Mike Hazen

Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen on D&C: 'Nobody's happy where we're sitting here today'

June 18, 2015 - 6:13 am
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Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Sox, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr. and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Having lost eight of their last nine after dropping Wednesday's game to the Braves 5-2, falling to last in the American League, Hazen said the mood around the baseball operations people is nothing short of disappointed. "I think we're remaining optimistic about the team," he added. "I think nobody's happy where we're sitting here today. You know, it's unfortunate, and we deserve to be where we are. We haven't played very well on the course of the season. We need to work to at least see this through for the moves that we made that we believe in, that we think these guys are going to continue to perform and get better, and we need to continue to look at the roster and ways that we, at least as a baseball operations side of things, can impact this. "What moves can we make to the roster, how can we make additions, are there things that we need to look at as we move into the trading deadline season, all those things. So that's sort of the focus as we're shifting forward, but the fact remains we need to play better, and we need to do a better job in the front office and we haven't done that yet." During Wednesday night's game, Pablo Sandoval's Instagram account liked a picture, but Hazen said he had no knowledge of the situation. There is no confirmation that it was in fact Sandoval, as many times athletes have other people run their social media accounts. "This is the first I'm hearing about it," he said. "I've heard nothing but great things from Pablo, nothing that I've seen. He's a great teammate, and he plays his butt off. I was in the clubhouse last night during the game, I didn't see him so I'm not really sure, but I'm sure we'll find out more about that today." A lot was said of outfielder Rusney Castillo when he signed a $72.5 million contract last summer, but he's had some trouble producing consistently at the major league level. In his past 22 games, Castillo is 16-for-70 with a .229/.260/.286 slash line and just two extra-base hits. "Obviously we love the speed, the defense, the ability to impact the ball from a raw strength standpoint, but this guy's still trying to get his timing down," Hazen said. "I realize the commitment that was made from a financial standpoint, so results are expected right away. It's still a guy within the first 100 plate appearances of this season at the major league level. As we watch guys move into that phase at the major league level, as they're getting attacked a lot differently than they do when they're either in triple-A, or somewhere else or even September last year when you're facing a lot of September call-ups in a lot of cases, this is a more challenging environment. "He's got to make some adjustments with his swing, and I think right now, he's getting a little bit over-aggressive at certain periods of time trying to impact the ball with every single swing on every single pitch, and that just doesn't work up here, and he's going to figure that out. He's a smart kid, he's very talented, he works really hard, he has the ability to impact the baseball and do a lot of things on the field, so we're still very happy with Rusney Castillo as a player." Brock Holt has been getting more starts over Castillo in right field because of the hot streak he's been riding, as he's slashed .321/.421/.469 in his past 26 games, including 26 hits in 81 at-bats and 13 walks. Hazen said he understands the choice to slot Holt in over Castillo at the moment, but also added it would be beneficial for Castillo to play everyday. "If it gets to the point where we're beyond a situation where he needs to go down and play everyday, then we'll figure that situation out at that time," he said. "It's still a little bit unsettled up here with [Shane] Victorino's time frame and all those other things, when he's coming back, he's going to hopefully go out this week, but if we do get to that point, then yes, it is a fair question." And though Castillo's age doesn't make him much of a younger prospect, Hazen said the fact that he's 28 years old is rendered a bit irrelevant given the situation. "I think when you're dealing with some of these Cuban players that, as they're going through these transitions of defecting and coming over here, and they're not playing all the time, these guys are missing gaps of time in their development," he said. "[Yoan] Moncada's going through the same thing right now in Greenville. And even though, with the age, you expect him to be able to come up to the big leagues and play right away, it's still the big leagues, and it's still the hardest place to play with the most talented players, so there's going to still be an adjustment regardless of the age." In a similar vein, Jackie Bradley Jr. has been faring well in Pawtucket recently, leading the PawSox through 44 games with a .330/.401/.494 slash line. Hazen said Bradley's situation is similar to Castillo's in that, right now, it's more important for Bradley to get everyday playing time, something he likely wouldn't be getting in Boston. "We felt like look, we still believe in this guy, we still think he's an everyday player at the major league level," Hazen said. "He's an elite defender, he's certainly figuring some things out on the offensive side down in triple-A. Now it's still triple-A, but hitting .320, .330 is still the same, and he's starting to show a little bit more power. He's made a physical adjustment with his swing that he started in spring training. I think the brief big league appearance against R.A. Dickey and Sonny Gray and Felix Hernandez was a little bit unfair for the kid, to be able to go up there and play against those guys, but when there's an opportunity for this guy to be able to come up here and play on a consistent basis or at least a major part of a platoon, he'll be back up here." The news sweeping baseball at the moment is the Cardinals' reported involvement in hacking the Astros. Hazen said that, at the moment, everyone in the league is making sure their security is up to date. "We've actually known about this for a while, so we've been working on this for a while," he said. "I think there's a lot of surprise. I don't think the St. Louis Cardinals need any help, given how good they are at everything that they do, but we'll see. I'm sure Major League Baseball will deal with whatever the specific issue is, but as far as our internal situation, we're just making sure that noting like that could ever happen to us."

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