Where else is Papi headed?


Where else is Papi headed?

OK, so we can obviously rule out the entire National League.

You have a better chance of seeing Larry Lucchino standing outside Theo's bedroom window with a boom box than you do of seeing David Ortiz in the N.L.

Next, let's consider the reigning American League playoff teams.

After all, you assume that Ortiz wants to play for a winner:

Texas: They're already paying Michael Young 32 million over next two years. At 35, Young can still play a little third base, and a little more first base, but more than anything he's a DH. Made 69 appearances last year, and that will increase.

Tigers: Hey, remember Victor Martinez?
Yankees: They've already expressed their disinterest, although things can always change. But what won't change is that 37-year-old Derek Jeter and 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez are at the point where they'll need their share of reps in the designated slot. (Also, I don't care that they're Yankees, that last sentence is depressing as hell).

Tampa Bay: This one's interesting, especially if the Rays don't bring back Johnny Damon. But then again, if the Sox aren't willing to give Papi what he wants (and we have to assume that, all offers being equal, Ortiz would stay in Boston), why would the Rays? Overpaying is not their style.

OK, so how about other perennial contenders?

Angels: They still have Bobby Abreu on the hook for another season, and Kendrys Morales should finally return after the most costly home run celebration in Major League history.

White Sox: They owe Adam Dunn 44 million over the next three years. Ha. Also, soon-to-be 36-year-old Paul Konerko's around for the next two years and getting DHier by the day.

And perennial non-contenders?

A's and Mariners: Both these teams are in the market for a DH, but there's no way Ortiz makes the leap. Or if he does, he'll immediately regret the decision. You don't spend nearly a decade as a hero in the most obsessed baseball city in America and make a seamless transition into the doldrums of the AL West. Also, while we're here, let's eliminate the rest of the AL Central: Indians, Royals and Twins = not happening.

And lastly, how about the rest of the A.L. East?

Blue Jays: Their need for Ortiz decreased when they picked up the option on Edwin Encarnacion, but I suppose there's still might be some interest. Idea: If the Jays want Papi so badly, the Sox should sign him themselves and then offer Ortiz straight up for John Farrell.

Orioles: You know Buck Showalter would love this. The guy's more concerned with the Red Sox than he his own team. But then again, if they're looking for an aging Dominican DH, they're better off re-signing Vlad Guerrero he'll come cheaper. Or better yet, how about bringing both Vlad and Papi in and having them race around the bases for the job? At the end of the day, much like with the A's and Mariners, I don't see Papi sucking it up and committing two (or three) years to basement Baltimore.

And at the end of free agency, despite alleged interest and other offers, I don't see Papi anywhere but Boston. He and his agent can posture all they want.

There's no better fit and no more likely destination.

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

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins


Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

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.