|Five Things We Learned On Sunday In The Fort||03.09.09 at 7:17 am ET|
Until Sunday, spring training had been incredibly quiet thanks in part to the absence of several top Red Sox players (Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jason Bay) and WEEI.com’s own Rob Bradford for the World Baseball Classic. Yet even in the absence of those players (and Rob), Sunday brought a flurry of activity, in no small part due to the report that Jon Lester and the Sox have agreed to terms on a five-year, $30 million deal.
Here’s some of the learnin’ that happened:
1) If the Yahoo! Sports report of a five-year, $30 million deal (with a $13 million option for the 2014 season) is accurate, Jon Lester would be signing a contract unlike any other for a pitcher with his major-league service time.
2) Julio Lugo makes little secret of the fact that he does not like being in a competition for the starting shortstop job. Even so, he is playing as if a motivated man in the early paces of spring. He went 3-for-3 yesterday, is hitting over .500 this spring and acknowledges that competition can bring out the best in players.
3) Brad Penny threw a 35-pitch bullpen session, and reported that not only did he feel fine, but that his mechanics improved in a way that may be important for him to regain his form as a power pitcher.
4) Justin Masterson has been very, very good this spring. He continued that trend with three shutout innings, and has now put up zeroes for all seven of his innings this exhibition season.
5) The Red Sox have a rare ensemble of left-handed knuckleballers in their ranks.
|Somebody is trying to make Derek Jeter sweat||03.09.09 at 1:43 am ET|
TORONTO — First off, yet another Pedroia-ism in the wake of Team USA’s 15-6 win over Venezuela at the Rogers Centre. It turns out that the Red Sox second baseman (and latest WEEI.com blogger) Dustin Pedroia has willed his personality on his temporary team’s clubhouse.
Pedroia revealed that he posted the ‘Speed Stick’ advertisement that pictures Derek Jeter walking through a crowd of Fenway Park hecklers in the Sox second-bagger’s locker, serving as a bit of taunting in what has become locker room full of good-natured ribbing.
“He’s awesome,” said Pedroia of Jeter. “Just to get a chance to get to know him, and be on his team, it’s special for me.”
Even before its latest win, Team USA has appeared to have found a unique chemistry. The team, for instance, engaged in jumping jacks during pre-game warm-ups before batting practice before finishing their stretching exercises by putting their hands into one collective group for a cheer.
“You know,” said outfielder Curtis Granderson, “is going to end up on You Tube.”
Here are some more reaction to the team’s perceived positive vibes:
|Dustin Pedroia, Blog Entry No. 1||03.08.09 at 11:56 pm ET|
(Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be blogging for WEEI.com throughout the World Baseball Classic. His first entry comes after Team USA clinched a berth in the next round having beaten Canada and Venezuela at the Rogers Centre.)
TORONTO — First things first … this is a great experience.
It started Saturday when we walked into play Canada before 42,000 people and a crazy atmosphere. The first thing I think: “Am I ready for this?” I hadn’t seen many pitches and really hadn’t had a whole lot of at-bats. I turned to Youk and said, ‘This is for real!’ It was playoff atmosphere right away. It became clear in a hurry that I had to find a way to get it going.
The whole day was like a circus. Obviously, I’ll remember winning, but there were also moments like the ones where every time they flashed up my ‘MLB ’09: The Show’ commercial on the huge screen everybody booed. And then Justin Morneau would be announced and everybody would cheer. (In case you forgot, Morneau finished right behind me in the American League MVP voting.) That was funny, but I wasn’t really prepared for them to play the commercial like four times.
|Dustin Pedroia reaction to Jon Lester news||03.08.09 at 8:17 pm ET|
TORONTO — As promised, here is Dustin Pedroia’s reaction to the the report that Jon Lester had agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal …
“I talked to him a little bit about him. The biggest thing is you have to do what’s right for you and what’s right in your heart. Thirty million dollars, shoot, we’re real people. They offered me $40 million and I’m just an average guy. I play baseball, I think it’s fun and I actually would play for free and then they pay me $40 million to do it … we’re not idiots. We’re going to take those deals and guarantee ourselves that kind of money and not have to worry about money the rest of our lives. For Jon, in my opinion he did the right thing.”
|Kevin Youkilis reaction to Jon Lester news||03.08.09 at 7:46 pm ET|
TORONTO — Talking before Sunday night’s World Baseball Classic game between the USA and Venezuela, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis addressed the report regarding Jon Lester coming to terms on a five-year, $30 million deal. Youkilis, of course, signed his own four-year, $41.25 million deal on Jan. 16. (Dustin Pedroia, who we will also have comments from a bit later, had already inked a six-year, $40.5 million on Dec. 3.)
“It’s always a great thing to see players get rewarded for their success, but it’s always good to have the same group of guys who are going to go out there battle, and do the right thing and handle their business the right way. Sometimes it takes the pressure off yourself too. Guys like Jon, Pedey, and myself, we’re at the point now, it’s not all about numbers, but more about winning ballgames.”
“You have a different mindset. You have to watch out for yourself, but you’re watching out for yourself more for the team. When you have a long-term deal you’re going to play harder, that’s my philosophy. It’s definitely easier, you’re more relaxed.”
|Master-ful outing||03.08.09 at 2:00 pm ET|
Once again, Justin Masterson looked excellent on the mound, as he has all spring. Following a pair of two-inning shutout efforts, he turned in three scoreless innings against the Rays, allowing one hit and walking none while striking out three.
A couple of notes about Masterson’s third start of the spring: Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Jon Lester agrees to five-year, $30m deal||03.08.09 at 1:24 pm ET|
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Jon Lester has signed a five-year, $30 million deal with the Red Sox that will keep him in Boston through at least 2013. The deal buys out Lester’s first year of free agency and also tacks on a $13 million team option for the 2014 season. Such a deal would represent the most guaranteed money ever given to a pitcher with two-plus years of service time (though others have received higher average annual value).
Red Sox team officials declined comment.
“We cannot confirm or deny the report,” Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino wrote in an email.
Earlier this spring, however, Lester made it clear that he would welcome a long-term deal, even if it meant sacrificing some income over the long haul. Obviously, the cancer survivor (the first draft pick of the Red Sox under the current ownership group) has experienced a great deal with the Red Sox organization, and he would like to remain with the club for his career.
“I don’t see myself playing elsewhere … I’d love to stay here for the rest of my career if I can,” Lester said a couple weeks ago. “If the topic comes up, we’re definitely going to sit there and listen and try to get something done. I’d love to be here for a very long time and have that security. When it comes up, hopefully we can get something done and be set.”
“Both sides win,” Lester said of a long-term deal. “The young guys get money that’s going to set their families for the rest of their lives. They get the security. They know where they’re going to be at.
“It’s nice to see (other members of the Sox get long-term deals). It’s probably nice for a lot of these other younger guys to see that the Red Sox care that much about their young guys to lock ‘em up. I think it’s good on both sides. They’re not spending free-agent money to get other guys. These guys are taking the right discounts and the Red Sox are giving them the right amount to be here for a long time.”
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