Red Sox

Beltran, Cuddyer possible Red Sox RF targets

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Beltran, Cuddyer possible Red Sox RF targets

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHOENIX -- An obvious need for the Red Sox at the trade deadline would be a right-handed-hitting outfielder to provide more production at the position.

J.D. Drew, nominally the regular right fielder, has given the Sox only 10 extra-base hits in the first half of the season with no evidence that his production will improve dramatically in the final 2 12 months of the season.

As such, the Sox could use an upgrade, preferably from the right side. Of the five outfielders on the roster, only Darnell McDonald is right-handed and he's had 10 hits all year.

Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer -- both here as All-Star selections -- are free agents at the end of the season, currently playing for teams in danger of drifting out of contention, as such, potential targets for the Red Sox.

Beltran's Mets are 11 games behind first-place Philadelphia and 7 12 games behind wild-card leading Atlanta.

It's a given that Beltran won't return to the Mets, so it makes sense that he would be shopped by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

His first hope is to remain with the Mets.

"I like where I am," said Beltran. "We're having fun and we just hope to continue to improve."

Beltran has a no-trade agreement which allows him to block potential deals.

"Having a no-trade clause gives me a little bit of control," he said. "Now, basically, I would choose. This is my 12th year in the big leagues, and at this point, all I want is to win and be able to be in the playoffs.

"You work hard in the off-season and spring training to be in situations like those. Hopefully, as a team, we can improve and when David Wright gets back and Johan Santana gets back and when Jose Reyes gets back, we're going to be better than we are right now."

But if the Mets decided to move him if they fall further back, the Red Sox would be a destination which would appeal to him.

"That's a no-brainer,'' Beltran told reporters. "They're in first place."

Beltran is being paid 18 million in the final year of his deal with the Mets, meaning a team trading for him would, in theory, be on the hook for 6 million over the final two months.

Even for a brief rental, that's a steep price tag.

Further complicating matters is that Beltran has another clause in his contract which prohibits him from being offered salary arbitration after the season.

That means that if the Red Sox dealt for him before the end of the month, they would not have the right to offer his arbitration at the end of the year and gain a first-round compensation pick in next June's draft.

Cuddyer's case is a little more straightforward, and the Twin comes with lesser salary obligations. Cuddyer is making 10.5 million this year, which means he would have about 3.5 million remaining for the final two months.

He does not have a no-trade clause.

The Twins sit in fourth place in the A.L. Central, 6 12 games behind, and are 12 12 games back in the wild-card race, meaning Cuddyer has begun to think about the chances of being traded by the end of the month.

"I think it's a real possibility," he said, "and I think it was even more of a possibility about a month ago when we weren't playing very well. Now, we're playing well and we've got ourselves in a position where we can go on a run and we can possibly get into the playoffs.

"But if these next two weeks don't go well, who knows what's going to happen?"

Cuddyer has the additional appeal of being able to play both first base and third base in addition to the outfield.

"Right now, I'm with the Twins and we're playing well," he said. "I don't think a trade is going to come in play, but if it were, whatever team makes a trade for you, you go out there and do the best you can for them.

"I want to win with the Twins. I have no other team in the back of my head that I want I want to play for until that day comes. If it does come, I go out there and fight for that team as well."

Cuddyer is familiar with the Red Sox, if only because the Sox and Twins share Fort Myers as a spring training home and meet a half dozen times each March.

"Spending time in Fort Myers for the last decade or so with those guys," he said, "you have relationships and see them here and there. As far as good friends, David Ortiz is probably the closest to me because he was with us for a few years.

"Obviously, you want to go to a team that's in it and has a chance to win, If that were to happen, Boston is a team that is obviously 100 percent a World Series contender."

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know whom they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

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The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

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NLCS: Turner's 3-run shot in 9th gives Dodgers 4-1 win over Cubs

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NLCS: Turner's 3-run shot in 9th gives Dodgers 4-1 win over Cubs

LOS ANGELES -- Justin Turner savored every last stride as he followed in Kirk Gibson's famous footsteps at Dodger Stadium.

The red-bearded slugger from Southern California knew all about the history attached to this home run trot.

On the 29th anniversary of Gibson's celebrated pinch-hit homer that shocked Oakland in the 1988 World Series opener, Turner added another landmark shot to Los Angeles Dodgers postseason lore.

Turner hit a three-run drive with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

"One of my earliest baseball memories was being at my grandma's house and watching that game in '88 and seeing Gibby hit that homer," said Turner, who wasn't quite 4 years old at the time. "So yeah, it feels pretty cool. I thought about doing the fist-pump around the bases, but we'll wait until we get to the World Series for that, hopefully."

The dominant Dodgers are two wins away after Turner drove in all four runs in Game 2 to keep Los Angeles unbeaten in the postseason.

He delivered a tying single in the fifth before sending a long shot to center field off John Lackey in the ninth. Completing the poetry of the moment, a fan wearing a blue Dodgers jersey took a few steps onto a walkway and gracefully caught the ball in his glove on the fly.

"It's very cool, and J.T., we were talking about it in there after the game," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "Twenty-nine years to the day. It was special. Our guys feel it."

Another generation of Dodgers fans now has its own historic homer, and these Dodgers are growing increasingly confident they can earn their first trip to the World Series since 1988.

Turner got swallowed up at home plate by another pack of ecstatic Dodgers, just as Gibson did. Unlike Gibson, Turner spiked his batting helmet after rounding third, allowing his unruly red hair to go as wild as the crowd.

"What's not to enjoy about it?" Turner asked. "We have an opportunity to bring a championship back to LA. It's been a long time."

Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Midseason acquisition Yu Darvish starts for the Dodgers against Kyle Hendricks.

Yasiel Puig drew his third walk of the game leading off the ninth, and Charlie Culberson bunted him to second. After losing pitcher Brian Duensing struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer, Chicago manager Joe Maddon went to the bullpen for the 38-year-old Lackey, who pitched on consecutive days for the first time in his 15-year career.

Lackey got the call over All-Star closer Wade Davis, and the veteran starter walked Chris Taylor on six tense pitches. Maddon said he wanted to save Davis for a potential save on the road, and Lackey would have pitched the 10th inning as well if the Cubs did not have a lead.

"Nobody is a really great matchup against Turner, so it just did not work out," Maddon said.

Turner stepped up and ended it with his fourth career playoff homer. After taking a slight free-agent discount to stay with the Dodgers last winter, he had another solid season before excelling again in October.

The All-Star third baseman is batting .377 with 22 RBIs in his postseason career. He is 13 for 18 with runners in scoring position (.722), including 6 for 8 this year.

And after a collective offensive effort drove the Dodgers to a 5-2 win in Game 1, Turner did it all in Game 2. He has 10 RBIs in the Dodgers' five postseason games, getting five in the playoff opener against Arizona.

Addison Russell homered in the fifth for the Cubs, who are down early in this rematch of the 2016 NLCS. Chicago won that series in six games after splitting the first two.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen got the win with a hitless ninth despite hitting Anthony Rizzo on the hand with a one-out pitch. That ended the Los Angeles bullpen's impressive streak of 22 straight Cubs retired to begin the NLCS, but the Dodgers have thrown eight hitless and scoreless innings of relief in the NLCS.

Jon Lester yielded three hits and five walks while failing to get out of the fifth inning in the shortest start of his long postseason career, but the Dodgers couldn't take advantage of a rare shaky night by the Cubs' star left-hander.

Rich Hill struck out eight in five more impressive innings for the Dodgers, but he was pulled for pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson in the fifth in a debatable decision by Roberts.

Russell was off to a 4-for-22 start in the postseason with nine strikeouts before the slugging shortstop put a leadoff homer into the short porch in left field.

Turner tied it moments later by poking a two-out single to right after a leadoff double by Culberson, the Dodgers' improbably successful replacement for injured All-Star shortstop Corey Seager.

The Dodgers chased Lester with two outs in the fifth, but reliever Carl Edwards Jr. came through after several recent postseason struggles, striking out pinch-hitter Chase Utley and then pitching a strong sixth.

Lester was the co-MVP of last season's NLCS, winning Game 5 at Dodger Stadium and yielding two runs over 13 innings in the series. He had nothing near the same success against the Dodgers' revamped lineup in this one, issuing four walks in the first four innings and repeatedly escaping jams.

Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward held up Turner in the third when it appeared he could have scored from first on Cody Bellinger's double to the left-center gap.

Javier Baez, the other co-MVP of last season's NLCS for Chicago, got to third base in the third with one out, but also was stranded.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Hendricks dominated Chicago's playoff opener with seven scoreless innings against the Nationals, but yielded four runs in four innings during the team's wild Game 5 victory in Washington. He is starting on normal rest.

Dodgers: Darvish was outstanding in Game 3 against the Diamondbacks, earning his first career postseason victory with seven strikeouts over five innings of two-hit ball. He was acquired from Texas precisely for these moments, and he starts on seven days of rest.

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