First Pitch: The latest Sox newsrumorsspeculation


First Pitch: The latest Sox newsrumorsspeculation

By ArtMartone

Welcome toFirst Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox.

THIS IS QUIET? It was a quiet day on the Theo EpsteinTerry FranconaRed Sox manager's front, if your idea of "quiet" is . . .

Francona taking to the WEEI airwaves for kind of a farewell speech (, in which he said, among things, that a) he'd have come back to the Red Sox if ownership had picked up the 2012 option on his contract, and b) he got a condolence call from Manny Ramirez. (!)

Tito finding a temp job: Analyst on FOX' ALCS broadcast. (

The Sox dumping first-base coach Ron Johnson. (

Other than that, not much.

YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS OURS: As for Epstein, everyone's gone to ground (to paraphrase Silvio Dante). The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman says no one knows what's going to happen in the Theo Epstein saga.

HERE'S MINE: But CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney knows what should happen. Hint: It doesn't involve staying in Boston.

YOU THINK THE PRESSURE'S BAD NOW? Just wait 'til -- if -- Theo gets to Chicago, says Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly. (

A LITTLE MORE ELOQUENT THAN 'EEI's CRANKY YANKEE, BUT YOU GET THE DRIFT: Howard Bryant lays out the standard anti-Theo Epstein screed. ( Bryant also claims the "2003 Red Sox introduced then abandoned a disastrous Bill James concept called the 'closer-by-committee,' " which is fine except it's a "concept" that James a) never developed and b) never advocated (and certainly never advocated as an employee of the Red Sox).

MORE ON THE MANAGER'S FRONT: Joe Maddon says the Sox haven't yet approached the Rays about permission to talk to Dave Martinez (St. Petersburg Times), though everyone expects they will.

AND MORE: Beer Leaguer explains why Francona and the White Sox are a bad fit.

MY CONDOLENCES: He was watching it long distance, from Cincinnati, but ex-Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo felt bad for his former team during the September collapse. (

OUT OF THE BOX THINKING: Bleacher Report's Shaun Toback suggests the Sox dump David Ortiz and sign Prince Fielder.

FAR-REACHING: The Red Sox' failure to make the playoffs affected local politics in Attleboro. (

AND FINALLY . . . The Tampa Tribune's Joe Henderson says Stu Sternberg could have postponed his the-end-is-near speech for at least a day, to give folks time to salute the Rays for their marvelous season.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'


Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”