|11.14.14 at 11:00 am ET|
Rusney Castillo will be playing some more offseason baseball, after all.
After suffering a setback due to a bruised thumb suffered while playing in the Arizona Fall League — having to leave the AFL earlier than anticipated — Castillo has been cleared to participate in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
Castillo will join the Criollos de Caguas (who are managed by former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora) Nov. 26, with the plan of getting the outfielder 100 at-bats. The 27-year-old was originally supposed to join Cora’s club Nov. 7 and play through the end of the month.
The Puerto Rican Winter League’s regular season schedule extends until the end of December. Among the players playing for Caguas is Red Sox minor league outfielder Henry Ramos, who hit .326 in 48 games for Double-A Portland last season.
With the Suprise Saguaros of the AFL, Castillo hit .278 (10-for-38) with 10 runs and a .333 on-base percentage over eight games. With the Red Sox he hit .333 (12-for-36) with two homers, totaling an OPS of .928.
The righty hitter was recently examined in Boston and cleared by the team’s medical staff.
|11.12.14 at 9:07 pm ET|
Left-hander Jon Lester, who posted a 16-11 record and career-best 2.46 ERA with 9.0 strikeouts and 2.0 walks per nine innings in a career-high 219 2/3 innings, finished fourth in American League Cy Young voting for his standout work on the mound with the Red Sox and A’s. The fourth-place finish in Cy Young voting is the second of Lester’s career, a finish that matches his recognition for going 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA, 9.7 strikeouts and 3.6 walks per nine innings in 2010.
Lester — whom the Sox traded to the A’s (along with Jonny Gomes) on July 31 in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes — was named on 25 of 30 ballots, receiving three third-place votes, 15 fourth-place votes and seven fifth-place votes. His 46 points were behind Cy Young winner Corey Kluber of the Indians (169 points), Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (159 points) and White Sox lefty Chris Sale (78 points).
Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw won his second straight Cy Young award and his third in four seasons, claiming all 30 first-place votes. He’s the 14th pitcher in NL history to win a Cy by unanimous acclaim.
|11.12.14 at 5:53 pm ET|
PHOENIX – One of the biggest names of this offseason is now off the board with Victor Martinez having reportedly agreed to re-sign with the Tigers. Similar news about Red Sox offseason moves is not likely in the coming days.
GM Ben Cherington said that he “would not expect” the Red Sox to sign anyone this week. While the GM Meetings serve a useful purpose in terms of giving teams a chance to exchange information with teams and agents, they typically offer a springboard for more advanced conversations after the meetings break up.
“We’re working on stuff so there’s always a chance of getting something done, but I can’t predict [whether anything will happen prior to the December winter meetings]. … It’s really still more gathering information, looking at conceptual ideas, different permutations. We’re not close on anything, but we’ll continue to have those talks and see where they go,” said Cherington. “I think everyone still is really doing the same thing. You can put free agent possibilities and trade possibilities in the same ocean and everyone is swimming in that ocean, trying to figure out what fish they can catch. The deeper we get into the offseason, the closer teams get to the fish they want and seeing which ones they throw in the boat. We’re not close to doing that right now.”
|11.12.14 at 5:26 pm ET|
PHOENIX — GM Ben Cherington said that the Red Sox have some interest in the idea of a reunion with left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. In some ways, the 29-year-old seems like an unlikely fit to come back given that some teams might want him to close, and give him money typically conferred upon closers.
The Sox do not have an opening for that role in their bullpen with Koji Uehara having signed a two-year deal earlier this month. Still, Cherington didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing back the pitcher who netted them left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez at the trade deadline. Miller had a 2.02 ERA with 14.9 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings in 72 appearances (62 1/3 innings) in 2014.
“We can add to the bullpen. We’ve got resources to add to the bullpen,” said Cherington. “He’s a free agent, obviously. He’s been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball for the last couple of years. We would have interest, but like anyone else who goes to free agency, he’s going to go through his process and see what’s out there. We’ve got a lot of respect for him, and he performed really well for us.”
Cherington said that the team would prefer to have at least two left-handers in its bullpen, and that the club believes it has internal candidates (presumably including Tommy Layne, Edwin Escobar and Drake Britton) for one of those spots, but may look to add to the candidates for the left-handed bullpen group. That doesn’t necessarily mean adding a high-end option like Miller, however, as Cherington noted that teams have used roster competition as an effective mechanism for building a bullpen corps in the past.
“Relievers can come out of nowhere,” said Cherington. “You have to be open to that kind of thing.”
|11.12.14 at 3:32 pm ET|
PHOENIX — According to a major league source, six teams have shown what could be classified as “legitimate interest” in free agent pitcher Jon Lester. The Red Sox are one of those clubs, while the Mariners (the pitcher’s hometown team) are not in the mix.
During a briefing with the Boston media Wednesday at the general managers’ meetings, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said while he did meet with Lester’s representatives Tuesday night, no figures had been exchanged.
“I met with them kind of socially and talked about all sorts of things,” Cherington said. “I expect the conversation will continue. They have to go through their thing. I still feel like the relationships are in place we can have those conversations.”
Cherington also said he doesn’t expect any signings by the end of the week.
|11.12.14 at 9:45 am ET|
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via twitter), the market for free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval appears to be down to the Giants and Red Sox. Rosenthal noted that the Red Sox are “weighing other options,” and that “unless [Boston] makes [a] big play,” the Giants — the team with whom Sandoval has spent his entire career and now won World Series, appear to be the favorites.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 12, 2014
As with any FA, things can change quickly for Sandoval; a new team could jump into bidding. But unless BOS makes big play, SF favorite.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 12, 2014
Sandoval, who turned 28 in August, hit .279 with a .324 OBP, .415 slugging mark, 16 homers and a 111 OPS+ in 2014 while playing a career-high 157 games. He’s considered an above-average defensive third baseman, with the track record of consistent above-average contributions both at the plate and in the field, coupled with the fact that he’s at the beginning of his prime years, making him an early target on the open market. Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez, was reportedly meeting with four teams — the Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays and White Sox — at the GM Meetings in Phoenix.
|11.11.14 at 7:39 pm ET|
PHOENIX — It wouldn’t be Hot Stove season without some Giancarlo Stanton talk.
Tuesday at the general managers’ meetings, Marlins president Michael Hill and general manager Dan Jennings kicked off media availability with the GMs by updating where Miami stood with its Stanton extension dialogue.
“It’s been positive dialogue,” Hill said. “That’s the best way to categorize it. Nothing contentious. It’s been positive. We all recognize as a team we had a better year. We still didn’t have a great year but we made progress and improved on a 100-loss season in 2013, so we made progress. A lot of good things, a lot of good stories. So there’s some acknowledgment of the progress we made. We’re here the next few days to see what we can do to continue to build on that.”
Stanton — who routinely comes up as the player Red Sox followers hope for their team to acquire at some point – finished 2014 with 37 home runs and is one of three finalists for the National League Most Valuable Player award.
Stanton is still two seasons away from being eligible for free agency.
|11.11.14 at 7:11 pm ET|
Included in that mix is Jackie Bradley.
When asked if teams are viewing Bradley as an everyday center fielder, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said, “I do think there are some teams that think of him in that way, as they should. And we think of him in that way. You don’t know on what date it will all happen. But we certainly think of him as an everyday caliber center fielder.”
The question revolving around Bradley, of course, is his ability to hit. The outfielder barely avoided possessing the worst batting average of any player with at least 384 at-bats, hitting .198.
But then there’s that defense, which allowed for the rookie to finish among the finalists for an American League Gold Glove.
“Teams have come a long way, the industry has come a long way on separating out the myth from the facts — this is what we know, this is what we can predict, this is what we can’t predict,” said Cherington of measuring defense. “There’s probably more volatility in the defensive projections than there are in other areas because so much of it is environmental and contextual. There’s more noise in the data. You look at longer sample sizes with defense to try to get as long a sample as possible when you’re evaluation as opposed to offense, where you may be able to look at smaller. It’s not precise, but I think teams are a lot further ahead than they were 10 years ago.”
— Cherington said no definitive decision had been made on whether Rusney Castillo would be playing in the Puerto Rico Winter League (as planned). The GM did note, however, that Castillo’s bruised hand was no longer a concern.
“He got seen yesterday in Boston. He’s fine, coming along, basically passed everything,” Cherington said. “We’re going to make a determination in the next several days as to whether to continue the offseason get him back to Puerto Rico at some point. He would need a period of ramp up now, but the injury essentially is healed.”
Castillo, who signed a contract in August that runs through 2020 for $72.5 million, hit .278 with a .333 OBP and .361 slugging mark with three doubles, three walks and six strikeouts in 39 plate appearances for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League. He was originally scheduled to start playing for former Red Sox’ infielder Alex Cora‘s team in Puerto Rico on Nov. 7.
|11.11.14 at 6:01 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Whether by coincidence or design, Deven Marrero talk seems to be gaining steam with each passing day at the general managers’ meetings.
With Marrero excelling in the Arizona Fall League — hitting .333 with a .446 on-base percentage as of Tuesday — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was asked about the status of the 24-year-old, former first-round pick.
“There’s just been steady interest,” said Cherington of his young shortstop. “These things have a way of working themselves out, but guys who can play that position at a high level and produce a little offensively, those are valuable guys, they’re good bets to have good major-league careers, so we like having them.”
Marrero was deemed major league-ready defensively by the organization during his spring training stint with the big league club. It was his offense which seemingly needed development, having hit .291 in 68 games with Double-A Portland before totaling just a .210 batting average in 50 games with Triple-A Pawtucket.
“Because of who he’s coming after, maybe he doesn’t always get as much attention as some other guys that we have do, but he’s had a very steady progression,” said Cherington, citing Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “You can go back to this was a high-profile guy in high school, always a talented defender at Arizona State, he performed through the minor leagues, he performed in Arizona. A shortstop with really good defensive skills who’s got some ability with the bat. We’re glad to have him.”
|11.11.14 at 5:13 pm ET|
Farrell is headed into the last guaranteed year of a three-year deal he signed with the Red Sox following the ‘12 season. The Red Sox hold a team option on the deal for ‘16.
The 52-year-old Farrell, who is currently managing a group of Major League All-Stars during an exhibition tournament in Tokyo, has a 168-156 regular season record with the Red Sox. He finished second in the ‘13 American League Manager of the Year voting after guiding his team to a world championship.
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