Red Sox

Red Sox slide not enough to keep agents away

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Red Sox slide not enough to keep agents away

BOSTON -- The postseason missed for a third straight season. A last-place finish in the division for the first time in 20 years. A blockbuster, organization-altering trade in August. Another season ended in shambles. Organizational dysfunction. Poor communication. Sour clubhouse culture. Chain-of-command issues. A managerial search for the second consecutive year.

If you were an agent would you want your free agent to go to a team mired in that?

You might be surprised at the answers. Several agents weighed in with their thoughts on possibly having a free agent client join the Red Sox.

Would you steer a client away from the Sox?

Absolutely not, said one agent. No, its a tremendous place to play, great city, one of the best ballparks in the league, great baseball history. Theres a lot of guys who would love to play for the Boston Red Sox. Ownership has always been very supportive of the fans. Theyve always done a very nice job trying to bring the best players to put the best product on the field. Players love to play in Boston. I really believe that. I think it takes a special type of player to play in Boston and New York and LA and Chicago. But at the end of the day -- I can assure you this -- every agent would love to have the Boston Red Sox involved in one of their free agents because they know that its a first-class organization, first-class place to play, tremendous city. Absolutely 100 percent.

The Boston Red Sox have been around for 100 years and they will have no shortage of quality players who want to play for the Red Sox, said another agent. Organizations, management, players come and go and some teams are, at particular times, hotter than others or have a better culture than others. The Red Sox will be able to attract quality free agents and good players regardless of the hiccups theyve had in the last few years. Im very confident of that.

Up until December of last year, said another agent, I think people in our business had all due respect for the Red Sox and what they accomplished over the previous seven, eight, nine years and looked at it as an extremely valuable option to have in your hands if you had a free agent player. And obviously for a period of 12 months the wheels fell off. But that doesnt mean it will stay that way. I think its all the more reason why it wont stay that way.

I would certainly be open-minded to signing free agents with the Boston Red Sox. The guys up there in the front office are not stupid. And it wont, in my opinion, take long to right the ship. As far as Im concerned the major glitch in that 12-month period where the wheels fell off was making a horrible decision about who was going to manage the team.

It took until Dec. 1 to hire Bobby Valentine as the manager last season. But, the Sox didnt start interviewing until Oct. 31, caught up in negotiations with the Cubs to allow Theo Epstein to go to Chicago and the subsequent compensation. This year, the Sox began the interview process on Friday, eight days after Valentine was fired.

Would you be more guarded in dealing with the Red Sox until you know who the manager will be?

No, I think theyll hire a good manager, said one of the agents. In my mind that piece will be in place before free agents are making decisions, anyway. So I dont think thatll be an issue.

If youre a free agent who has multiple opportunities in different cities, you might wait to see who the manager is, said another agent. But if youre a good free agent looking for a spot to play, say hypothetically a starting pitcher, the Red Sox really need starting pitching right now, I think the spot and opportunity to play would be more important than the manager. But I also think the Red Sox are going to move fairly quickly on the this. I think the manager is going to be in place first before they start looking for players.

After sending their three largest contracts to the Dodgers in August, the Sox have said they are unlikely to be in the running for the big-money, long-term contracts it may take to sign some free agents. Would that cause you to shy away from the Red Sox?

I would welcome the opportunity for any of my clients to play in Boston, said one of the agents. I foresee Boston always continuing to be an attractive place to play for any free agent. The organizations front office does a tremendous job. I believe in those guys. They had a rough year. It was tough. But I think general manager Ben Cherington is going to do a great job. Hes a straight shooter. And I think thats the biggest thing. Agents like to deal with people that are honest and straight forward, and those guys are very straight forward and very honest and we as agents totally appreciate that.

ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

NEW YORK -  With a soaring shot headed for Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on track for another memorable October.

Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and tie the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Baby Bombers trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored when Gary Sanchez hit a go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees overcame three errors and have roared back from a second straight 0-2 series deficit - they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap a three-hitter. New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in their last 21 home games.

Yankee Stadium will be rocking again when Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday. It's a rematch of the series opener, when Keuchel outdid the Japanese right-hander in a 2-1 Astros win.

An AL MVP candidate marred in a sluggish October, Judge sparked the Yankees by chasing McCullers, who baffled the Yankees with his power breaking ball.

Except for the last one.

Judge launched a curveball into the netting above center field's Monument Park for New York's second hit.

"Once we're within striking distance like that, anything can happen," Judge said.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch pulled McCullers after 81 pitches, Didi Gregorius tripled off Chris Devenski and Sanchez brought Gregorius in with a sacrifice fly.

"I thought Aaron's home run just lit a little spark," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double to left, and pinch hitter Chase Headley then did the same - only after falling between first and second base, taking one step back, then heading for second and sliding in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Panic," Headley recalled. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds, but fortunately it worked out."

Brett Gardner brought in Frazier on a groundout, and Judge came to bat with the bundled crowd on its feet.

He reached down to stay with a slider and drilled a double high off the left-field wall as a fan in a longsleeve yellow shirt reached down and touched the ball. Gardner came home with the tying run, and Gregorius grounded a single just beyond shortstop Carlos Correa's reach to put runners at the corner. Sanchez, who had been 0 for 13 in the series, scored them both with a slicing drive that skipped to the wall in right-center.

Houston had not lost consecutive games since Sept. 8-10 at Oakland and the major leagues' best road record during the regular season. The Astros had just three hits and are hitting .153 in the series.

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings but again had no run support. His teammates have yet to score for him in four career postseason starts while he's still on the mound, including twice with New York this year.

Houston took a 3-0 lead in the sixth after George Springer walked leading off, and Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference by Austin Romine - inserted into lineup for his defense.

Robertson walked Altuve and struck out Carlos Correa before Yuri Gurriel lined a three-run double past Frazier and all the way to the wall. Gurriel got hung up between second and third as Altuve scored, and he was tagged out by Judge to end a rundown.

Houston added a fourth run when second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's grounder in the seventh, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second. It was Castro's second error of the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

BOSTON — Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire's interview for Red Sox manager is scheduled for Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. He'll be the third to interview for John Farrell's old job, following favorite Alex Cora on Sunday and Brad Ausmus on Monday — and may be the last to interview as well. 

The Sox could move quickly from here. Announcing hiring is tricky this time of year, because MLB doesn't want personnel moves to detract from the playoffs. 

But if Cora ends up the choice, as is most likely, his introduction is further complicated by the fact that his team, Houston, is still playing — and could be playing in the World Series.

MORE:

Cora, who would be a first-time manager unlike Ausmus and Gardenhire, is close with Red Sox second baseman and leader Dustin Pedroia and is drawing interest across the game.

Gardenhire would be something of a safe hiring, considering his 13 years as manager of the Minnesota Twins. A few days shy of his 60th birthday, Gardenhire would have to prove he could handle a vastly different market than Minnesota, and also connect with players despite being older than both Ausmus (48) and Cora (41). 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE