New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica joined Dennis & Callahan in studio Tuesday morning to discuss what is happening with the Yankees, especially Alex Rodriguez, and other sports matters. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Lupica wasn’t surprised the Yankees were outbid by the Red Sox for 19-year-old Cuban Yoan Moncada. He actually believes this is part of a long-term plan for the Yankees, that the team might be soon for sale.

“I want you to remember, to me the turning point for the Yankees and why — this is only my theory, I believe that sooner than later this baseball team will be sold by the Steinbrenner’s,” said Lupica. “I think they are already setting up a machinery that they aren’t going to saddle them with anymore A-Rod like [contracts]. [Max] Scherzer to me was the sign. Scherzer fit the Yankee blueprint perfectly. He was over 30, you knew the back end of the contract was going to turn out to be absolute crap, but he was irresistible because why? He was available.

“When they didn’t sign Scherzer, to me, that was a sign that they’ve completely changed doing business. To me, the fact they got outbid on the Cuban kid, that didn’t surprise me in the least because if you’re not going to spend on Scherzer, you’re not going to spend…”

Rodriguez reported to Yankees spring training on Monday, and Lupica also had a thought regarding the Yankees’ designated hitter.

“Here’s what I think is going to happen. I think he is eventually going to limp away from this sport,” Lupica said. “‘€¦ I think he’ll maybe show some early speed. I think he’ll maybe pass Willie Mays [in home runs]. I believe before this year is out — sooner rather than later he will limp away from this sport for good.”

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

According to agent David Hastings, in addition to Yoan Moncada, the Red Sox also plan to sign Cuban outfielder Carlos Mesa, whom Hastings describes as Moncada’s mentor.

According to agent David Hastings, in addition to Yoan Moncada, the Red Sox also plan to sign Cuban outfielder Carlos Mesa, whom Hastings describes as Moncada’s mentor.

The 27-year-outfielder spent three years in the Pirates system (2011-13), advancing as far as High A. He’s a lifetime .215 hitter in 327 games, and also pitched for one season in his native Cuba. He played in 14 games for the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian-American Association, batting .204 with a homer.

“Carlos is a player I showcased along with Yoan from the very beginning,” Hastings said by phone on Monday night. “He’s been a mentor to Yoan. He’s an important piece of the whole package, in my opinion. It was not presented as a deal breaker, but he tried out every single time Yoan did, and he’s impressive. The team saw value in him and offered him a contract.”

Hastings said Mesa will sign a minor-league deal.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Rusney Castillo raved about Yoan Moncada on Monday. (Michael Ivins/Getty Images)FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Two words ultimately summed up the Red Sox' pursuit of Yoan Moncada: All in.



Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is putting a big bet on Yoan Moncada. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Yoan Moncada's current existence should be understood, but probably won't be. 



Florida CPA David Hastings just negotiated by far the largest signing bonus in history for an international free agent, getting Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada $31.5 million from the Red Sox.

Florida CPA David Hastings just negotiated by far the largest signing bonus in history for an international free agent, getting Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada $31.5 million from the Red Sox.

Given Hastings’ lack of experience, it makes sense that rival agencies would try to steal Moncada right before his big payday. A source said that Hastings hired armed guards to keep such interlopers away, and Fangraphs reported that two agents working for Scott Boras were removed from a showcase workout in Guatemala.

In a phone conversation on Monday night, however, Hastings disputed that reasoning and said the guards served a much more important purpose.

“We had the armed guards not to protect him from the agents,” Hastings said. “We had the armed guards to protect him from the people out there that would want to kidnap him and hold him for ransom. Or kill him. The process is dangerous for these Cuban players, because once you get them out of Cuba, legally or illegally, they are targets of other people out there that see them as like a diamond. And they want to take that diamond. It’s worth money. The secrecy was to protect Yoan from that element, not from the agents.”

Hastings said he generally tried to keep Moncada’s whereabouts a secret even in the U.S., out of an abundance of caution.

“We’ve been careful ever since we got him out of Cuba to protect his whereabouts, and even when his whereabouts were known, to protect him at that point as well, whether it was here in the U.S. or Guatemala,” he said.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

David Hastings, the agent for 19-year-0ld Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada, described how his client landed in Boston. Simply put, it came down to money.

David Hastings, the agent for 19-year-0ld Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada, described how his client landed in Boston. Simply put, it came down to money.

Hastings said the Red Sox were among four finalists for Moncada, joining the Yankees, Dodgers and Padres. Moncada liked all four teams equally, and after one round of bidding, the four were basically tied at $25 million. Hastings went back to each club to solicit a second round of offers.

“I explained that everyone had the same amount of money, and one team had to distinguish themselves above the others for us to go further,” Hastings said. “I gave them all a chance to give us their second bid. I immediately got second bid offers and went back to the teams that had not chosen to give second bid offers and told them where they needed to be if they wanted to continue to be in the process and the Yankees declined.”

The Red Sox won the bidding with a bonus of $31.5 million, far and away a record for an international free agent, beating the previous high of $8.27 million the Diamondbacks gave Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez in in January. The Yankees didn’t budge off $25 million, and their fans will no doubt be disappointed to hear how that cost them.

“Listen, Yoan would’ve gone to the Yankees, had the Yankees beaten everyone else,” Hastings said. “He liked the Yankees. He liked the Dodgers. He liked San Diego. He liked all these teams. When you like every team, and one is like, ‘We’re going to offer you $1 million more, or $2 million more, or $3 million more,’ it’s kind of a no-brainer.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

FORT MYERS, Fla. — At the start of spring training 2014, Christian Vazquez sat in his same corner locker right next to the main entrance of the Red Sox clubhouse at JetBlue Park. That hasn’t changed but his role certainly has.

Last year, David Ross was the starting catcher coming off a World Series in which he caught the final pitch from Koji Uehara in Game 6 against the Cardinals. A.J. Pierzynski was the back-up. And Vazquez was taking his reps, trying to show the organization he could handle the job if either or both went down for an extended period.

He got that chance in earnest when Pierzynski was traded out of town in July and the team was falling quickly out of the playoff race in the American League. He played 55 games. He batted .240 with just one homer and 20 RBIs.

But clearly that’s not what earned him the job. He handled the pitching staff as a 23-year-old rookie and blew away everyone with some eye-popping defensive numbers. Twenty-nine base runners attempted to steal with him behind the plate. Fifteen were thrown out. That 52 percent rate was nearly double the 27 percent league average. And that didn’t even include the four pickoffs he executed with his gun of a right arm.

Now, in 2015, there is no doubt — Vazquez is the starting catcher, with Ryan Hanigan the veteran back-up. What are the Red Sox expecting in terms of the next step for the 24-year-old defensive weapon?

“The step that we would anticipate him taking this year is handling the pitchers that he did for the half of last year, and understanding even more so what their trigger points are and how to get the most out of them,” manager John Farrell said Monday. “His development as one of the leaders of our pitching staff is going to be challenged because of the number of new faces that are here. Spring training is going to be critical for he and Ryan Hanigan to understand what each pitcher likes in certain situations, what pitch to go to. But I know that in Christian’s commitment to those conversations and the time spent to learn individuals, that’s who he is as a person. That’s him evolving as a game-caller and a catcher behind the plate.”

There’s been another change. Vazquez has traded in No. 55 for No. 7, the same number as his idol Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. Vazquez said Monday he’s hoping to be just like him. Like Rodriguez had to do, Vazquez will need to understand that learning a pitching staff and grinding through scouting reports should not impact his impressive raw ability.

“That’s started with Christian and every other catcher from the day they sign a pro contract,” Farrell said. “They’re well aware that priority one is to get the most out of the guy on the mound. So, there’s added time needed to their preparation, when you’re thinking about a game plan to a scouting report to how it applies to the given guy that night. But it continues to evolve with each year he’s been at the position, particularly at the big league level. Yeah, there’s a lot on his plate but he’s got the wherewithal to handle all that.”

There’s been another impact from Vazquez: the thought that Blake Swihart — another talented catcher — could be trade bait along with Henry Owens for Cole Hamels. If Swihart stays, there’s the chance that he could actually see major league playing time in Boston.

“We would hope at some point this year he’s ready to step in if the need were to arise but no less talented than Christian,” Farrell said. “Maybe not as advanced because of the [lack] of games caught at the upper levels yet but still, a bright future and a very talented player in his own right.

“We’re fortunate to have such young, talented guys that project to be frontline-type catchers that can impact the running game, and he and Christian are proving that as they gain experience and as they move up the ladder. There’s still some work to be done with Blake.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia