Red Sox

Francona: Sox haven't earned praise yet

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Francona: Sox haven't earned praise yet

BOSTON -- Terry Francona is flattered that Brian Cashman thinks so highly of the Boston Red Sox. He would much rather people say kind words about his club than criticize it. To be honest, Francona thinks he has a pretty good club too.

The Yankees' GM had previously said that the Red Sox were the best team in baseball. He even dubbed them the team to beat.

The funny thing about compliments though, is that they count for nothing in terms of wins, runs, web gems or clutch performances. When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is what you do on the field.

So it's understandable that Francona kindly accepted, and then dismissed Cashman's compliments

"That's not gonna help us win a lot of games," Francona said with a friendly laugh. "I love Cashman but I don't think that statement will get us any extra runs or anything. When people say that, it means that our ownership and our front office had a really good winter.

"We haven't been good yet," Francona said, indicating that his team, while good on paper, hadn't even started their season let alone accomplished anything, and was therefore not worthy of such an annointing.

With pitchers and catchers set to report in just a few weeks, however, Francona's Sox are likely to be receiving plenty of praise, as well as expectations.

After an injury-plagued 2010 season, Theo Epstein is excited for a season in which all of his starters are healthy.

The Red Sox were the clear winners of this winter after trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing free-agent Carl Crawford. Both Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are ready to turn the page, however, and focus on the work that needs to be done in Fort Myers.

Epstein and Francona stressed that they see Felix Doubront as a starter who can also pitch out of the bullpen. With that being said, his role is still somewhat undefined and will most likely be sorted out in the spring when injuries and performance will dictate who pitches where.

The Red Sox are trying to impress upon Andrew Miller that making the opening day roster is not the finish line. They are more concerned with him generating some sort of consistency and from there, his role will take care of itself.

With the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox gave up some of their best prospects. Despite the price they paid, it's important to remember that this is part of the reason for having a minor league system. Players can be used as chips to bring in players to fill a need. For the most part, the Red Sox have players in line to replace the ones they traded away.

Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni think Adrian Gonzalez is on pace for a monster year and may be a legitimate MVP candidate.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday. 

 

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.