It has been an interesting week for all things related to Yoenis Cespedes.

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

It has been an interesting week for all things related to Yoenis Cespedes.

A report in the N.Y. Daily News came out saying with Cespedes switching agents to Roc Nation, that “increased” the chances of the Red Sox trading him this offseason with Roc Nation, like it did with Robinson Cano, seeking a larger, long-term contract.

The report also said, “[Cespedes] marches to his own drum and the coaches all hate him.”

Appearing on the Hot Stove show with Mike Mutnansky, Rob Bradford and Alex Speier, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington shot down both those claims.

When the Red Sox traded for Cespedes at last year’s trade deadline they knew his contract status — a free agent after the 2015 season without the chance to give him a qualifying offer. Cherington said Cespedes changing agents isn’t going change the Red Sox’ stance of possibly signing him long-term.

“We evaluated [the trade] based on having him a year-plus,” Cherington said. “I think to put in anything more than that would have been presumptuous and not would have made sense in terms of our evaluation of that field versus the alternatives we had at the time. We look at it as OK we have him for a year-plus. Once we have him, we’ll get to know him and we’€™ll see if it makes sense to talk about a contract past 2015.

“So now that we’€™ve had him, we have a sense of who he is and the change in agents is not going to do anything to our perspective on that. It’€™s not going to change our position on it. Obviously right now he is under contract for next year and we are looking forward to having him in the lineup next year.”

Cherington, like manager John Farrell, was “surprised” by the report of the coaches not liking Cespedes.

“I was surprised,” he said. “I think most of the people in the office, and John — we were talking about all sorts of stuff each day to gear up for the offseason and we saw that and it was a surprise because of the words that were used and it was so far from anything any of us had heard. John said what he said and I would echo that.

“We were excited to get Yoenis at the deadline and he fit in very quickly we thought in the clubhouse. He’€™s an extremely talented guy, an important guy for our team, an important guy for our lineup. All we’€™re trying to do is put him in the best position to succeed and to maximize his ability. We think he has the ability to be a terrific impact player for us and in baseball for a long time. We’€™re trying to help him be that guy and we really enjoy having him. The article was surprising on that front.”€

It’s clear the Red Sox have money to spend this offseason as according to Speier, the Red Sox have roughly $45 million to spend after Thursday’s re-signing of Koji Uehara. Cherington said agents know the Red Sox typically have plenty of money to spend and they are prepared to spend it this offseason.

“€œAgents know and players know that the Red Sox have always had a competitive payroll amongst the top payrolls, at least in the tenure of this ownership group, amongst the top payrolls in baseball,” he said. “We’€™re going to spend what our budget allows us to spend and usually that leads to a payroll that is amongst the top payrolls in the game and I would expect that to be the case next year. … The history is we’€™re going to put a lot towards our payroll to put the best team out there possible in an effort to win games and get into October. That is what we will do next year.”

As will be a major topic the next few months, Jon Lester was brought up and whether or not the Red Sox reached out to his agent on Thursday — the first day teams were permitted to do so with free agents as the World Series wrapped up Wednesday night. Cherington didn’t respond directly about Lester, but gave a glimpse of what typically takes place.

“The way that agency business works is that there is a number of agents who represent the majority of players in baseball, so you can often make a single phone call and express interest in a number of guys on the same phone call,” Cherington said. “That happened today with several people. I won’t get into specific names and timing of when we made calls, but it’€™s safe to say we’€™ve expressed interest in the guys we feel like are priorities and we look forward to further dialogue over the next several weeks.”

Cherington did acknowledge the importance of having a durable pitcher who can go deep into games into October, as displayed with Madison Bumgarner’s MVP performance going 2-0 with an ERA of 0.43 in the World Series and a total of 52 2/3 innings pitched the entire postseason. He added every team is in a position to want a player like that, it’s just a matter of finding a way to get him — something the Red Sox will be actively doing over the next few months.

“€œThat guy, the guy that is capable of pitching at a really high level to a high innings total and doing that over the course of the season and deep into October, absolutely is valuable,” said Cherington. “It does make it harder to get to the end of October without it. The question is how do you get those guys? Where do they come from? How do you cultivate that? That is the question that every team faces and is trying to answer how to find and keep that guy and how long that type of guy can keep doing it. That is the fundamental challenge. It’€™s not a question of any team would like to have that guy, it’€™s a question of how to get it, how to keep it and who is going to be that guy over the next 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years.

“Hopefully by the end of the offseason we’€™ll be in a position we’€™ll have more than one candidate to be that kind of guy over the short, medium and long term. That is what we’€™re trying to do and we’€™ll see if we can figure out the best way to do it.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Mut, Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back and talking not only Red Sox, but MLB Hot Stove. They talk with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, and take some phone calls about some of the Red Sox potential moves.
Mut, Rob Bradford, and Alex Speier talk with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. Ben addresses some questions regarding Will Middlebrooks, Rusney Castillo, as well as Yoenis Cespedes' future with the club.

[0:01:38] ... so fall off from what might have asked. The I talked to David Ross last night and looking back at when you. Made him a priority I think to believe it was Ross and Kuroda may ...
[0:02:47] ... show started you use suggested that you anticipated a constructive conversation with Jon Lester that you thought that. On the history of the Red Sox with him would permit that. Was he someone who who received ...
[0:07:34] ... York -- a week ago but you don't assessment as I know John Farrell's gone on record as. Addressing some of the claims sewers made that that report do you wanna talk about that at all ...
[0:13:57] ... At last information go back to the outfield for second Resnick XTO Arizona Fall League and we suffered injury there but. Just curious what you saw from him in that time that things that he was able ...






Mut, Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back and talking not only Red Sox, but MLB Hot Stove. They talk with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, and take some phone calls about some of the Red Sox potential moves.
Mut, Rob Bradford, and Alex Speier talk with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. Ben addresses some questions regarding Will Middlebrooks, Rusney Castillo, as well as Yoenis Cespedes' future with the club.

[0:01:38] ... so fall off from what might have asked. The I talked to David Ross last night and looking back at when you. Made him a priority I think to believe it was Ross and Kuroda may ...
[0:02:47] ... show started you use suggested that you anticipated a constructive conversation with Jon Lester that you thought that. On the history of the Red Sox with him would permit that. Was he someone who who received ...
[0:07:34] ... York -- a week ago but you don't assessment as I know John Farrell's gone on record as. Addressing some of the claims sewers made that that report do you wanna talk about that at all ...
[0:13:57] ... me go back to the outfield for second or is nick STO Arizona Fall League and we suffered injury there but. Just curious what you saw from him in that time that things that he was able ...






Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

A case can be made that Koji Uehara’s one-year deal that included a second-year vesting option, signed as a free agent in December 2012, represented one of the best free-agent deals in Red Sox history. Uehara performed at a level of historic distinction in both the regular season and postseason in 2013, and despite a blip at the end of the 2014 season, he remained an All-Star-caliber closer.

The Sox’ interest in re-signing him was no secret. Still, the fact that the 39-year-old — who will turn 40 at the start of next season — ended up signing a two-year deal counts as a mild surprise.

Should it? Can the Red Sox bank on Uehara, in his age 40 and 41 seasons, performing at something along the lines of what he did as a 38- and 39-year-old?

Uehara is the ninth reliever since 2000 to have back-to-back years at ages 38 and 39 of an ERA that was at least 20 percent better than league average while working at least 40 innings in each season. He joins closers such as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman along with a number of middle relievers such as Takashi Saito and Darren Oliver. As a group, in their age 38-39 seasons, those nine pitchers logged a total of 1,063 innings with a 2.50 ERA.

Of course, since Uehara hasn’t had an opportunity to pitch beyond his age 39 season, it’s only worth examining his eight predecessors. That group logged a combined 925 innings with a 2.61 ERA in their age 38-39 seasons.

How’d they do beyond that? The results were … mixed. Brian Shouse and Steve Reed were close to done; both pitched just one more season in the big leagues. Russ Springer was a bit better than average (an ERA+ of 107) over the two years, while Dan Plesac enjoyed continued effectiveness (118 ERA+, 3.49 ERA) in his ongoing role as a left-handed specialist.

But four of those eight — the ones who were elite in the first place — remained elite over the first two years of pitching into their 40s:

Mariano Rivera: 1.85 ERA, 233 ERA+, 121 1/3 IP

Darren Oliver: 2.17 ERA, 199 ERA+, 107 2/3 IP

Takashi Saito: 2.57 ERA, 154 ERA+, 80 2/3 IP

Trevor Hoffman: 2.72 ERA, 147 ERA+, 99 1/3 IP

As a group, the eight relievers posted a combined 2.95 ERA while totaling 598 innings. So, there was a somewhat steep decline in innings for the group (35 percent, though that figure is somewhat exaggerated by the fact that two of the pitchers were out of the game due to performance before turning 41) but a less significant setback in ERA (a 13 percent increase). If that collective trend holds for Uehara, that would suggest that the Sox closer would be in line for 90 innings with a 1.98 ERA over the next two years.

With Uehara in particular, based on what the Sox saw first-hand and on a career track record that has yielded perennially outstanding results (a 2.06 ERA in five years as a big league reliever with the Orioles, Rangers and Sox, along with the best strikeout-to-walk rate in history at 9.0-to-1) albeit with some injuries in the mix, the Sox felt comfortable with a multi-year commitment.

“We felt comfortable with a two-year commitment to him,” said Sox GM Ben Cherington. “That’s driven really by his remarkable consistency not just with us but prior… We did not see any reason why that can’t continue. He keeps himself in remarkable shape. He’s a very diligent worker, a hard worker, he knows what he needs to do to get ready to pitch and he’s efficient.

“He’s been an elite performer for us for two seasons,” added Cherington. “This was an important first step in our offseason.”

 

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Red Sox have signed reliever Koji Uehara to a two-year contract, the team announced Thursday. The deal is worth $18 million total, according to a source.

Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

The Red Sox have signed reliever Koji Uehara to a two-year contract, the team announced Thursday. The deal is worth $18 million total, according to a source.

Uehara has a 1.75 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 47 saves in 137 appearances since joining the Red Sox two years ago. After helping lead the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2013, Uehara’s ERA jumped from 1.09 to 2.52 this past season. Uehara turns 40 in April.

Check back for more.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

The conclusion of the World Series marked the pivot from the baseball season to the offseason, and with it, the arrival of the market frenzy. As of today, 121 players have been declared free agents who are eligible to sign with any team beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 12:01 a.m.