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Report: Price, Sox agree to deal

08.16.10 at 4:29 pm ET
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According to a report from Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports, eighth-round pick Mathew Price has signed with the Red Sox. Terms of the deal were not included in the report.

Price, a right-handed starter at Virginia Tech, posted a 7-4 record with a 4.95 ERA in 17 appearances with the Hokies in 2010. He struck out 85 batters against 26 walks in 91.0 innings pitched.

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Cecchini, Red Sox close to deal

08.16.10 at 2:27 pm ET
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Multiple industry sources have indicated to WEEI.com that the Red Sox and fourth-round pick Garin Cecchini are closing in on a deal that should be completed prior to midnight’s deadline for signing draft choices.

Cecchini, a shortstop out of Barbe High School in Lake Charles, LA, who is expected to play third base as a professional, is verbally committed to play at LSU next season. A committed student and aspiring lawyer, Cecchini wanted to go to college and told major league teams that he would indeed do so if he wasn’t given a $1.75 million signing bonus.

Whether or not the exact number demanded is met, sources from both sides of the negotiation have expressed confidence that a deal will indeed get done.

Praised for his tools and selective approach at the plate, the lefty hitting Cecchini outshone first overall pick Bryce Harper for Team USA in an under-18 tournament last summer. In the eight-game tournament that yielded a gold medal for Team USA, Cecchini hit .333 with an impressive .529 OBP and .708 slugging mark while hitting sixth and seventh and playing left field. By comparison, Harper hit .294 with a .375 OBP.

Cecchini, who is also a high-level base-stealer (55 steals as a junior) and has been times as fast as 6.73 seconds in the 60-yard dash, fell to the fourth round due to signability questions and an ACL tear suffered in March. For the complete story on Cecchini, click here.

Alex Speier contributed to this report.

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Source: Workman had $1.25 million offers

08.16.10 at 2:24 pm ET
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According to a baseball source, before he was taken by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2010 draft, right-hander Brandon Workman was told by multiple teams that they would sign him to a bonus of $1.25 million if he fell to them in the draft. (Jim Callis of Baseball America was the first to report that Workman had received such an offer.) That explains, in part, why negotiations between the Sox and Workman had not progressed as of mid-day on Monday: Workman believes that he is worth such a bonus, while the Sox have a different valuation of him.

The Sox were told before the draft that Workman would have accepted a slot bonus with their first-round pick (No. 20 overall, a spot at which the Sox selected Kolbrin Vitek and signed him to a slot bonus of $1.359 million), but that he would not have accepted a bonus in line with what the team’s second overall choice (No. 36 overall, where the team signed Bryce Brentz for $892,000). The Sox, however, had showed little inclination to date to make a first-round offer to Workman, feeling that the offers he might have been able to secure from other clubs are not relevant, given that he is free only to negotiate with them.

As of Sunday night, the Sox had not made an offer to Workman beyond the slot-recommended figure for a second rounder (No. 57 overall). On Monday morning, a source said that the Sox were continuing reallocating the money that they’d set aside for Workman to sign other players, such as Lucas LeBlanc (an 11th-rounder with whom the Sox are close to an agreement for a second-round bonus figure).

The two sides were scheduled to talk on Monday afternoon, after the team had already neared its agreement with LeBlanc.

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UPDATE: Sox sign 11th rounder LeBlanc for $500K

08.16.10 at 1:01 pm ET
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According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox agreed to a deal with outfielder Lucas LeBlanc for $500,000, luring him away from his scholarship commitment to Louisiana State University. LeBlanc, a Louisiana native, was thought to have a strong commitment to the Tigers, as he planned to transfer to LSU from Delgado Junior College. As recently as a couple days ago, the 11th round selection had said that he was ready to start his LSU career after the Sox had not come close to his asking price. For much of the summer, the Sox had operated with the expectation that they would not be able to sign the outfielder.

But discussions between the two sides progressed unexpectedly quickly in the last couple of days, to the point where a deal will now take place.

“He just does everything really well. He’s just a good all-around baseball player,” Sox amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye said shortly after the draft. “He’s not going to a super-flashy defender with big-time power. He’s just going to do everything really well.”

LeBlanc was named a Junior College All-American after hitting .420 with 11 homers and 67 RBI for Delgado.

WEEI.com reported earlier on Monday that the Sox were considering reallocating the money allotted for second-round pick Brandon Workman to sign LeBlanc. It appears that the team has done just that. Even so, the Sox were still scheduled to talk with Workman on Monday afternoon, following the agreement with LeBlanc, so it appears that the deal with the outfielder may not be mutually exclusive with a conversation with the pitcher.

News that an agreement between the Sox and LeBlanc had been reached was first reported (via Twitter) by ABC 26 reporter Ed Daniels. NewOrleans.com reports that LeBlanc had turned down a $325,000 offer from the Sox last week, but that when the team came back with a $500,000 offer, he agreed to the deal.

For more on LeBlanc, click here.

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Catching Up – Weekend Notes

08.16.10 at 10:31 am ET
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Back from a little beach break and time to catch up on a few notes from the weekend:

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* – Despite Sunday’s “too little, too late” rally against Texas’ pen, the Red Sox continue to struggle against opposing bullpens since the break, putting up just a .225 average (87-387) in that span, 4th worst in the AL:

.213 – Detroit Tigers
.217 – Tampa Bay Rays
.224 – Kansas City Royals
.225 – Boston Red Sox

The Sox batted .278 against opposing relievers prior to the break.

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* – Jon Lester may have been a little lucky to have had such an effective start on Saturday night, considering he fell behind 1-0 on more hitters (15) than he got ahead on (11). Going into Saturday, he went through 1-0 counts just 39% of the time this year, compared to 0-1 counts 48% (with the other 13% putting the first pitch in play).

After 1-0 counts Saturday, opposing hitters went just 3-15 (.200) against Lester with no walks. After 0-1 counts, they went 2-11. Two batters put the first pitch in play and they went 0-2.

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* – Lester and Company held the Rangers to 0-7 with runners in scoring position on Saturday, the 7th time this season that Texas has had no hits in 7+ AB with RISP, tied for the 2nd most such games in the AL:

8 – New York Yankees
7 – Texas Rangers
7 – Oakland A’s
7 – Cleveland Indians

The Red Sox have had 5 such games this season.

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* – The Red Sox caught 3 Rangers stealing on Saturday (actually it was 2 caught stealing and 1 pickoff), the 5th time this season that they’ve nabbed 3+ in a game, the most such games in the majors. The White Sox are 2nd with 4.

Here’s the thing: The Red Sox’ 5 such games this year matches the number that they had in the previous 6 seasons combined.

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* – Last Thursday in Toronto, David Ortiz had an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch in the 3rd inning. It’s significant because it was his first RBI hit on an 0-2 count this year. His last was June 16, 2009. Since coming to Boston, Ortiz racked up 10 RBI on 0-2 counts from 2003 through 2005, but just 3 since.

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* – Also on Thursday, John Lackey induced TWO run-scoring double plays. The last time that a major league pitcher had multiple run-scoring GIDP’s in the same game was June 16, 2009 (Paul Maholm of Pittsburgh). The last time that a Red Sox pitcher did it was May 25, 2007, when Daisuke Matsuzaka did it at Texas.

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* – On the 10 day road trip, Marco Scutaro led off the top of the 1st inning six times and went 0-6 while Jacoby Ellsbury led off the other four and went 0-4. For the season, the Sox’ leadoff men are now 17-58 (.293) with a .339 OBP when leading off the game (road games only). Those 17 hits are tied for the 2nd most in the majors, trailing only Oakland’s 20.

However, a closer look shows that they went 8-12 (.667) with 3 walks through May 16, but since then are just 9-46 (.196) with 1 walk over their last 47 road games and 1 for their last 18.

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* – On Friday night, Tim Wakefield became the first pitcher in the majors this season to throw only one pitch and have it hit for a HR. The only other Red Sox pitchers to do it (since 1974) were Alan Embree in 2005 versus Tampa Bay and Ugueth Urbina in 2002 against Toronto.

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* – Also Friday, the Red Sox lost despite hitting 4+ HR for the 3rd time this season. There have only been 7 games all season in which a team has hit that many HR and lost and the Sox account for 3 of those. One more such loss would tie the Red Sox single season record of 4 (set by the 2003 club) and two more would tie the major league record of 5, set by the 1987 Cleveland Indians.

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* – Also on Friday, Texas starter Tommy Hunter failed to record a strikeout against the Red Sox. Prior to that game, since the start of the 2006 season, the Red Sox have chased an opposing starter without striking out 21 times and were 18-3 in those games.

Draft update: Sox could reallocate Workman’s money

08.16.10 at 10:00 am ET
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With little movement having occurred between the Red Sox and second-round draft choice Brandon Workman, a right-handed pitcher out of the University of Texas, the team is exploring the possibility of reallocating the money allotted for Workman and pursuing other later-round picks who were considered unlikely to sign. For instance, just days after athletic outfielder Lucas LeBlanc told the Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) that he would enroll at LSU after the Sox failed to come close to his substantial asking price, the team has re-engaged with the outfielder to see if there might be a match.

The team has not abandoned the idea of signing Workman, with the door for signing him remaining cracked. Even so, it would appear that both sides have doubts about whether a deal between the Texas pitcher and the Sox might get done.

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Tick, tock: The latest on Sox draft signings

08.16.10 at 2:35 am ET
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With less than 24 hours left to the deadline for draftees to sign, the Red Sox have yet to finalize agreements with a number of their top picks. Of course, that is the case with many clubs, since Major League Baseball typically holds off on approving deals in excess of their slot recommendations until the days (or hours) before the deadline.

There has been some belt loosening over the weekend, but the lion’s share of deals with top talents won’t occur until Monday. Here, then, is a look at where some of the Sox’ most prominent unsigned picks stand:

Anthony Ranaudo (1st round supplemental, No. 39 overall): The story of the Sox’ supplemental first-round pick is now very familiar. The right-hander slipped in the draft because his health affected his performance during his junior year negatively. He proved in dazzling fashion during a summer in the Cape League that he is healthy, and that he deserves to be evaluated as one of the top pitchers to come out of college this year.

As of Friday, the Sox had not yet engaged Ranaudo or advisor Scott Boras in meaningful negotiations. Since then, there has been little news regarding the status of talks.

There is at least some thought that, since he entered the year being viewed as the top college pitcher, and his Cape performance restored his standing, Ranaudo may wait until the other top college pitchers such as Drew Pomeranz and Matt Harvey sign before Boras rolls up his sleeves to try to get a lucrative top-of-the-market deal done. If the Sox do not meet his asking price, then Ranaudo could return to LSU for his senior year to try to reassert himself as a potential top pick in the 2011 draft. That is what another Boras client, Matt LaPorta, did after the Sox drafted him in 2006 and made a substantial play for his services. (For more on LaPorta’s case, which has many similarities to Ranaudo’s, click here.)

Suffice it to say that the Sox were well aware that Ranaudo would be an expensive sign before the draft. As is the case for the Sox in all negotiations, they will set a limit to how far they are willing to go for Ranaudo, with the understanding that they may have to walk away from a pitcher whom they would love to sign.

All the same, it would certainly be a surprise if an agreement was not reached, given the team’s recognition that — given that they almost never draft before the end of the first round — it rarely has a chance to sign a player of Ranaudo’s pedigree.

Brandon Workman (2nd round, No. 57 overall): There has been little movement between the Sox and the big right-hander out of the University of Texas since Boston drafted Workman when he, somewhat to their surprise, slipped to the second round. That was in part a result of signability questions that arose when the right-hander told clubs that he was looking for first-round money.

Shortly after the draft, the Sox offered Workman a deal in line with MLB recommended slot for a second rounder (approximately $634,000). Workman declined. Since then, there has not been a subsequent offer, according to industry sources.

While it is possible that a deal could be struck, there has been growing pessimism about whether that might happen. There is still time for that to change, but right now, the outlook for Workman’s signing is uncertain.

Sean Coyle (3rd round, No. 110 overall): Coyle is making a choice between joining his brother, Tommy, at the University of North Carolina and turning pro by signing with the Sox. The Pennsylvania prep star is comfortable with either outcome.

He and his father are flying to Boston on Monday for a physical, and to see if the final details of an agreement can be hammered out. According to multiple sources, there is no official agreement between the player and the club at this juncture.

But there appears to be substantial momentum towards a deal being reached on Monday. If that happens, it would likely be for more than triple the slot recommendation of less than $300,000.

Garin Cecchini (4th round, No. 143 overall): Cecchini is a high-ceiling prospect from Louisiana with a commitment to LSU. Based on talent alone, he likely would have been a first-round draft pick this year, but there were questions about his signability and he suffered an ACL injury that essentially wiped out his senior year of high school, allowing him to slip to the Sox.

Prior to the draft, he sent a letter to major league teams saying that it would take a commitment of $1.75 million to convince him to bypass his scholarship offer. WEEI.com’s D.J. Bean reports that Cecchini checked out fine at his physical in Boston on Friday and that, while as of now, there is no deal in place, the Sox are expected to make a final offer to the projected third baseman that will “be a yes or no thing,” according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

If the Sox make a proposal that is roughly in line with what Cecchini seeks, he appears prepared to sign. If not, then he would be comfortable going to school. At this point, most indications are that a deal is likely to be struck.

–With the Sox having already spent more than $3 million to sign draft picks, and with the possibility of roughly doubling that amount with their top four unsigned picks, the team does not seem likely to pay heavily for players taken after the first 10 rounds, as they have done at times in recent years. Already, 11th rounder Lucas LeBlanc has said that he will honor his scholarship commitment to play outfield at LSU, telling the Advocate that the Sox’ offer was “nothing close to what I wanted.” Left-hander Dillon Overton, a 26th rounder who struck out four batters in two innings at the Fenway workout for draftees, likewise decided to turn down the Sox’ offer to pitch for Oklahoma.

D.J. Bean contributed to this report.

Read More: anthony ranaudo, Brandon Workman, garin cecchini, mlb draft 2010
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