Tuesday night on the Hot Stove Show, Red Sox manager John Farrell described the crop of top tier free agent starters

Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann

Tuesday night on the Hot Stove Show, Red Sox manager John Farrell described the crop of top tier free agent starters as a “deep” one.

The pool just got more shallow.

According to CBSSports.com, the Tigers have agreed to deal with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. Because Detroit has the ninth pick in June’s amateur draft (with the top 10 picks protected), it will only have to surrender its second-round selection to sign Zimmermann, who had been extended a qualifying offer by the Nationals.

According to FoxSports.com, the deal will be worth five years in the vicinity of $110 million.

The Red Sox have long had interest in the 29-year-old Zimmermann, who is coming off a 2015 season in which he went 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA. It was a downturn from the previous year, in which the righty went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA.

Zimmermann wasn’t considered in the class of free agent starters Zack Greinke and David Price, but has been viewed as a top of the rotation candidate.

With Zimmermann off the board, it leaves Price, Greinke and Johnny Cueto as the only legitimate free agent options who might be considered No. 1 starters. Other available starters include Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake, Wei-Yin Chen, Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
WEEI.com's Rob Bradford has the latest on the Red Sox and their hot stove offseason as he joins Christian Arcand and Lenny Megliola on the Planet Mikey Show

[0:03:40] ... that gave them brass key who is apparently gone all out for David Price sounds like we heard and rumors that he be willing to pay upwards of forty million dollars more than anybody else to ...
[0:05:11] ... that not happen act are in the rotation. They can't show the Eddie Rodriguez who the world awaiting partly a joke Kelly's. I'm okay caught out prepare for a start value do things. And some believe ...
[0:10:28] ... commute bother about it but. He also he's pitched it Elliott and Bob Elliott New York or LA also has an Omaha Nebraska. It's. If you LA is is a big market. It's in the playoffs ...
[0:11:10] ... talk now of opening up the wallet writing a blank check to David Price your pitcher acts or whatever it is. Once that's done with what direction do you think the rest he's gonna go and ...

When appearing on the Hot Stove Show Tuesday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell dropped this in when talking about his team&#

When appearing on the Hot Stove Show Tuesday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell dropped this in when talking about his team’s pursuit of a frontline starter …

“This [would be] someone guys can look up to. You would think it would be someone who would be a leader by example, in addition to the performance he puts on the field. That would go a long way in taking our rotation another step forward.”

Then you talk to former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos — who acquired a pitcher named David Price at last season’s non-waiver trade deadline — and the mystery in regards to whom the Red Sox might be prioritizing gets a tad less murky.

Price is certainly the kind of top of the rotation talent Dave Dombrowski has been suggesting remains on the top of the Red Sox’ to-do list. But, evidently, he also fits the bill when it comes to the rest of the package the Sox are prioritizing.

“You hear about how he’€™s a great guy, good teammate,” Anthopoulos told WEEI.com. “You hear that a lot about certain players, and it’€™s mostly guys who can change a clubhouse and a culture. You would think it comes from the position players side. But I remember Ryan Dempster years ago telling me at one of the Baseball Canada dinners how he was considered a great clubhouse guy. But he said, ‘€˜Look, I pitch every five days. There’€™s only so much I can do.’€™ But David Price was one of the guys that if you talk to people in that clubhouse ‘€¦ We already had a good clubhouse, but he took it to a whole different level. He’€™s probably the best teammate I’€™ve ever seen. I haven’€™t been in the game that long, but everyone else who has been around him has said he’€™s the best they’€™ve ever seen.

“Look, he’€™s got frontline stuff. But he’€™s legitimately a great teammate. His work ethic is off the charts and he makes everybody else on the team a lot better. He brings something else more than just the two ERA and the 240 innings and everything else. He leads. He sets a great example. He’€™ll be a great get for any team that gets him.”

Multiple reports have recently surfaced the Red Sox as a favorite to land the 30-year-old Price, who will undoubtedly be eyeing a contract in the vicinity of $200 million.

Price, however, has continued to downplay the idea that anybody has any idea where might be landing.

Farrell suggested Tuesday that the crop of free agent starters who could slot in as a No. 1 is deep — with Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke, and Jordan Zimmermann all being mentioned.

But, looking at the big picture, there is likely some significant separation between the lefty and the rest of the candidates, in large part because of the complete package Anthopoulos described.

“It’€™s rare. A lot of guys there’€™s always a wart on someone. You can always pick at any player and find something you don’€™t like. But he combines great talent, great ability, with the other components of being a great human being, a great teammate, a great clubhouse guy,” Anthopoulos said. “It’€™s rare you can combine both. Sometimes you have great talent and the makeup or character component is OK, and other times it’€™s not good. Here it’€™s great. You’€™re getting great on both sides, which is rare. It’€™s not too many times that you end up getting something like that. I think every club in baseball would be thrilled to have a guy like that.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

David Price might not be headed to Cubs after all.</p>
<div class=

Much was made of the report from ESPN Deportes that Hanley Ramirez might be playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

(Courtesy Hanley Ramirez' Instragram account)

(Courtesy Hanley Ramirez‘ Instragram account)

Much was made of the report from ESPN Deportes that Hanley Ramirez might be playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

But, when appearing on Tuesday night’s Hot Stove Show, Red Sox manager John Farrell said such a scenario was no done deal.

“We met with Hanley before we broke away for the final game of the season. Like every player there was a very specific physical plan put in place,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we met those goals, and Hanley met those goals, in terms of getting the low-back, the shoulder, some of the physical ailments we needed to address, getting to an optimum playing weight. We’€™ve had people in to visit with him. His work has been great this winter. It’€™s all in line with what our offseason goals have been.

“Before we even approach the winter ball, we want to make sure he addressed the physical things. And he’€™s doing that. I don’€™t know as we’€™re having this conversation whether or not he’€™s going to play winter ball yet. Our goal is to make sure he’€™s ready for us and plays as many games as possible at first base next year.”

Ramirez hadn’t played since Aug. 26, having had his season shut down due to a right shoulder issue. As Farrell pointed out, the first baseman also was managing lower back pain, which had somewhat limited his workouts at his new position throughout the season’s final month.

Speaking to ESPN Deportes, it appeared as though Ramirez was set on joining Licey of the Dominican Winter League.

“People don’€™t know this, but I will be playing in the Dominican Republic in the coming weeks,” Ramirez said in Spanish. “This is what I’€™m preparing for. I think it’€™s something that will help prepare me better to play first base.”

Ramirez added that he has been working out for two weeks and will arrive in Licey next week to begin training with the team.

It’€™s unclear how many at-bats he would receive or how often he’€™ll play first base, but Ramirez noted that the last time he played in the Dominican, before the 2013 season, he ended up winning the World Baseball Classic and having an excellent season with the Dodgers, hitting .345 with 20 homers and finishing eighth in the NL MVP voting.

“I will play first base,” Ramirez said, “but the majority of the time, I will be designated hitter with Licey.”

– Farrell also noted that the announcement that David Ortiz would be retiring after the 2016 season did catch him somewhat off guard.

“Personally, I was a little surprised because he would mention of it at times when you talked to him, whether it was on a long flight across the country or if you were having a one-on-one moment where a player might bring up, ‘€˜I don’€™t know how long I’€™m going to do this going forward,’€™” Farrell said. “But if you look at the production throughout his whole career there really hasn’€™t been drop-off. Maybe in 2009 and 2010 there was a little bit of a downturn. But if you look at the last five years he has been incredibly consistent. From that standpoint alone you think, ‘€˜This can continue to go on because he has been our most productive offensive player the last years.’€™ It has been a luxury to write David’€™s name in the lineup in that three-hole or four-hole each and every day.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

There’s still a long way to go in this offseason, but the plan right now appears to have Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field for the Red Sox.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

There’s still a long way to go in this offseason, but the plan right now appears to have Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field for the Red Sox.

Speaking on the Hot Stove Show Tuesday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that if the offensive production from all three outfielders were at an acceptable level, the team would be putting Mookie Betts in right field, Bradley Jr. in center and Rusney Castillo in left field.

“I think if you were to just prioritize the defense, Jackie is the best defensive outfielder we have. That’€™s clear,” Farrell said. “Whether it’€™s the naked eye, or whether it’€™s to any kind of measurement you want to put to it, Jackie is the best defender we have. So you could say an alignment would have Jackie in center, Mookie in right and Rusney in left. Who else we add to the outfielder core to give us some balance coming off the bench remains to be seen. But the one thing that Jackie did, particularly in August, is that he swung the bat like we were hopeful of. It was an outstanding month. And I think the key for Jackie is to hit enough to be an everyday player and here’€™s everyday center fielder.

“The one thing I will say is that we will continue to strive to get the most consistent defensive team up the middle that we can be. If you combine some of the offensive contributions to this, Mookie had an outstanding year offensively. He’€™s earned that everyday spot. This is something we’€™ll go into spring training, we’€™re going to take a look at both guys in center field and we know what they can do. It is going to come down to who plays and who produces offensively that we’€™ll give the most reps in center field.”

Betts had been the team’s primary center fielder, having played a team-leading 133 games at the position in 2015 before manning right for 11 games.

Bradley Jr., considered one of the best defenders in the major leagues, forced his way into the conversation with a standout offensive performance throughout most of August. From Aug. 7 until Sept. 7, the outfielder hit .422 with a 1.358 OPS over 27 games.

But, as Farrell noted, Bradley Jr. still has to show signs that he can produce consistently offensively. After the August run, he did slump in his last 25 games, hitting just .138 with a .510 OPS.

If Bradley Jr. does find a happy medium offensively, starting in spring training, it should lead to the aforementioned outfield configuration. Also helping make the decision was the ability by Betts and Castillo (who played 24 games in left field) to excel in their respective spots throughout September.

“That’€™s our best defense with that alignment right there,” Farrell said. “As we know, you need a well above-average defender in right field in our ballpark and we think we have three of them. All three can play center field. That gives us the most flexibility and coverage in that alignment.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford