Red Sox

Red Sox owners want a name with experience for their next GM; disagreement with Dombrowski dates to last fall

Red Sox owners want a name with experience for their next GM; disagreement with Dombrowski dates to last fall

BOSTON -- The next general manager of the Red Sox will come from outside the organization and have experience in the role, John Henry hopes.

The Red Sox owner laid out what he's looking for to take the organization forward in the wake of Dave Dombrowski's departure. He sounded unlikely, at least for now, to consider any of the four execs currently sharing GM responsibilities -- Eddie Romero, Brian O'Halloran, Zack Scott, and Raquel Ferreira.

That's in no small part because of the myriad challenges facing the franchise, from getting under the $208 million luxury-tax threshold, to dealing with the possible trade of reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts, to rebuilding the farm system.

"This is a tough job," Henry said. "This is a tough offseason, too. We talked about the challenges for the CBT [competitive balance tax], but I think we would all agree, there are a lot…this is a challenging offseason. So, to put one of the candidates you keep bringing up in charge and responsible for that, that's sort of a tough way to start your career as a general manager. So, we are starting the search looking outward."

Henry noted the difficulty of hiring GMs away from other franchises, but the Red Sox will be sure to inquire on a host of big-name candidates, whether it's Dodgers boss Andrew Friedman, Tampa's Chaim Bloom, or even Theo Epstein of the Cubs, who recently declared his allegiance to Chicago.

"We look at what some of the other teams are doing around the league," Werner said. "We want to be competitive with them in all facets."

As for the perception that the Red Sox lack stability, since they're about to hire their fourth baseball boss since 2011, Henry and Werner bristled.

"You know it's funny, I look at it as we've had three general managers since 2004, right? 2003, right?" Werner said. "I look at it as we've had three general managers in 17 years, right? So I don't look at that as -- not that we count but we have been successful bringing in a general manager from the outside and we've been successful by bringing in someone internally. But I consider, look, we all know Boston is an incredibly great sports town. It's also very demanding. We want to be excellent year in and year out. But I consider this position to be the most coveted or one of the most coveted in all of sports."

WHY DOMBROWSKI WAS FIRED
Henry talked about extending Dave Dombrowski the night the Red Sox won the World Series. He apparently had a change of heart by the time the Duck Boats started to roll.

It turns out the philosophical differences that led to Dombrowski's ouster predated the season.

"What changed quickly was right after the World Series, we had preliminary talks about our way forward and it was clear to me we weren't on the same page at that point," Henry said. "In fact, he and I talked about it that night, that Sunday evening, I think he disagreed with me about that, that we disagreed. We were even disagreeing, you might say, that we disagreed. There was a difference, I think, in how we thought we should move forward."

While Henry and Tom Werner went out of their way to praise Dombrowski's tenure, their issues weren't hard to discern: a bloated payroll that will hamstring the immediate future, and a lack of young talent coming through the minor league pipeline.

"One of the things that we talked about that I think is apparent is that we need to have more depth in our minor league system and more people coming up through the system that can be everyday baseball players," Henry said.

CORA STAYING PUT
One Red Sox employee who needn't worry about his job security is manager Alex Cora. Henry said the manager will return next year, no matter who takes over as GM.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.


 

Alex Cora sees Chris Sale as a man 'on a mission' after resuming throwing program

Alex Cora sees Chris Sale as a man 'on a mission' after resuming throwing program

SAN DIEGO -- Chris Sale recently cleared a major hurdle and resumed throwing. Manager Alex Cora can already see the noted competitor's fire burning bright as he looks to make amends for a shockingly mediocre 2019.

"I hate to say he's on a mission, but obviously he wasn't happy with the way the season went last year," Cora said. "He was trending up when he got hurt at the end. So hopefully he can bounce back, be ready for spring training, and be ready for the opening series."

Sale went just 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in what was easily the worst season of his career before shutting it down in late August with a sore elbow. Dr. James Andrews prescribed rest and said he'd reevaluate Sale in six weeks, an aggressive timetable that was abandoned when it became clear the Red Sox would not make the playoffs.

Until Sale had his follow-up and started throwing again, however, concerns would linger that perhaps he'd still require a surgical procedure or be unready to start the season with the team. The start of throwing, however, has him back on track.

Sale is working out at the team's spring training facility in Fort Myers, where Sale makes his home. He and his wife recently donated $1 million to his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University.

"I texted him the other day," Cora said. "What he did to his university, that was amazing, not forgetting where you come from. That was great. Physically, he's in a good spot. He's in a good place. He's been very consistent with his rehab. Obviously, not sleeping that much because of the birth of the baby. We've got a few guys like that, but physically he's in a good spot. Mentally he's in a good spot."

Soon enough we'll find out if he's putting himself in a position to say mission accomplished.

***

Sale isn't the only pitcher who recently started throwing again. David Price, a couple of months removed from a procedure to remove a cyst on his wrist, is playing catch.

"The feeling is different," Cora said. "Obviously, he's been dealing with this for a while, and it's been a grind for David to go out there and perform. He feels a little bit looser with the wrist. The feel of the ball is different, and there haven't been setbacks. As of now, everything is trending the right way. The goal is for him to be ready for the opening series."

Tomase: Sox offseason plans could come into focus this week>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

How future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre quietly helped turn around Rafael Devers' season

How future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre quietly helped turn around Rafael Devers' season

SAN DIEGO -- It was easily one of the low points of Rafael Devers' otherwise breakout 2019, but it led to a phone call that changed his season.

On May 2 in Chicago, Devers booted a ground with one out in the ninth and the Red Sox holding a 4-3 lead over the White Sox. Two batters later, Nick Delmonico launched a walkoff three-run homer, and a disconsolate Devers admitted that he "played a significant role in the loss."

Teammate Mitch Moreland, however, saw an opportunity. He put Devers in touch with a former Rangers teammate who knows a thing or two about manning the hot corner -- five-time Gold Glover and future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre.

The two spoke a couple of times a month for the rest of the season, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora is excited to see what impact Beltre's wisdom will have on Devers in 20202.

"He took it personally," Cora said of the Chicago error. "And I'll say it now, after that, Mitch actually, he made a phone call to the Dominican Republic and talked to Adrian, and Adrian talked to Raffy, and from there on, the communication was on an every-other-week basis, and there's a few things that Adrian told him to do in the offseason and what he should do in spring training, and looking forward for him to work that way and see where it takes him."

After making nine errors in his first 31 games, Devers made just 13 the rest of the way, and the Red Sox expect he'll continue making strides next season.

"As far as like moving and decisions and what he did last year compared to where he was in my first year, it's night and day," Cora said. "The confidence, too."

Tomase: Sox offseason plans could come into focus this week>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.