Breaking News: Ortiz wants a contract

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Breaking News: Ortiz wants a contract

This just in: The Red Sox have a lot on their plate this offseason.

Among the items on Ben Cherington's to-do list: Finding a replacement for Adrian Gonzalez, finding a replacement for Bobby Valentine, finding another quality starter, finding a few guys who know how to get on base, figuring out what to do with Jacoby Ellsbury and finally, convincing Larry Lucchino that anything and everything is worthy of his diabolical plan.

And then there's the seemingly annual task on the Sox winter check list: Dealing with David Ortiz!

Papi hits the free agent market again this year, and to absolutely no one's surprise, he's already sounding off on his desire for a mulit-year contract. In this case, to the Herald's Scott Lauber:

Yeah, of course, its something I dont want to be worried about anymore, Ortiz said. If I can play, I can play. You cant take that away from me. I think its easier for me not to be answering the questions youre asking me right now the whole year.

Its been, what, three years now that Ive got to be answering this question, and Ive been one of the most productive players on this ball club. Why me?

The "Why me?" question can be answered a few ways. There's the fact that he'll turn 37 in November. There's the fact that he was previously linked to steroids and initially saw his numbers dwindle in the aftermath. There's the fact that he's now been hampered by a sore Achilles at various points over the last two years, with the most recent incident causing him to miss the final two months of the season. There's the fact that there's not another team in baseball that will give him a multi-year deal. There's the fact that most of the questions that he's asked about the issue stem from him bringing said issue up himself, unprovoked, numerous times every season.

I think that will suffice for now.

And the question moving forward is: Will the Sox ever give him more than one year? All signs point to no.

Which leads us to another question: Is David Ortiz worth the headache?

I mean, we all know that the Sox can use and will probably need his bat in the line-up next year, but in the name of cleansing that clubhouse and changing the face and focus of this organization, will Papi's number be worth having to listen to him constantly or even sporadically bitch about not having more security?

I say no. But just to be sure, let me just check with Larry first.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.
 

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.