Alex Cora is creating some intrigue.

While Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and team president Sam Kennedy spent a large portion of their spring training media availability downplaying the importance of making a big splash via free agency or trade before Opening Day, the manager is sending a different message.

“Still working, we’re still talking to people, we’re still recruiting,” Cora told reporters on Friday morning before his team hosted the Rays at JetBlue Park. “We’ll see, which is important. We’ll see. We’ll see. I do believe we’re going to add, but we’ve just got to be patient.”

Among the top available free agents are Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Michael Conforto, though most of the best pitchers have come off the market and only former Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen remains among the elite.
The Sox haven’t signed a top-end pitcher, but have added a lot of depth (Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, James Paxton, Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm). At this point, it seems like they need another outfielder more than anything else.

“I think we’ve got a good baseball team,” Cora said. “I think pitching-wise, we’re good. And the offense, we’re always gonna hit. We will. Right now, if we have to roll a lineup out there, I feel very comfortable. It’s very similar to the lineup that we had in the playoffs except Kyle Schwarber.

“But, you know, I do feel that we have a good team. Obviously there’s a few things that we have to find out about the bullpen. But if tomorrow’s Opening Day, I feel OK with it.”


Cora said he’s spending a lot of time working with the front office on possible moves.

“It’s been a lot different,” he said. “Yesterday I got home, what? 6, 6:30? Usually the game is over, you do the media, come here, talk to you guys, and then you go home. But now there’s more going on. I’ll take it.”

With 12 teams making the postseason this year, the Red Sox might be able to sneak into the playoffs with 88-92 wins. They won 92 games last year and narrowly qualified for the wild-card game on the final day of the regular season. The top-two division winners in each league will now receive a first-round bye, while four teams in each league will play a three-game wild-card series.

The new format is supposed to incentivize more teams to compete, but it could also discourage teams like the Red Sox from being more aggressive and pushing their payroll over the luxury tax threshold, which the Sox haven’t done in three years.

“It’s not that now we can just sit back and just play decent baseball and make it,” Cora said. “No, you still have to probably win 92-plus, most likely, to make it to October.”

The Red Sox made two small moves Friday, signing infielder Travis Shaw to a minor league deal as well as adding veteran left-hander Derek Holland.


Holland, 35, is a 13-year veteran who had a 5.07 ERA in 49 2/3 innings for the Tigers last year. Shaw got 42 at-bats with the Red Sox last season after he was released by the Brewers, serving primarily as a pinch-hitting specialist.

• Bobby Dalbec homered for the second straight day, hitting a three-run homer, and infield prospect Christian Koss went 3 for 3 with two solo home runs in Boston’s 7-6 win Friday against Tampa Bay.

YANKEES-PADRES: First baseman Luke Voit was traded from the Yankees to the San Diego Padres, a day after New York completed a two-year contract with Anthony Rizzo.

New York received 20-year-old right-hander Justin Lange, the 34th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft.

Voit, a 31-year-old right-handed hitter with power, led the major leagues with 22 home runs during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he hit .277 with 52 RBI. But he made four trips to the injured list last year and hit just .239 with 11 homers and 35 RBI in 68 games.

ANGELS: Right-hander Archie Bradley has agreed to a $3.75 million, one-year deal to bolster the Los Angeles bullpen.


Los Angeles also will add veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera after a roster spot is cleared for him.

Bradley went 7-3 with a 3.71 ERA and 40 strikeouts last season for Philadelphia. Tepera will join the Angels after spending last year with the Cubs and the White Sox.

ASTROS: Trying to shut down big league hitters for the first time in 20 months, Justin Verlander kept his fastball in the 95 mph range, breezing through two hitless innings against St. Louis in the Astros’ spring training opener in Jupiter, Florida.

Verlander struck out Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong swinging and walked one.

The 39-year-old righty hadn’t pitched since July 2020. He missed all of 2021 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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