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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Red Sox Newsbeat

Friday, October 02, 2015

red sox - Rich Hill’s message: ‘I can pitch for anybody, against anybody, anytime, anywhere’ - WEEI | Rob Bradford

How much money can he really expect to get? $4-$5 million on a one-year deal?

“I would say so,” said Hill when asked if this was the best he’s ever felt. “With my body being healthy. The way the ball is coming out of my hand. The way I’ve been able to command the baseball. Those are all very big positive things. And being left-handed, I think that’s a huge plus that can be added to any rotation in baseball. You look at the four games and the overall numbers, if you want to just look at numbers, those can’t be overlooked. Just continuing to make pitches and showing this is a real thing.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 02, 2015 at 10:09 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, red sox, rich hill

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

red sox - What to make of Rick Porcello and his future with Red Sox - WEEI | Rob Bradford

If Porcello hadn’t changed his pitching style, his overall numbers wouldn’t be so bad. Whose idea was it?

The Red Sox signed Porcello based off the potential he showed in 2014, a season which saw him go 15-13 with a 3.70 ERA over 204 2/3 innings. The idea was that at his age, it would only get better. It didn’t.

But if his run since coming off the 15-day disabled list is any indication—with Porcello now going 4-3 with a 3.22 ERA and 53.5 percent ground ball rate (compared to 43.8 percent in the previous 20 starts)—there have indeed been lessons learned.

“I think each year I’ve learned something about myself,” Porcello said. “Last year I had a good year and I learned stuff, and then this year for a good portion it was a pretty tough year but I still learned a lot. It was tough to go through and extremely frustrating at times, but in order to be productive going forward I have to take some things out of those struggles to find some positives whether it’s a physical thing on the field or just a mental thing I can grab on to.

“As crappy as it was to go through the struggles I went through, I wouldn’t change it for anything. You learn from that. That’s what molds me into the player and the individual I am. I would have loved to go out there and be lights out the entire year, but it didn’t work out that way. I’m not going to sit here and ##### and moan about it. I’m going to figure some stuff out, go out and do my job.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 30, 2015 at 07:06 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, rick porcello

Monday, September 28, 2015

red sox - Don Orsillo keeps taking high road, and NESN keeps insulting him - WEEI | John Tomase

Between all the negative leaks when people are headed out of town and the bungling of the broadcast team, it’s not a reach to think there are some real jerks at the top in Boston.

(As an aside, with Larry Lucchino forced into an emeritus position, Werner seems intent on filling the power vacuum. If his handling of Orsillo – a TV matter that’s supposedly his area of expertise – is any indication, how should we feel about him having more of a say in decisions impacting the on-field product?)

Jim Furtado Posted: September 28, 2015 at 06:39 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, red sox

Friday, September 25, 2015

Red Sox Name Frank Wren Senior VP Of Baseball Operations

The Red Sox announced this afternoon that former Braves GM Frank Wren has been hired as the team’s senior vice president of baseball operations. Wren, 57, worked with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski previously in the Marlins and Expos organizations.

It’s getting awfully crowded in the Sox front office…

eddieot Posted: September 25, 2015 at 07:54 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, too many cooks

Mike Hazen appears made for the Red Sox GM job - The Boston Globe

More background on the Red Sox new assistant GM.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2015 at 08:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, mike hazen, red sox

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Front-office veteran Mike Hazen named GM of Red Sox

Someone has to get Dombrowski’s coffee in the morning.

The Boston Red Sox have hired Mike Hazen as general manager, the first big move by Dave Dombrowski since he took over as president of baseball operations in August.

Hazen has spent a decade in several areas of the team’s major league operations, including player acquisitions, player evaluation, contract negotiations, major league scouting and pro scouting.

“Over his 10 years with the Red Sox, Mike has proven to be an invaluable member of the baseball operations department,” Dave Dombrowski, Boston’s president of baseball operations, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have him in this position and I’m excited to have him working with me on every aspect of baseball operations.”

Hazen, 39, spent five years in the Indians organization before coming to Boston, holding titles in Cleveland of assistant director of player development, coordinator of major league advance scouting, and assistant director of pro scouting.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2015 at 05:37 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dave dombrowski, general manager, mike hazen, red sox

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Full Count » Scott Boras won’t rule out extension talks for Xander Bogaerts

Ugh, I didn’t know Boras is Bogaerts agent.

According to Boras, the breakout year shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

“From an evaluation standpoint, two years, three years ago, four years ago, when we first saw Xander play when he was just an entry-level player, we felt he was going to be a superstar,” the agent noted. “He had the ability. Then the question was getting the durability, the strength, and then getting the performance acumen that you can only learn at the major league level.

“This year, what the coaching staff has done, is Xander himself in the offseason, his core strength and leg strength hit him. His feet were under him. He was ready to take steps, particularly defensively and offensively and really being able to understand barrel control better, also understand the footwork that coaches were teaching him. When I saw him come to L.A. to play the Angels, I called Butter [Brian Butterfield] over and I said, ‘Look, you guys have done a remarkable job,’ because now his feet were in the right place. He was there on time. He was getting around baseballs and doing all the things, and his throws were relaxed, because he was in position to make the throws. And he was waiting on the slider. He was not early. His experience. All of the things that it takes to be an adept major leaguer, and so it was really thrilling to see. And remember, he’s 22 years old.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 23, 2015 at 10:03 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, xander bogaerts

Editorial: PawSox fiasco - Opinion - - Providence, RI

This is the oldest ownership ploy in the book. You can’t extort a community without an option, whether the option is truly viable or not.

The new owners — several of whom have Rhode Island connections — have made plain they will not keep the franchise at McCoy Stadium, an outmoded park in a gritty industrial neighborhood of Pawtucket. Are Worcester or Springfield, medium-sized cities in Massachusetts, options? We have our doubts. Greater Providence remains one of AAA baseball’s best markets.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 23, 2015 at 09:34 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, stadium deals, stadiums

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Peter Gammons: Red Sox could use an “Alpha Dog” to fill top of rotation -

There is a long way to go in all this. Dombrowski may try to move some of the money owed Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, which may not be simple propositions. Ownership may want to restrict pitching contracts. They may look at the fact that four of the top pitchers in WAR are Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel, John Lackey (the ask-out fallout from the Lester offer) and Chris Archer; the work put in the last two months in developing and finding pitchers has been tireless and creative.

Alpha dogs cannot be found at a breeder. Not that easy.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 22, 2015 at 10:13 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: david price, free agents, johnny cueto, pitching, red sox, zach greinke

WSJ: Bill James and Billy Beane Discuss Big Data in Baseball

Billy Beane should have never written this article.

WSJ: We’ve seen advances in particular areas of the game in recent years—pitch framing, defensive shifts—that are now better understood. What do you guys see as the aspect of the sport that is most in need of more research, more data and better understanding?

Beane: I’m jumping out of my chair on this one. It’s using analytics—and this sounds sort of non-field-related—but it’s injuries and medical. Even the healthcare industry is doing the same thing – trying to use big data to help solve healthcare. It’s the same in a simpler form for baseball or any sport and injuries. That’s the black swan for anyone involved in a baseball team—our injuries. Trying to predict them, minimize them, limit the downtime.

WSJ: Have you seen any progress to that end or are teams still sort of scratching their heads?

Beane: It’s a challenge because if you’re using a lot of data, there are certain restrictions on how much you can collect data [on players’ medical history], so you’re sort of straddling that line a little bit. But ultimately, I think we will make progress at some point, and the foundation of that will be analytics.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2015 at 06:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, big data, bill james, billy beane, red sox

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Nick Cafardo | Sunday Baseball Notes: Now that he’s gone, Ben Cherington’s vision for Red Sox is panning out - The Boston Globe

Patience and Boston don’t go together. I blame ownership for losing Theo and Cherington. Cherington had a long-term plan for the Red Sox. Unfortunately, one surprise World Series championship wasn’t enough to keep the baseball jackals at bay.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2015 at 11:41 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: ben cherington, red sox

Friday, September 18, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Q&A with Dave Dombrowski

In the GM portion of our links today…Dave Dombrowski.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 02:31 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dave dombrowski, general managers, red sox

Chris Davis would have a powerful effect here - The Boston Globe

No, no, no, no, no. Don’t get me wrong. I like Davis. I won’t like the Red Sox being tied to another big contract.

(And, FYI Nick, despite Ortiz’s production this year, he can’t go on like this forever.)

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 10:38 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: chris davis, red sox

Full Count » Red Sox Minor League Notebook: 2015 end of year power rankings, No.’s 1-5

With the way the team has played recently and the amount of talent in the farm system, I can’t help but feel Cherington did not deserve his fate.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 10:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, red sox

Monday, September 14, 2015

Red Sox? Phillies? Ranking MLB’s 5 GM openings | New York Post

Working for Samson and Loria is a situation covered with warts.

Recently, I was speaking to a well-regarded executive who one day would like to be a general manager about the possibility that the Marlins job might open.

Essentially the discussion boiled down to this: There are just 30 of these jobs, yet would you abstain from, say, even being considered to run the Marlins’ baseball operations — due to the firing, tempestuous, meddling, low-payroll nature of owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson?

The executive acknowledged the problems and said perhaps there were jobs not worth having. But the official also said, “There is no perfect job. If you wait for the perfect one, you will wait forever.

“They all have warts. They also all have positives. You have to figure out how to accentuate the positives and fix or navigate around the warts.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 14, 2015 at 06:56 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, general managers, mariners, phillies, red sox

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nightengale: Without a doubt, David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer

Oh sure, he has played most of his career, 87% of his games as a DH, but then again, Hall of Famer Frank Thomas played 56% of his games as a DH.

The real separator for Ortiz, just in case anyone still has their doubts, is his playoff resume.

He has dominated the postseason, winning three World Series championships for the Red Sox. He hit .295 with a .409 on-base percentage and .553 slugging percentage in 82 postseason games. Oh yeah, and he was the MVP of the 2013 World Series and 2004 ALCS.

If you want to punish him for the anonymous, confidential drug test, which he insists was simply careless buying nutrients, it’s simply wrong. He wasn’t even buying androstenedione, the performance-enhancing drug Piazza and McGwire admitted to taking, which had not yet been banned by baseball.

Stop the nonsense.

I think that voters will probably end up applying a standard based on smoking guns (i.e. Papi’s failed test or Pettitte’s admission of the veracity of Mitchell vs mere conjecture for Bagwell or Piazza.) As to Ortiz’s candidacy, it’s virtually impossible to tell the story of early 21st century baseball without him and that’s as good a reason as any. I’m surprised Edgar Martinez doesn’t come up more in DH discussions.



Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: September 13, 2015 at 10:16 AM | 160 comment(s)
  Beats: 500, big papi, david ortiz, hall of fame, hof, peds, red sox, steroids

Nick Cafardo | Sunday Baseball Notes: For Dave Dombrowski, building a serviceable bullpen should be doable - The Boston Globe

I am very glad Nick Cafardo isn’t in charge in Boston.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 13, 2015 at 08:25 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, red sox

Lauber: How David Ortiz rescued his season en route to 500 HRs | Boston Herald

Early this season, for about the 3rd time, I thought David Ortiz was done. Eventually he will be but not this season.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 13, 2015 at 08:22 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: david ortiz, red sox

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red Sox create new analytics position for ex-MLB pitcher Brian Bannister

As a former pitcher with a knowledge of analytics, Bannister’s role is, in a way, a data-driven coach, but not just for players—Bannister is unlikely to direct the pitchers in the way that pitching coach Carl Willis does, but like anyone else in the front office, his job will be to provide the team with the best information he can, whether he gets it from scouting or PITCHf/x, and then distribute it to other key figures in the organization. Teams blend all of that information together the best they can in order to put a superior product on the field, and creating this new position helps show how much the Red Sox want to do what they can to improve their pro scouting.

Gordon Edes at ESPN has an informative quote from Dave Dombrowski on the new gig for Bannister that should give you an idea of what this is all about:

“We sat down and he explained to me what he was all about,’’ Dombrowski said Tuesday. “We’ve created, I think, a unique position. It’s a position that’s going to talk about developing players through an analytic approach—and also a pitching philosophy. He’ll work very closely with [farm director] Ben Crockett. He’ll work closely as we approach guys in the draft. He’s already talking to [pitching coach] Carl Willis. We’re going to try to see if we can be a little bit better. He’ll give us an edge’”

This should also help put to bed the idea that new President of Baseball Operations Dombrowski is anti-analytics.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2015 at 09:32 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, brian bannister, red sox

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Fan’s View of No. 498

I am shocked by David Ortiz’s season.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 10, 2015 at 09:09 AM | 144 comment(s)
  Beats: david ortiz, red sox

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Greenville Drive Minor Leaguers Become English Majors

The Drive will close the regular season today with 12 players who were born in Spanish-speaking countries. Seven of them are 21 or younger. To help them break through their language barrier, the Drive collaborated with Furman professor Dr. Bobbi Siefert to offer English integration classes.

“These guys come from Venezuela or Cuba or the Dominican Republic, and the language is the toughest part of their transition,” Drive general manager Eric Jarinko said. “They’re able to talk with their teammates because they understand baseball language, but day-to-day conversations with teammates or anyone else outside the ball park are always a struggle.”

Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 09, 2015 at 01:46 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: latin america, minor leagues, red sox

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Rich Hill may get slot in starting rotation - The Boston Globe

Red Sox notes.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 05, 2015 at 07:51 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Bloop Hits: Warren Zevon and Bill Lee | FOX Sports

A story about the Spaceman.

As fate would have it, “Bill Lee” marked a turning point in both of their careers. Though Zevon continued to write brilliant songs until he died, he never again approached the kind of record sales he achieved with “Excitable Boy” and “Bad Luck Streak,” in part because of his personal demons and his testy relationship with the music business. Lee never pitched another full season in the majors, his career compromised by injuries, the 1981 strike and his hot-tempered decision to quit the Expos in May 1982, after the team’s release of Rodney “Cool Breeze” Scott. But both Zevon and Lee remain cult heroes to this day, revered almost as much for their eccentric and prickly personas as their many accomplishments — and in just 97 seconds, “Bill Lee” beautifully sums up their enduring appeal.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 03, 2015 at 08:20 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: bill lee, history, red sox

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Paging the real Rick Porcello: Two dominant starts alter perceptions - Boston Red Sox Blog - ESPN

A little too late to save Ben Cherington.

“I think that for this year, this was the most consistent stuff I’ve had,” he said. “We moved the ball around well, and Blake [Swihart] called a great game back there. He and I were on the same page the entire night.”

The difference since his return, Porcello said, is in the renewed commitment to his sinker, the pitch upon which his success was predicated in Detroit. It may be confounding to understand how he got away from it so much in the first place, but should be of great comfort to the Red Sox that it’s a key part of his repertoire again.

“Basically forcing myself to throw it,” he said. “After I came off the DL, I was, ‘I’m going to throw my sinker, find it, and if I get beat with that pitch, so what?’ In order for me to have success here in the long run, I’ve got to find that pitch.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 02, 2015 at 10:31 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, rick porcello

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