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Red Sox Notebook: Sox Seeking Options at First Base

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The Boston Red Sox have some gaps to fill during this offseason. One of the biggest ones is at first base.

Ideally, the Sox would be able to fill two gaps with one player by acquiring a first baseman who also has the ability to be a big hitter. Three players that could do the job are Jose Abreu of the White Sox, Carlos Santana of the Cleveland Indians, and Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals.

Abreu has the strength and versatility to add much needed depth to the Sox lineup. He boasts a career .301 batting average, knocked in 102 RBIs in 2017, and also led the American League in total bases in 2017.

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Abreu is eligible for arbitration and can become a free agent in 2020, which means he could potentially come with a high price tag.

Santana is a switch hitter known for his patience at the plate. In 2017, he hit 23 home runs, 37 doubles, three triples and drove in 79 RBIs. In 2016, he hit 34 homers, 31 doubles, three triples and drove in 87 RBIs.

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The Indians extended Santana a $17.4 million qualifying offer, so the Sox would have to give up a draft pick in order to sign him. However, this is something that President Dave Dombrowski has expressed he is open to.

“If two players are exactly even in your mind and one has a qualifying offer and one doesn’t, does it make a difference? Yes,” Dombrowski said. “But of course it depends on what players you’re talking about. … But I don’t think a qualifying offer — if it was somebody that we really wanted and thought was the guy — would make a difference for us.”

Hosmer hit 25 home runs this season and finished the season batting .318. The biggest roadblock with Hosmer is that acquiring him would require a decent amount of money. But according to Royals general manager Dayton Moore, Hosmer is a versatile player that is worth the high price tag.
“If you told Eric Hosmer, ‘We need you to hit 40 home runs,’ he would be able to hit 40 home runs. He’s that type of athlete,” Moore said. “He’s that smart. He likes to play a complete game. Eric Hosmer will lay down a bunt. Eric Hosmer understands situations. He’s a true baseball player. He studies the game and prides himself on trying to beat you in multiple ways. He’s not one-dimensional. If you want him to hit home runs, he will hit home runs. He’s a very balanced player. He likes hitting for average. He’s got the ability to center the ball on the bat in different areas of the strike zone, and he can handle the ball away very well.”

 

Coaching Staff Finalized 

Since the recent hiring of Craig Bjornson as bullpen coach, the Red Sox have officially filled all coaching positions under manager Alex Cora.

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Bjornson was the Houston Astros bullpen coach for five of the past six seasons, but was not set to return for the 2018 season. His former position with the Astros has not been filled.

Here is Cora’s entire staff: Bjornson (bullpen), Dana LeVangie (pitching), Tim Hyers (hitting), Andy Barkett (assistant hitting), Ron Roenicke (bench), Carlos Flebes (third base/infield), Tom Goodwin (outfield/baserunning/first base), and Ramon Vasquez (quality control).

Andrew Benintendi Runner-up for Rookie of the Year

Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi finished second place in American League Rookie of the Year voting. Unsurprisingly, New York Yankees standout Aaron Judge took home the award unanimously.

Benintendi received 23 of 30 second place votes and six third place votes.

 

 

 

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