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Red Sox sign Saltalamacchia, avoid arbitration

10.14.10 at 7:21 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced that they have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the 2011 season. The non-guaranteed contract allows the two sides to avoid salary arbitration. A source told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the contract is a split deal in which Saltalamacchia would make $750,000 in the majors and $250,000 in the minor leagues.

The Sox traded for the switch-hitting catcher at the July 31 trade deadline, acquiring him from Texas in exchange for three minor-league prospects: pitcher Roman Mendez, catcher Michael Thomas (whom the Rangers converted to a pitcher) and first baseman Chris McGuiness. Saltalamacchia, 25, went 3-for-19 with three doubles in 10 games for the Sox before undergoing season-ending surgery in September to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb on Sept. 28, producing a final line of .158/.360/.316/.676.

The Sox had made several prior inquiries in hopes of acquiring Saltalamacchia, but walked away from trade conversations when the Braves (the team that drafted the catcher) asked for Jon Lester in return, and when the Rangers asked for Clay Buchholz after the 2008 season. But after Saltalamacchia dealt with a thoracic outlet injury that required surgery and resulted in difficulties throwing the ball, the Sox seized an opportunity to pursue him this summer with Texas.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, jarrod saltalamacchia, Jon Lester, roman mendez

Casey Kelly goes four innings in start for Peoria

10.14.10 at 7:09 am ET
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Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly went four innings in his first start of the Arizona Fall League season, Wednesday, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out three and not walking a batter. Kelly’s Peoria team would finish with a 7-4 win over Surprise.

Outfielder Juan Carlos Linares, who joined the Red Sox organization in July, playing 17 games with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox and Double-A Portland, also notched three hits while scoring twice for Peoria. Linares hit .246 during his short stint in the Sox’ system last season.

To take a look at other members of the Red Sox’ system participating in the AFL click here.

London judge’s ruling aids Sox owners in purchase of Liverpool soccer team

10.13.10 at 9:02 am ET
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A High Court judge in London ruled against the American owners of Premier League soccer team Liverpool on Wednesday, paving the way for the team to be sold to New England Sports Ventures, the ownership company of the Red Sox.

Red Sox owner John Henry sent out a congratulatory tweet Wednesday morning to Liverpool board members Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre, along with Royal Bank of Scotland, the team’s major creditor, that read: “Well done Martin, Christian & Ian. Well done RBS. Well done supporters!”

Tom Hicks and George Gillett had tried to replace those three board members to keep control of the club until a more lucrative offer could be accepted. Judge Christopher Floyd said that the owners were guilty of “the clearest possible breach” by their behavior. The lawyer for Hicks and Gillett admitted as much but said it was necessary because the board was not considering other offers.

Meanwhile, another bidder emerged Tuesday, when Singapore billionaire Peter Lim said he would pay 20 million pounds (about $31.7 million American money) more than NESV’s offer of 300 million pounds ($475.2 million American). However, it appears that offer is going to be too late.

New England Sports Ventures issued a press release on Wednesday that stated: “NESV welcomes today’€™s High Court judgment, which is a huge step forward for Liverpool FC.

“NESV has a binding agreement in place with the Board of Liverpool FC and we are looking forward to concluding the deal. We are ready to move quickly and help create the stability and certainty which the Club needs at this time. It is time to return the focus to the Club itself and performances on the pitch.”

To read more, click here.

Read More: John Henry, Tom Hicks,

More uncertainty for Red Sox’ Liverpool bid

10.12.10 at 1:22 pm ET
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The Red Sox‘ bid for Liverpool FC faces further uncertainty after billionaire Peter Lim said that he was increasing his offer to buy the British soccer club, the Associated Press reports. The New England Sports Ventures (NESV) bid of $476 million was approved last week by the board of the soccer club.

But the sale of the club is currently in court, with the Royal Bank of Scotland (which holds most of the club’s debt) trying to force the sale of the club, over the objections of current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. Meanwhile, Lim announced that he was upping his bid to $507 million, while also saying that he would make $63 million available to the club to pursue players during the transfer window.

The current owners claim that the sale figure undervalues the club. Red Sox principal owner John Henry, in Twitter messages addressed to Liverpool’s supporters, suggested that he remains hopeful that the NESV purchase will go through.

“Everyone is hoping for the best,” Henry tweeted. “There have been enough twists and turns. Hopefully all gets sorted out soon; LFC moves forward.”

Read More: John Henry, liverpool fc, nesv, peter lim

Kelly, Iglesias and other Sox prospects set to start Arizona Fall League

10.12.10 at 1:14 pm ET
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The Arizona Fall League, a training ground for top prospects, opens on Tuesday, and the Red Sox will feature eight players on the Peoria Javelias, including a few of their top prospects. Both Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias will play in the AFL for the second straight season, primarily in order to make up some of the time that each missed due to injury this year.

Kelly threw 95 innings for Double-A Portland after being shut down late in the Eastern League season with a strained lat. After taking part in the AFL as a position player last year in the AFL, he will conclude his first full year as a pitcher by throwing 15-20 innings in Arizona. He will make his first start on Wednesday.

Iglesias missed almost two months due to a broken index finger that limited him to 57 games with Portland. After dazzling in spring training, he hit .285/.315/.357/.672 for Portland (and .350/.458/.500/.958 in a 13-game rehab assignment in Lowell). While the Sox view him as a shortstop, he will play both short and third base in the AFL, owing to the fact that he was not designated the “priority” AFL roster member by the Sox. As such, he is required to play multiple positions. Iglesias spent part of the just-completed Florida Instructional League working out at third to prepare for the stint.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway is also on the Peoria roster, after a year in which he vaulted himself into prospect status by hitting .288/.393/.489/.882 with 22 homers and 102 RBI while splitting time between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. While the Sox raved about the defensive strides that he made behind the plate, Lavarnway caught in just 53 of the 126 games he played this year, and so the opportunity to spend more time behind the dish was a major factor in the team’s desire to send the Yale product to Arizona.

Other Sox minor leaguers taking part in the AFL are:

Seth Garrison: The right-hander was 1-1 with a 4.28 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings spanning 13 appearances for Salem after missing the first half of the season with an elbow injury. Prior to the injury, he had a strong showing in Salem in 2009, going 8-11 with a 3.90 ERA in 25 starts, and a 2.99 ERA from June through the end of the year.

Eammon Portice: A right-hander who was converted to the bullpen this year, Portice had a 3-7 record and 4.65 ERA for Double-A Portland, but he struck out more than a batter an inning (96 punchouts in 93 innings) while walking just 25. He is Rule 5 eligible this coming offseason, so a strong performance in the AFL could make him a consideration for the 40-man roster.

Jason Rice: Like Portice, Rice spent the year in the Portland bullpen, going 3-2 with a 2.85 ERA and striking out 71 (while walking 30) in 60 innings. Opponents hit just .211 against him. The 24-year-old was selected from the White Sox in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft in 2008. He is Rule 5 eligible this offseason.

Daniel Turpen: Turpen was the pitcher whom the Red Sox acquired from the Giants in exchange for Ramon Ramirez at the trade deadline. The right-handed reliever made a dozen appearances with the Sea Dogs, forging a 4.91 ERA while striking out nearly a batter an inning (18 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings) and walking nine.

Juan Carlos Linares: The 26-year-old outfielder, who defected from Cuba, was signed by the Sox this year. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, he showed a mix of power and patience as well as defensive skill in Cuba. He hit .239/.271/.391/.662 in 13 games with Portland this year.

Read More: arizona fall league, casey kelly, daniel turpen, eammon portice

Reds channeling 2004 Red Sox

10.09.10 at 3:47 pm ET
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CINCINNATI — In the spring of 2008, the Reds made the trek down I-75 from their then-spring home of Sarasota to Fort Myers for a Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox.

New Reds manager Dusty Baker came over to Red Sox skipper Terry Francona and exchanged a handshake and an embrace.

Baker and Francona have always had mutual respect for one another.

And on Saturday here in Cincinnati, less than 24 hours after his team committed four errors in a 7-4 meltdown at Citizens Bank Park – booting away a realistic chance of beating the powerhouse Phillies in the NLDS – Baker summoned the words of Francona from 2004.

It was then that Francona – down 3-0 to the Yankees – told his team just take care of business in the next game and the rest will take care of itself. By coming back and winning four in a row on their way to the title, the Red Sox not only gave their fans the gift of a lifetime, they provided inspiration and hope for every team that follows that no matter the odds, there’s always a chance.

On Saturday, Baker – just minutes before his team’s workout on a brilliant, sunny day at Great American Ball Park – reminded everyone that despite the predicament, the Reds still have a fighter’s chance.

” It is a tough spot, but it’s not impossible,” Baker said. “All things are possible through faith and perseverance. I’ve been in this situation, down 2-1, down three with three to go in 1980.”

Bronson Arroyo, Friday’s victim of the Reds’ mental and physical collapse, was on the 2004 Red Sox, as was Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

“Arroyo was in Boston when they were down 3-0 in a best-of-7, and they came back and won four,” Baker recalled. “The hardest thing is to win one. And you win one, and you got yourself some action. And we’ve got our backs up against the wall, but this club performs well with our backs up against the wall. That’s the kind of club we have. I wish we didn’t always have our backs against the wall, but, you know, we’ve been there before, not necessarily in elimination, but we’re just trying to get one.”

Cabrera has likely seen his last action until the World Series – if the Reds can pull off a miraculous comeback – since he re-aggravated a left oblique injury turning a double play in the fourth inning Friday night.

Baker, who always handles himself with grace in answer questions, was asked if it’s easier having a young team in this position who may not know what they don’t know.

“No, I don’t think it’s easy to be in this situation at all,” Baker said. “I would rather be up 2-0. Personally, I was thinking this morning about, you know, when I was in the military, and you would rather be in a situation where, on your second or third tour of duty, to know what to do rather than your first tour.

“This is the first tour for these guys and you’re actually more resilient as you get older, because you’ve been through more, you’ve been through more problems. Like I said before the worst situation in your whole life, until you get the to next one. I’m not worried too much about these guys.

If you’re wondering if Baker loses sleep after coming out on the wrong end of a disastrous game like Friday, don’t.

“Well, you don’t exactly forget about it,” Baker said. “I have no trouble going to sleep. I can go to sleep in a matter of seconds. I’m a kind of mid-sleep insomniac, it wakes me up at 4, 4:30 thinking about things. And I try not to think about the game, because you can’t bring that back. Going forward, lineup changes, different things we have to do to win, because you cannot do anything about replaying the game. It’s impossible. It does no good.

“So one of the best books I read this year was, “The Power of Now”, which tells you to get out of the past and get into the present,” Baker said. “And that’s the only thing you can control, is right now. We can’t bring it back.”

But Baker wouldn’t mind if the spirit of the 2004 Red Sox showed up suddenly in 2010.

Read More: 2004 ALCS, 2004 Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Dusty Baker

Peter Gammons talks playoffs, Red Sox, and Cliff Lee

10.08.10 at 11:38 pm ET
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Peter Gammons of the MLB Network and NESN checked in with The Big Show on Friday to talk about the playoffs, instant replay, and the Red Sox owners’ acquisition of the Liverpool soccer club. Gammons started by making a pitch to Boston baseball fans to watch the playoffs: ‘€œI realize people in Boston don’€™t want to watch the Yankees. It’€™s just the Giants and the Phillies are so fun to watch’€¦I think the most compelling potential series without a doubt is the Giants playing the Phillies.’€

Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page here.

On Roy Halladay‘€™s no-hitter :

I don’€™t know if anybody had too many doubts about it. He’€™s such a special guy. I was writing a column today about the Yankees and if you look at [Andy] Pettitte and [Derek] Jeter, their numbers for the postseason are exactly the same for the career and regular season. But their ability just to space everything out and have that tunnel vision and concentrate exactly and they don’€™t get wrapped up in this game, and that’€™s the way for Halladay, the same thing, it’€™s the norm rather than being dramatic about it. I guess some of these teams get too fired [up], and think, ‘€˜Oh boy, we’€™re going to play with the crowd.’€™ Just concentrate on what you do. Halladay shuts everything out so well. I actually think you’re going to see that in Roy Oswalt, too. He’€™s different than Halladay. Halladay is incredibly creative and so forth and he has, what, five different fastballs now, two different cutters, change-up, a split, and all the rest. Oswalt is so convicted in everything he does. I mean, I once asked [former teammate] Brad Ausmus, ‘€˜Is that arrogance or conviction?’€™ And he said, ‘€˜When you’re good it’€™s not arrogance, its conviction.’€™ And I think you’€™ll really see that from him too.

Is it time for Instant replay? Will it slow down games that much?

I maintain that it would speed up games because you wouldn’€™t have coaches, players, managers everybody running around the field; getting 14 different groups of umpires converging on the field. If you had in the playoffs a seventh umpire with all the technology they have, they could make the decision in 30 seconds.

I’€™ll give you an example that just amazed me. At the Hall of Fame induction, Doug Harvey got in. That’€™s great. He was a tremendous umpire. There were a lot of current and former umpires up there who made it very clear to me that they were very upset with Jim Joyce. They thought the umpire’€™s association should’€™ve disciplined Jim Joyce for admitting he was wrong in the [Armando] Galarraga case [when Joyce admitted to blowing a call that ruined a perfect game]. I actually thought it was the best moment of the year for an umpire. First of all, Jim Joyce, I believe was second in the player rankings. The fact is, okay I’€™m a human, I’€™m really sorry I ruined a place in history for this guy. There’€™s the whole point where you should never, ever admit you’€™re wrong, we don’€™t need replay. The administration of umpiring for me; for instance, you can’€™t have a replay on a check swing, I understand that. But I wish they had it in the rule book. About five years ago I was working with Bobby Valentine and there was a check swing that was a very controversial call. Now I have to admit I don’€™t do what Bobby Valentine did, which was always have the rule book in the bathroom, to study it every day about three times. So we called up one of the umpire administrators, a really good one. We said, ‘€˜Could you go through the manuals and find what the definition of a check swing is?’€™ He called us back about four hours later and said ‘€˜There is no rule in any manual about what a check swing is.’€™ It’€™s like pornography, you know it when you see it.

On the importance of the bullpen in undermining the Red Sox:

I think it’€™s more like one to eight on your pitching staff. If you’€™re bringing your bullpen in in the fifth and sixth inning, it’€™s never a good thing. I said this a bunch of times in September, I never realized how important Hideki Okajima was to that team for three years. That guy did every role possible. He was great at it, and when he went, they basically ended up with a two-man bullpen. All those different things that Okajima did: get left handers out, pitch two and a third innings here, and close’€¦There’€™s no question. There was no seventh inning-get-you-into-the-eighth-inning guy’€¦ They didn’€™t get the innings, the outs out of [Josh] Beckett that they would normally expect. He got three outs after the seventh inning the entire season.

Should Red Sox fans be concerned about $450 million purchase of Liverpool Soccer Team?

Listen, I think it’€™s fair. We don’€™t know yet exactly what the economics are of this. I know that they have said this doesn’€™t affect baseball operations at all. We don’€™t know. The fans are going to be screaming, ‘€˜Wait a minute, is this going to expand income or make it tougher?’€™ We’€™re not going to be adding that much payroll at the trading deadline. I understand that. The budget, they went over by signing [Adrian] Beltre for $10 million dollars. Is this going to impact them? ‘€¦The fans have a right to ask that. I don’€™t have any problem but it’€™s up to the Red Sox to answer that. How much of Tom Hicks‘€™ debt do they have to take in this? …

I think they are going to have to be proactive and address it. OK, they’€™re not going to spend $205 million. OK, [if Adrian] Beltre goes, and they end up playing [Jed] Lowrie at third, sign Carl Crawford, and have the first five guys in the lineup being [Jacoby] Ellsbury, [Dustin] Pedroia, Crawford, Victor Martinez, [Kevin] Youkilis. OK, fans can buy into this, go out and get a few relievers. OK, fans can buy into this. If it’€™s, OK, we’€™re going to get Adam LaRoche and who else, you know fans are going to be screaming. And that amazing sell out streak may not be so amazing. I was amazed that last Saturday night, starting a game at 9:15, with [Daisuke Matsuzaka] starting, assuring it wasn’€™t going to get done until one in the morning, that place was packed, I couldn’€™t believe it. It can come to an end and it’s one of those dangers when you try to do too many things. I think most fans say, ‘€˜Well why can’€™t they focus on baseball and nothing else?’€™

Now I happen to feel there’€™s a chance that the Yankees get old in a few years, especially if they have to sign [Derek] Jeter for five years’€¦I think they have a chance to get old and the division has a chance to be a 90-95 win division instead of a 95-105 win division. Fans are always going to believe the Yankees are going to have 100 wins every year.

On Cliff Lee’€™s Future with the Rangers, and the Rangers having a ton of money thanks to a new TV deal:

I think there’€™s a lot of debt they have to deal with. I know there are a lot of people, owners and general managers saying, ‘€˜Major League Baseball was paying the bills. You can’€™t tell me that they didn’€™t know this $3 billlion dollar deal was coming.’€™ ‘€¦ I can see Texas really being in that hunt with Cliff Lee, I think they’€™ll be very active. The rest of that pitching staff is low cost’€¦There’€™s no question that the new ownership with Nolan Ryan, the group is going to be saying, ‘€˜We’€™re building around Cliff.’€™ I think that would be a big blow to the Yankees. When I heard about that [TV] deal, I thought Cliff Lee might end up in Texas.

Read More: Cliff Lee, Liverpool, MLB Playoffs, peter gammons
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