Red Sox

Red Sox ownership goes AWOL, forces Alex Cora to conduct pointless press conference

Red Sox ownership goes AWOL, forces Alex Cora to conduct pointless press conference

BOSTON -- The Red Sox fired their president of baseball operations on Sunday night, so naturally they made their manager explain it.

Alex Cora addressed the media for more than 22 minutes on Monday afternoon, but there's little point in relaying what he said. An ownership group that preaches honesty and accountability found itself bereft of those qualities when it came time to explain the how and why of Dave Dombrowski's ouster.

They instead hid behind an empty press release, leaving the task of explaining how Dombrowski could be fired just 11 months after winning a World Series to one of his underlings.

Cora did the best he could, noting that owners John Henry and Tom Werner, as well as CEO Sam Kennedy, broke the news to him after Sunday night's loss to the Yankees, leaving Cora to "call an audible" and inform his team.

That led to the absurdity of Monday afternoon, when Cora was peppered with very specific questions about why ownership decided to cut ties with Dombrowski, questions he was in no position to answer. In a Belichickian twist, they let the statement speak for itself.

"I know for some people, it's probably not enough," Cora said. "For others, maybe it is. I'm just here like every day to talk to you people for whatever you guys want to talk about it. From my end, like I said yesterday, I was very surprised, but at the same time, you think about it today, and this is the guy that gave me a shot to become a big-league manager. For four or five years, you go through this process and nobody gave you a shot. All of a sudden, Dave Dombrowski, 40 years in the big leagues, decides to give me a chance to run this organization as a manager. We were successful last year. This year, not that much. This is a business where sometimes you've got to take tough decisions, and this was a tough decision.

"Ownership decided that from now on they're going to look forward for someone else to run baseball operations. They explained it very simple. The guy is amazing. He's probably a Hall of Famer, what he did for the organization the last four or five years, it was great. I think everybody appreciates what Dave has done."

Cora said lots of other stuff, but let's just stop right here, because the only ones who can explain the motivations behind this move own the team, and for whatever reason, they're not talking.

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MLB Rumors: What return could Red Sox get back in a Mookie Betts trade?

MLB Rumors: What return could Red Sox get back in a Mookie Betts trade?

As baseball's GM meetings roll on in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the biggest headlines continues to be Mookie Betts' uncertain future.

With the former MVP entering the last season of his contract — and the Red Sox looking to shed payroll — one of the biggest decisions facing Boston's chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is whether to keep Betts around in 2020 or deal him away for as much as he can find on the open market.

But what type of package could Boston receive in exchange for Betts?

In an article for The Athletic, former MLB Executive of the Year Jim Bowden, now an analyst for MLB Network, looked at three possible trade partners and what they could offer in a Betts trade. Bowden considered what the Diamondbacks received in exchange for Paul Goldschmidt last offseason, knowing that Betts should fetch more in a trade, and for the purposes of this exercise, he stayed away from players who would be on 25-man rosters right now.

Here's what he came up with for potential destinations and returns (all prospect rankings courtesy MLB Pipeline):

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Catcher Keibert Ruiz: #3 prospect in LAD organization; 20 years old, .261 BA, 6 HR, 34 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019
Middle infielder Jeter Downs: #5 prospect in LAD organization; 21 years old, .276 BA, 24 HR, 86 RBI in A & AAA in 2019
RHP Josiah Gray: #4 prospect in LAD organization; 21 years old, 11-2 record, 2.28 ERA, 147 K in 130 IP in A & AA in 2019

Bowden posits that the Dodgers would likely put pitchers Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin as well as middle infielder Gavin Lux in the off-limits category for a rental player like Betts.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Outfielder Randy Arozarena: #10 prospect in STL organization; 24 years old, .344 BA, 15 HR, 53 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019 (.300 BA in 19 MLB games in 2019)
Third baseman Elehuris Montero: #4 prospect in STL organization; 21 years old, .194 BA, 7 HR, 18 RBI in rookie league & AA in 2019
Catcher Andrew Knizner: #3 prospect in STL organization; 24 years old, .276 BA, 12 HR, 34 RBI in AAA in 2019 (.226 BA in 18 MLB games in 2019)

Like the Dodgers, Bowden has several top young Cardinals players off the board, like pitchers Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson as well as prospects Dylan Carson and Nolan Gorman

ATLANTA BRAVES

Outfielder Drew Waters: #2 prospect in ATL organization; 20 years old, .309 BA, 7 HR, 52 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019
LHP Kyle Muller: #7 prospect in ATL organization; 22 years old, 7-6, 3.14 ERA, 120 K in 111.2 IP in AA in 2019
Catcher William Contreras: #8 prospect in ATL organization; 21 years old, .255 BA, 6 HR, 39 RBI in A & AA in 2019

For the purposes of this exercise, Bowden suggested the Braves wouldn't part with these players: outfielder Cristian Pache, pitchers Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright, and catcher Shea Langeliers.

Considering the potential returns from these clubs, Bowden suggests the Red Sox would be better off holding onto Betts and making a run with him on the roster in 2020, especially since draft-pick compensation if he left after next season wouldn't really be able to contribute at the major league level until 2024 — or later.

While Chaim Bloom and the Sox front office evaluate all options, it'll be a wait-and-see situation for Red Sox fans.

Report: 'Great skepticism' teams will pay up for Betts>>>>>

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Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Red Sox and Yankees have made exactly two trades in the past 25 years. Chaim Bloom's Rays dealt with the Yankees twice in the past four.

Now that Bloom is running the Red Sox, could Boston and New York actually swing a trade?

Eh, probably not. But we asked Bloom and Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman about it anyway, because Boston's new baseball boss is a bit of a wild card as he takes over a team that plans on leaving no stone unturned this winter.

Speaking at the GM meetings at the Omni Resort, Bloom said it would be "irresponsible" to cross the Bombers off his list of trade partners, while Cashman noted that he'd be willing to deal with anybody if it would help his team.

"I've been around long enough to know that if it's something that benefits your franchise, you don't worry about anything else -- the public appearance of it or the fear factor," Cashman said. "Our job is to make difficult decisions to the benefit of your franchise. I'm not afraid to deal with anybody, whether it's the Mets, the Red Sox. It doesn't matter. If it makes sense to us and it makes sense to them, so be it. I'm open for business."

The last deal between the two clubs came at the trade deadline in 2014, when the Red Sox shipped shortstop Stephen Drew to New York for fellow infielder Kelly Johnson. Those Red Sox were mired in last place with a record of 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore (how times have changed) in the AL East. The Drew trade put the finishing touches on a two-week bloodletting that saw Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and A.J. Pierzynski jettisoned.

The last deal before that came in August of 1997, when another Red Sox team not in contention shipped catcher Mike Stanley to New York for a package that included Tony Armas, Jr., who'd be used four months later to help acquire Pedro Martinez from the Expos.

Each trade shared an important trait that made dealing between the two cities much easier.

"The best atmosphere is when one team is down and the other is up," Cashman said. "But when you're both in going-for-it-mode and you're both championship-caliber contending clubs, you're typically not in a position to swap players. So it just makes it harder. Atmosphere is important. The Red Sox and Yankees have been perennial playoff contenders year in and year out for a long time. So that's probably more of a hurdle and obstacle than anything else, especially since they're in your own division. That's probably it more than anything else."

That didn't stop the Yankees and Rays from pulling off a pair of recent deals. In February of 2018, they joined a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona and Brandon Drury to New York, among many other parts. Two years earlier on a much smaller scale, the Rays purchased catcher Carlos Corporan from New York, though he never appeared in a game for them.

Both Bloom and Cashman share a mutual respect and admiration, even if they're now on opposite sides of baseball's biggest rivalry.

"I think one of the great things about this business is you can be a rival professionally with someone and still respect them a lot, get along great with them personally," Bloom said. "You guys obviously have covered him for a long time and you know how easy he is to talk to.

"I think, in general, look, our job is to do what's best for the Boston Red Sox. There's a lot of considerations that go into that in any conversation. Some of them are true across all 30 clubs, some of them, there might be unique dynamics. Obviously I know the relationship between this organization and the Yankees is not like any other club. But really, at the end of the day, our job as a group … is to do what's best for the Red Sox and then make sure we're just factoring in everything appropriately."

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