Now that the Patriots season is all over except for a chilly parade, how about some Red Sox notes and observations?
■ It’s sunny in Fort Myers and, according to the intrepid Jonny Miller of WBZ Radio, a group of players were working out at Fenway South on Monday morning. Jackie Bradley Jr., Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, and Pablo Sandoval were on the field.
■ Alexi Ogando, who was signed last week for $1.5 million, is a good low-risk pickup with a potential high reward. In 108 relief appearances for the Rangers from 2010-13, Ogando had a 2.46 ERA and averaged 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings. The Sox need a righthander who can dominate righthanded hitters and Ogando could be it.
Ogando never had a set role in Texas, getting switched back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation. That may have contributed to arm issues and a drop in velocity. Ogando pitched only 27 games last season and is essentially starting over.
If Ogando is healthy and regains his fastball, he could be a bargain. He also would be a candidate to close if Koji Uehara falters or has more rest built into his schedule.
■ The Red Sox and Wade Miley have an arbitration hearing scheduled later this month. The lefthander is seeking $4.3 million and the Sox filed at $3.4 million. The date of the hearing is, to this point, unknown.
Miley may have a case. Based on the usually accurate projections done by MLB Trade Rumors, he is due a salary of $4.3 million based on past performance and comparable players. Miley, who is represented by Tom O’Connell, is eligible for arbitration for the first time.
The Sox have not gone to a hearing with a player since 2002. But given their lack of history with Miley, they might be more willing given the $900,000 gap.
Miley is considered a signed player. The arbitration process only determines his salary.
■ In researching Sunday’s feature story on Rick Porcello, he shot down the idea that being around Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer was a major influence.
“There are some things you can learn from them, sure. But what got me in trouble early in my career was watching Justin and how successful he was and trying to emulate him instead of being myself,” Porcello said.
“What was important was to establish my own routines and my own mentality when I was out there and go about it the way I knew. A lot of people ask me about them. It’s overstated.”
In talking to those who know Porcello best, they expect him to thrive in the atmosphere of the AL East.
■ It’s easy to dismiss Drake Britton, who was designated for assignment last week after Ogando was signed. He pitched in only 25 big league games the last two seasons and was roughed up in Triple A last year.
Britton also had the ignominy of being arrested in during spring training in 2013 for driving drunk at speeds over 110 mph.
But Britton is more than that. He spent the offseason in Boston, working out at Fenway Park and doing a lot of community work on a volunteer basis. Robert Lewis Jr., who runs a successful youth baseball program in Roxbury, praised Britton last month for his work with at-risk kids. Britton also has a 2.93 ERA in those 25 major-league games.
As colleague Nick Cafardo noted, Britton is probably catching a break by being designated. With Robbie Ross and Craig Breslow on the roster, he was probably headed back to Triple A. With another organization, he could land in the majors.
■ It’s Feb. 3 and Burke Badenhop remains unsigned. Last three seasons: 199 games, 2.90 ERA, 1.21 WHIP. It remains a mystery why the Red Sox did not bring him back.
■ The Sox, as expected, will use Brandon Workman out of the bullpen and the guess here is he proves to be an important player on the roster. Workman pitched the eighth inning of the deciding game of the World Series in 2013, then fell apart last season, putting up a 5.17 ERA. Blame it the physical toll of 2013 and change in roles. Workman was tried as a starter and didn’t have the same fastball. His velocity should return in relief.
■ The Sox are 272-286 since the 2011 All-Star break.
■ Do Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts have to earn starting jobs in spring training? A still-crowded outfield could make for an interesting dynamic in Florida. If Shane Victorino, one of the best players on the 2013 team, were to outperform Castillo or Betts, how do you sit him?
■ Henry Owens took a fairly laid-back attitude in spring training knowing he would not make the team. It will be interesting to see how much that changes this time. Given the questions in the rotation, any starter in Triple A could be called upon in April.
■ Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the Red Sox are open to trading Edward Mujica. The righthander was awful in the first half of last season (5.45 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) and strong in the second half (1.78 ERA, 1.22 WHIP). The Sox paid a lot for Mujica ($9.5 million over two years) and may be looking to draw down their payroll by a few million with a deal.
■ Xander Bogaerts looked more refined physically at the team’s Winter Weekend last month. Bogaerts was a good baseball player and only a decent athlete last season. His power was sporadic, there was little speed and his first step on defense needed work. A winter working out at the EXOS facility in Arizona may be just what the 22-year-old needed.
■ The longer James Shields remains unsigned, you have to wonder if there’s a number the Red Sox would jump at. Would he take two years at $25 million? Indications are the Red Sox have concerns about Shields that went beyond his contract demands. But they did meet with him in December.
The Sox seem set with their rotation. Meanwhile, Shields and agent Page Odle have badly misjudged his market.