Red Sox fans: baseball is back! And so is this blog, hopefully!

Today was the first day of Spring Training workouts for the Red Sox pitchers and catchers, as well as a number of early-to-report position players, and we are only nine days away from the first split squad games  against Northeastern University and Boston College next Thursday.

Pedroia, Middlebrooks, Napoli, Ortiz take early BP. Photo courtesy of @RedSox

Pitchers and catchers were due to report voluntarily yesterday, and position players will report in a few days. The mandatory date for all non-World Baseball Classic players to report is February 20th. The Red Sox have three participants in the Classic this year: Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands), Alfredo Aceves (Mexico) and Shane Victorino (USA). Bogaerts is with the club right now and will be for the next two weeks before he heads to Arizona to work out with his national team and eventually heads to Taiwan for pool play. Victorino is at camp, but will miss about three weeks of time starting on March 1st, which is a little bit of a concern for the team. Manager John Farrell has repeatedly stressed the importance of Ellsbury, who reported early, and Victorino to get as many reps playing next to each other in the outfield as possible. Aceves has been with the team for two years now, so his brief departure is of little concern.

The first club workout was held this morning and the first full squad practice will take place on Friday.

Today’s news and links

The big story of the day was Clay Buchholz, who strained his hamstring in a pitcher fielding practice drill only hours into day one of camp. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. A large collective sigh could be heard from Red Sox fans growing impatient with Buchholz’s perceived injury proneness, but  Buchholz downplayed the injury saying the strain was as “mild as it can be” and that he expects to be back by the weekend. Either way, this is not the way the Red Sox, who used the DL more than any team in baseball last year, wanted to start camp.

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According to ESPN, Mike Napoli has agreed to a 3 year deal worth $39 million with the Red Sox, pending a physical. Napoli turned 31 in October and will be and he will be 33 in his last year of the contract, so the Red Sox won’t have to deal with a large drop off in production with him.

He is expected to primarily play 1st base for the Red Sox, though he will catch part-time. The most games he has ever caught in a season is 96 and it’s very likely he’ll only catch a small amount of games, depending on what the Red Sox do with Ryan Lavarnway/Jarrod Saltalamacchia this off-season  Should Salty be traded, the Sox might have him play a bigger role behind the plate.

In 19 games (and 62 ABs) at Fenway park in his career, Napoli has hit at a .306/.397/.710 slash with 7 home runs and 4 doubles. Not to mention an amazing .404 isolated slugging percentage. While this isn’t exactly a large sample size, it’s clear that he has a swing tailor-made for Fenway (just like Cody Ross) and he should put up eye popping numbers at home.

And while his defense has been far from stellar at 1st base and at catcher throughout his career (career -2.6 UZR at 1st and -25 defensive runs saved behind the plate), having a great fielding 1st baseman isn’t all that important.

All in all it seems like a great move by the Red Sox front office as they filled a large void left by Adrian Gonzalez without surrendering any prospects whatsoever and without making a long term commitment to a player.

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Yesterday the Red Sox officially named John Farrell the clubs 45th manager in team history, and the club’s third in as many years. In his press conference on Tuesday he emphasized a desire to “hit the ground running”, start forming healthy relationships with players and gaining their trust.  Farrell has supposedly already reached out to many Red Sox players, including some current free agents such as Cody Ross and David Ortiz. He talked with Jon Lester about mechanical flaws he noticed from afar and the chemistry between Farrell and the Red Sox front office already looks notably more comfortable than his predecessor’s ever did. As for expectations, Farrell stated that there’s an opportunity for a quick turnaround and to get back into the playoffs as soon as next year.
You can catch the whole press conference here.
The hiring of Farrell is the biggest news in Red Sox Nation, but a few other stories are worth noting.
On the free agent front:
  • The Red Sox and David Ortiz are closing in on a two-year deal that they look to finalize by Friday, according to ESPN sources. The deal is expected to be in the ballpark of $25 million, a price that Ortiz has long believed to have been seeking. However, conflicting reports surfaced yesterday suggesting that the deal being in “near-agreement” is a bit premature. Either way, all parties involved admit that there is mutual desire to work out a deal and that both are eager to get something done.
  • Ian Browne of reports that the club is continuing to negotiate a deal with Cody Ross of whom they are “confident they will retain.”
More team news:
  • On Tuesday, general manager Ben Cherington said that the team feels confident that Jose Iglesias is major league ready, however, he didn’t express complete support and said that there will be an open competition for the spot during the spring. The internal options are pretty weak with Pedro Ciriaco seemingly being the only other internal option that could put up a fight.
  • David Carpenter, who was acquired in the Farrell deal, was reportedly not going to make the 40-man roster in Toronto. It certainly seems possible that Carpenter faces a similar fate in Boston.
  • Farrell mentioned John Lackey in his press conference, highlighting the impact he needs to have on the rotation next year. Lackey will be ready for Spring training, and Farrell hopes that he, Lester and Buchholz can regain form and pitch like the top-of-the-rotation players he feels they still can be.

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with the Toronto Blue Jays on a deal that will make John Farrell the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. Farrell, who was the Red Sox pitching coach from 2006 to 2010, notched a 154-170 record during his 2 year stint as the Blue Jays manager.

WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Mike Aviles will be sent to Toronto to complete the deal. The Red Sox will get either a player or cash to complete the deal. Farrell’s deal is for three years. Stay tuned to for updates.

It’s not likely to change the organization’s 2013 season but the Red Sox have made their first official move of the offseason. The Sox claimed reliever Sandy Rosario off waivers. Rosario, 27, has been working in the Marlins farm system since 2004. His big league record is not much to look at (10G, 7.2IP, 13ER, 22H, 3BB) but he has a good strikeout rate in the minors (403K in 391IP). Rosario posted a nice AAA line this season and could be maturing into a decent middle reliever as he approaches “baseball prime.”

To make room for Rosario on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox DFA Che-Hsuan Lin. This comes as no real surprise; the Sox had numerous opportunities to give Lin playing time this season and bypassed him at almost every turn. Lin is a gifted defender but his bat never developed to the point that he could be justified in an AL lineup. Lin could catch on quickly as a fourth outfielder with a National League club if he does not return to the organization.

Even in a lost season it’s gratifying to beat the Yankees.  It’s even better when that win costs the Bronx Bombers their sole possession of first place in the American League East.  With any luck the Sox can build on that euphoria because they’ll need it next year.

The 2013 season opens on the road in Yankee Stadium.

If that three-game set does not go well the Red Sox will not need to wait long to make up for a poor series.  They open at home a week later and will see the hapless Houston Astros, newcomers to the AL in 2013, before the first month of baseball is out.

Should the current schedule hold, the Sox will play 17 of their first 27 games and 18 of their final 30 games in the friendly confines of Fenway Park.  Unfortunately that also means that May, June, July, and August are packed with long road trips.  Among those road trips will be a West Coast swing to see the Golden Gate bridge (@San Francisco 8/19-21) and to check on members of The Trade (@LA Dodgers, 8/23-25).  Perhaps the timing of the six game stretch out West is not by accident; the middle game of the three-game set is the anniversary of The Trade itself.

The Sox will round out their NL West interleague games with home series against the the Rockies (6/25-26), Padres (7/2-4), and Diamondbacks (8/2-4), as well as a road series against the Rockies the last week of the season.  They also have a home-and-home rivalry series with the Phillies May 27-30, with the first two games at Fenway and the last two in Philadelphia.

The full schedule is available at

In a stunning blockbuster trade, the Red Sox send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for prospects. Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford are owed $275 million on their contracts and Jayson Stark has reported the Dodgers will be eating most of that dollar figure.

The Red Sox receive Rubby de la Rosa, James Loney, Jerry sands, Ivan DeJesus and Allen Webster. Rubby de la Rosa, one of the key acquisitions for the Red Sox, has front-of-the-rotation stuff. He had Tommy John surgery last year, but is in perfect health now. He was throwing 97 MPH last week during his first appearance in the big leagues this year. Allen Webster was the Dodger’s second best prospect.

The trade is agreed upon, and only needs Beckett to waive his 5-10 rights to be completed, though many believe he will do so.

The most important part of this trade for the Red Sox is not what they receive in return, but that they gain a lot of financial flexibility going forward.

The 2012 Boston Red Sox are currently 59-66 and 8.5 games back in the wild card race. Boston has not won a playoff game since 2008. It’s time to turn the page on the Theo Epstein era and let the Ben Cherington era truly begin.

Please don’t make me play another game with this elbow..

As was widely expected, Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, the Boston medical staff, and the famous Dr. James Andrews all concurred that Crawford’s elbow was not getting any better, and that he would need to undergo Tommy John surgery, typically known as a procedure for pitchers.  On August 5th, Bloodysox posted an article arguing that Crawford should be scheduling his surgery immediately.

While Crawford has been one of the Red Sox best hitters this month, that article was written at a time when the team was 53-55 and clinging desperately on to playoff hopes.  Since then, the Sox have gone 6-8 and continue to spiral further and further out of the wild card race, sitting a cool 7.5 games back of the Rays and Orioles, with the Athletics, Tigers, and Angels all ahead of them.

Shutting Crawford down now is the right thing to do.  He’s obviously in pain, and the Sox have been no better or worse with him out there—he hasn’t been a game-changer since his return, despite playing well.  Tommy John surgery for position players typically takes seven to nine months to heal, putting Crawford in the late March to late May range for his return.  Perhaps this rehabilitation process will be quick and by mid-April, we’ll finally be able to see a healthy, productive Crawford, a man who dreadfully wants to live up to the pressures of the giant contract he signed with the team.

We wish Crawford the best of luck in his surgery and a speedy recovery!






Kelly Shoppach has been traded to the New York Mets for a player to be named later.

Shoppach is hitting .250/.327/.471 in 140 at bats with 5 home runs, 12 doubles, and two triples so far this season. This move was made to clear space on the 25/40 man roster for Andrew Bailey and to give Ryan Lavarnway more playing time.

Check back here for more info on the trade as it becomes available.

Johnny Pesky passed away at the age of 92 today. He played 10 major league seasons; 8 with the Boston Red Sox from 1942 to 1952. Serving in the military during World War II cost him his 23, 24 and 25 year old seasons.

Pesky hit .317 with a 107 OPS+ during his time with the Red Sox. He hit .331 and finished third in MVP balloting in his rookie season before serving in the Military. He was known for being a notoriously difficult batter to get out and also for his slick defense in the infield. He is also remembered for being a member of a close-knit group of best friends on the team; Bobby Doerr, Dom Dimaggio and Ted Williams. Williams was responsible for Pesky’s nickname “The Needle” which refers to Johnnys long nose.

After his playing days expired, Pesky took up coaching. After coaching in the Yankees and Tigers organizations for a few years, Pesky found his way back to the Red Sox. He spent two years managing the Red Sox AAA team before being promoted to manager of the big league club prior to the 1963 season. Unfortunately, he would not find much success as the Red Sox manager during his 2 years there. His club went 146-175 and missed the playoffs both years. He was relieved of his managing duties with two games left of the ‘64 season.

Pesky managed in the Pittsburgh organization for a few years before returning to the Red Sox again. In 1968, Pesky resumed the role of color commentator for the Red Sox television broadcasts. He would also venture into radio and other television before returning to the game in a managerial role. He maintained an active role within the organization up until 1990 and even to today, his dying day,, he remains a popular figure with the franchise.

Every Red Sox fan is familiar with the term “Pesky’s Pole”. The story goes that Pesky, not known for his power hitting whatsoever (he hit 17 career home runs), hit a home run that landed just fair around the pole to win a game that Mel Parnell pitched. However, historical statistics show that Pesky only ever hit 1 home run during a game pitched by Parenll. That home run came in the 1st inning of a 14 inning loss to the Detroit Tigers. Parnell began to refer to the pole as ‘Pesky’s Pole’ and it became a popular reference when Parnell became the Red Sox broadcaster in the 60’s. On Pesky’s 87th Birthday, the Red Sox honored Pesky by officially naming the foul pole after him and anointing the pole with a plaque.

Rest in peace, Johnny. You’ll be missed by Red Sox Nation.

Pesky’s Pole.

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