Ortiz wouldn't be surprised if the Orioles win it all

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Ortiz wouldn't be surprised if the Orioles win it all

BOSTON -- If anybody knows the American League East, it's David Ortiz.

And on Sunday morning, Ortiz sat inside the Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park, looking out at the division standings on the Green Monster. What he saw was his team in last place, and the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles tied for first, with the Tampa Bay Rays two games back.

Ortiz broke it down as best he could, before Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, and he praised the three teams that are still in the playoff race.

But he singled out the Orioles.

"That's the team that you want to be like," said Ortiz.

Ortiz pointed to starting pitching. In fact, he stressed productive starting pitching as being the reason those teams are playing for something in September.

But he also pointed out that nobody is quite as good as Baltimore in the final month of the regular season.

"They're doing their thing," said Ortiz. "And pretty much the way they're playing right now, that's how they play every September. The difference is, they've been playing like that through the whole year. But September, for some reason -- you know they would play bad during the year -- then in September, for some reason, I don't know what it is, they would be just the hottest team in baseball the past couple years.

"But they've played well the whole year, and now, in September, they're going back to what they normally do . . . I wouldn't be surprised if they get to be the World Champions. They've got what you need to compete in the playoffs."

What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

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What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

Across the way from John Farrell in the Rangers dugout this series is a manager who was voted the American League’s best in his first year at the helm, 2015.

Jeff Banister is one of three full-time skippers Rangers president Jon Daniels has had in his time running the Rangers.

Much has been made about how Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the manager’s job: that in-game management isn’t the most important, but running the clubhouse is.

How does another top baseball exec look at it? Daniels explained on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast.

“I think manager’s an enormous role,” Daniels said. “Huge importance, I don’t buy into any of the sort of snarky commentary. … What I think sometimes gets a little blown out of proportions, at times whether it’s lineup construction, some of those — the in-game stuff, bullpen management’s very real. 

“Certainly the knowledge of the game is big. I think the ability to teach the game is big. But the No. 1 separator, in my opinion, is managing people. It’s really the word ‘manager.’ Helping to mold the culture in the clubhouse. Getting everybody on the same page. Young players, older players, everybody’s got different self-interests and to be able to get all those unique self-interests enough on the same page for a common goal while representing the club publicly, with the media, with the fans, and doing it under a pretty intense spotlight — I think that’s the biggest piece. Probably the hardest to truly evaluate unless you’re like, in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse on a daily basis and have a sense for who’s good at it, who’s not. That for me is like where guys really separate themselves.”

Asked if he’s ever surprised by player sensitivity, Daniels underscored what stage of life most ballplayers are in.

“Everybody’s different, right?” Daniels said. “So everyone has different insecurities, everyone has different level of ego, grown up in different circumstances. At the end of the day everybody wants a few basic things. You want to be like kind of communicated on a pretty forthright, direct way. You want to be treated with respect. Some guys can handle a little more criticism than others. 

“Some guys can handle a little more criticism from their peers than others can. I think that’s a manager’s job, to understand kind of the different approaches. Players, the guys are in their 20s. Think about where you were when you were first out of college … a few years off that, and your maturity level and really your lack of life experience in a lot of ways. And, kind of like evaluate under those circumstances: you’re going to be somewhat sensitive when you’re in that time period in your life.”

How well a manager handles a clubhouse isn’t something the Rangers, at least, have tried to quantify.

“More anecdotal for me. There may be ways,” Daniels said. “I haven’t really been part of that. If there is [a way] we haven’t figured it out, and we haven’t really tried to do, to be honest with you.”

For the full interview, listen to the podcast below

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

David Price may have allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night during his second rehab start in Triple-A, but the Red Sox apparently liked what they saw.

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Manager John Farrell announced moments ago that Price will rejoin the Red Sox Monday and start that day's game in Chicago against the White Sox. Farrell said the Sox were more concerned with how Price felt physically after his rehab start, not the results, and they're satisfied he's ready to return.

More to come . . .