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Red Sox land pair on Top 100 Prospects list

Infielder Chavis No. 79; left-hander Groome No. 85
MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox hope that the power bat of Michael Chavis and the electric arm of Jay Groome will create a lot of excitement for the Fenway faithful once the young players have completed their development.

Their promise is evident by the fact that they are on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, as announced Saturday night on MLB Network. Chavis is ranked No. 79, and Groome is No. 85.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox hope that the power bat of Michael Chavis and the electric arm of Jay Groome will create a lot of excitement for the Fenway faithful once the young players have completed their development.

Their promise is evident by the fact that they are on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, as announced Saturday night on MLB Network. Chavis is ranked No. 79, and Groome is No. 85.

MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 100 Prospects list

:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2018 season are eligible for the list. Players who were are at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

Chavis, a third baseman in recent years, is now adding first base to his repertoire. But his bat is his separator.

In a breakthrough 2017 season that started at Class A Advanced Salem and finished at Double-A Portland, Chavis belted 31 homers and had 94 RBIs to go along with a .910 OPS.

If the 22-year-old Chavis can continue that momentum, he might not be far from taking aim at the Green Monster with his powerful right-handed swing.

Video: Chavis, Crockett on big league chances, progress

"I'd like to say I feel like I'm pretty close, significantly closer than I felt like I was last year," Chavis said recently. "Obviously that's not up to me, and it's not something I really can control and say, 'Hey, I'm ready.' So that's not really something I worry too much about. Obviously it's been my lifelong goal to play in the big leagues, but whenever I get that opportunity, I'm definitely going to take advantage of it."

Video: Top Prospects: Jay Groome, LHP, Red Sox

Groome has wisely spent his offseason taking advantage of an invaluable mentor named Chris Sale. When Boston's ace heard that Groome was moving to Fort Myers, Fla., for the winter, Sale took the 19-year-old lefty under his wing, and they've been working out together three to four times a week.

Video: Sale talks about being a mentor to Jay Groome

"I mean, the kid's been throwing 98 [mph] since he was 14. He's got all the tools. I'm not reconstructing this guy," said Sale. "You know, I'm just working out with him and picking his brain a little bit, just trying to maximize his potential. That guy is an animal. I'm just trying to give him some ins and outs and try to get him here sooner rather than later."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Sale takes top prospect Groome under his wing

MLB.com

MANSHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox ace Chris Sale's leadership has extended this offseason to one of the most important arms in the organization.

Left-hander Jay Groome is ranked the No. 1 Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline, and Sale wants to make sure the ultratalented 19-year-old gets the most out of his considerable ability.

MANSHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox ace Chris Sale's leadership has extended this offseason to one of the most important arms in the organization.

Left-hander Jay Groome is ranked the No. 1 Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline, and Sale wants to make sure the ultratalented 19-year-old gets the most out of his considerable ability.

The unique partnership between the ace of the Major League staff and the top arm in the farm system started when Sale heard from mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez that Groome was relocating to Fort Myers, Fla., for the offseason.

Sale lives in Southwest Florida, not far from Boston's Spring Training base.

"I figured hey, you know, young guy in our organization, all the talent in the world," Sale said at Red Sox Winter Weekend on Saturday. "I mean, the kid's been throwing 98 [mph] since he was 14. He's got all the tools. I'm not reconstructing this guy. I'm just working out with him and picking his brain a little bit, just trying to maximize his potential."

Sale's intense offseason workouts are legendary. For Groome to tag along at this stage of his development can only be a good thing.

Video: Sale discusses preparing for the 2018 season

"It's been fun," said Sale. "He's done a really good job. It's fun to see. He's young and this is his first go at it. I'm just trying to get him prepared and show him, 'Hey, this is what it takes to get through a big league season.' He's got all the tools you can possibly ask for. That guy is an animal. Just trying to give him some ins and outs and try to get him here sooner rather than later."

The Red Sox took Groome with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 Draft. That is one selection earlier than when Sale was taken by the White Sox in the '10 Draft.

Sale thinks Groome's raw stuff is better than his own.

"Obviously we have similarities, being pitchers and being left-handed," Sale said. "But he's got me by a pretty good amount. Like I said, he's young and it's great just being able to show him on this platform what it takes and the work that goes in. You can't just roll out of bed and expect to go out and be effective. Just being able to talk to him, tell him what to expect and what to be ready for. He's been getting after it. He's a good kid."

The work Sale is doing with Groome isn't sporadic. It is regular. And right-hander Rick Porcello also has been a participant.

"We work out Monday nights," said Sale. "And then me, Rick and Jay, we do Pilates on Wednesdays. And then me and Jay work out Thursday and Friday. So about four times a week."

Groome's 2017 season was limited to 14 starts due to a left lat injury that occurred in his first start. The injury kept him off the mound for more than two months. There were struggles once he got back out there, and Groome finished the year 3-9 with a 5.69 ERA while making four starts for Class A Short-Season Lowell and 10 starts for Class A Greenville.

Video: Top Prospects: Jay Groome, LHP, Red Sox

But such early lumps aren't uncommon for a pitcher who was drafted out of high school.

"Well, he's in a unique situation," said Sale. "I was in college and I had teammates in college and coaches in college pushing me in the right direction."

What Sale has conveyed to Groome this offseason is that he is a fully available resource to tap into.

"Sometimes you learn more from your teammates and your peers than you do from coaches," Sale said. "I've done this for a while. So I'd like to think I know a little bit of something about it and can share it with him. And, you know, the sooner he can realize what he can be, the better off we're going to be in the long run. You know, I look forward to the day that me and him are pitching in the same rotation."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Chris Sale

Chavis ranks No. 4 on top 3B prospect list

2014 first-round pick coming off breakthrough '17 season in Minors
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Coming off a breakthrough season in the Minor Leagues, Red Sox corner infielder Michael Chavis is getting some deserved recognition heading into 2018.

The latest is his No. 4 ranking among third-base prospects by MLB Pipeline. He was also informed last week that he'll be a Major League invite to Spring Training for the first time in his career. Chavis is ranked Boston's No. 2 prospect by Pipeline.

BOSTON -- Coming off a breakthrough season in the Minor Leagues, Red Sox corner infielder Michael Chavis is getting some deserved recognition heading into 2018.

The latest is his No. 4 ranking among third-base prospects by MLB Pipeline. He was also informed last week that he'll be a Major League invite to Spring Training for the first time in his career. Chavis is ranked Boston's No. 2 prospect by Pipeline.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

While recognition like that proves to Chavis how far he's come, he's determined to not take his foot off the gas pedal.

"There is some pride there," said Chavis. "But that's something I try not to concern myself with too much. I've never heard of someone being, say, the number one prospect, and [the team] being like, 'Well, he's the number one prospect, let's call him up.' That's not really something I try to concern myself with. It's definitely something that's notable and it's an accomplishment.

"But in regards to a confidence booster or a major key, I don't really concern myself with it too much. It's definitely nice to know, and I guess it makes you feel a little better, but it's not a major thing for me."

Video: Chavis, Crockett on big league chances, progress

The big thing for Chavis is to build off last year, when he posted a .282/.347/.563 slash line with 31 homers and 94 RBIs across two levels. It was quite a step up from his struggles of '15-16, when it looked like he might have a hard time living up to his status as a first-round Draft pick in 2014.

"I definitely feel more confident, having the success I had last year," said Chavis. "It's definitely something I want to base this season off of. I want to hit the ground running. The previous years before last year, I kind of had some ups and downs. I had some times of success, I had some times of struggles, but I didn't have the consistency that I wanted.

"I feel like last year I figured myself out as a player, I grew up a lot, I matured a lot as a player and a person, and I think that helped me out on the field. This season, I'm looking forward to growing even more as a player and a person. There's still a lot to learn."

One thing Chavis is learning is a new position. To increase his versatility, the Red Sox had him play some first base in the Arizona Fall League. As Kevin Youkilis demonstrated for Boston from 2004-12, the ability to play both corners can be extremely valuable to a team.

And with third baseman Rafael Devers breaking through in impressive fashion for the Red Sox last year, Chavis might be able to get to the Major Leagues quicker by playing first base.

"It was definitely an easier transition than shortstop to third base," said Chavis. "Both of them are on the corners, so the angles off the bat and in-game reads are pretty similar. The transition was definitely a little bit easier, but a lot of it is just getting the in-game reps and getting more comfortable. I don't know the exact amount of games I played in Arizona at first base, but I played a decent amount."

As nice as it is for Chavis to be able to play multiple positions, his calling card is his bat. Chavis has always had power. But he is now learning to maximize it.

"He really took some big steps forward," said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. "His offensive approach really matured, and I think that's first and foremost. There weren't major mechanical changes that were made. It was really him kind of understanding who he is as a hitter and understanding what makes him successful. Looking for the right pitches to hit, and being able to lay off and recognize pitches that he can't do as much damage with."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Michael Chavis

Chavis gives Red Sox a big bat in pipeline

Third baseman's maturing approach led to Arizona Fall League, Spring Training invite
MLB.com

BOSTON -- For all the talk about the Red Sox trying to find another power hitter via free agency or a trade, it should be noted that another slugger could be making his way through the pipeline with a possible arrival at Fenway Park at some point in 2018.

Michael Chavis, ranked as Boston's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a right-handed hitter who swings for the fences. He headlines the Red Sox Minor Leaguers who are taking part in the team's Rookie Development Program in Boston this week.

BOSTON -- For all the talk about the Red Sox trying to find another power hitter via free agency or a trade, it should be noted that another slugger could be making his way through the pipeline with a possible arrival at Fenway Park at some point in 2018.

Michael Chavis, ranked as Boston's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a right-handed hitter who swings for the fences. He headlines the Red Sox Minor Leaguers who are taking part in the team's Rookie Development Program in Boston this week.

After a breakthrough season in the Minors last year (31 homers, 94 RBIs, .910 OPS), how close does Chavis feel he is to getting to the Major Leagues?

"I'd like to say I feel like I'm pretty close, significantly closer than I felt like I was last year," Chavis said. "Obviously that's not up to me and it's not something I really can control and say, 'Hey, I'm ready.' So that's not really something I worry too much about. Obviously it's been my life-long goal to play in the big leagues, but whenever I get that opportunity, I'm definitely going to take advantage of it."

Tweet from @RedSox: Welcome to the 2018 Rookie Development Program!Bringing a little baseball to your life on this Wednesday morning: pic.twitter.com/kS3NDVuRRt

Chavis isn't the only one who feels like he's close.

"He's put himself on the Major League radar having some success in the Double-A level and the Arizona Fall League," said Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett. "I think coming into this year, we're just looking for him to pick up where he left off at the end of the season and really just be as consistent as he can offensively and defensively with his exposure to both first base and third base."

Chavis has mainly been a third baseman since the Red Sox took him in the first round of the 2014 Draft, but he demonstrated he could also play first base in the Arizona Fall League.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox

"Reports were really good," said Crockett. "Darren Fenster, our coach there, was working with him daily, and even hearing from scouts from outside the organization, it was all really positive. That transition isn't always as easy as people think it might be. I think there's a lot that goes into the footwork around the bag, understanding responsibilities at a new position. He took to it really easily actually."

The fact that Chavis can play first could be particularly beneficial for future roster construction when you consider the Red Sox just broke in a top prospect at the hot corner last year in Rafael Devers.

Crockett said Chavis will continue to play both corners in 2018.

Earlier this week, Chavis was thrilled to hear that he will be a non-roster invitee for the Red Sox at Spring Training.

"I was actually eating lunch and I got called into the office," said Chavis. "I found out I was invited to camp and I was thrilled. It was one of my goals I set before this past season was to be invited to Arizona Fall League and also be invited to big league camp after the season, so having accomplished both of those, it was a big moment yesterday finding out. I told everybody, I told my family and everybody was really excited."

Video: Chavis on his goal of playing in the Fall League

The biggest area of development the Red Sox saw from Chavis last year was the mental side of hitting, which is often a separator.

"Yeah, incredible year for Michael [last year]," said Crockett. "He really took some big steps forward. His offensive approach really matured and I think that's first and foremost. There weren't major mechanical changes that were made. It was really him kind of understanding who he is as a hitter and understanding what makes him successful.

"Looking for the right pitches to hit, and being able to lay off and recognize pitches that he can't do as much damage with. And really start to understand what pitchers are trying to do to him. He's used some different methods to help him filter his performance, whether that's thinking about at-bat to at-bat, looking back on what he did well and what he didn't and being able to move on."

The confidence Chavis has now is what he lacked in his second pro season in 2015, when he slashed .223/.277/.405 with 144 strikeouts in 435 at-bats for Class-A Greenville.

Video: Red Sox's Chavis hits walk-off homer in Fall League

"It's not the easiest thing. If it was easy, guys would just do it off the bat," Chavis said. "One of the things coming from high school, there wasn't much failure. So coming into pro ball, it was something I had to try to learn to try to handle the failure, whether it was a little small portion where it was like a bad day, a bad week or a bad series. But being able to learn how to cope with that, being able to grow from it or being able to flush it and start over the next day was something I had to learn and that was something that helped me stay more consistent.

"Sometimes the pitcher has a good day. Sometimes you just have a bad day. It was being able to learn that a bad day doesn't mean there's something wrong. It's just being able to know myself as a player and know my swing."

That swing could be arriving at Fenway Park in the not-too-distant future.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Castillo, Chavis among 16 spring camp NRIs

MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox announced 16 non-roster invitees to Spring Training on Tuesday, including outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will once again try to work his way back on the radar.

Infielder Michael Chavis will be in Major League camp for the first time in hopes of building off his monster 2017 season, in which he belted 31 homers and had 94 RBIs split between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland. Chavis is ranked No. 2 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox announced 16 non-roster invitees to Spring Training on Tuesday, including outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will once again try to work his way back on the radar.

Infielder Michael Chavis will be in Major League camp for the first time in hopes of building off his monster 2017 season, in which he belted 31 homers and had 94 RBIs split between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland. Chavis is ranked No. 2 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline.

The other invitees are as follows: Catchers Dan Butler, Oscar Hernandez, Austin Rei and Jake Romanski; infielders Iván De Jesús Jr., Chad De La Guerra and Esteban Quiroz; Outfielders Jeremy Barfield and Aneury Tavárez; left-handed pitcher Bobby Poyner; and right-handed pitchers Justin Haley, Kyle Martin, Fernando Rodriguez Jr. and Marcus Walden.

Video: TOR@BOS: Martin notches his first Major League K

Castillo, who is from Cuba, was signed to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox in August 2014. But the right-handed hitter has spent most of his time in the Minor Leagues and hasn't played for the Red Sox since June 16, 2016. He was taken off the 40-man roster shortly after that.

Though Castillo had a solid 2017 season for Triple-A Pawtucket (.314/.350.507, 15 homers), he is blocked by Boston's loaded outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.

Castillo is still owed $35.5 million over the next three seasons. One complication for the Red Sox is that by putting Castillo back on the 40-man roster, it means that his salary would then be factored into Boston's luxury-tax calculations.

Perhaps the best-case scenario would be for the 30-year-old Castillo to have a strong Spring Training and then get traded to a team that has a need in the outfield.

The Red Sox look forward to being able to get a closer look at Chavis this spring. The 22-year-old slugger was named 2017 Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2017. He hit three home runs on April 19 against Wilmington, including a walk-off, two-run shot that gave Salem a 7-6 win.

Selected 26th overall by the Red Sox in the 2014 Draft, Chavis also helped Peoria win the 2017 Arizona Fall League title by hitting four home runs and ranking among the league leaders in several offensive categories.

De La Guerra (No. 23) and Martin (No. 25) are the other two invitees who are ranked among Boston's Top 30 Prospects by MLB Pipeline.

A Carolina League All-Star in 2017, De La Guerra hit .283 with 31 doubles, nine homers, 81 runs and a .361 on-base percentage in a season split between Salem and Portland. This is the third consecutive Major League camp for Martin, who made two appearances for the Red Sox last season, including a scoreless inning in his debut on July 20.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Chavis set for Rookie Development Program

MLB.com

The Red Sox will have an impressive cast of prospects in Boston next week for their annual Rookie Development Program, led by slugging corner infielder Michael Chavis.

Most of the current homegrown Red Sox stars, from Mookie Betts to Xander Bogaerts to Jackie Bradley Jr. to Rafael Devers, participated in the camp in past years.

The Red Sox will have an impressive cast of prospects in Boston next week for their annual Rookie Development Program, led by slugging corner infielder Michael Chavis.

Most of the current homegrown Red Sox stars, from Mookie Betts to Xander Bogaerts to Jackie Bradley Jr. to Rafael Devers, participated in the camp in past years.

Chavis, Boston's No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, totaled 31 homers and 94 RBIs in a 2017 season split between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland.

The right-handed-hitting Chavis will be joined by first baseman Josh Ockimey, infielders Chad De La Guerra and Esteban Quiroz, left-handers Jalen Beeks, William Jerez and Bobby Poyner, and right-handers Ty Buttrey, Justin Haley and Mike Shawaryn.

Ockimey is ranked No. 8 among Red Sox prospects. The other prospects from the group who are in the Top 30 are Shawaryn (No. 6), Beeks (No. 16), Jerez (No. 20) and De La Guerra (No. 23).

The week-long program, which starts Monday and will include daily workouts at Boston College, focuses on helping players ease their transition into becoming Major Leaguers.

The Red Sox typically invite players they feel are reasonably close to being big leaguers.

The list of speakers at the event will include Red Sox president/CEO Sam Kennedy, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, manager Alex Cora and special assistants Jason Varitek and Tony La Russa.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Taste of October has Maddox itching for more

Rookie reliever coming off dominant September callup and impressive ALDS
MLB.com

When Austin Maddox reflects on the breakthrough season he had in 2017, which culminated with a scoreless inning of relief against the eventual World Series champion Astros in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, he realizes there was value from the early rough patches in his professional career.

A third-round Draft pick of the Red Sox out of the University of Florida in 2012, Maddox struggled through the South Atlantic League in '13, posting a 5.63 ERA for Boston's Class A Greenville affiliate.

When Austin Maddox reflects on the breakthrough season he had in 2017, which culminated with a scoreless inning of relief against the eventual World Series champion Astros in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, he realizes there was value from the early rough patches in his professional career.

A third-round Draft pick of the Red Sox out of the University of Florida in 2012, Maddox struggled through the South Atlantic League in '13, posting a 5.63 ERA for Boston's Class A Greenville affiliate.

The next season, he went up one level higher to the Carolina League and didn't fare much better, as the hard-throwing righty had a 5.82 ERA.

But it was through those tough times that Maddox found himself, and learned what he needed to do to get better.

Video: BOS@HOU Gm 2: Maddox's K strands the bases loaded

"Going into my professional career, I didn't have a lot of pitching experience under my belt and I failed a lot early in my career," Maddox said last weekend at MLB's Rookie Career Development Program in Leesburg, Va. "Getting to pro ball was the first time I had dealt with that kind of failure and I didn't know how to handle it. Learning how to deal with that is a huge part in what I was able to do [in 2017]. It was a huge year for me, but I'm working hard now to get ready for next year."

An accomplished hitter in high school and then in college, when he belted 17 homers for Florida as a freshman, Maddox was a late bloomer as a pitcher. Sure, he misses taking his hacks. But Maddox has no regrets about the path he's on now.

"There's definitely days I miss hitting, but right now I'm focused on pitching and that's kind of the route that my career has taken me, and I'm running with it," Maddox said. "As long as I get to put a big league uniform on, I'm happy."

Last season Maddox put himself on the map for the Red Sox. He came to Spring Training and immediately impressed, nearly winning a spot on the roster out of camp before getting his first callup to Boston in June. Of the 13 times Maddox pitched for the Red Sox, he was unscored on all but once.

Though it was a relatively small sample size, it was enough for Maddox to earn an ALDS roster spot in a heated competition among several Boston right-handers.

"We found out when we got to Houston," Maddox said. "[Manager John] Farrell called me in the office and told me I would be active on the roster for the Series. I wouldn't say I was surprised. I felt like I was ready for the challenge and I'm glad the opportunity was presented to me."

The 26-year-old Maddox is ranked No. 27 among Red Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline and he looks to carry the momentum he gained last year into spring camp next month, when the competition for bullpen spots will heat up again under new manager Alex Cora.

"I went home in the offseason with a purpose, and I know what I'm working for because I want to get back to October next year," Maddox said.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Austin Maddox

Boston out of running for two-way star Ohtani

Coveted Japanese free agent narrows field of suitors
MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox were looking forward to having the chance to make a persuasive pitch to two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the most coveted player to come out of Japan in a few years. But they won't get the chance.

"We have been informed that we have not been invited to make an in-person presentation," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said via email Sunday.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox were looking forward to having the chance to make a persuasive pitch to two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the most coveted player to come out of Japan in a few years. But they won't get the chance.

"We have been informed that we have not been invited to make an in-person presentation," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said via email Sunday.

Hot Stove Tracker

Perhaps cushioning the blow somewhat for the Red Sox is that the Yankees have also been told they are out of the running. According to reports, several other teams were told the same thing Sunday, including the Twins, Mets and D-backs.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that he was informed Ohtani's preference is to play for a West Coast team.

The Red Sox were hoping their pursuit of Ohtani could be helped by the positive past experiences Japanese players like Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Takashi Saito, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara had in Boston.

Boston's $462,500 bonus pool was far smaller than what several other teams can offer Ohtani, but it's unknown if that was a factor.

It would have been interesting to see if Ohtani would have had the chance to be a designated hitter for the Red Sox and a member of their starting rotation.

With Ohtani no longer a possibility, the Red Sox will continue to focus on their main offseason priority: Finding a big bat.

At this point, it seems a long shot Boston will land Giancarlo Stanton. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Marlins have agreed to the general framework of trades for Stanton with both the Giants and Cardinals. Stanton has a full no-trade clause.

J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer are two of the top free agents the Red Sox are likely to remain engaged with.

The Red Sox have also had discussions with the White Sox about a trade that would bring slugger first baseman Jose Abreu to Boston.

Carlos Santana and Logan Morrison are other free agents who could help the Red Sox get some of the production they are seeking.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Brentz to see time in Red Sox outfield in 2018

Boston considering a lighter workload for ace Sale
MLB.com

One thing the Red Sox likely won't be in the market for this winter is a replacement for fourth outfielder Chris Young, who is a free agent.

Instead, late-blooming prospect Bryce Brentz, who was recently added to the 40-man roster, will get the chance to prove that he can be the right-handed hitter that will start in the outfield against lefties.

One thing the Red Sox likely won't be in the market for this winter is a replacement for fourth outfielder Chris Young, who is a free agent.

Instead, late-blooming prospect Bryce Brentz, who was recently added to the 40-man roster, will get the chance to prove that he can be the right-handed hitter that will start in the outfield against lefties.

The Red Sox have two left-handed hitters in their outfield in Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr., which increases the importance of having a reliable right-handed hitter in reserve.

Brentz didn't have options last spring, and the Red Sox designated him for assignment and stashed him away in the Minor Leagues when nobody claimed him. That could prove to be fortuitous, as he blossomed for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2017, belting 31 homers in 120 games.

"Right now, we'll have Bryce Brentz do that job for us," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday from the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla. "We always, in our own mind, felt that [he would get a chance] if he could get to that time at the end of the year where we could protect him. We're looking at him. He has a leg up. We're not really looking to go sign somebody at this time."

Due to roster flexibility issues, the 28-year-old Brentz didn't spend any time in the Major Leagues last season. He played for the Red Sox in 2014 and '16, batting .287 with a homer in 87 at-bats.

"He's having a real good winter ball season in Mexico," said Dombrowski. "He shows you the determination to play there, which is really a credit to him. We felt he made some strides last year, particularly when it comes to left-handed pitching."

Video: BOS@BAL: Watch Sale strikeout 13 O's in 13 seconds

Sale's workload a topic

Ace Chris Sale's dominant first season with the Red Sox also included a late-season slump, the kind the lefty sometimes had when he was with the White Sox, too. Sale led the Major Leagues with 214 1/3 innings in 2017. Would the Red Sox think about lessening his workload next season to make sure he is at his best down the stretch?

"We've talked about it," said Dombrowski. "We haven't sat down and talked to Chris about it as of yet, and I think it's something we're looking at from an internal perspective. But realistically, it's a challenge. It's something we need to do, but it wasn't something we weren't cognizant of last year. We never brought him back on short rest.

"Anytime we have him a sixth day, we gave him a sixth day. He threw 215 innings, it's not like he threw 250 innings. I mean, 215 innings is a lot, but it's the fewest ever that's led Major League Baseball in a particular year, the number of innings pitched. But I think we still need to explore all those things.

"This year, it's a little different right off the bat. There's more off-days in our schedule. This year, the basic agreement days kick in so there's five extra days off during the regular season, so that can create some extra time off, right off the beginning of the season. We play six straight days on the road, then we have an off-day, play a game, off-day, play a weekend, off-day. So you can see the difference right off the bat. I think we at least have to be aware that those off-days early can pay off for us later on. So we talked about that, but we really haven't gotten more specific."

Video: HOU@BOS: Betts crushes a solo dinger to left-center

Eye on the future

Dombrowski was asked if he takes into consideration next year's enticing free-agent class (Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, among others) when it comes to plotting his plans for this winter. Interestingly, it could come down to how successful the Red Sox are in trying to extend some of their cornerstone young players like Mookie Betts and Benintendi.

"You always look to the future, so you're never just looking at this year. You always do that. But I think what gets lost, too, is that we have some young players that we want to retain in our own organization," Dombrowski said. "So how many big, big dollar guys can one club have? So I think that there are still limitations on every organization in baseball in that regard. So you look at all those things together.

"In some ways, you prioritize your own players, too, and keeping them for the long term. If you do that, does that restrict you from doing something else? But yet, if you don't keep them or they don't want to be with you, then you have other availabilities that are out there, potentially. So, there's a lot that goes into those decisions."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Bryce Brentz

Red Sox mourn loss of prospect Flores at 17

Ranked No. 5 in Boston's system, catcher passes away due to complications during cancer treatment
MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox delivered some devastating news on Wednesday, announcing that 17-year-old Minor League catcher Daniel Flores has died due to complications during treatment for cancer.

Flores was Boston's top international signing from last July, as the club signed him to a $3.1 million deal with visions that he could one day be the team's No. 1 catcher.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox delivered some devastating news on Wednesday, announcing that 17-year-old Minor League catcher Daniel Flores has died due to complications during treatment for cancer.

Flores was Boston's top international signing from last July, as the club signed him to a $3.1 million deal with visions that he could one day be the team's No. 1 catcher.

"Everyone at the Red Sox was shocked to hear of Daniel's tragic passing," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "To see the life of a young man with so much promise cut short is extremely saddening for all of us. On behalf of the Red Sox organization, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Daniel's family."

It had not been made public that Flores had cancer until after his death. The Red Sox didn't disclose the type of cancer out of respect for the wishes of the Flores family.

Flores had been undergoing cancer treatments at Massachusetts General Hospital in recent weeks.

The news came one day after former star Major League pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash.

Assistant general manager Eddie Romero, who helped lead the effort to sign Flores, also released a statement.

"Every member of our organization who got to know Daniel absolutely loved him," said Romero. "He was energetic, hard-working and genuinely selfless, always with a smile on his face. He cared for his teammates and was a natural leader. I'm at a loss for words today. Daniel was an impressive young man with limitless potential, and his life was cut far too short.

"My condolences go out to Daniel's mother and sister. Though with us for a short time, Daniel will always be a part of the Red Sox family."

Flores idolized Royals catcher Salvador Perez and had the chance to meet him a few times. Flores hoped to one day play on the same Major League field as Perez, who helped the Royals win the World Series in 2015.

Flores was ranked as the fifth-best prospect in Boston's farm system by MLBPipeline.com.

Some scouts felt Flores was the best international prospect available last summer, and the Red Sox graded him as an elite defender with promising raw power. A switch hitter, Flores was projected to do damage from both sides of the plate.

Combine those traits with footwork, a strong arm, a sound release point and an impressively seamless transfer for a 17-year-old, and the Red Sox were sure Flores was the player to target as their top international signing.

Boston was excited to watch Flores develop, and he was slated to play in the Dominican Summer League in 2018.

One thing that impressed the Red Sox about the strides Flores made defensively in such a short amount of time, is that the prospect started out as a shortstop.

In Venezuela, Flores was trained by former Blue Jays Minor League infielder Jose Salas Jr. Flores moved to catcher at Salas' Puro Beisbol academy in Caracas and developed into the top amateur catcher in Venezuela prior to signing with the Red Sox.

MLBPipeline's scouting report on Flores
After the Red Sox spent heavily on the 2014-15 international amateur market for talents such as the since-traded Yoan Moncada and Anderson Espinoza, baseball rules prohibited them from spending more than $300,000 on an individual player in the next two signing periods. Freed from those restrictions in 2017, Boston landed Flores, whom some teams considered the best player available. His all-around potential as a catcher earned him a $3.1 million bonus out of Venezuela.

Flores is one of the best defensive catchers amateur scouts have seen in years, earning comparisons to the likes of Austin Hedges. He has a well above-average arm, the product of plus arm strength, a quick release and impressive accuracy. He also receives and blocks well, giving him all the ingredients to develop into a Gold Glover.

A switch-hitter, Flores is better from the right side of the plate and is still honing his lefty stroke. He has the chance to hit for average and power as he gets stronger, and he already shows some ability to drive the ball during batting practice. The only tool he lacks is speed, as is the case with most catchers.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox

Boston's De La Guerra comes up clutch in AFL

MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chad De La Guerra isn't the biggest name on the loaded Arizona Fall League Peoria roster, but he did come up with the biggest hit in a 4-3 win over Glendale on Monday.

The Red Sox's No. 24 prospect finished 1-for-4, but his one-hit -- a two-run double in the sixth -- proved to be the difference as the Javelinas boosted their record to a league best 13-9.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chad De La Guerra isn't the biggest name on the loaded Arizona Fall League Peoria roster, but he did come up with the biggest hit in a 4-3 win over Glendale on Monday.

The Red Sox's No. 24 prospect finished 1-for-4, but his one-hit -- a two-run double in the sixth -- proved to be the difference as the Javelinas boosted their record to a league best 13-9.

"First pitch, I just missed a good pitch to hit, so I was just trying to be on time with the next one," De La Guerra said. "He gave me another fastball and I kept my hands in."

Box score

The result was a two-run double to left field that capped a three-run sixth, immediately after Glendale had taken a lead in the bottom of the fifth.

Not only did Peoria come from behind after Glendale took the lead in the fifth, but it also came from behind to tie the game in the second after the Desert Dogs took an early lead in the first.

"It's just the fun we're having," De La Guerra said of his team's ability to bounce back from early deficits. "We're having a lot of fun. For some reason, I think this is just a good group of guys. We just kind of clicked, we try to have fun and I think that's what shows."

Video: Top Prospects: Chad De La Guerra, SS, Red Sox

On a team level, having fun is working for the Javelinas, but on a personal level, the ability to have more fun, along with better preparation techniques, played a role in De La Guerra's best season as a professional.

The 24-year-old, whom the Red Sox selected in the 17th-round of the 2015 Draft, set career highs as he slashed .283/.361/.437 across 110 games with Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland this season.

"I would use the word important for sure," De La Guerra said of the strides he made this year. "I just had a different mindset going in. Some of the things the Red Sox staff worked with me on - just having more fun - and once I got going, I just stuck with my routine. I got into a better routine preparing for the games and it just worked out for me."

De La Guerra came through with the bit him, but a couple of his teammates had good days as well. Josh Naylor (Padres' No. 10) went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs and Alex Jackson (Braves' No. 16) drove in the first run with an RBI single.

Matt Beaty (Dodgers' No. 30) did most of the damage for Glendale. The Texas League Player of the Year gave the Desert Dogs an early lead with an RBI single in the first and added another in the fifth as he finished 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox recent top Draft picks get work in at instructs

MLB.com

Hurricane Irma forced the Red Sox to change their instructional league plans. After sustaining some damage to their training base in Fort Myers, Fla., they cut back the program to two weeks, reduced their player contingent and cancelled 13 scheduled games against other organizations.

Boston farm director Ben Crockett said the organization was still able to get some valuable work in with several of its best young prospects.

Hurricane Irma forced the Red Sox to change their instructional league plans. After sustaining some damage to their training base in Fort Myers, Fla., they cut back the program to two weeks, reduced their player contingent and cancelled 13 scheduled games against other organizations.

Boston farm director Ben Crockett said the organization was still able to get some valuable work in with several of its best young prospects.

For one, it gave several members of an impressive 2016 Draft class riddled by injuries during their first full pro seasons the opportunity to gain more experience. Left-hander Jay Groome (first round), who strained his lat muscle in his first 2017 start and wound up working just 55 1/3 innings, focused on drillwork and fundamentals. Shortstop C.J. Chatham (second round), who got only 19 at-bats because of recurring hamstring problems, was able to participate fully.

Red Sox Top 30 Prospects

So was slugging third baseman Bobby Dalbec (fourth round), who went down due to a broken hamate bone in his left hand in mid-May and struggled to regain his timing when he returned at the end of June. He hit .273/.380/.529 with seven homers in the final month of the season, and the Red Sox hope he can built off that momentum.

"Dalbec finished the year on a high note with his swing," Crockett said. "We tried to reinforce that going into next year. It was a pretty weird year where (right-hander Mike) Shawaryn was the only top-five-rounds guy we felt like we got to see the whole guy. We're definitely excited to see the rest of these guys healthy next year."

Video: Top Prospects: Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox

Several of Boston's 2017 Draftees also were on hand, including their first seven selections, headlined by first-round right-hander Tanner Houck. Fifth-round righty Alex Scherff, who concentrated on strengthening his shoulder and didn't pitch in a pro game after signing for an over-slot $700,000, was especially impressive. He has a mid-90s fastball and an advanced changeup for a prep product.

"Scherff is passionate about being very good," Crockett said. "He's talented and believes in himself. He's a physical specimen along the lines of (Michael) Kopech when we first had him."

Video: Top Prospects: Alex Scherff, RHP, Red Sox

Kopech, a Boston first-rounder in 2014 who came from the Texas high school ranks like Scherff, went to the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade last December and now ranks as the best pitching prospect in baseball.

The Red Sox also used the instructional league to work out prospects at unfamiliar positions. Michael Chavis, who broke out with 31 homers this year but is blocked at third base in Boston by Rafael Devers, got a crash course at first base in advance of seeing more action there in the Arizona Fall League. He'll play both infield corners next year in Triple-A.

Video: Chavis on his goal of playing in the Fall League

Second baseman Jagger Rusconi, who began playing some center field at low Class A in August, focused on the latter position during instructional league. A fifth-round pick in 2015, he's a switch-hitter with some of the best all-around tools in the system but has played just 82 pro games in three years because of shoulder, foot and leg injuries.

"He's trying to make up for lost time," Crockett said. "Center field looked good. He was comfortable, his reads off the bat were solid and he certainly has the makeup speed needed out there. He's got bat speed, he's got a pretty good swing from both sides. It's just a matter of getting him reps to see what he can do."

Perhaps the most intriguing player in Boston's camp, which ended Oct. 8, was Justin Qiang, the first Tibetan ever signed by a big league organization. Signed for $10,000 in July, Qiang is learning to catch after playing the infield as an amateur.

"He's pretty physical," Crockett said. "He's got a strong build and looks like a catcher. He has a nice toolset for a 16-year-old kid. He has a nice swing with some moving parts with his lower half that he'll have to work on to repeat, but there are a lot of tools to work with. He showed solid-average arm strength. It's just a matter of making that work behind the plate with his exchange and transfer."

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox's Arizona Fall League overview

Chavis continuing breakout campaign in AFL
MLB.com

Michael Chavis' offensive potential got him selected 26th overall in the 2014 Draft. But it didn't shine through as hoped in his first three pro seasons.

Chavis hit just .235/.301/.396 with 263 strikeouts in 229 games in the lower levels of the Red Sox system before breaking out in 2017. The 22-year-old third baseman ranked third in the Minors in extra-base hits (68) and tied for fifth in homers (31, six more than his previous career total) while batting .282/.347/.563 in 126 games between high Class A and Double-A.

Michael Chavis' offensive potential got him selected 26th overall in the 2014 Draft. But it didn't shine through as hoped in his first three pro seasons.

Chavis hit just .235/.301/.396 with 263 strikeouts in 229 games in the lower levels of the Red Sox system before breaking out in 2017. The 22-year-old third baseman ranked third in the Minors in extra-base hits (68) and tied for fifth in homers (31, six more than his previous career total) while batting .282/.347/.563 in 126 games between high Class A and Double-A.

Boston's No. 2 prospect and No. 92 on the Top 100, Chavis will try to build on that progress with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. He said his improvement resulted more from mental adjustments rather than any physical changes.

"A lot of it has to do with the mental approach, being able to mature and bring myself to the moment, know what I'm trying to do," Chavis said. "And learning my swing, knowing what I have to do before the game and mid at-bat in order to put my best swing on the ball. Have my approach and keep my approach, not only pitch to pitch but through the entire season . . .

"One of the things was acknowledging my strengths and my weaknesses, knowing what I do well and what I don't do well. When I'm up there, for example, it might be a pitch that is a strike but it might not be a pitch that I can drive. So it's part of the maturing and growing up, where I learned it's better to take that pitch than barely hit it and maybe get a single, but the majority of the time you're going to get out."

Arizona Fall League roster & stats

Chavis has more than enough bat speed, strength and loft in his right-handed swing to hit plenty of home runs without shooting for the fences. He understands that now and recognizes he's at his best when he uses the entire field. He's doing a better job of recognizing pitches and executing a two-strike approach.

He started to make progress at the start of last season, hitting .356/.415/.576 with three homers in 15 games in low Class A. Then he tore a ligament in his left thumb that cost him two months and broke a bone in his right middle finger shortly after returning. Trying to make up for lost time, he undermined himself by selling out for power again.

"Chavis had a really good approach in early 2016," Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett said. "He recognized pitches, controlled his upper half, wasn't all pull anymore, stayed back. He has a good routine now and he's very dedicated. He's not overswinging."

There are fewer questions about Chavis' bat after his big season. Where he'll ultimately wind up on the diamond is another matter. A shortstop at Sprayberry High (Marietta, Ga.) who moved to third base in instructional league after his pro debut, he's blocked at the hot corner in Boston by Rafael Devers.

Chavis began working out at first base late in the season at Double-A Portland and continued to do so during instructional league. He played one game there for the Javelinas in the first two weeks of the AFL season, and some scouts wonder if he could become a second baseman along the lines of Jedd Gyorko or Dan Uggla.

"As long as I'm in the lineup, as long as I can help the team, I'm happy to play wherever they need me and wherever they want me," Chavis said. "They told me to start working at first base and I said, 'Hell, yeah.' So I've been working at first from the last two weeks of the season, worked in instructs and I'm obviously working here, going to do some games here as well. I'm excited to see how that works out."

Red Sox hitters in the Fall League

Chad de la Guerra, SS/2B -- A 17th-round senior sign out of Grand Canyon in 2015, de la Guerra stands out for his ability to make consistent line-drive contact and his instincts. The Red Sox's No. 24 prospect batted .283/.361/.437 with nine homers in 110 games between high Class A and Double-A this summer.

Josh Tobias, 2B -- Another 2015 senior sign, Tobias went to the Phillies in the 10th round and came to the Red Sox last December in a trade for Clay Buchholz. De la Guerra's double-play partner for much of the season, the Red Sox's No. 27 prospect hit .284/.381/.382 in 113 games at high Class A and Double-A.

Video: Josh Tobias on using the AFL to improve

Red Sox pitchers in the Fall League

Ty Buttrey, RHP -- Signed for a well-over-slot $1.3 million as a fourth-rounder from a North Carolina high school in 2012, Buttrey had only sporadic success until he became a full-time reliever four years later. He now works with a 93-98 mph fastball and backs it up with a changeup that features splitter action. He had a 4.81 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

Kevin McAvoy, RHP -- McAvoy relies mostly on a lively low-90s sinker and a cutter/slider. A 2014 fourth-rounder from Bryant, he went 6-9 with a 4.28 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 117 2/3 innings in Double-A.

Henry Owens, LHP -- A 2011 supplemental first-rounder out of a California high school, Owens once ranked as one of the best lefty pitching prospects in the game but has never been able to establish himself in Boston. His stuff and control have regressed, and he now operates with an upper-80s fastball and an effective-yet-diminished changeup. He led the Minors with 115 walks this year while going 7-11 with a 4.21 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 126 innings at Double-A and Triple-A.

Bobby Poyner, LHP -- Yet another 2015 senior sign (14th round) and a teammate of Tobias at Florida, Poyner has an 89-90 mph fastball that plays way up because of the deception in his delivery. He's coming off the best season of his pro career, having posted a 1.49 ERA, 15 saves and an 84/17 K/BB ratio in 60 1/3 innings between high Class A and Double-A.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Boston Red Sox