Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is Hanley Ramirez Headed Back To Red Sox?

He's been rumored as a legitimate alternative to Pablo Sandoval. However, until recently, Hanley Ramirez re-uniting with the Red Sox has seemed like a long-shot. This morning, two separate reports—albeit from non-traditional sources—state that Raimrez is on his way to Boston. It's important to state that no independent confirmation is available on these reports, but it may be that Ben Cherington is tiring of being used as a pawn by The Panda to fetch higher bids from the likes of San Diego.

Poll Switch: Majority Now Oppose Panda Push

In a stunning reversal of opinion, a solid majority of FenwayNation readers (57%) now oppose going beyond five years and $100 million to land The Kung Fu Panda. Reportedly, Boston has offered five years and $95 million to Pablo Sandoval—but they have been outbid by the San Diego Padres. Current sentiment is against the Red Sox furthering the bidding beyond the century mark. In our first reading, almost six in ten supported the idea of pushing the limits for Sandoval—now, not so much. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Padres Top Bid On Panda; But He's Leaning Sox

According to a report by The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea, the San Diego Padres are the top bidders for the services of free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval—higher than the offers made by the Giants and Red Sox. However, the word is that The Panda is leaning toward the Red Sox—who reportedly offered five years and $95 million. Expect the Sandoval camp to make a decision by Thanksgiving—or sooner. Stay tuned!

Red Sox Offer Panda 5 Yrs., $95M

Multiple reports suggest that the Red Sox offered Pablo Sandoval a five-year, $95 million contract on Friday. This exceeds the Giants offer of five years and $90 million. Only the Padres remain as an additional suitor—and it's highly unlikely they will surpass Boston's offer. Sandoval's agent did, however, meet with San Diego General Manager A.J. Preller on Friday in Miami. While there is no official confirmation as yet from Yawkey Way, it looks like PandaTime at Fenway could be at hand!

POLL: Opinion Now Split On Panda Contract

FenwayNation readers are now about evenly split on whether the Red Sox should go beyond five years and $100 million on a Panda contract. As the chart shows, 51% support going the extra mile, while almost as many (49%) take the opposite view. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Friday, November 21, 2014

REPORT: Lester Meeting With Two More Teams

According to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, free agent lefty Jon Lester will meet with at least two more teams next week about a new contract. So far, Lester has reportedly met with the Red Sox, Braves and Cubs. It's believed that at least one of the two additional teams is the St. Louis Cardinals—and the 'wild card' fifth team could well be The Evil Empire.

Miller Likely To Sign Four-Year Deal Somewhere

(Getty Images)
According to FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi, former Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller has fielded "multiple" three-year contract offers and thus is likely to land a four-year deal from someone. The tall, free-agent lefty could break the all-time record contract for relievers—when calculated as the average annual value (AAV) of the likely deal. It's unclear whether the Red Sox are one of the teams in on the bidding—but it seems unlikely that Ben Cherington would go for a four-year pact.

POLL: Six In Ten Want To Go Extra For Panda

The very early results to our latest FenwayNation Poll indicate that six in ten readers would go beyond five years and $100 million to land The Kung Fu Panda. As the chart shows, four in ten take the opposite view—that more than five years and $100 million is too much to pay (even for an endangered species). You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Swihart Is Baseball America's Top Defensive C

Swihart—(FenwayNation Photo)
Blake Swihart—ranked as the #1 prospect in the Red Sox organization—has been named as Baseball America's Defensive Catcher Of The Year. The authoritative website stated that Swihart is just about ready to make the jump to the major leagues. The 22-year old switch-hitting backstop hit .293 between AA and AAA in 2014—clouting 13 HRs. He may join Christian Vazquez on the 2015 big club—comprising one of the youngest Boston catching tandems ever. Congratulations, Blake!

Red Sox Promote Raquel Ferreira To VP Spot

Raquel Ferreira (via TWITTER)
Kudos to the New Ownership Group (NOG) for pro-actively moving a female executive into the top ranks of the organization. Raquel Ferreira has been named as Vice President of Baseball Administration—becoming just the third woman in MLB to reach the VP level. Ms. Ferreira has most recently been Senior Director of Minor League Operations—but has been with the Red Sox since 1999. As such, she has survived two ownership groups and even a few GMs. That alone should qualify her for higher office. Congratulations to Ms. Ferreira!

FN POLL: Panda-Monium On Yawkey Way?

Panda-Monium On Yawkey Way?

Should Sox go beyond 5 years and $100M For Panda?

  Current Results

Panda's Agent: Treated "First Class" In Boston

Panda At Logan (WHDH-TV)
Not that it necessarily means anything, but Pablo Sandoval's agent was impressed with the royal treatment given to The Panda during his Hub visit. Said Gustavo Vasquez, "The attentiveness they've had for us in Boston has been first class". That's all well and good, but the Giants still think they have the inside track on Sandoval—plus the Blue Jays and Padres are also in the mix. As the off-season drones on, it appears that the Sox might be being "played" by a number of free agents—and risk winding up with coal in their Christmas stocking (sorry, I meant their "Winter Festival Footgear").

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Red Sox Add Four To Forty-Man Roster

The Red Sox announced today that they've added four players to their 40-man roster—which is now full. The four are: Sean Coyle (2B), Eduardo Rodriguez (P), Travis Shaw (1B) and Blake Swihart (C). Today was the deadline for such assignments to protect players from the December Rule 5 Draft. If Boston makes any free-agent acquisitions, they will have to make corresponding deletions from the 40-man roster.

REPORT: Many MLB Execs See Lester To Cubs

ESPN.com's Buster Olney is reporting that multiple MLB executives are now of the view that Jon Lester will be signed by the Chicago Cubs. This is not surprising since the Red Sox floated a second low-ball offer to Lester this week—well below what most consider to be the lefty's true market value. Cubs President Theo Epstein is no doubt eager to stick it to his old nemesis Larry Lucchino by swooping in on Lester. Many, of course, have felt—for some time now—that Wrigley would be Lester's final destination.

Is Yoan Moncanda Another Panda Fall-Back?

If the Red Sox fail to sign free-agent 3B Pablo Sandoval, there are a number of fall-back options they can pursue. They could take another chance on Will Middlebrooks (highly unlikely). They could move Xander Bogaerts back to third and start Deven Marerro at SS (somewhat unlikely). They could sign Hanley Ramirez or Chase Headley (kind of unlikely). Finally, they could play newly-acquired Juan Francisco at third (depressingly likely). Then, there are some longer-term options—one of which is signing 19-year old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncanda. Boston has been identified by Baseball America as one of eight teams in a good position to snatch up the defector from Fidel Castro's Prison Island. More recently, it's been reported by WEEI.com's Alex Speier that the Red Sox Director of International Scouting attended a workout by Moncanda in Guatemala. His assessment was as follows, "He's in tremendous shape. We'll do our due diligence." Especially if they flub the PandaQuest.

Nomar And Russell Martin Did Tequila Shots?

As we have said many times over the years, almost any story in baseball has some Red Sox connection. So it is with Toronto's recent free-agent signing of catcher Russell Martin. The Canadian native recounted a story of his first call-up with the Dodgers back in 2006—where one of his new teammates was none other than Nomar Garciaparra. The 'Big Blue Machine' was in the midst of a five-game losing streak, and Nomar thought he knew a way out of it. A friend had given him a bottle of tequila, so Garicaparra had the team do "shots" to shake off their losing ways. Does this ring any 2004 bells, anyone? Apparently, Jack Daniels sour mash is more effective than agave spirit.

Oops! Lester's Newton House Sells For $1.85M

Just in case you weren't depressed enough over the news about Boston's second low-ball offer to Jon Lester, more disturbing news has arisen. According to The Los Angeles Times, Lester sold his Newton home for $1.85 million yesterday. The Colonial—which is situated on the Charles River—is a 3,300 square foot manse that has its own wine cellar. The Lesters just recently bought a 4,500 square foot home in the Atlanta area. Not good news.

Sox Minor Leaguer Arrested For Home Invasion

Here's one you don't see every day. Red Sox minor leaguer Cody Kukuk was arrested in California for an alleged home invasion in his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas. Kukuk, a 21-year old LHP has previously been arrested for driving under the influence. Reportedly, the robbers took an Xbox 360, cell phones, cash and a safe. They also allegedly battered the residents of the apartment and threatened them at gunpoint. Kukuk is rated as the 21st best prospect in the Boston organization, and went 7-7 in 25 starts this year in "A" ball. Stay tuned for some response from the Red Sox. Hey, left-handed pitching isn't that rare.

Will Jon Lester Accept 'LowBall II' From Sox?

Multiple media reports indicate that the Red Sox have offered Jon Lester six years and between $110 and $120 million. That works out to between $18.3 million and $20 million per year for the lefty ace. Most observers of the free agent market (including Lester's ex-teammate Curt Schilling) have pegged Lester's worth at around $140-$150 million. Moreover, there are new reports that The Evil Ones are poised to offer Lester eight years and $200 million—$25 million a year, with a 4-year opt-out. So, the big question is will Lester accept John Henry's "LowBall II' offer? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sox Claim 3B/1B Juan Francisco Off Waivers

(USAToday Sports)
Now this is an interesting move. The Red Sox claimed left-handed-hitting 3B/1B Juan Francisco off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. This may be nothing more than 'Panda Fail Insurance' and/or a boost to the 2015 bench. Francisco strikes-out a lot (116 times in 108 games in 2014), and is not that great defensively—but he does have some pop (16 HRs in 2014). The 27-year old is arbitration-eligible ($2.2 million for 2015), so Boston could non-tender him before the December deadline (if they don't sign The Panda). All in all, a good low-risk move by Ben Cherington.

REPORT: PandaQuest—Sox (90%), Jays (10%)

A new report out of San Francisco claims that there's a 90% chance that Pablo Sandoval signs with the Red Sox. The report—from KPIX-TV's Dennis O'Donnell—states that the Giants were never The Panda's first choice and that they are effectively out of the running for the free-agent third baseman. The Blue Jays (where did they come from?) apparently still have a shot at Sandoval—although the confiscatory tax situation north of the border is a serious drawback for Toronto. Finally, the word is that a decision could come very soon.

REPORT: Red Sox Preparing Offer For Panda

According to CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam, the Red Sox are actively putting together a contract offer for free-agent 3B Pablo Sandoval. The Panda has been in Boston for the last couple of days—being wined and dined by Sox brass and David Ortiz. The scuttlebutt is that Sandoval is "expecting" a deal better than the 5 years and $90 million the Giants gave to Hunter Pence. It's unclear how the Red Sox offer will be structured—either in terms of length or amount. However, it is clear that Boston is serious about prying The Panda away from San Francisco. We would advise that you start checking eBay SF for used panda heads.