|11.08.13 at 11:35 am ET|
A year ago, the Red Sox’ top draft pick — No. 7 overall — was protected, meaning the team could not lose it even for signing a free agent who had received a qualifying offer from his former team. The team would instead have to sacrifice its second-round selection for signing one of the nine free agents who received such an offer from the club with whom he spent the entire 2012 season.
But the team still viewed that as a cost of business to be avoided. The club signed seven free agents to major league deals — David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli — but none of those players had received a qualifying offer that required the Sox to give up their second-round selection.
This year, the Sox don’t have a protected first rounder. They’ll have to give up their first-round pick (No. 30 overall) if they sign a player who received a qualifying offer. Yet the team seems more inclined at least to explore that possibility than it was a year ago.
A little more than a week into free agency, however, the Red Sox have already been connected to a couple of free agents who did receive draft pick compensation. Both catcher Brian McCann and right fielder Carlos Beltran — who received one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers from the Braves and Cardinals, respectively — have been connected to the Sox as potential replacements for Boston’s own free agents (catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury). Yet the team is in position this year to approach free agents with qualifying offers somewhat differently than it did last winter. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.08.13 at 9:28 am ET|
In this look at Red Sox payroll obligations for the 2014 season, two contracts yielded different average annual values (the figure used for calculating payroll against the luxury tax) than previous public documentation (including by this website) would have suggested. The most dramatic instance of the change in value was to Jon Lester‘s AAV calculation. The change merits explanation, as it has implications for how long-term deals with team options are understood, particularly those signed by young players long before they reach free agency.
Prior to the 2009 season, Lester signed a five-year, $30 million deal with a $13 million option for the 2014 season (and a $250,000 buyout of the option). During the life of that contract, the deal was widely understood to represent a $6 million luxury tax hit. That interpretation was incorrect.
Option years that are significantly larger than the average yearly salary of the deal alter the calculation of the Average Annual Value as calculated for determining luxury tax payroll. The relevant language is found in two excerpts of Article XXIII E. (5) (c) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
“Highest Guaranteed Year Value” shall be the sum of the Base Salary plus any attributed Signing Bonus, deferred compensation or annuity costs, plus any potential bonuses (other than Award Bonuses) in the Guaranteed Year of the Contract with the highest such sum; provided, however, that if the Highest Guaranteed Year Value is itself greater than 127.5% of the Average Annual Value of the Contract, then 127.5% of the Average Annual Value of the Contract shall be substituted for the Highest Guaranteed Year Value in the calculation called for by subparagraph (ii)(B) below.
(B) Rule. If the Club Option Year Value exceeds 122.5% of the Highest Guaranteed Year Value, then the difference between the Club Option Year Value and 122.5% of the Highest Guaranteed Year Value shall be treated as a Signing Bonus in the calculation of the Contract’s Average Annual Value.
What does that language mean for Lester’s deal? First, a look at how Lester’s contract broke down: Read the rest of this entry »
|11.08.13 at 8:45 am ET|
David Ortiz‘s popularity in Boston might be at an all-time high after he led the Red Sox to the World Series championship last month.
That is no more evident than in a report that Ortiz finished third in the Boston mayoral election Tuesday, receiving more write-in votes than anyone else. A total of 560 write-in votes were cast, according to election officials, but the number that Ortiz received was not released.
Martin Walsh won the race to succeed Thomas Menino with 72,514 votes, beating John Connolly (67,606).
|11.08.13 at 8:34 am ET|
An industry source confirmed to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the Red Sox “really like” free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, but noted that the Sox also view the 36-year-old as a “tough squeeze” for two reasons. First, as a corner outfielder, Beltran would not address the most pressing vacancy created should center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury leave via free agency (at a time when the team has Shane Victorino as a Gold Glove defender in right). He’s a bit of an imperfect roster fit for a team that already has three strong corner outfielders in Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes.
(Victorino has experience playing center field, but Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said on Monday that while such a shift was an option, it was not a course of first resort. “It’s certainly one possibility and as we look at alternatives in the outfield, we have to be open-minded. That would be one possibility,” said Cherington. “I think I speak for [manager John Farrell] that we both recognize just how good he was in right field this year and how valuable his defense was in right field. So I guess we’d have to be compelled to move him. It would have to be a pretty compelling opportunity, but you can’t rule that out. He’s capable of doing it.”)
Meanwhile, because Beltran received a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals, the Red Sox would have to sacrifice a draft pick in order to sign him — something that also represents a drawback from the Sox. However, while the team would have to surrounder a draft pick to sign Beltran, it would get one back if another team signs center field Jacoby Ellsbury — an outcome that would be virtually assured if Beltran is signed — and/or Stephen Drew or Mike Napoli, all three of whom received qualifying offers from the Red Sox.
The New York Post’s George King was the first to report the Sox’ interest in the switch-hitting outfielder, writing that, according to someone who knows Beltran, the Red Sox have been more aggressive in pursuing the 36-year-old than fellow American League teams Baltimore and New York.
An eight-time All-Star, Beltran hit .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs, 84 RBIs in 2013, the second year of a two-year, $26 million deal. Beltran is a career .333/.445/.683 hitter in the postseason with 16 home runs, 41 RBIs. He hit .268 this postseason, including .294 in the World Series, which he played with bruised ribs after hitting the right-field fence while robbing David Ortiz of a grand slam in Game 1 at Fenway Park.
In 16 major league seasons with the Royals (1998-2004), Astros (2004), Mets (2005-11), Giants (2001) and Cardinals, Beltran has a .283/.359/.496 line with 358 home runs and 1,327 RBIs.
The Sox have harbored considerable interest in him on multiple occasions in the past, including attempts to acquire him from the Royals prior to the trade deadline in 2004 and another run at landing him from the Mets in 2011.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier contributed to this report.
|11.07.13 at 11:15 pm ET|
According to Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com, Stephen Drew’s agent Scott Boras has already scheduled numerous meetings with teams at next week’s general managers meetings in Orlando, suggesting the shortstop has no plans to accept the Red Sox’ one-year qualifying offer of $14.1 million.
GM:"Forget Stephen Drew accepting the $14M. Scott(Boras) already has set up a number of meetings on Drew for Tuesday at the GM meetings."
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 8, 2013
The deadline for any of the 13 free agents who were accepted qualifying offers to accept the one-year deal is Monday, which is the day the GM meetings begin.
One baseball executive suggested to WEEI.com Thursday that there is a growing sentiment that Drew might re-sign with the Red Sox on a multi-year deal after rebuffing the team’s qualifying offer. The Sox would be the only team eligible to sign Drew without surrendering a draft pick.
Appearing on Keith Law’s ESPN podcast, Boras said that as many as seven or eight major league teams could “change the dynamic of the production of their infield” with the signing of the shortstop. (To listen to Boras discuss Drew, click here and go to 11 minutes into the podcast.)
|11.07.13 at 9:12 am ET|
Joel Hanrahan wanted to watch, but only from afar.
The reliever – who spent just more than a month as the Red Sox’ closer before succumbing to season-ending arm surgeries – reveled in his team’s World Series run, but did so while in the company of his friends and family at his Dallas-area home.
Sure, Hanrahan had been coming up to Boston once or twice a month to with the team’s medical staff throughout the course of the season. But this was different.
“The hardest part for me was I really wanted to come and be part of the playoffs, but I also didn’t want to look like, ‘Oh, we’re in the playoffs and now he wants to be part of the celebration’ something like that,” he said. “My focus is trying to get healthy and I didn’t want to take time away from the trainers who are trying to keep the guys on the field who are playing. I didn’t want to be in the way. It was tough for me, but it was a whole heck of a lot of fun watching at home and seeing the success they had.
“To be the first time I was ever in the playoffs, and to see them win the World Series, I was a big cheerleader. But it’s not how you envision your first playoff run or your first World Series championship. It was different being at home, sitting watching the games with my wife or my friends. But that’s just the hand I was dealt this year. It just makes me want to work harder to get a chance to get back to the playoffs.”
Hanrahan’s world has been all about recovering from the flexor tendon surgery, Tommy John surgery, and bone spur removal in his pitching arm, all performed by Dr. James Andrews in May.
Working with the same physical therapist who helped Mike Napoli get through his physical issues last offseason – along with Red Sox specialist Dan Dyrek — the righty feels like he is ahead of the scheduled 12-15-month layoff.
He has been throwing from 120 feet, and in about 1 ½ weeks there will be flat-ground throwing. If all keeps going well, Hanrahan hopes to have thrown a few bullpen sessions by the time spring training roles around.
Another benefit from the layoff has been an improved all-around conditioning, which has included strengthening of hamstrings which were an issue starting early in the 2013 season.
“The hamstrings aren’t a problem any more,” said Hanrahan, who had a piece of his hamstring taken out to serve as replacement for his elbow ligament. “So I’ve had about 3 ½ months of my offseason workout and I still have three months of working out to go. I have plenty of time to make sure everything is good to go.”
And in the last week, Hanrahan has entered into a new world – he is the fifth Red Sox free agent.
Unlike Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Napoli, the reliever obviously wasn’t in the conversation regarding a possible qualifying offer. But, even with the physical limitations, he has still been afforded some attention from potential suitors.
“We’ve had a handful of teams call, which is a nice thing to see,” he said. “This isn’t the easiest way to go into free agency. But we’ve had teams reach out. They’re calling at this point just to check in to see how I’m coming along in the rehab. My main focus is doing the rehab Monday through Friday, trying to get as healthy as I can because obviously no matter where I am I can’t help anybody out until I’m on the field playing. But the phone calls have been coming in, and that’s a positive.”
Then there is the question of a return to the Red Sox.
Hanrahan pitched in just nine games with the Sox in ’13, finishing six of them. But after that final outing, on May 6, it was what the organization provided that left the best impression on the 32-year-old.
“The Red Sox treated me very well for the time I was there,” he said. “The check-ups I had with them, and the contact the training staff had with my therapist, were awesome. To see they cared that much about somebody who may or may not be back or wasn’t signed for a second year … To see them care that much was a great thing. We’ll just have to see what’s going to happen. I haven’t closed any books or opened any new ones. I’m just kind of out here waiting to see how everything plays out.”
|11.06.13 at 7:29 pm ET|
For the sixth time in his 11 seasons in Boston, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was named the American League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award winner as the top hitter at his position. Ortiz is now tied with Manny Ramirez and Wade Boggs for the most Silver Slugger Awards in Red Sox history.
From the Red Sox press release:
Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of managers and coaches who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National leagues in 2013. They were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams.
This marks Ortiz’s sixth American League Silver Slugger Award at designated hitter, also earning the honor in four straight seasons from 2004-07 and in 2011. It extends his record for Silver Slugger Awards as a DH (Edgar Martinez and Paul Molitor each earned 4) and ties him with Wade Boggs and Manny Ramirez for the most ever Silver Slugger Awards for a Red Sox batter.
Ortiz led the Red Sox while ranking among American League leaders with a .309 average (6th), 30 home runs (T-8th), 103 RBI (7th), 76 walks (T-7th), 27 intentional walks (1st in MLB), a .395 on-base percentage (4th), .564 slugging percentage (3rd in MLB), .959 OPS (4th in MLB), 70 extra-base hits (5th), and 292 total bases (8th) over 137 regular-season games in 2013, including 129 contests at DH. He led all designated hitters in average (.314), OBP (.398), SLG (.565), OPS (.964), runs (80), doubles (37), home runs (28), extra-base hits (67), RBI (98), and intentional walks (26) while at the position. Read the rest of this entry »
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