Red Sox

Dombrowski: Red Sox won't 'make big trade' for starting pitcher

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Dombrowski: Red Sox won't 'make big trade' for starting pitcher

BOSTON — Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is trying to play it cool again when it comes to potential trade targets. He does this, sometimes. He’ll occasionally say he’s not going to tip his hand, even though the team’s area of needs are almost always obvious. Other times he’ll come out and say where he’d like to upgrade, as he did in the days leading up to a trade for infielder Eduardo Nunez.

He kind of did both on Friday.

After David Price went to the disabled list Friday, Dombrowski downplayed the potential need for a starter.

“No, not really,” Dombrowski said. “Like I’ve said all along, we’re really open to getting better however we can. We feel comfortable. Of course, we want David Price to start, but if not, we feel comfortable with Doug Fister moving into the rotation. He’ll take his spot. I’m not sure what day he’s going to pitch, Monday or Tuesday.

“We’re not going to go out and make a big trade for a starting pitcher. We’re still hopeful that David will be back at this point. … Doug’s first outing was solid, next two not as good. We thought he threw the ball real well after working on some mechanical things in Seattle the other day.”

Fister has a 7.46 ERA in 25 1/3 innings. Mechanical changes or not, that’s not much to hang your hat on. Lefty Brian Johnson, meanwhile, is getting his shoulder examined, so his status is unclear. 

It just might be too difficult. Adding a rotation piece would be costly in terms of prospects and presumably luxury-tax dollars as well. But what about a reliever? 

Apparently, Brandon Workman has stolen Dombrowski’s heart — but here’s betting Dombrowski is still looking.

“Well, surprisingly, I’m not going to answer that question for you because I don’t really want to tip our hands on what we’re trying to do other than [the fact] that we are open minded,” Dombrowski said. “Our bullpen has actually performed well and I will say that, we think Joe Kelly’s close to coming back. He’s going to throw, I don’t know, today or tomorrow, and if everything goes well we’ll probably send him out for an inning and then be in a position that we activate him. So it’s not far down the road. That’s big for us.

“We look, I look at, the comeback of Brandon Workman of being like a trade acquisition really. He’s throwing the ball outstanding. He’s throwing the ball in the mid 90s with a good breaking ball and cutter. And I don’t feel, I, we don’t feel like he is just a young guy who’s never been through it. He pitched in the World Series, he’s a proven guy. So when you add another guy like that out there with Kelly and the other guys we have, if we can get better, we will.”

Dombrowski noted how high the prices are generally. Whether he was speaking generally or to relievers wasn’t clear, but it was while answering a question about the potential addition of a reliever.

“But it’s not necessarily always easy and secondly, with the request for what people want at this point, the acquisition price, is large,” Dombrowski said. “Now, what happens between now and 4 o’clock on Monday, we’ll find out. And we continue to have conversations, a lot — there’s even some clubs that aren’t sure what they’re doing yet. I could name three off the top of my head that we talked to today that aren’t sure what they’re going to do yet.”

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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