Red Sox

Red Sox prepare for winter meetings

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Red Sox prepare for winter meetings

BOSTON -- Now that the Red Sox finally have a manager, they can turn their attention to other matters.

I think weve been in a stable place for the last two months, said principal owner John Henry after Bobby Valentine was introduced as the teams 45th manager Thursday at Fenway Park.

But at least now we can move forward with some of the things we need to move forward with.

This was priority No. 1. But weve got some holes to fill.

With the winter meetings beginning Monday in Dallas, general manager Ben Cherington can turn his attention to the issues on the teams list of needs. This is not an insignificant list.

Im sure well accomplish something at the meetings, Cherington said. I dont know what its going to be. I can't guarantee when player moves will happen but weve got a pretty good idea of the landscape and idea of our needs. I mentioned this earlier but it sounds like a little bit of a clich at this point, but I really do believe that the biggest work we have to do, the biggest job we have to do is really internally. Hiring a manager is a huge part of that. There are other parts of the operation weve been restructuring. Were going to make player moves but weve got a lot of good players and weve made some big moves last offseason. I think the work we do this offseason is going to be a little bit different in nature but certainly therell be player moves and we have been working on that. Theyll start happening soon.

But, it was hard to address those needs without a manager. Free agents may balk at joining a team without knowing the manager or coaching staff.

I think its helpful to have a manager in place before we go to the winter meetings, Cherington said. The winter meetings is a little bit of an arbitrary event as far as the timing. But the reality is a lot happens there because every team is there. So its important to have a managers voice in those decisions.

With that piece of business taken care of, the Sox can now address the roster. It is unlikely the Sox will make as big a splash at these meetings as they did in 2010, when, in a matter of 72 hours they doled out 296 million to two of the most coveted free agents on the market first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and left fielder Carl Crawford. That doesnt mean, though, that the Sox wont at least be included in the conversations for several free agents.

"We're not going to rule out any avenue, whether free agency or anything, said Sox presidentCEO Larry Lucchino. We need deep depth. You've heard me say that. If we had enough deep depth we may have averted some of the problems we had at the end of the year.

I said once before, we're going to explore it with healthy skepticism. But we're going to explore every possibility: trades, free agents, international signings, everything. Ben has got all those things going on these days."

The Sox have already lost closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies in free agency. How active the Sox will be in the free agent market remains to be seen.

Every free agencys different, Henry said. The players are different, and our needs are different. But we certainly have needs and well be working on addressing those.

Cherington has a meeting in Dallas planned with Fern Cuza, the agent for designated hitter David Ortiz, the Sox other high-profile free agent. Valentine traveled to the Dominican Republic this weekend to meet with Ortiz during his charity golf tournament, a lobbying junket to convince the DH to stay in Boston. The Sox offered arbitration to Ortiz. The deadline to accept is Wednesday. (Reliever Dan Wheeler was the only other player to whom the Sox offered arbitration.)

We offered arbitration and thats significant, Cherington said of Ortiz. Because he has a decision to make on Wednesday and if we dont reach an agreement before then. Weve had continued good dialogue. And well get together with Fern and his other agents in Dallas.

The Sox will be open to trades, as well.

Weve been working on both fronts, Cherington said. Theres been things we could have done and chose not to. Its like any other off-season. You're trying to find the right opportunity, the ones that make sense for us.

And now, finally, the Sox can focus on those.

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.

MORE:

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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