Red Sox

Vazquez to seek Dr. James Andrews on elbow ailment

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Vazquez to seek Dr. James Andrews on elbow ailment

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Catcher Christian Vazquez, sidelined with an ailing elbow, will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola Wednesday, yet another signal that Vazquez is dealing with a serious injury that could require season-ending surgery.

"I don't know about the severity of it right now,'' said manager John Farrell. "We know there have been findings on it, based on the MRI, and I think anytime the elbow is talked about, you go to someone who's probably the source in our industry - and that's Dr. Andrews - to take a further look at this.''

Whether Vazquez requires Tommy John surgery - a worst-case scenario - or simply needs time to rehab, it's clear he won't be part of the Opening Day roster and the Sox need to decide, over the next week, who their No. 2 catcher will be behind starter Ryan Hanigan.

 ”We're focused on the internal options (Humberto Quintero and Blake Swihart), as I said yesterday,'' said John Farrell. "Both guys are going to catch (in the final week in Florida). One's on the (40-man) roster (Swihart), one's not on the roster (Quintero). There's a number of factors that will come into this.

"But setting the roster (issue) aside, you look at the way guys are handling pitchers in the moment, their game-calling, their defensive abilities. Nothing will be omitted when we talk about how we're going to start the season with the catcher in addition to Ryan Hanigan.''

Quintero has spent parts of 12 seasons in the big leagues with a half-dozen different organizations and profiles as the quintessential journeyman backup catcher. He's thought to be a good handler of pitchers and a solid catch-and-throw guy, though he offers little in the way of offense, with a lifetime .234 average and a career OPS of .594.

Swihart is regarded as the Red Sox' top position player prospect - an athletic switch-hitting catcher who has shown immense improvement behind the plate over the last two seasons.

But Swihart has played just 18 games above Double A.

"(Swihart) has looked fine,'' said Farrell. "The other day, he and Clay (Buchholz) were working through some things. That was clear. But I think as we've gotten though camp, Blake has had an opportunity to handle some of the pitchers we have here. He's worked diligently on some pitches in certain areas of  the strike zone where some (improved) receiving and framing polishing could take place and that's ongoing. 

"He's a good-looking player. He's very athletic. He can swing the bat. He throws very well. But we're going to take every chance and every opportunity to see things through.''

Farrell also praised Swihart's leadership skills to date.

"He's learning the pitchers, first and foremost,'' said Farrell. "I haven't seen him enough in games to determine where he would rank on a leadership scale. But he's a smart kid. He's got good retention. I think he's a very quick study. THat's what he's shown here. (Leadership is) not a detriment, I can say that.''

Swihart would rank the definite edge in terms of offense, but given that this is the backup catcher spot, that might not be a priority for the organization.

"I think it's more about leading the pitcher's at this point,'' said Farrell. "I guess the best way to describe it is, there's not going to be one thing that we hang our hat on when it comes to making this decision.

"My view is that, in our lineup, our catcher was going to hit ninth, no matter who they are. That's a sign of the strength of the rest of the lineup. Again, all of these things will be discussed and we'll come to the decision that's best for us right now.''

Another issue might be that the Sox might not want to interrupt Swihart's development by having him play just twice a week in the big leagues behind Hanigan.

But Farrell dismissed that as a factor.

"We're about winning games,'' he said. "We'll put the best team on the field.''

MLB Rumors: Rick Porcello, Mets agree to one-year contract worth $10M

MLB Rumors: Rick Porcello, Mets agree to one-year contract worth $10M

The Rick Porcello reunion is off the table.

The free-agent right-hander has agreed to a one-year contract with the New York Mets pending a physical, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris reported Thursday.

The one-year deal is worth $10 million, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

The Red Sox were rumored to be interested in re-signing Porcello after his contract expired in 2019, but New York also was eyeing the 30-year-old veteran and appears to have gotten its man.

Porcello was a workhorse during his five seasons in Boston, starting 32 or more games in four of those campaigns. His brilliant 2016 season -- 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA -- earned him American League Cy Young Award honors.

The New Jersey native struggled to a 5.52 ERA last season, though, and with the Red Sox looking to cut payroll, it seemed unlikely they would open their checkbooks for a starter north of 30.

Porcello's departure leaves a hole in Boston's rotation behind Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi.

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Chaim Bloom reacts to Gerrit Cole signing with Yankees

Chaim Bloom reacts to Gerrit Cole signing with Yankees

Chaim Bloom is well-aware of just how big of a move the Yankees made when they signed Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract on Tuesday. But the Red Sox chief baseball officer is staying patient.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Bloom addressed the Cole signing and noted the importance of the front office not being too reactionary in their approach to the offseason.

"Look, we want to beat the Yankees as badly as anybody, trust me,” Bloom said. “I think it’s just a question of us being able to step back and say, ‘What is the best approach for us to do that?’ The more we feel like we’re being reactive to other teams’ moves, I think the more we’re playing their game. We might be pushing ourselves further from that objective rather than helping ourselves.”

Bloom was the Tampa Bay Rays' senior vice president of baseball operations prior to joining the Red Sox, so he's no stranger to seeing both Boston and New York making noise in the offseason. His experience with a much lower payroll in Tampa helped him learn to not be distracted by the big splashes made by division rivals.

“Having had the good fortune of being in this division for a long time, I’m kind of used to seeing the Yankees, and the Red Sox for that matter, do things over the years,” Bloom said. “It didn’t change things that much in terms of how I reacted to that. I think it’s one of the great things about the challenges of being in, what has been over the course of time probably the toughest division maybe in all of pro sports. You expect the standards to be very high and you expect your rivals to be constantly looking to improve, constantly find ways.

"The approach from team to team might vary, but you expect them to constantly be doing things to make themselves better. It’s important to not get distracted by that. It’s important to focus on your own club and how you can accomplish your goals.”

The Red Sox have made it clear they're aiming to shed payroll ahead of the 2020 season, so don't expect any Cole-like deals for Boston any time soon. Instead, prepare for stars like David Price and/or Mookie Betts to be shipped out of town before Opening Day.

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