Dave Dombrowski isn't in a rush to extend Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Dave Dombrowski isn’t in a rush to extend Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are two Red Sox players who are potential superstars and obviously the team would like to have them part of their long-term future.

Bogaerts is a free agent after the 2019 season, while Betts is a free agent after 2020.

Appearing on Kirk & Callahan Thursday morning, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the organization would like them to be with them for a long time, but aren’t in any rush to strike a deal.

“We would like them to be Red Sox for a long time,” Dombrowski said. “But, I have also learned throughout the years any time you have contract negotiations with players they are best kept between you and the player. That is how I have always handled those types of situations.”

Bogaerts is a Scott Boras client and he’s been known not to sign contracts before a player hits free agency. Dombrowski noted he’s been able to strike deals beforehand with Boras clients on a few occasions and sometimes it is up to the player to overrule Boras and make a decision on their own.

“I think first of all, let’s just use those two because they are specific, there’s not a rush per se,” Dombrowski said regarding an extension. “It’s not like they are [free agents] at the end of this year. I’ve run into those scenarios. You can occasionally still throw out that we have interest. I think what’s interesting throughout the years, I’ve dealt with Scott Boras many, many times for 30 years basically, and ultimately it is the player’s life. They need to step up at times and make their decisions and I have had players that Scott will say, ‘We’re really not interested,’ and he will talk to the player and at one point he may come back and the player may say, ‘I want to make this decision.'”

Dombrowski also noted that Bogaerts seems to enjoy being a member of the organization.

“I think Xander likes it here a great deal,” he said. “I think he is in a position where he would like to be a Red Sox. He appreciates the organization and the way he’s been treated. You never can tell what can happen with those things.”

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Dave Dombrowski joins us now live from JetBlue Park! pic.twitter.com/a3SM6vtjDd

— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 23, 2017

At various points last season, there were questions about whether Red Sox manager John Farrell was on the brink of losing his job. But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said on Kirk & Callahan Thursday the thought didn’t cross his mind.

“I don’t think we were ever in that spot. We had a good consistent season,” he said from JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. “I don’t think we lost more than three games in a row at any point last year. I think last year our club played well, we played solidly, we won 93 games. So no, not at all.”

When Dombrowski announced last October Farrell would return to the club in 2017, he said in-game strategy isn’t the most important job for a manager. He reiterated that claim in his conversation with K&C.

“I think an example of the most important part is your ability –– and I always tell mangers this, I’ve talked to Leyland, La Russa –– [your] ability to get your players to play up to their capabilities on a consistent basis is the most important part for a manager,” Dombrowski said. “Now, you just can’t be motivational also. You have to be a lot of other things, but your players coming in and playing hard on a consistent basis, having the respect of the players is extremely important for a manager. Having control of the clubhouse, communication skills. There’s just so many things that make up a good manager to me in today’s world.”

Even though Dombrowski doesn’t put in-game managing at the top of his list, it doesn’t mean he thinks Farrell is incapable of making sound strategic decisions. He says he has full confidence in Farrell’s abilities.

“I think he is a good in-game manager,” Dombrowski said. “It’s interesting people talk about that. I always say, point to examples. But the realty is, you start with the pitching staff. He handles the pitching staff very well. He’s, I think, very well-regarded in the industry at handling the pitchers. He’s got a good pulse of his bullpen, how guys should be used, when they should not be used. From an offensive perspective, I think in our league, the reality is that you don’t do a lot of maneuvering during games very often. You’re really in a spot with the DH where you keep your guys out there most of the time. It’s really a determination most of the time when somebody needs rest or somebody needs a day off. And then if you point to, well, somebody –– I hear often, well, somebody is a good in-game manager from an offensive perspective. We led the league in runs scored by 101 last year. I’m not saying he’s the reason behind that, because the hitters are very involved and the main reason. But I think the reality is, he does a fine job.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Sam Travis (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)FORT MYERS, Fla. -- They sit down the end of the clubhouse, in the same spot guys like Deven Marrero and Xander Bogaerts inhabited during their first go-round with the big leaguers.



FORT MYERS, Fla. — The first spring training start is usually forgotten.

Sure, there was Boston College’s Johnny Ayers hitting a first-pitch double against Daisuke Matsuzaka (having heard the pitcher proclaim he would be throwing a fastball for his first pitch as a Red Sox). That will always be the be-all, end-all spring training debut tale.

Brian Johnson (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Brian Johnson (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The first spring training start is usually forgotten.

Sure, there was Boston College’s Johnny Ayers hitting a first-pitch double against Daisuke Matsuzaka (having heard the pitcher proclaim he would be throwing a fastball for his first pitch as a Red Sox). That will always be the be-all, end-all spring training debut tale.

But most of the outings are along the line of 2016, when Sean O’Sullivan got the nod.

This year, however, there is something special about the honor of kicking off the exhibition season. At least that’s the case for Brian Johnson.

The lefty was informed Tuesday that he will be getting the nod to start against Northeastern Thursday.

“Yeah, just because it’s my first time being around each other feeling good. Knowing whether it goes good or bad, I still feel like myself,” said Johnson when asked if this start might be special for him.

Two years ago, spring training was where Johnson truly got on the Red Sox’ major league radar, leaving camp as a legitimate option if one of the chief members of the starting rotation was sidelined. But then came an elbow injury, which ultimately led to an uncomfortable major league debut on July 21, 2015 in Houston (4 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks in 4 1/3 innings).

And, finally, there was the anxiety issues that derailed his season at Triple-A Pawtucket, making him restart his season for nearly two months.

“This all started for me when that elbow injury happened,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know if I should say something. I knew I was on the cusp of getting called up. I have no feeling in my hand. I’m having to change arm slots in terms of knowing where the ball is going in the sense of being able to feel my hand. If you throw one, sometimes it felt like I was hitting my funny bone. I was thinking, ‘Is it going to be numb? What pitch is it going to do it on? Is it going to be in first inning, or the fourth inning?’ I never got comfortable and I always had that in the back of my head. I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

“Without a doubt it’s good to get back on the mound, especially after an up and down year last year. It’s good to get back out there.”

After Johnson pitches two innings, Jamie Callahan will come in for relief against the Huskies. The Red Sox will then send out Henry Owens to pitch the Grapefruit League opener against the Mets Friday at JetBlue Park, followed by Roenis Elias vs. the Twins in another home tilt.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Chris Sale joins us now! https://t.co/BuwxpSDKZ3 pic.twitter.com/uyBQ1njbiD

— Kirk and Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) February 22, 2017

It’s apparent that Chris Sale has the right attitude to not just play in Boston, but flourish.

In an interview with Kirk & Callahan Wednesday from Red Sox Spring Training in Fort Myers, Fla., the southpaw said he’s unfazed by the pressure that comes with stepping inside Fenway Park on a nightly basis.

“It’s just a bunch of crap,” Sale said. “Working hard, being a good teammate and leaving it all out there when I’m out there. Those are the important things. It’s not this [or] that stat, this year [or] that year, or anything else. It’s about winning games and being a good teammate.”

While it’s been a drama-free camp so far for the Red Sox, Sale caused quite a stir with the White Sox last year. He was involved in a number of controversies, including an incident in which he cut up the team’s throwback jerseys prior to a game in July. Sale also feuded with White Sox management over whether Adam LaRoche’s teenage son would be permitted to hang around the team on a daily basis.

Though those issues may have expedited Sale’s departure from Chicago –– there are two years left on his contract –– he says the media exaggerated them.

“That’s another thing that I think gets blown out of proportion a little bit. I was there for, what, seven years, and there were maybe two or three incidents,” he said. “I think people make it out like we were at the Royal Rumble and boxing gloves were the next step. It was nothing like that, it couldn’t have been further from that. It’s just one of those things when you’re passionate about something and you have drive and you care a lot, stuff like that is going to happen.”

The Red Sox traded two of their top prospects, infielder Yoan Moncada and flamethrower Michael Kopech, to acquire Sale this offseason. He says the steep price the Red Sox paid to bring him aboard only further motives him to produce on the field.

“When someone makes a move like that, and they put all of their marbles out there, it’s exciting,” Sale said. “They put a lot on the line to get me here, and I’m very appreciative of that. I want to try to do everything I can to help this team get to the championship, get to the postseason, get to the World Series and win it. I’ve said it before: this was one of the best teams in the league without me. So I’m just here to help them push through and get over that hump.”

Despite finishing in the top 10 in Cy Young voting in each of the last five years, Sale has never pitched in the postseason. His performance on the mound will ultimately dictate whether the Red Sox play in October, but right now, he’s saying all of the right things.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

MLBPA chief Tony Clark (WEEI.com photo)

MLBPA chief Tony Clark (WEEI.com photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — While the head of the MLB Players Association, Tony Clark, will be visiting every major league camp this spring training, it is a pretty good bet that he won’t be getting the kind of question sent his way 19 minutes into his session with the Red Sox media.

The query came courtesy veteran WBZ reporter Jonny Miller:

“Tony, any concerns over the World Baseball Classic being played in South Korea with that idiot in North Korea with the button? Any concerns with playing in that area?”

After a quick smile and chuckle, Clark offered a succinct response.

“Well, I think where we’re at right now, we’re going to try to make the best of where we are. To the extent that they may have to be moved, I don’t believe we’re at that point yet based on where we are on the calendar. But should it ever need to be if something does happen that needs to be reflected in a full stop and an adjustment, then we would have to make that adjustment sooner rather than later.

“I think where we’re at right now we’re going to try to make the best of where we are. To the extent that they may have to be moved, I don’t believe we’re at that point yet based on where we are on the calendar. But should it ever need to be if something does happen that needs to be reflected in a full stop in an adjustment we would have to make that decision sooner rather than later.”

The Red Sox will be sending Xander Bogaerts to South Korea to participate with the Netherlands representative in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The first round involving Pool A (Israel, Korea, Taiwan, Netherlands) kicks off in Seoul on March 6.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

FORT MYERS, Fla. — They are behind everybody else, but not enough to alter the conversation.