Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein held a conference call with the media to talk about today’s roster moves. Here’s some quick highlights (check out the audio player below to hear highlights from the conference call):
On Victor Martinez: “We think Victor Martinez is a great fit for our club and he provides a significant offensive boost and does it with some versatility that compliments our roster really well. Obviously, he can catch, give [Jason Varitek] a little bit of rest behind the plate; he can play first base, get some at-bats there, use Youkilis’ versatility; and he can DH a little bit. Thought it was a good fit for our roster, provides offensive support and depth at the same time.”
On pursuing a starting pitcher: “We were involved with some talks that could have led to some pretty good starting pitchers becoming available, but it didn’t turn out that way and I don’t think you’ll see much impactful starting pitching move in August, but we like our pitching staff and our run prevention is very good… You’re always looking for an impact starting pitcher, especially this time of year, it didn’t come to fruition.”
On trading Adam LaRoche: “LaRoche did a nice job while he was here, but we felt all along, the best fit for him is if he had to close to everyday at-bats, at least every day against righthanded pitching, while at first base. With the addition of Victor Martinez, there’s not quite as many at-bats available at first base. I think with LaRoche’s timing mechanism, swing — and approach in general — he needs to play to be productive. He needs to play every day or close to it, whereas Casey Kotchman has a little different approach at the plate, might play better in a little different type role. Kotchman is also an elite defender and might be somebody you see coming in late in games for defense on days when Victor Martinez starts at first base.”
On utilizing Victor Martinez: “As we contemplated his acquisition, we talked with [manager Terry Francona] about possible fits and we all agreed what seems to make sense is a similar role as he had in Cleveland, where he has the ability to catch, but not to do so every day, just that wears his legs down. Just to spend enough time at first base and DH, stay fresh, and that works for our club because Jason Varitek is, has been, and will continue to be a very important part of our club and (working with) the pitching staff.”
On if today was frustrating: “Not today. We engaged, in previous days, we had some things working, things we were really excited about, and a couple that got really close, but didn’t happen. That’s par for the course in deadline season. We shot big on a couple things, a deal that could provide maximum impact. We were very aggressive in use of our own prospects, those deals got close… Maybe the foundation is laid for the offseason.”
Epstein went on to suggest that the Red Sox kept an open dialogue with the Indians to revisit a Martinez swap should the team be unable to land another deal. Epstein concluded the call by talking about the players like Justin Masterson departing Boston and how much he valued those players.