It seems increasingly unlikely that the Red Sox will utilize a full-time DH, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. “We’re not looking to have just a DH,” said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. “I think really in today’s game the only way you really do that is to have somebody like David Ortiz and most of the time you really prefer to have some flexibility. It’s not to say somebody won’t settle in most of the time, but your goal is to use the flexibility of the players at this point. We’ll see how that all fits in.” That does leave open the possibility of a regular, of course, and some players who’d profile as a designated hitter — such as big-budget free agent Edwin Encarnacion (who has spent plenty of time recently at first) or the aging Carlos Beltran (who also plays the outfield) — could spend at least some time in the field, possibly allowing the club to slot Hanley Ramirez or others in the hitter-only hole on occasion. It is fair to wonder, too, whether any changes to the CBA — an increased luxury tax floor, if not also the addition of an active roster spot — might change the team’s thinking.
Here’s more from Boston and the rest of the American League:
- Even if the offseason is relatively quiet from an acquisition standpoint, the Red Sox may be in a position to explore some extensions, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. For Boston, the three obvious candidates are surely shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. None figure to come cheap, particularly as their service clocks and stat lines have continued to build, but Britton provides some quotes from rival executives discussing the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing longer-term contracts. Scott Boras, who reps Bogaerts and Bradley, indicated that talks thus far have involved only their pending arbitration cases, and Britton says that the club has yet to seriously consider deals. But it’ll certainly be interesting to see whether discussions take place in earnest later in the offseason.
- The Red Sox have hired Gary DiSarcina as their new bench coach to replace the outgoing Torey Lovullo, as Gerry Callahan of WEEI first reported (story via WEEI.com). A Massachusetts native, DiSarcina has previously skippered Boston’s Triple-A affiliate and has most recently been a part of the Angels’ coaching staff.
- There’s still quite a lot to be sorted out for the Athletics this winter, and we don’t have a ton to go on in assessing the organization’s direction. But there are a pair of pieces worth looking into for fans looking for the sense of those who follow the team most closely. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle takes stock of the free agent outfield options, citing reunions with Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss as unlikely. But the organization may look to take a shot on KBO star Eric Thames, she says, while Carlos Gomez and perhaps even Austin Jackson representing possibilities in center. Meanwhile, with some chatter surrounding key veterans Sonny Grey, Steven Vogt, and Sean Doolittle, Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com examines the possibility of one or more significant swaps. He suggests that Doolittle, an affordable but oft-injured power lefty, could be the most likely of that trio to change hands.
- With the Tigers gauging trade interest in much of their roster, it’s mostly guesswork at this point as to who’s drawing the kind of interest that could lead to a deal. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets that the team has drawn hits on all of its biggest names, including second baseman Ian Kinsler, as well as underperforming starters Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey. We’ve yet to hear much in the way of clear connections between Detroit and rival organizations, though. The Dodgers think Kinsler would fit nicely in L.A., per a tweet from Jon Morosi, but the teams did not discuss the matter at the GM Meetings.