Raquel Ferreira, described by Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett as “the glue that holds the Red Sox farm system together,” has been promoted by the Red Sox from senior director of minor league operations to vice president of baseball administration, according to multiple team sources. Ferreira becomes one of three women in Major League Baseball to reach the level of vice president, joining Kim Ng (senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB) and Yankees senior vice president and assistant GM Jean Afterman.

Ferreira is one of the longest tenured members of the Red Sox front office, having joined the organization in 1999. Since then, her responsibilities have grown steadily to include:

— Operations of the farm system, including individual affiliates, player contracts, transactions
— The major league budget (non-payroll)
— Immigration and work visas

“She makes an impact in that [operational/administrative] area because she is especially good at it. As you can imagine, it’s no easy task to organize that volume of responsibility that is required to get all those people in all those different areas to the right place at the right time in a way that’s sort of functional, within budget. It’s a Herculean task and she’s very good at it,” Cherington said in this Minor Details podcast. “The best thing I can say is in the 16 years now, I can’t remember her making a mistake. I can’t. And there’s been a lot of opportunities for mistakes.”

Beyond that formal role, Ferreira has played a central role in the creation of the culture of player development in the Red Sox organization. Invariably, Ferreira plays a prominent role when players discuss their experience coming through the minors for the team, given that she’s often among the first — and frequently the first — point of contact for players with the organization, and players and staff members rely upon her as a trusted voice for both on- and off-field concerns, to the point where minor leaguers will sometimes describe her as being akin to a second mother.

“First of all, I correct them when they say Mom. I prefer older sister or the cool aunt in your family,” Ferreira joked in the podcast. “Being a minor league player, it’s a very tough lifestyle. You’re on buses constantly for not a lot of pay. Very few of them make it to the big leagues. I’ve always looked at our players as, this is somebody’s son, somebody’s brother, somebody’s friend, somebody’s nephew. I treat them the way I’d want someone to treat my family member. It’s kind of morphed into that role.”

The overall scope of Ferreira’s impact resulted in numerous promotions in the Red Sox organization to her new position at the vice president level.

“There are people working in baseball operations, not just with the Red Sox but with other teams, who might not be in traditionally visible baseball-specific roles. They’re not scouts, they’re not coaches, they’re not managers. There are people that are truly making an impact on the baseball operation even though they’re not in one of those traditional baseball-specific jobs. That’s because, as we all know, the job of finding and developing and nurturing baseball players, which we’re all doing, has a lot to do with finding the right players,” Cherington said in the podcast. “[But] it also has a heck of a lot to do with a holistic approach to their development as players and as people. When you do the jobs that Raquel has done as well as she’s done them, then as an organization we’re better at that.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
The Hot Stove guys are talking about Pablo Sandoval and Jon Lester's contract offers from the Red Sox. They then por one out for the Giancarlo Stanton rumors being put to bed.
The Hot Stove guys are talking about Pablo Sandoval and Jon Lester's contract offers from the Red Sox. They then por one out for the Giancarlo Stanton rumors being put to bed.

Thursday represents a day of notable roster change, as teams face a deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster for the purposes of protecting them from the Rule 5 draft.

One of the most interesting free agents this offseason is unlikely to open 2015 in the big leagues. Yoan Moncada, a 19-year-old Cuban infielder who could receive a signing bonus of $30 million to $40 million (with teams paying a penalty of 100 percent on his bonus due to the rules governing international amateur free agents who are under the age of 23), recently worked out for teams in Guatemala.

The Red Sox — who have already blown past their recommended international amateur bonus pool for the 2014-15 signing season, adding top 16-year-old pitchers Anderson Espinoza and Christopher Acosta — are considered to be a team that could be in the mix for Moncada, who was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball but who is still waiting for clearance from the U.S. government to negotiate with teams. Red Sox amateur international scouting director Eddie Romero, prior to an event for the Foundation To Be Named Later, was among those in attendance at Moncada’s workout.

“It was a good opportunity just to lay eyes on him, to see him physically for the first time. He’s in tremendous shape, tremendous shape,” said Romero. “We’ll do our due diligence there and see where it goes.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Join Rob Bradford of WEEI.com for a live chat, starting at noon, to talk all things Red Sox offseason (or anything else that might be on your mind). It’s a great way to warm up for tonight’s “Hot Stove Show” with Bradford, Alex Speier and Mike Mutnansky on WEEI, starting at 7 p.m. So get your question in now …

Live Blog Rob Bradford Hot Stove live chat

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According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Red Sox left-hander Cody Kukuk was arrested in California on a charge of home-invasion robbery at an apartment in Lawrence, Kansas, on Nov. 8. The report says that Kukuk was among a group of individuals who “entered the Arkansas Street apartment with handguns, battered residents and took their belongings,” which included cash, cell phones, an Xbox and a safe’s contents. Kukuk and 20-year-old Gabriel Alexander Patterson are in jail in Long Beach, Calif., without bail, awaiting a hearing that could lead to extradition to Kansas.

The incident marks the second arrest for Kukuk since he entered the Sox system as a seventh-round draft pick (given a $800,000 bonus) out of high school in 2011. He was also arrested on charges of driving under the influence in Fort Myers in May 2012, but the charges were dropped in August of that year when the police were found to lack probable cause for pulling over Kukuk. Kukuk missed nearly all of that year before making five appearances at the end of the season in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League.

The left-hander has spent the last two years in Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem, showing an electric three-pitch mix (mid- to high-90s fastball, slider, change, all of which can generate swings and misses) that has yielded 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings but little ability to control it, as evidenced by his 7.0 walks per nine innings. While he continued to show stuff to suggest an enormous ceiling, Sox officials had measured expectations for his career given his lack of control and concerns about his makeup. To the chagrin of the team, those have now been borne out to the point where thoughts about his career are essentially irrelevant while his fate resides in the hands of the criminal justice system.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

Thursday represents a day of notable roster change, as teams face a deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster for the purposes of protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. The Red Sox appear likely to add four prospects to the 40-man, including top prospect Blake Swihart. That’s convenient, since the Sox have four open spots on their 40-man roster.

A brief look at the players expected to be protected:

Blake Swihart, C, 22 years old

2014: Double-A/Triple-A – 110 games, .293/.341/.469, 13 HR

The top-ranked Red Sox prospect is among the top catching prospects in the game based on his potential for above-average offense and defense. Swihart could become a big league consideration sometime in 2015, with a more likely lasting big league opportunity to come in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, 21 years old

2014: Double-A (Orioles and Red Sox systems) – 22 starts, 120 innings, 3.60 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9

Rodriguez probably has the best stuff of any starting pitching prospect in the Red Sox system, with the left-hander sitting at 92-94 mph and capable of reaching back for 96-97 mph while featuring an excellent changeup and a slider that shows the potential to be an above-average pitch. It remains to be seen if Rodriguez looks more like the pitcher who struggled through the first four months of 2014 in the Orioles system or like the singularly dominant pitcher who proved a head-turner once in the Sox system. Either way, adding him to the 40-man roster is a no-brainer. If Rodriguez builds on his Portland performance, he has a chance to force his way into the big league rotation sometime in 2015.

Sean Coyle, 2B/3B, 22 years old

2014: Double-A – 97 games, .295/.371/.512, 16 HR, 13-for-14 SB attempts

Coyle has well above-average raw power, his ability to drive the ball almost startling for a player who is shorter than Dustin Pedroia. Most also view him as an adequate to slightly above average defensive second baseman, and he carried himself well in his first professional exposure to third base in 2014. There is also some thought that he could handle himself adequately in the outfield based on his average to above-average speed and baseball instincts. The big question, given his ability to drive the ball, is whether he can make frequent enough contact for that skill to play out. Interestingly, his strikeout and walk rates remained essentially unchanged in 2014 as compared to his performance in High-A in 2013, but his batting average on balls in play jumped from .275 to .362. Nonetheless, what he showed makes it a relatively straightforward decision to add him to the roster given the paucity of right-handed power in the game, even though Coyle probably needs at least a full year in Triple-A before he’s ready for the big leagues.

Travis Shaw, 1B, 24 years old

2014: Double-A/Triple-A – 128 games, .278/.353/.473, 21 HR

Shaw led the Sox system in homers in 2014, leaving behind a 2013 season of struggle and looking more like the player who enjoyed one of the top seasons in the organization in his first pro season of 2012. While his numbers were far more impressive in Double-A (.305/.406/.548) than Triple-A (.262/.321/.431), he impressed against right-handed pitchers at both levels, totaling a .304/.384/.542 line against righties on the year. He may end up being a platoon corner (it’s worth noting that Shaw has played some third base in the past), but given that baseball is moving towards an embrace of just such players, and that his strength is against the most common kind of pitchers (righties), Shaw’s combination of power and on-base abilities makes him an immediate depth option (primarily at first base) for the Sox in 2015.


Henry Ramos, OF, 22 years old

2014: Double-A – 48 games, .326/.368/.431, 2 HR

Ramos — a terrific athlete who was a relatively raw baseball player when taken as a fifth-round selection out of Puerto Rico in 2010 — offered hints of a breakout to open the year in Portland, with more in-game flashes of his five-tool talent than he’d shown in his career to that point. But he suffered a season-ending stress fracture of his tibia in late-May, and given the relatively limited exposure he’s had to the upper levels, he’d seem unlikely to stick in the big leagues even if selected. That said, if he shows well in the Puerto Rican Winter League (where he’s struggled early to a .180/.222/.280 line) — at least showing strong defense — could make him an interesting Rule 5 upside gamble. A normal developmental progression would see him emerge as a fourth or fifth outfield option in mid-2016.

Jason Garcia, RHP, 21 years old

2014: Short-Season Single-A/Single-A – 14 Gs, 56 1/3 IP, 3.67 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9

Garcia returned from Tommy John surgery with noteworthy power stuff, typically pitching at 93-98 mph while reaching triple digits. He also shows the potential for a slider that could make him a bullpen weapon. Still, Garcia’s control woes and distance from the big leagues — he’s never pitched above Greenville — likely militate against him being taken in the Rule 5. Still, he has the sort of head-turning arm that could convince a team to take a chance on him.

Jonathan Aro, RHP, 24 years old

2014: Single-A/High-A – 32 Gs, 87 1/3 IP, 2.16 ERA, 10.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9

Aro is older than Garcia, diminishing his prospect stature, but he’s a strike-thrower who manages to get swings and misses with his mid-90s fastball and slider, so he could represent an interesting middle-relief lottery ticket.

Others: RHP Keith Couch, RHP Jake Dahlstrand, RHP Luis Diaz, OF Keury De La Cruz, RHP Dayan Diaz, LHP Robby Scott

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have made it clear that there will be a “willingness to negotiate” with J