Pablo Sandoval joins girlfriend Yulimar Martins in listening to Alex Vega about his new car. (Angel Valentin/ New York Times)

Pablo Sandoval joins girlfriend Yulimar Martins in listening to Alex Vega about his new car. (Angel Valentin/ New York Times)

It’s no news flash that big league ballplayers have nice cars. But the extravagance of their purchases really might not hit home until reading a story like the one in Sunday’s New York Times.

The Times rolled out a feature on the “Auto Firm,” a Miami-area garage that customizes cars for what is described as more than 300 baseball clients, and is run by a man named Alex Vega.

While there are a few professional athletes mentioned in the piece — including the Red SoxHanley Ramirez (who was buying a Ferrari for his wife), Brock Holt and prospect Yoan Moncada — Pablo Sandoval was most prominently featured.

The first paragraph of the story reads:

Pablo Sandoval pulled up to a custom car shop here on a recent Friday afternoon hoping to do some business. He wanted to trade in the Porsche Panamera he was driving, order new sets of rims for his two Range Rovers, pick up the gray one that was being worked on and discuss the next car he would buy ‘€” a 2016 Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Sandoval is followed around throughout the facility throughout the day, doing his shopping with girlfriend Yulimar Martins.

Details of Sandoval’s visit were chronicled, such as the particulars of the Porsche he left behind. There was just 15,563 miles on the car, that still possessed “three CD’€™s in the stereo, $3.26 of change in a cup holder and a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror.”

Sandoval’s philosophy toward his vehicle investments was perhapssummed up by this quote: “It’€™s like a sign when you get to the big leagues. The first thing you want to get is a nice car to drive around. Every year I try to get a new one.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

In all likelihood, the Red Sox were not going to miss out on David Price.

In all likelihood, the Red Sox were not going to miss out on David Price.

They were going to keep spending until the free agent starter couldn’t say no. It was reminder that Cubs president Theo Epstein offered on the Hot Stove Show, saying that the Sox final offer of $217 million was “about $50 million” more than what Chicago was willing to give.

And if Price fell through, Zack Greinke would have surely gotten the same treatment, with the Red Sox undoubtedly ready to take on the six-year, $206.5 million deal the righty pitcher ultimately got from Arizona.

But what if both fell through?

The Red Sox were clearly prioritizing getting an ace, and those two were seemingly the only pair of free agents who could be classified as no-doubters in that respect. Johnny Cueto? Not the same stratosphere.

Appearing on the Saturday’s Hot Stove Show from Foxwoods, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski shed some light on the Red Sox’ plan of attack.

First off, even a portion of that money that went to Price, or potentially Greinke, wasn’t going to a high-priced position player.

“You can have your original plan, but then what based on what takes place you need to make some adjustments,” Dombrowski said. “I’€™m sure if we had not signed one of those two guys we still would have looked to do something with pitching, but I don’€™t know what may have been different at that particular time.”

But the real takeaway was that, according to Dombrowski, there was no chance that the kind of pitcher the Red Sox sought could be reeled in via the kind of trade the Sox would be willing to explore.

“I think that’€™s one of the advantages you have when you have some experience, and I’€™ve worked with a lot of the general managers … Some people can tell you that this guy is not available. Well, he might be available. You can really read his tone of voice. There are other guys who tell you that this guy is not available, and he’€™s not. There’€™s no sense in knocking your head against the wall all winter long trying to get that guy when he really is not available,” Dombrowski explained. “Now when I say that, any player in baseball is available if you want to overwhelm somebody so much you can basically get anybody. But you may get that guy in a trade, but now you have four other holes on your big league club so you really haven’€™t helped yourself.

“So I think in reading the trade market early, it was apparent to me to get the type of starting pitcher we needed with what we wanted to do, there was not any of them that were available that were going to come to us with prospects. It just wasn’€™t going to happen. So really quickly you could say that’€™s not the direction we’€™re going.

“I thought we would come back with a closer, back-end type guy through the trade market and it would be costly with players, which it was. But if you were going to get the type of guy we wanted in the starting rotation, that was going to have to come through free agency.”

Another interesting aspect of Dombrowski’s explanation regarding the Red Sox’ offseason plan was his very direct proclamation that any championhip-caliber team needs an ace to lead its starting staff.

It was about as direct of an about-face from the ownership’s previous philosophy as Dombrowski had delivered since taking over.

“To me, the No. 1 need we had was that ace at the top to go out there because I think our organization needed that type of guy,” he said. “And when you look at tradition of good clubs, championship clubs, they almost always have that type of guy. And when I also talk to people in the Red Sox organization it was apparent that when the Red Sox last won, every time they won, they had guys at the top of the rotation that can in turn take pressure off of others.

Clay Buchholz is a fine pitcher. Now, we need to work, and he has worked hard this winter and done some different things to try and keep himself strong and healthy throughout the years. And Eduardo Rodriguez, he is in a situation where he has a chance to be a very fine pitcher. He’€™s already shown you those capabilities. But I think it’€™s a lot different when you say, ‘€˜Well, he might slide into the third day or the fourth day, ‘€˜ compared to, ‘€˜Wow, we need this guy to pitch against the other club’€™s ace right off the bat.’€™ I think it puts people in a more comfortable position in an organization.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

It’s been a long offseason for a multitude of still unsigned free agents, including former Red Sox lefty pitcher Craig Breslow.

But as the days until spring training dwindle, it appears as though the interest surrounding Breslow might be amplifying.

According to a major league source, the 35 year old hurler has recently drawn interest from multiple teams, in large part because of his potential versatility as a reliever/potential starter.

While there is still a flood of pitchers still on the market who might favorably match up with Breslow as a relief pitcher, a few clubs have been intrigued by the upside the lefty might possess as a depth starter (along with potentially helping as a veteran arm in the bullpen).

After finishing the 2015 season with the Red Sox with a pair of starts — allowing two runs over 9 1/3 innings — Breslow informed prospective suitors that he was interested in giving starting a try after previously spending his entire major league career relieving.

Breslow is coming off a season with the Red Sox in which he totaled a 4.15 ERA over 65 innings. His splits have traditionally been fairly down the middle, with lefties hitting .245 for his career, and right-handed batters managing a .242 clip. He had signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Red Sox prior to the 2015 season.

Breslow has spent the offseason working out at Mike Boyle’s facility in Woburn with fellow reliever-turned-starter Rich Hill, as well as former Red Sox trainer Mike Reinold.

It appears as though there is a growing acceptance throughout a good chunk of the remaining free agents to take a minor league deals, with Bronson Arroyo the latest pitcher to go that route (signing with the Nationals). It is a path Breslow might have to explore, particularly if he is going to try his luck at starting.

Other lefty relievers still on the open market include Joe Beimel, Neal Cotts, Brian Duensing, Sean Marshall, Franklin Morales and Matt Thornton.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

It’s been a long offseason for a multitude of still unsigned free agents, including former Red Sox lefty pitcher Craig Breslow.

But as the days until spring training dwindle, it appears as though the interest surrounding Breslow might be amplifying.

According to a major league source, the 35 year old hurler has recently drawn interest from multiple teams, in large part because of his potential versatility as a reliever/potential starter.

While there is still a flood of pitchers still on the market who might favorably match up with Breslow as a relief pitcher, a few clubs have been intrigued by the upside the lefty might possess as a depth starter (along with potentially helping as a veteran arm in the bullpen).

After finishing the 2015 season with the Red Sox with a pair of starts — allowing two runs over 9 1/3 innings — Breslow informed prospective suitors that he was interested in giving starting a try after previously spending his entire major league career relieving.

Breslow is coming off a season with the Red Sox in which he totaled a 4.15 ERA over 65 innings. His splits have traditionally been fairly down the middle, with lefties hitting .245 for his career, and right-handed batters managing a .242 clip. He had signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Red Sox prior to the 2015 season.

Breslow has spent the offseason working out at Mike Boyle’s facility in Woburn with fellow reliever-turned-starter Rich Hill, as well as former Red Sox trainer Mike Reinold.

It appears as though there is a growing acceptance throughout a good chunk of the remaining free agents to take a minor league deals, with Bronson Arroyo the latest pitcher to go that route (signing with the Nationals). It is a path Breslow might have to explore, particularly if he is going to try his luck at starting.

Other lefty relievers still on the open market include Joe Beimel, Neal Cotts, Brian Duensing, Sean Marshall, Franklin Morales and Matt Thornton.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
This week the guys recap some of Red Sox Winter Weekend, play some clips from Dave Dombrowski and Hanley Ramirez at Foxwoods, and talk more about the pitching staff.
This week the guys recap some of Red Sox Winter Weekend, play some clips from Dave Dombrowski and Hanley Ramirez at Foxwoods, and talk more about the pitching staff

Live Blog WEEI.com Red Sox chat
WEEI.com’s John Tomase will be conducting a live chat here at noon on Tuesday. Take a first step towards overcoming your Patriots hangover right here. No Peyton Manning questions allowed.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

You might understand why Pedro Martinez wasn’t for having the designated hitter in the National League, as had been

Commissioner Rob Manfred  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Commissioner Rob Manfred (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

You might understand why Pedro Martinez wasn’t for having the designated hitter in the National League, as had been recently discussed. This is a pitcher who, after all, hit just .099 (43-for-434) for his career.

But, as Martinez explained on the Hot Stove Show Saturday, his opinion on the matter stretches beyond just having a personal discomfort in the batter’s box.

“When you tamper with the game, you take out the essence of the game a little bit,” Martinez said. (To hear Pedro’s comments on the DH, go to the 15-minute mark on the audio below.) “The National League needs to remain the National League. The American League needs to remain the American League. Just let it be. Let it be when it comes to the DH. Use the DH in the American League and you just choose the game you want to watch.”

Evidently, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred agrees.

“The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo,” Manfred told ESPN.com “I think the vast majority of clubs in the National League want to stay where they are.”

According to the ESPN article, Manfred was left with the impression that there might be room for discussion regarding a change in the DH rule after attending the recent owners meetings.

“Twenty years ago, when you talked to National League owners about the DH, you’d think you were talking some sort of heretical comment,” Manfred said. “But we have a newer group. There’s been turnover. And I think our owners in general have demonstrated a willingness to change the game in ways that we think would be good for the fans, always respecting the history and traditions of the sport.”

The American League has used the designated hitter since 1973. Any change to the existing rules would have to be bargained into the collective bargaining agreement, which expires Dec. 1.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford