|12.02.10 at 6:01 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox will almost certainly tender a contract to Jonathan Papelbon (“unless something cataclysmic happens in the next few hours”), making him eligible for a final round of arbitration. Papelbon, who made $9.35 million in 2010 (his second season of arbitration eligibility), and may be in line to make just more than $11 million for ’11. If the Red Sox had chosen to non-tender Papelbon, he would have been eligible for free agency. Thursday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players eligible for arbitration.
|12.02.10 at 4:55 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have come to terms on a one-year agreement with Jason Varitek that would pay the 38-year-old $2 million, with a chance to make $300,000 more in incentives. And while a case could be made that the Sox underestimated the value of Victor Martinez, allowing the catcher/DH to head to Detroit, the idea of re-signing of the captain as a short-term Plan B makes enough sense so that it shouldn’t be fodder for those December doubters.
Here are the reasons:
- First and foremost, keep in mind, once Martinez left, it had to be understood that the Red Sox most likely weren’t going to hit Opening Day with a game-changer at the catching position. So those who are up in arms about bringing back Varitek, save your breath for moves elsewhere in the lineup or bullpen that would be much closer to making or breaking the success of the team. The drama centering around this position wasn’t about who they were going to bring in now that Martinez is gone. It was, is, and will be about how effective Saltlamacchia can be.
- When looking at veteran backstops who could offer a buffer while it is determined whether or not Jarrod Saltalamacchia can be a major league starter, finding a head-and-shoulders option that wouldn’t necessitate more than a single year commitment was a tough one. Certainly, arguments could be made that the Sox should have gone after Miguel Olivo (32) or Rod Barajas (35). But we aren’t talking about such difference-makers that would necessitate ignoring what familiar qualities you would be getting with Varitek.
- Before getting hurt, Varitek showed signs that a limited role might actually be a decent fit. For the first two months of the season, he had the second-highest OPS of any catcher with more than 70 plate appearances. During that span, he also showed marked improvement hitting from the left side, totaling an .893 OPS (.299 better than V-Mart). We aren’t ignoring the fact that his swing-and-miss rate continues to go up (from 26 to 30 percent from ’09 to ’10), or that he isn’t nearly the catch-and-throw guy Saltalamacchia is. But, again, focusing on the “limited” in “limited role” these things negatives can be stomached when weighing them against the positives.
- If the combination of Saltalamacchia and Varitek wasn’t working out in the first few months, fixing the problem would be a bit more manageable than even 2010. The internal candidates will be a step closer, and notch better, than what the Sox were presented with in ’10. Closest is Mark Wagner is a good defensive catcher, who might be too limited offensively to be a long-term solution. But, as the season progresses, legitimate offensive options might be on the verge in the form of Luis Exposito and/or Ryan Lavarnway. In other words, if something did happen to Saltamacchia, the Red Sox could potentially have internal pieces which could split time with Varitek (at least until the trade market sorts itself out).
- With a fairly new catcher (Saltalamacchia) and a new pitching coach (Curt Young) there is value in having Varitek supply the kind of bridge a newcomer might not be able to muster. Perhaps no more important part of that bridge will be working with Josh Beckett, whom has gone on record as saying he enjoys throwing to Varitek. (Note: In ’10, Beckett did have a 7.18 ERA in the six games he threw to Varitek, compared to the 5.11 he put up in 12 starts with Martinez.) It might be case where we aren’t talking about Varitek solely catching Beckett, but rather also helping Saltalamacchia further understand the righty. Saltalamacchia only caught Beckett once last season, with the hurler giving up four runs over seven innings. Martinez and former pitching coach John Farrell talked extensively about how V-Mart learned a different way of approaching a game-plan from Varitek, one with more structure, which is Beckett’s preference.
|12.01.10 at 4:18 pm ET|
Former Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena, who was acquired by Boston in a trade for right-hander Bronson Arroyo in 2006, has signed a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to a baseball source. The split contract would be worth $675,000 should Pena make the big league team.
Pena was out of baseball at the start of last year before playing for $1200 a month in the independent Atlantic League last season. He ended up being signed to a minor league deal by the Padres, and he hit .324/.390/.556 with nine homers for Triple-A Portland, for whom he played outfield and first base. On the strength of that performance, the 28-year-old (he turns 29 in January) received interest from a handful of clubs, among them the White Sox, Tigers, Astros and Orioles. He also received a more lucrative offer to play in Japan, but the slugging outfielder chose to play in the U.S., and saw a promising opportunity with the Diamondbacks, whose left field situation remains uncertain.
Pena is a career .253 hitter with a .753 OPS and 77 homers in parts of seven big league seasons. He last played in the majors in 2008 with the Washington Nationals, who acquired him from the Sox as part of a three-way deal (that included the Arizona Diamondbacks) that netted Boston Chris Carter, who was subsequently moved to the Mets as part of the deal for reliever Billy Wagner in 2009.
|12.01.10 at 3:25 pm ET|
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown (via twitter), the Red Sox are “serious” about signing free agent outfielder Carl Crawford. Citing a source within the Red Sox organization, Brown writes that the team has been in Houston meeting with Crawford and his representatives.
Crawford, 29, has spent each of his nine seasons playing for Tampa Bay. Last season, he hit .307/.356./.495 with 19 homers, 90 RBI, and 47 stolen bases. He has 409 career stolen bases.
For more on the Red Sox, visit their team page at weei.com/redsox.
|12.01.10 at 12:32 am ET|
The shape of the 2011 Red Sox remains a work in progress. But Boston has positioned itself quite well for the 2011 draft.
The Sox already were due for a pair of compensatory draft picks (perhaps as high as the No. 19 overall) after the Detroit Tigers signed Victor Martinez, a Type A free agent. Now, the Sox could add as many as three more picks to the 2011 June draft after third baseman Adrian Beltre and infielder Felipe Lopez declined the team’s arbitration offer.
Beltre, a Type A free agent, would net the Sox a pair of picks if he signs elsewhere. Lopez, a Type B free agent, would bring back one pick.
Those five compensatory picks, in turn, could make it a bit easier to swallow should the Sox sign any Type A free agents, who would force the club to give up one of its own draft picks. For instance, if the Sox signed Type A free agents Jayson Werth and Scott Downs, they would still end up with a net gain of three draft picks should Beltre and Lopez follow Martinez elsewhere.
That said, the Sox have also made clear that they would like to re-sign Beltre if possible, so it is not a foregone conclusion that the team will get all of its picks. Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Sox are not limited in any way from trying to sign their own free agents despite their decision to reject arbitration.
Here is the official Red Sox release:
The Boston Red Sox Tuesday night were notified that free agents third baseman Adrian Beltre and infielder Felipe Lopez have declined the team’s offers of salary arbitration.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, clubs retain the right to negotiate and/or enter into a contract agreement with any of their free agents, regardless of whether arbitration was offered and/or declined. There are no deadlines for such negotiations and/or agreements.
The Red Sox would be eligible to receive compensation for Beltre, a type A free agent, and Lopez, a type B free agent.
Beltre, 31, hit .321 (189-for-589) and led the Majors with 49 doubles while also tallying 28 home runs and 102 RBI in 2010. Lopez, 30, combined to bat .233 (91-for-391) with eight long balls and 37 RBI over 113 games between the Cardinals and the Red Sox last season.
|11.30.10 at 2:41 pm ET|
Their spring play will begin with games against Boston College and Northeastern University on Saturday, Feb. 26. The Grapefruit League schedule will begin with a game against the Twins at Hammond Stadium on Feb. 27. The two teams will play the following day at City of Palms Park, with the Mayor’s Cup rivals playing five games total against one another throughout the spring.
The Yankees will play two games against the Sox, the first of which will be played on March 4. The Red Sox will play four games against the Rays and Orioles and will play two vs. the Blue Jays.
The Sox will play the Mets on St. Patrick’s Day at 1:05 p.m. Tickets for spring training games will go on sale on Saturday, Jan. 8. The team has sold out every Grapefruit League game at City of Palms Park since March 16, 2003.
|11.30.10 at 12:26 pm ET|
According to a baseball source, free agent Felipe Lopez declined the Red Sox‘ offer of salary arbitration. The Type B free agent, who was signed by the Sox in the final days of the season after being released by the Cardinals in September, will instead pursue a contract on the open market. Presuming that he does not re-sign with the Sox, Boston will get a compensatory draft pick in the sandwich round when he departs — a key reason that the Sox wanted to sign him at the end of the season.
Lopez hit .231 with a .651 OPS in 109 games with the Cardinals before getting released for what the team deemed unacceptable behavior. He was claimed on release waivers by the Padres, but declined the claim to become a free agent, allowing him to sign a deal with Boston. He appeared in four games for the Sox, hitting .267 with a .779 OPS. The 10-year veteran is a career .266 hitter with a .731 OPS. He signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Cardinals last season.
Lopez was one of three Red Sox players who was offered arbitration. Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre, both Type A free agents, also received arbitration offers. Martinez signed with the Tigers, meaning that the Sox will get one of Detroit’s draft picks (unless they sign Jayson Werth, their first-round pick, No. 19 overall) as well as a sandwich pick. Should Beltre elect to sign with another club, he would also entitle the Sox to a pair of compensatory draft picks.
The Sox have acquired a number of key players — including Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Anthony Ranaudo — through the years via compensatory draft picks. For a full list of such players acquired under GM Theo Epstein, click here.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- August Players of the Month: Manuel Margot and Brian Johnson
- Cup of Coffee: GCL Red Sox win league championship
- Weekly Notes: Red Sox win GCL title, Castillo debuts
- ESPN Boston: Farm clubs faring well
- Cup of Coffee: Rusney Castillo debuts, PawSox clinch wild card
- Red Sox acquire infielders Jemile Weeks and Ivan De Jesus
- Cup of Coffee: Haley, Light dominate, GCL takes game one
- Cup of Coffee: Wilkerson keeps rolling, GCL wins semifinal
- Cup of Coffee: Gonzalez leads combined no-hitter in DSL Playoff opener
- Cup of Coffee: Asuaje leads Salem to doubleheader split