|12.03.13 at 11:38 am ET|
Jarrod Saltalamacchia is coming off the best year of his career. A.J. Pierzynski is coming off one of his worst. And so, naturally, the Red Sox moved on from the former to sign the latter.
The decision wasn’t made in a vacuum. The Red Sox hold catching prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart in tremendously high regard, with a sense that both have futures as major league starters, with Swihart representing a potential All-Star. The projected 2015 big league ETA of Vazquez and 2016 projection for Swihart’s big league readiness left the Sox in a position where a deal of no more than two years represented the ideal scenario to avoid a catching bottleneck.
As such, Saltalamacchia’s quest for a three-year deal represented an imperfect fit for the Sox. That said, the one-year deal for Pierzynski also represents a less-than-ideal scenario for the Sox, who are now somewhat exposed at catcher beyond the 2014 season, given that the team’s two anticipated big league catchers (Pierzynski and David Ross) both will be 37 years old in 2014 and both will be free agents after next year. If Vazquez struggles in 2014, then the Sox could be left to scramble to create another catching bridge. (Though it’s worth noting that a number of team officials view Dan Butler as a solid major league-ready catcher with a long future as a backup who is expected to open the year in Triple-A with Vazquez.)
Still, in order to accommodate that preference, the Sox look like a team that has made a willing decision to take an offensive step back in 2014. After all, Saltalamacchia was clearly and significantly the more productive of the two players last season. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.03.13 at 8:11 am ET|
According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that Pierzynski, if he passes the physical, will be paid $8.25 million.
The catcher, who turns 37 this month, hit .272 with a .297 OBP and .425 slugging mark along with 17 homers in 134 games for the Rangers in 2013, continuing a track record of remarkable durability — he’s played 120 or more games in 12 straight seasons. He has a career line of .283/.322/.428. Pierzynski would offer the Red Sox a left-handed complement to David Ross while signalling the almost certain end of Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s tenure with the Red Sox.
While it’s not yet known whether Pierzynski’s deal is for one or two seasons, the Red Sox had wanted to limit the term of any deal with catchers to two seasons, in part to keep the door open for the emergence of their homegrown catching prospects. Saltalamacchia, a 28-year-old coming off a career-best season, has been seeking at least three years this offseason. That duration was problematic for the Sox, given the presence in their system of Christian Vazquez — considered one of the best defensive catching prospects in the minors, who will open the 2014 season in Triple-A — and Blake Swihart, who has the potential to be an above-average offensive and defensive everyday catchter and will open the year in Double-A. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.03.13 at 8:00 am ET|
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has agreed to a deal with the Red Sox, according to a tweet from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
A deal with Pierzynski would appear to end the Red Sox’ relationship with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was not tendered a qualifying offer last month.
Pierzynski, 36, is a 16-year veteran who played for the Rangers last season on a one-year deal, hitting .272/.297/.425 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs in 134 games. He previously spent eight seasons with the White Sox and also has played for the Giants (2004) and Twins (1998-2003).
A lifetime .283/.322/.428 hitter, Pierzynski is known for his durability and outspoken personality, which has been known to get him in trouble with opposing players.
A two-time All-Star (2002, ’06), the lefty-hitting Pierzynski won a World Series in 2005 with the White Sox.
|12.02.13 at 9:54 pm ET|
The Red Sox announced Monday night that they have not tendered a contract to either pitcher Andrew Bailey or outfielder Ryan Kalish, making both free agents.
If tendered a contract, Bailey would have entered into his third and final year of arbitration, which would have paid the reliever more than the $4.1 million he made in 2013 season. The righty isn’t expected to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery until at least a few months into the season.
The 25-year-old Kalish hasn’t played since ’12, having undergone multiple surgeries on his shoulders and neck.
Both players could still return to the Red Sox as non-roster invitees.
The team tendered contracts to the other 26 unsigned players on its major league roster, including the five who were arbitration-eligible: Burke Badenhop, Mike Carp, Junichi Tazawa, Franklin Morales and Andrew Miller.
With the moves, the Sox currently have 38 players on their 40-man roster.
|12.02.13 at 3:08 pm ET|
According to multiple major league sources, Cubs reliever Daniel Bard will not be a tendered a contract by Chicago prior to tonight’s midnight deadline.
Bard had pitched in three games in the Puerto Rican Winter League, pitching for Criollos de Caguas. But after allowing eight runs on no hits while walking nine in just 1/3 innings, the righty left the team. Bard never did pitch while a member of the Cubs organization, having not seen any action after the Cubs claimed the former Red Sox off waivers Sept. 4.
According to a source, there is a chance Bard does sign a non-roster deal with the Cubs.
Check back for more ..
|12.02.13 at 12:26 pm ET|
A midnight deadline looms for teams to tender contracts to the players on their 40-man roster who, with less than six years of big league service time, remain under team control. In the case of the Red Sox, that means five mostly straightforward decisions on arbitration-eligible players as well as some additional decision regarding players who are not yet arbitration-eligible but whose roster spots are in question at a time when the Red Sox will need to round out their major league roster with additional players.
First, the arbitration-eligible players: left-handed relievers Franklin Morales and Andrew Miller as well as right-hander Junichi Tazawa all project to make less than $2 million through salary arbitration, a modest sum given their abilities. Miller is expected to be healthy in 2013 after he underwent season-ending foot surgery for a torn ligament last July; his stuff was among the most dominant of any left-hander’s in baseball prior to the injury. Tazawa endured some ups and downs but still offers excellent bang for the buck as a late-innings right-hander who attacks the strike zone and gets swings and misses. Morales (2-2, 4.62 ERA in 20 games and 25 1/3 innings) had a disappointing year after his strong showing in 2012, but his upside (a left-hander with three swing-and-miss pitches) is such that he represents a worthwhile investment in his third year of arbitration-eligibility. First baseman/outfielder Mike Carp may assume a growing role with the Red Sox if Mike Napoli leaves in free agency; given his tremendous offensive production against right-handed pitchers in 2013, he’s a lock to get tendered. Newcomer Burke Badenhop will also be tendered. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.02.13 at 10:25 am ET|
According to FoxSports.com, the Blue Jays have come to an agreement for a two-year, $8 million deal with catcher Dioner Navarro.
The switch-hitting Navarro served as a backup catcher for the Cubs in 2013, hitting .300 with 13 home runs and an .856 OPS in 89 games. The 29-year-old hasn’t seen regular playing time since he served as Tampa Bay’s starter in ’09.
Navarro figures to supplant J.P. Arencibia as Toronto’s starter, with Josh Thole slated to serve as knuckleballer R.A. Dickey‘s personal catcher. If tendered a contract, Arencibia figures to make more than $2 million in ’14.
With Navarro off the market, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski are left as the last two free agent catchers who would be thought as as regulars. The White Sox, Twins and Red Sox are thought to be in the mix for a starting backstop.
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