Red Sox

McAdam: Sox may make moves sooner rather than later

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McAdam: Sox may make moves sooner rather than later

TAMPA -- The non-waiver trade deadline is nearly three weeks away, and in the past, the Red Sox have pulled off some of their biggest July deals at literally the last minute.
The complex three-team Manny Ramirez deal took place with seconds to spare in 2008 and recent deals involving Victor Martinez (2009) and Eric Bedard (2011) took place in the minutes before the deadline.
But this year, external forces might force the Red Sox to move sooner.
The imminent return of outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, while welcome, will create a logjam of outfielders for the Red Sox roster, which could speed up the timetable for some deals.
Two weeks ago, the Red Sox were forced to designate Darnell McDonald when a numbers crunch hit the roster. McDonald, while a member of the Red Sox for the past two and a half seasons, had little value on the trade market.
But that won't be the case for a number of outfielders under the team's control. And already, there's a surplus on hand. While at least two of the three outfielders who could be moved still have options remaining and could be stashed at Pawtucket short-term, it behooves the club to move one (or more) sooner rather than later.

-- Scott Podsednik, who came off the disabled list last week following a groin strain, has been optioned to Pawtucket, with no available spot on the roster.
Obtained earlier this season in a minor trade with the Phillies, Podsednik showed a renewed ability to get on base in 19 games with the Sox and is capable of playing an adequate left and center field.
In a few weeks time, Podsednik succeeded in re-establishing some value and with no spot available for him upon the return of Crawford and Ellsbury, the Red Sox would be wise to get something for him while they still can.
Even if Podsednik isn't necessarily viewed as an everyday player by many clubs, his skill set (speed, on-base ability, defense) is perpetually in demand by clubs looking to improve their depth for the final two months.

-- Daniel Nava, whose play over the last two months has re-ignited his career, could be another piece in demand.
Since being promoted -- frankly out of desperation, when the Sox had seven outfielders on the DL at the same time -- Nava has shown himself to be a much-improved defender in left.
Moreover, having taken over as essentially the everyday leadoff hitter for the Sox for the past month, Nava has comiled a .388 on-base percentage.
Most scouts would argue that Nava is better suited as a depth option off the bench rather than an everyday contributor, but with so many teams on the periphery of the playoff race, there's no shortage of demand for valuable pieces like Nava.
Like Podsednik, Nava's value has never been higher, and may never be this high again. With Crawford signed to a long-term deal, Ellsbury under control through the end of 2013, Ryan Kalish ready to contribute from Pawtucket and highly-valued outfield prospects Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz no more than a season and a half away, Nava doesn't have a long-term spot in the Red Sox' outfield.
The time to move him is now.

-- Ryan Sweeney was, for a time earlier this season, the most dependable major league outfielder the Red Sox had. Indeed, even with return of Crawford and Ellsbury, the case can be made that Sweeney remains the team's best outfield defender, capable of playing all three outfield spots.
But with Crawford, Ellsbury and Cody Ross viewed as the starting outfield soon, Sweeney has been relegated to a back-up role and he could serve as an interesting trading chip.
It's important not to overstate Sweeney's appeal. He has next-to-no home run power -- he's without one in 192 plate appearances this season -- and his .400 slugging percentage is telling.
But Sweeney can hit for average, provide the occasional double and is a plus defender. He would excel as part of a platoon or the first outfielder off the bench for a team in contention. Sweeney is still just 27 and is under control for another season and a half.

ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

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ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

NEW YORK - Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer and a made pair of sparkling catches, leading CC Sabathia and the Yankees over the Houston Astros 8-1 Monday night and cutting New York's deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

Sabathia allowed three hits over six scoreless innings for his first postseason win in five years. Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer for the Yankees, who stopped a seven-game ALCS losing streak dating to Sabathia's victory over Texas in 2010.

Sonny Gray starts Game 4 Wednesday on 11 days' rest, likely against Brad Peacock or Lance McCullers Jr.

Back in the Bronx after a pair of 2-1 losses in Houston, the Yankees led 8-0 after four innings. Houston scored on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth before postseason star Jose Altuve grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.

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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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