|11.11.13 at 5:24 pm ET|
Free agents Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli all declined the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers from the Red Sox, the team announced. As a result, all three players will be free to negotiate with all 30 teams, including the Red Sox. There are no deadlines for such negotiations and/or agreements. If any of those three players signs with a team other than the Sox, then Boston would receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds of the 2014 draft as a result of their departure(s).
Napoli’s decision was reported earlier on Monday by WEEI.com. The 32-year-old underwent an MRI last week that showed no deterioration in his hips in the 11 months since he was diagnosed with (and treated for) avascular necrosis, a degenerative condition. Given his health and production, Napoli wanted to pursue a multi-year deal following a 2013 campaign in which he hit .259/.360/.482 with 23 homers in the regular season.
Drew, 30, hit .253/.333/.443 with 13 homers in 124 regular season games at shortstop for the Red Sox while playing defense at a sufficiently impressive level to remain in the lineup throughout the postseason even when he was struggling.
Ellsbury, 30, hit .298/.355/.426 with nine homers and 52 steals in 134 games in 2013.
|11.11.13 at 2:52 pm ET|
According to an industry source, free agent first baseman Mike Napoli has declined the Red Sox’ one-year qualifying offer in order to pursue a multi-year deal in free agency. The first baseman underwent an MRI on his hips last Tuesday that revealed no signs of deterioration from last offseason, when he was diagnosed with a degenerative condition (avascular necrosis) that resulted from diminished blood flow to his hips. The discovery of AVN last December resulted in Napoli’s three-year, $39 million free agent agreement with the Red Sox being renegotiated to a one-year, $5 million guarantee that pushed the value of the deal to $13 million in 2013.
But with the findings by Dr. Joseph Lane of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York (who reviewed the MRIs on Saturday) that Napoli’s hip condition has remained unchanged — following a year in which he played 139 games (the second highest total in his career) while hitting .259 with a .360 OBP, .482 slugging mark and 23 homers — Napoli’s foray this winter into free agency would appear to be in strong position to receive a multi-year deal. Whereas the diagnosis of the condition last winter created considerable uncertainty about his health, he now has a year’s worth of evidence to suggest that it is not an immediate threat to his production or ability to stay on the field.
Napoli, who turned 32 on Halloween, received a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox last Monday. Had there been evidence of concern about his condition, then he might have been inclined to accept the financial guarantee. However, with the evidence that his health has remained intact through the season, Napoli has little incentive to accept the one-year qualifying offer at a time when he represents the most productive first base option on the market. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.10.13 at 12:51 am ET|
Any chance that Stephen Drew might accept the Red Sox’ one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer gets more and more unlikely by the day. (The deadline to accept the offer is Monday at 5 p.m.)
According to a source familiar with the situation, “a bunch of teams (are) moving quick” on Drew in the free agent market. It is unclear what level of interest the Red Sox have expressed in the shortstop other than extending the qualifying offer.
The 30-year-old’s agent, Scott Boras, recently told CBS Sports that “Drew is in the top five offensively and defensively at his position. You can’t find a guy with that package.”
Drew hit .253 with a .777 OPS for the Red Sox in 2013, turning in perhaps his best defensive season. He is coming off a one-year, $9 million contract with the Sox.
|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 »
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