Tony Massarotti On Sox Trade Rumors And A Rejuvenated Celtics-76ers Rivalry

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Chicago White Sox's Jose Abreu (79) hits an RBI single against the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
Chicago White Sox's Jose Abreu (79) hits an RBI single against the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

In today's episode of Season Ticket, Tony Massarotti of "Felger and Mazz" joins host Chris Gasper (@cgasper) to discuss Red Sox trade rumors and debate whether the Celtics or 76ers have a brighter future.


Interview Highlights

On which needs the Red Sox should focus on to improve this offseason

Tony Massarotti: To me, there were three clear areas that they needed to address going into the offseason. Number one was a power hitter. They need a middle-of-the-order bat to provide power and, frankly, inspire some fear into the opposition because I think they lacked that badly this year ... Second and third, probably in this order, I would put a clubhouse presence that can really offer some leadership in the clubhouse and I would put the manager third. So, obviously, they’ve hired Alex Cora [as the next manager]. I think that will help. I don’t think it solves their real on field problems ... The number one need is a power bat; they have to go get a power bat.

On whether the Red Sox should pursue Giancarlo Stanton

Chris Gasper: I don’t want Giancarlo Stanton, and it’s not because I don’t admire him or love him as a player. I just don’t think he’s a fit for this market ... [He has] just been hanging out in Miami, where there’s a laissez-faire attitude towards sports, particularly baseball, and he can just do his thing. And then he’s going to come into the bubbling cauldron of negatively, fueled by Felger and Mazz, that is the Boston baseball experience.

Tony Massarotti: I would take a shot on Stanton ... I just think that Stanton is Godzilla and the Yankees now have Aaron Judge and the game is clearly headed in the direction where you don’t just need power, you need a lot of it ... I just want the big enchilada. I believe in this practically, that the Red Sox should always be in the market for the best players. I’m not saying there aren’t potential concerns or pitfalls because there are but, to me, I go after the best players and worry about the rest later.

On Jose Abreu as a potential fit for the Red Sox

Chris Gasper: I think the best fit is Jose Abreu from the White Sox ... He has averaged 31 homers a season and he’s driven in more than 100 runs every year. He’s right-handed power, he’s at first base, which is a position that they need. Abreu for me is the guy at the top of my list.

"If Jackie Bradley is an obstacle to this kind of deal, then Dave Dombrowski should be relieved of his duties immediately."

Tony Massarotti, on the Sox dealing for Jose Abreu

On going after the bigger name versus the best fit

Chris Gasper: I think when the Red Sox have gotten in trouble in the past it’s because they’re going after the biggest name and they’re not really focusing on whether this guy fits on the field, off the field—everything that goes with playing for the Red Sox.

Tony Massarotti: It’s a fair stance to take—they’ve had difficulty there. At the same time, they don’t win their first two World Series without Manny Ramirez, who they signed to a blockbuster contract. And Pedro Martinez, when they traded for him, they signed him to what was then a record contract ... I just think that, because of the magnitude to the Stanton deal, the acquisition cost, in terms of talent, that you have to give up for him is not as high as people think.

On the Red Sox having a short-term window to win a World Series

Chris Gasper: This offseason is so important for the Red Sox because, the way their team is constructed, they have a three-year window to win a championship and they already wasted one of those years in 2017 ... They’re in a win-now mode. They don’t really have time to wait and upgrade this team and I think that’s something that should be playing into the thinking of Dave Dombrowski.

Tony Massarotti: I felt this last offseason. I felt there was a three-year window, that they really made a commitment to a short period of time ... This is another reason I feel like they should go after [Giancarlo] Stanton. They don’t have any huge, long term commitments outside of David Price ... You built this thing for now and then you’re going to balk at making a big acquisition that could put you over the top? It doesn’t seem consistent to me. We’ll see how it shakes out, but the idea that the window is long and that this is the beginning of some sort of six, eight-year run is wrong.

On Shohei Otani, the so-called 'Japanese Babe Ruth,' who can hit and pitch

Tony Massarotti: I’m intrigued by Otani – I don’t know how you can’t be given the unique skillset he has ... So, if you’re telling me you can address your pitching and at the same time take a chance and maybe you have a hitter on top of it, a guy that can help you in two areas, I’m all for it. And honestly, purely for the novelty factor, I’m in. I think this guy could be a trailblazer.

Chris Gasper: The great thing about Otani is he’s not gonna cost a ton of money because of the posting system and the way things work in Major League Baseball with international signings. The most he could get as a bonus is $3.5 million ... He’d be a real bargain if the Red Sox could convince him to come here.

"I think this guy could be a trailblazer."

Tony Massarotti, on dual hitter-pitcher Shohei Otani

On the possibility of the Red Sox moving on from outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Chris Gasper: One of the players that the White Sox could potentially be interested in if they make a deal with the Red Sox for [Jose] Abreu is Jackie Bradley Jr. ... If the White Sox came to me and said, "We need Jackie Bradley Jr. to center this package for Jose Abreu," I would race to the airport with Jackie Bradley Jr. and do that deal.

Tony Massarotti: I don’t think you’d be alone. I’d come with you; I’d pay for the gas. At some point you look at it and, well, Jackie Bradley is all well and good and he’s a fabulous defensive player, we all know that. At the same time, in the last two postseasons Jackie Bradley is 4-for-26 and he has struck out 13 times ... He is three times as likely to strike out than get a hit. And it’s not as if he is a guy like Stanton who is, in the process, hitting you 50 home runs. This past regular season Jackie Bradley hit 17. Last year it was 26 and he had a good year, although a streaky one. The reality is he’s a bottom of the lineup hitter. Andrew Benintendi can play a functional center field. If Jackie Bradley is an obstacle to this kind of deal, then Dave Dombrowski should be relieved of his duties immediately.


On whether the Celtics or 76ers have a brighter future

Tony Massarotti: It’s hard to not say the Celtics right now because of Kyrie Irving. Irving is the one guy that we can look at on both teams and say, absolutely, positively can be a star in the NBA and win a championship because he’s done it. So that’s an advantage the Celtics have over Philly. But, if I were to ask you right now, of all the players on the rosters of both teams, who has the highest upside to be the best player? To me, its [Joel] Embiid.

Chris Gasper: I think the difference is the Celtics have young guys like [Ben Simmons or Embiid], but they also have superstars in their primes, in Kyrie Irving and in Gordon Hayward, who is hurt right now, obviously, but is expected to come back and be the same guy. These are All-Star-caliber players that are already in their primes and, on top of that, you have [Jayson] Tatum and Jaylen Brown and more picks to come. So, I would say the Celtics. When you watch the Sixers, they’re one of the most fun teams to watch in the NBA. What Simmons can do at his size as a passer is absolutely mesmerizing ... That being said, when I look at the Celtics and what they have in terms of having core guys who are already in their primes, that makes a difference to me. And when you look at the 76ers’ starting lineup, it’s really good. But that bench, they have no depth and the Celtics have a lot of depth.

On the different rebuilding process for the Celtics versus the Lakers and 76ers

Tony Massarotti: There’s been a lot of talk about how the teams have taken a different approach to building these [teams], and at the end of the day, I really don’t think it’s that different. I think it’s just that the Celtics got someone else to be in the lottery for them, which allowed [Danny] Ainge to make some trades and do some things that maybe the other teams couldn’t do. But otherwise, the Lakers, the Sixers, and the Celtics have all been pulling players out of the high lottery for the last 3-4 years.

Chris Gasper: I disagree a little because I think the Celtics have been able to do some stuff on parallel tracks. Yes, you’re right the Sixers are in the lottery, but [the Celtics] are also making some trades ... The other thing is they signed premium free agents in Horford and Hayward. The Sixers haven’t done that yet. And the question is: Will they get to that point? Will somebody look at their young core and say, “Yeah, we’re gonna go to Philadelphia now because we know that we can play with Simmons, we can play with Embiid.”

Headshot of Josh Crane

Josh Crane Producer, Podcasts & New Programs
Josh is a producer for podcasts and new programs at WBUR.



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