Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Staying under luxury tax not a goal for 2018

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Red Sox notes: Staying under luxury tax not a goal for 2018

BOSTON — Whether or not Red Sox ownership is excited to open up its wallet, the team is in a renewed position to spend after finishing 2017 under the luxury tax threshold, and there’s a clear need to improve the offense.

“We’re having our meetings right now so I don’t want to jump to it,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. “We need to score more runs. Some of that has to come internally. When you start looking at some of our guys, some of them didn’t have as good, I don’t think, of offensive years as they’re capable of having. So some of that increased production comes internally. But we do have probably the open spot of first base/DH, and so that’s a place we’ll try to create some offense there.”

The Red Sox and all 30 clubs will meet for the general managers’ meetings next week in Orlando. 

THE RED SOX HIRE ALEX CORA

Dombrowski said Hanley Ramirez, who went for left shoulder surgery at the beginning of the offseason, is expected to be healthy enough to play first base if the Sox want. Dombrowski said he had no preference as to whether Ramirez is a first baseman or DH going forward. But logically, whichever position Ramirez does not play may be manned by a new addition.

Will they be pricy and shiny?

In separate scrums with reporters Monday afternoon, Dombrowski and Red Sox owner John Henry both were asked whether the Red Sox would want to stay under the luxury tax threshold for a second straight season.

Dombrowski was asked the question first. Does he think staying under is a goal for 2018.

“No, I do not,” Dombrowski said.

Henry, apparently, was in ear shot at the time Dombrowski was asked, and didn’t want to elaborate when he did his scrum immediately after Dombrowski.

"Well, [Dombrowski] answered the question,” Henry said when he was asked about it. “He said he could go over.”

Now if this isn’t enthusiasm to spend, what is?

A few other notes:

  • As Dombrowski said when the Sox announced Dustin Pedroia was going for surgery, the Sox feel they can get by at second base internally until Pedroia returns a couple months into the season. However, they may still well add a piece.
     

“We think Pedey is going to be back in May at some point right now if you listen to what the doctor has to say,” Dombrowski said. “But we like, we had Brock Holt who at the end of the year, felt good. We really like Marco Hernandez a lot, he’s healthy, he’ll be ready to go. He’s a real possibility, and then we have [Tzu-Wei] Lin who’s a utility guy. Deven Marrero can play over there. So do I think we can fill internally, yes. Will we? I’m not sure. We’ll wait and see what happens.”

  • Several surgery options were discussed for Pedroia.
     

"This is very complicated,” Dombrowski said. “He saw the top specialists. There were different alternatives that were kicked around by the doctors. But ultimately, it really is Pedey's decision on what he thought was best for him. We gave our support. There were some alternatives that weren't quite maybe as extensive or some other surgery that could have been done. There could even have been a more extensive surgery. 

“But this was decided this was the best thing to do by the experts. … He went back and forth in his own mind and finally came up with the conclusion that this was best for him. Doctors feel with this one that after he heals, he should be in a position like he has been as far as health. There will be no holes in his cartilage anymore at that point. I'm not going to say he's going to play like he was when he was 25, but that he'll be able to continue to play and play healthy.”

  • Dombrowski said the Sox liked Eduardo Nunez but didn’t elaborate on potential interest in a reunion. Dombrowski attributed his lack of elaboration to the fact that Nunez is now a free agent.
     
  • The Red Sox issued no qualifying offers to their free agents, Nunez or otherwise. They were not expected to make any.
     
  • The hope is a pitching coach is in place by the time the GM meetings begin.
     

“We have a lot of names we’ve discussed,” Dombrowski said. “I can’t tell you we’re close to anybody. We’ve had interest in a couple guys that have gone other places, for various reasons. But I’d have to say we’re going to have more conversations, if it’s not today then tomorrow, because Alex is here until Thursday. We’ve got organizational meetings until Thursday, so I’m sure that’ll be a topic of conversation.”

  • Dombrowski said there were no planned changes to the front office or the team’s medical staff.
     
  • The Sox are planning to hire what Dombrowski termed a “quality assurance” coach.
     

“That’s something Alex [Cora] believes in a great deal,” Dombrowski said. “It’ll be somebody that takes the analytics we have and combines it with the video we use in advance scouting reports and helps combine the report. They used that in Houston, and he feels very strongly about that so that’s a position we’re going to add. We don’t have that person at this time. There was a person we had in mind but he went to another job, but that’ll be something we use and rely on for our advance work. He’ll be involved, that person, with all of our conversations on a daily basis when we sit down and break down a club, he’ll be involved with the pitching coach, the catcher, the pitcher and sit in there.”

MLB Rumors: Red Sox among teams to evaluate Blue Jays reliever Daniel Hudson

MLB Rumors: Red Sox among teams to evaluate Blue Jays reliever Daniel Hudson

As the July 31 trade deadline quickly approaches, the Red Sox will need to bolster their bullpen and starting rotation if they want to make another run at back-to-back World Series championships. 

They already have reported interest in starters like Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman, and now they seem to have eyes on some much-needed bullpen help. 

According to Jon Morosi, the Red Sox are among teams evaluated Blue Jays reliever Daniel Hudson as several clubs have shown interest in trading for the 32-year-old right-hander. 

Hudson has appeared in 40 games this season for Toronto, posting a 2.72 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 43 innings. Morosi notes that over his last 16 outings, Hudson has been excellent, sporting a 0.93 ERA. 

The Red Sox are expected to be buyers at the trade deadline, with their biggest needs on the mound. If they expect to make any sort of run in the postseason or get into the playoffs for that matter, they will need to acquire pitchers. Hudson could go a long way in stabilizing what has been a disastrous group of relievers this season. 

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Highlights of Red Sox' 5-0 loss to Orioles

Highlights of Red Sox' 5-0 loss to Orioles

FINAL SCORE: Orioles 5, Red Sox 0

IN BRIEF: Journeyman right-hander Asher Wojciechowski no-hit the Red Sox for six innings for his first win since 2017 as the lowly Orioles held the Sox to one hit in a 5-0 victory in 100-degree heat in Baltimore to take two out of three from Boston. BOX SCORE
 

RED SOX RECORD: 54-46

HIGHLIGHTS

1st inning:
Mancini homers to center on a 0-0 pitch from Cashner (1-0, BAL).

2nd inning:
Smith Jr. walked, moved to second on Severino's groundout, Davis doubled to left, scoring Smith Jr. (4-0, BAL).

3rd inning:
Villar hits an infield single to second, Mancini hits a two-run homer to left on a 3-1 pitch from Cashner (4-0, BAL).

5th inning:
WOJCIECHOWSKI 9TH STRIKEOUT, KEEPS NO-HITTER ALIVE:

9th inning:
(Hembree replaces Walden on the mound) Villar homers to center on a 1-0 pitch (5-0, BAL).

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