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Wily Mo Pena signs minor league deal with Arizona Diamondbacks

12.01.10 at 4:18 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Arizona Diamondbacks, wily mo pena,

Report: Sox meet with Carl Crawford

12.01.10 at 3:25 pm ET
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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.

It’s official: Adrian Beltre, Felipe Lopez decline arbitration

12.01.10 at 12:32 am ET
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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.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, arbitration, felipe lopez, victor martinez

Red Sox announce spring training schedule

11.30.10 at 2:41 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced their spring training schedule on Tuesday. Seventeen of the 36 games will be played at City of Palms Park.

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.

Felipe Lopez declines arbitration offer

11.30.10 at 12:26 pm ET
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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.

Read More: arbitration, felipe lopez,

Report: Rockies to let Manny Delcarmen go

11.30.10 at 12:14 am ET
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The Rockies had long liked Manny Delcarmen, and the idea of acquiring the reliever from the Red Sox had long been of interest. But when they finally did acquire the right-hander, grabbing him in exchange for Single-A right-hander Chris Balcom-Miller on Aug. 31, the results proved disappointing.

Acquired to solidify the Colorado bullpen in the pennant stretch, Delcarmen instead contributed to its struggles. After posting a 4.70 ERA for the Sox while walking nearly as many (28) as he struck out (32), the right-hander had a 6.48 ERA in nine appearances for the Rockies while permitting nearly two base runners per inning.

That, in turn, reportedly has the Rockies ready to part ways with the right-hander. According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via twitter), the Rockies are expected to decline to tender Manny Delcarmen an offer of salary arbitration for the 2011 season. If non-tendered, Delcarmen would become a free agent, able to negotiate with any team.

Renck described Delcarmen as an “interesting experiment that didn’t work out” for the Rockies. In parts of six big league seasons, Delcarmen has a 3.97 ERA and 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings. The Sox took him in the second round of the 2000 draft.

While the Rockies appear ready to walk away from Delcarmen, the Sox have received positive initial returns from Balcom-Miller. The right-hander was 7-7 with a 3.30 ERA in the Single-A South Atlantic League this year, and in two pro seasons, he has a 2.73 ERA and a ridiculous 180-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Read More: chris balcom-miller, manny delcarmen,

Nuggetpalooza’s Red Sox Review: Kevin Youkilis

11.29.10 at 9:52 pm ET
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Nuggetpalooza is kicking off the reviews of the 2010 Red Sox players by taking a look at one of the two critical players who was lost to injury during the season, crippling the team’s postseason hopes: Kevin Youkilis. The numbers in here tell me that Youkilis is a superstar who performs at an All-Star level so consistently that he’s in danger of being taken for granted.

Here’s his “Nuggetpalooza Player Card” for 2010:


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* – Kevin Youkilis posted a career high OPS of .975 in 2010.  In fact, his OPS has increased in every season of his career (six consecutive seasons of increases).  Only seven other players in baseball history have increased their OPS in six straight seasons:

Red Schoendienst (1948-1953)
Kelly Gruber (1985-1990)
Joey Cora (1992-1997)
Todd Hundley (1992-1997)
Cliff Floyd (1996-2001)
Jason Giambi (1996-2001)
David Ortiz (2002-2007)

Only Gruber increased his OPS in the six seasons immediately following his first year (as Youkilis has). No player has done it in seven straight seasons.

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* – Youkilis’ 435 plate appearances in 2010 were his fewest in a season since 2005.

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* – Youkilis’ career 4.31 pitches per plate appearance ranks third highest since they began tracking the stat back in 1988 (min. 2,500 plate appearances):

4.47 – Jayson Werth
4.36 – Rickey Henderson
4.31 – Kevin Youkilis
4.30 – Mickey Tettleton

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* – “Youk” not only led the major leagues in batting average against lefties last season (.404; minimum 100 plate appearances against LHP), but he had the highest such average (.404), OBP (.513), slugging percentage (.798) and OPS (1.311) by any Red Sox player in a season since they began tracking the stat in 1974.

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* – Prior to getting injured, Youkilis reached base in 10 of his final 13 plate appearances against lefties.

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* – The Red Sox were just the fifth AL team since 1974 to have multiple players with an OPS over 1.100 against lefties (min. 100 such PA):

1994 White SoxFrank Thomas, Julio Franco
1996 Athletics – Mark McGwire, Scott Brosius
1996 Mariners – Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey, Jr.
2000 Mariners – Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez
2010 Red Sox – Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez

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* – Youkilis is the AL career leader in OPS during the month of May (since 1950; minimum 500 May plate appearances):

1.038 – Kevin Youkilis
1.025 – Mickey Mantle
1.006 – Mo Vaughn
.998 – Frank Thomas
.997 – Jim Gentile

His 2010 May OPS (1.204) was the fourth best by a Red Sox since 1950 (same minimum):

1.300 – Mo Vaughn (1996)
1.278 – Ted Williams (1957)
1.214 – Wade Boggs (1986)
1.204 – Kevin Youkilis (2010)

Note that he is the only right-handed hitter on that list.

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* – Youkilis put the ball in play 13 times following 3-and-0 counts last season and collected six hits… and all six went for extra bases.  He’s just the third player since 1988 to get six or more hits following 3-and-0 counts in a season and have all go for extra bags:

Rafael Palmeiro (1999 Rangers)
Miguel Tejada (2001 Athletics)
Kevin Youkilis (2010 Red Sox)

All three had exactly six such hits.

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* – Youkilis hit a career low .258 with runners in scoring position last season, dropping his career average in that category from .344 to .333.  He now stands third in Red Sox history (since 1974; minimum 500 such PA):

.347 – Wade Boggs
.335 – Manny Ramirez
.333 – Kevin Youkilis
.326 – Nomar Garciaparra
.325 – Fred Lynn

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* – Youkilis’ .950 OPS against “star” pitchers (see definition on player card above) ranked second in the AL last season (min. 80 such PA):

1.102 – Miguel Cabrera, DET
.950 – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
.922 – Jim Thome, MIN
.913 – Nick Swisher, NYY

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* – Youkilis put up an OPS of 1.573 after getting ahead 2-and-0 last season, third best in the majors (min. 50 such PA):

1.711 – Joey Votto, CIN
1.615 – Jose Bautista, TOR
1.573 – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
1.514 – Luke Scott, BAL
1.495 – Curtis Granderson, NYY

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* – Youkilis hit a career high .274 on groundballs last season.  Grounders made up 37.0 percent of his batted balls, also a career high.

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* – Youkilis’ swinging strike percentage (4.9 percent) was a career low and was the third lowest last season among the 120 players who hit 15 or more home runs:

3.1% – Victor Martinez, BOS
3.9% – Martin Prado, ATL
4.9% – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
5.4% – Bobby Abreu, LAA
5.5% – Chase Utley, PHI

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* – After creating +2.28 runs above average per 100 fastballs in 2008 and +2.49 in 2009, Youkilis’ created a career high +2.50 per 100 heaters in 2010, ranked seventh in the AL. Chicago’s Paul Konerko led the league at +3.45 (min. 300 plate appearances).

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* – Here’s some context on Youkilis’ RBI averages from his player card above:

Youkilis’ .282 RBI average (62 RBI divided by the 220 runners on base when he batted) ranked 19th out of 195 players who batted with at least 200 runners on last season.  Here are the top three:

.432 – Jose Bautista, TOR
.359 – Carlos Gonzalez, COL
.351 – Joey Votto, CIN

Youk’s .549 RBI average with RISP ranked 18th out of 217 players who batted with at least 100 runners in scoring position.

Again, the top three:

.799 – Jose Bautista, TOR
.686 – Adrian Gonzalez, SD
.671 – Joey Votto, Cin

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As always, I’d love your feedback.  Leave a comment here, email me (gmarbry@weei.com), or tweet me at @nuggetpalooza.

Check back often for more Red Sox Reviews as we count down the days to spring training and the 2011 baseball season!

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