|11.10.13 at 12:14 am ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have shown some interest in free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
The backstop — who will turn 37 years-old Dec. 30 — played on a one-year, $7.5 million contract with the Rangers in 2013.
Pierzynski totaled 134 games in ’13, hitting .272 with a .722 OPS and 17 home runs. The left-handed hitter actually hit 10 points higher against lefty pitching than right-handers (.279-.269).
Pierzynski’s strength continues to be his bat, although he doesn’t display the kind of patience the Red Sox usually look for. (He walked just three times in the season’s second half.) He is considered a fierce competitor — a trait that has sometimes drawn ire from opponents. The Orlando native has also been singled out for his above-average game awareness.
The 16-year veteran’s defensive skills have diminished, with his ability to frame pitches particularly coming into question last season. But Pierzynski is still considered durable, catching 119 games or more in each of the past 12 seasons.
The Red Sox are exploring multiple options in trying to complement David Ross. Free agent Brian McCann would be a good fit, but with the 29-year-old drawing attention from multiple big market teams the price (and years) may end up being too much for the Sox. Any team signing McCann would also have to surrender a draft pick, with Atlanta having offered the catcher a qualifying offer.
Jarrod Saltalmacchia continues to be an option, although he also is expected to draw significant interest from other teams. Signing the switch-hitter wouldn’t require giving up a draft pick. Carlos Ruiz also figures to be in the mix, although unlike the aforementioned catchers he does not hit from the left side.
Switch-hitting Dioner Navarro is also available, having come off a fairly strong season as a backup with the Cubs. The 29-year-old hit .300 with a .856 OPS in 89 games.
Internally, Ryan Lavarnway remains in the mix, with prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart still seemingly needing more minor-league seasonsing.
|11.08.13 at 12:25 pm ET|
According to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, first baseman Mike Napoli has received a multi-year offer from the Red Sox but wants to shop around to see what other teams might consider.
Napoli was one of the three players the Red Sox tendered with a one-year $14.1 million qualifying offer, meaning if he signs elsewhere the Red Sox would receiver a draft pick.
Napoli signed a one-year deal with the Sox last offseason, shortening an original three-year, $39 million pact after the team expressed concerns about a degenerative hip condition.
An eight-year MLB veteran, Napoli is a career .259/.357/.502 hitter with 169 home runs and 472 RBIs. In 2013 he hit .259/.360/.482 with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs while amassing a career-high 187 strikeouts as well as a career-high 73 walks.
He went 2-for-13 (.154) in both the ALDS and the World Series, but he hit .300 in the ALCS and ripped a home run off Tigers ace Justin Verlander in Game 3 to give the Red Sox a 1-0 victory. He also homered in the Sox’ 4-3 Game 5 victory, going 3-for-4 in that game.
|11.08.13 at 11:35 am ET|
A year ago, the Red Sox’ top draft pick — No. 7 overall — was protected, meaning the team could not lose it even for signing a free agent who had received a qualifying offer from his former team. The team would instead have to sacrifice its second-round selection for signing one of the nine free agents who received such an offer from the club with whom he spent the entire 2012 season.
But the team still viewed that as a cost of business to be avoided. The club signed seven free agents to major league deals — David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli — but none of those players had received a qualifying offer that required the Sox to give up their second-round selection.
This year, the Sox don’t have a protected first rounder. They’ll have to give up their first-round pick (No. 30 overall) if they sign a player who received a qualifying offer. Yet the team seems more inclined at least to explore that possibility than it was a year ago.
A little more than a week into free agency, however, the Red Sox have already been connected to a couple of free agents who did receive draft pick compensation. Both catcher Brian McCann and right fielder Carlos Beltran — who received one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers from the Braves and Cardinals, respectively — have been connected to the Sox as potential replacements for Boston’s own free agents (catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury). Yet the team is in position this year to approach free agents with qualifying offers somewhat differently than it did last winter. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.08.13 at 9:28 am ET|
In this look at Red Sox payroll obligations for the 2014 season, two contracts yielded different average annual values (the figure used for calculating payroll against the luxury tax) than previous public documentation (including by this website) would have suggested. The most dramatic instance of the change in value was to Jon Lester‘s AAV calculation. The change merits explanation, as it has implications for how long-term deals with team options are understood, particularly those signed by young players long before they reach free agency.
Prior to the 2009 season, Lester signed a five-year, $30 million deal with a $13 million option for the 2014 season (and a $250,000 buyout of the option). During the life of that contract, the deal was widely understood to represent a $6 million luxury tax hit. That interpretation was incorrect.
Option years that are significantly larger than the average yearly salary of the deal alter the calculation of the Average Annual Value as calculated for determining luxury tax payroll. The relevant language is found in two excerpts of Article XXIII E. (5) (c) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
“Highest Guaranteed Year Value” shall be the sum of the Base Salary plus any attributed Signing Bonus, deferred compensation or annuity costs, plus any potential bonuses (other than Award Bonuses) in the Guaranteed Year of the Contract with the highest such sum; provided, however, that if the Highest Guaranteed Year Value is itself greater than 127.5% of the Average Annual Value of the Contract, then 127.5% of the Average Annual Value of the Contract shall be substituted for the Highest Guaranteed Year Value in the calculation called for by subparagraph (ii)(B) below.
(B) Rule. If the Club Option Year Value exceeds 122.5% of the Highest Guaranteed Year Value, then the difference between the Club Option Year Value and 122.5% of the Highest Guaranteed Year Value shall be treated as a Signing Bonus in the calculation of the Contract’s Average Annual Value.
What does that language mean for Lester’s deal? First, a look at how Lester’s contract broke down: Read the rest of this entry »
|11.08.13 at 8:45 am ET|
David Ortiz‘s popularity in Boston might be at an all-time high after he led the Red Sox to the World Series championship last month.
That is no more evident than in a report that Ortiz finished third in the Boston mayoral election Tuesday, receiving more write-in votes than anyone else. A total of 560 write-in votes were cast, according to election officials, but the number that Ortiz received was not released.
Martin Walsh won the race to succeed Thomas Menino with 72,514 votes, beating John Connolly (67,606).
|11.08.13 at 8:34 am ET|
An industry source confirmed to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the Red Sox “really like” free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, but noted that the Sox also view the 36-year-old as a “tough squeeze” for two reasons. First, as a corner outfielder, Beltran would not address the most pressing vacancy created should center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury leave via free agency (at a time when the team has Shane Victorino as a Gold Glove defender in right). He’s a bit of an imperfect roster fit for a team that already has three strong corner outfielders in Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes.
(Victorino has experience playing center field, but Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said on Monday that while such a shift was an option, it was not a course of first resort. “It’s certainly one possibility and as we look at alternatives in the outfield, we have to be open-minded. That would be one possibility,” said Cherington. “I think I speak for [manager John Farrell] that we both recognize just how good he was in right field this year and how valuable his defense was in right field. So I guess we’d have to be compelled to move him. It would have to be a pretty compelling opportunity, but you can’t rule that out. He’s capable of doing it.”)
Meanwhile, because Beltran received a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals, the Red Sox would have to sacrifice a draft pick in order to sign him — something that also represents a drawback from the Sox. However, while the team would have to surrounder a draft pick to sign Beltran, it would get one back if another team signs center field Jacoby Ellsbury — an outcome that would be virtually assured if Beltran is signed — and/or Stephen Drew or Mike Napoli, all three of whom received qualifying offers from the Red Sox.
The New York Post’s George King was the first to report the Sox’ interest in the switch-hitting outfielder, writing that, according to someone who knows Beltran, the Red Sox have been more aggressive in pursuing the 36-year-old than fellow American League teams Baltimore and New York.
An eight-time All-Star, Beltran hit .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs, 84 RBIs in 2013, the second year of a two-year, $26 million deal. Beltran is a career .333/.445/.683 hitter in the postseason with 16 home runs, 41 RBIs. He hit .268 this postseason, including .294 in the World Series, which he played with bruised ribs after hitting the right-field fence while robbing David Ortiz of a grand slam in Game 1 at Fenway Park.
In 16 major league seasons with the Royals (1998-2004), Astros (2004), Mets (2005-11), Giants (2001) and Cardinals, Beltran has a .283/.359/.496 line with 358 home runs and 1,327 RBIs.
The Sox have harbored considerable interest in him on multiple occasions in the past, including attempts to acquire him from the Royals prior to the trade deadline in 2004 and another run at landing him from the Mets in 2011.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier contributed to this report.
|11.07.13 at 11:15 pm ET|
According to Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com, Stephen Drew’s agent Scott Boras has already scheduled numerous meetings with teams at next week’s general managers meetings in Orlando, suggesting the shortstop has no plans to accept the Red Sox’ one-year qualifying offer of $14.1 million.
GM:"Forget Stephen Drew accepting the $14M. Scott(Boras) already has set up a number of meetings on Drew for Tuesday at the GM meetings."
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 8, 2013
The deadline for any of the 13 free agents who were accepted qualifying offers to accept the one-year deal is Monday, which is the day the GM meetings begin.
One baseball executive suggested to WEEI.com Thursday that there is a growing sentiment that Drew might re-sign with the Red Sox on a multi-year deal after rebuffing the team’s qualifying offer. The Sox would be the only team eligible to sign Drew without surrendering a draft pick.
Appearing on Keith Law’s ESPN podcast, Boras said that as many as seven or eight major league teams could “change the dynamic of the production of their infield” with the signing of the shortstop. (To listen to Boras discuss Drew, click here and go to 11 minutes into the podcast.)
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