BOSTON -- Questions regarding general manager candidates, starting pitchers, Jackie Bradley Jr.'s future and more are answered in the latest Inbox.
Why is it taking so long to hear about any possible GM candidates, other than just speculation? And why are they making so many personnel changes before hiring a GM to assess the situation?
-- @rickbedard, via Twitter
The operative phrase on Jersey Street these days is “due diligence.” This is too big a decision to rush into. There might have been extenuating circumstances due to the fact Andrew Friedman had an expiring contact with the Dodgers. However, that situation has been resolved, with Friedman announcing he will finalize a new contract with L.A. in the coming days. Now that Friedman is off the table, the Sox could get really bold and ask the Cubs for permission to speak to Theo Epstein or the Athletics for a chance to talk to Billy Beane. Or maybe they’d make a run at someone like Chaim Bloom, who has obviously done a great job with the Rays.
As for making personnel changes without a GM, the organization can’t just stand still while it waits for a new leader. There is a lot of planning that takes place for the upcoming season, and you might as well take action. The Red Sox trust the four decision makers who are running the front office in the interim.
With the injury histories of Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi, not to mention Rick Porcello's pending free agency, why did manager Alex Cora already make it clear Darwinzon Hernandez will be a bullpen arm in 2020 season? I understand he was lights out in that role but Red Sox need starting rotation help.
-- @seannybboi, via Twitter
At this point, the Red Sox feel Hernandez, 22, can be an elite, high-impact reliever. They don’t feel he’s ready to be a difference-maker in the starting rotation. It’s really that simple.
Thoughts on adding pitching help? If J.D. Martinez opts out, can they add some help to the rotation?
-- @Andrew__Holland, via Twitter
Either way, the Sox need to beef up the rotation. You have the likelihood of Porcello departing via free agency, so that is one spot you need to fill. Also, it was proved last year that the club didn’t have enough depth in the rotation in the event of injuries. I’d look for them to make every effort to address that.
Does JBJ have any trade value or does a non-tender make more sense?
-- @BillyBall, via Twitter
A trade always makes more sense than a non-tender because you can actually get something for him that way. This is hardly the first time Bradley, 29, has been on the market. The Red Sox will see if there’s an offer that makes sense, otherwise you could see him back in center field in 2020. The only way I see him getting non-tendered is if they can’t find a trade partner, and they are still hovering above the $208-million mark that they need to get below on team payroll.
What’s the most salary/years you’d offer Mookie Betts to sign an extension this offseason? If Mookie refuses, where do you trade him and for who?
-- @kram93291, via Twitter
I’d go 10 years at $300 million with the hope you can back-load the contract so it doesn’t have too much of an impact on payroll the next couple of seasons. If he turns down the offer, I keep him with the Red Sox and try to win with him in 2020. If it becomes clear by July that the team isn’t a true World Series contender, I’d offer him up in a trade at that point.
What is the probability of Curt Schilling actually becoming the pitching coach?
-- @T_Tatro, via Twitter
I’d say it’s unlikely for a couple of reasons. The first is that Schilling and Red Sox owner John Henry do not have a good relationship. The second is that I believe the Sox are really looking for an analytics guru to lead the pitching department.
Schilling knows the mindset of being a great pitcher, and he knows mechanics as well or better than anyone. But a lot of analytics have come into the game since Schilling left 12 years ago, and I think the Red Sox will look for a candidate who is well-versed on the recent explosion of science in baseball.