Red Sox

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. speaks with David Ortiz, shares encouraging update on Red Sox legend

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. speaks with David Ortiz, shares encouraging update on Red Sox legend

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in town this weekend as the Blue Jays begin a three-game series vs. the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The 20-year-old phenom's first order of business upon arrival in Boston was checking in with family friend David Ortiz, who was shot in the Dominican Republic on June 9. Guerrero's relationship with Ortiz goes back to when both the former Red Sox slugger and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. were in the prime of their respective baseball careers.

“We have a great relationship,” Guerrero Jr. said before Friday's game through a translator, per Jessica Camerato of MLB.com. “Actually, this morning I spoke with David and there is a chance tomorrow I will go to see him.”

Ortiz continues to recover at Mass General Hospital from his two surgeries, but his condition was upgraded to "good" on Wednesday. Vlad Jr. provided another encouraging update on Big Papi's health.

“Thank God, he sounds very good,” Guerrero Jr. said. “He feels very well right now. And that’s all the Dominican wants and all baseball wants, is for him to feel very well.”

On Wednesday, Dominican officials insisted Ortiz was not the intended target in the shooting and the attack was meant to be on his friend, Sixto David Fernandez.

After getting off to a slow start to his rookie season, Vlad Jr. is beginning to come into his own. The young slugger entered Friday's game hitting .249 with seven home runs and 19 RBI.

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MLB rumors: Asking prices 'enormous' as trade deadline approaches

MLB rumors: Asking prices 'enormous' as trade deadline approaches

The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is nearly two weeks away, and the high asking prices for the top players rumored to be available likely is one reason why we haven't seen any blockbuster deals made at this point.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported Sunday an update on the state of the trade market.

• Executives say that the prices in the trade market continue to be enormous. Teams are asking for very high-end prospects even for rentals, impending free agents such as the New York Mets' Zack Wheeler.

The Boston Red Sox are one team to watch as the trade deadline approaches. 

The defending World Series champions are 10 games behind the rival New York Yankees for first place in the American League East, and they sit 2.5 games in back of the Oakland Athletics for the second-wild card spot. The Sox still have a decent chance of reaching the postseason, but reinforcements likely are needed to avoid a disappointing regular season finish.

Boston acquired veteran starting pitcher Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night. He will make his Red Sox debut Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays and should provide much-needed depth to the back end of the rotation, but the team's primary need ahead of the trade deadline remains bullpen help. Boston's bullpen has been awful at times this season, and the group ranks second the in majors with 18 blown saves.

One problem for the Red Sox is they don't have a robust farm system of high-end prospects to trade for help at the deadline. Those prospects either have graduated to the majors or already were traded in recent years. Bullpen help often is the most sought after position at the trade deadline, therefore the selling teams probably won't have much trouble creating bidding wars for the best available relievers.

The Red Sox shouldn't overpay for one of the top relief pitchers on the market, but acquiring someone to help the bullpen could play a pivotal role in helping secure a postseason berth for the fourth consecutive year.

Dombrowski built dysfunctional Red Sox roster, and team is paying price>>>

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What Tony La Russa learned from Bill Belichick, Bob Cousy about title repeats

What Tony La Russa learned from Bill Belichick, Bob Cousy about title repeats

As a seasoned former manager working in a city with an unparalleled history of professional sports success, Tony La Russa has a treasure trove of resources at his disposal.

And it sounds like he took advantage of them this past offseason.

La Russa, who joined the Boston Red Sox in 2017 as vice president and special assistant to executive president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, picked the brains of several Boston sports legends last winter, including current and former New England Patriots coaches Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells and former Celtics point guard Bob Cousy, according to Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal.

Per Diamond, La Russa spoke to Boston's brightest sports minds at the request of Dombrowski, who wanted insight into how the Red Sox could avoid the dreaded "World Series hangover" and become the first MLB team to repeat as champions since 2000.

Here's what Cousy and Belichick shared with La Russa, according to Diamond:

The 90-year-old Cousy explained that players in his era had more of an incentive to repeat, because of the financial rewards that came with championships, a point that resonated with La Russa. Belichick, another friend of La Russa’s, stressed the importance of flushing the season before to prevent a hangover.

Those are pretty good insights from both men. But apparently they haven't resonated with the Red Sox, who enter Monday 10 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East at 50-43.

In fact, Sox manager Alex Cora appeared to take a different tact than Belichick this winter, insisting his squad shouldn't turn the page from last season and instead build on that magical 108-win season.

Dombrowski said La Russa recently told him, "I feel like I failed you," as the 74-year-old Hall of Famer's offseason project hasn't yielded results to date.

The Red Sox aren't giving up hope yet, though -- they traded for Andrew Cashner this weekend and remain in the Wild Card hunt -- and La Russa is hoping they channel Belichick's 2001 Patriots in making a second-half surge.

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