Pablo Sandoval appears anxious to prove just how committed he is to the 2017 Red Sox.

Arriving a full eight days early, Sandoval took his first cuts of the spring, looking noticeably svelte, especially compared to this time last year.

Ian Browne of MLB.com got the clearest picture of Pablo. We’ll update in a bit if he talks after his workout.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

There’s two ways to look at the Red Sox signing Carlos Quentin to a minor-league contract. (This was first reported by Fan Rag Sports.)

Carlos Quentin (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Carlos Quentin (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

There’s two ways to look at the Red Sox signing Carlos Quentin to a minor-league contract. (This was first reported by Fan Rag Sports.)

This is a two-time All-Star who once hit 36 home runs and carries a career .831 in his nine major league seasons.

But then there is the current reality that comes with the 34-year-old.

Quentin last appeared in the majors in 2014, playing in just 50 games with San Diego. Having battled knee injuries and lack of productivity, he hasn’t been seen in professional baseball circles since opting out of his minor-league deal with the Twins last spring training.

The righty-hitting outfielder did play in the Mexican League last season, hitting .211 with a .770 OPS in 21 games.

So, why bother?

For one, the Red Sox’ Triple-A outfield depth isn’t great. They have Bryce Brentz and Rusney Castillo to go along with minor-league free agents Brian Bogusevic and Junior Lake. Quentin, however, will not be in big league camp in spring training, so he certainly doesn’t appear to be leap-frogging the aforementioned group.

Then there is the hope that Quentin’s upside somehow emerges. It is interesting to note that Red Sox scout Eddie Bane reported back that the outfielder has lost 40 pounds, which can only help in terms of evaluating a healthy player.
(For all of Quentin’s career statistics, click here.)

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

As elated as Tom McLaughlin was after the Patriots’ Super Bowl win Sunday night, the news he discovered Monday morning made the Red Sox’ home clubhouse manager cringe.

Tom Brady’s game jersey had gone missing.

The Red Sox have avoided situations like Tom Brady and the Patriots find themselves after losing the quarterback's jersey. (Photo courtesy Boston Red Sox equipment Twitter account)

The Red Sox have avoided situations like Tom Brady and the Patriots find themselves after losing the quarterback’s jersey. (Photo courtesy Boston Red Sox equipment Twitter account)

As elated as Tom McLaughlin was after the Patriots’ Super Bowl win Sunday night, the news he discovered Monday morning made the Red Sox’ home clubhouse manager cringe.

Tom Brady’s game jersey had gone missing.

“It’s horrible,” McLaughlin said by phone from Fort Myers, Fla.

“To me it’s disappointing that it was somebody who was cleared, an employee or someone with a pass of somebody who knows better,” he added. “It’s really disappointing. I’m sure everybody involved feels horrible about it. You try as hard as you can not lose that jersey, but other guys have valuable things in their locker that are just as easily accessible as somebody’s jersey. It’s disappointing.”

McLaughlin, who is headed into his 32nd season with the Red Sox, fully understands the challenges that go with securing all uniforms, equipment and other potential memorabilia after championship-clinching games.

So, with all the chaos that has come with with various celebrations over the years, have the Red Sox fallen victim to a scenario similar to the one involving Brady?

“We’ve been lucky. There hasn’t been. Not that I can remember,” McLaughlin said. “After a clinching game the guy that has a hat or something might be a guy that doesn’t care about it. But nothing that stands out to me that has turned up missing that we couldn’t find, or that we misplaced for a few hours.

“It’s just a vigilance thing. I don’t know if you can ever be 100 percent guaranteed that you’re not going to lose something.”

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Brady jersey was taken during a 15-minute window, sometime between when the quarterback entered the locker room and attended his post-game press conference. (To read the entire story, click here.)

“During that closed period, the only individuals inside were Patriots players, team officials and employees, family of New England executives, NFL employees and security,” Charles Robinson writes in the piece.

McLaughlin points out that the Red Sox have developed a process immediately after clinching games, which starts with proactively taking care of anything and everything in the dugout. The need for such an approach has only increased with the big business that comes with some of the items in question.

Brady’s uniform jersey, for instance, has been valued at about $500,000.

“I think we’ve tried to be a lot more thorough because game-used memorabilia is such a big business now. When a game ends, getting that stuff protected, bats, hats, gloves, helmets,” he said. “All that stuff on the bench as they’re running on the field is wide open for anybody who might slip through security. So you have to clear that stuff and get that stuff put away and locked up. In our case we have an area behind the dugout. Take a lot that stuff off before they get up so it.”

The search for Brady’s jersey continues, with the Houston police and Texas Rangers both getting involved. And until the mystery is solved, McLaughlin will carry the kind of uneasiness only those in his industry can understand.

“It’s just terrible,” he reiterated.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

First there was Matt Dominguez and Brian Bogusevic, and now comes Mike Olt.

Mike Olt

Mike Olt

First there was Matt Dominguez and Brian Bogusevic, and now comes Mike Olt.

After inking Dominguez and Bogusevic to minor-league deals to compete at third base and outfield, respectively, the Red Sox have agreed to terms with another former first-rounder, Mike Olt, to serve as depth at both first and third base.

The 28-year-old Olt was the 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft, having spent last season in Double- and Triple-A with the Padres organization. The righty hitter has played in 135 major league games, hitting .168 with a .580 OPS.

Olt last played in the big leagues in 2015 with the White Sox, totaling 24 games at both first and third base.

The former UConn star figures to join Dominguez and Josh Rutledge has right-handed-hitting, third base options if Pablo Sandoval struggles against left-handed pitching.

At one time, Olt had been considered a top prospect, entering the 2012 season as Baseball America’s 22nd overall minor-leaguer. He would ultimately serve as one of the key elements in the Rangers’ trade with the Cubs for Matt Garza.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Roniel Raudes. (Photo courtesy Greenville Drive)

Roniel Raudes. (Photo courtesy Greenville Drive)

It’s Jason Groome and then a pretty steep cliff.

At least that’s the perception of what the Red Sox have to work with in terms of legitimate potential top of the rotation, minor-league pitching talent.

The 16th (Michael Kopech) and 25th (Anderson Espinoza) ranked prospects in all of baseball, according to MLB.com, used to be in the conversation, but now are long gone. What’s left for the Red Sox is a heavy reliance on last year’s first-round pick, Groome, making it big.

But there is one name that might merit a second glance: Roniel Raudes.

Few have ever heard of the just-turned-19-year-old. But think about where you might have been the first time Espinoza became a talker. So, if you want to seem ahead of the curve, there are worse ideas that to jump on the Raudes bandwagon.

The leap of faith might not be as easy as it was with Espinoza for the sole reason that Raudes doesn’t throw as hard. The righty, who was the second-youngest player in the South Atlantic League last season (just 3 months older than Espinoza), is built on smarts, a good mix of pitches, and, perhaps most impressive, fearlessness.

“He’s not afraid,” said Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero. “He gives up a home run and it’s like nothing happened. That’s a great trait.

“I know those guys [Raudes and Espinoza] really got along well. I think there was a healthy competition between the two. They picked each other’s brain. Espinoza was the power pitcher and got more of the buzz. Raudes was the more conventional guy, changing speeds and throwing strikes. But I do think they learned a lot of from each other. We never thought he was in the shadows. We just thought we had to young guys with good arms and a lot of upside.”

What makes Raudes good now — coming off a season in Single-A Greenville where he went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA — is what drew the Red Sox to him after first seeing the Nicaragua native pitch as a 14 year old in a tournament in Chihuahua, Mexico.

“He was a really skinny, right-handed kid on the mound. He was dominant,” remembered Romero, who was joined by scouts Todd Claus, Rafael Mendoza and Manny Nanita in originally tracking Raudes. “He was going after guys. He was extremely competitive. He wasn’t throwing all that hard, maybe 80-82 mph, which for that age wasn’t bad. But he was a really skinny kid who competed really well.

“One of those things where he didn’t show the power stuff but he could really stuff. That competitive really stood out and had a good feel for spinning a breaking ball. And he always, always, even from the first time we saw him, would throw strikes. He would come in and go after the three and four hitter, where a lot of time you can avoid those guys in those tournaments. But he went right after him. Everybody loved the kid.”

The meetings between the Red Sox talent evaluators would always lead to a hope that Raudes — whose uncle, Julio Pavon Raudes, played in Triple-A with the Giants — could join the Red Sox. Thanks to a signing bonus of $250,000 ($1.55 million less than Espinoza), that became a reality.

“He fell into the right price range because some people were concerned about the physicality, or lack of it. We felt comfortable with it,” Romero said. “We knew we were going to have a chance to sign him just because of the level of interest we had shown.”

Raudes hasn’t let the Red Sox down.

The first real sign that life as a pro baseball player wasn’t going to throw Raudes for a loop came when he started and won the title-clinching game in the Gulf Coast League as 17-year-old.

The pitcher’s personality and panache (he implements a bizarre maneuver with his hands and head while getting into the set position, as can be witnessed on the video below) continues to serve his well. WIth Greenville in 2016, Raudes struck out 104 over his 113 1/3 innings, waling just 23.

“I’ve never seen this kid pitch scared,” Romero said. “It’s always a crystal ball your looking into, but he gives himself a shot by mixing pitches, and throwing strikes. It’s not overpowering stuff, but he goes right after guys. We really like him.”

Start paying attention. Raudes might make you (and the Red Sox) look really smart.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Rob Bradford is joined by former Red Sox catcher, and newly-named ESPN analyst, David Ross to break down the good and the bad when it comes to the two Super Bowl teams' fans. Ross, who grew up near Atlanta and played for the Braves, offers examples of what separates the fan bases. He also adds some interesting insight into how close he came to not retiring at the end of the 2016 season.
Rob Bradford is joined by former Red Sox catcher, and newly-named ESPN analyst, David Ross to break down the good and the bad when it comes to the two Super Bowl teams' fans. Ross, who grew up near Atlanta and played for the Braves, offers examples of what separates the fan bases. He also adds some interesting insight into how close he came to not retiring at the end of the 2016 season.

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[0:11:51] ... trying to grab that magic formula that. Has allowed the bout the Bill Belichick and his Patriots to do something that nobody has done in professional sports which is discontinued Ron. Of just winning winning winning ...