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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.”

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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.

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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,

Eleven Red Sox prospects to participate in Rookie Program

01.05.11 at 5:21 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced Wednesday that 11 prospects will participate in the team’s 2011 rookie program beginning on Jan. 10. Designed to give youngsters an idea of what to expect in the major leagues, the program will last two week.

Robert Coello, Stephen Fife, Stolmy Pimentel, Jason Rice, Alex Wilson, and Clevelan Santeliz will make up the pitchers in attendance, while Tim Federowicz and Ryan Lavarnway will be the only two catchers. Infielders Will Middlebrooks and Oscar Tejeda, as well as outfielder Juan Linares will also take part in the program.

Among the individuals addressing the group of young players will be manager Terry Francona, coaches Dave Magadan and Curt Young, president/CEO Larry Lucchino, general manager Theo Epstein, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Read More: Hot Stove,

Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

01.05.11 at 2:45 pm ET
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Second baseman Roberto Alomar and pitcher Bert Blyleven were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association on Wednesday.

Alomar, a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner, hit .300/.371/.443 over 17 major league seasons. Blyleven, meanwhile, picked up 287 wins and tossed 242 complete games over his 22-year career. His 3,701 strikeouts are the fifth-most of all time.

The 523 votes (a 90-percent plurality) that Alomar received were the third-most ever, while Blyleven received 463 votes (79.7 percent).

Alomar and Blyleven will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 24 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. Executive Pat Gillick, writer Bill Conlin, and announcer Dave Van Horne will also be honored.

The voting went down as follows:

Roberto Alomar 523 (90.0%), Bert Blyleven 463 (79.7%), Barry Larkin 361 (62.1%), Jack Morris 311 (53.5%), Lee Smith 263 (45.3%), Jeff Bagwell 242 (41.7%), Tim Raines 218 (37.5%), Edgar Martinez 191 (32.9%), Alan Trammell 141 (24.3%), Larry Walker 118 (20.3%), Mark McGwire 115 (19.8%), Fred McGriff 104 (17.9%), Dave Parker 89 (15.3%), Don Mattingly 79 (13.6%), Dale Murphy 73 (12.6%), Rafael Palmeiro 64 (11.0%), Juan Gonzalez 30 (5.2%), Harold Baines 28 (4.8%), John Franco 27 (4.6%), Kevin Brown 12 (2.1%), Tino Martinez 6 (1.0%), Marquis Grissom 4 (0.7%), Al Leiter 4 (0.7%), John Olerud 4 (0.7%), B.J. Surhoff 2 (0.3%), Bret Boone 1 (0.2%), Benito Santiago 1 (0.2%), Carlos Baerga 0, Lenny Harris 0, Bobby Higginson 0, Charles Johnson 0, Raul Mondesi 0, Kirk Rueter 0.

Report: Red Sox sign Tony Pena … again

01.05.11 at 12:38 pm ET
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According to a Tweet from ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, the Red Sox have signed pitcher Tony Pena Jr. to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major league camp. He is the son of Tony Pena, who played with the Red Sox from 1990-93, having signed a free agent deal with the Sox following the ’89 season.

Pena Jr. had come up to the major leagues as a shortstop, starting Opening Day for the Royals against the Red Sox in 2007. That season he went to play 152 games with Kansas City, hitting .267, but with an on-base percentage of just .284. He would walk just 10 times in 536 plate appearances that year.

After two more seasons with the Royals, the 29-year-old Pena Jr. was signed by the Giants to become a pitcher. In 29 games with Double-A Richmond, he went 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA, striking out 41 in 46 1/3 innings. At Triple-A Fresno he struggled a bit, compiling a 6.60 ERA in 24 games.

Read More: Hot Stove,

The Rangers aren’t signing Adrian Beltre, Adrian Beltre is signing with the Rangers

01.04.11 at 6:57 pm ET
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With word that Adrian Beltre will officially be leaving the Red Sox to sign a reported six-year, $96 million deal with the Rangers, let’s look back at two of the things that will undoubtedly be left in the Adrian Beltre time-capsule:

– First is the remembrance of the “Adrian Beltre Facts,” spawned during a slow August game in Toronto. Thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, a flurry of suggestions came forth in an attempt to define the uniqueness that was Beltre. Click here to see some of the best ones.

– And then there was, of course, Beltre’s issue with people touching his head. Some genius (come forward if you are he/she) made a compilation of Beltre’s head rubs. To watch them click here.

Here is a sample, courtesy of J.D. Drew:

Reports: Adrian Beltre close to deal with Rangers

01.04.11 at 12:13 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, the Rangers are closing in on a long-term deal with free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (via twitter) said that a six-year deal could be completed as soon as today, while Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com (via twitter) said that the deal “will effectively be for five years with a vesting option for a sixth.” Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of SI.com reported (via twitter) that a deal would be in the $90-100 million range.

UPDATE: MLB.com reports that the deal would be a six-year, $96 million agreement, with the Rangers having the ability to opt out of the sixth year if certain playing time thresholds are not reached.

Beltre spent 2010 with the Red Sox on a one-year contract, a partnership that worked out brilliantly for both sides when Beltre hit .321 with a .919 OPS, 28 homers and 102 RBI while playing excellent defense at third base. While the Sox explored the possibility of having him return to Boston, they instead elected to acquire Adrian Gonzalez via trade this offseason and to move Kevin Youkilis to third base, effectively ruling out a return by Beltre.

If Beltre signs with the Rangers, the Sox would receive a pair of draft picks (most likely Texas’ first-round pick, the No. 26 overall selection in the draft, along with a sandwich pick) as compensation for his departure.

That Beltre will yield two draft picks rather than one represents a sort of found-money for the Sox, as team officials thought there was little likelihood that he could become a Type A free agent when he signed as a free agent. One team official surmised that it would be “virtually impossible” for Beltre to achieve status as one of the top 20 percent of performers at his position over the 2009-10 seasons (based on an injury-marred 2009 campaign in which he hit .265/.304/.379/.683 with eight homers for the Mariners). But Beltre’s huge 2010 campaign vaulted him to Type A status, thus meaning that his departure as a free agent (after rejecting the team’s offer of salary arbitration) would net two picks rather than the one draft pick that a team receives in the sandwich round for a Type B free agent’s departure.

While the Sox gave up their own first round selection in the 2011 draft (No. 24 overall) in order to sign Carl Crawford, they have gained the Tigers’ first-round pick (No. 19 overall) for the signing of Victor Martinez, and now appear poised to claim a second first-rounder if Beltre signs with the Rangers. It would be the first time that the Sox have had two first-round picks since selecting Jason Place and Daniel Bard in the 2006 draft.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, draft pick compensation, Hot Stove, texas rangers

Source: Rays among several teams interested in Manny Delcarmen

01.03.11 at 8:52 pm ET
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According to a baseball source, the Tampa Bay Rays are one of “several teams” to express interest in former Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen, who became a free agent in December when the Colorado Rockies elected not to tender the right-hander a contract.

Delcarmen, who had emerged as a key reliever for the Sox in 2007 and 2008, struggled with injuries in 2009 and 2010 while watching his numbers get worse across the board. He posted a 4.99 ERA in 2010 (4.70 with the Red Sox, 6.48 with Colorado after being traded to the Rockies on Aug. 31 for Single-A starter Chris Balcom-Miller), and both his strikeout rate (6.5 per nine innings) and walk rate (5.5 per nine) were the worst of his career.

That said, he is young (28), and not far removed from being one of the top relievers in the AL East. In 2007-08, he had a 2.81 ERA in 117 appearances. The Sox believed that Delcarmen’s arm strength remained fine, and that his struggles in 2010 — which began in spring training — were due to a known mechanical issue.

“When he was good, he had the ability to get left and right-handers out, which was huge. It gives you that guy, kind of like an Oki, when he’€™s going good, who really makes your bullpen a little deeper. … He’€™s a local kid, who, he had times when he had some runs when he was pretty good. And there were some times when it didn’€™t go as planned. It’€™s not always perfect,” Sox manager Terry Francona said when Delcarmen was dealt. “When he would leave the rubber too quick, there were stretches where he just couldn’€™t get his arm to catch up on time. And he knew itbut he couldn’€™t make the adjustment during his outing. John Farrell would go out to the mound, and he’€™d say, ‘€˜Yeah I know’€™. When everything was working on time, it worked good. But when it wasn’€™t, it took him a little while to make the adjustment.’€

Delcarmen, who would not be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season by the team that signs him, is now looking for “the right fit,” according to the source.

News of Tampa Bay’s interest first surfaced in a report by the St. Petersburg Times.

Read More: Hot Stove, manny delcarmen, tampa bay rays,
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