The Red Sox acquired infielder Brock Holt, along with closer Joel Hanrahan, in the six-player deal with the Pirates on Wednesday.Holt, 24, a ninth-round pick of the Pirates in 2009 out of Rice University, made his big league debut for Pittsburgh in September. In 24 games, the left-handed batter hit .292, going 19-for-65 with three extra-base hits -- two doubles and a triple -- six runs scored, and three RBI. He had four walks with 14 strikeouts.Were also excited to acquire Brock Holt in this trade, said Red Sox assistant general manager Brian OHalloran on a conference call, filling in for GM Ben Cherington ,who was traveling. Hes a 24-year-old infielder, left-handed hitter that will really complement the mix of middle infielders that we bring into camp and I think hes going to be a good player for us going forward. Hes a very hard-nosed player type of guy that, hes had a lot of success in the minor leagues and in a brief call-up in September for Pittsburgh. Were excited to have him and the energy that he brings to the table. Hes got a line-drive stroke and we think hell be a good addition to our middle infield corps.In four minor league seasons, Holt has hit .317 with a .381 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage. Making his first appearance at Triple-A in 2012, hit .432 in 24 games, going 41-for-95, with a .476 OBP and .537 SLG.Brock Holt is a nice little hitter, said one scout. He can hit. Hes not going to hit for a ton of power, but he can hit.Overall, Holt has posted a.961 fielding percentage in the minors, .949 at shortstop and .980 at second base. With Triple-A Indianapolis last season, he had a .973 mark at second, .944 at short. But in 14 starts with the Pirates, all at second base filling in for injured veteran Neil Walker, he committed four errors in 64 chances for a .938 fielding percentage.Defensively he was pretty darn good in the minor leagues at second base and shortstop, more so second base, kind of average range, said the scout. But when he got to the big leagues it was almost as if he panicked and the game really sped up on him, and he was awful defensively, like really slow with feeds on double plays. Compared to Neil Walker you really could tell the difference defensively. But he can really hit.But those are the kinds of shortcomings that can be overcome with more experience and familiarity.Yes, I think hell get better defensively with that comfort level, because if you had watched him at all in the minor leagues youd never think he had a deficiency defensively, said the scout. You might say Oh, OK, hes not great but he catches everything he gets to. Hes got sure hands. The whole nine yards. But then when he got to the big leagues, youd say, Wait a minute. I didnt see this guy in the minors. He really looked rigid, stiff, he looked out of his element defensively.But at the plate, they got to pitch him really in tight to get him out. With balls out on the outer half he would drill the ball to left field or back through the middle. Hes a good hitter. He can handle lefties OK. The breaking ball doesnt give him fits. And hes a hard-nosed player. He can play some shortstop if need be. I think they might want to move him around in spring training, move him to third, short, second. Dustin Pedroia's not going anywhere and if thats Holts best position, see if he can play somewhere else, maybe even left field. His arms average. Its not above or below, but its average. But he seems like a hard-nosed player and he comes to play every day.Holt was added to the 40-man roster. Barring anything unforeseen, he is likely to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
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BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.
It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.
Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.
Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.
This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.
And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.
“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.