Runs, Hits and Errors: A Free Agency, Coaching and Catching Grab Bag


It’s been unusually warm in Virginia over the past few days. Just like the weather, things with the Sox continue to heat up.  Before we get down to business, I’d like to start off this week’s column with a…

Shameless Plug
Make sure you’re following BSI’s November position by position coverage of all things Red Sox; prospects, free agents and , where applicable, players with a position already locked down. Through today, our staff has covered, catcher, 1st base, 2nd and 3rd base positions. Our coverage will take you right up to the winter meetings, scheduled to kick off December 3 in Nashville. Keep your Sox on here.

GM Ben Cherington continues to flex his muscle and make a number of moves on the Red Sox coaching staff. Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Breakin’ It Down and Building It Up
In significant ways the Red Sox continue to tweak, tweak, tweak their coaching staff. After cleaning house, with the notable exception of returning bullpen coach Gary Tuck, GM Ben Cherington is turning his attention to first base and batting coaches. Yes, I said batting coaches with an s. Boston is considering not one but two batting coaches. If the number of coaches represent the magnitude of the problem I would expect a one-to-one pitching coach to pitcher ratio to rectify to problems Boston had last year in all phases of their pitching game.

It wasn’t Cody but was still the right Ross. Sox secure a solid backstop with David Ross. Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Ross Inks Two-Year Deal
Gotcha! Not Cody Ross. Last week Braves catcher David Ross signed a two-year, $6.2 million deal with Red Sox. Ryan Lavarnway, please take a seat. The move will certainly quash the ridiculous Russell Martin rumors, who would have been a bad fit in Boston. The reason? I’ll say it. He’s just not very good. Does Boston need another lightweight hitter coming to the catching pool? I thought you’d know that answer.

Ross batted .256 last year in Atlanta while Salty batted .222 and struck out 139 times. Lavarnway batted an anemic .157. Martin batted .211. Ross is a better defensive catcher than either Salty or Lavarnway, allowing 19 stolen bases in 62 games in 2012 to Salty’s 80 in 104 games and Lavarnway’s 28 in 28 games. This was a good signing for low dollars, again signaling Boston’s more conservative approach to signing quality players at the right price.

Baltimore is appearing as the odds on favorite for Josh Hamilton in 2013. Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Sinking and Swimming in the Free Agency Pool
The rest of league seems to be following the Red Sox trend regarding Josh Hamilton. A month ago media sources had Jacoby Ellsbury off to Texas for Hamilton and Elvis Andrus. That’s the great thing about free agency; it all shakes out eventually. Even in the absurd world of men playing a child’s game for multi-millions of dollars, watching not only what the market will bear but also just how desperate teams are to bring a marquee player to their franchise is worth the price of admission.

Baltimore, Seattle and Milwaukee are currently reported as having an interest Hamilton. Somehow, this doesn’t feel like a highest bidder scenario but more likely a sweat it out exercise to see who gets Hamilton for the lowest dollars to offset his personal baggage.

Come here sister…..Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip…about that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag
– Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, James Brown