Takeaways from Day 2 of winter meetings
December, 4, 2012
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
NASHVILLE -- Day 2 of the winter meetings is complete and the Boston Red Sox continued to be movers and shakers at the Opryland Hotel.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington & Co. have been working feverishly in the first couple of days here, trying to boost the club’s roster and fill the needs set forth at the start of the offseason.
It appears that blueprint is starting to come into focus and here’s what we learned on Tuesday.
1. The Red Sox agreed on a three-year deal worth $39 million with outfielder Shane Victorino. A natural center, fielder Victorino will be asked to play right field. But with the addition of Victorino and fellow outfielder Jonny Gomes, along with Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava, one has to wonder whether the Red Sox are attempting to trade center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. He will become a free agent after the 2013 season and no doubt he and his agent, Scott Boras, will be looking for a big payday.
2. Cherington made it clear he’s still looking to add another outfielder. He even said the door is “not closed” on the possibility of re-signing Cody Ross.
“We talked during the season and right after the season,” the GM said of the Ross negotiations. “Then we’ve talked since then but obviously we weren’t able to reach an agreement earlier in the process, then once we got into free agency we’ve kept the dialogue going, kept the door open but it just hasn’t culminated into anything -- yet.”
Ross is seeking a three-year contract, so if the Sox were to bring him back, they would probably have to give him a deal similar to the one they gave Victorino. Again, that brings Ellsbury’s situation into the equation.
3. Even though the Red Sox agreed on a three-year deal worth $39 million with catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli on Monday, Cherington admitted Tuesday evening that he would still like to add another first baseman.
“We’d like to add someone else to the roster that could play first base and preferably someone who could do more than just that,” Cherington said.
It appears, at least at this point in the offseason, the Red Sox are stressing more versatility and depth on the roster. Cherington admitted that based on all the injuries the Red Sox have dealt with in the past, having more versatility is critical.
“I think we’ve learned a lesson by virtue of the, it’s not all related to injuries, but certainly it’s been a part of it,” he said. “The lack of protection in different areas and depth in different areas and having guys who can cover you in different areas, it’s sort of a page out of the Patriots’ book, having guys that can cover different things is important and it seems to me the teams that can get through a six-month season and avoid the real droughts in a season tend to be the ones that have a bunch of guys who can cover different spots because inevitably we’re going to have guys out. So that has been something we’ve talked about a lot.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick would be pleased to hear that.
4. The Red Sox still need to add to their rotation. Manager John Farrell said on Tuesday that there are internal options to solidify the back end of the rotation with the likes of Alfredo Aceves or Franklin Morales, but the club seems more apt to look for outside help.
While a baseball source tells ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes that the Red Sox made a “competitive” offer to free-agent pitcher Dan Haren before the right-hander signed with the Washington Nationals, Cherington said, “We talked to him, along with a number of other guys -- free-agent starting pitchers and we’re exploring trades too.”
Farrell said he would like a pitcher with a proven track record.
“That would take precedent,” he said. “Innings certainly is one. A criteria is that we’re looking to add someone to log a number of innings, so that’s probably to the extent I can say who we’re talking to.”
That someone could be right-hander Ryan Dempster. The 35-year-old right-hander posted a 12-8 record with a 3.38 ERA in 28 starts between the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers last season. He logged a total of 173 innings.
5. The current logjam at the catching position for the Red Sox will work itself out by Opening Day. At least that’s what Farrell is hoping for. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway, David Ross and Napoli all in the mix to vie for time behind the plate, the one thing we do know after speaking with Farrell is that the only one of those four catchers who will play first base is Napoli. He will, however, catch during spring training in order to learn the pitching staff, but will primarily play first base, according to Farrell.
EXTRA-EXTRA: Since Cherington is already 2-for-2 this week, will he go 3-for-3 on Wednesday? Stay tuned.