Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to discuss recent roster moves and other team news. To hear the full interview, check out the OM&F audio on demand page.
On Monday, the Red Sox recalled infielder Mike Miller from Triple-A Pawtucket. Many thought he would play in Monday’s game with Xander Bogaerts and manager John Farrell saying the day before he needed a down day, but Bogaerts got the start and the Red Sox ended up needing almost six innings from their bullpen.
Some questioned the move of calling up Miller and not a reliever with some even speculating there was some disconnect between the team and the front office regarding the 25-man roster. Hazen, however, strongly denied that notion.
“There’s absolutely no miscommunication whatsoever,” Hazen said. “You alluded to it, it’s what’s going on right now, the roster changes [are] happening minute-by-minute. We’re constantly discussing those things. … When you get your roster into a state of transition due to the amount of injuries that we’ve had, and we’re trying to shuttle guys up and back from Pawtucket, you end up in situations where your roster is not going to be perfect on a nightly basis. You have to get into this situation because it doesn’t add to the cohesion of the clubhouse, nobody wants to see this happen. The manager doesn’t want to see it happen, the front office doesn’t want to see it happen. We want to keep 25 guys in that clubhouse so they can build that comradery together, that trust, the tendency of knowing what they’re going to get. When we have to keep bringing guys up everyday, it takes away from that. You have to do it because you have to put your team in a position to be successful, but that shuffle isn’t ideal for anybody.”
There was also some questions surrounding Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara being used in Monday’s blowout loss.
“In retrospect, we can go back and look,” Hazen said. “Pitching your top three relievers in a game where they haven’t pitched in a while, that’s going to happen. Sometimes it may happen out of need, but sometimes John just wants to get them work so they’re not down for five or six days. Coming in with [starting pitchers Rick] Porcello and [David] Price back behind him, you don’t know when you’ll be able to use them again.”
Added Hazen: “We had confidence in [recently optioned Eduardo Rodriguez] going into that start, and I think sometimes when you’re trying to balance out both the position player club and the pitching side of things and making sure you’re maximizing your depth. It was a tough series in Texas, and [we] wanted to maximize our position player depth, not necessarily we were going to start anybody in particular when we called them up, but that we wanted to maximize that position player depth. We had the expectation that E-Rod was going to pitch very well in Tampa Bay and it didn’t happen. 24 hours later, we can look back on it and say, ‘Hey maybe we should have added a pitcher,’ that wasn’t the decision we were making at the time.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.
On Eduardo Rodriguez changing his delivery because of injury: “When you’re dealing with any sort of rehab situation, obviously you’re going with the medical decision that he’s healthy enough to go out there and pitch. … We see this all time with injuries, that sometimes guys get into mechanical ruts or hitting-wise, in bad habits. A position player hurt his wrist, and next thing you know he’s lowering his hands. Those things sometimes aren’t overly conscious. When we sent him out on rehab, we felt like he was fully ready to go, and start his rehab progression, and we still feel that way. Sometimes guys make subtle adjustments to the delivery and we have to step back in when things aren’t working the way they need to and readjust some things. It goes on all the time, it goes on with every guy that has injury things and I don’t think they’re always conscious.”
On the Red Sox front office trying to make trades a month before the trade deadline: “We’re human beings and the other side are human beings, and we all know what deadlines do to human beings. It sort of forces people to make decisions. When you’re four or five weeks removed from that, you’re never forced into making any type of decision. As we know, in order to trade, you need two to tango. I think at this stage of the game, who the sellers are and the guys that are willing to listen on their players is probably a smaller group then what will be a month from now, which will help I think those buying when there’s more in the market. I think there’s more of an impedus. I think it’s not just at the deadline though, there will be opportunities before that. … There are teams out there now that are probably thinking to themselves ‘Gey, we’re probably going to sell on all the guys that we have,” everyday you run them out there, something can happen and then you don’t get the same value for them or you don’t get to trade them at all. So I think wherever that equation hits for each individual club, that’s where the opportunity exists to make deals.”
On what Rodriguez needs to work on after being optioned to Pawtucket: “We need to work on the entire package. I think coming back the way he did, being hurt is never an easy thing, especially for a young kid, especially something that may have impacted mechanically how he’s delivering a baseball. The positives of what we’ve seen so far, I think the slider usage is going to increase, the velocity on his fastball was a little low early when he was going through his rehab, but as he felt more confident, we’ve seen him sitting in the mid-90’s, that’s coming back. I look at the other night, the command was not there. It didn’t matter if he was throwing slider or fastball or changeup, major league hitters are going to hit those pitchers. He’s got to work on that, he knows that … that’s our job now underneath to rebuild that, both the stuff, the command and the confidence and we’re going to be working on all those things. There’s no doubt we’re going to need this guy, we need this guy to go down to Pawtucket and really work, nothing’s going to be handed to him.”
On Pablo Sandoval’s rehab and his weight: “He’s down in Florida, doing well, he’s putting the work in. He’s rehabbing obviously his shoulder,we’ve had guys with this type of injury in the past, it’s a slow process in the beginning, he’s able to do other stuff, and then if he starts to ramp back up, we’ll start pushing him harder and harder and getting him back into baseball activity in time. The strength of the shoulder is going to be an important piece to this, as it relates to his power in the future, but we expect him back ready next year. … I’m not going to get into specific stuff, he’s working hard and doing everything he has to do, he’s going to be ready come next year. Being in very good physical condition, optimizing his ability to play outfield is part of the program.”