In a conference call introducing Chili Davis as the new Red Sox hitting coach, the former A’s instructor talked about how he viewed one of his former player’s in Oakland, Yoenis Cespedes.

Chili Davis

Chili Davis

In a conference call introducing Chili Davis as the new Red Sox hitting coach, the former A’s instructor talked about how he viewed one of his former player’s in Oakland, Yoenis Cespedes.

Cespedes and Davis were together since the outfielder’s arrival with the A’s up until his trade to the Red Sox at the non-waiver trade deadline this past season.

“Cespy is a special player, just a very special player with a lot of talent,” Davis said. “We saw that in Oakland and I’€™m sure that’€™s why they brought him here from Cuba and put him right into the big leagues. Big game guy, loves the noise, loves the lights. I feel like we formed a relationship but we weren’€™t quite finished building that relationship from the relationship we formed it wont be that difficult to pick up where we left off. As far as I’€™m concerned and I told him this to his face, he has greatness written all over him. He does. He does everything, he can run, throw, hit for power.

“It took him a while to get comfortable in Oakland as well but once he gets comfortable there there’€™s no telling what he might put up in a season as a player. He’€™s just, to me, I think he can be a great player. It’€™s all up to him, whether or not he wants to be there. But I think he has the ability to be a great player.”

Here are some of the other topics discussed on the call:

- John Farrell cited the organization’s (and his own) familiarity with Davis and being a key in bringing him on board:  “It goes back to the person Chili is. You all will get to know him firsthand. This is someone that, setting aside a great playing career, it’s someone that cares about the individuals that he’s working with ultimately to make them better and to make us better. You’re talking about an incredible playing career, an incredible message, the person and the genuineness that Chili is, our players will feel that immediately. Some have already from their time in Pawtucket. It was the person that drew us to him, the experience we had with him back in 2011. We were teammates a number of years ago. Knowing him personally, knowing what our needs are here, this is an ideal fit with Chili joining our staff here in the organization.”

- Farrell discussed the reason for bringing back assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez:  “When Chili was here, Victor as the hitting coordinator at the time. There are relationships already established with guys on our roster, even as that roster has turned over. What’s most important about a two-man hitting system is that there’s a similar approach to hitting that’s talked about. There’s a working relationship that both guys will be able to tap into and reference from previously. So Victor’s return was as much a natural fit as Chili’s return to the organization.”

- Davis explained his approach toward his hitters’ approach: “I think it all starts in spring training with us, how we approach our at-bats. Every at-bat is somewhat of a different at-bat. Whether or not you’re facing a different pitcher, whether or not you’re in a different situation, as far as I’m concerned, if we focus properly on the process at hand, what we need to do, in any situation, whether it’s getting on base, moving the runner, driving the runner in, if we’re focused the correct way on it, and our approach is to do that job at hand, the numbers are going to control themselves. The numbers will be what they’re going to be. I know it’s a numbers-oriented game. It’s even more so now. But I believe that if we create the right atmosphere from day one, we stay focused and stay disciplined with those habits, the situations that come up, we want to be prepared for them before we get in the batter’s box. As far as the numbers are concerned, I didn’t go to Oakland to better numbers. I think John said it well. I’m more about the player improving and becoming more of a better player, day-in, day-out, week-in, week-out, year-in, year-out. Sometimes it’s a short-term thing. Most of the time it’s a long-term thing. I just think the numbers will be what they’re going to be. We’re going to try to improve those numbers, but not by thinking about those numbers — more by thinking about the process the correct way.”

- Davis discussed his time as hitting coach with the Pawtucket Red Sox, in 2011: ‘€œI don’€™t think I ever really get comfortable. I had a great group of guys in Pawtucket. When I interviewed for the job, mike hazen and ben cherington, and at the time, theo said that’€™s where are prospects are going to be. it was a challenge and every year and every day is a challenge because you’€™re dealing with all these different personalities but the one thing I want to say is as much as I am here to help and to teach, I’€™m learning from these guys every day. Pawtucket was a learning experience for me and I carried that into Oakland and that helped me a lot in adjusting to the job I had to do in Oakland. I’€™m learning as much from the hitters and the players as I hope they’€™re learning from me.’€

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Three members of the Red Sox were named finalists for the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, which recognizes one player from each league at each position.

Three members of the Red Sox were named finalists for the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, which recognizes one player from each league at each position. Three-time winner Dustin Pedroia was named a finalist along with Robinson Cano of the Mariners and Ian Kinsler of the Tigers. Jackie Bradley Jr. was named a finalist in center field along with Adam Jones of the Orioles and Adam Eaton of the White Sox. And Yoenis Cespedes, acquired in midseason from the A’s, is a finalist in left field, along with Michael Brantley of the Indians and reigning winner Alex Gordon of the Royals.

Fangraphs had Pedroia as the major league leader by a considerable margin in UZR. John Dewan’s Plus/Minus system had Pedroia as second to Kinsler in both runs saved and defensive plays made above average.

Fangraphs had Bradley leading the American League, also by a significant margin, in UZR, while Dewan’s system had Bradley behind only Leonys Martin of the Rangers in runs saved (14), but placed him behind Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson of the Royals as well as Eaton in plus/minus.

Though Fangraphs had Cespedes being below average in range, his howitzer of an arm permitted him to rank second in the AL (behind only Gordon) in UZR, according to Fangraphs. Dewan’s runs saved system likewise pegged Cespedes as the second most impactful left fielder in the AL with 12 runs saved, behind only Gordon’s 27.

Arguably short-changed as a nominee for the second straight year: Mike Napoli, who according to Dewan, ranked third in the AL to a pair of Orioles (Steven Pearce and Chris Davis) in first base runs saved and led the AL with 10 plays above average. Fangraphs pegged Napoli as having the third best UZR (behind Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira) in American League UZR.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Red Sox officially announced the hire of Chili Davis as their new hitting coach Thursday. In addition, the team announced that Victor Rodriguez would return for his third season as the team’s assistant hitting coach.

The Red Sox officially announced the hire of Chili Davis as their new hitting coach Thursday. In addition, the team announced that Victor Rodriguez would return for his third season as the team’s assistant hitting coach.

Davis spent the last three seasons as the hitting coach for the Athletics, who finished third in the American League in runs each of the last two season. As a player, Davis ranked seventh all-time among switch hitters in both home runs (350) and RBIs (1,372). He previously worked in the Red Sox organization in 2011, when he was the hitting coach for Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Chili’s experience and success as both a player and a coach make him a valuable addition to our staff, and we are excited to have him working with our hitters,” John Farrell said in a statement.

Rodriguez has spent the past 20 years in the Red Sox organization, serving in various roles in the minors before becoming the Red Sox’ assistant hitting coach in 2013.

“We look forward to having Victor return to the staff,” Farrell said. “In his time here, he has built strong relationships with our younger players, some of which date back to his days working in our minor league system.”

For more on Davis and his potential impact on the Red Sox, check out this column from Alex Speier.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

As time ticks toward the Red Sox having to make a decision on Craig Breslow’s contract, the reliever remains realistic.

As time ticks toward the Red Sox having to make a decision on Craig Breslow’s contract, the reliever remains realistic.

The Red Sox have until five days after the completion of the World Series to decide whether or not to exercise Breslow’s $4 million option for 2015. The 34-year-old lefty is coming off a disappointing season in which he totaled a 5.96 ERA in 54 1/3 innings over 60 appearances.

“If you were to strictly look at 2014 with blinders without what had happened previously and what you might expect to happen going forward, $4 million is probably a hefty price tag,” Breslow said by ph0ne Thursday afternoon. “But I think if he look at the body of work from 2008-13, you can better appreciation for the pitcher that I’€™ve been and the pitcher that I will.”

He added, “If they were to decline it I would be a bargain for somebody and I’€™ll pitch to the value of the contract.”

Breslow noted his representatives had been in preliminary contract discussions with the Red Sox toward the end of the ’14 season.

The reliever seemingly never recovered from the workload of pitching through the Red Sox’ ’13 World Series run. Not only did he delay his throwing program due to the 993 pitches thrown during the championship season, but upon arriving in spring training it was determined his shoulder strength was still lacking.

Breslow wouldn’t pitch at throughout the club’s stay in Fort Myers, not making his ’14 big league debut until  the 10th game of the season.

“Only having December and January to get ready becomes problematic,” he said.

From ’08-13, Breslow pitched in more games (392) than any lefty reliever, except Matt Thornton, totaling a 2.82 ERA, while limiting hitters to a .224 batting average.

The Connecticut native plans on spending the majority of his offseason working out at Mike Boyle’s training facility in Woburn.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

James Shields is amidst one of the worst postseasons ever for a starting pitcher.</p>
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Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an interview on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, suggested that the notion that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes — acquired from the A’s at the trade deadline for