Red Sox

Craig Breslow talking to teams about non-playing role

Craig Breslow talking to teams about non-playing role

BOSTON — Craig Breslow, a key member of the 2013 world champion Red Sox and a pitcher who has long appeared a strong candidate for a second life in baseball when his playing days are over, is about to make the jump.

The lefty reliever, 38 years old with 12 big league seasons under his belt, is talking to teams about moving to a non-playing role and is weighing his options, Breslow told NBC Sports Boston. The Connecticut native has been in touch with the Red Sox, whom he spent more time with than any other club — a total of five seasons spanning two stints, one in 2006, and then again from 2012-15. But he may find a better fit at this point in time with another club.

A Yale alum who likely would be a doctor today had he not pursued baseball, Breslow has always stood out in the sport for his intelligence and affability. Combined with his success as a pitcher — he has a 3.45 ERA lifetime in 570 2/3 innings — he’s exactly the type of hire many teams seek these days as they try to modernize their coaching, player development and front office staffs in the age of analytics.

The exact path he’ll walk isn’t clear yet, which is kind of the point. Breslow likely could be a general manager if he wanted someday. He likely could be a field manager too. What he seeks in his first job is a means to contribute, as well as knowledge and experience from a wide swath of an operation.

“I'm not ruling anything out or in, aside from gaining broad exposure to become a better rounded student of the game,” Breslow said. “I want to address some of the deficiencies in knowledge I currently have and also provide some short-term value to an organization. Beyond that, I want to keep as many possibilities open for as long as possible while I'm still figuring out my longer term interests.”

For the first time since 2004, Breslow spent a full season in the minor leagues in 2018, pitching in the Blue Jays organization after last appearing in the majors in 2017, with the Indians. 

He didn’t perform up to his expectations in ‘18, but he did enjoy acting as a mentor to younger players, and had the realization he’s at the point now where he may be able to better impact a club in other ways besides pitching.

One organization that might be a natural fit for Breslow, besides the Red Sox: the retooling Orioles, now run by Breslow’s rotation-mate from college, Mike Elias.

Even back in 2013, Elias said he had joked with Breslow about Breslow’s seemingly inevitable post-playing career.

"I think as soon as he's finished playing, he's going to have options to do almost whatever he wants to do,” Elias said five years ago. “If he wants to work in the front office or some sort of scouting capacity, what have you, I imagine there will be multiple teams willing to give him that opportunity. He's extremely smart, he's not just smart for a baseball player. On top of that he's got all this experience.

"I would be surprised if after he finished playing he didn't end up remaining in major league baseball in some capacity. I hope it's something he pursues.”

Breslow five years ago was also thinking along those lines.

"I do think front office is potentially an interesting option," Breslow said. "Given the longer I'm attached to this game, the number of trends that I've been a part of and see, I do like to think about roster manipulation and what the thought process is behind transactions, turnovers. When I see contracts, I think about, 'If I had monopoly money and I was starting a team, would I make this commitment to a player, or what kind of things would I value?’

"I've had conversations with Billy [Beane] in Oakland, just kind of generally about running a baseball team ... 'What's your thinking behind that, or why do you think this other team is making this move?' Or if there are transactional things or baseball ops things that I don't understand, I've asked Ben [Cherington] about it or Mike Hazen about it — 'Why does this happen, why does every team put all of its players through waivers in August?’”

Breslow tried to reinvent himself as a pitcher in his later years, changing his arm angle. Now he’s about to reinvent himself again, and he figures to be a hot commodity as teams seek people in his mold.

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Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton 'will be down for a bit' with calf injury

Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton 'will be down for a bit' with calf injury

Wednesday was another tough day on the injury front for the New York Yankees.

Manager Aaron Boone revealed slugger Giancarlo Stanton "will be down for a bit" due to a Grade 1 right calf strain. The news comes one day after it was announced right-hander Luis Severino will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2020 campaign.

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Injuries have been par for the course with Stanton ever since he first donned Yankee pinstripes in 2018. The former National League MVP has played in only 176 of 324 regular-season games with New York due to bicep, shoulder, and knee ailments.

The Yankees still boast a well-rounded roster that can survive Stanton's absence for a while, but his presence in the middle of the lineup is key to their success. If the 30-year-old indeed misses time, it could be Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, or Mike Tauchman taking his spot in the lineup.

New York's 2020 season begins March 26 vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

MLB Rumors: Red Sox unlikely to 'buy' prospects from Padres in a Wil Myers deal

MLB Rumors: Red Sox unlikely to 'buy' prospects from Padres in a Wil Myers deal

The Boston Red Sox are looking to replenish their farm system, and the San Diego Padres have the talented prospects to make a deal worth their while.

With the Padres looking to ship Wil Myers and part of the $61 million remaining on his contract, the Red Sox would appear to be the perfect fit, especially after clearing some space on their payroll by sending David Price and Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Boston had flirted with San Diego about a similar deal involving Betts, but the Sox instead went with L.A.'s offer.

Since then, the two sides reportedly have discussed a trade that would send Myers and half of his salary to Boston in exchange for a package of prospects that may include pitcher Cal Quantrill.

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Although such a deal makes sense on paper, it's "unlikely" to happen, according to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe.

Speier writes:

However, while the concept is interesting for a Red Sox organization intent on replenishing its upper levels and young big league talent, two major leagues sources characterized any such trade as unlikely. One of those sources characterized the idea mostly as “tire kicking” by the Red Sox rather than a deal with real legs.

The Padres, after all, are trying to improve their chances of contention rather than simply shed payroll. Their goal in pursuing Betts wasn’t to shed Myers’s salary but to add an elite talent. As such, they have little motivation to give up prospects and/or potential big league contributors for the sake of moving Myers unless they could reallocate his salary to acquire another player (likely via trade) such as Francisco Lindor.

As much as the Padres would love to rid themselves of most of Myers' bloated contract, trading him and a package of top prospects for cash doesn't make a whole lot of sense. As Speier notes, that changes if a player of Betts or Lindor's caliber is thrown in the mix. But since that isn't the case, there doesn't seem to be much of a benefit for an up-and-coming San Diego club.

There's still a chance the deal's framework could change -- potentially with a third team involved -- but as of now, a straight-up deal to "buy" Padres prospects probably isn't on the table.