By Ryan Hannable
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As part of the annual Winter Meetings each manager in the league speaks to the media for roughly 30 minutes. In a division as competitive as the American League East, the Red Sox came up during each of the other manager’s talks.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter:
There’s been some differences between the Red Sox and the Yankees, just different teams. How do you see it playing out, going into next season?
“It’s always a given with the other teams in our division, that they’re going to be better. I mean, God bless them. I’d do the same thing if I was them. Obviously it’s improved, at the very least. A lot of time until the last week in April or March. I don’t pay near as much attention what they’re doing. It’s a given, especially the Red Sox and Yankees, they’re going to make a lot of splashy things. But I’d do the same thing if I was them. And they do it real well. Boston did a great job of getting talented players and good makeup guys last year and it did well for them.”
On Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield:
“Oh, yeah. We exchanged some messages probably an hour after the game was over, last game. I was pulling for him. I was pulling for the Red Sox, one, because they’re from our division, and I thought they were the best team in the League. I wanted to see that rewarded. They reallocated their funds into good people that were talented. The Dodgers helped them with that. And they helped the Dodgers, too. But out of all the things that happened with that I was most happy for Brian. He’s a champion in his own right. He’s one of the best third base coaches, infield coaches, if not in baseball. That was special for me to watch.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon
On first blush, how do you think Ellsbury going from Boston impacts the dynamic of the division?
“Well, the division’s done well. I mean, the Yankees lost a pretty good player. They gained a good player right there. Boston lost a good player with Ellsbury, but they have nice people in his place also. I don’t know. It’s almost like kind of a push feel to the whole thing, I think. Both of them will be really good again. I think a lot of it would speak to the inter‑dynamic clubhouse situation in Boston and how that’s going to be impacted. I don’t even know how Ellsbury impacts that clubhouse. I have no idea. Losing Cano, and then he comes into New York. A lot of the behind the scenes stuff to me is the most interesting part of that. You know what they’re like as players and what with you pretty much expect to perform on the field. But I don’t know what the dynamic is inside the building, and that is really important too. Ellsbury, I think, is going to show more power, obviously, because he can throw the ball. He can get into the right center spot, so his home runs will probably come back up again. But I’m curious. Again, we’ve talked about this. I don’t necessarily worry about those things. I just get curious about it. I’m a big believer in the chemistry component, which I believe can be nurtured. People believe it only occurs after you win. I thought last year in spring training when the Red Sox got (Dempster) and Napoli, and Victorino, I thought that would make a huge difference in that group based on that. So that to me is the interesting part of all this maneuvering is what does it do inside that building, because that can really reflect how well they play.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi
On where Jacoby Ellsbury might fit in:
“Well, I think there are a couple different things that we can do. We’ll just wait until the off‑season is almost over before we have those discussions. I’ll sit down and talk to Jacoby next week. I think his press conference is Friday. So I guess that’s this week. Talk to him, sit down and talk to (Brett Gardner), and decide what we’re going to do.”
More on Ellsbury:
“I think we’ve acquired a great player. We’ve seen the damage can he do against us. We firsthand witnessed that how he can change a game. I’ve seen him hit home runs to beat us. I’ve seen him steal home to beat us. I’ve seen him do it all, make great catches. So we added a great player.”