Talk of Gary DiSarcina rejoining the Red Sox organization began to heat up at the Winter Meetings, when he received permission to meet with team officials about the managing job at Pawtucket. Before DiSarcina left Nashville, where he was special assistant to Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, he had the job.
DiSarcina, who grew up in Billerica and lives in Plymouth, said the lure of returning home to manage again was the deciding factor in his decision. DiSarcina thanked Dipoto for allowing him to pursue the job. after the Red Sox asked permission to speak to him.
“I missed managing and it was a chance to be close to my home and with my kids,” said DiSarcina, who will be introduced as the PawSox’ manager Friday morning at McCoy Stadium. “I can’t tell you how great Jerry Dipoto was with all this. He could have denied me permission. He had just promoted me and I was very happy there. I was learning a lot about the front office and just getting quite an education on how to do things.”
DiSarcina was offered the Pawtucket job two years ago but turned it down when then-Angels GM Tony Reagins asked him to join his staff.
"I left because Tony asked me to come over because he needed my help," DiSarcina said. "I had known Tony since he was an intern with the Angels and I felt I needed to help him out."
DiSarcina spent 12 seasons in the majors with the California/Anaheim Angels from 1989-2000. He played all but 12 of 1,081 games at shortstop and was a slick fielder who wore No. 33 in honor of his boyhood idol, Larry Bird. He was a career .258 hitter.
He worked for NESN as an analyst on the Red Sox pregame show and then became an instructor for the Sox and finally a manager for Single A Lowell, where he spent three seasons. After his return to the Angels organization, he was on track to be in on some of the team's personnel decisions.
"I was in Nashville and it was an awkward few days," DiSarcina said. "I walked into the Angels suite and the first five minutes I was there, Jerry asked to talk to me and he told me that Boston had contacted him about speaking to them about the Pawtucket job. I thought about it for half a day and then realized it's really what I wanted to do, as much as I enjoyed the front office work. So I spoke the Red Sox there in Nashville and we pretty much had agreed at that point."
DiSarcina replaces Arnie Beyeler, who was promoted to Red Sox first base coach.
DiSarcina will be managing some of Boston's top prospects, especially if shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. get there at some point. Being a former shortstop and clubhouse leader, DiSarcina should really help Bogaerts develop and get to the big leagues.
"I think what's exciting for me is seeing the kids that I managed at Lowell three years later and how they've developed," DiSarcina said. "Guys like Ryan Dent, Tommy Hee, and a couple of pitchers. I haven't seen some of these kids in a while. I really enjoyed the Red Sox organization the first time around. There were great people, committed people, and everyone worked together for a common goal."
The Red Sox thought DiSarcina did a great job managing in their system and always looked for the chance to bring him back, as they have with Gabe Kapler, who remains out of baseball.
It didn't hurt that DiSarcina was a former teammate of both Red Sox manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo in Anaheim.
And DiSarcina said he wants to be a big league manager some day.
"In my opinion, you have to manage in the minor leagues if you want to manage in the major leagues," he said. "I know the Robin Ventura story, but I think those situations are unique. I think you have to learn, make your mistakes, and gain experience managing players. I'm really looking forward to this. I know the Pawtucket organization has been the most respected in baseball for a long time. I'm just happy to be a part of that tradition."
. . .
The most important need the Red Sox have right now is a starting pitcher.
The starters were subpar last season and perhaps Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and a returning John Lackey will collectively improve it. But the Sox need some outside help. Ideally they need a top-of-the-rotation starter, but it appears that ship has sailed.
The remaining top free agents include Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, and Edwin Jackson. The Red Sox are exploring all three, but to what degree?
The Red Sox would seem to have to break their pattern of three-year, $39 million deals to obtain one of them. Otherwise they're looking at possible trades to get a starter.
The Cubs still would move Matt Garza. While he's on schedule to start the season after an elbow injury, it may be that teams want to watch him in spring training before executing a deal. What Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would want in return is what could nix things. The Cubs are trying to build their young talent depth, and there are players such as Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. that the Red Sox won't part with.
The Marlins likely would deal Ricky Nolasco for the right price, but he's a middle-to-end-of-the rotation starter.
There's always Gavin Floyd with the White Sox, though the Red Sox could shoot higher, for John Danks.
The Dodgers, who have hit the jackpot by signing Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-Jin, will make lefty Chris Capuano available. The Red Sox tried to deal for him during the September collapse of 2011, but according to a major league source, the Sox had not approached the Dodgers about him.
The West Springfield native had a decent year for the Dodgers, going 12-12 with a 3.72 ERA and a very good 1.22 WHIP in 198⅓ innings.
The Mets would deal the top two pitchers in their rotation, Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey and veteran lefthander Johan Santana. The Red Sox have talked to the Mets about Dickey. The Mets would have to eat the majority of Santana's $25.5 million salary (and $5.5 million buyout) to deal him, and they appear willing to do that.
The Indians could consider deals for Justin Masterson or Ubaldo Jimenez, but it would be costly.
Otherwise, the Red Sox will have to consider free agents such as Shaun Marcum, Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Chien-Ming Wang, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Villanueva, and Derek Lowe. It doesn't appear Ryan Dempster or Brett Myers want to (or in Myers's case, can) pitch in Boston.
There are in-house choices such as Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves, Junichi Tazawa, and Andrew Miller. Rubby De La Rosa, acquired from the Dodgers, has an outside shot, as does Allen Webster, the other pitcher in that deal.
The Red Sox have trade bait in Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but so far the market for Saltalamacchia hasn't been great and the Ellsbury situation is difficult because of his signability problem.
. . .
The Phillies were scouting Cody Ross last summer and are interested in him again. He'd be a nice fit at Citizens Bank Park.