Red Sox prepare for winter meetings

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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.

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California. 

 

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."