Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Knowing there really could be no tomorrow for Ortiz


Red Sox notes: Knowing there really could be no tomorrow for Ortiz

BOSTON -- There are multiple schools of thought as to why David Ortiz has been so successful. But one recurring notion seems to be he’s playing like there’s no tomorrow.

Well, now his teammates are in the same scenario, especially if they want to achieve the goal they set in spring training: send David Ortiz out with a win.

“I think we all had to reflect on what took place over in Cleveland,” John Farrell said prior to ALDS Game 3. “I don’t think we played to our capabilities by any means, particularly Game 2. And if there’s a chance to press the reset button, that would be the workout day here when we returned [Saturday], and then the pregame prep that we went through [Sunday].

“But still, our guys are very much aware of what’s in front of us. So it’s all hands on deck, and we move forward.”

It’s clear there’s a sense of urgency with this team -- there has to be with the hole they’ve put themselves in.

In addition to turning to the coaching staff, the team also looks to their leader on the roster, who could play in his final game Monday night. But you wouldn’t know it with the way he’s carried himself.

“I haven’t in any difference,” Rick Porcello said about Ortiz in the last 48 hours. “He’s always the same guy. Talking to him and watching him walk around the clubhouse with a big smile on his face, you’d think we’re two games up. So, I don’t think he’s changed anything or altered his approach or mentally thinking about that sort of stuff.

“He’s a professional. So we’re not expecting to end our season tonight for sure, and I don’t think he is, either.”

Hoping to avoid Miller

After throwing two innings in relief Thursday and warming up shortly Friday, Indians left-hander Andrew Miller has two full days of rest -- more than ample time for him to fully ready himself for Monday’s Game 3.

He’s be marked as one of Cleveland’s difference-makers, if not the difference-maker, and Boston would be wise to jump to an early lead in order to avoid him.

“Well, he’s probably the best left-handed reliever in baseball right now,” Farrell said before Game 3. “I’m sure there are some people in Chicago that might disagree with that, but he’s a tremendous weapon when you’ve got flexibility to use him at any point in the game.

“We know him personally from the time that he spent here, [and] how he’s evolved as a reliever. Hopefully the game doesn’t present itself where he’s on the mound.”

If Miller does find his way to the mound, it may mark the end of The Big Papi Era with the Red Sox.



Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."