Some have reported that Bobby Valentine has lost the Red Sox clubhouse. He hasn’t lost Carl Crawford, however.
In an interview with WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Carwford first suggests that his struggles last year had something to do with Terry Francona:
“I didn’t feel like I had the manager’s confidence. I don’t know about the organization, but I don’t try and look past the manager so I feel like I didn’t have the manager’s confidence therefore I started to think something was wrong with me, and it just snowballed after that. It had a trickle-down effect, and it just got worse and worse as the days went by.”
His beef is that Francona dropped him in the lineup after only two games last year. But, despite some stuff in the offseason in which Crawford was reported to not have returned Valentine’s calls, he’s just fine with Bobby V now:
I know a lot of people might have problems with him, but for me I just haven’t had those problems. It’s fine with me. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but as of right now me and Bobby get along just fine … I have to say that the support system has been really good for me, Bobby, and the training staff has been wonderful … The communication with me and Bobby, coming into the season that’s what I was worried about. It’s been the opposite. You can’t do anything but have high praise for what has been going on.”
If form holds, there will be a story in the Globe next week about how everyone hates Crawford now because he likes Bobby. Because, based on the coverage we read anyway, the Red Sox are basically a high school home room placed in the major leagues.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.