With Jon Lester and Josh Beckett plagued by inconsistency for the entire season, general manager Ben Cherington continues to eye starting pitching above all else as he works the phones in the final week leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
One name Cherington can cross off his list is Anibal Sanchez, the former Boston farm-hand who was dealt to the Tigers Monday night.
According to ESPNBoston.com’s Joe McDonald, the Red Sox have also been in the hunt for another Florida starter — former righty ace Josh Johnson.
However, Johnson is having a season eerily similar to that of Beckett and Lester, going 5-7 with a 4.35 ERA.
Matt Garza is another pitcher Boston has looked long and hard at, though interest might have diminished a bit when the righty left his last start with tricep soreness and is expected to miss his next turn in the rotation.
What went into the decision to keep Ellsbury in the leadoff spot? “Jacoby? Obviously we talk about the lineup as a group. It seems like in this grouping he looks really good being there and I also thought it would be apropos for you guys to write about the number one and number two in the MVP voting facing each other on a first pitch here in Detroit this year. And he liked it too. Talking to him, he kind of relished the idea.”
How can Ellsbury have another year like last year? “By taking it one pitch at a time. Obviously today, at the end of today, he’s not going to have the stats that he had at the end of last year. And, you know, the trap everyone always falls into is answering all those questions. How are you going to do better this year than you did last year? You start thinking that you have to hit a home run every time and a triple the next time and two doubles and steal bases, drive in the runs, all at once, and that’s not how it happens.” Read more
The two most alluring starting pitchers who still remain free agents have both received offers from the Red Sox, according to reports Wednesday.
Roy Oswalt’s received a “significant” offer according to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, while Jim Bowden of ESPN reported via Twitter that the Sox have made an offer to Edwin Jackson, whom Bowden cited a source as saying they prefer over Oswalt.
Oswalt was limited by back problems last year, so Jackson could be viewed as a more “sure” thing, at least in terms of innings. Oswalt is also reportedly being selective with possible destinations, turning down an offer from the Tigers.
– Evan Drellich
BOSTON – David Ortiz’s prediction for Pedro Martinez’s free agency landing spot after the 2004 season was well off the mark: “He ain’t going to no Mets,” Ortiz said at the time.
Martinez, of course, signed with New York. Now, with Ortiz facing his own decision about his playing future, Martinez on Saturday didn’t offer a firm guess about where his former Red Sox teammate would end up.
“I have no idea, but baseball has a dark side, and that’s negotiations,” Martinez said Martinez at a HomeGoods store in Beford, Mass., where he was signing autographs to promote a holiday toy drive. “I think David is going to look for some good in his family, and I think the baseball people are going to try to look for what’s more convenient for the team and fill their pockets. And it’s sad to say it that way, but both of them have to look out for what David wants, what’s more convenient to them, and hopefully they will finish like I did, on good terms, and have a friendship relationship, and actually not to have any sour grapes after everything’s said and done.”
Martinez, 40, signed autographs for three and a half hours on Saturday, 90 minutes more than he signed up for. In exchange, fans donated two toys: one to support pediatric cancer patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and another that went to underprivileged youth in the Dominican Republic through the Pedro Martinez and Brothers Foundation. About 450 people came through in all.
Charity work has always been a hallmark of Martinez’s, and the decision to hold the drive was Martinez’s himself.
“Three weeks ago, he called me and said, ‘I’d really like to do a toy drive,'” said Scott Shuster, president of the Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston. “It’s pretty remarkable just because he was that generous with his time.”
“I enjoyed it, because I enjoyed dealing with the people and the people here in New England, they love me and I love them,” Martinez said. “I figured Boston was a perfect place to come and do something like this and also help the kids, I love the kids.”
As respected a former player as there is, Martinez weighed on Boston’s hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager, saying he believes the new skipper will succeed.
“I think he’ll do OK,” Martinez said. “He’s experienced, he knows he has a lot of stars on that team and that he needs to keeps his composure. I think he’s going to be a role model as well, just like those players, and at the same time I think he’s going to be well respected by the players.”
Transparency and respect from his players, Martinez said, were the two things Valentine needs off the bat.
– Evan Drellich
Pedro Martinez said he’s planning to officially announce his retirement soon. The three-time Cy Young winner said the itch is still there to play, but he’s enjoying his home life too much.
Martinez on Saturday stayed an extra hour and a half at a Home Goods store in Bedford, Mass., to sign autographs for folks who brought toys for a holiday drive.
– Evan Drellich
Once he declares residency in the Domnican Republic and becomes eligible for Major League free agency, Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes figures to be one of the most sought-out position players on the market.
Agent Adam Katz is confident that his client is ready to play in the Major Leagues this season.
“I’m not an evaluator, but I’m told by people who evaluate, he is [big league ready],” said Katz from baseball’s General Managers meetings.
Even Katz admitted it’s hard to know quite what the value will be for Cespedes.
“It’s really touchy feely,” Katz said. “He’s an unusual guy. He’s 26. He’s major league ready. People are going to be evaluate. A value will be established. People will bid competitively, and it will be what it will be.”
While Katz sees his client as a center fielder, he would be willing to play the corner positions, something that would help a team like the Boston Red Sox, who have a vacancy in right field.
The Red Sox will look at Cespedes later this week in the Dominican Republic. The Cubs are also scouting him this week. Several other teams have also expressed interest in Cespedes, who has become a bit of a sensation since the posting of a highlight video on Youtube.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it since ‘Spinal Tap,’” Katz said. “At the end of the day, it was compelling. As quirky as it was, it ended up being very compelling.”
– Ian Browne