Of course with the season after his retirement marked more by chaos than playoffs there would be speculation that long time captain Jason Varitek could return to manage the Red Sox.  The rumors are out there with many in the Sox fan base either not liking Bobby Valentine from the outset or turning on him during the season.

The idea that Varitek could return to manage the current Sox roster is silly.  Even after a trade that may register a 7.8 on the Richter scale he is simply too close to too many players on the team.  Separating friend from employee would be difficult and unfair.  More importantly Varitek needs managerial experience.

Varitek could get that experience in Greenville.

Flying under the radar of Red Sox news in recent days was a visit by Varitek to Fluor Field at West End to watch the Greenville Drive take on rival Asheville (NC) Tourists.  Varitek took in the game from the owners’ box.  It’s almost 1,000 miles between Fluor Field and Fenway Park, certainly a long way to drive just to see a single-A ball game.

Adding substance to the speculation was Cherrington’s company while watching the game: Ben Cherrington.

At season’s end when the Red Sox announce their annual organizational reshuffling, don’t be surprised when a seat in the Drive’s ownership box is given to Varitek.

The latest reports circulating around the Big Apple now suggest that it was Kelly Shoppach, and not Adrian Gonzalez, who sent the text messages to the Red Sox brass complaining about manager Bobby Valentine.

It would not be a surprise to find out that Shoppach was the source of the text messages. Earlier in the season Shoppach complained loudly about his lack of playing time. At the time Jarrod Saltalamacchia was swinging a hot bat and had a couple of Ortiz moments with game winning or tying home runs. As the strikeouts began mounting for Salty (he now has more multi-strikeout games than games without a strikeout) Shoppach worked his way into the lineup more regularly and justified his complaints. Shoppach’s .798 OPS outpaced Salty by a fair bit and the pitching staff performed better with him behind the plate.

Like the rest of the Red Sox season, the story has more twists and turns. Some reports indicate that Shoppach used Gonzalez’ cell phone to send the messages which at least explains why Adrian drew the initial attention of gossip mongers. Shoppach, for his part, denies any involvement with the text messages.

And so it goes. Since the epic collapse of 9/11 the focus of the Red Sox has seemingly turned from the field to the clubhouse. Who is at fault? What was their motivation or why were they lacking it? Who was hoisting lagers and who ratted them out?

Here’s hoping that we return to baseball by the start of the 2013 season.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington recently told reporters that the Red Sox will not be “sellers” as the team approaches the trade deadline. Cherington told a group of reports, including WEEI’s Rob Bradford:

I don’t envision a scenario where we’re sellers, in the traditional sense of the word. We have some potential surplus in areas we’ve talked to teams about, and maybe there was ways that could help us now and in the future. But every year in Boston is too important. We’re focused on winning this year, and still believe we can.

I don’t think blowing it up makes sense for where we are. There’s a lot of talent on the team. We’re right in the thick of the wild card chase. We’ve played very well since the beginning of May aside from the last week. I just think it would be foolish to start doing things that got in the way of giving us a chance this year. We’ll see how it goes. Like I said, we have to play well. We have to start winning games.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington

It seems very reasonable not to expect a fire sale any time soon, and just as reasonable not to expect the Red Sox to ship youth and prospects out for an established player in an effort to make a run at the World Series. There are, however, plenty of options in between the reaches of that spectrum that could help the Red Sox retool without jeopardizing their future. While the rumor mill is relatively quiet at his point, the few rumors out there suggest that Cherington is actually practicing what he is preaching. The Red Sox aren’t actively shopping any of their star players, and they do seem interested in turning positions of surplus into players that can help the positions of need.

Here are some of the more recent rumors floating around concerning the Red Sox:

Continue reading »

Jacoby Ellsbury will be activated tomorrow, July 13th. He has been on the disabled list since dislocating his shoulder while sliding into second base on April 13th. Last year’s MVP runner-up, Ellsbury had played in just 7 games prior to sustaining the injury, and had less-than-stellar production.

Ellsbury’s return will further crowd the outfield which consists of guys like Daniel Nava, Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney and Ryan Kalish on the 40 man roster. As the team expects Carl Crawford back at some point soon, there has been much speculation as to whether an outfielder will be traded. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggested that Sweeney may be that player, yet Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald has said that the team is not looking to move Sweeney. Daniel Nava has also caught the attention of other teams.

Hey ladies, I’m back!

UPDATE: Justin Germano has been designated for assignment to make room for Jacoby Ellsbury on the roster. The 29 year old right hander made just one appearance for the Boston Red Sox this year; a sterling 5.2 innings pitched in mop up duty against the Yankees during which he allowed no runs while striking out 7.

According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, Kevin Youkilis has been traded to the Chicago White Sox. His nameplate is gone, which is clear writing on the wall.

No word on who is coming back in the deal, this post will be updated once the full trade is disclosed.

Update 5:01 PM ET:  Apparently the Red Sox will receive a pitcher and a utility player in return from the White Sox. No word on who yet.

Update 5:08 PM ET: It seems as if the Red Sox will recieve pitcher Zach Stewart from the White Sox. No word on the utility player they’re expected to get as well.

Update 5:12 PM ET: According to Gordon Edes over at ESPN Boston, the Red Sox will receive Zach Stewart, and that’s it. He doesn’t think we’ll be getting any more than that.

Update 5:18 PM ET: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports saying that Brent Lillibridge is included in the trade too. Yay!

Update 5:25 PM ET: Ken Rosenthal has the scoop “Youkilis and cash – lots of cash – to #WhiteSox for Lillibridge and Stewart. #RedSox.”

Update 5:30 PM ET: The Red Sox will send the White Sox $5.5 million.

Update 5:47 PM ET: Trade is now official. Best of luck Youk!

According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Kevin Youkilis is expected to be traded soon. Red Sox officials had a meeting last night discussing the roster moves they’ll have to make once Youkilis is traded.

So far this season, Youk is hitting .225/.311/.359 with four home runs and seven doubles in 41 games for the Red Sox. He’s been dealing with injuries all year, and has struggled mightily at the plate.

On the other hand, Will Middlebrooks is hitting .319/.358/.558 with eight home runs and nine doubles in 39 games for the Red Sox. That’s the reason the Red Sox are trading Youkilis. The Red Sox obviously don’t think keeping Adrian Gonzalez in right is a good idea, and the best lineup right now is one with Middlebrooks in it.

The White Sox and the Dodgers are two of the primary teams in the mix for Youkilis. The Diamondbacks were in contention for Youk, but balked with the Red Sox asked for outfielder Gerardo Parra.

I’ll update this post as the story develops. Stay tuned.

Update 11:44 PM ET: According to WEEI, the White Sox are front-runners for Youkilis right now and they are currently in trade talks with the Red Sox.

Cuban Defector Jorge Soler has become eligible for Free Agency today. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has listed the Red Sox amongst the teams favorited to land the Cuban outfielder.

At 20 years old, Soler would not be major league ready. However, Baseball America has stated previously that, had he been eligible, he would have ranked as the 39th best prospect in baseball. Soler has been compared to Kansas City Royals prospect Bubba Starling. Scouts rate his a very good athlete, suited for right field with incredible raw power. He has also been labeled as a “younger Yoennis Cespedes.”

Soler would need to be signed before July 2, so as to not count against the international free agent cap that will be instituted under the new collective bargaining agreement (consider him a lock to sign well before then). Once signed, Soler is expected to start in Low-A.

Danny Knobler from CBSSports reports that the Boston Red Sox are telling teams that they “definitely intend to trade Kevin Youkilis.”

The emergence of young third baseman Will Middlebrooks has made Youkilis dispensable, especially given Youkilis’ injuries over the past few years. Youkilis, who for many years has been a very important part of the Boston lineup, has struggled since moving back to third base defensively. He is hitting just .250/.318/.406 this year, though he has looked better since coming off the disabled list.

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Dodgers have stepped up their scouting of Kevin Youkilis. The Phillies and Indians have scouted him too, and the White Sox, Reds, Diamondbacks, Giants and Rangers have all reportedly expressed interest as well. The Red Sox are in the market for pitching

Aside from David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis is the only other remaining member from the 2004 Champion Red Sox team.

The Red Sox, who have won 7 of their last 9 games, were very likely inspired to play better ball by a player’s only meeting called by David Ortiz. During the meeting, the positional player’s reportedly called out the pitchers, requesting that the pitchers perform better. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports reported that the two sides became aggressive towards each other. However, the meeting appeared to have a positive effect on the team as the Red Sox reeled off 5 consecutive wins in the aftermath.

For Red Sox fans who were concerned about the fortitude of this Red Sox team, this is a great thing to see. Even though this team has more than it’s fair share of holes, it’s filled with too much talent to be in last place and below .500.

It seems as if the Red Sox are finally coming together as a team, which is something that is essential with this group. With all of the concerns with this Red Sox team not having much chemistry, this is welcome news to hear.

According to Maureen Mullen at CSNNE, Will Middlebrooks is on his way to Boston right now according to a source.

The Red Sox have yet to announce anything, so nothing is official yet. He may just be traveling to Boston just in case Kevin Youkilis is placed on the DL, though Middlebrooks coming to Boston suggests the Red Sox are not optimistic about Youkilis’s health and ability to play.

Should Middlebrooks be added to the major league roster today, he’d likely be in the lineup tonight and he would not be on the bench for obvious reasons. Nick Punto obviously isn’t going to cut it as the Red Sox starting 3rd baseman (even with his 3 walks last night), and Middlebrooks’s has been hitting well enough to earn a starting spot.

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