Red Sox

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 who 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.

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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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Twitter reacts to Red Sox signing J.D. Martinez

Twitter reacts to Red Sox signing J.D. Martinez

Here's how Twitter reacted to the Boston Red Sox finally signing J.D. Martinez. The slugger agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal, according to multiple reports.

As you could imagine, the reaction on social media was somewhat tumultuous among Sox fans.

Source: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

Source: Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez

UPDATE: J.D. Martinez has signed with the Red Sox, as first reported by ESPN's Pedro Gomez and confirmed by an NBC Sports Boston source.

More details as they come available...

ORIGINAL STORY: FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox and J.D. Martinez were nearing a deal on Monday evening, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston.

Multiple sources earlier Monday said the Sox and Martinez were in active negotiation. The industry belief has long been that the Sox are Martinez's most logical landing spot.

MORE - John Henry: We've made a lot of changes

“Other than to say we remain interested, do not have anything else to add,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said by email Monday afternoon.

The Red Sox braintrust was together Monday morning and midday at JetBlue Park, with both principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner on hand.

Werner in January confirmed the Sox were in active negotiations with Martinez. On Monday, he deferred questions to Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. 

“I think you should talk to Dave about that,” Werner said. “Obviously there’s no news, but I think you should ask Dave that question."

Werner and Henry both said they were bullish on the Sox if they do not sign Martinez. Werner was asked whether the Sox have an obligation to improve last year’s team with outside help. Without Martinez, the team is virtually identical.

“We have an obligation to try to win the World Series every year,” Werner said. “Sometimes you go in one direction, sometimes you go in another direction. We’re not ceding first place to anybody. Obviously, we have to be better in the playoffs. As John said, we think our approach is better this year and we think we’re going to have if not the highest payroll in baseball, one of the two or three highest payrolls in baseball. We have a great general manager and a great team to figure out how to deploy it and we certainly feel like we’re moving forward.”

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