|02.03.10 at 12:47 pm ET|
The Red Sox officially announced their minor league deals with right-handed reliever Joe Nelson and catcher Gustavo Molina. Both players have been added to the roster of Triple-A Pawtucket. The team also announced some changes to its baseball operations department.
The press release follows. For more information on Nelson, click here.
The Red Sox today announced the signings of catcher Gustavo Molina and right-handed pitcher Joe Nelson to 2010 minor league contracts. In addition, both players have been invited to Boston’s Major League Spring Training camp as non-roster players.
The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.
Molina, 27, spent all of last year with Washington’s Triple-A Syracuse affiliate, batting .209 (44-for-211) with two home runs and 24 RBI in 72 games. He appeared in 68 games behind the plate, posting a .986 (6 E/415 TC) fielding percentage while throwing out 16 of 39 attempted base stealers (41 percent). Originally signed by the Chicago White Sox as an international free agent in 2000, Molina has played 19 Major League games for the White Sox (2007), Baltimore Orioles (2007) and New York Mets (2008), batting .118 (4-for-34) with one RBI.
Nelson, 35, split last season between the Tampa Bay Rays and Triple-A Durham. He began the year with the Rays, going 3-0 with three saves and a 4.02 ERA (18 ER/40.1 IP) in 42 relief outings before an August 1 option to Durham. The right-hander made 13 appearances for the Bulls, going 2-2 with a 6.23 ERA (12 ER/17.1 IP).
He returns for a second stint with Boston after pitching in three games for the club in 2004. Originally selected by Atlanta in the fourth round of the 1996 draft, Nelson is 7-2 with 13 saves and a 4.07 ERA (65 ER/143.2 IP) in 149 career Major League games for the Braves (2001), Red Sox (2004), Kansas City Royals (2006), Florida Marlins (2008) and Rays (2009).
Both players are on the Pawtucket roster.
RED SOX ANNOUNCE CHANGES IN BASEBALL OPERATIONS: The Red Sox today announced three changes in Baseball Operations. Eddie Romero, who has served as Coordinator, Latin American Operations since 2006, was promoted to Assistant Director, Latin American Operations. Gus Quattlebaum was promoted to Assistant Director, Amateur Scouting after working for the club as a Major League scout since 2006. Steve Peck was named a Major League scout. He joined the Red Sox in 2009 as a professional scout after 13 years on the coaching and scouting staff of the Seattle Mariners.
|02.03.10 at 10:04 am ET|
With the reporting date for spring training remains a couple weeks away, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is putting the finishing touches on his offseason preparations for the 2010 season. Pedroia offered WEEI.com a glimpse of a day in the life of his workout schedule in Arizona.
Video is below. For a more detailed description, read Rob Bradford’s “The Offseason: A day in the life of Dustin Pedroia” by clicking here.
|02.01.10 at 8:10 pm ET|
A baseball source has confirmed that the Red Sox have agreed to a minor league deal with right-handed reliever Joe Nelson. The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com (via Twitter).
The move is a low-risk one with some potential payoff for the Red Sox, given that Nelson is two years removed from a season when his numbers were among the best of any National League reliever.
The Sox were looking to add more bullpen arms into a back-end competition that currently includes right-handers Scott Atchinson, Boof Bonser, Ramon A. Ramirez and Robert Manuel and left-handers Dustin Richardson, Brian Shouse and Fabio Castro. Because most of the Sox bullpen is settled (with Jonathan Papelbon at the end, and Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez all but certain to take key set-up roles), it seemed they would likely have a difficult time selling their opportunity to an established reliever.
“We can always add depth and create competition in spots. There is already some competition. With the numbers in the ‘pen, we have to whittle it down,” GM Theo Epstein said on Friday. “We’re always on the lookout for more additions if they make sense. We don’t necessarily have great opportunities to sell at this point with certain aspects of our club, but if somebody is prepared for some competition maybe we could be the right landing spot for some guys on a minor-league deal.”
Apparently, Nelson proved open to just such an opportunity.
Nelson, 35, was 3-0 with a 4.02 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays last year, striking out 36 in 40.1 innings. He suffered command difficulties, however, as he walked 27 batters. That — and his $1.9 million deal in 2009 — came on the heels of a career-best 2008 season, when he had a 2.00 ERA and struck out 60 in 54 innings for the Florida Marlins.
Nelson was previously in the Red Sox system in both 2002 and 2004. Though most of his first stint in the organization was lost to injury, when healthy in 2004, he recorded a 2.96 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 51.2 combined innings in Double A and Triple A, and he appeared in three games (allowing five runs in 2.2 innings) in the majors.
His signature pitch is “The Vulcan,” a changeup that he throws with a grip reminiscent of the greeting offered by Star Trek’s Dr. Spock.
|02.01.10 at 1:16 pm ET|
As Lou Merloni pointed out in this blog entry, both the Red Sox and Yankees struggled against a set of pitchers with arguably the best stuff in the American League. As Lou documents, Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, John Lackey and Matt Garza did not discriminate when it came to shutting down their opponents (except for Greinke, who shut out the Sox for six innings but never faced the Yankees).
The group had a combined 6-4 record and 2.42 ERA against the Red Sox; against New York, those six pitchers went 6-3 with a 2.16 ERA. This is an illustration of Lou’s conclusion, that “nobody hits good pitching.” And, certainly, there’s some truth to that.
That said, the Yankees did a far better job than the Sox in 2009 of beating up on the second tier of pitchers — hurlers who may have fallen short of the Cy Young-caliber greatness of pitchers like Greinke, Hernandez, Halladay and Verlander, but who were still above average.
To wit: in 2009, the Sox faced 20 of the 42 pitchers who had a sub-4.00 ERA in 162 or more innings. That group (in 36 starts) went 15-10 with a 2.72 ERA, meaning that they offered a reasonable facsimile of a season’s worth of Halladay (who finished the year with a 17-10 record and 2.79 ERA for the Blue Jays).
The Yankees faced 20 of the 42 pitches who finished the year with a sub-4.00 ERA while qualifying for the ERA title. That group (in 43 starts) went 16-12 with a 3.99 ERA against New York, numbers more in line with pitchers like Jason Marquis (15-13, 4.04), A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04), and Joe Blanton (12-8, 4.05) — all pitchers who enjoyed solid years, but none of whom even sniffed Cy Young contention.
So, the Sox’ problems last year — at least one of the areas in which they suffered by comparison with their New York rivals — was less their inability to beat elite pitching (something that generally should plague any offense) than it was the ability to handle more modest opponents.
On a very separate note: Sons of Sam Horn is currently conducting its Jimmy Fundraiser auction. There are some excellent items in there, with all proceeds going to the Jimmy Fund. Check it out by clicking here.
|01.31.10 at 1:30 am ET|
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, in his weekly appearance on Saturday’s Mut & Bradford show, touched on the state of the Red Sox and the final stages of his offseason. Pedroia was back in his hometown of Woodland, Calif., to take part in clinics with some of the young players in the town and to take part in a fundraiser.
Pedroia suggested that the town of Woodland helped to define his attitude as a player, and he offered words of inspiration for those who would seek to replicate his career path.
“I definitely got my trash-talking from here, that’s a fact,” Pedroia said. “Trash-talking, it starts at a young age. It can even start at 3, 4 years old and then moving up. The more you talk trash, the better you become at it.”
Pedroia also offered his thoughts on the state of the Sox entering the 2010 season. A transcript of highlights is below. To listen to the complete interview, click here.
On how the 2010 team shapes up:
When we go into a series, whatever team you’re playing, you look at the starting pitchers you’re facing. That gives you an idea of what to expect that series. I’m sure when an opposing team comes in and they’re facing [John] Lackey, [Josh] Beckett, [Jon] Lester, or you could throw out combinations left and right with our staff, that’s a pretty tough challenge for the opposing team. And offensively, they know we’re going to take a lot of pitches, we’re going to walk, we’ve got power in the middle of our lineup. We can score runs in a thousand different ways. Good pitching and defense wins, and an offense that’s relentless and finds way to score runs, can beat you with a three-run homer, can beat you on the bases — Ellsbury can do it, I can steal some bases, [Marco] Scutaro can steal — we can score runs in a thousand different ways.
I really love our club. Obviously Theo [Epstein] did a great job in signing Lackey and getting guys who fit our club. We’re excited. We feel we have a great team and can compete with everybody.
On playing the first game of the season on Sunday night:
I think it’s great. We’re opening up the season in front of everybody in front of the world champs. … We’re the first game of the season playing against the world champs. We want to see what type of team we have. We feel great about our team, and we’re not even in spring training yet.
On Daniel Bard and the bullpen:
You hear about the electric stuff, obviously throwing 100 mph, his slider — every pitch he has in an out pitch. You hear about all that stuff. … My biggest thing that I noticed with him is his makeup. When he grabs the ball, the presence he has on the mound, you don’t really see that, especially as a young guy. … That back-end of our bullpen is a force. It’s definitely a big part of our club.
On his favorite pitch to hit:
High inside fastball, man. Don’t let that [video game] commercial fool you. When you’re coming in the kitchen, you better bring the noise. … That’s my favorite pitch to hit, the ball up and in. I’ve got real short arms. A lot of guys need to get extended to hit for power, but I’ve got short arms, so anything closer to my body, I can definitely drive out of the ballpark.
|01.29.10 at 4:10 pm ET|
Speaking at an event announcing the six winners — one from each state in New England — of a 2010 Opening Night VIP Experience, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein met with reporters to touch on a variety of topics. The following is what Epstein said while attending the event in the home clubhouse at Fenway Park:
Best way to get excited about spring training is to have a snow storm. We’re definitely ready to get down there.
- [Have you talked to any players recently about coming into spring training?] I talked to a couple of guys but not specifically about the start of spring training. Just checking in and following up on a couple of issues.
- [Have you talked to Mike Lowell recently?] I haven’t talked to him in a while. I talked to his agent a couple of weeks ago.
- [How do you feel about your team?] This time of year most look down at the roster and on paper feel pretty good about it. Then in early October there’s only eight teams that still feel good, and then at the end of October there’s only one that feels good. We’ll see. You always feel pretty good about your depth. In our club’s case what we feel good about is how well-rounded we are. A lot has been made about moving in a different direction with our defense, but that’s not really what we did. We made an attempt to become well-rounded and be good in all areas.
- [What spots on the team will be open to competition?] Hard to say, maybe the last spot in the bullpen. There’s no one bench job that’s open, but based on how a lot of guys play, we could align the bench a number of different ways.
- [What is the possibility of adding any more arms to the bullpen?] We can always add depth and create competition in spots. There is already some competition. With the numbers in the ‘pen, we have to whittle it down. We’re always on the lookout for more additions if they make sense. We don’t necessarily have great opportunities to sell at this point with certain aspects of our club, but if somebody is prepared for some competition maybe we could be the right landing spot for some guys on a minor league deal.
- [How is Mike Lowell progressing physically?] It’s going well. He’s on schedule to be swinging a bat some point soon. By the time March rolls around he should be getting close to the point of playing in games.
- [How has Jed Lowrie been progressing?] He’s doing well. His wrist has held up to all of his offseason workouts so far. It’s good news for him so far.
- [How is the organization's relationship with Daisuke Matsuzaka?] He was apologetic about not being more forthcoming and seems to be working hard to make up for it.
- [Have there been any negotiations with Victor Martinez or Josh Beckett?] Any negotiations with any of our own guys we keep quiet. We don’t even acknowledge if they’re going on or not. It’s just the best way to get things done and in the best interest of the team.
- [Regarding a perceived policy against negotiating with players during the season:] I never said that. We did David Ortiz during the season. We did Beckett during the season. Bay. If I think it will be a distraction, we won’t do it. But there’s no straight policy one way or another. I don’t expect to do it as a matter of course, but I wouldn’t put limitations on things we can or can’t do as an organization. Whatever the player is comfortable with.
- [Thoughts on having extra starting pitchers:] Been around teams that have deep starting pitching on paper, and by the time the team begins the season you can’t find a starting pitcher to take the ball. I don’t see that as a problem, I see that as a potential asset. It’s not worth wasting time thinking about it or talking about it until you get to a point during the regular season when you have more than five guys healthy and can do a good job starting ballgames. We’re not at that point right now.
|01.29.10 at 12:07 pm ET|
Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning. He discussed the state of affairs at Fenway Park, both with the ballclub and with ballpark renovations. Topics included the relative merits of staying in Fenway vs. building a new ballpark, the organization’s emphasis on pitching and defense this offseason, the medical concerns about Jason Bay, and whether Senator-elect Scott Brown or Dr. Charles Steinberg might be seen in Fenway Park anytime soon.
Lucchino also reminded fans that the majority of single-game tickets for the 2010 season will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m., both via the team’s website (redsox.com) or by calling 888-REDSOX-6. Tickets will go on sale at the Fenway Park box office on Monday morning.
A transcript of the interview is below. To listen to the interview, click here.
Had you built a new ballpark, would the scarcity of tickets have been resolved?
You think we should have replaced Fenway Park with a new ballpark? You still believe that? So much for conservatism. How about some radical change?
We are convinced more than ever that we did exactly the right thing by preserving, protecting, enhancing, improving, expanding Fenway Park. If you’d like to take a referendum of your fan base, feel free. Ballparks are being built with the capacity we have. We have 37,373 seats. And we add standing room to that. So we’re very close to the number you’re talking about in any event. We’re very close to the capacity of the new ballparks that are being built. Oakland is talking about building a ballpark that’s even smaller than Fenway Park.We’re at about the right number. We really are. No one wants to sit in a ballpark that’s empty, or that has considerable patches of emptiness. Read the rest of this entry »
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