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Yankees now going after Carl Crawford

12.03.10 at 12:27 pm ET
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According to ESPN.com’€™s Buster Olney, the Yankees are ‘€œvery much engaged in conversations’€ with Carl Crawford. Olney writes that is unknown whether or not New York would stay in the mix for free agent pitcher Cliff Lee if they were to allocate resources to Crawford.

This should come as no surprise for Red Sox fans (because it wasn’t for the Sox organization): A. There is a fit. Crawford would be valuable in the expanse of the Yankee Stadium left field; B. New York typically moves this way, coming in on guys a bit later (see Mark Teixeira).

Join our Hot Stove Live Chat at 11 a.m.

12.03.10 at 9:45 am ET
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Join our Hot Stove Live Chat, starting at 11 a.m. Friday, with Lou Merloni and Rob Bradford taking your questions and discussing all things Red Sox as they head into next week’s Winter Meetings.

Hot Stove Live Chat

Red Sox non-tender Taylor Buchholz, Andrew Miller, Hideki Okajima

12.03.10 at 12:29 am ET
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The Red Sox did not tender 2011 contracts to pitchers Taylor Buchholz, Andrew Miller, and Hideki Okajima. All three will now become free agents.

The Sox did tender contracts to the other 21 unsigned players on their Major League roster, including closer Jonathan Papelbon, who is eligible for arbitration for a third time and is eligible to get a raise from the $9.35 million he made in ’10.

Teams had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday night to tender ’11 contracts to all unsigned players on their Major League rosters. The Red Sox now have 37 players on their 40-man roster.

For more on the Red Sox, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Report: Red Sox offered three-year deal to Mariano Rivera

12.03.10 at 12:07 am ET
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According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Red Sox attempted to sign closer Mariano Rivera to a three-year deal. It appears, however, that Rivera will re-sign with the Yankees, agreeing to what multiple reports classify as a two-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $30 million. Heyman also Tweeted that he has heard the Angels and one other team offered the reliever three years. For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Report: Red Sox sign starting pitcher Brandon Duckworth

12.02.10 at 10:54 pm ET
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According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Red Sox have signed righty pitcher Brandon Duckworth to a minor-league deal. The 34-year-old Duckworth last pitched in the major leagues in 2008 with the Kansas City Royals, having spent the 2010 season playing for the Phillies’ Triple-A team team, Lehigh Valley, where he started in 16 of his 24 appearances, going 5-4 with a 3.32 ERA. He was a member of the Philadelphia rotation in 2002 when he went 8-9 with a 5.41 ERA in 29 starts (30 appearances).

Duckworth, who was traded along with current Red Sox pitcher Taylor Buchholz for former Red Sox reliever Billy Wagner in 2003, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 1997 by the Phillies out of Call State Fullerton. He would figure to provide organizational starting pitching depth.

For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Red Sox ready to tender contract to Jonathan Papelbon

12.02.10 at 6:01 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox will almost certainly tender a contract to Jonathan Papelbon (“unless something cataclysmic happens in the next few hours”), making him eligible for a final round of arbitration. Papelbon, who made $9.35 million in 2010 (his second season of arbitration eligibility), and may be in line to make just more than $11 million for ’11. If the Red Sox had chosen to non-tender Papelbon, he would have been eligible for free agency. Thursday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players eligible for arbitration.

Why re-signing Jason Varitek makes sense for Red Sox

12.02.10 at 4:55 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox have come to terms on a one-year agreement with Jason Varitek that would pay the 38-year-old $2 million, with a chance to make $300,000 more in incentives. And while a case could be made that the Sox underestimated the value of Victor Martinez, allowing the catcher/DH to head to Detroit, the idea of re-signing of the captain as a short-term Plan B makes enough sense so that it shouldn’t be fodder for those December doubters.

Here are the reasons:

– First and foremost, keep in mind, once Martinez left, it had to be understood that the Red Sox most likely weren’t going to hit Opening Day with a game-changer at the catching position. So those who are up in arms about bringing back Varitek, save your breath for moves elsewhere in the lineup or bullpen that would be much closer to making or breaking the success of the team. The drama centering around this position wasn’t about who they were going to bring in now that Martinez is gone. It was, is, and will be about how effective Saltlamacchia can be.

– When looking at veteran backstops who could offer a buffer while it is determined whether or not Jarrod Saltalamacchia can be a major league starter, finding a head-and-shoulders option that wouldn’t necessitate more than a single year commitment was a tough one. Certainly, arguments could be made that the Sox should have gone after Miguel Olivo (32) or Rod Barajas (35). But we aren’t talking about such difference-makers that would necessitate ignoring what familiar qualities you would be getting with Varitek.

– Before getting hurt, Varitek showed signs that a limited role might actually be a decent fit. For the first two months of the season, he had the second-highest OPS of any catcher with more than 70 plate appearances. During that span, he also showed marked improvement hitting from the left side, totaling an .893 OPS (.299 better than V-Mart). We aren’t ignoring the fact that his swing-and-miss rate continues to go up (from 26 to 30 percent from ’09 to ’10), or that he isn’t nearly the catch-and-throw guy Saltalamacchia is. But, again, focusing on the “limited” in “limited role” these things negatives can be stomached when weighing them against the positives.

– If the combination of Saltalamacchia and Varitek wasn’t working out in the first few months, fixing the problem would be a bit more manageable than even 2010. The internal candidates will be a step closer, and notch better, than what the Sox were presented with in ’10. Closest is Mark Wagner is a good defensive catcher, who might be too limited offensively to be a long-term solution. But, as the season progresses, legitimate offensive options might be on the verge in the form of Luis Exposito and/or Ryan Lavarnway. In other words, if something did happen to Saltamacchia, the Red Sox could potentially have internal pieces which could split time with Varitek (at least until the trade market sorts itself out).

(Note: The free agent market following the 2011 season doesn’t look much better than this time around, with Yadier Molina and Kelly Shoppach both carrying club options and not much after that.)

– With a fairly new catcher (Saltalamacchia) and a new pitching coach (Curt Young) there is value in having Varitek supply the kind of bridge a newcomer might not be able to muster. Perhaps no more important part of that bridge will be working with Josh Beckett, whom has gone on record as saying he enjoys throwing to Varitek. (Note: In ’10, Beckett did have a 7.18 ERA in the six games he threw to Varitek, compared to the 5.11 he put up in 12 starts with Martinez.) It might be case where we aren’t talking about Varitek solely catching Beckett, but rather also helping Saltalamacchia further understand the righty. Saltalamacchia only caught Beckett once last season, with the hurler giving up four runs over seven innings. Martinez and former pitching coach John Farrell talked extensively about how V-Mart learned a different way of approaching a game-plan from Varitek, one with more structure, which is Beckett’s preference.

Wily Mo Pena signs minor league deal with Arizona Diamondbacks

12.01.10 at 4:18 pm ET
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Former Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena, who was acquired by Boston in a trade for right-hander Bronson Arroyo in 2006, has signed a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to a baseball source. The split contract would be worth $675,000 should Pena make the big league team.

Pena was out of baseball at the start of last year before playing for $1200 a month in the independent Atlantic League last season. He ended up being signed to a minor league deal by the Padres, and he hit .324/.390/.556 with nine homers for Triple-A Portland, for whom he played outfield and first base. On the strength of that performance, the 28-year-old (he turns 29 in January) received interest from a handful of clubs, among them the White Sox, Tigers, Astros and Orioles. He also received a more lucrative offer to play in Japan, but the slugging outfielder chose to play in the U.S., and saw a promising opportunity with the Diamondbacks, whose left field situation remains uncertain.

Pena is a career .253 hitter with a .753 OPS and 77 homers in parts of seven big league seasons. He last played in the majors in 2008 with the Washington Nationals, who acquired him from the Sox as part of a three-way deal (that included the Arizona Diamondbacks) that netted Boston Chris Carter, who was subsequently moved to the Mets as part of the deal for reliever Billy Wagner in 2009.

Read More: Arizona Diamondbacks, wily mo pena,

Report: Sox meet with Carl Crawford

12.01.10 at 3:25 pm ET
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According to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown (via twitter), the Red Sox are “serious” about signing free agent outfielder Carl Crawford. Citing a source within the Red Sox organization, Brown writes that the team has been in Houston meeting with Crawford and his representatives.

Crawford, 29, has spent each of his nine seasons playing for Tampa Bay. Last season, he hit .307/.356./.495 with 19 homers, 90 RBI, and 47 stolen bases. He has 409 career stolen bases.

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

It’s official: Adrian Beltre, Felipe Lopez decline arbitration

12.01.10 at 12:32 am ET
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The shape of the 2011 Red Sox remains a work in progress. But Boston has positioned itself quite well for the 2011 draft.

The Sox already were due for a pair of compensatory draft picks (perhaps as high as the No. 19 overall) after the Detroit Tigers signed Victor Martinez, a Type A free agent. Now, the Sox could add as many as three more picks to the 2011 June draft after third baseman Adrian Beltre and infielder Felipe Lopez declined the team’s arbitration offer.

Beltre, a Type A free agent, would net the Sox a pair of picks if he signs elsewhere. Lopez, a Type B free agent, would bring back one pick.

Those five compensatory picks, in turn, could make it a bit easier to swallow should the Sox sign any Type A free agents, who would force the club to give up one of its own draft picks. For instance, if the Sox signed Type A free agents Jayson Werth and Scott Downs, they would still end up with a net gain of three draft picks should Beltre and Lopez follow Martinez elsewhere.

That said, the Sox have also made clear that they would like to re-sign Beltre if possible, so it is not a foregone conclusion that the team will get all of its picks. Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Sox are not limited in any way from trying to sign their own free agents despite their decision to reject arbitration.

Here is the official Red Sox release:

The Boston Red Sox Tuesday night were notified that free agents third baseman Adrian Beltre and infielder Felipe Lopez have declined the team’€™s offers of salary arbitration.

Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, clubs retain the right to negotiate and/or enter into a contract agreement with any of their free agents, regardless of whether arbitration was offered and/or declined. There are no deadlines for such negotiations and/or agreements.

The Red Sox would be eligible to receive compensation for Beltre, a type A free agent, and Lopez, a type B free agent.

Beltre, 31, hit .321 (189-for-589) and led the Majors with 49 doubles while also tallying 28 home runs and 102 RBI in 2010. Lopez, 30, combined to bat .233 (91-for-391) with eight long balls and 37 RBI over 113 games between the Cardinals and the Red Sox last season.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, arbitration, felipe lopez, victor martinez
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