Sim Sports Gaming had the opportunity to chat with SSG Boston Red Sox GM Paul Denyer earlier this week and of course the main topic was the acquisition of Didi Gregorius. We touched briefly on some of those talking points in Clifton Markle’s article breaking down the signing, but there was also plenty the General Manager had to add that did not make that story so here is the full transcript of our chat with the Red Sox boss.
SSG- What are the plans for getting Gregorius and Bogaerts in the lineup at the same time? Looking at your infield it looks like that might be tough to accomplish.
Paul Denyer: Gregorius is projected to start the season at 2B with Bogaerts staying as SS. Beckham will be used to cover 2B and 3B and Gregorius will spell Bogaerts at SS which is something we really didn’t have last season when Bogaerts needed a day off. We now have a couple of infielders who can play multiple infield positions when we need to people around to cover rest days (mainly Beckham, Gregorius, Moncada and Devers).
SSG- Should we expect some more moves from Boston before camp starts? Outfield looks like a concern, particularly left field which seems to be a revolving door with Hazelbaker, Valera and the now departed Revere. Plus injury concerns always seem to surrounding Jackie Bradley Jr in center. With Mickey Brantley going back to SF how concerned are you about your OF situation?
Paul Denyer: The plan with Brantley when traded for was for him not to take the player option, play out this season in Boston and then decline the team option he had for 2021. That didn’t happen and was always a risk, we offered Brantley a new contract but would not go to the 4th year (for a 32 year old). We are still in the market for an outfielder through FA or trade, there is still time to bring someone in. If we do Valera will be the one moved to AAA or via trade, Hazelbaker is a captain and a great presence in the locker room. We looked at non tendering Bradley at arbitration time but couldn’t get any deal done to replace him, especially with his glove where is excels, if the injuries start coming in again, Betts can play CF and we have a couple of options at AAA if need be.
SSG- How is your team money situation? Looking at the league site you guys should have a fair bit still available to add some pieces, but not sure if the owner is holding back a fair bit on you.
Paul Denyer: Money, we are comfortable, we signed Swihart to an extension earlier in the off season, have a couple of players hitting their first arbitration in 2021 so we will have an increase in salary to just below $100m, but we have scope to sign players via FA or trade if needed. We can increase development and scouting budgets if needed, we have gotten out of a few big contracts in the last few years, that was the plan, ride those out and have money available for whatever we want.
SSG- Where do you see the Red Sox finishing this year?
Paul Denyer: 2019 was a year ahead of schedule, we planned for a winning record and ended up with the second wildcard and a trip to Seattle. Blue Jays may be stronger than us over 162 games, the plan for 2020 was a wild card.
SSG: Best case scenario. What has to happen for an even better finish?
Paul Denyer: To go one step further would be the division title and that would mean the Blue Jays have disappointed, and we need to consistently play well all season.
SSG: And final question. What are your biggest concerns about the Red Sox going into spring training?
Paul Denyer: injuries in spring training, not many battles for spots and we will give some MiLB a taste of spring training with the big boys.
SSG: Thank you for your time and good luck this season.