Results tagged ‘ Ben Cherington ’

Boras weighs in on Ellsbury

Though Jacoby Ellsbury is not at the All-Star Game, he is coming off a very solid first half, in which he hit .305 and stole 36 bases. Ellsbury remains a player to watch all season, considering this is his “walk year”.

Agent Scott Boras talked about Ellsbury’s season and future at Monday’s All-Star Media Day.

To Boras, it is simple. When Ellsbury is healthy, he produces.

“Health. Jacoby’s shoulder was really something that [impacted him last year]. Remember, Jacoby Ellsbury is a very durable player. He just has to make sure that people don’t run into him. The only time in his career he’s not been durable has been when someone ran into him, which has happened twice. And last year he came back early and played where his shoulder strength was not there. We’re starting to see that. I’m starting to see where this is starting to turn and he’s starting to drive the ball with authority in the gap, the opposite way, and that shoulder’s getting stronger as we go. And he’s always been a tremendously strong, elite athlete as far as running, quick twitch, first step in the outfield. He’s just a rare player. With each month of this season, his batting averages are going up, his numbers are there, his on-base percentage is really … Look, it’s no secret that the Red Sox are where they are. Jacoby’s had a big part of that.”

“When you get hurt, like last year, he didn’t have the shoulder strength. When he came into the season this year, when you’re a hitter and you see enough pitches, you grade off where you were, and then as the strength started coming, he’s now made the adjustment to understand more about that he does have that strength and now he’s certainly starting to let the ball get deeper and I can see more power and lift coming to him.
He understands the mental side of it, too, where his shoulder’s at. He’s now back to being healthy.

What about Ellsbury’s lack of power, compared to 2011?

“Whatever Jacoby does from the top of the lineup relative to home run power is not, that’s helpful but the main issue is that most players who are of Jacoby’s type, they don’t even know — it’s never there. They’re four, five home run guys. Jacoby, you know it’s there. There may be years where he hits 20 home runs. There may be another year that he hits 20. And there may be years when he hits 10. The reality of it is you’re going to pay him for the melding of his power, but what you’re really paying him for is the ability to score runs and the ability to get on base and the ability to provide up-the-middle defense. “

Boras laughs at the notion that the imminent arrival of Jackie Bradley Jr. will soon create an outfield log-jam and eliminate Ellsbury’s chances of staying.

“I’m sure in the Red Sox board room, Ben is sitting there going, ‘Wow, we just can’t have Jackie and Jacoby and Victorino in that outfield. They would be just too good defensively. It would provide too much production and speed. That would be such a horrible problem for us.’”

Boras is confident he will have productive discussions with Sox GM Ben Cherington once the season ends.

“Ben and I work together very well. He wants to focus on finishing the season and so do we,” Boras said.

Cherington weighs in

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington discussed a variety of subjects today in a lengthy session with Boston baseball scribes. Here is a sampling.

On where the team is and where they might go:

“We’re always trying to get better. Over the course of the season, there’s going to be parts of a team that perform really well at different points of the season. Guys are going to go through hot streaks and slumps. We’re like any other team. But overall, the effort’s been great. Our players and staff have worked really hard everyday, we’ve been prepared every night and we’ve come out on the winning end more often than we haven’t. The guys have put us in a position here in the middle of June to be right in the thick of things. The division is not really that different than anyone thought it would be. It’s a jumble. I don’t think anyone knew exactly what the order was going to be, but it’s very competitive. We knew it was going to be competitive. And I still think that the teams that end up on top are going to be the ones that stay the healthiest, get the best starting pitching and make the best in-season adjustments. We’re going to try to do that. Time will tell.”

On the bullpen:

“Overall, the guys have done a good job. Andrew’s had a couple tough outings here recently, but if you look at the total body of work, his performance over the course of the season, he’s still having a very solid year. Every player goes through slumps. When your outfielder goes through slumps, those 0-for-5 days, nobody really notices. When it’s the closer, it gets more attention. He’s going through that, but we’re really confident he’ll get back on track and start closing out games again. Certainly no one is working harder at it than he is. Before the ninth inning, we’ve been pretty solid of late — the combination of Uehara, Tazawa, Breslow, Miller are doing a good job. So you can’t ever be complacent when it comes to pitching. We have to keep our eyes open to what’s going on. We think we have some internal options if needed, perhaps a little better situated there than we have been the last year or two. But it’s something that, if the season goes on, it’s just something to stay on top of, stay aware of, and if there are ways to get better, we’ll consider those. But moreover, the guys have done a good job and we’re in the position that we’re in because a lot because the guys in the bullpen pitching in the seventh, in the eighth and ninth inning overall, on the whole this year, have done a pretty good job.”

Could Andrew Miller develop into a closer?

“He’s certainly got that kind of stuff. As you said, he hasn’t been in the role yet. But he’s certainly got the kind of stuff. The confidence is growing. You see him out there executing, getting right-handers out as much as he’s getting left-handers out, all those things, he’s certainly got the attributes to pitch at any point in the game. I think a lot’s made of the ninth inning. We understand why. It’s the last three outs of the game. I’m not trying to diminish the importance of those outs. But we need to get hitters out from the time the starter leaves through the last out of the game. We need as many effective pitchers as possible, give John as many options as possible. We have a lot of those, but we’ll certainly keep our eyes open if there are ways to improve.”

On the move of Xander Bogaerts to Triple-A:

“I’ve always kind of felt like there’s no such thing as a prospect in Triple A. Once you’re in Triple A, you’re either ready to come to the big leagues or you’re not. And that’s what we’re finding out about the guys in Triple A now. We felt like Xander had done enough in Double A to warrant a promotion. He spent some time there last year, went back this year and really improved in the areas he needed to.”

Will Dustin Pedroia eventually get a contract extension?

“Well, as you know, I’m not going to comment on any contract issue with a player. To speak generally about Dustin, certainly he’s a guy that we think very highly of. He’s a huge part of our organization, not just this team. He represents a lot of what we’re all about. Our sincere hope is that he’s here for a long time, but you know, that’s all I can say about it. We have a good enough relationship with Dustin and his representatives that the conversation can happen over time and at the right time. He’s a very valuable player and shows up every day in all sorts of ways.”

Red Sox face opt-out decisions next week

The Red Sox will have some decisions to make early next week when it comes to some of their veterans who are on the bubble.

Lyle Overbay, who is competing to be the backup first baseman, has an opt-out clause in his contract that he can activate on Tuesday. Outfielder Ryan Sweeny can become a free agent on Thursday. Both those players might exercise their rights to become free agents if they don’t have assurances they will make the team.

“We certainly try to communicate with everyone as respectfully and professionally as we can, as we get close to those decisions,” said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. “Of course, they’re not all on the same day. We’ll have plenty of conversation between now and next week. But right now, there’s baseball still to be played in Spring Training. We’ve got to keep watching.”

Epstein roundtable discussion on tap for Friday

Looking for a baseball fix to tide you over before Spring Training? Theo Epstein and Peter Gammons have one on Friday night at Fenway Park’s State Street Pavillion, when they host their annual Hot Stove Cool Music Baseball Roundtable.

Though Epstein left the Red Sox for the Cubs following the 2011 season, he continues to have a charitable presence in his home city of Boston.

This year’s roundtable will feature the topic of changing a clubhouse culture. Epstein once did that in Boston, prior to the 2003 season. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is trying to do the same thing this winter by bringing in positive clubhouse influences like Shane Victorino, Johnny Gomes and Joel Hanrahan.

The roundtable will include Epstein, MLB.com’s Gammons, Cherington, Red Sox manager John Farrell, Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Red Sox assistant general manager MIke Hazen. Gammons will serve as the moderator.

Tickets are $125 and on sale now at FoundationToBeNamedLater.org. Package deals are available for both HSCM Roundtable and Concert. The evening begins at 6 pm with a reception featuring complimentary Harpoon beer, Amberhill wine and a ballpark buffet.

“I am once again excited to join this year’s distinguished panel to talk about changing a clubhouse culture in baseball. The panel’s expertise and knowledge will provide fans an in-depth look behind the scenes,” said Gammons. “I’m appreciative of everyone’s continued involvement and support of Hot Stove Cool Music and The Foundation To Be Named Later. This year’s roundtable will surely lend itself to a great discussion for a very worthy cause.”

Here is the following info from a press release:

“The Roundtable is a special addition to the thriving Hot Stove Cool Music concert series which celebrates music, baseball and giving back. Proceeds benefit the Foundation’s Peter Gammons College Scholarships and nonprofit beneficiaries including BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), Citizen Schools, City Year Boston, The Home for Little Wanderers, Horizons for Homeless Children, Roxbury Youthworks, Steps to Success and West End House Boys & Girls Club.

This winter’s Hot Stove Cool Music concert takes place Saturday, January 12th, and features an ensemble of musical performances by two-time Grammy nominee Tanya Donelly, the dynamic multi-instrumentalists Parkington Sisters, Boston Music Award winners Christian McNeill & Sea Monsters, Billboard Music Songwriting winners The Chad Hollister Band and the returning Hot Stove All-Stars featuring Gammons, Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz and indie rocker Kay Hanley with Robin Lane. Hollywood actor Mike O’Malley will again take the reins as emcee for the charity concert.

Hot Stove Cool Music events are sponsored by Ipswitch Inc., Comcast Business Class, Mintz Levin, Walmart, Hotel Commonwealth, Harpoon Brewery, Amberhill Secret Blend, Greenberg Traurig, Distrigas GDF Suez, RISO, Aramark, Abby Lane, Church, Boston Scientific, The Boston Red Sox and The Boston Foundation.

ABOUT HOT STOVE COOL MUSIC

Celebrating Music, Baseball and Giving Back

Hot Stove Cool Music is a biannual charity concert and musical variety show held in the winter and summer months. The event was created in December of 2000 by Hall of Fame Baseball journalist Peter Gammons and former Boston Herald sports writer Jeff Horrigan. Over the past 13 years, Hot Stove Cool Music has become a staple on Boston’s entertainment calendar and has raised more than $5 Million for the Theo and Paul Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later.

ABOUT FOUNDATION TO BE NAMED LATER (FTBNL)

The Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL) was founded in 2005 by then Red Sox Executive Vice President and General Manager and current Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein and his twin brother Paul, a social worker in the Brookline public school system. Inspired by Paul and Theo’s commitment to creating positive opportunities for disadvantaged children and families in the Boston area, the Foundation expands the impact of youth-focused nonprofits by raising awareness and critical resources. Over the past six years, the Foundation has invested $5 million in grants and in-kind donations to local organizations and has sent more than 4,000 children to Red Sox and Celtics games. Central to FTBNL’s work are strategic partnerships with a team of nonprofits that serve disadvantaged children and families, including BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life); Citizen Schools; City Year Boston; The Home for Little Wanderers; Horizons for Homeless Children; Roxbury Youthworks; Steps to Success; and West End House Boys & Girls Club. With the generous support of RISO, FTBNL also created the “Peter Gammons College Scholarship,” named for the beloved Hall of Fame sports journalist and humanitarian, to provide 28 college scholarships to exemplary Boston area students who have overcome tremendous disadvantages but have great potential. Visit www.FoundationToBeNamedLater.org for more information.

Cherington on Napoli

The Red Sox never confirm a signing until a player passes a physical, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was at least willing to speak about the pending Mike Napoli signing in general terms in a meeting with beat reporters earlier tonight.

“We’ve made some progress and he’s a guy who gets on base, has power, could be a good fit for our  ballpark. We knew when we made the Dodgers trade, and moved Gonzalez, we were going to have to try to find a way to replace that offense and as we got into the offseason, we understood that that was probably going to have to come from a combination of guys and maybe not one guy. So that’s part of what we’ve been trying to do this offseason is add offense at a number of spots on the roster so we’re hopeful we can continue to do that.”

Will Napoli catch, or focus on first base? “He could catch, he can play first. If he’s here, we imagine he’d do some of both but that would be up to our manager to figure out.”

More details, please! “Hard to say. Obviously we’re not ready to announce anything. we can envision …there have been years when he’s caught a number of games, a lot, and there’s been years he’s caught less. We like his offense in Fenway, we like the versatility, so I’m going to say we’re hopeful to make some progress there.”

The Red Sox have a lot of catchers. Will they trade any of them. “We’ll see. I don’t have a good feel for that yet. It could be that that presents opportunities because of a potential surplus in that area, but I don’t know if that will turn into anything yet.”

The Red Sox have coveted Napoli for a long time. In fact, they claimed Napoli on waivers in 2010, but couldn’t work out a deal with the Angels at the time.

“Again we don’t have anything to announce,” Cherington said. “If we were to progress there, we’re looking at on-base, power, positional versatility and to collectively replace some of the offense we lost with Gonzalez and improve on the overall lineup performance. Someone like that can help us in a number of those areas.”

Monday meeting should determine Crawford’s fate

The Red Sox will have a summit meeting of sorts on Monday to determine whether Carl Crawford should continue to play, or undergo Tommy John Surgery to repair the UCL injury he’s been playing with in his left elbow.

“Ben and I just talked about it and you know, when he can’t play, he tells me he can’t play and I haven’t heard that today,” said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. “Tomorrow, we have an off-day and we’ll take that time to talk with Carl and the doctors and kind of get to the bottom of this entire situation.”

Cherington: Crawford surgery not inevitable yet

Though it has been widely assumed that Carl Crawford will undergo Tommy John Surgery for his left elbow, perhaps even before the end of the season, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that nothing has been decided.

Cherington spoke to reporters shortly after Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweeted, according to a source, that Crawford will ask to undergo surgery next week.

“He hasn’t asked about that,” Cherington said. “Carl’s playing through an elbow injury. He’s been trying to help the team win. It’s a situation we’re monitoring. We’ve been in close contact with him. We’ll continue to talk to him and determine a course that’s best for him and the team. There’s nothing more than that right now.”

While Crawford has been one of Boston’s best hitters in recent days, Cherington was asked if the injury has worsened since the left fielder came off the disabled list.

“I’m not going to get into detail on the nature of the injury,” Cherington said. “He’s got an injury that he’s been playing through, and playing well and, you know, gutting it out to help the team. Again, we’re monitoring it, we’re keeping in touch with him and seeing how he’s doing with it. We’ll continue to do that and focus on what’s best for him and the team.”

Cherington also downplayed the notion that the timing of surgery for Crawford would be based on where the Red Sox are in the standings.

“It’s going to be focused on him, mostly,” Cherington said. “We’re not going to ask a player to go out there and they’re having symptoms that don’t allow them to be who they want to be on the field. That’s not fair. It’s going to be a lot more about Carl and less about where the team is.”

Isn’t surgery for Crawford inevitable at this point?

“Well, it’s not inevitable until it happens,” Cherington said. “We’ve felt earlier this summer that it was something we had a chance to manage conservatively and Carl was on board for that. As I said, we’ll continue to monitor it and if it gets to the point where it’s not something he feels he can play with safely, then we’ll consider the next step. We haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

A pitcher is usually out a minimum of 11 to 12 calendar months following Tommy John. How about an outfielder?

“It’s shorter. It’s shorter, I’ve heard, anywhere from seven to nine months. It’s case by case and depends on the individual,” Cherington said.

Crawford is in manager Bobby Valentine’s lineup today against the Yankees, batting second and playing left field.

Henry, Cherington stand by Valentine

Red Sox owner John Henry and general manager Ben Cherington made it clear before Monday night’s game against the Rangers that Bobby Valentine isn’t going to be made a scapegoat for the team’s disappointing season to date.

“To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong,” Henry wrote in an email to reporters. “A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.

“In baseball, managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field. That seems to be a constant. There is often the thought in organizations, ‘This isn’t working so the manager needs to go.’ But an organization is much more than the field manager. We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager.”

The Boston Herald suggested on Monday that it was time for the Sox to make a change in the dugout. General manager Ben Cherington didn’t seem to agree.

“Bobby’s our manager, and we’re not looking at anyone else,” Cherington said in the dugout before Monday’s game. “He’s as committed to managing the team as he ever has been, and we’re committed to him and trying to do everything we can to support him and make this work.”

Valentine seemed unfazed by the situation prior to Monday’s game.

“I try not to be surprised. It comes with the territory,” Valentine said. “I just come to work and try to do the best that I can do. I can’t control [the] thought process, that’s for sure.”

Does Valentine feel he is managing to save his job?

“I have no idea, I manage for my job every day I think,” he said. “I try to give my best every day that I come out.”

To buy or sell becoming a real dilemma for Cherington

It all seemed so simple at the All-Star break. The Red Sox would get Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back to start the second half and go on a nice little run. Then Ben Cherington’s trade strategy would be simple. He would add a piece or two to help the Red Sox get that extra push for their pursuit of a playoff berth.

And like clockwork, they ripped off five wins in their first seven games, the last of those five a thrilling win on a Cody Ross three-run walkoff shot.

How many games have the Red Sox won since Ross got bathed in a splash of Gatorade? That would be zero. The Sox have lost four in a row to fall 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East, and four behind the A’s for the second Wild Card spot.

So now what does Cherington do?

“I mean, we hope not,” Dustin Pedroia said, when asked if the Sox could become sellers by July 31. “That second wild card, it could come down to the last week of the season. I was talking to Gary Tuck on the bus. He tells me every year, ‘Look at the standings Sept. 15 and see where you’re at.’ Usually every year, I remember 2010, we had half of our starters hurt and we look up Sept. 15 and we’re still there. We’ve got to keep fighting. That’s our mindset.”

But Cherington has to protect the Red Sox both this year and going forward. To help this year’s team, he might have to mortgage a future trip. And he must ask himself in that case: Has this team justified giving away future chips for?

There is always added tension in a clubhouse at this time of year, as rumors make their way from team to team. Almost to a man, the Red Sox say they aren’t thinking along these lines.

“All we can focus on is going out there and playing the game today,” said Adrian Gonzalez. “That’s all we can control. That’s what I’m pretty sure everyone feels in here. We’re not focused on the trade deadline. I don’t even know what today is to be honest with you. Actually I do know. today is the 23rd. that means it’s my daughter’s eight-month birthday. That’s the only reason I know what today is.”

Cherington is fully aware of the date. Back in 1987, the late Lou Gorman released veterans Bill Buckner and Don Baylor, and let the kids – from Ellis Burks to Mike Greenwell to Sam Horn to Todd Benzinger to John Marzano — play for the rest of the season.

Could Cherington take a similar approach this year with prospects like Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias and unload a few veterans?

The Red Sox are likely going to determine his path with what they do on the final five games of this crucial road trip through Texas and New York.

“It’s the same mood,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “We’re trying to win. We’ve got to go out there and battle. We’ve just got to continue to do what we do best, and that’s stay in there and grind. We’ve got to pitch better. We’ve got to play better. We’ve been playing decent baseball since the break. Obviously, the last homestand wasn’t great, but other than that, we’ve been playing all right.”

To become a factor in 2012 — and to buy instead of sell — the Red Sox need to start playing better than all right real soon.

The developing debate at the hot corner

The Red Sox have an old-fashioned quarterback controversy developing here. Well, make that a third base controversy.

Will Middlebrooks, the prized prospect, is hitting the cover off the ball. Kevin Youkilis is on the disabled list, resting his ailing back.

So what happens when Youkilis comes back? The earliest Youk can play is next Monday at home against the Indians. Given that he had just started a walking program the other day, it sounds ambitious that he would return that soon.

In other words, Middlebrooks will get a chance to keep proving himself, like he did Monday night, when he put on a Tour De Force of power at Kauffman Stadium. He curled one around the RF foul pole. He smashed one off the wall in center. He clanged one off the LF foul pole. For those keeping score at home, Middlebrooks has nine RBIs in the last two games.

To take it a step further, Youkilis has nine RBIs in 64 at-bats. Middlebrooks has had 21 at-bats.

Can Youkilis revert back to the star he was before injuries started taking a toll on him in August of 2010? In his last 143 at-bats dating back to Aug. 1 of last season, Youkilis is hitting .203 with four homers and 15 RBIs.

But what happens when scouting reports start to develop on Middlebrooks? Does he then tail off or does he adjust quickly?

There is a lot to think about for the Red Sox. Youkilis obviously doesn’t have a lot of trade value at the moment, given his $12 million salary for this season. He is a free agent following the year, and the Red Sox hold a $13 million option on him with a $1 million buyout.

Could a situation develop where Youkilis is the veteran stuck on the bench, like Mike Lowell in 2010?

Or do the Red Sox deal Youkilis, in which case they will likely have to eat a lot of the salary.

This is yet another tough decision for Ben Cherington to be faced with in his first season as general manager.

Middlebrooks and the Red Sox are back out there tonight in an 8:05 p.m. ET contest at Kauffman Stadium.

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