Red Sox

New Sox outfielder Rajai Davis: 'Playing in October is like candy'

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New Sox outfielder Rajai Davis: 'Playing in October is like candy'

CLEVELAND -- New Red Sox outfielder Rajai Davis joined the team on Thursday, a day after the Sox landed him in a trade with the A's. The Connecticut native, who hit a tremendous home run in Game 7 of the World Series last year in this ball park, the Indians' Progressive Field, talked with the media for about seven minutes.

Here's what Davis, who'll wear No. 25, had to say:

What's the last day been like?

Well, a lot of things changed obviously. Instead of going on a five-hour flight back to the West [from Baltimore], I made a trip back to the hotel . . . [Just] coming here, obviously that’s what we play for, to be in playoff contention and be in an opportunity to play in the World Series.

Does knowing Dave Dombrowski and John Farrell make it easier?

I mean, I can understand them, they understand me. I think that’s the biggest thing, that communication barrier’s not there. And I’m just thankful for this opportunity.

Nice to know they think you can make an impact on a playoff team?

Well, I’m just excited about this opportunity. I can’t be more grateful, thankful to be in this position.

Were you a Red Sox fan?

I can’t say I was. That wasn’t the first game that my uncle brought me to. He first brought me to Shea Stadium, so, started watching those guys. Obviously, I had a bunch of friends that were Red Sox fans and would come to the games and brag that they came to the games, leave me home. They didn’t give me no ticket, but I got a ticket now.

You know the fan base?

No I don’t know anything, I’m still learning. All I know is it’s about Red Sox Nation.

What's it like being back at Progressive Field?

Obviously it’s a memorable experience. And something you know I’m gonna share with my son and you know, hopefully he’ll do better than I did. Somehow, some way. But you know, I’m just excited and being on this team, I’m hoping that [the Red Sox will] be able to do something that [the Indians] couldn’t do last year.

Do you relish October, do you still feel nerves any more?

I think playing in October is like, I want to say like, for me, like a candy, or like a drug. Like once you experience it one time, you want to experience it again, because playoff baseball is different. It’s different atmospheres, it’s a different vibe out there, the fans are different, it just seems like it’s different and there’s just so much more urgency. It’s just fun. 

You waited a while to get there.

Exactly.

So you know not to take it for granted?

Well, not everybody’s going to the playoffs every year. I think baseball’s one of the toughest, if not the toughest, sport to go to the playoffs. And just making that Wild Card was obviously beneficial for some teams, and for us to be in this position and for me to join this position, I’m just thankful and just appreciate this moment and hopefully I could help us win.

What's your approach to pinch running?

I have the most fun on the bases. That’s me in my element, that’s me just trying to have fun. Especially toying with the pitcher’s mind, getting in their head hopefully and ‘causing them to make some mistakes at the plate, 'cause these good hitters to get some good pitches to hit. Really that’s the goal. If they can get some good pitches to hit, hit a double, I can score. I suppose if they give me the opportunity to steal, I’m gonna take it.

Are you amazed you've kept your speed at age 36?

Am I amazed? I’m not, because of the work I put in, the care I take, the way I take care of my body and how I prepare every day and the things I’ve learned over the years. I’ve learned some things that just kind of help me, and I think my biggest thing is I got God on my side, he helps me stay young.

Still go back to New London, Conn.?

Oh I do, yes sir. There’s a lot of excitement buzzing around the town, from what I hear. I’m looking forward to coming back home, as they say.

Are you there in the winter?

I do. Spend a lot of time in Connecticut in the offseason.

Are ticket requests rolling into you now?

Well, I let my wife handle that. She’s the ticket request master. Everybody’s got to go through her. She’s the boss.

Did Farrell tell you how you'd be used?

I think we’re going to talk about it. I think we definitely haven’t talked about it specifically yet. But I’m sure he has an idea of how that’s going to be used and I’m just ready to accept anything any way I can help. Whatever that is.

Why is your second half so strong?

Well I’ve just, not swinging at bad pitches as much and swinging at pitches I can hit. Just made a couple tweaks here and there and I was able to find a little groove and take advantage of opportunities when I got ‘em.

What do you like about Fenway Park?

I mean, the history is -- I was actually coming here and I ran into a Red Sox fan and he was telling me, you know how he likes, he loves coming. One of his favorite places is coming to Fenway Park. Said, "So I guess I’ll see you there.” The fan base is incredible and the fan base is enormous. So it’s going to be fun playing here in a big city like this. 

The home clubhouse is bigger.

That’s going to be the best part, you know? I think it’s going to be a little better than where I was.

What's your favorite place to play?

Right now it’s going to be right here.

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Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Free agent slugger J.D. Martinez has told the Red Sox he would DH and play the outfield for them, a baseball source said Friday.  The flipside: teams are offering Martinez a full-time outfield job, and he enjoys playing the outfield.

Martinez, the best bat available via free agency, visited with teams at the winter meetings this week.

Michael Silverman of the Herald wrote Friday that Martinez has been telling teams he prefers to play the outfield, and suggested the Sox will have to pay a bit more to land Martinez.

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“Martinez remains open to being a DH so his preference to play defense regularly does not eliminate the Red Sox from signing Martinez,” Silverman wrote. “It does, however, put them in a position of having to make an aggressive offer that would distance themselves from competing offers where teams can present a corner outfield position. 

“Just what defines aggressive is something only Martinez and his agent Scott Boras will ultimately determine.”

The market could start to move a bit now, although that doesn’t mean anything is necessarily imminent. Another baseball source on Friday night noted that the market has started to thaw with Carlos Santana off the board. He agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with the Phillies.

The Red Sox made an offer for Santana, but the offer made clear that Santana was not their primary choice. In other words, it wasn't close to what Santana ended up with.

A scenario in which Jackie Bradley Jr. is traded to make room for Martinez in the outfield seems reasonable, even if the Red Sox and Boras, who represents Bradley, have both downplayed that possibility.

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Scratch another Red Sox' target - Santana goes to Phillies

Scratch another Red Sox' target - Santana goes to Phillies

The Red Sox options for a power bat grew fewer and likely more expensive Friday when former Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana agreed to a three-year, $60 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com and MLB Network was first to report the Santana deal, which comes as somewhat as a surprise with the rebuilding Phillies making a free-agent splash.  

The Red Sox reportedly met with Santana earlier this offseason. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported that the Sox offered a three-year deal to Santana that wasn't in the range of the Phillies. 

He doesn't hit for a high average (.249 career), but his combination of power and walks gives him a career OPS of .810. Last season he hit .259 with 23 homers and 79 RBI and an .818 OPS, and over his career, he has averaged 25 home runs and 85 RBI over 162 games. 

That Santana was able to command a $20-million-a-year deal from the Phillies likely raises the price of the other power bats the Sox had reportedly targeted, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer.