Red Sox look to focus on starting rotation

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Red Sox look to focus on starting rotation

NASHVILLE -- With most of their outfield settled and most of the everyday lineup established, the Red Sox can now focus on finding an addition to their starting rotation.
But that could take a while.
Until two of the top free agent starters -- Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez -- sign, the market for starting pitchers isn't likely to be fully formed.
When Greinke and Sanchez decide -- the Sox aren't in the former at all, and only peripherally in on the latter -- it will determine what some of the lesser starters can command on the market.
"Could be,'' said Red Sox GM Ben Cherington when asked if he thought it might be a while. "We wondered if one of the guys went off (the board), it would speed up. We'll see. It seems like it may be moving a little bit.''
Among the names being considered by the Red Sox: Ryan Dempster; Brandon McCarthy; and Francisco Liriano.
Dempster, 36, who was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers last summer, is said to be looking for a three-year deal. To date, the offers he's received have not exceeded two years.
Further, according to a source, Dempster clearly prefers to pitch in the National League -- when he's pitched the vast majority of his career -- and also prefers to play for a team which has spring training in Arizona.
Those guidelines would seem to rule the Red Sox out of the running for Dempster.
McCarthy, who underwent brain surgery after being struck in the head by a line drive in early September, is fully recovered from his ordeal. But McCarthy has a long history of injuries and the Sox are said to be worried whether he can be counted on to provide 180 or more innings.
Finally, there's Liriano, who would give the Red Sox a third lefty starter to join Jon Lester and Felix Doubront. Liriano is likely to be among the more affordable starters on the market, in part because of his inconsistent performance since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2007.
Beyond the free agent market, the Sox continue to explore some potential trade opportunities for pitching.
Asked whether it was more likely the Sox find pitching help through free agency or the trade route, Cherington said: "I don't know. We're not close enough to anything to handicap it. We're definitely talking about both options.''
One trade partner would seem to be the Chicago White Sox, who are eager to shed some salary. Accordingly, righthander Gavin Floyd (9.5 million) is available and the White Sox have a need at catcher, which could lead to talk about Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
However, the White Sox are telling teams that if they moved Floyd, they would have to a get a more affordable starting pitcher back in return.

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.