Gammons and Edes on the Red Sox' plans

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There aren’t many people who know the Red Sox front office better than Peter Gammons and Gordon Edes do, and this morning they provide their views as to what that front office is going to do this offseason. Their thinking:

  • They both think that Jason Bay will stay in Boston, mostly because the Mets don’t have the cash to beat a Boston offer and none of the other potential suitors — the Giants, Mariners, Angels or maybe the Cardinals — don’t really work for a number of reasons. I agree. Bay has a pretty comfortable job in Boston. Anywhere else he goes his defense will be a bigger issue than it is in Fenway. I think he stays.
  • Despite declining Alex Gonzalez’s option, he’ll stay around too, yielding to Jed Lowrie if Lowrie proves that he can stay healthy, and generally providing some insurance for a position that always seems to be unsure in Boston.  My view: not sure there are any better options out there. Omar Vizquel maybe? Either way, cover it with a glove and wait for Jose Iglesias to mature.
  • Forget the Adrian Gonzalez speculation. Jed Hoyer knows who the best Sox prospects are. The Sox don’t want to trade their best prospects. They just don’t match up. It’s way more likely that the Sox will convince the Blue Jays that their second tier prospects are really top shelf guys and pry away Roy Halladay.  My view: there’s too much risk with a Sox-Padres trade right now. Whoever loses the trade is going to be accused by talk radio and the local papers of giving a gift to their buddy, and no one likes that kind of garbage.
  • The Sox are going into 2010 banking on a rebound by David Ortiz, a healthy Mike Lowell, and having Victor Martinez around all season. My view: they are about 33% likely to realize an overall offensive improvement from that strategy.  Could be a tough year on offense for Boston.
  • They’re likely to once again explore the high-risk, high-reward scrap heap for some pitching depth, with Gammons and Edes both mentioning Ben Sheets and Rich Harden.  Actually, Edes calls this “low-risk, high reward.” That makes no sense to me. Maybe it’s “low money,” but anytime you commit a roster spot to a guy and exclude other possibilities, you create at least some risk.  If you use that roster spot on guys with injury histories like Sheets and Harden, you’re creating high risk.  One would think that the Smotlz-Penny experience of last season would have hipped Edes to this.

Right now the odds favor a stand-pat kind of offseason for Boston. Which, given the relative dearth of high-quality free agents and trade bait, is probably the most prudent move.  There’s no shame in playing for the Wild Card Red Sox fans.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.