Tag Archives: Ryan Dempster

Red Sox Report: Rotation Depth Will Be Key To Sox Success

Rotation depth is really what helped the Red Sox get to October and eventually win the World Series. The trade deadline deal with the White Sox and Tigers netting the Red Sox Jake Peavy for the stretch run definitely made a difference. Peavy won four of ten starts once acquired, filled in for Clay Buchholz in the rotation who had been out since early June. The Sox gave the ball to Allen Webster and Brandon Workman at other times across last season. Webster did not have the greatest go at it but Workman looked great in a short sample and eventually was moved to the bullpen and was getting important outs in the eight inning of the World Series. Who will be the pitchers counted on for depth this season?

Jake Peavy, who cut his finger, looks to get back on the mound soon.

Jake Peavy, who cut his finger, looks to get back on the mound soon.

With Jake Peavy having a cutting his index finger due to a fish hook accident, depth might come into play right away this season. With Ryan Dempster announcing he would not play this season the first week of spring training the Sox turned to Chris Capuano who made his first spring start Wednesday against the Cardinals. The extent to Peavy’s injury is relatively unknown but he did throw off flat ground and will look to throw off a mound soon. Peavy has the bulldog attitude that he won’t be out for long but still this seems to be a concern if he doesn’t get in spring games soon. Peavy could be positioned as the fifth starter meaning he wouldn’t start until April 5th.

It seems Capuano would get the first look if a starter goes down this year as he is the most experienced and the young pitchers could use a little more seasoning in the minors. Capuano is experienced in the National League but could benefit from Fenway Park. Webster gave up 3 runs in his first spring start against the Twins only pitching 1 2/3 innings but did shut down the Marlins yesterday with 3 shutout innings. Webster, only 24 was acquired in the Dodgers trade of 2012, could soon be passed in the line with more starters expected to be getting time in AAA Pawtucket this season. Rubby De La Rosa also acquired in that trade did not pitch a great deal last season recovering from Tommy John surgery might be better fit in a relief role. He also did not fare well in his first spring outing giving up 4 runs to the Rays Tuesday.

My pick after Capuano if a starter goes down would be Brandon Workman. Workman was relatively unknown last season until he was placed on the postseason roster and took the hearts of Red Sox fans getting key outs down the stretch. Workman did not give up an earned run in seven postseason appearances and that was huge for a gutted Sox bullpen from the start of the season. Workman will not be overlooked this season, as John Farrell knows what he has in Workman. Keep an eye on Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes, who will likely start the season in Pawtucket. Ranaudo struck out four Twins in two innings of work in his first spring appearance and was added to the 40-man roster this off-season. Barnes has been shut down for a few days with should fatigue and the Sox are not taking any chances on the fireballer from UConn.

Henry Owens could turn out to be the best Red Sox pitching prospect.

Henry Owens could turn out to be the best Red Sox pitching prospect.

Drake Britton looked good in stretches for the Sox last season and was a lefty out of the pen with the loss of Andrew Miller. With Franklin Morales and Matt Thornton ahead of him on the depth chart he was left off the postseason roster and might fit better as a full time reliever for the Sox. Another lefty to keep an eye on will be Henry Owens who finished the season in AA Portland and could be in AAA by June. Owens a 6’6 lefty is the Sox 4th rated prospect according to MLB.com and might pass all the names I said that is how good he could be.

With double headers and unexpected injuries that occur it is safe to say that Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and Jake Peavy all won’t make 30 starts for the Sox this season. Buchholz took a while to come back last season from a freak injury. Doubront broke down towards the end of the season in his first season with a full workload. Lester and Lackey were horses down the stretch and into the postseason and will be not pushed too hard early on in the season. Teams with depth in the rotation are usually the ones in October and expect the Red Sox to have even better depth this season.

Red Sox Report: Spring Training Week One Headlines

As the full squad workouts are underway at Fenway South, week one of spring training has not produced any huge headlines. As I stated last week Ryan Dempster would likely be moved to the bullpen, but Ryan Dempster decided he could not play in 2014. He announced such a decision last Sunday and it is believed the team knew two weeks ago. Dempster will be placed on the restricted list and will not be paid his $13 million salary for this season. Neck issues and wanting to spend time with his family are the reasons for him not playing this season.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

When I think of Dempster, I think of him plunking Alex Rodriguez. His plunking of Alex Rodriguez means so much more now that he is leaving money on the table. Easily Dempster could have taken a stint on the disabled list until he deemed himself good enough to go and collected his salary. He said he has too much respect for the game and his teammates. That is refreshing to here in today’s world where athletes seem to chase the money. Alex Rodriguez will of course not play in 2014 because of suspension.

With Dempster salary off the books, will the Red Sox make any moves? Well one was made yesterday in bringing in left handed pitcher Chris Capuano on a one year deal. Capuano, who pitched for the Dodgers last year, will make $2.25 million (with incentives capable of brining that to $5 million) and fill the role we thought Dempster was going to fill this year. Spot starter in the bullpen, as well as a long reliever capable of going multiple innings. You can never have enough pitching, even with the young pitchers the Red Sox have, Capuano is a good pickup as he is a veteran. A career National League pitcher, Capuano will have to make adjustments against American League lineups, but John Farrell will use him where he can be most successful.

Capuano’s salary is nothing big, could the Red Sox afford to bring back Stephen Drew? According to Ben Cherington, that is not on the radar right now. He is comfortable with the infielders they have which I love hearing as Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks deserve their chance and not the thought of Stephen Drew coming in, possibly hampering their performance. Don’t get me wrong, Drew is a nice player who helped the Red Sox win a World Series last season, but it is time for the kids to play and hope they collect a draft pick if Drew signs with another team before the June draft. Of course super agent Scott Boras is still holding out for a good deal for Drew but the longer he waits the less likely Drew will get what they expect his proper value.

David Ortiz came to camp on Tuesday will some less than thrilling words about hit haters. All Ortiz wants is another year tacked onto his deal. Ortiz showed up with his agent which may dictate that the team may work something out in the near future. John Henry has said he wants Ortiz to retire in a Red Sox uniform and that will likely happen. Ortiz is in the second year of a two year deal signed last offseason, which many argued why they gave him a two year deal after a 2012 season where he tore his Achilles and was not all that happy with the team. 2013 silenced his critics  but apparently not enough and now he is seeking another contract. All these haters Ortiz describes I don’t know exactly who they are because every media member seems to defend him, but maybe they will help his performance if he is angry. Nomar Garciaparra towards the end of his Red Sox tenure had haters and that lead to him leaving town, let’s hope that is not the case for Ortiz.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

Spring Training games begin next Thursday already with the annual college matchups between Northeastern and Boston College. Friday the Sox take on Ft. Myers neighbors the Minnesota Twins. The Sox are likely to start some of the prospects in those games and get the expected rotation in on the second turn through the rotation, a way of giving them extra rest after a short offseason. Hard to believe spring games are already upon us and with plenty of coverage, Red Sox fans will get to know the players who might have an unexpected impact on this upcoming season.

Red Sox Report: Questions Going Into Spring Training

With many players already at Fenway South prior to Pitchers and Catchers reporting tomorrow, question marks have been raised for the Red Sox going into the season. Coming off a World Series victory teams in the division are ready to play and unseat the champs. Here are five questions and how I see them working out.

Will Koji Uehara struggle after the intense and career high workload of last season?

Can Koji Uehara repeat his 2013 campaign? Unfair to expect

Can Koji Uehara repeat his 2013 campaign? Unfair to expect

There will certainly be a drop off but how much of one? Great closers blow saves, just like great hitters strike out to end games. Expect the Red Sox to lighten Koji’s workload early on in the season. No need for four or five out saves with the experienced Edward Mujica in the mix as well as Andrew Miller back in the fold. Those two will certainly bring stability to the back end where it seemed Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa got tired in the World Series after a great display in the ALDS against Tampa Bay and ALCS against Detriot. If Koji is 30 out of 35 in save opportunities that is fair to expect in my opinion.

How good will Xander Bogaerts be?

Bogaerts showed what he was capable of in the postseason when he took Will Middlebrooks job from him. Bogaerts has great plate discipline and can take the ball up the middle, no easy feat for just a 21 year old. Bill James projects a 19 home run year with a .357 OBP from Bogaets, obviously he thinks highly of him. Bogaerts went into camp wondering what position he was going to work at and right now it seems just shortstop unless Stephen Drew brings down his price. I would like to see Bogaerts to stay at shortstop and bring stability to a position that has been a revolving door for the last ten years. Bogaerts has Rookie of the Year capability and don’t be surprised if he wins it.

Will an Ortiz contract extension talk become a distraction?

Ortiz has never been one to be quiet about his contact. Some could argue he has been a bargain for the Red Sox as he really is the only premium designated hitter left in the game. Ortiz has never made more than $15 million in a season while seeing John Lackey make more than that in his four years with the Sox. The Red Sox see no incentive in giving Ortiz the extension now because what if he blows out his Achilles again, to be left on the shelf for a while? My bet it will not cause a distraction unless Ortiz makes it one. John Farrell and Ben Cherington handled last year very well but that was when winning was going on. If the team goes through struggles and Ortiz is complaining that is when it becomes a distraction.

Did the Yankees do enough to catch up with the Red Sox?

The last time the Red Sox won a World Series the Yankees went out and got Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett and won a World Series themselves. This winter the Yankees definitely loaded up with the help of Alex Rodriguez’s season long suspension taking his expensive salary off the books. The Yankees added outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, catcher Brian McCann, and Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Those moves look great on paper but they still have their question marks. Can David Robertson close? Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson starting at second and third, really? And will Derek Jeter be an effective player in his last year? No question the Yankees will be in the mix for a playoff spot when it comes down to it but I like the Red Sox chances a bit more.

Will a starting pitcher be dealt?

The Sox would be wise to hold onto their surplus of starters.

The Sox would be wise to hold onto their surplus of starters.

Free agency for pitchers has not been all that kind this off-season. Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, two of the top names in this winter’s free agent class are still looking for homes with pitchers and catchers reporting for many teams tomorrow. They both are linked to draft pick compensation which has hindered their value on the open market as teams don’t want to surrender a pick as well as pay a premium price. The Red Sox have been waiting for those two to drop off the free agent market so teams will come calling about their surplus of starters. With Lester, Buchholz, and Doubront seemingly off the table, teams could have John Lackey, Jake Peavy, or Ryan Dempster for a fair price. Peavy and Dempster both have been effective in the National League so a NL team coming calling wouldn’t be a surprise. Lackey is affordable, as next year he is only making the veterans minimum so he might be able to bring back more in return but why trade an affordable asset? With depth in the minors with Brandon Workman and Allen Webster pretty much ready for the majors the depth is further than just the major league roster. My bet is that all these pitchers are with the team until May with Dempster moving to the bullpen. If no injuries happen to the Sox rotation other teams with certainly have their share of some and will come calling.

Spring Training is a great time of year, the north is reminded that spring is near and baseball is coming. The Red Sox won the World Series last year and with expectations raised the team will be ready to battle for another AL East crown with the hopes of being the first team to repeat since the 1999/2000 Yankees. The Sox had a relatively quiet off-season but with many younger players ready to contribute Ben Cherington decided to keep onto these assets and possibly use them should a need arise during the season. Hard to argue with that decision.

BST&N’s Top 5 Red Sox Moments Of 2013

2013 was a year to remember for Red Sox fans. The team faced adversity right from the start after an emotional month of April after the unfortunate happening of the Boston Marathon bombings. Two experienced closers went down in the Sox bullpen within the first three months and the team turned to high-five king Koji Uehara and there was no looking back. This 2013 team restored the faith in Red Sox Nation. Here are my top five moments of the 2013 season for the Boston Red Sox.

5. July 21st Napoli walks off against the Yankees

In a season full of walk-off hits here Mike Napoli celebrates his eleventh inning home run.

In a season full of walk-off hits here Mike Napoli celebrates his eleventh inning home run.

In a game that was on Sunday Night Baseball, which Adrian Gonzalez might not have liked, this Red Sox, Yankees game fit the bill of drama. The starters for each team were knocked out early, Sabathia for the Yankees and Dempster for the Sox. The bullpens for both teams were huge tossing up zeroes until the bottom of the eleventh, when Mike Napoli hit a walk off home run off the Yankees Adam Warren.  The shot to center field was Napoli’s second of the game and was the Sox 60th win of the season on only July 21st. The walk-off was also the ninth of the season for the Sox in what was a wild season of walk-offs. Drake Britton and Pedro Beato pitched the last two innings of the game and would end up supplying the Sox with some solid innings down the stretch while shuffling back and forth between Pawtucket.

4. September 20th Sox Clinch the American League East

Jonny Gomes brought out the army helmet for the first of many occasions after the Sox clinched the AL East.

Jonny Gomes brought out the army helmet for the first of many occasions after the Sox clinched the AL East.

Just five months after the first home game after the marathon the Red Sox did something most “experts” did not expect them to even contend for in 2013. The Red Sox clinched the division after their 94th win against the Blue Jays on this Friday night in late September. The hats and t-shirts came out for the first time since 2008 for the Sox and they read “We Own The East.”  Expectations were changed at the All-Star break when the Sox were in contention and they were certainly changed when they clinched the division. Greener pastures were in the future for the Sox. It seemed appropriate that on the night the Sox clinched the division that it was Jon Lester who got the win while turning to Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara to slam the door on the win.

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Red Sox Report: Checking In on the AL East Off-season Moves

While this offseason for the Red Sox has been relatively quiet the American League East has gone through some dramatic changes.  The Red Sox have six, maybe seven capable starting pitchers if you include Brandon Workman and seem to be in no rush to move one. I see where they are coming from as names like Matt Garza and Ervin Santana are still available so the teams losing out on those two will need arms and might be willing to pay a little more. The return the Tigers got for Doug Fister seems to be some the Red Sox would want for either Peavy or Dempster and expect more for Lackey or Doubront, if they go that route.

Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano left the Yankees this offseason for the Mets and Mariners respectively.

Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano left the Yankees this offseason for the Mets and Mariners respectively.

The free agency season has been kind to the wallets of new Yankees players as they have added a slew of players to a team that really suffered with depth issues last season. Gone are Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson which as a Red Sox fan will be good because they always mashed Red Sox pitching. Although it was always good to see great players like Cano and Granderson on the field. The Yankees brought in Brian McCann to be their catcher as last offseason they let Russell Martin go and the catching position for the Yankees struggled last year.  Jacoby Ellsbury got big money from the Yankees and will have a lot of expectations in New York after that contract signing. Some forget that Carlos Beltran also signed with the Yankees so their outfield will have good defense with Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran.

The Alex Rodriguez hearing is not scheduled to resume until January so the Yankees might be done spending big money because if his suspension is lifted they will be close to the luxury tax. Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson were brought in to help with infield depth because without Rodriguez, Johnson could play a lot of third base. Mariano Rivera won’t be walking through that bullpen door in the ninth any longer so right now it seems like David Robertson will be closing. Matt Thornton after a short stint with the Red Sox also turned in his socks for pinstripes.

The Rays started early with their usual under the radar moves and not spending big on free agents. They acquired Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell in a trade to fortify the catching position as well as the back end of the bullpen as Fernando Rodney will probably be pitching elsewhere next season. The Rays retained James Loney on a three year deal. He provided the Rays with stellar defense at first base as well as hit for a great average in his first season in Tampa. It is expected that the Rays are looking to trade David Price as his value is at an all time high with two years of control left which the Rays have traded the likes of Shields and Garza in the same position. Price is certainly going to want an expensive contract when he hits free agency so the Rays would be smart to move him now if they can get an impact player like Wil Myers in return like they did last year.

The Orioles I feel have regressed this offseason. Nate McLouth their regular left fielder, left for Washington and the Orioles might have to play the often injured Nolan Reimold in left field. The O’s also traded their All Star closer to Oakland for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later. Weeks could be the everyday second baseman while Grant Balfour switches jobs with Johnson as he came over from Oakland via free agency. Manny Machado will be coming back from a leg injury and might not be 100% when the season starts. Also starting pitching has always been a problem for the Orioles and they were unable to keep Scott Feldman, who they acquired last year from the Cubs.

The Blue Jays who grabbed all the headlines last offseason with huge trades with the Mets and Marlins have stayed quiet this offseason. Dioner Navarro came over from the Cubs and will be their everyday catcher. R.A. Dickey will most likely have his personal catcher Josh Thole behind the plate to try and replicate the success he had while he was with the Mets, after a down year during his first year in Toronto. If Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion can stay healthy and be a 3-4 combo Toronto was hoping for Toronto may leave the AL East basement next season.

The Red Sox acquired infield Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today.

The Red Sox acquired infield Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today.

There is no question the American League East has talent top to bottom. The Red Sox won a World Series last year while the Rays won the Wild Card. Baltimore and New York both finished with 85 wins and Toronto had 74 wins. This was one of only two divisions without a 90 loss team. The Yankees will certainly be better offensively but they need starting pitching and Robertson to figure out the closer role. The Rays will be their usual selves and Maddon will manage to win every game and they will likely be there in the end. I feel Baltimore has taken a step back and their window may be closing if they cannot extend Matt Wieters or Chris Davis. Toronto has to improve with all that talent and they came on late last year. The Sox lost Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia and likely Drew but will have others healthy and ready to take on a bigger role with the team. Ben Cherington just added a bench piece in infielder Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today for Franklin Morales. Looks for more small moves like this from the Red Sox as spring training is under two months away.

Red Sox Report: Sox Quiet At Winter Meetings

With the transaction wire more than active last week some expected to annual MLB Winter Meetings to be quiet but some moves went down. The Mariners added Corey Hart and Logan Morrison to hit behind new second baseman Robinson Cano. The Angels, Diamondbacks, and White Sox pulled off a three team trade, which saw Mark Trumbo go to Arizona, Tyler Scaggs and Hector Santiago to the Angles, and Adam Eaton to the Windy City. The Rockie got Brett Anderson from the A’s for a pair of minor league pitchers and Bartolo Colon and the Mets came to an agreement on a two year deal.

Things remained relatively quiet for the Red Sox. Last week with the addition of A.J. Pierzynski the catching situation was taken care of. Edward Mujica addition to the bullpen all but takes away the chance of Andrew Bailey resigning with the Red Sox and along with the early offseason addition of Burke Badenhop, the Red Sox bullpen appears to be set. Matt Thornton is most likely gone after he provided the Red Sox with below average stuff after his acquisition in July and was left off the postseason roster.

Mike Napoli tweeted out this picture of himself, announcing his resigning with the Red Sox on Twitter.

Mike Napoli resigned with the Red Sox last Friday for two years and $16MM per year. This is a raise for Napoli after reaching all his bonuses last season to make $13 million. Napoli again, will be the right handed power bat to protect David Ortiz the Red Sox need. As it stands now Shane Victorino will most likely lead off followed by either Jonny Gomes or Daniel Nava in left field.

The Red Sox seem to be confident in Jackie Bradley in center field and I could not be more happier. Not bringing in a premier outfield bat to replace Ellsbury will have the outfielder believing the team believes in him and he will perform. Of course they will need a more than able back up which I feel is still important. The Sox could always slide of Victorino and play Nava in right with Carp in left. Mike Carp has generated some interest in the trade market and who could blame a team for not wanting him? He had some big hits for the Red Sox in a small sample size and I hope he is back next near unless they can generate a big return for him.

The Stephen Drew market has not surfaced yet as the Red Sox have given no formal offer to super agent Scott Boras. The Mets are rumored to be interested in a shortstop but certainly not for Drew’s asking price. There is no question Xander Bogaerts will be an everyday player next year whether that is at third or shortstop and Drew is really that factor that changes everything. I don’t think this team needs Stephen Drew. His defense was stellar but he is not worth the money he is seeking. Will Middlebrooks had a horrible sophomore season and he knows it. I feel he can bounce back his third year and be something like his rookie year, if he puts in the work. Brock Holt is still on the roster and could be a backup at both positions. The  Sox might want to get a more qualified backup at those infield spots as well.

Stephen Drew is still a free agent and Scott Boras expects there to be a market for him.

Stephen Drew is still a free agent and Scott Boras expects there to be a market for him.

The Red Sox might go through the winter with the pitching depth they have and see how the roster turns out in spring training. Injuries do happen in the spring and teams might seek an experienced starter like the Red Sox have in Peavy, Dempster or Lackey. I think holding onto the pitching depth is a smart plan right now, as you can never have enough pitching and there is no need to make a trade just because you have too many of one position. Remember the Bronson Arroyo trade? Things have been quiet for the Sox in the past week but rumors will continue to swirl throughout the offseason.

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