|01.19.11 at 1:59 pm ET|
Rob Bradford joins Dustin Pedroia and Andre Ethier for an offseason workout at Keith Poole’s Training Zone in Chandler, Arizona. Check out the video evidence below:
|01.19.11 at 1:37 am ET|
The Red Sox announced one-year deals for outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and closer Jonathan Papelbon Tuesday night. With the signings, the team avoided arbitration in both cases and now has no remaining arbitration-eligible players.
The team did not disclose terms, though reports from CSNNE.com and WEEI.com earlier in the day have Papelbon earning $12 million and Ellsbury’s deal calling for a $2.4 million salary up to $100,000 in bonuses if he reaches 700 plate appearances.
Ellsbury played in just 18 games last season with only 83 plate appearances due to fractured ribs, while Papelbon is coming off his worst statistical season. The 30-year-old closer blew an American League-high eight saves while his 3.90 earned run average was over a run higher than it had been in any of his first five seasons in the league.
Following is the press release: Read the rest of this entry »
|01.18.11 at 5:08 pm ET|
Former Red Sox outfielder and minor league manager Gabe Kapler agreed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers that includes an invitation to spring training. The news was first reported by Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (via twitter).
Kapler, 35, played for the Sox from 2003-06 as a reserve outfielder. He retired for the 2007 season in order to manage Single-A Greenville, a Red Sox affiliate, but then decided to resume his playing career in 2008 with the Brewers. He spent the past two years with the Rays, for whom he hit .210 with a .288 OBP, .290 slugging mark and .578 OPS in 2010.
|01.18.11 at 2:02 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox agreed to deals with both closer Jonathan Papelbon and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. In so doing, they avoided going to arbitration with their only two arbitration-eligible players, thus keeping intact GM Theo Epstein‘s record of never having gone to an arbitration hearing — a contentious process that pits player against team — in his nine years as general manager.
Papelbon, who is arbitration eligible for the third time, will receive a $12 million salary for the 2011 season, while Ellsbury, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, agreed to a $2.4 million deal. Ellsbury would be eligible for $50,000 bonuses for 600 and 700 plate appearances.
Papelbon, who turned 30 in November, had his worst season in the major leagues in 2010, going 5-7 with a 3.90 ERA. He had 37 saves, but also blew a career-high eight saves, a mark that also was the highest such total in the American League. Even so, Papelbon’s career numbers (188 saves, 2.22 ERA, 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings) rank him among the best closers of all time among pitchers with his service time, thus leading to the significant raise over the $9.35 million he received in 2010. Only three relief pitchers in major league history have ever had deals with an average annual value of more than $12 million: Yankees great Mariano Rivera, who has signed two deals with an AAV of $15 million; Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who is entering the final year of a three-year, $37.5 million deal ($12.5 million AAV); and Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, who is entering the final season of a three-year, $37 million deal ($12.33 million AAV).
Ellsbury, whose season was effectively lost due to the rib fractures he suffered, hit .192 with a .241 OBP, .244 slugging percentage and .485 OPS in just 18 games in 2010. However, his career marks of .291/.344/.405/.749 with 136 stolen bases, put him in line for a significant raise over his 2010 salary of $496,500.
Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via twitter) was the first to report the agreements.
|01.18.11 at 8:34 am ET|
Speaking to the Providence Journal at halftime of the Celtics‘ game against Orlando at TD Garden Monday night, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said he can understand why Bobby Jenks would want to join up with the Sox to become a set-up man.
“With him, [Jenks] sees the potential that he has to come to the Red Sox and be on a championship ballclub,” Papelbon said. “I don’t really see anything wrong with that. Players want to win, and that’s it.”
Papelbon was effusive in his praise of the Red Sox front office when talking about how the team is constructed heading into spring training.
“I’m excited,” he told the Journal. “I can’t really explain it well because I’m so excited. The offseason acquisitions we’ve made have been above and beyond my expectations, for sure. Theo [Epstein] is putting together a ballclub to where everybody can go out there and do their own job and putting the pieces together to where nobody this year should have to go out there and expect more than what they normally should have to do.
“If everybody goes out there and stays healthy, we definitely should have a title-contending team this year, for sure.”
Papelbon was in town to attend the wedding of manager Terry Francona’s daughter, and has been working out with the participants of the Red Sox’ Rookie Development Program. The reliever said he is anxious to learn from last season, in which he finished with a 3.90 ERA and 37 saves.
“Basically, every season, you take information from it,” he said. “For me, I was able to gain tons of valuable information from last year and take it into my offseason this year and use it to better myself. That’s what I’ve done. This year, especially with the great team we’ll have, that’ll really help me out. That’s what all athletes do.”
For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|01.16.11 at 8:14 am ET|
It was not long ago that teams signed free agents without regard for the draft pick they would have to sacrifice to do so. Clearly, that has changed.
Indeed, the pick that a team must sacrifice to sign a Type A free agent who rejects salary arbitration from his former club has become so significant that it reportedly became the subject of significant contention in the Yankees organization. Earlier this month, New York GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees — after being spurned by Cliff Lee — wouldn’t sign a Type A free agent because they were unwilling to sacrifice their first-round pick. But he was reportedly overruled at the ownership level, resulting in the decision to give up the No. 31 overall selection and sign Rafael Soriano as the most expensive setup man in history.
Just how valuable is the No. 31 overall pick? The answer varies significantly by year.
In 46 June drafts, just 15 players taken at the No. 31 spot have reached the majors. (For the complete list, click here.) Only two of them emerged as above-average players. One was Jarrod Washburn, who won 107 games after being taken by the Angels in 1995. The other? Greg Maddux, whose 355 career wins are the most by a right-hander whose career started after the World War…World War I, that is.
The Red Sox‘ free-agent activity resulted in their losing their own first-round pick (No. 24 overall) while gaining two (Nos. 19 and 26). Under GM Theo Epstein, the Sox have used compensation draft picks to acquire a number of their key prospects. (For details, click here.)
But historically, what kind of players have been selected with the first-round picks gained and sacrificed by the Sox this winter? Here is a look at the history of the three first-round draft picks that were affected by the Red Sox’ free agent activity this offseason:
|01.14.11 at 10:52 pm ET|
Speaking after the Hot Stove Cool Music roundtable, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said that, as things currently stand, Marco Scutaro will be the shortstop for the 2011 Red Sox. That said, he also suggested that Jed Lowrie will be an important contributor, and that his performance will help to dictate his role and how much he plays at short.
“We have two really talented shortstops on the roster at different phases of their career, and they’ll both end up helping this club win,” Epstein said. “How it shakes out in terms of playing time will be up to [manager Terry Francona] ‘ and, ultimately, the players will determine their own roles. If we’re a better team with one guy playing two-thirds of the time and the other guy playing one-third of the time and moving around, that’s what we’ll be. If it looks like we’ll be a better team with a more traditional arrangement or a time share, that’s what we’ll do. Players, ultimately, make those decisions for you.”
Scutaro played in 150 games last year, 132 at short (he was relegated to second base at the end of last season by a neck injury that affected his ability to throw). In the first season of his two-year, $12.5 million deal, he hit .275/.333./.388/.721 with 11 homers. Lowrie missed the first half of 2010 while recovering from mono, but in 55 second-half games, he hit .287/.381/.526/.907 with nine homers.
Based on Lowrie’s strong performance down the stretch, the Sox do view him as an important part of the 2011 roster, though Epstein did say that Scutaro is currently slated to be the primary shortstop.
“Scutaro signed here to be the shortstop,” Epstein said. “He should be healthy when he comes to camp, and he’s going to play a lot of shortstop. But we’re not good enough that we can’t use every available resource that we have. Jed Lowrie is someone who can play a good shortstop, can play a number of positions, and can help this team win. He’s going to see some time at shortstop. But Marco was our shortstop last year, and, until something changes, that’s how it’s going to be.”
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