Red Sox

Source: Red Sox interested in signing Ordonez

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Source: Red Sox interested in signing Ordonez

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For years, dating as far back to Adrian Gonzalez's time with the Texas Rangers, general manager Theo Epstein had his eye on the sweet-swinging first baseman.

Sunday, he finally landed him, albeit without a contract extension -- yet.

And now, Epstein might be going back to the future again.

After the 2003 season, when the Sox were close to obtaining Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers, their plan was to turn around and deal off incumbent shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. The Sox had a contingency deal in place with the Chicago White Sox that would have sent Garciaparra to the White Sox in exchange for a package that included Magglio Ordonez.

Seven years later, their interest in Ordonez hasn't diminished apparently.

A baseball source said the Sox are interested in the free agent outfielder as an answer to their left field vacancy. The Sox would like a righthanded bat to play left, to help balance out a lineup that, especially in the aftermath of the Gonzalez deal, leans lefthanded. Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz are also lefthanded, giving the Sox as many as four lefties in the top six in the batting order.

Ordonez, who turns 37 next month, missed half of last season with the Tigers because of an ankle injury. The Tigers have shown an interest in bringing him back and the Phillies are another team which has talked about him.

In 84 games last year, Ordonez posted a .303.378474 line with an OPS of .852.

Just as importantly, he mashed lefthanded pitching last season, with a .371.457.714 line. Essentially, Ordonez would give the Sox what Victor Martinez gave them last year against lefties.

Ordonez could play left field and also take some DH at-bats from Ortiz against lefties. Ortiz struggled miserably against lefties last year.

It's unknown what kind of money Ordonez might be seeking, but he's coming off a mammoth conract with the Tigers that paid him 75 million over five years.

The Tigers declined to pick up a 15 million option for 2011, and because of the ankle injury, Ordonez failed to meet at-bat and games started requirements that would have vested his 2011 option.

Getting a deal done may come down to whether Ordonez and agent Scott
Boras are willing to lower his demands considerably as Ordonez gets into
his late 30s.

With the presence of Mike Cameron and the presence of Ryan Kalish, the Sox might be comfortable with Ordonez being spotted in the lineup.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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