|11.05.09 at 5:58 pm ET|
With the champagne from Yankees’ World Series celebration barely dry, the Red Sox made their first move in an attempt to catch New York next season. Boston traded left-handed pitchers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez to the Marlins for 25-year-old outfielder Jeremy Hermida.
Hermida, a left-handed hitter, batted .259 with 13 home runs, 47 RBI and a career-high 56 walks in 129 games this season. Splitting time between left field and right field, Hermida made just one error in 205 total chances for a .995 fielding percentage, sixth among National League outfielders. He appeared in just three games after Aug. 31 due to an intercostal strain on his right side.
Here’s the press release from the Red Sox announcing the move:
The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.
Hermida, 25, hit .259 (111-for-429) with 13 home runs and 47 RBI over 129 games with the Marlins in 2009 and set a career high with 56 walks. The left-handed hitter appeared in 81 games (73 starts) in right field and 51 (40 starts) in left. He made just one error in 205 total chances for a .995 fielding percentage, sixth among qualifying National League outfielders. He appeared in just three games after August 31 due to an intercostal strain on his right side.
Selected by Florida in the first round (11th overall) of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Hermida has a .265 batting average (452-for-1,708), 57 homers and 210 RBI in 516 career Major League games with the Marlins. He owns a .996 (1 error/264 total chances) fielding percentage in 151 contests beginning August 8, 2008, second in the NL over that time behind only Randy Winn (1.000), and is 45-for-148 (.304) in his career against AL East opponents.
Jones, 25, made his Major League debut with Boston in 2009 and appeared in 11 games in relief. The left-hander posted a 9.24 ERA (13 ER/12.2 IP) with the Red Sox, compiling nine strikeouts. In 36 relief outings with Triple-A Pawtucket, he was 4-3 with two saves and a 4.25 ERA (25 ER/53.0 IP). Signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent on July 23, 2005, Jones went 22-14 with 22 saves and a 3.09 ERA (116 ER/338.0 IP) in 178 career minor league games (6 starts) in the Boston organization.
The 20-year-old Alvarez combined to go 9-4 with a 2.26 ERA (27 ER/107.2 IP) and 74 strikeouts compared to 16 walks in 26 games (12 starts) between Single-A Salem and Short-A Lowell in 2009. He led the New York-Penn League with a 1.52 ERA (14 ER/83.0 IP) while recording eight wins over 14 outings (12 starts) with Lowell. Signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2005, the left-hander has compiled a 23-15 record and a 3.21 ERA (116 ER/325.2 IP) in 76 career minor league appearances (48 starts) in the Red Sox system.
The Red Sox also today outrighted right-handed pitcher Fernando Cabrera, outfielder Joey Gathright and infielder Nick Green to Triple-A Pawtucket.
|11.05.09 at 3:18 pm ET|
ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney checked in with Dale & Holley to talk Yankees, Red Sox and more. Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, check out the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Buster Olney is with is, good morning Buster.
Hey guys, how ya doin’?
Hey Buster, how do you think we’re doing? In Boston, Massachusetts, following a Yankees convincing World Series title.
Oh, come on, you’re in the middle of plotting how you’re going to take them down next year.
[Holley:] In all seriousness, we’ve been having a pretty spirited debate about the role of money for the Yankees in the World Series. I’d say money’s important, but you’ve got to do other smart things to put a great baseball team out there, and Dale sees it a little differently.
[Dale:] When I look at team payrolls, Buster, the Red Sox are closer to the San Diego Padres at 29 then they are to the Yankees, and that that’s a huge disadvantage to the Red Sox, and tough to overcome.
These next two statements are absolutely true in themselves: Number one, the payroll situation in baseball, the disparity, is getting to be an increasing problem and it’s only going to get worse in stuff that’s going to happen in the next 37 days. And two, I think the Yankees did a great job in the way that they spent their money, the way that they’ve changed the way they’ve operated really since the fall of 2005 when Brian Cashman went to George Steinbrenner and said, “Look, we have to change the way we do things, we have to catch the Red Sox and some of the other teams that are running organizations better than we are.”
|11.04.09 at 6:42 pm ET|
Former Red Sox G.M. Dan Duquette — the man who brought Pedro Martinez to Boston following the 1997 season — will drop by the Virtual Press Box on Thursday, Nov. 5, at noon to take questions in the fourth installment of WEEI.com’s Thursday baseball chat series.
Duquette was the G.M. of the Red Sox for eight seasons, from 1994-2001, following two years in the same role with the Montreal Expos. He traded for Martinez both when he was with the Expos (in exchange for Delino DeShields) and again as the G.M. of the Sox (for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr.). Other notable deals that he made in Boston included trading reliever Heathcliff Slocumb for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe, and signing Tim Wakefield. The Sox made the playoffs three times under Duquette’s stewardship, once as the A.L. East winners, and twice more as the wild card team. During his Boston tenure, the Sox went 656-574 while setting numerous attendance records.
Duquette is now the President of the Dan Duquette Sports Academy, a sports training center for boys and girls ages 8-18 who are interested in learning baseball, softball, basketball and life skills from distinguished high school, college and professional coaches. This summer, the Academy will host its first-ever All-Girls session, led by Justine Siegal who is the first women to coach a men’s professional baseball team.
Oct. 29 — Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay
Oct. 22 — Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan
|11.04.09 at 1:44 pm ET|
Will Pedro show up for Game 6 in Yankee Stadium? Literally — will he show up?
The question is ridiculous, of course. Pedro Martinez will take the mound with the eyes of the baseball world upon him on Wednesday night, in a game that will decide whether the Yankees win the World Series tonight or whether there might be a winner-take-all Game 7.
That said, while the question now seems absurd, it is worth remembering that it was once a genuine issue whether Martinez would, in fact, show up at the ballpark when his team faced elimination in a Game 6 in Yankee Stadium. After the pitcher navigated a tightrope for six innings while allowing four runs in Game 5 of the ALCS (more on that in a bit), Martinez declared that he would not accompany the Sox to New York for Game 6 against the Yankees. Instead, he stayed in Boston, feeling that doing so somehow helped him should he be needed in relief for a potential Game 7.
The line of thinking made little sense. What could Martinez do in Boston that he could not do to prepare in New York?
Some in the Red Sox organization were disgusted by the pitcher’s decision, feeling it was completely selfish, a borderline act of betrayal, for him to be apart from his team on a night when they faced elimination.
Though it was a story at the time, it became an afterthought in the rest of the Sox’ remarkable run to the 2004 title. And the incident is rightly relegated to the status of a footnote — if that — when considering the arc of Martinez’ incredible career, both in Boston and in the majors.
On Wednesday night, Martinez will show up in Yankee Stadium, and for the fifth time in his career, the game will be on his shoulders in a postseason elimination game, this one representing the most significant of his three career World Series starts.
In his prior four significant elimination games (not including his mop-up role in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS), he has a 2-1 record and 4.10 ERA. The Sox have a 3-1 record in those contests. But numbers do not tell the story.
If history is a guide, the combination of Pedro and a win-or-go-home scenario will lend itself to an unforgettable game. Here are the previous four times that those two elements have been combined:
Oct. 11, 1999: ALDS Game 5, at Indians
Martinez, sidelined for most of the American League Division Series by a back injury, enters as a reliever in the fourth inning of the winner-take-all Game 5 against the Indians. He fires six no-hit innings of relief, as the Sox take a 12-8 win and complete the first-ever comeback from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five ALDS.
Oct. 6, 2003: ALDS Game 5, at A’s
Once again, Martinez is the man on the mound for the Sox as they try to complete a comeback from a 2-0 hole in the ALDS. This time, the opponent is Oakland. Martinez carries a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning but allows a pair of hits for a run to start the eighth. With the Sox clinging to a 4-3 lead, the Boston bullpen comes up huge, punctuated by Derek Lowe‘s infamous crotch chop after punching out Terrence Long with the bases loaded.
Oct. 16, 2003: ALCS Game 7, at Yankees
This one was rehashed once or twice in New England after the fact. Martinez was dominant through much of the game but started to fade in the middle innings. After he gave up a run in the seventh inning, it appeared that the Sox ace considered his work done. But he was sent back to the mound for the eighth inning, and the Yankees ‘ who entered the inning trailing 5-2 ‘ jumped on a gasping-for-air Martinez for three runs as his pitch count drifted up to 123.
Martinez left with a no-decision, and the game marched on. Aaron Boone’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the 11th inning served as the dagger in the Sox’ season.
Oct. 18, 2004: ALCS Game 5, vs. Yankees
By this point, the Yankees were beyond intimidation with Martinez. After the right-hander allowed a bases-clearing, three-run double to Derek Jeter in the top of the sixth inning, it appeared that the impending free agent would absorb the loss in his final game as a Red Sox, a contest he left with his team trailing, 4-2.
But the Sox came back against New York’s bullpen, setting the stage for an agonizingly exciting, 14-inning contest in which the Sox claimed a 5-4 win on David Ortiz‘ walkoff single after 5 hours, 49 minutes of play. By that point, Martinez had been rendered an afterthought, but the game will not be forgotten in baseball lore anytime soon.
|11.04.09 at 11:57 am ET|
Josh Beckett is signed for $12.1 million for the 2010 season (thanks to his option vesting after making 28 starts in ’09). Beckett and his agent, Michael Moye, are going to sit down with Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein in the coming weeks, with Beckett telling WEEI.com Tuesday night, “We’re just letting things die down a little bit.”
This we know.
Heck, we knew this back in February when the Sox’ pitcher identified such a get-together as a priority, saying in the first few days of spring training: ‘At the end of the year hopefully we’ll sit down and maybe have a talk with (Red Sox general manager) Theo (Epstein), me and my agent (Michael Moye) and see what they’re thinking about. … I want to see where they’re going, if I’m even in their plans. If I’m not it was an awesome run. I really haven’t sat down and thought about it too much, but at the end of the year we will sit down and at least have a talk. Even if nothing comes of it, just to say, ‘Are we in the plans? Are we looking to get younger?’ It’s really up to them. I would like to stay here. I love playing in Boston. I can’t imagine another organization that would go so far out of the way to make my job as easy as possible. They realize our jobs are very demanding and very hard, and they do everything they can.’
After that nobody knows what’s going to happen, but whatever transpires, it might just define what the Red Sox will have to prioritize in the very near future.
One of the most important — yet also perhaps most under-publicized — aspects of the coming offseason is just starting to gain some steam. Take, for instance, the first comments from Epstein on the matter at hand:
‘It’s been really fun for us to watch him mature on and off the field during his time in Boston,’ Epstein said. ‘He’s put himself in a position to be valued very highly by us. He’s someone we’d obviously like to have to be a part of our future. Those things have a way of taking care of themselves. ‘¦ We’ll see what happens.’
Nobody — not Beckett, or the Red Sox — can have any idea of what lies ahead, which makes the big picture of the Sox a bit blurry.
This is what you should know heading into the conversations:
THIS IS HIS BIG CHANCE: Beckett isn’t likely to take a hometown discount. He happily signed his extension in 2006, despite the fact that many surmised he lost out on as much as $60 million by not becoming a free agent after ’07 (assuming he was in line to make Johan Santana money following the ’07 playoff run). As he pointed out throughout the last few seasons, he will have made $50 million by the time he’s 30, and that’s OK by him. But the deal was also made palatable by the fact that he knew if his performance stayed fairly consistent, there was another big contract waiting around the corner.
That corner is getting really close.
By the time next offseason rolls around, Beckett will be 30, which is under the Mendoza Line when it comes to the age at which teams are more willing to roll out the five-year plan for free-agent starting pitchers.
“We’ll see,” was Beckett’s line when asked about the scenario that lies ahead, talking with a bit of a smile. Leading up to his last deal, there were few grins. His ERA was hovering above 5.00 heading into July and he was coming off an offseason during which he was told there was going to be some issues in getting his right shoulder insured. The Red Sox were approaching the pitcher at the right time. Now, Beckett has some chips on his side.
ABOUT THE HEALTH CONCERNS: Some will say that Beckett’s health should be a concern for any team diving into a long-term deal with the Texas native. Over the past few years, he has had various physical issues (oblique, back, elbow) that have popped up at inopportune times.
Heading into his tenure with the Red Sox, his current club had similar doubts. The MRI on Beckett’s right shoulder wasn’t good (five years earlier, a doctor wanted him to have labrum surgery before Dr. James Andrews convinced him it wasn’t necessary), and there were those concerns raised over the potential insurance risks.
Since then, however, Beckett has gotten insured (after taking an MRI following the 2007 season), while committing himself to an in-season training regimen that not only has kept his shoulder strong but has served as an example for the young pitchers in the Sox’ organization.
The various physical issues that have occurred in his tenure with the Red Sox will be some of the things that make this far from a cut-and-dried negotiation, but with 792 innings under his belt since the beginning of ’06 (17th-best in the majors) to go along with his 65 wins (third-most), he has seemingly shown enough for some team to be willing to go down the four- (or maybe even five-) year road. A.J. Burnett, after all, wasn’t really known as the most durable of pitchers when he signed a five-year deal with the Yankees last offseason, or with the Blue Jays (with an opt-out after three years) following the 2005 campaign.
FROM THE RED SOX’ PERSPECTIVE: If Beckett did become a free agent after ’07, the Sox might have been in trouble considering the amount of years and dollars the pitcher would have commanded. The question now is: How many years are the Sox willing to go this time around?
One thing that plays in Beckett’s favor is the role he has taken on as a staff leader (while sharing the ace role with Jon Lester). The Sox point to the starter when identifying what type of commitment it takes to be successful between starts, and how to approach the job as a whole. Ironically, this is one of the major drawing cards when entertaining the notion of committing to any sort of long-term deal with Roy Halladay, a pitcher three years older than Beckett.
But what if the Red Sox aren’t willing to go to the lengths of another team, or to the level of Beckett’s liking? Then this is where the conversations in the coming weeks might translate into how the Sox’ approach this offseason. If there is a hint that Beckett is going to be a difficult signing, than securing the likes of a Felix Hernandez or Halladay (who, right now, appears to be locked into Toronto with the Blue Jays holding onto the ace for the time being) becomes a priority.
And if Hernandez, Halladay, or another sure-fire, top-of-the-rotation pitcher becomes the be-all, end-all, then where does it leave the Sox in regard to having the chips to trade for a much-needed bat? As hesitant as the Red Sox are to dip their toes in the free agent market, it might become a necessary route if for no other reason as the need to hold on to some of their high-end minor leaguers.
They are scenarios that make you realize how important the signing of Lester was, as well as Beckett’ initial extension, and, whether you want to admit it or not, the long-term commitment to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who at least has the potential for top-of-the-rotation residency.
So while these initial talks might not yield any sort of tangible progress, any hints they could deliver could go a long way in helping the Red Sox’ plan of attack heading into the next few months.
|11.03.09 at 7:39 pm ET|
Q. Would it amuse you to hear that every Red Sox fan is rooting for you to beat the Yankees?
PEDRO MARTINEZ: No, it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. I know that they don’t like the Yankees to win, not even in Nintendo games. (Laughter). And knowing that I am part of Boston, I consider myself a Bostonian, as well, too, I’ve been a Montrealer, a Bostonian, and now a New Yorker, and somehow I might become a Philadelphian now. But I’ve only been there for a short period. It’s something that’s a work in progress, and I’m pretty sure that every Boston fan out there can feel proud that I’m going to try to beat the Yankees, and I’m going to give just the same effort I always did for them. They’re special fans, and they will always have my respect.
Here is the transcript (courtesy of ASAP Sports):
Q. I want to know how you feel to have your whole career come around full cycle here with all the confrontations you’ve had with the Yankees, all the confrontations you’ve had with Pettitte, that this would come down to six games of the World Series with you in a different uniform but sort of in the same setting with so much relying on it.
PEDRO MARTINEZ: Well, I would just have to actually thank God, not only for the opportunity but for actually keeping me healthy and blessing me and Andy. I actually have such a long career go full cycle around, actually be able to compete once again in a World Series, on one of the biggest stages, just see two old goats out there doing the best they can and having fun with it.
|11.03.09 at 7:07 pm ET|
On a night when Josh Beckett was honored at the Champions for Children’s event in recognition of his foundation’s contributions to Children’s Hospital Boston, both Beckett and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein spoke briefly about the pitcher’s future in Boston, as well as that of free-agent outfielder Jason Bay.
Beckett’s $12.1 million option for 2010 vested when he made 28 starts this year. After the season, barring an extension with the Sox, Beckett — at age 30 — would reach free agency for the first time in his career.
The prospect does not seem to weigh on the pitcher.
“Right now, I’m not too concerned with it. I’m just kind of enjoying the first part of my offseason,” Beckett said. “We’ll see what happens. It’s kind of up to them what we talk about now. As of now, I’m a Boston Red Sox in 2010. Unless somebody tells me I’m not, that’s what I’m focused on.”
“We have to let the business people take care of the business,” added Beckett. “This would be a fun place to play.”
Epstein suggested that the club did not want to disclose details of negotiations with one of its own players. Even so, he made clear that the Sox would welcome the possibility of keeping the pitcher beyond his current contract.
“It’s been really fun for us to watch him mature on and off the field during his time in Boston,” Epstein said. “He’s put himself in a position to be valued very highly by us. He’s someone we’d obviously like have to be a part of our future. Those things have a way of taking care of themselves. … We’ll see what happens.”
Both also weighed in on free-agent outfielder Jason Bay.
“I think he’s very important,” said Beckett. “I hope they do something with him. … He is very important to our team.”
“The fundamentals are in place,” said Epstein, repeating his prior statements on the matter. “He really wants to be here and we’d love to have them, but sometimes players need to go through the process (of free agency).”
Epstein said the team will wait until the last possible date to make any decisions with pkayer options, but he did say that “all the reports are positive” in Tim Wakefield’s recovery from surgery.
|11.03.09 at 7:07 pm ET|
Josh Beckett, who was in Boston to be honored for his commitment to Children’s Hospital, told WEEI.com that he and his agent, Michael Moye, are planning to meet with Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein in the coming weeks to discuss the . pitcher’s future with the team.
“We’re just letting things die down a little bit,” Beckett said. Beckett is entering the last year of his contract with the Red Sox after having his option for the 2010 season vest thanks to making 28 starts in ’09
Prior to the 2009 season, which saw Beckett go 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA, the pitcher made his desire to broach his future with the Sox known following the campaign.
‘At the end of the year hopefully we’ll sit down and maybe have a talk with (Red Sox general manager) Theo (Epstein), me and my agent (Michael Moye) and see what they’re thinking about,” he had said. “I want to see where they’re going, if I’m even in their plans. If I’m not it was an awesome run. I really haven’t sat down and thought about it too much, but at the end of the year we will sit down and at least have a talk. Even if nothing comes of it, just to say, ‘Are we in the plans? Are we looking to get younger?’ It’s really up to them. I would like to stay here. I love playing in Boston. I can’t imagine another organization that would go so far out of the way to make my job as easy as possible. They realize our jobs are very demanding and very hard, and they do everything they can.’
Check back on Full Count for more from Beckett and Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who also attended the event at the Seaport Convention Center.
|11.03.09 at 12:23 pm ET|
In an event at the Seaport World Trade Center on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 5:30 p.m., Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett will be honored as Children’s Hospital’s 2009 ‘Champion,’ in recognition of his dedication to making a difference in the lives of the patients at Children’s. Beckett will be one of many athletes and representatives of local sports teams appearing at the Champions for Children’s annual dinner and auction, a fundraising event that supports patient care, research and community outreach initiatives for Children’s Hospital Boston.
Expected attendees include Red Sox players Beckett and Kevin Youkilis, Sox Principal Owner John Henry, President & CEO Larry Lucchino, Executive Vice President & General Manager Theo Epstein, alumni Joe Morgan and Luis Tiant; Celtics star Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, alumni JoJo White and Dana Barros; New England Patriots players Darius Butler, Matt Light, and Tyrone McKenzie; former Boston Bruins Lyndon Byers, Gord Kluzak and Tommy Songin; New England Revolution stars Taylor Twellman, Jeff Larentowicz and Chris Tierney; WEEI-AM’s Glenn Ordway and many more.
A limited number of tickets are still available at www.childrenshospital.org/champions.
Children’s Hospital Boston, an internationally renowned center for medical research and treatment, is one of the only pediatric hospitals nationwide that focuses on pairing world-class research with clinical resources to develop novel therapies to treat and cure children. Many of the hospital’s scientific advancements have far-reaching implications for treating adults, too ‘ they target diseases including prostate and breast cancer, macular degeneration, and Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit www.childrenshospital.org/giving.
|11.02.09 at 1:16 pm ET|
According to a baseball source, Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen declined an offer to become the Assistant General Manager of the Padres. Hazen interviewed with former Red Sox Assistant G.M. and new Padres G.M. Jed Hoyer last week. Hazen’s decision was first reported by ESPN’s Peter Gammons (via Twitter).
Hazen, a native of Abington, Mass., has been the Sox’ farm director since 2006, when he came from the Indians’ front office. He spent two seasons as a player in the Padres’ minor-league system.
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