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Available second basemen and Elias rankings

07.14.10 at 10:39 am ET
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MLB Trade Rumors had two posts Wednesday morning that are both of interest to Red Sox fans as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

First, MLBTR looks at second basemen who could be on the move before the end of the month. The Sox are said to be in the market for a middle infielder after Dustin Pedroia went on the disabled list with a broken foot at the end of June. One of the more intriguing prospects is Orioles All-Star Ty Wigginton. He has hit .252 this season but his power numbers (14 home runs, 45 RBI) certainly add to the resume. He’s also a free agent at the end of the season, meaning he could be one of the most likely on this list to be moved. Others that could see new homes come July 31 are Dan Uggla, Kelly Johnson and Cristian Guzman.

Also at the site are the Elias Rankings that determine whether free agents-to-be are considered Type A, Type B or none of the above. Those designations decide the draft compensation teams can be awarded if they lose a given free agent. For instance, the Red Sox selected Bryce Brentz and Anthony Ranaudo in the draft after being awarded the 36th and 39th picks in the sandwich round for losing Type A free agents Jason Bay and Billy Wagner.

Here’s what Boston free agents-to-be would be designated as if the season ended today:

Victor Martinez, C, Type A

Jason Varitek, C, Type B

David Ortiz (option for next year), DH, Type B

Bill Hall (option), utility, none

Adrian Beltre (option), 3B, Type A

Mike Lowell, 3B, Type B

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Rumor Mill, Ty Wigginton, victor martinez

Why the Red Sox (and others) are interested in DeJesus

07.14.10 at 7:09 am ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Blue Jays catcher John Buck is hardly unbiased on the subject of David DeJesus. The two were Royals teammates from 2004-09, and even now that Buck has gone to Toronto, he still considers the Kansas City outfielder one of his best friends in the game.

Even so, after years spent watching DeJesus play, Buck feels like he is in a good position to appreciate the outfielder’s talents. Indeed, Buck suggests that DeJesus has been underrated by the baseball world as a result of his relative obscurity, and that he would represent a great all-around fit — offensive, defensive and in the clubhouse — for a team in contention.

“I don’€™t think he gets enough credit,” said Buck. “He does it so subtly, because I think he’€™s a good ballplayer. He goes about his business. He’€™s not too flashy. He just gets it done and stays consistent. At the end of the year, he’€™s got really good numbers.

“I don’€™t think I’€™ve ever seen anyone have as consistent of at-bats as he does. He never gives away an at-bat. He always seems to be putting competitive at-bats, no matter what the situation is, no matter what type of pitcher it is. Plus, he was in the running for a Gold Glove last year [even though he plays] in left field.”

DeJesus, 30, is currently enjoying perhaps the finest of his seven big league seasons. He is hitting .326 with a .395 OBP, .460 slugging mark and .855 OPS, all of which would represent career highs. He has a grinding approach to his plate appearances, averaging 3.96 pitches per plate appearance.

“You watch him, he’€™ll see 10 pitches in an at-bat. I think that’€™s what makes him so good. Plus, he’€™s not just a slap hitter,” said Buck. “He’€™s gap to gap and will hit a home run every once in a while. He’€™s not just singles hitter.”

All of those attributes would make DeJesus an intriguing addition to any contender. And, after spending his career playing for a team that has been out of contention every summer, Buck believes that his friend would relish the opportunity to step into a pennant race.

“I think he would love to [compete in a pennant race],” said Buck. “Knowing his personality, I think he would be excited to play for something meaningful.”

DeJesus is currently making $4.7 million in the final season of a five-year, $13.8 million deal that includes a $6 million option and $500,000 buyout for the 2011 season. He is both good and affordable, at least in dollars. Whether a contender also finds him worth the cost in players sought by the Royals (described as significant by baseball sources) remains to be seen, but the interest in such a player will no doubt be extensive.

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Ortiz: ‘I believe I’ll be back (with the Red Sox)’

07.13.10 at 5:42 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — David Ortiz, who told ESPN.com Monday that he would like a multi-year contract after his current deal, told WEEI.com prior to Tuesday’s All-Star Game that he thinks he will return as a member of the Red Sox next season.

“I believe I’ll be back (with the Red Sox),” said Ortiz, whose current deal includes a $12.5 million team option for 2011. “(Expletive) yeah. What should I believe? I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not going to go the Angels. This is too far.”

Ortiz won the Home Run Derby Monday night, and hits the second half hitting .263 with a .945 OPS and 18 home runs. For more coverage from the All-Star Game see the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.

Sox interested in David DeJesus?

07.13.10 at 4:08 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — According to FoxSports.com, the Red Sox spoke to the Royals roughly 10 days ago about the availability of outfielder David DeJesus, who is hitting .326 with a .395 OBP and .855 OPS for the fourth-place club. The report said that the clubs plan to stay in contact about the left-handed hitting outfielder.

A major league source said that the cost of acquiring the outfielder, who is on a $4.7 million deal this year with a $6 million option for 2011, is currently rich, and considered it unlikely that the Sox would pursue DeJesus unless Kansas City seeks less in return than is currently the case. That said, outfield production remains an obvious area for potential improvement on the Sox, given that the team’s injury-depleted unit has a collective .758 OPS that ranks 11th in the American League, a .258 average that is 12th and a .326 OBP that is 13th.

While both Jeremy Hermida and Jacoby Ellsbury are slated to return from their rib injuries in the second half, there is some question as to what kind of production the Sox might get from those two players after substantial time on the disabled list, or from Mike Cameron, who has been fighting to stay on the field while playing with an abdominal strain.

Read More: david dejesus, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, mike cameron

Henry: Steinbrenner ‘forever changed baseball’

07.13.10 at 3:55 pm ET
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The Red Sox sent out a press release on the passing of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on Monday. Red Sox principal owner John Henry, who was once a minority owner of the Yankees, expressed his condolences to the 80-year-old Steinbrenner’s family.

‘€œI had the good fortune to call George Steinbrenner both partner and friend,” said Henry. ‘€œI had the privilege to watch George as he built a system that ensured his beloved Yankees would have a strong foundation for sustained excellence. And then we fiercely competed in the American League.

“George Steinbrenner forever changed baseball and hopefully some day we will see him honored in baseball’s Hall of Fame as one of the great figures in the history of sports,” said Henry.

‘€œGeorge Steinbrenner was a formidable opponent and baseball’€™s greatest rivalry will not be the same without him,’€ said Tom Werner, Chairman. ‘€œAs the longest tenured owner, he left an indelible mark on the game. I worked with George in my position as the owner of two Major League franchises and saw first-hand his passionate leadership style, his zeal for winning, and his love for the game. Above all, I knew George as a competitor and today Red Sox Nation lost a person who truly relished the prospect of facing the Red Sox and doing all he could to make sure his beloved Yankees would come out victorious.”

‘€œGeorge Steinbrenner was one of the most important people in the history of the game, and his impact touched all aspects of the business of baseball,” said Larry Lucchino, President/CEO.  “His vision for the Yankees turned around a once struggling franchise and manifested itself in the form of seven World Series Championships and 11 American League pennants. My respect for George went beyond the baseball field because of his sincere and longstanding commitment to charity, and to people in need.  He had a giant heart, often well hidden from public view. Part of his legacy here in Boston will be the profound kindness he showed to numerous local philanthropic causes, especially as a regular and generous contributor each year to the Jimmy Fund of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.’€

For more on the Red Sox, go to WEEI.com/RedSox.

Read More: George Steinbrenner,

The Laser Show: Home Run Derby Edition

07.13.10 at 12:30 pm ET
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ANAHEIM — Wondering what Dustin Pedroia was doing with the Flip camera during the Home Run Derby Monday night? Here is your answer:

No talks yet between Beltre, Sox on new deal

07.13.10 at 11:32 am ET
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ANAHEIM — According to a source familiar with the situation, third baseman Adrian Beltre and the Red Sox haven’t had any talks about a new deal that would guarantee that the first-time All-Star would remain in Boston beyond this season. Beltre can become a free agent after the 2010 season. He is currently on a one-year, $9 million contract that includes a $5 million player option for ’11 that can be bumped up to $10 million with 640 plate appearances. Beltre currently has 349 plate appearances in 85 games.

By all accounts, the Red Sox also haven’t dived into talks with any of their other potential free agent, middle-of-the-order hitters — David Ortiz or Victor Martinez — regarding contract extensions, thus far. WEEI.com also reported Monday that Clay Buchholz, who won’t hit arbitration until after the ’11 season, hasn’t begun talks with the Sox regarding a potential extension.

Read More: Adrian Beltre,

All-Star Nuggetpalooza! (Part 1)

07.13.10 at 9:53 am ET
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With no “real” baseball until Thursday, it seems like a good time to throw together a bunch of random nuggets from around baseball. Enjoy Part 1 today and look forward to Part 2 on Wednesday!

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* – The Red Sox hit .188 (6 for 32) in their “getaway” game on Sunday. That performance lowered their team average to .204 in their final game before the all-star break since 2004 (just .173 in the four road games). It’s the lowest “getaway” game average in the majors in that span:

.204 – Boston Red Sox
.228 – Florida Marlins
.241 – Detroit Tigers

Over those same seven games, the White Sox have led the league, hitting .336 (.418 over the last three). Somewhat surprisingly, Boston has won the last three of those games (3-2, 6-0, and 2-1). Colorado has lost 6 of 7, while the Phillies have taken advantage of opponents playing “run for the bus” baseball by winning their last 6 straight games before the break.

Other “Getaway Game” Notes: The Dodgers have not allowed a HR in the final game prior to the break since 2005… The White Sox have hit AND allowed at least one HR in every getaway game since 1998 (13 in a row). So what’s the 2nd longest such streak going right now? Two in a row, in Pirates getaway games… Colorado has allowed (but not necessarily hit) at least one bomb in each of their last 11 getaway games.

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* – With all of the injuries, how are the Red Sox 2nd in the majors in HR with 118 at the break (Toronto has 136)? Well, for one thing, Boston (and Toronto) each have 9 different players with more than 5 HR. Colorado is the only other team in the majors with as many as 8. Last season, the Sox had 7 players hit 10+ homers.

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* – 2010 Team HR Leaders By Inning (Red Sox total and rank in parentheses):

1st – Cincinnati Reds, 18 (11; 6th)
2nd – Boston Red Sox, 17
3rd – Colorado Rockies, 19 (11; 8th)
4th – Arizona Diamondbacks, 22 (16; 3rd)
5th – Boston Red Sox, 21
6th – Toronto Blue Jays, 20 (11; 9th)
7th – Colorado Rockies, 14 (12; 5th)
8th – Toronto Blue Jays, 19 (11; 7th)
9th – San Francisco Giants, 13 (7; 12th)
Extras – Cincinnati Reds, 5 (1; 14th)

The Baltimore Orioles have more HR in extra innings this season (2) than they have in the first inning this season (1).

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* – 2010 Individual HR Leaders By Inning (with Red Sox leader in parentheses):

1st – Adrian Gonzalez, SD – 7 (David Ortiz – 4)
2nd – Six tied with 4 (Ortiz, JD Drew, Adrian Beltre – 3)
3rd – Vernon Wells, TOR – 6 (Victor Martinez – 4)
4th – Six tied with 5 (Kevin Youkilis – 3)
5th – Jose Bautista, TOR – 7 (Ortiz – 4)
6th – Five tied with 5 (Youkilis – 3)
7th – Kevin Youkilis, BOS and Jose Guillen, KC – 5
8th – Jose Bautista, TOR – 6 (Youkilis, Marco Scutaro – 2)
9th – Miguel Cabrera, DET – 6 (Beltre – 2)
Extras – Curtis Granderson, NYY – 2 (Dustin Pedroia – 1)

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* – 18 of the last 25 HR allowed by the Red Sox have come in the 6th inning or later (dating back to June 3). In the AL, only Oakland (20) has allowed more HR in the 6th or later in that span than Boston. On the other hand, they’ve allowed only 7 bombs over that span during the first five innings of games, easily the fewest in the majors (White Sox, 9; Nationals, 12).

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* – On June 2, Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed a first inning home run. It was the first and only opening inning homer allowed by the Red Sox this season. Every other team has allowed at least four so far in 2010. The Red Sox allowed 13 first inning HR in 2009 while they hit 25 (and have hit 11 this season).

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* – So far in 2010, the Phillies’ Roy Halladay has pitched to three or more batters in 149 different innings and he’s set down his opponent 1-2-3 in a major league leading 57 of those:

57 – Roy Halladay, PHI
55 – Adam Wainwright, STL
54 – Jamie Moyer, PHI

Jamie Moyer is 3rd in perfect innings this season? Really?

Although over 38% of Halladay’s innings have been of the 1-2-3 variety, that percentage does not lead the league (min. 75 innings facing 3+ batters):

50.0% – Doug Fister, SEA (42 out of 84)
49.1% – Jamie Moyer, PHI (54 out of 110)
49.1% – Mats Latos, SD (53 out of 108)
43.0% – Jake Peavy, CHW (46 out of 107… Don’t tell me Chicago isn’t going to miss him)

And here are the lowest percentages (same minimums):

19.6% – Nick Blackburn, MIN (20-102)
20.5% – John Lannan, WAS (16-78)
20.7% – Ryan Rowland-Smith, SEA (18-87)
20.9% – John Lackey, BOS (24-115)

The rest of Boston’s staff (by number of innings facing 3+ batters):

36.4% – Jon Lester (44-121)
20.9% – John Lackey (24-115)
33.7% – Tim Wakefield (34-101)
37.2% – Clay Buchholz (35-94)
35.6% – Daisuke Matsuzaka (26-73)
31.9% – Josh Beckett (15-47)
48.8% – Daniel Bard (20-41)
43.2% – Jonathan Papelbon (16-37)

Other 1-2-3 Inning Notes: Lackey began his Red Sox career by allowing at least one baserunner in 23 of his first 25 innings in which he appeared… Among AL pitchers with 35+ qualifying innings, Daniel Bard’s 48.8% perfect percentage ranks 2nd behind only Seattle’s Fister (50.0%)… Papelbon’s 43.2% ranks him 8th… That’s a quiet improvement for Papelbon from last season’s 32.8% (22 out of 67)… Everybody said San Diego’s bullpen was good, but did you know that two of their relievers rank 1-2 the majors in “perfect percentage” among those with 35+ qualifying innings? Luke Gregerson (61.0%; 25 out of 41) ranks first, followed by Mike Adams at 57.1% (24 out of 42)… Adams led the majors last year at 59.5% (22 out of 37)… In Lackey’s defense, his 30.8% mark as an Angel in 2009 ranked him just 53rd out of 82 pitchers with 150+ qualifying innings.

Ortiz: ‘I don’t want one year’

07.13.10 at 9:34 am ET
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Before out-slugging Hanley Ramirez in the final round of the All-Star Home Run Derby to win the contest Monday night, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was adamant in Anaheim Stadium that he didn’€™t want to return to Boston for only one more year, according to ESPNBoston’s Gordon Edes.

‘€œI’€™m going to tell you, I ain’€™t going nowhere,’€ Ortiz said. ‘€œI don’€™t want one year. Why should I return for one year and go through the same [stuff] I’€™m going through now, just because it’€™s my last year. No. I like to be left alone when I’€™m playing baseball. I know how to clean my [stuff] up.”

Ortiz will be 35 in November and Boston holds a $12.5 million option on the DH’€™s 2011 contract. After struggling to begin the year, Ortiz has gotten back on track and has batted .300 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI since May 10. Only Josh Hamilton (.694) of the Rangers and Miguel Cabrera (.653) of the Tigers have a higher slugging percentage than Ortiz (.645) during that span.

Read More: David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton, miguel cabrera,

Father figure knows best: Ortiz beats Hanley in Home Run Derby

07.12.10 at 11:59 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Hanley Ramirez has fond memories of his days in the Red Sox clubhouse in spring training. The Marlins shortstop was, he remembered, “like a little kid running all over the place” when he spent springs in Fort Myers.

And the person to whom Ramirez most frequently ran was David Ortiz.

“[Ortiz is] like my dad … like a second father,” said Ramirez, the Marlins shortstop who is now in the All-Star Game for the third straight year. “We’€™d always hang out. … I’€™ve got a lot of respect for him and love for him. For me, it was a little bit hard to compete against him.”

But compete they did. Ortiz and Ramirez went toe-to-toe in the 2010 Home Run Derby, with Ortiz claiming his first title in his fourth trip to the event. He and Ramirez advanced to the finals by each hitting 21 homers in the first two rounds (Ortiz belting eight and then 13 in the first two rounds, and Ramirez swatting nine and then 12), with Ortiz clubbing another 11 in the final round, and Ramirez clearing the fences just five times.

It has been nearly five years since Ramirez left the Sox organization in the deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston after the 2005 season, but the closeness of the two sluggers was evident. They would exchange hugs throughout the competition, and in the middle of Ramirez’ final round, Ortiz came over to bring his friend a drink and to dab him with a towel to give him a breather in the competition.

Ramirez was not surprised by such displays of camaraderie.

“[Ortiz has] got a good heart,” said Ramirez. “Big Papi is one of the best guys I’€™ve ever met in my life.”

Indeed, Ortiz has continued to offer guidance from afar. Earlier this year, for instance, when Ramirez booted a grounder for the Marlins and then was benched for not running after it, Ortiz offered words of support but also encouraged Ramirez to apologize to his Marlins teammates.

Because the two are good friends, it has been natural for Ortiz to imagine what it would be like for him to have Ramirez as a partner in crime in the lineup. That said, he recognizes that the blockbuster has allowed both the Red Sox and Ramirez to flourish.

“I think that things happen for a reason in our careers, and of course, I wish Hanley would be playing on our team, like he was supposed to be,” said Ortiz. “But the move that the Red Sox did back then was good for both sides.  It was good for us, [the Marlins] gave us Beckett and Lowe, and they got Hanley who is an unbelievable superstar who can play the game so good.”

The 26-year-old Ramirez, of course, has cemented his place as one of the game’s superstars, an electric player with amazing tools who is entering what many expect to be a remarkable prime. Ortiz, by comparison, is a graybeard at 34, and he sounded like Danny Glover circa Lethal Weapon in joking after winning, “I’m too old to be doing this.”

But while there had been many who wrote off Ortiz during his absolutely brutal starts in each of the last two years, the Home Run Derby offered a reminder of his place as one of the truly formidable power hitters in the game. This All-Star Game, in which Ortiz was elected by his peers to head to Anaheim and in which he put on a power show on Monday night (32 homers that traveled an average of 417 feet), has been one of validation, an opportunity for the designated hitter to offer a public rebuttal to his critics.

“There’s a lot of people that they don’t know how hard we work to play this game, how many ups and downs we have.  Not everything is roses and flowers.  You’ve got to deal with the downs so you can get up,” said Ortiz. “You know, I’ve been a guy that I’ve been a force as long as I’ve been playing here with the Red Sox, and I’ve had a lot of ups, a lot more than downs, and as soon as I have a down it seems like everybody is pointing at me like a Nintendo game or something that is supposed to be that easy. …

“[But] when I go through the downs, it makes me even stronger.  It just teach me that ‘€‘’€‘ never take anything for granted.  When you’re doing well, you want to just stay at that level, so, when the down shows up, it doesn’t do that much damage.  My problem was that it was just the beginning of the season and you haven’t done anything yet.

“So it looked bigger than usual.  But sometimes over the course of the season, maybe a few months later on you struggle because you put up numbers already and people feel, oh, he’s in a slump right now, and he’ll be fine. But in my case, it wasn’t that he’s going to be fine; it was that he’s done, you know, which is even worse.  But like I say, man, like I’m a guy that you have to knock me out really hard to never go back up.  That’s how I am.”

And now, Ortiz has gotten back up, arriving at the All-Star break with 18 homers this year (17 since the start of May). He is third in the majors in slugging since the start of May (.641), and he is once again, in his own words, a force. Ortiz has that belief, and so does his fellow home run hitting protegee.

“Big Papi: I like him,” said Ramirez. “I know that he’€™s going to come back in the second half and do what he gets paid to do: hit bombs.”

Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez,
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