What does the future hold for Red Sox prospects Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario?

Exactly 14 months ago Saturday, the Red Sox traded veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland to the Padres in exchange for a pair of prospects in Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario.

At the time, Potts, an infielder, and Rosario, an outfielder, were regarded by Baseball America as the No. 16 and No. 24 prospects in a loaded San Diego farm system, respectively. The two spent the remainder of the 2020 season at Boston’s alternate training site and participated in fall instructs before being added to the club’s 40-man roster in November.

To open the 2021 campaign, both Potts and Rosario received invites to major-league spring training in Fort Myers, though neither saw much action in Grapefruit League play due to separate injuries.

On March 13, Potts and Rosario were both optioned to the alternate training site and were later assigned to Double-A Portland to kick off the minor-league season. Potts, however, did not make his Sea Dogs debut until June 10 on account of the oblique injury he had been dealing with throughout the spring.

To that point in the year, Rosario was hitting a modest .243/.333/.279 (77 wRC+) with four doubles, 10 RBI, 13 runs scored, two stolen bases, 15 walks, and 40 strikeouts across his first 28 games (126 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

The two teammates appeared in the same lineup for the first time on June 11 as the Sea Dogs went up against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field. Potts, batting fifth and starting at third base, went 1-for-4 with a two-run double, a walk, and three strikeouts. Rosario, batting leadoff and starting in center field, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a walk, and two strikeouts.

From the following day on, Potts appeared in seven more games (76) for Portland than Rosario (69) did, though neither were really able to produce at the plate on a consistent basis.

Potts, who turned 23 on Thursday, finished the season ranked as the No. 24 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, per Baseball America. All told, the 6-foot-3, 229 pound right-handed hitter slashed .217/.264/.399 (76 wRC+) to go along with 18 doubles, 11 home runs, 47 RBI, 33 runs scored, 16 walks, and exactly 100 strikeouts over 78 games (307 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

Rosario, on the other hand, recently had a birthday as well as he turned 22 last Friday. Similarly enough to Potts, Rosario at the moment is regarded by Baseball America as the 26th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds, the left-handed hitter out of the Dominican Republic batted .232/.335/.307 (84 wRC+) with 15 doubles, one triple, three homers, 36 runs driven in, 48 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 50 walks, and 113 strikeouts across 98 games spanning 405 trips to the plate for Portland.

While neither Potts or Rosario exactly lit it up at the Double-A level, they both showed some flashes of their potential while being amongst the younger position players who accrued at least 300 plate appearances in the Double-A Northeast this season.

That being said, the futures of both prospects starts to become interesting when looking ahead to the next few weeks of the Major League Baseball offseason.

Clubs have until November 19 to add eligible minor-leaguers to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. The Red Sox have a plethora of prospects (such as Jeter Downs, Brayan Bello, Gilberto Jimenez, and Josh Winckowski) they will need to protect before then, so they will need to clear some space in order to do so.

Approximately six members of the 2021 Red Sox are slated to file for free agency at the conclusion of the World Series, though that number could increase on account of contract options attached to other players like J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, and Christian Vazquez.

By the time the dust settles from that, the Red Sox will likely have the room on their 40-man roster to add the prospects they deem necessary to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, which typically takes place during the winter meetings but could be altered this year since the league’s collective bargaining agreement expires at the beginning of December.

Still, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has not hesitated to part ways with prospects on Boston’s 40-man roster in the past if it means creating avenues for other moves. Last December, the Sox dealt pitching prospect Yoan Aybar, then on the club’s 40-man, to the Rockies in exchange for infield prospect Christian Koss.

This past July, outfield prospect Marcus Wilson was designated for assignment in the wake of the trade deadline and was later claimed off waivers by the Mariners.

The same sort of thing can be said about fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero, a former top prospect acquired by the Red Sox in the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February who was recently designated for assignment himself so that right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez could be re-added to the 40-man.

Cordero may have cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester last week, meaning he remains under team control with Boston, but it just goes to show that Bloom and Co. do not mess around when it comes to 40-man roster depth.

This is not to say that Potts or Rosario — or other prospects on the 40-man roster such as Connor Wong, Ronaldo Hernandez, Jarren Duran, or Jay Groome — are destined for a fate similar to that of Aybar, Cordero, or Wilson. It’s just something to consider.

Taking that point into consideration, though, it is worth mentioning that Rosario is one of a handful of Red Sox minor-leaguers playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He has yet to start a game for Tigres del Licey.

(Picture of Hudson Potts: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

How Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo became a better major-leaguer because of veteran teammates like Mitch Moreland, Rich Hill

Alex Verdugo’s inaugural season with the Red Sox ended with the outfielder finishing 12th in American League MVP voting.

Well before that, though, the 24-year-old had gotten off to a rough start with his new team.

After being left off the Sox’ Opening Day lineup last July, Verdugo struggled to the tune of a .231/.286/.231 slash line with no extra-base hits, no RBI, two walks, and sevens strikeouts through his first eight games and 28 plate appearances of the year.

The centerpiece for Boston in the five-player trade with the Dodgers that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles, the former top prospect had grown frustrated with his performance, and he let out that frustration in a demonstrative way; much to the chagrin of his veteran teammates — like Mitch Moreland.

“Every at-bat it felt like I was going into the tunnel and hitting something or throwing a helmet down,” Verdugo said recently on the Baseball Tonight podcast with ESPN’s Buster Olney. “And Mitch kind of made a side comment, like ‘Shoot. Seeing him act like that has got me exhausted.’ Like I’m tiring him out just watching what I’m doing. And I sat back on that. I thought about it, and I went over there and I apologized to the team.

“This anger — this stuff that I show — I want you guys to know that it’s from a good place,” he added while recalling how he apologized. “It’s because I’m a competitor. I’m so used to competing.”

Since being selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft out of Sahuaro High School, the Arizona native has always had a fiery personality.

It’s a personality and a way of going about things that may rub others the wrong way, but Verdugo has managed to succeed at every level he’s played at while still maintaining that boisterous edge to him.

That trend of performing to a high level continued for Verdugo over the summer and into the early stages of the fall. From August 4 through the end of the 2020 season, the left-handed hitter slashed .320/.378/.514 with six home runs, 15 RBI, and four stolen bases over his final 45 games (193 plate appearances) of the year.

“I felt like towards the middle and end of the season, I was a lot better,” said Verdugo. “I was a lot better. I was able to handle it more. It was kind of cool, Jason Varitek got a nice little punching bag right in the tunnel. So we’d go down there and I got a nice little inflatable pitching bag with my Verdugo jersey on it. No. 99.”

Verdugo will look to carry over the individual success he enjoyed in 2020 into 2021 for a Red Sox team that figures to be much more competitive than they were last year.

The 6-foot, 205 pounder is no stranger to playing for a team with postseason aspirations, and one of his former teammates on that particular team — Milton’s own Rich Hill — believes that Verdugo can take that next stop with the Sox.

The 41-year-old Hill, now a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, was Verdugo’s teammate with the Dodgers for parts of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 campaigns.

While the veteran left-hander was one of those who initially took issue with the way Verdugo went about his business upon getting called up by the Dodgers in 2017, he also realized — and still realizes — the potential the young outfielder has to do special things on the field.

“When I heard the trade happened, I had gotten the chance to talk to a few people in Boston and just said, ‘Hey, you guys got a really good player here, and not just any player,'” Hill told Olney. “I think he can be a perennial All-Star and be a standout in Boston because of his ability to put the bat to the ball and consistently create damage with runners on and/or start a rally.

“Again, it’s the way he goes about playing the game,” the former Red Sox hurler added. “I think of players right off the top of my head who play hard. Like a Chase Utley for example, a Clayton Kershaw, a Dustin Pedroia. You look at Jose Abreu with the White Sox. I put Alex in that category. It doesn’t have to be just position players, right? I mentioned a few pitchers because when you go to the game and you buy the ticket, you want to see the intensity and the passion from the player — whether it’s the pitcher or position player.”

Pedroia, who retired from the game of baseball in February after spending 14 big-league seasons with the Sox, was teammates with Hill for parts of the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015 seasons.

“Dustin kind of rejuvenated me and got more out of myself when I saw his effort and what he brought on a daily basis and what consistent intensity looked like ,” said Hill. “That was something I saw and was like, ‘Wow, if this guy is showing up at 1 o’clock and he’s ready with a full batting practice uniform on, it wasn’t fake. It was real.’ It was every single day.

“And that’s what Alex has,” he continued. “Alex has that every single day, it’s the same mentality. It’s the passion, the joy, the intensity, the love for the game. However you want to put a title over it, he has that for the game. So he’s going to do fine here in Boston.”

Based off his style of play, Verdugo is someone who feeds the energy of the crowd regardless of which ballpark he is at.

After going through an entire season with no fans in the stands in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Verdugo is relishing the opportunity to play in front of a crowd –albeit a reduced one — at not only Fenway Park, but venues like Yankee Stadium as well in 2021.

“I think the fans are a big part of the game,” he said. “I miss that interaction where they’re talking their smack. They’re letting you have it. Especially when I’m in New York. If I’m in the Yankees’ stadium, I want that, man. I want it. I know you got to be careful what you ask for, but for me, I love it. I really do.”

(Picture of Mitch Moreland and Alex Verdugo: Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Cora on outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario’s potential: ‘We believe that there’s more there’

Red Sox outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario was one of seven players the club optioned to their alternate training site over the weekend.

The 21-year-old has not seen much action this spring after suffering a left hamstring injury while running after the ball in the fifth inning of a game against the Twins back on March 3.

While Rosario has not played since then, the Red Sox still believe they have something in the centerfielder, who was one of the two prospects (Hudson Potts being the other) they acquired from the Padres in exchange for Mitch Moreland last August.

“Good athlete,” Sox manager Alex Cora said of the young outfielder on Saturday. “We believe that there’s more there. Physically, we need to get him in a better spot. It was a tough offseason for him with the birth of his child. He was here for [fall instructs] and then went back to Miami. It’s not that he was way out of shape, but he can do better.”

Per his Instagram, Rosario and his partner welcomed their first child into the world back in January, so that was the time frame Cora was referring to.

The Dominican native — listed at 6-foot-1 and 191 lbs. — comes into the 2021 season as the No. 20 prospect in Boston’s farm system, per Baseball America.

The last time he saw any organized minor-league action, the left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing Rosario slashed .242/.372/.314 (102 wRC+) to go along with three home runs, 35 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 12o games played for High-A Lake Elsinore in 2019.

Upon acquiring him from the Padres last summer, the Sox sent Rosario to their alternate training site in Pawtucket and then to their fall instructional league in Fort Myers before adding the speedster to their 40-man roster in November in order to avoid being eligible for December’s Rule 5 Draft.

At fall instructs, Rosario got off to a decent start, but started to struggle as camp went on, according to SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall.

“Rosario did not show a stand-out tool and did not seem like a potential difference maker,” Cundall wrote back in November. “His frame is not that projectable. His best tools were on defense, where his instincts stood out and he showed an above-average arm. His run times, however, were closer to average than plus, which is a concern — if his speed continues to decrease, it could limit his defensive upside.

“At the plate, Rosario’s approach was OK,” added Cundall. “He worked counts but did not seem to be seeing the ball that well and showed fringy contact ability and minimal raw power. The Instructs games were not the ideal showcase for Rosario — he lacks loud tools, but as one of the more advanced players there, scouts expected more out of him against inexperienced pitching.”

Taking that report into consideration, it would appear that Rosario — who does not turn 22 until October still has plenty of room to grow in regards to his development. He is currently projected to begin the 2021 season with Double-A Portland.

“He’s so young that we just got to get him in a good spot,” said Cora. “If he does that, his athletic ability is going to take over. He controls the strike zone, which is very important. And he’s a good athlete.”

(Picture of Jeisson Rosario: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi named 2021 Jimmy Fund Captain

Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi has been named the Jimmy Fund captain for the 2021 season, the organization announced Tuesday.

Eovaldi, who has spent the last 2 1/2 seasons with the Red Sox, will become Jimmy Fund Captain for the first time.

The 31-year-old hurler takes over for former Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland, who was traded to the Padres last August before signing a one-year deal with the Athletics in February.

As Jimmy Fund Captain, “Eovaldi will help encourage fans to step up to the plate and help strike out cancer by getting involved with the Jimmy Fund.”

His responsibilities include: attending fundraising events, visiting patients, and acting as an ambassador for Dana-Farber’s research and care mission.

Boston’s previous two Jimmy Fund Captains — Moreland and Brock Holt — were nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award on at least one occasion in their time with the Sox.

The partnership between the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox dates back to 1953 when team owner Tom Yawkey “announced that his team would adopt the Jimmy Fund as its official charity and continue the tradition started by the Braves” after the then-Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee.

Since that time, the Sox’ relationship with the Jimmy Fund grew to a point where an annual radio-telethon has been held each year at Fenway Park since 2002.

The annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon unfortunately had to be cancelled last summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the event has still raised more than $57 million to support pediatric and adult cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute since its inception.

For more information about the Jimmy Fund, click here.

For more information about the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, click here.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Examining Red Sox infield prospect Hudson Potts’ big-league potential

Hudson Potts’ first offseason as a member of the Red Sox organization has been a busy one to say the least.

Back in November, the 22-year-old was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. That, in turn, led to Potts receiving his first invite from the Sox — and third invite overall — to big-league spring training.

The Texas native was originally acquired by the Red Sox along with outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario last August in a trade that sent veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland to the Padres.

At that time, Potts was regarded by MLB Pipeline as San Diego’s No. 16 prospect, and with the minor-league season having been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he was spending time at the club’s alternate training site at the University of San Diego.

He spent the rest of the year at the Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket.

Even with no real in-game action in 2020, the former 2016 first-round draft pick was less than a full year removed from his age-20 season with Double-A Amarillo of the Texas League in which he slashed a modest .227/.290/.406 to go along with 16 home runs and 59 RBI across 107 games in 2019.

Those numbers — as well as a strikeout rate of 28.6% and a walk rate of 7.1% — might not jump off the page, but it is important to remember that Potts was doing this at a fairly young age for the level he was playing at. FanGraphs’ Ben Clemens noted as much when writing about Potts and other position player prospects on Tuesday.

“It’s so hard to play in Double-A at 20 years old,” Clemens wrote. “Potts wasn’t good, but he was able to tread water despite being three to four years young for the level, which is often a better sign than hitting well at an age-appropriate level. That said, don’t sleep on his 2018, when he was also quite young for Hi-A and put together a fearsome power season.”

In 2018 with High-A Lake Elsinore of the California League, the right-handed hitter posted a .281/.350/.498 clip in addition to clubbing 17 homers and driving in 58 runs over 106 games (453 plate appearances).

One of the things that has held Potts back, if you want to say that, to this point has been his inability to make contact on a consistent basis. Another dimension of his game that is shrouded in uncertainty pertains to his primary defensive position.

Both of those aspects could hinder the 6-foot-3, 220 lb. infielder’s long-term potential as a major-league-caliber player, according to Clemens.

Warning Signs: The big one is contact — that’s not the kind of thing you can paper over with other skills,” Clemens wrote of Potts. “He’ll also need to find a defensive home; he looks like a corner guy, though San Diego experimented with a Mike Moustakas-esque second base assignment before trading him. Corner-only sluggers with contact issues aren’t exactly in short supply, so that’s the worry here.”

In regards to the 20-80 scouting scale, FanGraphs‘ Eric Longenhagen has Potts’ hit tool at 30 in terms of present value and 35 in terms of future value, which ranks ninth and 19th among Red Sox position player prospects, respectively.

“If [Potts’ hit tool turns out lower than 40 FV], it might make his bat unplayable” due to all the swings-and-misses, Clemens wrote.

Despite those concerns, Clemens still seems optimistic about Potts’ outlook, opining that “the combination of his power and age are simply more enticing than the whiffs are worrisome.”

Currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s 19th-ranked prospect, Potts is projected to begin the 2021 minor-league season — whenever it starts — with Double-A Portland and could seemingly see playing time at every infield position besides shortstop.

The Red Sox will host their first full squad spring training workout in Fort Myers this coming Monday, so that could be a good time to get our first glance at Potts since last year’s fall instructional league. Stay tuned for that.

(Picture of Hudson Potts: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstillsmugmug.com)

Michael Chavis’ chances of making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster appear slim at the moment

Michael Chavis’ chances of making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster this year are, at the moment, slim. So slim that MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo wrote earlier Friday that “at present, it would be an upset for Chavis to make the Opening Day roster, even if the Red Sox can carry 26 players.”

The 25-year-old is coming off a dismal 2020 season in which he posted a .212/.259/.377 slash line to go along with five home runs, 19 RBI, and 50 strikeouts over 42 games (158 plate appearances).

Since getting his big-league career off to a roaring start in the spring of 2019, Chavis has cooled down considerably, even while getting the opportunity to play multiple defensive positions.

As noted by Cotillo, the Georgia native split time between first and second base during his rookie season, lost out on the starting job at second base to Jose Peraza last summer, platooned with Mitch Moreland at first base for a time, and ultimately got some playing time in the outfield thanks to the emergences of Christian Arroyo and Bobby Dalbec.

In somewhat of a utility role during the closing stages of the 2020 campaign, Chavis did not do anything to distinguish himself — offensively or defensively — and things have not gotten any easier for him since then.

That being the case because earlier this week, the Red Sox officially signed Enrique Hernandez, another right-handed hitter who can play around the infield and outfield, to a two-year, $14 million contract.

Hernandez, Cotillo writes, “will likely get the lion’s share of work at second while also having the ability to play the outfield or back up at shortstop or third base.”

This would leave Arroyo, who was claimed off waivers from the Indians in August and showed flashes of potential with Boston in September, as “the primary backup” at second base, and perhaps other infield spots as well.

Seeing how Arroyo and Hernandez, as well as Dalbec and Xander Bogaerts all hit from the right side of the field, it would appear that the Sox are set in terms of rostering right-handed hitting infielders.

Taking that, and the fact that the club is still “in the market for a left-handed bench option with the ability to play first base” to complement Dalbec (Mitch Moreland, Marwin Gonzalez) into consideration, Chavis starts to become obsolete in a way.

If that notion holds true heading into the regular season, there are a number of things the Red Sox could do.

For starters, they could entertain the idea of trading Chavis, though as noted by Cotillo, “teams may be hesitant to give up anything of value for an unproven player with clear holes in his game.” Especially at a time when “so many middle-tier veteran free agents are still available.”

Trading Chavis, Cotillo writes, would also “signal that the Red Sox are giving up on their former first-round pick, meaning the team would admit another development failure in a decade in which those have been far too frequent.”

Boston selected the 5-foot-10, 210 lb. infielder/outfielder with its top selection (26th overall) in the 2014 amateur draft out of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Ga.

For the steady pace at which he developed, Chavis does only have 113 career Triple-A plate appearances under his belt, which leads to this next point.

That being, the Red Sox can afford to option Chavis to Triple-A Worcester if they so choose since he still has two minor-league options remaining.

Considering the fact that he is a former first-round pick and was at one point one of the organization’s top prospects, Chavis may be someone you do not want to give up quite yet. Especially since he is still under team control through the 2025 season.

Instead, allowing him to get regular playing time in a less stressful environment while “re-tooling his swing and fine-tuning his defense without the pressure of sticking in the majors” could be in the Red Sox’ best interest moving forward, as Cotillo notes.

Then again, in his tenure as Boston’s chief baseball officer thus far, Chaim Bloom has not shied away from reshuffling the club’s 40-man roster. Far from it, in fact.

This offseason alone, the Sox — whether it be by trade or DFA — have jettisoned approximately 19 players off its 40-man roster (not including Dustin Pedroia, who retired on Monday).

That being said, it would not be shocking to see that Bloom and Co. do not value Chavis to the point where they deem him worthy of a 40-man spot moving forward, and instead attempt to trade him for a non-40-man minor-leaguer — as was the case with Yoan Aybar in December — or designate him for assignment with the intention to sneak him through waivers.

Of course, given what Chavis still has going for him (relatively young, under team control, somewhat versatile), another team would likely try to claim him for themselves if he was placed on waivers.

In that scenario, the Red Sox would be losing Chavis for nothing, but that would probably be a risk they were willing to take if they designated him for assignment in the first place.

As Cotillo writes, Chavis’ “future will be one of the storylines to follow throughout spring training.” Personally, I do not think it would be a bad thing if he started out the season in Worcester, but we will have to wait and see on that.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Pitcher List’s Sarah Griffin joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Pitcher List writer Sarah Griffin.

Among the topics Sarah and I discussed were her ascension into sports journalism and Baseball Twitter, her thoughts on the Red Sox’ offseason and other moves Chaim Bloom has made/might make, predictions for 2021, and much more.

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Sarah for taking some time out of her day to have this conversation with me. You can follow her on Twitter by clicking here and check out her work on Pitcher List by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox have expressed interest in free-agent infielder Travis Shaw, per report

The Red Sox have reportedly expressed interest in free-agent infielder Travis Shaw, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Shaw, who turns 31 in April, is coming off a 2020 season with the Blue Jays in which he slashed .239/.306/.411 to go along with six home runs and 17 RBI over 50 games played and 180 plate appearances.

Over the course of those 50 games with Toronto, the Ohio native saw the majority of his playing time come at third base with a little bit of first base, designated hitter, and pinch-hitting duties mixed in there as well.

Earlier this week, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reported that the Sox are “hoping to sign a left-handed hitter who can complement Bobby Dalbec at first base.” And although Cotillo did not specifically mention Shaw in this report, the left-handed hitting infielder certainly fits that mold.

Against right-handed pitching last year, Shaw posted a .710 OPS while clubbing all six of his homers off righties.

For his career, the Kent State product owns a lifetime .247/.338/.465 slash line to go along with 88 home runs and 253 RBI in 1,836 total plate appearances against right-handed pitching.

Shaw, a former 32nd and ninth-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2008 and 2011, spent the first two seasons of his major-league career in Boston before getting dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers in December 2016.

In addition to Shaw, the Sox have also expressed interest in a reunion with another familiar face in free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland, per Cotillo.

More versatile free-agent options, such as the switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez and left-handed hitting Brad Miller, may be in the mix as well as Boston looks to solidify its bench in the weeks leading up to the start of spring training.

(Picture of Travis Shaw: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alex Cora adapting to different approach regarding roster construction in second stint as Red Sox manager

In two stints as manager of the Red Sox dating back to November 2017, Alex Cora has worked under two heads of baseball operations in Dave Dombrowski, who first hired him, and Chaim Bloom, who re-hired him.

With nearly three decades separating them in terms of age, it’s safe to say that Dombrowski — 64, formerly Boston’s president of baseball operations — and Bloom — 37, currently Boston’s chief baseball officer — operate using different approaches when it comes to building up a major-league roster.

Cora, having been in the game for quite a while himself in a variety of roles, has seen these differences in style between Dombrowski and Bloom up close and personal.

He said as much when speaking with NESN’s Tom Caron and Jerry Remy on the most recent installment of The TC & Jerry Podcast.

“I saw it at the end of 2019 at the winter meetings in San Diego,” Cora said. “Just talking to [Bloom] and the way he does his thing with the other teams is a lot different. I loved working with Dave. It was fun. I still remember my first meeting him at the winter meetings in Orlando (2017), and we had this board and there were certain names. There was actually two on top, it was J.D. [Martinez] and Mitch [Moreland], and we got them. It was like, ‘We’re getting these guys. We’re going to get them.’ It took a little while with J.D., but right away we got Mitch and then we got J.D.”

Moreland ultimately re-upped with Boston on a two-year, $13 million deal in December 2017, while Martinez waited until February 2018 to ink a five-year, $110 million contract with what was then his new club.

The pair of veterans went on to have All-Star seasons in 2018 in addition to playing crucial roles in the Red Sox’ historic World Series run that October.

Under Bloom, the Sox have yet to make a free-agent splash on par with what Martinez got three springs ago, though Moreland re-signed with Boston once more on a one-year pact last January.

“With Chaim, we’re in a different stage in the organization. We are,” Cora continued. “I don’t agree with the whole thing about not competing, what people think, or what they’re saying. We’re going to have a good team, a good baseball team. We’re not a bunch of superstars, but we have a good baseball team.

What he’s creating is a deeper roster, a better minor-league system,” said the Sox skipper. “He does his homework and that’s great. I’m learning a lot from him from that end. You guys know me, I can be patient but at the same time, I like action. But, I understand where we’re at. I know what he’s doing.”

In the past week alone, Bloom and Co. have made significant additions to the Red Sox’ 2021 Opening Day roster, acquiring right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino from the Yankees while signing right-hander Garrett Richards and utilityman Enrique Hernandez to one and two-year major-league contracts, respectively.

Left-hander Martin Perez also reportedly agreed to a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2022 to return to Boston earlier this month.

“If you’re a Red Sox fan or you’re a fan of Chaim Bloom, or whatever, you look from afar, and you’re like, ‘Oh, you know what, this is kind of interesting what he’s doing now,'” said Cora. “A few weeks ago, it was like, ‘Oh, whatever. They’re too slow. They’re not doing it.’ But now, it’s intriguing what we’re doing. And I guarantee you guys that the puzzle is going to be a good one. I believe that and I trust Chaim and I’m looking forward to keep on working with him for a lot of years.”

Cora, 45, signed a two-year contract to return to his post as Red Sox manager back in November. The deal also includes a two-year club option for the 2023 and 2024 seasons, per a team release.

(Picture of Alex Cora and Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘have had some talks’ with free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland about potential reunion, per report

The Red Sox have ‘had some talks’ with free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland about a potential reunion, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Cotillo reported over the weekend that the Sox would like to add ‘a left-handed hitting bench bat’ to complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base.

Moreland, a left-handed hitter, obviously fits that mold.

The 35-year-old spent 3 1/2 seasons with Boston — signing three separate contracts with the club — from 2017 until August 2020, at which point he was dealt to the San Diego Padres.

Moreland was having a superb year up until that trade, posting a .328/.430/.746 slash line to go along with eight home runs and 21 RBI over 20 games and 73 plate appearances.

That level of production decreased significantly upon Moreland’s arrival in San Diego, but you can make the argument that the Red Sox benefitted immensely from jettisoning one of their hottest players at the plate.

For one, trading Moreland opened up a spot for Dalbec to get called up regularly play first base for the remainder of the 2020 campaign. The 25-year-old rookie went on to crush eight homers himself while collecting 16 RBI in just 23 games (92 PAs) in his first go-around in the majors.

Second, in return for Moreland, Boston received infield prospect Hudson Potts and outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario from San Diego. The two minor-leaguers are currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as top-20 prospects within the Sox’ farm system after both were added to the club’s 40-man roster in November.

Moreland, meanwhile, struggled in his new role with the Padres, as previously mentioned. And even though he did not perform at the highest of levels, it still came as somewhat of a surprise to see the Friars decline the former All-Star’s $3 million club option for the 2021 season this past fall.

So, the Red Sox got two of their better prospects in exchange for a few weeks of Moreland’s services. Not too shabby.

Now that Moreland is once again a free-agent and still remains unsigned, though, a reunion between the two sides certainly seems palpable.

The Gold Glove-caliber first baseman was revered as a clubhouse leader in his time with Boston who was more than capable of coming up in clutch spots when needed.

At this stage of his career, Moreland likely is not looking to be an everyday player, and could even be willing to take a backseat to someone like Dalbec while also DH’ing and coming off the bench in pinch-hitting situations.

If the two were to form some sort of platoon, Moreland does own a lifetime .256/.325/.469 slash line against right-handed pitching.

It also doesn’t hurt that, even before these rumors emerged, the Mississippi State product talked to fellow former Bulldog Hunter Renfroe about what it was like to play in Boston before the newest Red Sox outfielder signed with the club in December.

At the end of the day, whether Moreland returns to the Sox is presumably dependent on A. what his market looks like and B. how the Red Sox front office views him.

Moreland was one of the first free-agents Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom signed to a major-league contract, so there is a connection there.

Moreland’s bond with Red Sox manager Alex Cora cannot be forgotten about, either.

Then again, as Cotillo tweeted, other options — such as Brad Miller and Marwin Gonzalez — are in the mix as well.

(Picture of Mitch Moreland: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)