Cherington on Pujols, Darvish, the trade market and more
DALLAS — Here's Ben Cherington on the subjects of the day:
On David Ortiz accepting arbitration and returning in 2012: "We're happy about it. One of the best hitters in the American League back on the team, so it's a good outcome. We're happy about it, having him in the lineup."
Could they negotiate a two-year deal? "There will be a lot more talks because we have to get through the arbitration process. What the outcome of those are, I don't know. I think this sort-of focuses the conversation, at least a little bit because we have both work under the framework of the arbitration system. He'll be back on the team.
On the Angels getting Pujols and Wilson: "Aggressive moves and certainly putting their front foot forward; in the American League West for certain and in the American League in general. There's a lot of good teams in the league and a lot that will be very competitive. Texas and Anaheim going after each other. A bunch of teams that are in pretty good shape going into 2012 to compete in October. Big moves. Pujols in the American League, it'll be fun to see him play more."
On the acquisition of RHP Marco Duarte via a Rule 5 trade: "We're going to get to know him better. He's a guy we scouted in Mexico this winter and over the summer. His stuff really came on. It was up to 94 recently. ... A little bit of a late bloomer. But there have been some guys who have done that in Mexico and ended up being pretty good pitchers. We'll get to know him better in spring training."
On Yu Darvish being posted: "I'm not sure the timing this offseason puts us in a position to be the most aggressive team. But he's a good pitcher and we have a lot of respect for him. We'll certainly discuss it and figure out if a [bid] makes sense. But we've got a lot of [financial] commitment to the starting rotation and feel pretty good about the front end of our rotation. Certainly if a team is going to be posting and trying to sign [Darvish], it's going to be part of the front end of the rotation and we feel pretty good about that part of our team."
Any progress with pitchers at the meetings? "We made progress but nothing close. We'll continue to do a lot of work. I think we have a good idea of what we may or may not be able to do. I think on the pitching front we felt like all along it was really going to be an all-winter project and some of the moves would be very under-the-radar. There may be some that are more on the radar. But we have a much better idea of what's out there and what would it take than we did on Monday."
Is it hard to see closers fall off the board and not react? "Not really, not for me. Again, I think we have some internal options. Being out front on things doesn't always lead to the best outcome in the long run. We're in a good position, frankly, in respect to a closer because we have guys we think can do it. If there's a deal that makes to acquire someone this offseason, then we'll see what happens."
Did the Sox try and come up with a way to get Pujols? "Not really. That would have had to be pretty creative to ignore where we are. You can throw all sorts of things against the wall. But when you start to think about making huge fundamental changes to your roster to try and fit something in and usually the end result is not good.
"We're a really good team that really just needs complements and needs to be put in a better position to win over a six-month stretch. That's what we're focused on."
How does the return of Ortiz impact any addition in right field? "Yes, to some degree. Doesn't meant that we would rule out making an addition to the outfield. But David's a huge at in the lineup so I don't think we're in a position where we need to add a lot more offense. There's other things we'd like to do"
On the Theo Epstein compensation issue: "A plan? We loosely defined a strategy of talking at some point in the near future. We'll resolve it at some point."