Pablo Sandoval is reportedly in Boston to meet with the Red Sox. (Getty Images)

Pablo Sandoval is reportedly in Boston to meet with the Red Sox. (Getty Images)

The courtship of the Panda is officially underway.

Joe Amorosino of WHDH Sports caught up with free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval at Logan Airport. According to Amorosino (via twitter), Sandoval arrived with both agent Gustavo Vasquez and Sandoval’s brother in anticipation of the 28-year-old’s meeting with Red Sox officials.

The Sox have made little effort to hide their interest in Sandoval, acknowledging that their struggles at third base in 2014 combined with their need for more left-handed lineup balance make the switch-hitting Sandoval an obvious subject of the team’s interest. Vasquez, Sandoval’s agent, recentlly suggested that the third baseman would like a six-year deal, a goal that seemingly is in line with recent free agent history given Sandoval’s relatively young age.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

According to a major league source, the Red Sox‘ ownership group will have met with Jon Lester and his representatives prior to the Cubs’ get-together with the pitcher, which is slated for Tuesday.

According to a major league source, the Red Sox‘ ownership group will have met with Jon Lester and his representatives prior to the Cubs’ get-together with the pitcher, which is slated for Tuesday.

According to another source, Lester has drawn “significant interest” from six clubs, which includes the Red Sox, Cubs and Blue Jays (as was reported by WEEI.com Monday).

For more updates, go to the Red Sox page at weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Amiel Sawdaye

Amiel Sawdaye

A considerable amount of shuffling has taken place within the Red Sox front office.

Amiel Sawdaye, the Red Sox’ director of amateur scouting for the last five drafts, has been promoted to vice president with a focus on domestic and international scouting, a role comparable to the one that current assistant GM Mike Hazen occupied (as VP of player development and amateur scouting) between his role as farm director and his promotion to his current position.

Under Sawdaye, the Sox’ drafts churned out prospects in volume. Among them:

2010: Bryce Brentz (supplemental first round), Anthony Ranaudo (supplemental first round),  Brandon Workman (second round), Sean Coyle (third round), Garin Cecchini (fourth round)

2011: Matt Barnes (first round), Blake Swihart (first round), Henry Owens (supplemental first round), Jackie Bradley Jr. (supplemental first round), Mookie Betts (fifth round), Travis Shaw (ninth round)

2012: Deven Marrero (first round), Brian Johnson (first round)

2013: Trey Ball (first round), Teddy Stankiewicz (second round), Joe Gunkel (18th round), Mauricio Dubon (26th round), Nick Longhi (30th round)

2014: Michael Chavis (first round), Michael Kopech (first round), Sam Travis (second round), Jake Cosart (third round), Kevin McAvoy (fourth round)

With Sawdaye moving up, Mike Rikard — who had served as a national cross-checker for the last five drafts — has been elevated to the director of amateur scouting. Rikard has been working closely with the entire scouting department over the last five years since moving up to national crosschecker. He joined the Sox from the Padres in 2005 as an East Coast crosschecker.

The changes to the domestic amateur scouting department go beyond Sawdaye and Rikard, as assistant director of amateur scouting Gus Quattlebaum is moving to serve as assistant director of international and professional scouting. Like Rikard, Quattlebaum is considered not only a skilled evaluator in his own right but also a valuable teacher of other scouts, and so by diversifying Quattlebaum’s skill set, the Sox saw an opportunity to add to their front-office and scouting depth. With Quattlebaum changing departments, Steve Sanders (previously a scouting coordinator) will be the new assistant director of amateur scouting.

Some trusted evaluators have left the organization. Dave Finley, who had been serving as director of player personnel, and Galen Carr, a special assignment scout whose time in the front office predates the current Sox ownership group, have both been hired by the Dodgers, Finley as VP of scouting and Carr as director of player personnel.

While the Sox largely felt comfortable promoting personnel from within to address the departures, the organization has added another voice to its evaluation team, hiring Paul Fryer from the Dodgers. Fryer had served as L.A.’s global cross-checker, a capacity in which he was part of the team that signed outfielder Yasiel Puig and elite left-handed pitching prospect Julio Urias.

The team’s player development staff also reconfigured, as assistant director of player development Duncan Webb left the organization to explore new career opportunities. In his place, Brian Abraham — a Worcester native who had been the Sox’ bullpen catcher for the last two years — will support farm director Ben Crockett.

Adrian Lozano, a baseball operations intern who had served as an interpreter for Yoenis Cespedes and Rusney Castillo, has been hired as a major league staff assistant.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

In some respects, it made some sense.

Even with a glut of outfielders, the Red Sox‘ rumored interest in Braves outfielder Jason Heyward seemed plausible. If there was some juggling to the roster, a case to trade for the lefty hitter could be made.

Heyward will be eligible for free agency following the 2015 season, but bringing along the 25 year old’s offensive and defensive skill-set at the right price seemingly deserved some consideration.

But, according to a major league source, the Red Sox never did go down that road.

Monday, Heyward was dealt to the Cardinals, along with Jordan Walden, for pitcher Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins. The Red Sox, according the source, never engaged in trade talks with the Braves for the outfielder.

Heyward is a two-time National League Gold Glove winner (having claimed the award for ’14), while hitting .271 with 11 homers and a .735 OPS in 149 games last season.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Blue Jays evidently aren’t messing around this offseason.

The Blue Jays evidently aren’t messing around this offseason.

While getting free agent catcher Russell Martin to a five-year, $82 million contract (as first reported by Peter Gammons, Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal) served as one of the Jays’ largest offseason commitments in team history, they evidently aren’t intent on stopping there.

According to multiple major league sources, the Blue Jays are remain as one of the six clubs to continue to show legitimate interest in free agent pitcher Jon Lester. Also known to be pursuing the lefty are the Cubs and Red Sox, both of whom are expected to meet with the pitcher this week.

According to Cots Contracts, the Blue Jays’ payroll landed at $137,770,000 last season, with Mark Buehrle slated to make the most money of any player on the roster in ’15 ($19 million).

The Martin signing potentially frees up more money for the Cubs, who were thought to be the other the finalists for the 32 year old catcher’s services. It has been reported Lester is scheduled to meet with Chicago Tuesday.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Giancarlo Stanton didn’t win the NL MVP award, but he may be on the cusp of cashing in on the biggest contract in baseball history.

Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly closing on a 13-year deal with the Marlins. (Getty Images)

Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly closing on a 13-year deal with the Marlins. (Getty Images)

Giancarlo Stanton didn’t win the NL MVP award, but he may be on the cusp of cashing in on the biggest contract in baseball history. According to CBSSports.com, the Marlins and Stanton have agreed to terms on a 13-year, $325 million deal, with the two sides working to iron out the language of the deal. The deal would include both no-trade protection and the opportunity to opt out, according to the report.

Stanton, who turned 25 last week, would thus be locked up through his age 37 season (if he does not exercise the potential opt-out) for a franchise that has a long history of trading its stars in their primes. Miami was evidently willing to change course for the foremost power hitter in the NL. Stanton, who finished second in NL MVP voting to pitcher Clayton Kershaw, led the NL with 37 homers and a .555 slugging mark while hitting .288 with a .395 OBP in 145 contests before his year came to a sudden halt when he was hit in the face by a pitch on Sept. 11.

An extension could end Stanton’s perpetual place in the rumor mill, an existence to which he first became introduced as an 18-year-old in 2008, when he was mentioned as the potential return for the Sox in a trade that would have sent Manny Ramirez to the Marlins.

“I heard it was going to happen,” Stanton acknowledged in 2009.

Indeed, in the absence of an extension, it seemed unavoidable to wonder whether the Red Sox would make a play for Stanton. That curiosity even hovered over this offseason, with curiosity about whether the Sox might try to build a package around Xander Bogaerts and/or Mookie Betts.

“I think any three of those guys, you’d be hard-pressed to part with. Obviously you have a couple of potential stars and a guy who looks like he might turn into a supernova,” reliever Burke Badenhop, who played with Stanton as a member of the Marlins in the early years of his career and spent the 2014 season playing with Bogaerts and Betts while pitching for the Red Sox. “Having played in Miami and knowing Giancarlo — Mike, as we referred to him — he’s that team. I really hope he wins the National League MVP. Without him, does that team have a chance to be where they were this year? Probably not. It would be tough for them to part with him. It would probably take a very, very big package.

“He was pretty obviously a talent,” Badenhop added in thinking about Stanton at the start of his big league career. “He wasn’t really a baseball player. He galloped like a horse out there. He was a freak of nature. You just weren’t sure if he was a baseball player. He’d take some bad swings. He struck out a bunch. Out in the outfield, he was a very good defender, which people don’t really realize. He’s got a really good arm. He’s really polished that side of his game, too. Now, he’s getting to his barrel more. He hits pitches out more that aren’t necessarily mistakes. He hits good pitches a long way. For people who have never been in Miami, that’s a gigantic ballpark. Where he’s hitting those balls is otherworldly. … To see him round himself into a baseball player is really great toe see. And he’s a fun, goofy guy, which plays well. He has fun playing the game.”

Now, it appears that Stanton has determined that he can enjoy the idea of being the face of the Marlins for the foreseeable future.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Rusney Castillo will be playing some more offseason baseball, after all.