By many accounts Pablo Sandoval has taken the first step to make his second year with the Red Sox better than his first, losing a reported 20 pounds or so.

By many accounts Pablo Sandoval has taken the first step to make his second year with the Red Sox better than his first, losing a reported 20 pounds or so.

But the third baseman still has a ways to go to get in the good graces of his fan base after a disastrous first season of a five-year, $95 million contract. That was evident at the Giants FanFest, when one Red Sox fan asked a favor of San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy …

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Baseball America likes what the Red Sox are doing.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Baseball America likes what the Red Sox are doing.

The publication’s annual list ranking the top prospects in baseball is out, and it is heavy with Red Sox youngsters in the Top 20.

Yoan Moncada is the highest-ranking Red Sox player on the list, coming in at No. 3, only behind Dodgers infielder Corey Seager and Twins outfielder Byron Buxton.

The next Red Sox prospect on the list is outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who comes in at No. 15. Not too far behind are infielder Rafael Devers and pitcher Anderson Espinoza, who come in at No. 18 and No. 19, respectively.

The only other Red Sox prospect on the list is Michael Kopech, who is rated as the 89th best prospect.

Two prospects the Red Sox dealt to San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel trade, shortstop Javier Guerra (No. 52) and outfielder Manuel Margot (No. 56), are also in the Top 100.

(For the complete list, click here.)

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

According to a major league source, former Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow has agreed to a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins.

Breslow will compete for a job as a reliever with the Marlins.

According to a major league source, former Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Miami Marlins.

Breslow will compete for a job as a reliever with the Marlins.

The contract includes a late March opt-out, with Breslow slated to make $1.5 million if he makes the big league club. The Cubs, Red Sox and Blue Jays also showed interest in the 35 year old.

Breslow, who has been working out with former Red Sox trainer Mike Reinold at Mike Boyle’s facility in Woburn this offseason, did shown some interest in trying his hand as a starter in 2016, a role some of the interested teams were open to.

He is coming off a 2015 in which his season ended with two starts, allowing two runs over 9 1/3 innings. Breslow finished his ’15 season — in which he pitched under a one-year, $2 million deal — with 4.15 ERA in 45 appearances.

The lefty is reuniting with former Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves, who serves in the same capacity with Miami.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Steven Wright

Steven Wright

Barring injuries, there doesn’t figure to be that much drama when it comes to figuring out the Red Sox roster.

You have the four outfielders — Chris Young, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. — playing three positions. Travis Shaw and Brock Holt figure to serve as back-up plans in both the infield and OF.

The catching situation might offer some intrigue, but that dynamic will largely depend on the health of Christian Vazquez, and continued progress of Blake Swihart. If both are perceived to be ready to hit the ground running when April rolls around, then you might be hearing some Ryan Hanigan trade talk.

The rotation? David Price, Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello and Joe Kelly.

Then there is the bullpen.

There would seem to be some certainties in what figures to be a group of seven. Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Robbie Ross Jr., Tommy Layne and Roenis Elias enter mid-February as the odds on favorites to be the pen’s inhabitants.

But, according to a major league source, the Red Sox continue to look at lefty relief options, with veteran Neal Cotts perhaps the most realistic option on a minor league deal if such an acquisition is made. The team has had an offer to Craig Breslow, also on a minor league contract, but that reunion doesn’t seem likely at this point.

So, where might there be some wiggle room?

Layne is out of options, so unless he falls apart in spring training, he is the kind of lefty specialist the Red Sox seemingly wouldn’t want to part with.

Ross Jr. has options, but the Red Sox were very impressed with his performance at the tail-end of 2015 after the southpaw figured out his knee issues. If there are any hiccups in March, the 26-year-old’s spot might represent the window of opportunity for someone on the outside looking in.

Matt Barnes is on the 40-man roster, and also had a strong finish. So, as long as John Farrell is comfortable with the likes of Layne and Elias (or a lefty to be named later), the righty’s velocity might be a welcomed addition. Heath Hembree, Edwin Escobar and Noe Ramirez (both also on the 40-man) are two other guys in that same boat as Barnes.

Williams Jerez, a 23-year-old who just converted to pitching two seasons ago, should be very intriguing this spring. He is on the 40-man roster and struck out 86 in 88 2/3 innings at three different minor league levels. The left-handeder almost certainly won’t be immediately in the mix, but he could make an interesting impression. Hard-throwing Pat Light’s situation is similar, seemingly needing more time to learn the art of relieving, but in position to make his mark in case needed at some point in 2016.

Then there is Steven Wright.

Like Layne and Tazawa, Wright is out of options. The knuckleballer is a favorite of the Red Sox’ coaching staff, and certainly has already proven his value on a big league roster.

And while it might seem that Wright should have the advantage over Elias when talking about possibly transforming a starter into a reliever due to roster flexibility, understand that the former Mariners hurler has a proven track record as an everyday major leaguer. This is a guy who not only started 49 games over the last two seasons, but held left-handed batters to a .608 OPS in 2015.

Other non-roster candidates also loom, with Anthony Varvaro back on a minor league deal. (It should be noted that the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is currently maxed out.) Brandon Workman still needs time after recovering from Tommy John surgery.

At least there is some intrigue to hang our hats on heading into the kick off of camp next week.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks and former NESN personality Jenny Dell will marry this weekend in Arizona, culminating a

Jenny Dell

Jenny Dell

Former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks and former NESN personality Jenny Dell will marry this weekend in Arizona, culminating a courtship that began in Boston in secret and ended with the duo proudly stepping out as a couple.

The pair got engaged over a year ago, but couldn’t find a date that would fit their busy schedules until Valentine’s Day, according to the Boston Herald’s Inside Track. Dell, who turns 30 in July, covers the NFL for CBS and was busy at the Super Bowl, while Middlebrooks recently signed a minor-league deal with the Brewers.

The two met while Middlebrooks was playing for the Red Sox and Dell was covering the team as part of NESN’s broadcasts. She was removed from the telecasts shortly after they went public with their relationship.

Middlebrooks has had a rough go of it since. He hit 17 homers and won a World Series ring with the 2013 Red Sox, but was shipped to the Padres for Ryan Hanigan in December of 2014 after batting just .191 with the Red Sox.

Middlebrooks hit .212 for the Padres last year before being given his walking papers and latching on with the Brewers.

 

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Jared Carrabis joins Mut Mutnansky to discuss concerns surrounding the Red Sox heading into Spring Training.