Red Sox

Will Red Sox follow through on trading catcher before Opening Day?

Will Red Sox follow through on trading catcher before Opening Day?

Dave Dombrowski has been transparent about the Boston Red Sox's catcher situation. He'd prefer to have two on the Opening Day roster, and the Red Sox currently have three with major league experience.

But Boston's season opener is just over a month away, and it doesn't sound like Dombrowski is planning to trade any of Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart in the immediate future.

“I would’ve even thought we would have made a move before we came to spring training, in a lot of cases," Dombrowski said Monday in Bradenton, Fla., before a spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, per's Chris Cotillo.

“There are some catchers who aren’t even signed yet, who are still out there. It’s one of those where, I learned a long time ago, don’t worry about what you can’t control.”

Vazquez, who started 10 of the Red Sox's 14 postseason games last season, appears to have the edge over Leon and Swihart for the starting job. He's the best defensive catcher of the trio and at least provides serviceable offense, as Leon (.177) and Swihart (.229) both struggled mightily at the plate in 2018.

Swihart's agent also requested a trade for his client last season, so Boston likely will explore the possibility of moving the 26-year-old over the next few weeks.

But the catcher market, like the rest of the free agent market, has been slow-moving. Some veterans like Martin Maldonado still haven't signed, and there's been virtually no trade buzz at the position since J.T. Realmuto landed with the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this month.

That means Dombrowski may have to wait until the end of spring training to find a suitor for one of his catchers or risk releasing a player like Leon or Swihart, who both are out of minor league options.

"None of them have options left, but we're also not going to just give them away to give them away," Dombrowski said back in December. "We'll see where that takes us."

In the two-plus months since Dombrowski made that comment, the answer is "nowhere." And we may have to wait another month for closure.

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MLB players not accepting Rob Manfred's apology after calling World Series trophy 'piece of metal'

MLB players not accepting Rob Manfred's apology after calling World Series trophy 'piece of metal'

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred tried more damage control on Tuesday.

After referring to the World Series trophy as a "piece of metal," Manfred apologized for the disrespectful comment after receiving plenty of backlash for his choice of words.

“I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way, and I want to apologize for it,” Manfred said at a press conference at spring training in Arizona. “There’s no excuse for it...It was a mistake to say what I said.”

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Several MLB players already are upset with Manfred's handling of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal and many past and present Astros opponents have criticized the commissioner's penalties against Houston as far too lenient.

Manfred reference to one of baseball's most prized possessions - known officially as The Commissioner's Trophy - as a "piece of metal" only added more fuel to the fire, with current Chicago Cubs and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, in particular, infuriated by the commissioner's words.

“That’s somebody that has never played our game. You play for a reason, you play for that piece of metal. I’m very proud of the three that I have,” Lester said, according to Associated Press. “If that’s the way he feels, then he needs to take his name off the trophy.”

Former Red Sox infielder and current WEEI radio host Lou Merloni also had some choice words for the commissioner. 

"Well, I'll say this. I had some time to think about it and no, I don't accept his apology because I think it's ridiculous," Merloni said on Boston Sports Tonight. "The trophy is called The Commissioner's trophy. He is the commissioner of Major League Baseball and to utter the words it's a 'piece of metal,' to me, is a slap in the face for people who played this game forever, well before he was the commissioner of this league. There are people for whom winning a World Series championship changes their lives. There are people that lose a World Series changes their lives.

"The closest I got was an ALCS. I never got to play in one. I never had an opportunity to win one. There's a lot of guys who have won many, and we praise them for it... they're in the Hall of Fame for it. To sit there and to basically minimize what the World Series trophy is, what this represents, to me, is inexcusable. So, you can apologize all you want, but he never should've uttered those words in the first place. I think it's a disgrace."

If Red Sox acquire Wil Myers, here's why fans should love a deal they'll want to hate

If Red Sox acquire Wil Myers, here's why fans should love a deal they'll want to hate

FORT MYERS, Fla. — At this rate, we might need to rechristen them the Boston Rage Sox, because every move they make fills their fans with fury.

If bloodshot eyes, balled fists, and foaming mouths impact one ability, however, it's to see clearly. And so let us explain why a seemingly indefensible trade for overpriced Padres outfielder Wil Myers actually presents our first encouraging view into Chaim Bloom's vision for the future.

The rumors out of San Diego -- an organization that leaks like a sieve, god bless -- are that the Red Sox and Padres remain engaged on Myers, a former Rookie of the Year who has fallen on hard times since earning his lone All-Star berth in 2016.

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San Diego's goal (per the Union-Tribune) is simple: dump as much of the $61 million remaining on Myers' contract as possible in order to enable a run at an impact bat like Cincinnati's Nick Senzel.

Here's the part where Red Sox fans might lose their minds. Just days after moving former MVP Mookie Betts and Cy Young Award winner David Price to the Dodgers in order to slash payroll, would the Red Sox really take $30 million right back in the form of Myers, a lifetime .251 hitter coming off the second-worst OPS (.739) of his career?

Yes, but Myers is hardly the point (despite Bloom's familiarity with him from their days in Tampa). What really matters is that the Red Sox would also receive a package of prospects likely built around right-hander Cal Quantrill (son of former big leaguer Paul), as well as slugging catcher Luis Campusano.

In other words, Bloom plans on using the team's considerable financial resources to buy prospects to replenish a strip-mined farm system. It's exactly the kind of move he was hired to make, and it's how one of the game's driest reservoirs of future talent can be replenished on the fly.

It may sound defeatist and incongruous now — dump David Price's salary just to pick up Myers'? — but the approach makes perfect sense. When the Yankees conducted their great purge in 2016, trading Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova in the span of four franchise-altering days, they had one goal: adding young talent.

In return, they received Gleyber Torres (part of the Chapman deal), who's already a two-time All-Star and borderline superstar at age 23, as well as a host of other prospects. Justus Sheffield (Miller) and Erik Swanson (Nova) were used to acquire left-hander James Paxton from the Mariners. Former No. 4 overall pick Dillon Tate (Beltran) went to the Orioles for Zack Britton. Outfielder Clint Frazier (Miller) is a defensive butcher, but his bat (12 HRs in 225 ABs last year) still plays and gives him value at age 25.

Those acquisitions allowed the Yankees to reload with young, cheap talent, which in turn created an avenue for New York to spend lavishly on right-hander Gerrit Cole this winter.

The presence of catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielder Aaron Judge meant the Yankees boasted a better minor-league talent base than the one Bloom inherited, so Boston's turnaround won't be as instantaneous, but this is how it starts.

I won't pretend to know if Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, Connor Wong, Quantrill or Campusano are can't-miss stars. That's where you trust Bloom's track record in Tampa as an evaluator. What matters right now is volume, and the more prospects Bloom can add, the better.

Quantrill isn't technically a prospect anymore. He was chosen eighth overall in the 2013 draft out of Stanford and rose through San Diego's system as a consensus top-100 prospect. He went 6-8 with a 5.16 ERA during his big league debut last year and would step right into Boston's rotation, which remains in need of a fifth starter.

Campusano, meanwhile, took a giant leap forward, hitting .325 with 15 home runs at High A. Whether he's the future, or simply capital to make other moves, doesn't much matter at the moment. The Red Sox need replenishment, and if Bloom wants to buy it, that's what's known as an effective use of resources.

So while it may be tempting and even a little cathartic to lose your mind if the Red Sox acquire Myers, pay attention to the rest of the package, because that's where the deal will be won.