OXON HILL, Md. — It turns out the Red Sox were reaching for the stars when it came to finding their eighth-inning guy.

Wade Davis

Wade Davis

OXON HILL, Md. — It turns out the Red Sox were reaching for the stars when it came to finding their eighth-inning guy.

According to a major league source, the Sox showed strong interest in acquiring Royals closer Wade Davis before he was dealt to the Cubs Wednesday in exchange for outfielder Jorge Soler. (For more on that deal, click here.)

What derailed a deal was Kansas City’s preference of Soler over Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw, who was ultimately traded to Milwaukee with minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg.

Davis would have certainly added a unique dynamic to the back-end of the Red Sox’ bullpen, having totaled a 1.18 ERA over the last three seasons as one of the best game-enders in baseball. Davis has also been dominant during the Royals’ World Series runs, allowing just one earned run over 25 postseason innings.

The 31-year-old Davis saved 27 games for the Royals last season, and is owed $10 million in 2017, the final season of his current contract.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

OXON HILL, Md. — Rick Renteria might not be managing either Yoan Moncada or Michael Kopech to start the season, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t extremely invested in the pair.

Yoan Moncada. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Yoan Moncada. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

OXON HILL, Md. — Rick Renteria might not be managing either Yoan Moncada or Michael Kopech to start the season, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t extremely invested in the pair.

The White Sox manager took a few moments at the MLB Winter Meetings Wednesday to discuss his organization’s two prize acquisitions, both of whom were included in the deal sending Chris Sale to the Red Sox.

“I’ve seen a little video of the guys,” Renteria said. “Moncada, the first clip I saw of him, he reminded me a little bit from his set up and everything of [Robinson] Cano, and now he’s a switch-hitter and shows some discipline at the plate. I know that at 21 years of age, he still has a long way to go in terms of what he’s ultimately going to be. I think he’s a very talented human being who we hope is going to be an impact-type player.

“Kopech is a young man who is about 6-foot-3, very good arm. Obviously we have people within the organization that believe that we can harness that strength and that skill set and have him become a pitcher, command the zone, things of that nature.

“But, again, our job is going to be to have these guys become as quickly — to become as comfortable as quickly as possible with the way that we are going to go about preparing to play the game, and hopefully they enjoy it.”

Renteria wouldn’t commit to which position Moncada might play, although early indications are that the White Sox plan on keeping the prospect at the position he has spent most of his time, second base.

Perhaps the most immediate correction the White Sox would like to see in Moncada’s game is cutting down on the swings a misses, which led him to finish off his big league regular season with strikeouts in nine straight plate appearances.

“I think that’s just experience,” he said. “I think it’s him — for example. I’ll give you an example. They were coming down, finishing him off underneath the hands down and in. He’s a 21-year-old man who has not seen that type of bite coming from pitchers, and it’s probably changing the lane in which he’s looking for that particular type of slider where he’s got to get it out and away.

“He also has shown discipline. He walks. It’s one of those things where I think time will tell us, but I think there’s a look to him and there’s an action to him that I believe will generate change of that particular outcome in the future.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

OXON HILL, Md. — Chris Sale found out about his trade to the Red Sox while driving up Interstate-75 to his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. David Price was the first to reach out the Red Sox newly-acquired ace pitcher.

Chris Sale introduced himself to the Boston media via a conference call Wednesday morning. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale introduced himself to the Boston media via a conference call Wednesday morning. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

OXON HILL, Md. — Chris Sale found out about his trade to the Red Sox while driving up Interstate-75 to his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. David Price was the first to reach out the Red Sox newly-acquired ace pitcher. And he is looking forward to the competition between starters in the Red Sox rotation, which currently boasts seven members.

These were some of the items touched on during Sale’s introductory conference call Wednesday morning. Here is a transcript:

THOUGHTS ON THE TRADE

Hey guys. I want to say hey to everybody first. No doubt. It’s kind of like being the monkey in the middle. You’re just glad when you finally get the ball. It’s hectic. There’s a lot of speculation, there’s story after story, I’m obviously getting flooded with text messages from family and friends. Just to have the whole process out of the way and get back to some kind of normalcy will be nice.

(THOUGHTS ON COMING TO BOSTON)

I’m excited. You’re talking about one of the greatest baseball franchises ever. I’ve always been a big fan of the Boston Red Sox for a few reasons. It’s also going to be nice to spend more time down in Southwest Florida as well for spring training. That was big for us as well. My wife is a couple weeks away from delivering our second son. We’re having another baby. That helps us out tremendously.

HAPPY IT WAS THE RED SOX?

I’m as excited as anybody, honestly. I don’t know how you couldn’t be. You’re in the annual running for making the playoffs and have a realistic chance for winning the World Series. I think the group of guys, I’ve always heard great things about the guys on this team, the front office. You have dedicated ownership and front  office guys dedicated to winning annually. So it’s exciting. I’ve always, always loved going to Boston, pitching in Boston. It’s a trip my wife comes on every year as well. We both really like the city and the stadium. Obviously, it’s a very special place.

TALENT ON RED SOX ROSTER

That’s kind of the cherry on top. You look at the talent on this team as a whole – not only just the pitching staff but as a whole – you’ve got some young guys, you obviously have a veteran leader and one of the best in the game in [Dustin] Pedroia leading the charge, you can’t ask for much more. You have guys in the bullpen who can lock it down.  On paper, it looks good. I know we’ve still got to go out there and do it, but there’s no reason not to be excited right now.

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW DAVID PRICE, RICK PORCELLO?

More so with Price, just seeing each other during the summer. He was actually the first one to reach out to me, welcoming me and saying, hey, let’s go, welcome to the Sox and let’s get it rolling. It’s an honor. You look at these guys, Porcello, he lives down here in Southwest Florida as well so that’s nice. Not only the guys that they are, but heck, David Price won the Cy Young a few years ago, obviously Price this year. Being in that company is nice.

THOUGHTS ON BEING IN THIS ROTATION

Yeah, I think that’s the main thing, the good thing in all of this. I can definitely see a competition between all of us. Not only us three, but everybody. [Drew] Pomeranz, [Eduardo] Rodriguez, pushing each other, trying to be better and just making each other better. It would be nice, regardless of who’s pitching on what night. the next night, we have as good if not a better chance all the way down the line. It’s nice, but not only that, but it takes some pressure off of everybody. Just go out there and pitch because you don’t have feel like you have a huge weight on your shoulders to win this game for sure, 100 percent. It alleviates the pressure that might build on some guys.

ON FINDING OUT ABOUT THE TRADE WHILE VISITING ALMA MATER

It wasn’t even planned. I didn’t know anything until about 11:30 yesterday, really. I got a text from my agent saying things are starting to heat up. Something might happen either today  or tomorrow. I had planned on going up to FGCU on Friday because I took some jerseys up there on Friday … I was driving up to FGCU and in the middle of my drive, I’m driving northbound on 75 and I get a call from my agent, he tells me what happens, and then a flood of texts and phone calls come in. yeah, it was pretty special, it was pretty cool going up there and being able to share that moment with those guys.

ON HAVING SPRING TRAINING NEAR HOME

I think that’s going to make the transition a little bit better with everything involved. Good group of guys, good team. Put that on top of being able to stay at our house for a couple more months, especially with a newborn baby. This really couldn’t have worked out better for us, either side of the spectrum, professionally or personally.

ON GETTING MESSAGE FROM WHITE SOX PERSONNEL

Oh, man, it’s been really bittersweet, honestly — exciting for all the reasons I’ve already said, but you get texts from teammates and coaches, my wife is looking at old pictures, and my son had friends there. When Nate Jones tells you that his daughter is going to miss Rylan and our trainer said the same thing, it’s tough. You build a relationship with these guys. We were like family. You’re around these guys probably even more during the year than you are your family. It’s tough, but knowing what lies ahead makes it a little bit easier for that transition. It didn’t work out. I really wish it did. I really have nothing but really good things to take from that. I appreciate my time with the White Sox, but I’m really looking forward to the next chapter.

ON THE PRESSURE OF PLAYING IN BOSTON

It’s fine. That’s part of it, really. I knew that going into it. I’m not a big media guy. I don’t have Twitter. I’m not going to be reading as much about everything as probably the next guy. I’m really more focused on the between-the-lines stuff. That’s what I signed up for. That’s what I look forward to. That’s what I live for, playing the game of baseball. Everything else, it’ll take care of itself, it’ll shake out. The good outweighs the bad. You’ve got to roll with it.

EXCITED TO PITCH IN FENWAY PARK?

No doubt. I’m a firm believer in energy can be created in ballparks. I don’t think there’s any question about that. When you have a packed house and everybody is on their feet and they’re screaming in the eighth inning, there’s no doubt that gives every player on either side a little bit of a jolt. That will be  Very, very exciting.

ON COMPETITIVENESS

Probably a question better suited for my catcher or teammates. But for me personally when I take the ball it’s everything I’ve got until I don’t have the ball anymore. This year incorporated pitching a little smarter than harder sometimes. Just going all the way out until the ball is taken out of my hands.

DO YOU WANT TO BE CALLED THE ACE?

Once you get going two weeks down the road, numbers get jumbled up, I’m not going to sit here and say this or that about the ‘ace’ tag. I don’t think that matters. I think when you have a group of guys that come together that believe in the same thing and fight for the same purpose, nothing else really matters. We play for a trophy not a tag.

WHO FROM THE RED SOX CONTACTED YOU?

[Dave] Dombrowski and [John] Farrell both called me. Spoke to both of them briefly on the phone. Just getting acquainted with Tom [McLaughlin] the clubhouse guy and Kevin [Gregg] the PR guy and just guys internally in the organization. Pedroia reached out to me, [Clay] Buchholz reached out to me. Porcello and I have some mutual friends down here so I reached out to him to say hello and looking forward to meeting more of the guys and starting that relationship and building it and getting to spend more time in spring training around here will be nice too.

THOUGHTS ON LEAVING THE WHITE SOX

It didn’t work out the way we wanted to in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of great moments. Like you said, I actually had a very good conversation with Rick yesterday. It’s one of those things. I was in a situation where, in 2010, how many teams would’ve done what they did? It’s hard to say now, but probably not very many. They drafted me in the first round when people had questions. They brought me up to the big leagues really fast when people probably had questions. They threw me in the rotation when people had questions. They really had my back a lot and gave me opportunities that not a lot of people would’ve given me. I’m very thankful for that.

SURPRISED ABOUT THE TRADE?

No, not really. I mean, people talk about getting traded all the time. There’s a lot of speculation, even on a daily basis. I wasn’t never too worried about getting traded up until the last couple weeks, just being informed by my agent saying, ‘This could happen, this could not happen.’ The closer we got to this date, my agent tried to really explain to me what might happen. That’s kind of how it went.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox have wanted Chris Sale since Dave Dombrowski took control of the baseball operations in 2015. But only in the last week did the White Sox finally decide they were ready to deal.

Red Sox manager John Farrell (L) speaks with the media as Red Sox president of baseball operation Dave Dombrowski (R) listens after the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale on Tuesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox manager John Farrell (L) speaks with the media as Red Sox president of baseball operation Dave Dombrowski (R) listens after the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale on Tuesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox have wanted Chris Sale since Dave Dombrowski took control of the baseball operations in 2015. But only in the last week did the White Sox finally decide they were ready to deal.

On Friday, after baseball and its players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, Dombrowski’s phone rang. White Sox counterpart Rick Hahn wanted to know, as Dombrowski recalled, “if we were going to be in.”

“He was going to move him, he felt, at this point,” Dombrowski told reporters at the winter meetings in Maryland. “After the CBA they were committed to making some moves in the organization, did we have interest. I said, ‘Well, of course we have interest in Chris Sale, anybody in baseball would have interest in Chris Sale.’ It would be a matter of what you were looking to acquire and we talked a little bit.”

Without mentioning specifics, Dombrowski said the White Sox moved off their demands for players on the big league roster who had been the focus of prior talks. Many have long believed All-Star center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to be one such target.

The sides agreed to one player in the deal on Friday night and another on Saturday. By the wee hours of Monday night into Tuesday morning, they had the framework of a deal complete that would end up being a blockbuster: Sale to the Red Sox for top prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, as well as highly regarded minor leaguers Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.

“It’s a very difficult deal to make, but I’ve also been in a spot where you have to give something to get something,” Dombrowski said. “The ability to get a Chris Sale doesn’t come along that often. This is one of the best pitchers in baseball, proven. We’re trying to win. There will come a day when Moncada is putting in his 15-year career that we will be saying, ‘The Red Sox, geez, I can’t believe we traded that guy.’ So yes, it does complicate it.”

Because Sale is signed through this year with options for 2018 ($12.5 million) and 2019 ($13.5 million), the Red Sox liked the certainty of acquiring an ace in his prime at an affordable rate.

They’ll enter the season as American League favorites, and they’ll take their chances from there.

“Nothing is guaranteed in life,” Dombrowski said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re going to win by any means, but I think you keep taking a chance and going for it as much as you possibly can and hopefully it works for you some day. Every one of these moves made us better. Because of the strength of the system that people built and because of the young players that we still have, I think we’re still strong for many, many years.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell saluted Dombrowski’s ability to seal the deal.

“This is Dave’s second year as our GM, president. When he targets a guy, he gets him,” Farrell said. “I think there’s a lot to be said for his boldness, his aggressiveness, and even if it’s not — he’s not really worried about what the perception is. He’s most concerned with acquiring players that are going to allow us to win the most right now.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is all smiles. (Mark J.</p>
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