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Padres expect to keep Adrian Gonzalez for 2011, but not beyond

11.05.10 at 1:34 am ET
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Padres general manager Jed Hoyer, in an interview on San Diego radio station XX1090, said that he met on Wednesday with John Boggs, the agent for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. One day earlier, the Padres had picked up the $6.2 million option for the 2011 season on Gonzalez’ contract, something that Hoyer described as “probably the easiest [decision] in baseball.”

But going forward, Hoyer restated, the Padres recognize that they have little chance of keeping a player who is in many regards the face of the franchise. The 28-year-old Gonzalez hit .298/.393/.511/.904 with 31 homers and 101 runs batted in while helping the Padres to stay in contention for the NL West title until the final weekend of the season. In five years in San Diego, in one of the most difficult hitting environments in the game, Gonzalez has a line of .288/.374/.514/.888 while averaging 32 homers and 100 RBI and winning a pair of Gold Gloves.

Boggs made clear to Hoyer that Gonzalez will test free agency after the 2011 season in hopes of earning something in line with his market value. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, jed hoyer, john boggs, san diego padres

Red Sox trade for Brent Dlugach for a player to be named later or cash

11.04.10 at 2:04 pm ET
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The Red Sox have traded for infielder Brent Dlugach from the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named later or cash. The 27-year-old shortstop played the entire 2010 at Triple A Toledo, hitting .258 with 12 stolen bases, six homers and a .303 on-base percentage.

A sixth-round pick of the Tigers out of the University of Memphis, Dlugach’s only major league experience came in 2009 games when he played in five games for the Tigers.

He missed the majority of the ’07 and ’08 seasons with a shoulder injury, suffering a torn labrum while diving for a ground ball.

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

Red Sox decide to pick up $12.5 million option on David Ortiz

11.04.10 at 1:33 pm ET
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The Red Sox have announced they will pick up David Ortiz $12.5 million option for 2011, along with the option for Scott Atchison, while declining the options on Bill Hall and Felipe Lopez. Ortiz told WEEI.com last week that he preferred to sign a multi-year deal, and would be “uncomfortable” with playing under a one-year deal for ’12. The 34-year-old hit .270 with 32 home runs and 102 RBI in ’10.

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

Why David Ortiz may, or may not, be a good fit for the Red Sox

11.04.10 at 8:41 am ET
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(Update: The Red Sox will exercise the $12.5 million option on David Ortiz for ’11.)

In one way, the fit regarding David Ortiz and the Red Sox might be better than ever. That would seem to be the case if the team does indeed decide to move in its right field fence an extra nine feet.

“As long as I’ve been here? Around 100,” said Ortiz when asked how many home runs had been taken away from him because of the depth of Fenway Park’s right field. “I hit a lot of balls in front of that fence, or off that fence. A lot!”

That problem? Potentially solved.

If the debate regarding the Red Sox’ decision to pick up Ortiz’ $12.5 million option — or sign him to a multi-year extension — had been that simple, it would have fizzled long ago. But it isn’t, and we’re left breaking down the ‘what’s’ and ‘why’s’ as both sides stormed towards the midnight deadline for the Sox to exercise the option.

There are no easy answers regarding exactly how good a fit Ortiz is with the Red Sox these days. Sure, drawing the target in right field closer to home plate is a start, but other pieces of baseball evolution might push the argument the other way.

So, putting the back-and-forth regarding the merits of a one-year deal compared to Ortiz’ preferred multi-year approach aside, let’s look at how symbiotic the 34-year-old and the Red Sox might be going forward:

THE IMPORTANCE OF ORTIZ

He is the best at his position: The Sox’ DH points this out, and he is correct. No player hit more home runs (31) or had a higher OPS (.908) when in the lineup as a designated hitter than Ortiz last season. Since June 5, 2009, he has the 10th-best OPS in the American League, better than the likes of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira.

The Sox need his kind of bat: The Giants became the first team since 2001 to win the World Series title without a 30-home run player. While the Red Sox’ lineup figures to have enough punch from top-to-bottom, there is something to be said for loading up on middle-of-the-order power presences.

Ortiz is an anchor in the clubhouse: The slugger takes great pride in his role on the team as a leader, a responsibility he often references. With a roster that is in the midst of being turned inside-out, that kind of voice often presents great value while the newcomers find their way.

THE DEVALUING OF ORTIZ

His position is devolving: Only five players manned the DH position for more than 100 games last season, and the second-most productive of the group, Vladimir Guerrero, just had his $9 million option declined by the Rangers.

Lefty is not the right side: While Ortiz actually rallied against lefties in the final month of the season (hitting .256), he still ended up hitting .222 vs. southpaws (which, by the way, was still 23 points higher than Adam Dunn’s total against left-handers). With the uncertain future regarding two of the Sox’ right-handed bats (Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez), and the lineup potentially getting even more lefty heavy (Carl Crawford), the Sox might be wary of overloading  with lefties. (This is even more of a concern due to with the likes of left-handers Brian Matusz, Ricky Romero, CC Sabathia, David Price and potentially Cliff Lee in the division).

The Red Sox’ patience has diminished: Last season, when Ortiz was struggling through April, Sox manager Terry Francona didn’t hesitate to pinch-hit for his slugger, even platooning him early on. If the problems against lefties persist, the Sox most likely would be open to integrating someone like Mike Cameron in the DH spot. It is not the kind of dynamic the team would prefer if they were to invest significant money or years in Ortiz.

Read More: David Ortiz, option,

Ricciardi worked for the Red Sox for a day before Mets job

11.03.10 at 3:34 pm ET
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Newly named Mets special assistant to general manager J.P. Ricciardi appeared on The Big Show on Wednesday. Ricciardi was asked about a tweet from Peter Gammons that indicated he worked a day in the Red Sox front office before the Mets made a job offer.

“I had the shortest tenure of any Red Sox employee ever, it was 24 hours,” said Ricciardi. “I had a standing offer from the Red Sox to go over there at any time and I had gone over there to help with a project that they were doing, which was at the end of last week. And the next day [Mets general manager] Sandy Alderson had called and asked permission to talk to me. Theo [Epstein] and the ownership group were absolutely outstanding, they allowed Sandy the opportunity to talk to me and it ended up working out really well for me.”

Ricciardi was then asked what would have happened had the Mets not come in with an offer.

“On November 1st I was going to work for them [The Red Sox],” said Ricciardi. “At that point it would have been official, but it never got to that point.”

No surprise: Adrian Beltre declines $10 million option with Red Sox

11.03.10 at 2:09 pm ET
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As he suggested would be the case during the 2010 season, Adrian Beltre has declined his $10 million player option for ’11 with the Red Sox, instead electing free agency. The 31-year-old Beltre, who hit .321 with 28 home runs, 102 RBI and a career-high 49 doubles, saw his option bump up from $5 million to $10 million in his last game of the season, having eclipsed the 640 plate appearances that kicked in the option’s increase.

Regarding the opportunity to double the player option, Beltre told WEEI.com that he didn’t view it as a big deal. ‘€œThat number was set because I had done it before I had been close to that number for a lot of years. Since the season started I never thought about numbers. I never really thought about it,’€ he said on Sept. 21. ‘€œIt shows I wasn’€™t hurt, which was one of the things I wanted to do. Hurt is one thing, but to have soreness and nagging things are another. For me being hurt is having surgery. I’€™ve been lucky enough that the injuries I’€™ve had haven’€™t stopped me from swinging the bat or anything like that.’€

Beltre is considered the most attractive option among free agent third basemen this offseason, a group that was recently thinned out when Detroit’s Brandon Inge signed a two-year, $11 million deal to stay with the Tigers. Detroit was believed to be a potential landing spot for Beltre.

Beltre told WEEI.com just prior to his final game of the season that the chance to win and family considerations will drive the decision where his next stop will be.

“I’ll see what’s best for me and my family,” Beltre explained. “This year I was selfish enough, coming to the East Coast, knowing my wife was pregnant and she would be away from me basically for the whole year. This year is going to be more a family thing. It’s been tough. I haven’t seen family like l wanted to. We’re going to settle down, discuss it, and see what’s best for us.”

The Boston Globe was first to report this story.

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

Casey Kelly named top Red Sox prospect

11.03.10 at 12:10 pm ET
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Baseball America, in its Top 10 ranking of the Red Sox farm system, named pitcher Casey Kelly as the organization’s top prospect.

(Click here for the basic Baseball America article on the Top 10. Click here for the much more thorough subscriber edition…if you are a subscriber.)

Kelly just concluded his Arizona Fall League season, and between Double-A Portland and the AFL, he threw 111 innings, going 4-5 with a 5.51 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 39 walks.

Kelly, who was ranked No. 2 in the system behind Ryan Westmoreland after the 2009 season, showed the potential for three plus-pitches, with a mid-90s fastball that sat at 90-94 and a swing-and-miss change and curve. His command, which had been exceptional with his fastball and changeup in 2009, faltered, a byproduct, the Sox believe, of his still-growing frame.

But the Sox still see a potential front-of-the-rotation pitcher, and Baseball America concurs that the 2008 first-rounder has a big ceiling:

“It’s easy to forget that 2010 was Kelly’s first full year as a pitcher, after he split time between hitting and pitching in 2009, and his learning curve against Double-A hitters was steep. The Red Sox aren’t worried about his less-than-gaudy statistics, still envisioning him becoming a frontline starter with three possible plus pitches and above-average command. He should reach Triple-A Pawtucket at some point in 2011, perhaps even to start the season, and his big league ETA is 2012.”

Kelly was followed in the system by shortstop Jose Iglesias (just named to the Rising Stars team in the Arizona Fall League), first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 2010 draftee Anthony Ranaudo (who has yet to play in a professional game, but did dominate in the Cape League after being drafted) and left-hander Drake Britton, a power lefty who bounced back from Tommy John surgery to strike out 78 in 76 innings with Single-A Greenville.

There was a fairly stunning omission from the Top 10. First baseman Lars Anderson, who made his major league debut in 2010, was not on the list. Before the 2009 season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect in all of baseball.

Here is Baseball America’s full Top 10, with related content from WEEI.com for each:

1. Kelly, RHP

Minor Misconceptions: The Red Sox Minor League Season in Context

All-Star Futures Notebook: Casey Kelly’s Year of Development

2. Iglesias, SS

An Infield Coach’s First Glimpse of Iglesias

Glimpse of the Future: Jose Iglesias

3. Rizzo, 1B

Powerful Statement from Red Sox Prospects

Sox Announce Minor League Award Winners

Survive and Thrive: Red Sox Prospect Anthony Rizzo’s Return From Cancer

4. Ranaudo, RHP

A Mound of Expectations for Two New Sox Pitchers

5. Britton, LHP

Britton’s ‘Amazing’ Development

6. Reymond Fuentes, OF

Draft Class Takes Shape

7. Josh Reddick, OF

Glimpse of the Future: Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish

The Discovery and Development of Josh Reddick

8. Felix Doubront, LHP

Doubront’s Long Journey From Lowell to Boston

Why Doubront’s Debut Mattered, From Boston To El Toro

Doubront Joins Line of Sox Pitching Prospects

9. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP

Sox Pitching Prospect Pimentel Gets Taste of the Futures

The (Almost) Perfect Stolm

Balance of Trade: Sox Dealt for 2008 and Beyond

10. Garin Cecchini, 3B

How the Jimmy Fund Brought a Red Sox Prospect Closer to Boston

The Most Interesting Red Sox Draftee

Read More: anthony ranaudo, Anthony Rizzo, baseball america, casey kelly
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