Red Sox

Sources: If healthy, Farrell will return as Red Sox manager

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Sources: If healthy, Farrell will return as Red Sox manager

NEW YORK -- It's a question that has hovered over the Red Sox for several weeks now, intensifying with each day as the season draws to a close: Who will manage the team next year?

Some have come to label it the elephant in the room, since the decision involves incumbent manager John Farrell, who took a leave of absence in mid-August when he revealed he was battling stage one lymphoma.

The Red Sox have compiled a 28-16 mark (.636 winning percentage) since interim manager Torey Lovullo took over, compared to the 50-64 record (.439) they had under Farrell, further complicating the issue.

But multiple industry sources have confirmed that Farrell will return as manager of the Red Sox -- as long as he's healthy enough to do so.

Farrell is in the middle of his final chemotherapy treatments this week, which began Wednesday and conclude Thursday. In the last week of October, he will undergo a scan to determine if the cancer has been eradicated.

If it has, and Farrell is given a clean bill of health from his doctors, sources say the Red Sox will announce that he will return to manage the club in 2016.

Until then, the Sox are expected to have no official comment on their manager.

Farrell was given a two-year extension with a team option last February, putting him under contract through the end of 2017 at a minimum.

After winning a World Series in his first year in the dugout in 2013, Farrell oversaw a last-place finish with the Sox in 2014. The team was again in last place in mid-August when he took his leave his absence, but has since ralled under Lovullo.

Should the Sox win their final four games of the season, they would finish with a winning record. They could finish as high as third in the A.L. East.

Still, several sources indicated that Farrell will return, health permitting. Two baseball sources confirmed that Farrell has been told as much, while another source revealed that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, in his first address to the staff in mid-August, said Farrell's job would be waiting for him next spring.

Publicly, Dombrowski has skirted the topic of Farrell's future, repeatedly saying that the focus was on Farrell getting healthy. He's yet to say publicly what he's said privately to Farrell or to others, an industry source said, because he doesn't want to have the issue become a distraction for Farrell as he goes through his treatments.

Lovullo has been widely praised for the job he's done as the interim manager. On his watch, the Sox have played better and a number of younger players -- Jackie Bradley Jr., Travis Shaw and Blake Swihart in particular -- have blossomed.

With more than 1,200 games managed in the minors, two-plus seasons as a major-league bench coach and a successful interim stint, Lovullo will be in demand for a number of potential managerial openings elsewhere this fall.

It's expected there could be job openings in Washington, Seattle, San Diego and Miami. Lovullo last winter interviewed for managerial openings in Minnesota and Houston, losing out both times.

Traditionally, teams begin the managerial search process in the days following the end of the season, and that will put Dombrowski in a difficult spot.

While he would like to see Lovullo rewarded by realizing his long-held dream of managing in the big leagues, Dombrowski may not be in position to grand Lovullo permission to interview elsewhere since he may want to turn to Lovullo if Farrell isn't cleared by doctors later this month.

Since some managerial hirings aren't finalized in October, it's conceivable there still could be jobs available at the end of the month, when Farrell's medical status is expected to be determined. If Farrell is cleared, the Red Sox could then grant Lovullo permission to interview with interested teams.

Dombrowski on Stanton: 'We called at the end, we were not on his list'

Dombrowski on Stanton: 'We called at the end, we were not on his list'

We can go through all the handwringing we want with the Red Sox and Giancarlo Stanton and the pursuit or the lack thereof. The bottom line is twofold.
 
One, the Sox clearly didn’t want to take on the money, even if they tiptoe around it publicly.
 
“There’s a lot of things that are involved in that, not only position, finances, futures, there’s a lot that’s involved in those things,” Dombrowski said when asked about roster flexibility.
 
Two, Stanton preferred to go elsewhere, although we’ll never know what would have happened if push came to shove and the Sox and Marlins struck a deal.

MORE:

 
“We were not on his immediate list,” Dombrowski said. “We called at the end, we were not on his list. So they were going somewhere else. Yeah, we did all our homework on Stanton. In fact, I know a couple of you guys saw me talking to [Marlins general manager] Mike Hill during the general managers’ meetings. … I knew exactly where everything was, what they were looking for, dollars that were involved. Just was not where we were at that particular time. 
 
“And you have to remember that the guys they [would have received in deals Stanton blocked with] St. Louis or San Francisco … might have been a little bit better than what they ended up getting in their own minds. And then they switched off and at that point, [Stanton] had given them the four clubs that he wanted to go to and we weren’t one of the four.”
 
Stanton preferred to go to one of the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers or Cubs.
 
“Those are the clubs that they were concentrating on at that time,” Dombrowski said. “As soon as that changed, they jumped into the Yankees situation. … I mean I knew exactly when St. Louis and San Francisco were out of it.”
 
The early asking price was a turn off for the Red Sox. But, the package the Yankees ended up sending did not include the team’s very best prospects. It did include a major league contributor that the Yankees’ strong farm system and relatively low payroll can readily replace in Starlin Castro
 
“But the early asks for him were not things that we were interested in,” Dombrowski said of Stanton. “And then as a time went on the end, there were no conversations based upon — I mean, he was traded, I had a pulse of, they had a deal done with St. Louis. They had a deal done with San Francisco. At that point, when I reached out, they were in the midst of dealing with the Yankees at that point.
 
“[I reached out] to Mike Hill last week, yeah. But he was in the midst of the Yankee deal at that point.”
 
Dombrowski was asked if based on the final offer the Marlins accepted if he would have liked to make a revised offer, with the leverage lessened for the Marlins.
 
“Those are the things that are really in a confidential basis,” Dombrowski said.
 
Dombrowski said there’s no change to Red Sox plans because of the Yankees. The plan was already to make the Red Sox as strong as can be. 
 
“You’re not only trying to beat the clubs in your own division, but to to have the best club in the league and the best club overall,” Dombrowski said. “So we’re already tying to do that.”
 
Stanton’s agent Joel Wolfe on Monday noted the Red Sox told him they were focused on pitching, referring to relief pitching in particular. Dombrowski gave his remembrance of the conversation with Wolfe.
 
“No, and I never said that to him. I might have said we were looking at people for relief pitching,” Dombrowski said. “We’re not prioritizing pitching. I think that their basic conversations with us, they looked at our outfield and thought they probably really weren’t a fit with our ball club.
 
“We’re looking for a middle of the order bat, that hasn’t changed. First base or DH.”
 
Dombrowski did not handicap whether an addition was more likely via free agency or trade. He also shot down the idea of adding two bats. Hanley Ramirez is penciled into play one of first base or DH.
 
“I’ve read that, but I don’t know where we’d play these two bats,” Dombrowski said. “I’m trying to figure that one out. So, but I would say we’d be more limited to probably one bat. I can’t say that, I don’t know I guess if we went for a platoon type guy or something somewhere else. But I don’t really know where the second bat would play. Middle of the order type.”
 
Dombrowski said that the trade of Stanton and signing of Shohei Ohtani has opened up the market “tremendously.” It was hard to get a phone call last week, Dombrowski said. Now, there’s a lot going on, although he’s not necessarily convinced something gets done at the winter meetings.
 
“It’s been since yesterday afternoon nonstop,” Dombrowski said of conversations.

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Stanton agent: 'Boston never had any interest in him'

Stanton agent: 'Boston never had any interest in him'

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, said on Monday afternoon that the Red Sox were never presented to him and his client as a possible trade destination. 

“To my knowledge, Boston never had any interest in him,” Wolfe said after the Yankees introduced Stanton at a winter meetings press conference. “Not that they don’t love him as a player, but they never tried to make a deal with the Marlins.”

Asked if there were any other obstacles to Stanton potentially coming to Boston, Wolfe said no.

"I didn't really have a thought on it," Stanton said of potentially going to the Red Sox.

The Red Sox did have some level of interest, but as with anything, it was a matter of price. It became clear previously that the salary was not something the Red Sox were comfortable with.

Wolfe said he was not surprised the trade talks didn’t get to a point where Stanton would have had to think more seriously about coming to Boston.

“I wasn’t,” Wolfe said, “Because they have a tremendous outfield, and we were told at the GM Meetings that they were looking for pitching and other areas.”

The Red Sox are widely known to be looking for relief pitching -- which is what Wolfe was referring to -- in addition to a power bat.

The Yankees still intend to stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2018, owner Hal Steinbrenner said on Monday. They can do that even with Stanton. The Red Sox roster, with some big, cumbersome contracts, doesn’t have the flexibility the Yankees roster does -- and clearly, Red Sox ownership and management didn’t think it wise to take on such a huge deal.

That's not what most of the Sox fan base wanted to hear -- not at all. 

The Yankees are to pay $265 million of the $295 million remaining on Stanton’s contract.

“I think [the salary is] a significant issue with everyone, yeah,” Wolfe said. “For sure. But I don’t know if that was the reason (the Red Sox didn't pursue Stanton) or not. But I mean, [Andrew] Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, those guys are under control and studs.”

In a long session with reporters, Wolfe said he discussed all 30 teams with Stanton, whose list of four teams he preferred to be traded to came into shape late in the season. (They were the Cubs, Yankees, Astros and Dodgers.) Asked specifically if he talked to Stanton about the Red Sox, Wolfe reiterated there wasn’t really a need to go down that road.

“We didn’t talk about it much for you know the reason I was just saying, with the three studs they had out there [in the outfield] and the depth, it just didn’t look like it was going to be a priority,” Wolfe said. “They were prioritizing pitching.”

And hitting, too. They'll have to find some somewhere else to satiate a fan base that just watched the Yankees add the National League MVP and best home-run hitter in the game.

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