Arizona Diamondbacks Extend Contract of General Manager and Potential Red Sox Target Mike Hazen

The Arizona Diamondbacks have reportedly reached agreement on a contract extension with general manager Mike Hazen, per the Athletic’s Zach Buchanan. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hazen, 43, was viewed as a viable to candidate to take over for Dave Dombrowski as the head of baseball operations for the Red Sox.

The Abington, Ma. native spent 11 years in the Sox’ organization, serving under Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington, and Dombrowski in various scouting and executive roles before accepting the job of executive vice president and GM of the DBacks back in October of 2016.

In Hazen’s tenure with Arizona, the Diamondbacks secured the top National League Wild Card spot with a 93-69 record before being swept and eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS in 2017, missed the postseason altogether with an 82-80 record in 2018, and are currently four full games off the pace for the second NL Wild Card spot with a 75-72 record to this point in 2019.

When speaking with reporters on Friday, Hazen noted that extension talks between him and the DBacks began before the Red Sox and Dombrowski parted ways, so it would not appear as though the club reached out to their former executive beforehand.

With Hazen off the list of potential names to head Boston’s baseball operations department moving forward, it will be worth monitoring who else the Sox may be interested in.

For me personally, getting Theo Epstein back would be incredible, but that seems to be more of a pipe dream at this point.

Eddie Romero, one of the three assistant GMs tasked with leading the Sox’ baseball operations department in Dombrowski’s place, seems to be the leading option internally.

 

 

 

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Red Sox Officially Part Ways with Dave Dombrowski Less Than a Year After Winning World Series

In case you somehow missed it, the Red Sox officially parted ways with now former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Monday morning after the news was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan late Sunday night.

This comes on the same night that the Red Sox fell to the New York Yankees by a final score of 10-5 to fall back to 76-67 on the season and a full eight games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second American League Wild Card Spot, all but snuffing out any hope of making a late push for October baseball.

Dombrowski, 63, had one year remaining on his contract that ran through the end of the 2020 season, and is less than a full year removed from constructing a Red Sox team that won a franchise-record 108 games en route to a historic World Series title this past October.

The ex-Detroit Tigers general manager was hired by the Sox in August of 2015, inheriting a club from Ben Cherington that was on its way to its third last place finish in the American League East since 2012.

In the three full seasons he was at the helm in Boston, Dombrowski won three consecutive division titles, the first time that had ever been accomplished in Red Sox history, and of course capped it off with the World Series win last year.

Per the Sox’ official release that you can visit above, Dombrowski was informed of this decision by principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and president & CEO Sam Kennedy.

“We were extraordinarily fortunate to be able to bring Dave in to lead baseball operations,” said Henry. “With a World Series Championship and three consecutive American League East titles, he has cemented what was already a Hall of Fame career.”

While the club begins the pursuit to find its next head of baseball operations, assistant general managers Eddie Romero, Brian O’Halloran and Zack Scott will take over those duties for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Red Sox’ Top Pitching Prospect Bryan Mata Hurls Seven Scoreless Innings, Strikes out Nine in Final Start of Season for Double-A Portland

Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata ended his season with Double-A Portland with a bang on Saturday, tossing seven scoreless, one-hit innings while walking five and punching out nine against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats en route to picking up his fourth Eatern League win of the year.

Per the Sea Dogs’ official Twitter account, seven innings pitched and nine strikeouts mark new career-highs for the right-hander, while his final pitch count of 103 (56 strikes) is also a new career high.

Ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect and No. 1 pitching prospect in Boston’s system, Mata earned a promotion to Double-A back in early July after posting a 1.75 ERA and .201 batting average against in his first 10 starts of the year with High-A Salem.

The numbers have not exactly been there for the 20-year-old hurler since then, but Saturday’s outing was certainly a reminder of the potential Mata has.

Including Saturday, Mata finishes his 2019 campaign with Portland with a 5.03 ERA and .271 batting average against over 11 outings and 53 2/3 total innings of work.

The Venezuela native will spend part of his offseason in the Arizona Fall League, joining five other Sox prospects as a member of the Peoria Javelinas, who begin play on September 18th.

Right-handed reliever Durbin Feltman, Boston’s 16th-ranked prospect, closed things out for Mata on Saturday by scattering two hits and fanning four over two scoreless frames of relief to earn his fifth save of 2019.

Red Sox Activate David Price from Injured List, Add Six September Call-Ups in Slew of Roster Moves

Before closing out a three-game weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, the Red Sox announced that left-hander David Price had been activated off the 10-day injured list.

In addition to that, right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, catcher Juan Centeno, and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez were selected to the major league roster from Triple-A Pawtucket, while right-hander Travis Lakins, right-hander Hector Velazquez, and right-hander Ryan Weber were recalled from Triple-A.

To make these moves possible, left-hander Chris Sale and right-hander Steven Wright were transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list, while minor league first baseman Joey Curletta was outrighted off Boston’s 40-man roster. The club made the transactions official earlier Sunday.

Before Sunday, Sox manager Alex Cora said that the plan for September call-ups was to add a right-handed outfielder and a catcher for depth. They now have that in the form of Hernandez and Centeno.

Hernandez, 31, joined Boston on a minor-league deal back in December after spending the past three seasons with the San Francisco Giants.

In 123 games with Pawtucket this year, the Venezuela native slashed .219/.319/.377 with 16 home runs and 53 RBI.

Those numbers improved when Hernandez faced off against left-handed pitchers, as he slashed .305/.408/.533 to go along with seven homers and 16 RBI over 105 at-bats.

Hernandez will start in center field and bat out of the nine-hole for Boston on Sunday with lefty Andrew Heaney starting for Los Angeles.

Centeno, meanwhile, also joined the Red Sox on a minor-league pact this past November after spending the 2018 season within the Texas Rangers’ organization.

Over the course of 81 International League contests this year, the native of Puerto Rico posted an OPS of .671 while hitting four homers and driving in 40 runs in 301 plate appearances. He’ll likely slide in behind Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon on the catcher depth chart.

The move to add Chacin came on Saturday, when the two sides reached agreement on a minor-league deal less than a week after the veteran right-hander had been released by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Lakins, Velazquez, and Weber have all spent time with the Sox this season, combining for 46 appearances and 11 starts in the majors in 2019.

David Price was activated off the injured list a little more than three weeks after initially being shelved with a TFCC cyst in his left wrist.

The 34-year-old hurler received treatment for the cyst via a cortisone shot and is now ready for in-game action.

Through 21 starts this season, Price owns a 4.36 ERA and 3.65 FIP over 105 1/3 total innings pitched. The Red Sox are 9-12 in those games.

Price will be making his 22nd start and first since August 4th against the Angels on Sunday afternoon. Here is how the Red Sox will be lining up behind him.

First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PM EDT on NESN.

Red Sox Sign Right-Hander Jhoulys Chacin to Minor-League Deal

UPDATE: The deal is now official, per the Red Sox’ official Twitter account.

The Red Sox have reportedly signed veteran right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to a minor-league contract, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Chacin, 31, was released by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 26th, two days after he was designated for assignment.

In 19 starts this season, Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter posted a 5.79 ERA and .282 batting average against over 88 2/3 innings pitched. The Brewers went 6-13 in those games.

On Friday, the Red Sox reportedly held a workout for Chacin at Angel Stadium before opening up a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. A workout in which the Venezuela native threw a bullpen under the watch of manager Alex Cora and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, according to The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman.

With Chris Sale presumably out the remainder of the season and David Price set to make his first start since August 4th on Sunday, the Sox are in need of rotation depth. That much is evident by how left-hander Josh Taylor will serve as the opener in what will be a “bullpen day” for Boston on Saturday.

Six Red Sox Prospects to Play for Peoria Javelinas in Arizona Fall League

In case you missed it, the Red Sox will be sending six of their prospects to the Arizona Fall League this year, with right-handers Bryan Mata and Tanner Houck, left-hander Yoan Aybar, infielder C.J. Chatham, and outfielders Jarren Duran and Marcus Wilson all being assigned to the Peoria Javelinas on Wednesday.

Mata is listed as the top pitching prospect in Boston’s system and the third-highest overall behind only Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec, per MLB Pipeline.

Since being promoted from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland at the beginning of July, the 20-year-old hurler has posted a 5.79 ERA and .296 batting average against over his first 10 Eastern League starts and 46 2/3 innings of work. He was the Sox’ lone representative in the All-Star Futures Game last year.

Houck, meanwhile, was converted from a starter to a reliever while with Double-A Portland in early July before being promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on July 13th.

In 14 appearances (one one-inning start) with the PawSox, the 23-year-old owns an ERA of 2.21 and xFIP of 5.62 over 20 1/3 innings pitched.

The former 2017 first round pick out of the University of Missouri is ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the Sox’ system.

Aybar is a bit of an interesting case, as he came up through the pipeline as an outfielder after signing as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic six years ago.

The whole hitting thing never really panned out for Aybar though, with a career .624 OPS and all through his first four minor league seasons, so he began working as a pitcher in 2018.

The now 22-year-old held opponents to a .234 batting average while posting a 4.13 ERA over his first 17 outings as a reliever between the Gulf Coast League Red Sox and Low-A Lowell Spinners last year.

Fast forward to this season, and Aybar has allowed a total of 29 earned runs over 43 appearances and 55 2/3 innings between Class-A Greenville and High-A Salem. He is ranked as the No. 29 prospect in Boston’s system.

As for the position players, Duran has skyrocketed up the prospect boards, moving into the No. 4 spot in just his first full professional season after being selected in the eighth round of last year’s amateur draft out of Long Beach State.

The soon-to-be 23-year-old tore up the Carolina League to begin his 2019 campaign, slashing .387/.456/.543 to go along with 49 runs scored and 18 stolen bases over 50 games played before being promoted to Double-A Portland in early June.

Duran’s numbers have cooled off since then, but as I have mentioned before, to make the Futures Game in your first full season of professional baseball is quite the feat. Not to mention he was the lone prospect to represent the Sox in Cleveland as well.

Chatham, like Duran, has worked his way up through the Sox’ system in 2019, eventually earning a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket on August 13th after posting a .297/.333/.403 slash line in 90 games with the Sea Dogs to begin the year.

Taken with the 51st overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Florida Atlantic University, Chatham will need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft.

Set to turn 25 in December, the Florida native is currently the ninth-ranked prospect in the Sox’ system.

And finally, Wilson was the minor leaguer the Red Sox acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks back in April in exchange for Blake Swihart, who has since been designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A by Arizona.

Wilson’s Red Sox tenure got off to a rocky start, as he went just 10-for-his-first-62 (.161) with 33 strikeouts before getting demoted to Salem on May 18th.

There, the 23-year-outfielder thrived, as he slashed .342/.413/.603 with eight home runs and 29 RBI over 45 games, which eventually earned a promotion back up to Double-A on July 14th.

Since then, Wilson has been better for the most part, as he owns an OPS of .847 and wRC+ of 146 in his last 39 games with the Sea Dogs, although he is currently in the midst of an 8-for-39 slump over his last 10 contests going back to August 15th.

The Arizona Fall League begins on September 18th. The Valejina will consist of prospects from the Red Sox’, Houston Astros’, Seattle Mariners’, Pittsburgh Pirates’ and San Diego Padres’ systems respectively.

Red Sox’ Top Prospect Triston Casas Named South Atlantic League Postseason All-Star

Red Sox infield prospect Triston Casas was named to the South Carolina League’s Postseason All-Star team on Tuesday, representing Class-A Greenville at designated hitter.

Casas, 19, is slashing .254/.350/.468 to go along 18 home runs and 76 RBI through 115 games with the Drive this season. Among all South Atlantic League position players, Casas ranks third in homers, fourth in RBI, fifth in total bases (192) and eighth in OPS (.818).

Selected by Boston with the 26th overall pick in last year’s amatuer draft out of American Heritage in High School in Plantation, Fla., Casas has quickly risen to become the top prospect in the Sox’ system and the 88th-ranked prospect in baseball overall, per MLB Pipeline.

There were periods of time this year when Casas showed some signs of struggle, as he posted a .208/.341/.383 slash line from June 21st until August 24th, but he has turned it around since, slashing an impressive .343/.425/.514 with one homer and four RBI over his last 10 games.

Including Thursday, Greenville has seven games remaining on the docket for 2019. At 23-39 on the year, they will not be in contention for postseason play.