Sox have plenty of evaluating to do in spring training

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Sox have plenty of evaluating to do in spring training

WORCESTER -- The Red Sox will go into the start of spring training with a number of jobs open for competition, a task made more difficult by the fact that spring is a tough time to evaluate players.

Managers and executives often say that March and September are the toughest two months to evaluate. But given that there are openings at shortstop, right field, the starting rotation and the bullpen, the Sox have no other choice.

"You rely on your evaluators and you make sure you're not fooled by results,'' said manager Bobby Valentine, who appeared at a Town Hall event at Worcester Technical High School. "The reason spring training is a bad indicator is people use the results of spring training as the indicator of the evaluation. And that's foolish, I think.

"But because we have a lot of very talented people in uniform and out of uniform who are going to be watching these guys day-in and day-out, we'll make a pretty good guess. You have to understand what you're looking at and then hope that the bright lights (of the regular season) don't change anything. But I think you can at least make a proper talent evaluation, given seven weeks of spring training.''

"Spring training is a difficult competition place . . . It takes a little imagination and some times you make the wrong decision. It's never the end of the world -- a wrong decision in April."

Said GM Ben Cherington: "It's not an ideal time to evaluate, but there are things that you can evaluate. You can certainly evaluate health, raw physical ability, if a guy is healthy. And then you can combine that with track record and get a pretty good sense for what a guy is capable of doing."

More complicated, said Cherington, is evaluating players like Daniel Bard, who's moving from the bullpen to the rotation.

"That's a little bit more involved,'' said Cherington. "We've got to look at different things. We've got to look at how they're responding to different things, how they're bouncing back and their work between outings.

"But teams have done it in the past and figured it out and we'll just have to figure it out ourselves.''

Kraft on possible Patriots reunion with Revis: 'I would love it'

Kraft on possible Patriots reunion with Revis: 'I would love it'

It was reported last week that multiple NFL executives are convinced that Darrelle Revis will return to the New England Patriots next season.

Talking with the New York Daily News, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he’d be open to a reunion with the 31-year-old cornerback.

“I would love it,” Kraft said. “Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome him if he wanted to come.”

Asked if the team has had discussions with Revis, Kraft said “ask my boy,” in reference to coach Bill Belichick.

Revis spent the 2014 season with the Patriots, helping them win Super Bowl XLIX. He bolted back to the New York Jets the next season, signing a five-year, $70 million contract ($39 million guaranteed).

The Jets released Revis earlier this month after the incident in Pittsburgh. A judge dismissed the charges.

Kraft says intention is not to trade Butler: 'We hope he's with us'

Kraft says intention is not to trade Butler: 'We hope he's with us'

PHOENIX -- The idea that Malcolm Butler could be traded by the Patriots before the start of the 2017 season has been floated for weeks. But if Robert Kraft had his way, he'd like for the hero of Super Bowl XLIX to stick around. 

At the Biltmore hotel on Day 2 of the league's annual meetings, Kraft was asked if he anticipated having Butler back in New England for next season.

"I sure hope so," he said. "We have [a first-round tender] out to him, and I know he has the ability to go out in the market and get someone to sign him, and then we either match it or get the first-round draft pick.

"I'm rooting, I hope, he's with us and signs his offer sheet and plays for us. I have a great affection for him. He was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that."

The Patriots can't trade any player who isn't under contract, and they can't talk about a trade for a player not on their roster. Therefore, even if the Patriots hoped to deal Butler and get something in return for the Pro Bowl-caliber corner before he hits unrestricted free agency in 2018, it's not something that the owner of the team would be at liberty to discuss with dozens of microphones in front of his face. 

The tender offer of $3.91 million for one season is still out there for Butler. He could sign it and play in New England. He could sign it and be traded. For now, Kraft says he's hoping for the former -- and insists that the Patriots didn't have designs on the latter all along.

"I don't want to, in any way, take away from his rights [as a restricted free agent]," he said, adding, "I want to be clear. I hope he's with us."