The Red Sox and Cubs evidently aren’t done battling for players this offseason.

The Red Sox and Cubs evidently aren’t done battling for players this offseason.

According to a major league source, free agent catcher David Ross was choosing between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres as of early Wednesday night. Reliever Craig Breslow is also narrowing his potential landing spots, with his agent having had recent discussions with both the Sox and the Cubs.

Ross, who battled injuries and concussions throughout his two-year tenure with the Red Sox, is valued by Chicago in part due to his relationship with newly-acquired ace Jon Lester. The Sox, however, view the 37-year-old as a good complement to projected starter Christian Vazquez.

The fit with San Diego might have gotten more complicated Wednesday night with the Padres’ acquisition of Ryan Hanigan in their three-way trade that also netted San Diego Wil Myers from Tampa Bay. The Padres also figure to have Tim Federowicz, who comes over from the Dodgers in the swap for Matt Kemp.

Breslow, whose $4 million option wasn’t picked up by the Red Sox following the 2014 season, has seen talks with the Sox intensify over the past few days. The lefty recently attended the winter meetings in an effort to paint the picture of what transpired in a down ’14 campaign.

The odds of the Red Sox signing their other free agent reliever, Burke Badenhop, likely diminished with the team’s trade of former Braves sinkerballer Anthony Varvaro Wednesday.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox have added three new starting pitchers. But that’s not going to stop the Cole Hamels’ conversations.

Cole Hamels. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Cole Hamels. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have added three new starting pitchers. But that’s not going to stop the Cole Hamels’ conversations.

Even with the additions of Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson following Jon Lester‘s jump to the Cubs, there is some thought the Red Sox will still be exploring the market for a proven No. 1 starter. There has been whispers of Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman and Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto.

But perhaps the loudest scuttlebutt regarding the possible acquisition of an ace has involved Hamels.

Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, a former teammate of Hamels with the Phillies, is all for the idea of his team making such a move.

“I’€™ll take Cole Hamels in a heartbeat as one of our starters,” Victorino said by phone. “I know he’€™s been there. I know what kind of guy he is. I know what kind of pitcher he is. When he takes that ball he wants to win. He comes across as this nonchalant guy, or laid back. But when it’€™s time to go, Cole Hamels is one of the most prepared, hard-working guys I’€™ve been around.”

Hamels (who does list the Red Sox as one of the teams on his no-trade list) went on MLB Network Radio over the weekend and expressed his desire to join a winner, saying, “For whatever city is going after winning, I think that could definitely change every perspective and every desire, because that trumps everything — winning.”

Acquiring Hamels, however, figures to be a feat for any interested team.

If the Red Sox were to make a move on the soon-to-be 31-year-old lefty, it would not only presumably cost a few of the team’s top prospects, but because of the no-trade issue the Sox would likely be forced to pick up the $20 million option on Hamels’ deal. In all, the club would be committing $110 million over five years.

As far as Victorino is concerned, the payout would be worth it.

“I don’€™t see any reason why you wouldn’€™t want to put him in a Red Sox uniform if it’€™s possible,” the outfielder said. “To me the biggest thing, being around long enough, if ever I’€™m in a position to build a winning team, I don’€™t understand why people fixate on the word ‘€œprospect.’€ People get fixated on prospects. Well, this guy has all the upside in the world. Has Cole Hamels done it? Yes. So why not go get Cole Hamels at whatever expense is needed. Do you want to keep some of the farm system? Yes, I understand that. Part of an organization comes from within. The Lesters, the Pedroias, the Papelbons, the guys who were brought up through the system, got a few championships, and then unfortunately as times goes on guys move. I agree 100 percent it’€™s important to have a good minor league system. I agree with that. Some of these prospects who are being thrown around, who knows if they are going to be that guy.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they have acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Varvaro from the Braves, sending minor league righ

Anthony Varvaro

Anthony Varvaro

The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they have acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Varvaro from the Braves, sending minor league right-hander Aaron Kurcz and cash to Atlanta. Varvaro had been designated for assignment Monday.

A five-year MLB veteran, the 30-year-old Varvaro went 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 2014, holding opponents to a .228 batting average. In 61 relief appearances Varvaro had a career-high 50 strikeouts vs. just 13 walks. He also set career marks for walks per nine innings (2.1) and hits per nine innings (7.6).

A 12th-round draft pick of the Mariners in 2005, Varvaro has a career record of 7-8 with a 3.18 ERA in 157 games with the Mariners (2010) and Braves (2011-14).

Kurcz, acquired from the Cubs in 2012 as compensation for Theo Epstein, pitched in Double-A Portland this past season, going 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 22 walks in 34 games.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The Red Sox announced they they’ve received shortstop Marco Hernandez from the Cubs as the player to be named later in the deal that sent left-hander Felix Doubront to the Cubs on July 30.

The Red Sox announced they they’ve received shortstop Marco Hernandez from the Cubs as the player to be named later in the deal that sent left-hander Felix Doubront to the Cubs on July 30. Hernandez, who turned 22 in September, spent the year with High-A Daytona in the Florida State League, hitting .270 with a .315 OBP, .351 slugging mark, three homers and 22 steals (in 30 attempts). Signed out of the Dominican in 2009, Hernandez has spent most of his career at shortstop, while also getting some exposure to second base, a handful of games at third and one in right.

The switch-hitter is described as a better hitter from the left side (he hit .288/.334/.387 against right-handed pitchers and .227/.267/.266 against lefties). An evaluator described him as a good athlete who is a plus defender at shortstop who can fly, but his skills as a hitter lag behind his defense, giving him the upside of a superutility player.

Doubront, who turned 27 in October, went 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA for the Red Sox in 59 1/3 innings, losing a spot in the rotation and expressing dismay with the idea of a bullpen role. After being dealt to the Cubs, he went 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in four starts.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Jon Lester, at the press conference introducing him with the Cubs upon the completion of his six-year, $155 million deal, said that the Red Sox

Jon Lester, at the press conference introducing him with the Cubs upon the completion of his six-year, $155 million deal, said that the Red Sox‘ decision to trade him to the A’s at the July 31 deadline (along with Jonny Gomes in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes) did impact his view of the free agent process. Lester said that it became easier to imagine changing organizations once he experienced success with a new club. (After going 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts with the Red Sox, Lester went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for the A’s.)

“I think so,” Lester said of whether being traded impacted his approach to free agency. “We were traded. That was the unknown of going to a whole different coast, a whole different organization, a whole different philosophy. I think going there prepared us for this time. I think if we finished out the year in Boston and you get down to this decision, I think it would be a lot harder. Not to say it wasn’t hard as it was, but that broke that barrier of, ‘I wonder if I can play for another team.’ I think we answered those questions.”

Still, Lester acknowledged that he agonized over the decision-making process, particularly the final determination about whether to return to Chicago, return to Boston (which offered a six-year, $135 million deal) or consider the interest of West Coast suitors (most prominently the Giants).

“I kind of describe the process in two different forms. I think when you’re sitting there meeting with people, we got to come to Chicago, meet with these guys, enjoy dinner. We had some other teams that came into our house, meet with those people. I think that’s kind of the fun, exciting time. You get to hear different philosophies. You get to meet different people that you probably won’t get to be around. And then you have kind of the second phase where you have to sit down and make a decision. That part, for us, was not fun,” said Lester. “That was a lot of phone calls, a lot of minutes sitting down and thinking about what we were going to do. But as far as the decision-making, we made it literally hours before it was probably announced. Just sitting down with these guys, sitting down with my wife, trying to iron it out, it came down to that final moment where we just put our fist down, said, ‘This is it. This is where we’re going to go. This is where we feel the most comfortable.’ We’re not people that are going to put one foot in the pool. We’re going to dive in. That’s what we did.

“Any time you’re at a place for a long time, it’s obviously a difficult decision,” Lester added. “I just believed, like I said, I believed in the plan these guys have. It felt like the right fit for us at the right time. That took a lot of time for us to get to. A huge process that me and my wife and family went through. … Any time you change something that drastic, it’s going to be difficult. But we fully buy in and we take on the responsibility of trying to bring this city a World Series.”

 

 

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier