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Minor Details Ep. 6: Why the Red Sox draft football stars

01.07.11 at 5:03 pm ET
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An emerging Red Sox prospect just as easily could have been playing in the college football BCS championship game.

Brandon Jacobs was recruited to play football and baseball at Auburn, but the Red Sox drafted him in the 10th round of the 2009 draft and convinced him (with the aid of a $750,000 signing bonus) to start a baseball career. Jacobs isn’t alone.

In recent years, the Red Sox have drafted a number of players who were viewed as outstanding college football prospects and convinced them to hang up their pads in order to begin their professional careers. Ryan Kalish, Will Middlebrooks, Casey Kelly and Jacobs are among the many two-sport athletes whom the Sox drafted and paid dearly to sign. (And, of course, three-sport high school star Carl Crawford just signed a seven-year, $142 million deal to come to Boston.)

Why do the Sox pursue these sorts of players? How is their development affected by their two-sport status in high school?

To answer those questions, Minor Details was joined this week by outfielder Brandon Jacobs as well as Red Sox amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye to discuss the phenomenon of baseball players who were multi-sport stars.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

Previous episodes of Minor Details:

Ep. 5: The human side of the Adrian Gonzalez trade, with Padres (and former Red Sox) prospect Anthony Rizzo, Sox scout Laz Gutierrez and Sox farm director Mike Hazen. The episode also includes a discussion with Baseball America’s Jim Callis about the state of the Sox farm system following the trade for Adrian Gonzalez

Ep. 4: Evaluating prospects and making blockbusters, with former Diamondbacks GM/Red Sox Assistant GM Josh Byrnes and former Red Sox manager Butch Hobson (who was Jeff Bagwell‘€˜s manager in the Red Sox system when he was traded to the Astros)

Ep. 3: Red Sox catching prospects, with Sox roving catching instructor Chadd Epperson, as well as a conversation with Arizona Fall League manager Mike Sarbaugh about the Sox’€™ prospects in the AFL

Ep. 2: Red Sox trade chips with Keith Law of ESPN.com

Ep. 1: Baseball America’€™s list of the Top 10 Red Sox prospects, with Mike Hazen and Jim Callis

Read More: amiel sawdaye, auburn, bcs, brandon jacobs

Brian Cashman says Yankees won’t pursue Rafael Soriano

01.07.11 at 2:37 pm ET
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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the Journal News that his team would not be willing to sacrifice its 2011 first-round pick to sign any of the free agents who remain on the market. With Adrian Beltre having signed with the Rangers and Carl Pavano reportedly close to an agreement to return to the Twins, the only two remaining Type A free agents (who would require a signing team to sacrifice a pick) are a pair of relievers who spent 2010 with the Rays: Rafael Soriano and Grant Balfour.

Some reports had suggested that the Yankees could pursue Soriano as a setup man. Agent Scott Boras told ESPN.com earlier in the week that Soriano — who led the AL in saves in 2010 — would be willing to set up in New York.

But while Soriano may have been willing to entertain such a notion, Cashman essentially ruled it out by stating that the Yankees would not part with the pick needed to sign the right-hander.

“I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,’€ Cashman is quoted as saying. ‘€œI would have for Cliff Lee. I won’€™t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.’€

The Yankees have been fairly quiet this offseason since Lee turned down New York’s offers to sign with the Phillies. Cashman re-signed shortstop Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera, and he has signed left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano and catcher Russell Martin.

But the Yankees have not reached any deals for the cream of this year’s free agent crop. Still, Cashman suggested that it was premature to panic about the 2010 AL wild card winners.

‘€œWe’€™re going to show up in Tampa, and we’€™re going to have a team that we’€™re proud of,’€ Cashman told the Journal News.

Read More: brian cashman, Hot Stove, rafael soriano, Yankees

Red Sox spring training tickets going on sale on Saturday

01.06.11 at 4:39 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced that spring training tickets will go on sale this coming Saturday, Jan. 8, at 10:00 a.m. Tickets will be sold at the City of Palms Park box office, on the team’s website or by calling 888-REDSOX6. Handicap accessible seating is also available by calling 877-REDSOX9. Hearing impaired patrons may call the TTY line at 617-226-6644.

For patrons in Fort Myers, there will be festivities from noon to 3:00 p.m. at City of Palms Park.

The Sox begin exhibition games on Feb. 26 with a doubleheader against Boston College and Northeastern.

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Report: Rangers to pass on Rafael Soriano, boding well for Red Sox draft

01.06.11 at 12:30 pm ET
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According to FoxSports.com, the Rangers won’t pursue free agent closer Rafael Soriano this offseason. The team’s agreement with Adrian Beltre on a six-year, $96 million deal represented its run prevention upgrade. Soriano, meanwhile, “isn’t a target of the Rangers right now,” according to the report.

That is potentially good news for the Red Sox, since Soriano is the only remaining Type A free agent on the market who received a higher ranking from the Elias Sports Bureau than Beltre. As such, if the Rangers sign Soriano, Texas’ first-round pick would go to the Rays as compensation for the loss of Soriano, with the Sox getting the Rangers’ second-round pick, around the No. 80-85 pick in the draft.

But, so long as Soriano lands somewhere other than Texas, the Sox will get the Rangers’ top pick, the No. 26 overall selection in a draft that is considered to feature exceptional depth of potential impact players, particularly in terms of the quality of college pitchers.

There are still three unsigned Type A free agents who are unsigned: Soriano, Carl Pavano and Grant Balfour. But Beltre had a higher Elias rating than either Pavano or Balfour, according to this list compiled by MLBTradeRumors.com.

The Sox are also currently positioned to receive the first-round pick from the Tigers (No. 19 overall) thanks to Detroit’s signing of free agent Victor Martinez. Though Detroit has not been connected to Soriano this offseason, Soriano was also rated higher in the Elias ratings than Beltre, meaning that if the Tigers signed the 2010 AL leader in saves, their first-round selection would go to the Rays, with their second-rounder going to the Sox.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Hot Stove, rafael soriano, texas rangers

Statement from Red Sox about not moving in right-field fence

01.06.11 at 9:35 am ET
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The following is the statement released by the Red Sox regarding the news first reported by WEEI.com that the team would not be moving in the right-field fence:

“The Red Sox recently sent a letter to the Secretary of State’€™s office withdrawing a request to consider expansion of the right field bullpen area this off-season. As we moved through the review process over the last several months, issues arose regarding implementation that required additional discussion and consideration of other design possibilities.  Given the tight construction timeline we are operating on to have the ballpark ready for Opening Day 2011, and the fact that we’€™re already deep into the off-season, plus the impact any work on the bullpen area would have on other work currently being done on the right field seating bowl, we decided to take this project off the table for 2010-2011 off-season.  We are going to review the feedback received during this process, and determine the next best steps.  It is still on our radar screen, but there is no immediate timetable for this project and, as we do on an annual basis, we will review all potential off-season projects as we get closer to the end of next season.”

Read More: Hot Stove,

Red Sox won’t be moving in the right-field fence

01.05.11 at 7:43 pm ET
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According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have withdrawn their request to the office of the Massachusetts Secretary of State to undergo construction that would bring in the right field fence at Fenway Park as much as nine feet. The move, which would have expanded the width of the Fenway bullpens fro 21 to 27 feet, had to approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Society. The proposal was met with some resistance from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino told WEEI.com in October that part of the impetus for any alteration would be to provide increased safety in the bullpens. ‘€œThey’€™re among the narrowest in baseball, if not the narrowest,” Lucchino said. “It makes it hard for two guys to warm-up. It does have other effects in terms of reducing the depths of right field, which is among the deepest in baseball.’€

For more Red Sox coverage, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Hot Stove,

Red Sox claim catcher Max Ramirez, DFA Matt Fox

01.05.11 at 5:24 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they have claimed catcher Max Ramirez from the Rangers and designated pitcher Matt Fox for assignment. Ramirez, 26, had nearly been acquired by the Red Sox last offseason in exchange for Mike Lowell, but concerns over Lowell’s hip led to deal’s collapse. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan was the first to report the Sox’ acquisition of Ramirez.

The Rangers had designated Ramirez for assignment after signing free agent pitchers Brandon Webb and Arthur Rhodes. In adding Ramirez, the Sox now have five catchers on their 40-man roster: Jason Varitek, Luis Exposito, Ramirez, and former Ranger Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Ramirez spent the majority of the 2010 season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting .286/.373/.381 in 56 games. He hit .217/.341/.348 in 28 games for Texas. Ramirez has hit .298/.396/.476 in the minors over his seven-year career between Braves, Indians, and Rangers affiliates.

Fox, 28, made three appearances with the Sox last season after being claimed off waivers from Minnesota. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed a pair of runs.

Read More: Hot Stove, Matt Fox, max ramirez,
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