Red Sox

Farrell settling into platoon combos that may limit Ramirez's time

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Farrell settling into platoon combos that may limit Ramirez's time

BOSTON — The Red Sox platoon situation heading into the postseason seems to be taking shape.

Chris Young was in the lineup for the third time in four games on Tuesday, squaring off with a left-handed starting pitcher for the second straight night. 

He seems to be on his last leg.

Historically at his best facing southpaws, Young just hasn’t gotten it done this year, with a .186/.301/.258 line against them. A respected veteran, Young has been much more competent against righties.

But in the second half, he’s slashing .171/.277/.341 — that's against both lefties and righties.

"No decisions are final here, but felt like these were two games in which those opportunities present themselves,” Farrell said of the choice to play Young on Monday and Tuesday. “You're looking to put guys in a position where they're had a lot of success in the past, and we recognize the reverse to the splits with Chris this year. But felt like left-handers that we'll see, trying to find … the best combination available to us to attack left-handers. We felt it was the spot to put Chris to get some timing, see consistent at-bats against left-handers. We'll see where this goes from here.”

Farrell has previously noted that at this time of year, he’s paying attention to the hot hand. It sounds like Young still has a chance to get hot and make an impression, but not exactly a good chance.

“If a week and a half constitutes a guy getting hot, yeah, that can have a major impact,” Farrell said. “But I think I have to be honest with every guy down there, and certainly with our approach. You put the best combinations on the field that you think can win today.”

Against righty pitching in the playoffs, that means Hanley Ramirez is not going to be playing first base. That means against a righty, the designated hitter spot is likely going to be for Ramirez, or perhaps an ailing Dustin Pedroia if his left knee keeps him away from second base, or Eduardo Nunez, if his right knee is still bothersome.

“If it’s a right-hander it’s going to be Mitch Moreland at first base,” Farrell said. “So, I think the majority of the [playoff] starters are going to be right-handed.”

If the Sox face the Astros in the first round, Dallas Keuchel is the only lefty starter for them to worry about.

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Give the Red Sox time, patience can pay off

Give the Red Sox time, patience can pay off

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — If the lineup looks the same on Opening Day, set off on a tantrum. For now, just keep your anger primed in the queue. Maybe even prepare for an eventuality of relief and excitement.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is moving with discipline. Even if some of his process this winter has been questionable, he’s still taking a measured approach rather than setting a match to an already shriveling farm system and payroll. 

Discipline requires waiting, and the lull invites frustration for those who want everything now.

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“Even though some things are starting to happen, there’s a lot to still be done over the winter time,” Dombrowski said Wednesday.

He’s right.

As a Sox fan, you can’t have it both ways. Either you want Dombrowski to act responsibly with the sustainability of the franchise in mind, or you want all the big names now, now, now — and are keen on an inevitably disastrous roster. 

The Sox have had a lot of big splashes in recent years. They have to move cautiously in waters this deep. As one executive put it recently: “Only horrible organizations keep spending and spending and spending.”

Here’s betting fans will be rewarded this winter with an upgraded lineup to feel good about, even if the Sox haven’t crossed the finish line yet. 

“Every time we have a meeting we talk about [timing]. Some players are going to start signing pretty soon,” Dombrowski said. “And some players that we have interest in, we’ll start signing pretty soon. And if you wait, you lose some players that you may have interest in.”

One thing is for sure — and it appears to be getting lost even with big names like J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer still out there — just because the Red Sox haven’t completed a deal, they are doing a ton of work behind the scenes.

"I think we're closer to getting answers on some things,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “There have been a couple of things, calls we've made and heard from people that have eliminated us and some have kept us in there. But I can't say that I'm any closer to getting things done other than gathering continued information — because I don't know what happens with other clubs. I don't know where they stand with their conversations with other teams. There’s still a lot, so many conversations going on, and a lot of different possibilities, a lot of different trade things happening so I'm not really sure. 

“I think we've got a pulse of what's happening and I don't think anything's happened that's surprised us so far, but there haven't been that many things that have happened either. A lot of relievers have signed, that's been the biggest thing and that hasn't been our biggest thing that we're pursuing.”

(Whether they should be pursuing it with a little more aggressiveness is worth a thought, however.) 

- The Sox were keeping tabs on Marcell Ozuna, the Marlins outfielder who was traded to the Cardinals.

“We asked about him and they called me back beforehand, just to let me know,” Dombrowski said of the Marlins. “So we were in the mix enough to do that.”

Ozuna could have done some DH’ing and also played outfield. Dombrowski noted the Marlins got upper-level pitching in the trade. He didn’t specifically note that the Red Sox don’t have as much upper-level pitching to offer, but that is the case.

- The Sox have talked “generalities” with free agents when it comes to contract terms, Dombrowski said. 

- Dombrowski said bringing back free agent Eduardo Nunez is on his radar.

- Super agent Scott Boras on Wednesday defended J.D. Martinez’s defense, which isn’t generally well regarded. Boras also talked about the "prestige value" of Eric Hosmer, another client.

- Boras said the Red Sox have not told him it’s their intention to trade Jackie Bradley Jr.