Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons appeared on Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to talk about Jon Lester and Pablo Sandoval, as it relates to the Red Sox, as well as other Red Sox related matters. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Jon Lester is reportedly scheduled to visit with the Cubs on Tuesday, as they are one of the six reported teams interested in the left-hander. Gammons says even though the Cubs are meeting with Lester, they believe he will end up back with the Red Sox.
“I think there’s a chance, I really do,” said Gammons. “I think the one thing — obviously the Cubs are going to make every play — I get the feeling the Cubs think he’s going to go back to Boston. I think it’s very smart for Lester and his agents to hold for another week. I think there is a feeling it is going to go past Thanksgiving, maybe into the first week into December and the hope is that the Yankees look at that starting rotation and they think ‘¦ I mean how to they know [Masahiro] Tanaka, [Michael] Pineda and [Ivan] Nova are going to be healthy next year and they start thinking about, ‘OK, we have great bullpen, but…’
“That is Red Sox ownership’s worst nightmare — the Yankees and Theo Epstein negotiating against them. But, after spring training when ACES told them [they would see what the market bears], they are finding out the market is going to bare more than they ever imagined.”
Free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is in Boston early this week, scheduled to meet with the Red Sox to discuss a possible contract. The 28-year-old is coming off a World Series win with the Giants.
“I believe David Ortiz took him out to dinner last night,” Gammons said. “I don’t think it was to a Vegan restaurant.”
Gammons added: “I think he’s an interest here because I think he realizes there’s some reluctance for the Giants about how many years do you give him. One of the dilemmas that National League teams face is that you have a guy that is a bat that may be a DH at 32 or 33-years-old, it’s very hard to give them the kind of contract you can give them in the American League. For instance, Victor Martinez may be the best hitter in baseball right now, but no National League team, the Mets, could go after him because he’s an American League player. Sandoval might be that. I think the Giants are more prepared for this.”
Sandoval’s numbers aren’t as impressive as some think, as the switch-hitter has hit .279 and .278 the last two years respectively, combining to hit 30 home runs. Gammons feels playing in San Fransisco has a lot to do with the numbers.
“I do think he’s a really good hitter. That ballpark really hurts him,” Gammons said. “I think you get him into Fenway and his natural stroke is left-center field. I think he’d be a very good hitter here, but I agree with you that I think he’s going to be very good and the Red Sox have such a need for a left-handed bat. I mean when Stephen Drew is No. 3 on your team in left-handed home runs against right-handed pitching, I think you’re in trouble. He’s really the only guy there. That really tells you a lot about the market and that hitters have become so rare.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.
On Yoenis Cespedes rumors of coaches ‘hating’ him: “I don’t think they all hated him. I think they were [ignored] by some things. The way he played left field and being reluctant to play right. I was there one day when Victor Rodriguez (asst. hitting coach) got a call on the field from Chili Davis (Oakland hitting coach at the time) just going on and on about how great Cespedes is and how good he is on the team. Some of the coaches really liked it. I think he’s a little different. [Rusney] Castillo is a very different personality. Castillo is someone with a highly educated background. He is a little different. I don’t think there is a dislike, but I think you still worry about a guy who is one year away from free agency who is a .300 on-base guy on a team that would at least like to have longer at-bats. I still think in the back of my mind they will explore trading Cespedes to see what pitching they can get, especially if they don’t keep Lester. That is a huge issue for them.”
On what the Red Sox outfield might look like on Opening Day: “I think [Yoenis] Cespedes plays right, [Rusney] Castillo plays center and Mookie Betts plays left. We have a long way to go on that. I still think that as much as (new hitting coach) Chili Davis loves Cespedes, and he does, I think that there is still a possibility they trade Cespedes for pitching.”
On John Henry and how long it might be before he sells the team: “I think he sells eventually because the prices are going up so much, there comes a point when you start to say, will the prices on some of these sports teams go down. There has been a lot of discussion. I know talking to people around in the baseball business, they think that the revenues and the worth of the regional networks are going to start to come down in the next three years and that bubble is going to burst. He’s really good at seeing things like that. That may be five years from now he decides to sell. I think that all depends on where the business is going. Let’s face it, business has been a constant upward trajectory in terms of revenues and that can change. There are a lot of things that can happen in the next couple of years.”
On third baseman Will Middlebrooks: “I think the feeling is he has to get healthy and show him he’s a big league player. I think that is that concern. ‘¦ He’s really fallen off the depth chart at this point. It’s too bad. He has power, but sometimes you have to have an on-base percentage over .300 and that just hasn’t been. It’s too bad. It really is. I think he is a really good guy, but you have to make contact and that is a serious issue.”