Red Sox prepare for winter meetings

603058.jpg

Red Sox prepare for winter meetings

BOSTON -- Now that the Red Sox finally have a manager, they can turn their attention to other matters.

I think weve been in a stable place for the last two months, said principal owner John Henry after Bobby Valentine was introduced as the teams 45th manager Thursday at Fenway Park.

But at least now we can move forward with some of the things we need to move forward with.

This was priority No. 1. But weve got some holes to fill.

With the winter meetings beginning Monday in Dallas, general manager Ben Cherington can turn his attention to the issues on the teams list of needs. This is not an insignificant list.

Im sure well accomplish something at the meetings, Cherington said. I dont know what its going to be. I can't guarantee when player moves will happen but weve got a pretty good idea of the landscape and idea of our needs. I mentioned this earlier but it sounds like a little bit of a clich at this point, but I really do believe that the biggest work we have to do, the biggest job we have to do is really internally. Hiring a manager is a huge part of that. There are other parts of the operation weve been restructuring. Were going to make player moves but weve got a lot of good players and weve made some big moves last offseason. I think the work we do this offseason is going to be a little bit different in nature but certainly therell be player moves and we have been working on that. Theyll start happening soon.

But, it was hard to address those needs without a manager. Free agents may balk at joining a team without knowing the manager or coaching staff.

I think its helpful to have a manager in place before we go to the winter meetings, Cherington said. The winter meetings is a little bit of an arbitrary event as far as the timing. But the reality is a lot happens there because every team is there. So its important to have a managers voice in those decisions.

With that piece of business taken care of, the Sox can now address the roster. It is unlikely the Sox will make as big a splash at these meetings as they did in 2010, when, in a matter of 72 hours they doled out 296 million to two of the most coveted free agents on the market first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and left fielder Carl Crawford. That doesnt mean, though, that the Sox wont at least be included in the conversations for several free agents.

"We're not going to rule out any avenue, whether free agency or anything, said Sox presidentCEO Larry Lucchino. We need deep depth. You've heard me say that. If we had enough deep depth we may have averted some of the problems we had at the end of the year.

I said once before, we're going to explore it with healthy skepticism. But we're going to explore every possibility: trades, free agents, international signings, everything. Ben has got all those things going on these days."

The Sox have already lost closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies in free agency. How active the Sox will be in the free agent market remains to be seen.

Every free agencys different, Henry said. The players are different, and our needs are different. But we certainly have needs and well be working on addressing those.

Cherington has a meeting in Dallas planned with Fern Cuza, the agent for designated hitter David Ortiz, the Sox other high-profile free agent. Valentine traveled to the Dominican Republic this weekend to meet with Ortiz during his charity golf tournament, a lobbying junket to convince the DH to stay in Boston. The Sox offered arbitration to Ortiz. The deadline to accept is Wednesday. (Reliever Dan Wheeler was the only other player to whom the Sox offered arbitration.)

We offered arbitration and thats significant, Cherington said of Ortiz. Because he has a decision to make on Wednesday and if we dont reach an agreement before then. Weve had continued good dialogue. And well get together with Fern and his other agents in Dallas.

The Sox will be open to trades, as well.

Weve been working on both fronts, Cherington said. Theres been things we could have done and chose not to. Its like any other off-season. You're trying to find the right opportunity, the ones that make sense for us.

And now, finally, the Sox can focus on those.

First impressions: Detroit Tigers 4, Boston Red Sox 3

red-sox-eduardo-rodriguez-072716.jpg

First impressions: Detroit Tigers 4, Boston Red Sox 3

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Detroit on Wednesday afternoon:

1) Eduardo Rodriguez pitched pretty well, but not well -- or deep -- enough.

Rodriguez has now made three starts since coming back from Pawtucket and any one of them was better than his starts from earlier this year.

He's no longer tipping his pitches, he's commanding better in general and his fastball has been more powerful.

But he's also giving up a lot of hits (19 in 18 innings) and he's gotten through the sixth inning just once in his three outings. For a team short in its bullpen, that's leaving a big workload for the relievers.

2) The late-inning comebacks have been in short supply.

Yes,  the Red Sox have scored runs by the boatload at times. And yes, they've mostly played hard this season.

But before Wednesday, the Sox had been just 3-35 when trailing after seven innings and they had enjoyed only two walkoff wins all season.

Those numbers can be misleading, of course. Teams can dig out from early holes -- as the Red Sox did Tuesday night.

But the ninth-inning rallies haven't happened much. In fact, on the current home stand, the Sox have had the top-to-middle part of the order up in the bottom of the ninth -- with David Ortiz getting an at-bat each time -- on four separate occasions, trailing by a run or two, and couldn't produce a winning rally.

3) Clay Buchholz may be pitching himself out of the doghouse

After going weeks -- literally --between appearances, Buchholz has been called upon four times in the last seven games.

Granted, in most of those games, the Red Sox have been trailing. But the games were such that they were still within reach, contradicting John Farrell's remarks late last week when he broadly hinted that he didn't trust Buchholz in games that were close.

Slowly, however, Buchholz could be earning some trust coming out of the bullpen. He had a perfect inning Wednesday with the Sox trailing by a run at the time.

Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers lineup: E-Rod aims to avoid sweep

red_sox_eduardo_rodriguez_071115.jpg

Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers lineup: E-Rod aims to avoid sweep

BOSTON -- The Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound as they attempt to salvage the final game of their homestand and avoid a sweep at the hands of the Tigers.

Today's lineups:

TIGERS:
Ian Kinsler 2B
Jose Iglesias SS
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Nick Castellanos 3B
Justin Upton LF
Mike Aviles RF
James McCann C
Tyler Collins CF
---
Michael Fullmer P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF
---
Eduardo Rodriguez P