishment the Red Sox could face would be from illegal usage of technology in the dugout.

    4:45pm: Evan Drellich of CSN New England tweets that Dombrowski said there is indeed an investigation looking into the Yankees. Newsday’s David Lennon tweets that when asked about the Red Sox’ allegations regarding YES cameras, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi replied bluntly: “No chance. We’re not doing it.” Girardi did acknowledge that all teams try to steal signs to some extent, though without going so far as to use technology to do so (Twitter link via Lennon).

    4:30pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that a league official confirmed Schmidt’s report to him and added that the league is preparing discipline against the Red Sox. The stealing of signs by a runner on second base (and relaying the upcoming pitch to the hitter) is not forbidden “so long as artificial means are not used,” per Nightengale. While MLB has allowed the presence of iPads in the dugout and bullpen, those league-issued devices don’t have Internet access and cannot stream live video.

    Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner briefly addressed the issue today when speaking to reporters (Twitter link via’s Bryan Hoch), telling the media: “It’s always been a game within a game, but the use of electronics takes it too far.”

    4:14pm: In one of the more eyebrow-raising stories of the season, Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that MLB investigators have determined that the Red Sox used an Apple Watch and other technology to steal signs from the Yankees earlier this season. Furthermore, the Red Sox also filed their own complaint against the Yankees today, alleging that they use a YES Network camera for the exclusive purpose of stealing signs during games.

    The Yankees filed a complaint about two weeks ago, according to Schmidt, providing the Commissioner’s Office with video that depicted a member of the Boston training staff receiving intel from his Apple Watch and relaying it to players on the field. More damning is the fact that Schmidt reports that the league has already confronted the Red Sox on the matter, and the team has conceded that their training staff did indeed receive information from video replay personnel, which was then relayed to players. The process had been in place for “at least several weeks,” per Schmidt.

    The Red Sox reportedly told the league that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell were not involved in the implementation of this process and weren’t even aware of the sign-stealing operation at all. Investigators have already interviewed the Red Sox’ training staff as well as outfielder Chris Young. Schmidt’s report also mentions that Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia were seen on video receiving info from assistant athletic trainer Jon Jochim.

    Asked about the story, Farrell told reporters that the Red Sox are “aware of the rule (that) electronic devices are not to be used in the dugout,” but said that it’s a league matter and offered no further comment (link via ESPN’s Scott Lauber).

    It’s not clear what actions that commissioner Rob Manfred will take against the Red Sox, nor is there any word of whether an investigation of the Yankees will be launched based on Boston’s reported allegations. Manfred has previously stripped the Cardinals of multiple draft picks as punishment for illegally accessing the Astros’ proprietary databases, though certainly that was a different scenario and is not a direct comparison to the Red Sox/Yankees situation.

    Manfred is at Fenway Park tonight and will meet with the media at 5:45pm ET, per Lauber, so there could very well be further details made available in the near future. In the meantime, I’d highly encourage those interested in the matter to read Schmidt’s column in full.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Activate Carson Smith, Designate Kyle Martin]]> 2017-09-05T21:43:17Z 2017-09-05T21:43:17Z The Red Sox announced that they have activated right-handed reliever Carson Smith from the 60-day disabled list and designated fellow righty Kyle Martin for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

    Now 27 years old, Smith was acquired by the Red Sox in the 2015-16 offseason with the hope that he could serve as a setup man for Craig Kimbrel. The hard-throwing Smith was brilliant during his 2015 rookie campaign with the Mariners, pitching to a 2.31 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 64.3 percent ground-ball rate in 70 innings. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Smith suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament after just three appearances in a Red Sox uniform and hasn’t appeared in a Major League game since.

    September will give the Sox time to evaluate Smith for a potential postseason bullpen spot and will also certainly provide an audition of sorts for the 2018 campaign, when they’ll again hope that he can join Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and others in forming a bridge to Kimbrel.

    As for Martin, the 26-year-old made his Major League debut this season but tossed just 2 1/3 innings in the bigs. Martin has posted some gaudy strikeout rates in the past as a minor leaguer, averaging better than a strikeout per inning from 2014-16 and more than 10 K/9 in 2015-16. He reached Triple-A for the first time in 2017 and logged a 4.36 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a 33.1 percent ground-ball rate in 53 2/3 innings.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Swihart Working To Increase Versatility]]> 2017-09-04T14:28:12Z 2017-09-04T14:26:16Z The Red Sox have been getting Blake Swihart experience at first base, and he’s also been taking grounders at third base, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Boston also plans to send the 25-year-old former top prospect to winter ball this year, which will allow him to make up for some missed time (due to injuries) but could also boost his trade value by showcasing some versatility. The switch-hitting Swihart was long touted as Boston’s catcher of the future, but Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon look locked in for the 2018 season, when Swihart will be out of minor league options. “We recognize where he’s at contractually going into next year,” manager John Farrell tells Abraham. “Trying to create some versatility on the defensive side of things is part of the overall plan.” Swihart’s surgically repaired ankle has still limited him this year, so the extra time in winter ball could prove especially important as the Sox make a determination on his future.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Red Sox Must Pursue Giancarlo Stanton]]> 2017-09-02T22:40:37Z 2017-09-02T22:40:37Z The first-place Red Sox’s success this year has come despite a lack of power (they entered Saturday 26th in the majors in home runs and 27th in ISO), leading Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe to argue that they have to pursue Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason.  It’s unclear whether the new Marlins ownership group will shop the right fielder and potential 60-home run man, but Cafardo contends that a Red Sox offer consisting of left fielder Andrew Benintendi, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and a pitching prospect would grab the attention of Derek Jeter & Co.  As great as Stanton has been this year, it’s tough to imagine Boston parting with Benintendi, a top-flight rookie who won’t even be eligible for arbitration until after the 2019 campaign.  Stanton, meanwhile, is still due another $295MM from 2018-28, and his contract includes full no-trade rights and an opt-out clause after the 2020 campaign.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Not Ruling Out Bullpen Role For Price In 2017]]> 2017-08-31T02:28:59Z 2017-08-31T01:17:55Z
  • Red Sox manager John Farrell said in an appearance on WEEI’s Dale, Holley & Keefe that the team cannot rule out the possibility of David Price returning as a reliever this season (via WEEI’s Ryan Hannable). Farrell acknowledged that the team’s decision-makers are cognizant of the limited time Price has to build his strength back up after being on the disabled list with an elbow injury since late July. Price threw off a mound today but was limited to just fastballs, per Farrell. “When he is able to get back to game speed or full speed and then see what the best role and the most realistic role is for him and how do we make sure we do what is right by David and not over stressing the number of pitches in an outing,” said the manager.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Josh Rutledge Undergoes Hip Surgery]]> 2017-08-30T21:01:22Z 2017-08-30T20:57:23Z The Red Sox announced on Wednesday that infielder Josh Rutledge underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left hip. He’s expected to be ready for the 2018 season. per the Red Sox’ press release.

    After spending the 2015-16 seasons with the Red Sox organization, Rutledge inked a minor league pact with the Rockies (the organization that initially drafted him) back in November, only to be selected by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft just two weeks later. As Evan Drellich of CSN New England points out, Rutledge didn’t meet the minimum 90 days on the active roster, so despite the fact that he has more than four years of service time, he’ll retain Rule 5 status headed into the 2018 season (Twitter link).

    Rule 5 status for Rutledge is somewhat of a moot point anyhow, though, as he’s out of minor league options and therefore would have to break camp with the team next spring or else be exposed to waivers. If the Red Sox keep him on the roster this winter, Rutledge will retain arbitration eligibility as well — he’s earning $600K in 2017 — though his limited role and sub-par results at the plate make him a non-tender candidate despite that modest salary.

    Rutledge logged 118 plate appearances with the Red Sox this season — his most in the Majors since 2014 — and batted just .224/.297/.262 with two doubles and a triple. Overall, he’s a career .258/.310/.384 hitter in 1206 Major League plate appearances. He played primarily third base for the Sox in 2017, though he’s also capable of playing second base and has logged the vast majority of his Major League innings at shortstop.