Red Sox Talk: Transcript of McAdam's live chat

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Red Sox Talk: Transcript of McAdam's live chat

Earlier today Red Sox insider Sean McAdam took some time to field questions from Red Sox Nation. Everything from Kevin Youkilis' tradability to the chemistry in the clubhouse, he had you covered. Let's dive right in to it.

Doug from Woburn asks:
A-gon's lack of power is a concern. BV moved him to 6th for 2 games but has moved him back to 3rd and 4th. Any thoughts about leaving him at 6th.

Sean McAdam:
I suppose that could be a temporary fix, but ultimately, Gonzalez has to be part of the 3-4 combinatrion with Ortiz. The bigger concern is his lack of patience and swinging early in the count

Jorge from Easton asks:
Other than Youk, which big name on the Sox is most likely to be traded?

Sean McAdam:
There aren't a lot of other obvious candidates unless the Red Sox fall way out of contention. Then, there would be others they could move. Among those: Shoppach, Ross, maybe some bullpen help.

Frankie J asks:
how big of an impact can we expect from Ellsbury when he returns to the lineup?

Sean McAdam:
Good question, Frankie. It's fair to say that he won't be 100 percent baseball ready when he comes back, Even with a rehab stint in the minors, it's not the same as MLB game situations. There will have to, eventually, be an adjustment period

Gary S. asks:
Hi Sean. What do you think will happen with Kevin Youkilis? Would the Red Sox get anything valuable in return if they were to trade him soon? Or do they have to wait it out and hope he starts to produce before selling? Thanks!

Sean McAdam:
A number of scouts who have watched Youkilis lately have come away decidedly uninpressed. That's not surpsing since he's in a 3-for-25 skid. He's not having good at-bats and not moving particuarly well at 3B. Unless he gets hot in a hurry, their best bet may be sitting him and using him as a role player while letting Middlebrooks play every day. If he's not going to return much value, it's silly to keep showcasing him.

Stubbs from Southie asks:
if the Sox continue to slide and fall far out of contention, does bobby v get canned? or is he allowed to finish the season?

Sean McAdam:
The only way Valentine doesn't finish the season is if there's some sort of "incident'' or all-out clubhouse insurrection. Larry Lucchino has a lot invested in Valentine's hiring. Also, in terms of the team's won-loss record, he'll be cut some slack because of the injuries he's had to deal with

Guest asks:
Hey Sean, with Dice-K's contract expiring after this season, wouldn't he be a great trade chip for a contender at the deadline? Perhaps a package of Youkilis and Dice-K for a young arm?

Sean McAdam:
I don't know how much value DiceK has with anyone right now, since he's made just one start since returning from Tommy John. If he has a handful of good starts between now and the All-Star break. there could be interest. But remember, DicK has a full no-trade clause and would likely only accept a deal to certain cities.

Beth asks:
How would you compare the atmosphere and camaraderie (or lack thereof) in the clubhouse this year with last year?

Sean McAdam:
It's different. Different players and different manager, so it's hard to compare. Every team has its own dynamic. This one seems less close that teams in the past. One of the things that Francona insisted upon in the past was for new players to be welcomed by the veteran and established players and I don't see that as much this season.

Pierre asks:
it seems to me the red sox have some trading chips in the bullpen they can sell and still keep the team competitive with the arms they have in the minors. wouldn't it be prudent to trade one or two of those arms (atchinson, albers, maybe even aceves after bailey comes back and shows he can close), promote a pitcher (clay mortenson, tazawa or wait until bailey comes off the dl), be sellers without actually giving up on the season.

Sean McAdam:
Possibly, Pierre. I think Atchison and Albers -- to cite two -- have some value as middle and set-up guys. But I wouldn't assume that Mortenson or anyone else in Pawtucket could step in and do the job that Atchison and Albers have done, so I don't think they'll be auctioning off bullpen pieces unless they think they're out of it. As we've seen, it takes a while to properly construct a bullpen and trying to do one on the fly, in the middle of a pennant race, is tough.

The Max Man asks:
Two on Ryan Kalish - 1) When do you think he will be called up? and 2) Is he the long-term answer in right field?

Sean McAdam:
As well as he's played, Kalish needs time. He essentially has lost more than a full season and needs to get his baseball legs back, to say nothing of his timing. Don't think you'll see him until July. And the Red Sox believe that, yes, he will be their RF for a while once he comes back.

WrapSandwichLover asks:
Boston runs so hot and cold with Bobby V! Do you think he's done a good job so far, or is his job in trouble? I think people forget how injured this team is...

Sean McAdam:
I don't sense that he's in "trouble,'' but the season continues to be a referendum on him. That's part of being a personality like Valentine. Everything he does is examined. Overall, I think he's done a good job reconstructing the bullpen. I think some of his in-game moves have been puzzling (sending Buchholz out for the 9th with a 7-0 lead is the most recent) and I'm not sure he's done a good job uniting the team.

Colton asks:
Your opinion Sean, does Daniel Bard START another game for the Red Sox this season?

Sean McAdam:
Guessing here, but: no. Unless something happens in the next few weeks to one of the five current starters. It's hard to imagine one

MiltonGuy asks:
Are the Red Sox worried that it's Rich Hill's sidearm delivery that's giving him elbow problems? Will they try to change it? Seems like it's helped make him effective, but at a price.

Sean McAdam:
No evidence of that. This latest setback is unrelated to the Tommy John surgery and could have happened to anyone. As to whether the sidearm caused the torn ligament in the first place, I haven't heard anyone suggest that, either. There's a rash of TJ injuries all over the game, regardless of arm angle or delivery.

Drew from Andover asks:
Sean, How do you think Bard would deal with a return to the bullpen from a mental standpoint? If you were manager, what would you do?

Sean McAdam:
He's made it clear that his preference is to start and there will be disappointment obviously. This is where the Red Sox, in my opinion, will miss Francona. Valentine doesn't have the same sort of relationship with the players. Francona could have "sold'' the move back to the bullpen; not sure Valentine has that capabilty.

Bob asks:
Do you think scouts are publicly saying they are less impressed with Youk because they are trying to drive his value down?

Sean McAdam:
Usually, scouts aren't "publicly'' saying anything; they speak on background or off-the-record, which affords them the chance to be candid without having critical comments linked to them. They're usually pretty honest. If a player is playing well, they say so. If not, they say that, too. An anonymous quote from scouts isn't going to drive value down if there's real value.

sco_ho asks:
Having fun covering the team this year? jk If the string of mediocritynon-contention continues, is anyone really untouchable on the roster? Does Cherington have the stones (or authority) to truly hit the reset button?

Sean McAdam:
I would say that if they really fall out of contention by July -- which, let's face it, is hard to do with the second wild card -- that they could listen on a lot of players. If they do indeed fail to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year, I believe there would be some housecleaning. But I think the owners might decided that the best thing to do is throw at the biggest free agents (Hamels, Greinke), thinking that would cure everything.

Kyle asks:
After Beckett has skipped out on post-game interviews twice in a row, it made me wonder how he gets along with media outside of the mandated times he needs to speak to them?

Sean McAdam:
He's not the most approachabe guy in the clubhouse unless you have some sort of relationship with him. I've found him to be somewhat guarded at times, but he's also capable of some interesting insight. He just doesn't like the format of sitting at a podium and talking about himself.

Jeremy asks:
Sean - Have you seen the SeptemberOctober schedule for the Sox? 3 v TOR, 3 v NYY, 3 @ TOR, 4 @ TB, 3 v BAL, 2 v TB, 3 @ BAL, 3 @ NYY. That's their final 24 games. Even if they are 5-6 games out at the deadline, can't a case be made that the division will be decided in September, moreso this year than in years past?

Sean McAdam:
If the division remains as close as it is now, yes. But two things to remember: the Sox actually start the month on the West Coast and 2) if everyone is playing one another in the division, it's going to be tough to leapfrog over more than one or two teams.

Robba asks:
what is the timing on Ellsbury, Crawford and Baliey?

Sean McAdam:
Been told that Ellsbury and Crawford will most likely be around mid-July. Bailey is a tougher projection. He's throwing, but hasn't thrown off the mound and the thumb won't really be tested until he's facing hitters. I would say Bailey could be late July, Aug. 1.

Harold in Weymouth asks:
Sean, Lester said last week it was good for Salty that Tek is gone. Do you think knowing the job is his and the Tek era is over is the major reason he's playing so well?

Sean McAdam:
I think that helps, yes. Salty doesn't have to look over his shoulder and knows he's the No. 1 guy. But two other things: 1) Varitek helped his development a great deal and never worried about teaching the kid who was taking over his job. Varitek was unselfish in that way with Victor Martinez, too. and 2) as a rule, catchers just tend to develop later, so maybe Salty just needed more time.

Nate asks:
Amy chance Sox can get Marcum or Garcia if STL or MIL are out of it?

Sean McAdam:
Garcia is hurt, so that complicates things. And if Milwaukee is going to make a deal, Greinke is the more likely choice since he's going to be a FA this fall.

BradleyBaskir asks:
With 100 years under Fenway Park's belt, is it time to start thinking about building a new stadium with the comfort of these new stadiums popping up (Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Marlins Stadium)? The seats are uncomfortable and the boulders are nuisance. Plus, wouldn't a 50,000 person stadium, rather than 37,000, make tickets cheaper down the road? I realize location is an obstacle, and I have no suggestions for where they could put the new park but it's time to move on from the "hallowed grounds of Fenway Park" in my opinion

Sean McAdam:
I agree with the tenor of your comments. As historic and nostalics as Fenway is, it's not very comfortable and doesn't offer great sightlines. As for capacity, smaller is better these days, as it creates "supply and demand.'' You're seeing ballparks with capacities in the low 40,000. And owners, in Boston or elsewhere, aren't interested in cheaper tickets. But the biggest obstacle is economics. A new ballpark in Boston would have to be mostly privately financed and would cost in excess of 1 billion. The current ownership has spent 300 million on renovating Fenway; they're not about to start over.

Andy asks:
Based on what you've seen and what you think the future will hold for this team, what percentage of a chance do you see them making the postseason?

Sean McAdam:
Not out of the question, but unless they take off in the second half when injured players return, I'd say not great. To put a number on it, I'd say about 20 percent -- tops.

Benjamin asks:
Assuming no trades and all OF's are healthy, what is the starting OF on Sept 1? Crawford, Ellsbury, and Kalish w Sweeney and Ross on the bench? What happens to Nava, McDonald, and Podsednik?

Sean McAdam:
That's it exactly, Benjamin -- Crawford, Ellsbury, Kalish, left to right, with perhaps Ross getting some platoon time in RF and Sweeney as the defensivebackup5th guy. As for the others, it depends on when the decisions come. McDonald will probably be exposed to waivers and optioned. Nava will be tougher.

BradleyBaskir asks:
In talking to scouts, is there any indication that Adrian Gonzalez's lack of power is a direct result of his shoulder not being fully healthy or is there something else with his mechanics at play?

Sean McAdam:
Not hearing anything about the shoulder; it's more about his approach. It's incredible that the same guy who led the majors in walks only three seasons ago has walked twice in the last month. He's also being far less selective within the count, swinging at too many first pitches and not working himself into favorable hitters' counts.

cbriody asks:
I know Bobby V has had patchwork of players to deal with this year, but it seems like he's constantly shuffling the batting order. Do you feel like some of these guys would benefit from a more consistent order, knowing where they're going to be batting day after day. It seemed like a couple of years ago, Tito had the same lineup day in and day out but not as much last year. Bobby seems to be doing the same thing that Tito did last year changing the batting order every single day.

Sean McAdam:
I think that mostly, the shuffled lineups are a matter of necessity with so many injuries. The outieidl has been stitched together from Day 1. And remember, for all the shuffling, until very recently, they were second in runs scored in the American League.

Sam asks:
I sense a lot of apathy growing in Red Sox nation. Fans showing up late to games and leaving early, or not even showing up at all. This fanbase just isn't the same as it was say 4 or 5 years ago. Your thoughts?

Sean McAdam:
Can't argue that point, Sam. The way the season ended last year left a bad taste with a lot of fans. There's also some frustration with ownership, and the fact that the Celtics and Bruins have had long playoff runs the last two springs has given fans some alternate choices. Bottom line: if they win (i.e. make the playoffs), people will be back. If they don't, they're in trouble.

Tony asks:
What do you think of the job Bob McClure has done? It seems like even though the pitchers are doing slightly better than last year, he isn't doing a great job either.

Sean McAdam:
Hard to evaluate a pitching coach in just over two months. The bullpen, as noted, has come around after a tough first few weeks. The veteran starters have been inconsistent, but I'm not sure that can laid at McClure's feet. I think just having three pitches coaches in the last three seasons has been tough when it comes to developing consistency for the staff.

Steve asks:
Do you expect the Red Sox to make some sort of move at the trade deadline? Even with some players coming back from injuries?

Sean McAdam:
They'll likely be looking for starting pitching depth and bullpen depth. But this year, with so many teams bunched together, they may not have a lot of sellers from which to choose

Kyle from Brighton asks:
Sean, Do you think the stress of playing outfield has really gotten to Adrian? He hasnt been hitting well at all. Playing first obviously comes natural to him and I think it is vital for him to get back to playing first so he can concentrate of hitting and not have to worry about hitting a cut off man or fielding hard hit liners.

Sean McAdam:
I don't sense that he sees the outfield as any great burden. It's not something he's accustomed to, but I don't think it's impacted him at the plate. He wasnt' hitting in the first six weeks, either, when he played 1B exclusively.

Jack asks:
Sean, do you think this ownership group will be selling anytime soon? Do they believe they have gone as far as they can with this business venture? especially w the cubs selling for 2 billion

Sean McAdam:
I talked to both John Henry and Tom Werner during spring training about this very issue. They insisted that they were determined to get the team back to being a winner; it was the Dodgers. And they sold for so much because their TV deal is up in another year, in the No. 1 TV market. So that inflated the price.

Carl from Everett asks:
Do you think Carl Crawford can return as the same player he was for the Rays? Or is that production a thing of the past?

Sean McAdam:
Good question. And I don't think that anyone really knows the answerr to this one. One thing is for sure -- trying to re-establish his game after two major injuries is not going to be easy.

Sammy asks:
How will these big contracts (lackey, matsuzaka, crawford) and such affected the team for the next several years? Seems like they have spent a lot of money and haven't gotten much in return. Also, the farm system isn't what it used to be. How do they even begin fixing this?

Sean McAdam:
Farm system is improving, but the impact guys are lower down and it will take another year or two. The temptation for a quick fix through free agency isn't the best way to go., but the owners may try it anyway if the Sox fail to make the post-season.

Sean McAdam: Thanks to all for sending questions. We'll do this again next Wed. Come back and pass the word along. Thanks again.

Report: Red Sox acquire bullpen help in Tyler Thornburg from Brewers; Travis Shaw included in trade

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Report: Red Sox acquire bullpen help in Tyler Thornburg from Brewers; Travis Shaw included in trade

According to multiple reports, the Red Sox have traded 1B/3B Travis Shaw and two minor-leaguers to the Milwaukee Brewers for righthander Tyler Thornburg. The prospects heading to Milwaukee are reliever Josh Pennington and infielder Mauricio Dubon.

The hard-throwing Thornburg had a tremendous season for the Brewers last year, sporting a 2.15 ERA in 67 appearances. Thornburg struck out 90 hitters in only 67 innnings, while walking 25. 

More to come...

NHL Notes: Carlo sticking with his strengths in the D-zone

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NHL Notes: Carlo sticking with his strengths in the D-zone

By all accounts, 20-year-old Brandon Carlo has been outstanding for the Boston Bruins.

The rookie D-man was remarkably strong and consistent skating with Zdeno Chara as a top-pairing shutdown D-man before the Bruins captain went down with injury, and he was still very good after adjusting to life without partner Big Zee over the last six games.

Carlo had a couple of assists and a plus-3 rating while topping 20 minutes of ice time in each of the games without Chara, and rightly saw it as an opportunity to show what he could without the 6-foot-9 safety net on his left side. It’s exactly those kinds of challenges that spark Carlo’s competitiveness and get the fire burning that he so desperately needs in order to play at such a high intensity level every night in the NHL.  

“Zee helps me a lot, but I feel like at the same time I have the strengths to be able to handle myself on my own in this league,” said Carlo, who leads all rookies by a wide margin with his plus-12 rating for the season. “It’s a great opportunity to get out there and build relationships defensively. I just take it as an opportunity to prove myself in this league by myself. It was an opportunity to gain some confidence in different ways. With Zee playing so well and with such great chemistry between us, it gave me a whole bunch of confidence.

“Playing with different guys and matching up against the other team’s best players or matching up with third and fourth lines and maybe taking a few more hits, it shows that I can play anywhere in the lineup. It’s another great opportunity to prove myself.”

Well, Carlo has proven himself and passed that test along with all of the other NHL rookie exams set in front of him more than a quarter of the way through the regular season.

Clearly there are obvious gifts with Carlo plain to anybody watching him for the first time. He has the 6-foot-5, 203-pound frame that simply can’t be taught and that size allows him to win battles against stronger, more experienced opponents looking to do battle with him in Boston’s defensive zone.

He also has a very good point shot he consistently threads through traffic, and that has him on pace for a very respectable seven-goal, 20-point rookie campaign without any power play time mixed into his ice time. The decision-making with the puck and the passing is tape-to-tape more often than it’s not, and Carlo usually does a good job of avoiding the kind of high risk passes that can turn into goals against while battling other team’s top line players.

He keeps it simple and keeps it focused on defense, but Carlo also shows there is more surface to scratch with his offensive game.

Some of Carlo’s talents are a little less apparent to the casual observer, however.

The defensive stick-work, in particular, is something that you notice after watching Carlo shut things down in the D-zone night after night. He uses his long wing span and king-sized stick to poke pucks away from attackers, and has an uncanny ability to sweep the puck away from speedier players that were able to get a step on the big D-man.

“The one thing is that he’s so long and his stick is so long, it gives him time to recover because as a young kid in the league you’re going to make a lot of mistakes,” said Torey Krug, who has had to learn to survive in the NHL without those particular gifts. “He has the ability to come back and recover. The second part of that is being unfazed by it. He can make a mistake on one shift, and the next shift he shrugs it off and says ‘Okay, I’m not gonna get beat like that again.’ He has the ability to overcome that. He has the right head on his shoulders with the willingness to listen, to learn and to just keep getting better.”

The stick-checking in the D-zone is exactly how somebody would teach their hockey-playing kids to utilize the stick in the defensive zone, provided those puck prodigies were 6-foot-5 with excellent strength and hand-eye coordination to boot. Carlo said it’s something he’s nearly always been able to do as a big-bodied defenseman, and that certainly was reinforced by his coaching at the WHL level with the Tri-City Americans.

“There were not a lot of teaching points there. The stick is just something that I’ve always just loved using,” said Carlo. “Whenever I was on 1-on-1’s with my teams the guys would hate going against me because my poke check was so good. It’s just something that I really took pride in, developed and just got better and better with over time. There are certain things guys have told me [over the years] like using the straight back-and-forth instead of the windshield wiper [stick check].

“With my size I kind of had to adapt to the long stick, and I really enjoy using it [as a defensive weapon]. It gives me an extra step and an extra opportunity to get the puck away from guys too, particularly when they get behind me. It’s nice that I can use that long reach to get me out of sticky situations at times.”

Claude Julien made certain to point out that it’s something Carlo brought to the table prior to joining the Bruins organization, and was noticed immediately by the Providence Bruins coaching staff last season in his handful of games with them. It’s something of a rarity for a 19 or 20-year-old player to have that kind of stick technique down to a science to the point where it becomes a defensive weapon for him at the NHL level.

It’s also something that’s made Carlo’s transition to the NHL almost seamless despite just eight games of AHL experience entering this season.

“Most young guys always have two hands on their stick and it’s up around their waist, and you have to do a good job of teaching them to keep one hand on the stick with sticks on pucks,” said Julien. “Those are the kinds of things where it’s hard [sometimes] to break younger players in because for some reason they’re told to keep two hands on their sticks when they’re younger. At this level we need the one hand to have sticks on pucks.

“That’s what came out of last year when he first got to Providence. He had a very good stick and that’s what we were told. He had that before he came here, and that was one of his strengths. You continue to work with him because that has been one of his best weapons. Zdeno is probably one of those guys that’s going to tell you it served him extremely well, so he’s learning from the best when he’s playing with [Chara]. No doubt that’s been a big part of why he’s able to play here right now is because he defends well, and he uses his stick well.”

It’s exactly those kinds of fundamental strengths that have the Bruins believing they’ve got the real deal in a top-4, shutdown D-man in Carlo, and that the 20-year-old Colorado native has played himself into a big part of the big picture future for the Black and Gold. 

ONE TIMERS

*Seeing Brad Marchand lose it on a linesman Saturday afternoon in Buffalo reminds me of his preseason comments on getting on the good side with the refs this season. Marchand had just engaged in a scuffle with Rasmus Ristolainen, and then the Bruins winger engaged in a verbal scuffle with one of the officials during the ensuing face-off. Cameras caught Marchand saying “Do your job! Do your job!” before dropping a couple of clear F-bombs his way before the puck was dropped. Well, so much for racking up the brownie points to change the reputation with the refs, eh Brad?

*In case it isn’t already obvious, expect the Bruins big trade acquisition prior to the deadline to involve a top-6 forward that can put the puck in the net rather than a top-4 defenseman. They could use both, of course, but they are looking to find somebody that can finally fill into Loui Eriksson’s left wing role on David Krejci’s line, and both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller haven’t been perfect solutions for the playmaking Krejci. Certainly the Black and Gold will look at 22-year-old Frank Vatrano when he comes back as well, but there’s no telling how long it’s going to take a youngster like that to fully come back from foot surgery. The Bruins may just hedge their bets by going out and getting another winger after putting together a whole collection of centers on the roster this summer.

*Continued prayers and thoughts for Craig Cunningham as it sounds like he’s on the road to recovery in very slow steps out in Arizona. He is a great kid and deserves all the positive thoughts that Bruins Nation can send out to him.

*If you haven’t already, go out and pick up fellow Bruins writer Fluto Shinzawa’s new book entitled “Big 50: Boston Bruins: The Men and Moments that Made the Boston Bruins.” The Boston Globe writer goes deep into the B’s history books for some Old Time Hockey anecdotes and characters, and also gives you a close-up view of the last 10 years as he’s covered the daily doings of the Black and Gold. It’s not that big of a book either, so it looks like the perfect Christmas stocking stuffer for the Bruins fan in your family.

Remember, keep shooting the puck at the net and good things are bound to happen.