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Boston Red Sox

Farrell Dreams of 2013

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Red Sox Talk: Farrell Dreams of 2013

Last year, John Farrell brazenly declared that the 2016 Red Sox team reminded him of the 2013 Red Sox that he had managed to a World Series win. He made this highly uneducated statement during Spring Training. Despite his serious inaccuracy at the time, it now appears that Farrell was onto something. Redeeming his statement, the 2017 Red Sox are extremely comparable to the 2013 team that we all hold so dearly in our hearts.

Okay, so the offense isn’t quite there, however promising this recent uptick in production may be. But what about the pitching staff? There lies the one common element between the two Sox teams: the indomitable strength of their bullpens.

Pitching wins World Series. Every baseball fan has heard this ever-deteriorating cliche. Your father told you this time after time. But hey Pops, the Cubbies won it last year! Times have changed. Pitching alone cannot vouchsafe your titles, but bullpens certainly win or lose games.

Let us reminisce. The 2013 Red Sox bullpen exemplified the subtle sandman that a talented pen can be. This dirty-water crew was lead by the beloved Koji Uehara, who was pitching at the pinnacle of his career. Koji was accompanied by the oft-forgotten, but critically formidable: Craig Breslow. He was an effective lefty specialist, with a goofy near-submarine delivery that many a hitter fell prey to. Augmented by the ever-so sturdy Junichi Tazawa, this ragtag bunch made for a frustrating last 3 innings for opponents.

When you ruminate on the numbers and the roles of the 2013 bullpen, you can clearly see the resemblance that the 2017 bullpen bears.

Requiem for Arms

Our lights-out closer back then was Koji Uehara. In 2013 he had an astounding 1.09 ERA in 74 ⅓ innings pitched with 101 K’s. (Barring the 10 MPH fastball disparity) Koji was our Craig Kimbrel in 2013. Junichi Tazawa humbly served as Koji’s sidekick, just as Matt Barnes serves as the setup man in 2017. Tazawa posted a 3.16 ERA coupled with a WHIP of 1.200, in the 2013 regular season. In the postseason, he was an even more dominating arm. He had a 1.29 ERA with a 0.985 WHIP. The only 2013 pitcher who goes without a 2017 doppelganger would be the lefty specialist: Craig Breslow.

Who really pays homage to Craig Breslow? He was a hard-nosed pitcher, who always found himself in an unglamorous role. Breslow was kind of like a less talented Dennis Eckersley. But, his 2013 contribution should not go unremembered. Almost inaudibly, Breslow had himself a year. With a 1.81 ERA and a 1.123 WHIP in the regular season, he was the dependable lefty in that 2013 bullpen. Pitching in 10 games in the postseason, he gave the Sox some quality innings. During that World Series winning run, he had an ERA of 2.45. Numbers speak resoundingly for themselves. These easily overlooked and seemingly ancillary lefties in the pen can be very valuable.

A Striking Resemblance

As the Red Sox late-inning bunch is constituted today, they’re great. From the 7th inning on, the 2017 bullpen has only given up 1.04 runs to opponents. That’s 2nd best in the majors. Imagine how a solid lefty could amplify the potency of this pen!

With the addition of a shutdown southpaw, we would arguably have one of the greatest bullpens we’ve ever assembled. The Sox could acquire a left-handed pitcher through the tedious labyrinth of the waiver-wire. They could alternatively promote within.

Dispatching Eduardo Rodriguez to the pen wouldn’t be a bad idea, Drew Pomeranz is also a more controvertible option. Regardless of future moves, the Boston fan-base should be greatly encouraged by the performance of the 2017 bullpen thus far. These guys are looking ready for a more serious October run than the one they made in 2016.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Name Alex Cora As The New Manager

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Since the firing of John Farrell, the rumor mill has pegged former player Alex Cora as the clear frontrunner. Over the weekend it was being reported that Boston had decided on Cora but was waiting for the right time to announce the decision.

On Sunday the naming of the 47th manager in team history was made official.

“We were very impressed when we interviewed Alex,” said Dombrowski. “He came to us as a highly-regarded candidate, and from speaking with him throughout this process, we found him to be very knowledgeable, driven, and deserving of this opportunity. He is a highly respected and hardworking individual who has experience playing in Boston.”

Cora played in Boston from 2005 to 2008, and is currently a bench coach with the World Series-bound Houston Astros.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be named manager of the Boston Red Sox and I want to thank Dave, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy for giving me such a tremendous opportunity,” Cora said. “Returning to the Red Sox and the city of Boston is a dream come true for me and my family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning another championship for this city and its great fans.”

“In Alex we have found a natural leader to guide our clubhouse,” said Henry. “He is extremely smart with a dedication to what it takes to be successful in today’s game on the field. His baseball acumen and his ability to think strategically are uncommon for someone his age. We could not have found a better match for our players, our front office and for where we intend to go over the coming years as an organization.”

“Alex also has a full appreciation for the use of analytical information in today’s game and his ability to communicate and relate to both young players and veterans is a plus,” added Dombrowski. “Finally, the fact that he is bilingual is very significant for our club.”

The official press conference on the hiring will take place after the conclusion of the Fall Classic.

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Red Sox Managerial Decision Seemingly Made Up

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Did anyone think that the Boston Red Sox would take their time when hiring their new field manager? According to one report the team is moving rather quickly

According to one report, the team is moving rather quickly to the point where their minds are already made up.

“There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader,” a source told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia. “They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.”

Cora is currently serving as the bench coach for the Houston Astros, a team that is battling it out with the New York Yankees for the chance to go to the World Series. Boston isn’t the only suitor for the former player however. Cora is set to meet with the New York Mets on Tuesday and is also expected to be of interest to other teams like the Philadelphia Phillies.

But the interest between Boston and Cora is mutual and a report from Puerto Rico confirms that. Cora played for the Red Sox during his career and was part of the 2007 Wolrd Series team. At the time he was considered an excellent leader on the team that had all the intangible qualities of one daying being an excellent coach. Since his playing days, he has served as an ESPN Analyst, GM of Puerto Rico national team, coach in Puerto Rico’s baseball league, and now a bench coach for Houston.

If the Red Sox are able to bring in Cora it would be seen as if they had been grooming him for years and that he is their guy. With other suitors in tow, it looks like an offer from the Boston Red Sox to Cora is going to come rather quickly. And quite frankly, this is the best decision for the team.

Acquiring Cora is far superior to a long time mediocre manager like Ron Gardenhire or a failed first coach stinter like Brad Ausmus. Cora is both young and has some prior experience to bring to the table. The one real question with him is if he will be too buddy-buddy with the players, a very real possibility.

Red Sox fans seem to be rather torn on this topic, many seem to like the idea of an old manager like Gardenhire, while others favor Cora who was a fan favorite as a player. In reality the true intentions or favorite of the Red Sox is unknown, but for the moment, Cora looks like the lock.

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Red Sox Manager Contestants Stepping Right Up

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Red Sox

On Wednesday the Boston Red Sox fired field manager John Farrell. With the departure of Farrell, the Red Sox must now conduct a full and wide search for their next manager. There are dozens of potential candidates for the job. The one choice that will have to be made is to either to go young or go old.

Fortunately for us, Dave Dombrowski gave a general outline of what he will be looking for in the next manager. In his post-firing presser, he mentioned that the candidate is unlikely to come from within.

That comment seemingly rules out a candidate like Chili Davis or Gary Ddisarcina.

In terms of experience, Dombrowski said “I think managerial experience helps. I don’t think it’s a 100% necessity.”. He also mentioned the importance of being in the dugout as experience. The last time Dombrowski hired a field manager he was in charge of the Detroit Tigers. The coach he hired at the time was Brad Asmus. So maybe that means he will go on the younger side.

If he goes young in terms of experience here is the list of potential candidates:

  • Brad Asmus: Asmus was let go by Detriot after having a rather shaky first tenure as a manager. He was hired by Dombrowski and has plenty of connections to New England. He will land somewhere this offseason.
  • Alex Cora: Direct connections to Boston and knows how the media is here. Well respected by players and has coached in Puerto Rico and is the bench coach for AJ Hinch’s Houston Astros.
  • Jason Varitek: Obvious connections here. But he has no actual experience as a coach in the dugout. He has helped with player development and scouting as a special assistant to the gm in Boston. But chances are he isn’t in the conversation.
  • Hensley Meulens: Speaks Spanish, English (and other languages), has extensive coaching experience and serves as the hitting coach for the Giants. Has coached the Netherlands in the WBC. There has been a rumor that Major League Baseball is encouraging the Red Sox to hire a coach of minority status. Meulens fits that bill.

In terms of an older/experiences option, there are a few. There is an opportunity here for Dombrowksi. That opportunity is to convince the well respected Jim Leyland to come out of retirement. Leyland though doesn’t seem interested in coaching again and decline to come to Boston a long time ago.

Below are few options for an experienced field manager:

  • Leyland
  • Torey Luvullo: Had a 93 win first season at the helm of Arizona. Could be convinced to leave to come back to Boston.
  • Joe Girardi: Could be on his way out of New York. Is a noted good in-game manager.
  • Ron Gardenhire: Former Twins manager and currently a bench coach for the Diamondbacks. This kind of smells to me though.

What way will Dombrowski go with is anyone’s guess. This process can take awhile with the team needing to lock down a list and start the interview process. According to Dombrowski he always has a list of people for every position he might have to hire for. So, in theory, this could happen fairly quickly.

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