Red Sox

GM Meetings notes: Red Sox expect more calls on Scutaro


GM Meetings notes: Red Sox expect more calls on Scutaro

By Sean McAdam

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The GM meetings are traditionally where ideas for future deals germinate and Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, on his way out of the meetings and headed back to Boston Thursday morning, expressed hope that something may soon come of some of the talks he held here.

"Time will tell," said Epstein as he departed the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. "I hope so, anyway. There was plenty of talk. Whether it was effective or not, we'll see. But yeah, I think there was a good exchange of information."

Epstein said most of the trade talks here were a continution of things started, via phone calls, before the meetings began.

"Most of it was following up on discussions we had previously," said Epstein. "There was nothing really brand new."

Expect the Red Sox to field additional calls on shortstop Marco Scutaro, who has attracted interest from a half-dozen clubs.

Scutaro stands to make an affordable 5 million in 2011 and a number of teams -- including the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants - are searching for shortstop help.

The Giants would like to re-sign Juan Uribe, but if that falls through, Scutaro could be an option.

The Sox would move Scutaro if they could acquire some bullpen help for him. They would then start the season with Jed Lowrie as their shortstop, with Jose Iglesias perhaps ready to jump to the big leagues by midseason.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who briefed owners and general managers Thursday morning, met with reporters and answered questions on a number of issues.

Selig said his on-field committee will meet at the winter meetings next month to discuss a possible expansion of the current playoff format, adding an additional wild card team in each league, probably for the 2012 season.

"I have said we will consider it and we are," said Selig. "It has a lot of different of variations. My committee will meet at the winter meetings and that will be a primary topic of discussion. We'll continue the discussion.

"We have a lot of constituencies. We'll continue to pursue that. There were a lot of differences about the right format in the room. But we'll move ahead, and move ahead pretty quickly."

Selig wouldn't comment on whether he believed a one-game wild-card faceoff would be "too radical." Others have proposed a best two-of-three series.

"I don't want to comment on specifics until, in my own mind, we've decided what we want to do," he said. "I don't want to rule anything out."

Mike Hazen, the director of player development, has been traveling across the country, interviewing candidates for the Pawtucket managerial opening.

The organization will meet Friday to further discuss candidates.

"We're still maybe looking to interview additional candidates," said Epstein. "We're looking for either experience, or someone really dynamic. It's always an important job. It's kind of an extension of the major league staff."

The Sox still have to finalize some roster moves by Saturday, including placing some minor-league players on the 40-man roster so as to not leave them exposed for the Rule V draft which takes place next month at the winter meetings.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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


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


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

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.