Red Sox

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

red_sox_dave_dombrowski_072516.jpg

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.”

Report: Red Sox trade target Jeurys Familia close to A's deal

Report: Red Sox trade target Jeurys Familia close to A's deal

Earlier in the week, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reported the Boston Red Sox were among several teams inquiring about the availability of New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia.

But it appears the veteran closer is likely headed to the West Coast, according to ESPN's Buster Olney:

In 40 appearances this season for the last-place Mets, Familia has posted a 2.88 ERA with 17 saves and a 1.23 WHIP. The Red Sox have been actively seeking to add another veteran arm to their bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline, a search that has included talks for Orioles closer Zach Britton according to FanCred Sports' Jon Heyman.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Price, Red Sox win again by blanking Tigers, 1-0

Price, Red Sox win again by blanking Tigers, 1-0

DETROIT -- One run was enough for David Price and the Red Sox - but only after Boston escaped a couple of dicey jams.

Price pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Red Sox kept right on rolling in their first game after the All-Star break, beating the Detroit Tigers 1-0 on Friday night. Price worked out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation in the fourth, and reliever Matt Barnes maneuvered through a tough spot of his own in the eighth.

The Red Sox (69-30) have won 13 of their last 14, have baseball's best record and extended their lead to 5 1/2 games over the New York Yankees in the AL East. Price (11-6) walked one and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings.

"Any time you can win 1-0, that's a good game," Price said. "We got a run there in that first inning, and everybody did their job after that."

Steve Pearce hit an RBI double in the first, and the Tigers could never match that one run. Matthew Boyd (4-9) allowed a run and three hits in five-plus innings. He struck out six and walked two.

Barnes wriggled out of a jam in the eighth after the Tigers put a runner on third with one out. Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 31st save in 33 chances.

Detroit has lost seven of eight.

Price has 97 wins from 2012-18, matching teammate Chris Sale for the most in the American League during that span. He retired the first nine batters he faced Friday, then got in trouble by allowing three straight singles to start the fourth.

"We had some chances, but he made a lot of good pitches in big spots and when he made a mistake, we fouled them off," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a very good pitcher who can move the ball all over the plate, and he's been doing it to teams for a long time."

With the bases loaded, John Hicks flied out to shallow left field, starting a wild play that ended with Boston second baseman Brock Holt on the ground injured. Andrew Benintendi caught Hicks' fly and threw wildly toward the plate, but Detroit's Niko Goodrum stayed put at third. Jeimer Candelario took off from second to third, then had to go back when he realized Goodrum was still there.

The throw went back to second, but Candelario was able to slide in safely. Holt went down with a right knee injury after Candelario's slide, although he was able to walk off the field.

Price struck out James McCann and retired Victor Martinez on a flyout to end the inning.

Goodrum led off the eighth by reaching on a strikeout when Barnes threw a wild pitch on strike three. Candelario then struck out, but strike three bounced away again. Candelario wasn't allowed to take first in that situation, but Goodrum was able to go all the way from first to third.

Nicholas Castellanos followed with a one-out grounder to third, and Goodrum was retired in a rundown between third and home.

"That's 100 percent going on contact - you have to go there," Gardenhire said. "We hadn't scored a run and we wanted to try to make something happen. Even if it doesn't work, we still have a runner on second, so it is worth the chance."

After a walk to Hicks, McCann struck out to end the inning.

BACK IN MOTOWN

Boston slugger J.D. Martinez was back in Detroit after playing for the Tigers from 2014-17. He was traded to Arizona around this time last year, part of a rebuilding effort in which the Tigers later traded Justin Verlander, Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler.

"It was inevitable. I think everybody knew it," Martinez said before the game. "You can only be good like that for so long."

Martinez made a fine catch in right field while running into the wall in the third.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Holt left with a bruised knee. ... LHP Drew Pomeranz (left biceps tendinitis) is expected to return Tuesday at Baltimore. ... Manager Alex Cora said 3B Rafael Devers (left shoulder inflammation) will be back and part of the roster Saturday.

Tigers: Detroit put RHP Michael Fulmer on the disabled list before the game with a left oblique strain, and Gardenhire said Fulmer will be "out for a while." OF Leonys Martin (left hamstring strain) returned from the DL and started.

UP NEXT

Boston LHP Brian Johnson (1-2) takes the mound Saturday night against Detroit RHP Mike Fiers (6-6).

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE