|12.06.13 at 6:39 pm ET|
David Ortiz said that he wasn’t shocked to hear of the 10-year, $240 million agreement between Robinson Cano and the Mariners. Instead, his surprise came at the idea that the pillar in the middle of the Yankees’ lineup was allowed to leave New York.
“That’s what the players are getting — young, talented players with the skills that he has, that’s what they’re getting. I couldn’t believe the Yankees let that walk away,” Ortiz said on the Bradford Files podcast. “He’s the face, as long as he played for the Yankees, he was the face of that ballclub. He was backing up everybody. Once I saw them not getting close to what he wants and signing [catcher Brian McCann] and [Jacoby Ellsbury], I definitely knew that he was going to go somewhere else.
“That’s great news for us. That’s great news,” Ortiz added. “This guy hurt us. He is the guy that, you’re never going to forget about him because he puts up some monster numbers. He puts up some monster numbers. Now let’s see how everything goes with him on the West Coast.”
Ortiz had nothing but praise for Cano.
“Well-deserved. Well-deserved. I’m telling you, I knew he was going to get something around that because he’s one of the best players in the game right now and that’s where the best players are at,” said Ortiz. “The way he makes the game look, it’s ridiculous. It’s just impossible. He makes the game look so easy. … Now, we’re not going to be able to see him that much, thank God. He’s going to the West Coast. Wishing him the best. He’s a good friend of mine, and like I said, well deserved.”
|12.06.13 at 3:59 pm ET|
A year ago, Mike Napoli had a three-year, $39 million deal in hand with the Red Sox before the uncertainty generated by his diagnosis with a degenerative hip condition led to the deal’s revision into a one-year, $5 million deal that got pushed up to $13 million with incentives.
But Napoli did a number of things in 2013 to put him in position to seek something along similar lines: He remained healthy, played the second most games of his career (139) and he went from being a bat-first catcher whose defensive skills were in question to a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, he went from a down year in 2012 (.227 with a .343 OBP and .469 slugging mark and 113 OPS+) to one very much in line with his career line in 2013 (.259/.360/.482 with a 127 OPS+).
There are still concerns in some places about the long-term risks associated with his hip condition. But given that the medical issue remained stable in 2013, it went from a dramatic uncertainty to a somewhat more normal/typical injury concern that accompanies most free agents. All of that explains why the free agent felt that it was reasonable to seek a deal that was at least comparable to the one he initially secured from the Red Sox last winter.
Yet in a fast-moving free agent market that has seen a number of landmark contracts already, Napoli’s asking price may be rising by the day. The early movement of Jacoby Ellsbury on a seven-year, $153 million deal to the Yankees and Robinson Cano on a 10-year, $240 million deal to the Mariners has spearheaded a robust market for position players, at a time when teams got a windfall of additional tens of millions — something that appears to be pushing contracts up rather rapidly. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.06.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
The Marlins reportedly are close to an agreement with former Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones, putting them in position to trade incumbent Logan Morrison.
The move also would limit the options for Mike Napoli, as the Marlins were said to be one of the teams who had been showing interest in the Red Sox free agent. The Rangers and Red Sox appear to be in the lead for Napoli’s services.
The Marlins on Friday also announced their three-year deal with former Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, worth a reported $21 million.
|12.06.13 at 12:19 pm ET|
The departure of Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in free agency raised questions for a number of Red Sox players. According to manager John Farrell, in his appearance on WEEI’s Salk & Holley show, players became curious as to whether the Sox might retain any of the four most prominent free agents — Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew — from their 2013 World Series winner.
Farrell said that he offered a measure of reassurance on that front.
“Because Jacoby and Salty hit the airwaves that they both signed, it was, OK, are we bringing any guys back? That was part of the question. I said, ‘Absolutely, we’re in the works. We’re in the process,’ ” Farrell explained of his conversations with players on Tuesday night, in the aftermath of news of Ellsbury’s deal with the Yankees and Saltalamacchia’s with the Marlins. “That’s where [GM Ben Cherington] is doing the best he can with the two remaining guys, with Mike and Stephen. We’re going to do anything we can to bring both guys back.”
While the Sox would love to bring back Drew given the value they attach to his offensive impact as a left-handed hitter and his up-the-middle defense, there is an obvious in-house alternative at shortstop if he does leave in the form of Xander Bogaerts. First base may be another story.
A number of Sox team officials continue to describe Napoli as the team’s preferred option at first. But whether there will be common ground in re-signing the first baseman remains to be seen.
According to an industry source, with Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson off the board, the pursuit of Napoli is intensifying. And the first baseman, coming off a strong season, hopes to at least match the three-year, $39 million deal (in terms of both length and dollars) to which he initially agreed with the Sox last December, before the diagnosis of avascular necrosis in his hips caused the two sides to renegotiate a one-year, $5 million deal.
The Sox, according to multiple sources, are willing to re-sign Napoli for multiple years based on his performance and ability to remain healthy without showing any further deterioration of his hips in 2013. But at this time, it is unknown whether the team is willing to go beyond two years to sign the free agent. Moreover, with Napoli representing one of the premier power bats on the market, it appears that other teams may be willing to extend beyond two years. As such, while Napoli has made clear his preference to return to the Red Sox, the gap between the Sox’ offer and that of other teams right now appears such that he is exploring alternatives. That doesn’t rule out the possibility of a deal with the Sox, but it does seem apparent that the market for Napoli will achieve definition in the near future given the other dominoes that are falling in the free agent market.
|12.06.13 at 1:25 am ET|
While longtime teammate Jacoby Ellsbury is a Red Sox no more, Jon Lester remains hopeful that his teammate’s departure will not serve as a prelude to his own. The 29-year-old left-hander, who said that he didn’t feel any unusual wear and tear following a year in which he logged 248 combined innings in the regular season and October, suggested that he looks forward to talking with the Sox about the possibility of an extension before he reaches free agency — for which he could be eligible following the 2014 season.
“Obviously it’s crossed my mind. But it’s not something that’s really set in for me yet. I feel like I’ve got one more year here and we’ll go from there,” Lester said of his potential free agency on WEEI’s Hot Stove Show. “I’m sure there will be some form of communication [with the Sox about a new contract], I would imagine probably in spring training, hopefully in spring training and hopefully during the season sometime if not in spring training. Obviously Boston’s my home. This is all I’ve known. This is all I’ve become accustomed to, and all I want to know. My family enjoys it up there. I enjoy playing up there. There’s a lot of factors in it. At the same time, kind of like Jacoby, there’s a business side of everything and you’ve got to look at it that way. Same thing with the Red Sox. … Sometimes you have to part ways. Hopefully that’s not the case when it comes down to us here in the future.” Read the rest of this entry »
|12.05.13 at 12:06 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Red Sox have agreed to terms with relief pitcher Edward Mujica for what Yahoo! Sports is reporting is a two-year, $9.5 million deal. The completion of the deal is pending a physical.
Mujica has the capability to pitch in a late-inning role, having served as the Cardinals’ closer for much of the 2013 season before losing the job to Trevor Rosenthal. The 29-year-old did battle second-half injuries, dealing with a groin injury.
“My groin was bothering me, but I was trying to keep going, trying to help the team win. But you know, it [didn't] happen,” he told reporters during the World Series.
The righty had turned in stellar first half for the Cardinals in ’13, making the National League All-Star team. During that stretch he limited batters to a .188 batting average, striking out 25 and walking just one in collecting 26 saves.
Mujica is known as one of the premier strike-throwers in the game, having walked just 68 batters in 439 1/3 career innings.
This will be Mujica’s fifth organization.
Yahoo! Sports was first to report the agreement.
|12.05.13 at 9:58 am ET|
New Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss his decision to sign with Boston, his outlook on sharing playing time with David Ross and his reputation as one of the most disliked players in the league.
A two-time All Star, Pierzynski signed a one-year, $8.25 million contract with Boston on Tuesday afternoon. A career .322 hitter at Fenway Park, Pierzynski should be a durable presence both behind the plate and in the batter’s box this season, as the 37-year-old has started in at least 107 games for the past nine seasons.
“It was not an easy decision. It was something that I went back and forth with for a long time,” Pierzynski said. “I had other offers, I had multiple-year offers on the table. … One thing that led me to Boston was the fact that, ‘Hey, it’s not every day you get an opportunity, one, to play for the Boston Red Sox, and then two, to play for the defending World Series champions.
“When given that opportunity and from everyone that I spoke to and talked to, people that I trust, the signs pointed to Boston. … At the end of the day, I decided to go to Boston, and I look forward to it. I actually can’t wait for spring training to get started.”
Pierzynski has carried baggage for seemingly his whole career, as his hard-nosed style of play and abrasive personality has made him one of the most unpopular players in baseball.
“It actually makes me laugh at this point. I’ve been doing this for so long now, and I said yesterday that I won all of those contests and I won all those polls every year, so when I retire and I decided to hang it up, I feel sorry for whoever is next in line, because they’re going to have a rough foot ahead of them,” Pierzynski said.”It’s one of those things where I just laugh about it. Why am I not [liked]? I don’t know. I want to win, I play to win and I’ll do anything to win on the field. Off the field we can be buddies, but I don’t care if I have my best friend on earth pitching against me. I want to get a hit and I want to do damage to him. … It’s about business. It’s about trying to win.”
Added Pierzynski: “According to all the stuff you read, everyone doesn’t like me. … I’m not worried about that. I walked into Texas last year and there was a whole bunch of guys that were like, ‘Man, I really didn’t like you,’ and as the year went on, we became great friends.”
Looking at the situation in Boston, Pierzynski said he won’t change his personality to fit in on a veteran team.
“I don’t think so. I’m just going to come and try to fit in,” he said. “There’s no adjusting. I’m going to do the same thing and go about my business and put my work in and do what I need to do to fit in. Trust me, I know this isn’t my team. I know it’s David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester — these guys have been there, they’ve done it. They’ve won multiple World Series. And that’s what I’m trying to get to. I’ve won one [in 2005 with the White Sox], I want to win another one.
“One thing that definitely helps is being around and watching the way they did it, especially in the World Series, and the way they went about their business. That definitely helps, and it gives myself a little added advantage because of the way — a little bit, at least — how their team works and how their dynamics were.”
While Pierzynski is expected to be the No. 1 catcher for Boston next season, he’ll likely share some duties with Ross, who slugged four home runs in 36 regular-season games while receiving praise for his handling of pitchers.
“That was one of the things that we talked about before I came to a decision is, ‘Hey, I know David Ross is a really good player and I know he needs to get his at-bats,’ and I’m OK with that,” Pierzynski said. “Of course, I’d like to play 162 games, but as a catcher, you have to be realistic, and I think sometimes that playing a little bit less might actually help me. … Whenever I’m out there, I’ll give everything I have, and I can’t control when I’m out there and when I’m not.”
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