|11.27.13 at 2:17 pm ET|
Agent Jim Munsey, who represents free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, denied a suggestion by ESPN’s Buster Olney on WEEI that medical concerns might be at the heart of the slow-developing market for his client’s services. Olney wondered if the decision by some clubs in search of catching help to turn elsewhere might be a function of any health issues in the 28-year-old’s medical dossier.
“I think the big question about Saltalamacchia — and believe me, you hear a lot of different things about a lot of different guys and I don’t know what’s in Jarrod’s file — but in some cases, some of the intransigence in the market is related to whatever’s in the medical file,” said Olney. “We saw it last winter with Mike Napoli where not only did the Red Sox reduce their file down to one year and $5 million but no other team jumped in based on the same information. With catchers, it’s certainly going to be one of the first things you’re going to look at. It says a lot that you have the Cubs and a number of other teams that are out there potentially looking at catchers, no one’s jumping up.”
Munsey denied that teams in general — and the Cubs in particular — had raised concerns about Saltalamacchia’s health.
“Salty has just finished his third straight year without being on the DL, which makes him different from both [Brian] McCann and [Carlos] Ruiz,” Munsey said in a statement, referencing free agents who had agreed to deals of five and three years this winter. “There are no medical issues hindering his market. Specifically, the Cubs are simply allocating funds elsewhere and don’t believe they could compete for what is believed to be Salty’s market and have an excellent catcher [Wellington Castillo] in place already. There was simply no discussion whatever with them about any medical issue. None. To speculate otherwise is pretty irresponsible. To conclude that no one is ‘jumping up’ would likewise be speculative. Some agents prefer to perform their responsibilities outside of the media spotlight. Just because you’re not hearing it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”
Saltalamacchia hit .273/.338/.466 with 14 homers and 40 doubles while playing in 121 regular season games in 2013. According to multiple industry sources, he’s been in search of a deal of at least three years. While the Red Sox have been in dialogue with Munsey, according to sources, they have shown a clear preference to limit the term of any deals for catchers (whether Ruiz, whom they pursued, or Saltalamacchia) to two years given the team’s belief that prospects Christian Vazquez (who will open the year in Triple-A) and Blake Swihart (who will start 2014 in Double-A) represent future starting options.
|11.27.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
In his weekly interview on WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show, ESPN’s Buster Olney took stock of the catching market now that free agents such as Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz and Geovany Soto have signed. Olney suggested that he believed that the Red Sox might pursue a short-term solution such as Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan (who hit .198/.306/.261 last year, but who owns a career line of .262/.359/.343 and is considered a strong defensive presence) based on the desire to keep the door open for the team’s up-and-coming prospects (Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart) behind the plate.
“I think Ryan Hannigan is an interesting stopgap for the Red Sox. We know that the Tampa Bay Rays have always had a lot of interest before 2013. He was a high on-base percentage guy who was dealing with a wrist injury last year so he wasn’t healthy, didn’t hit. He doesn’t really hit for power. In that regard, he doesn’t really fit the prototype for the Red Sox,” said Olney. “But it feels like it’s kind of a bridge year for their catchers. It feels like if they buy a little time, they can develop those catchers. I think he would be an option.”
Olney suggested that it seemed curious that a market had yet to take shape for free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Given his performance relative to that of other free agents on the market, Olney wondered whether medical issues might be hindering the 28-year-old’s market following a career-best season in which he hit .273/.338/.466 with 14 homers and 40 doubles while playing in 121 regular season games.
“I think the big question about Saltalamacchia — and believe me, you hear a lot of different things about a lot of different guys and I don’t know what’s in Jarrod’s file — but in some cases, some of the intransigence in the market is related to whatever’s in the medical file,” said Olney. “We saw it last winter with Mike Napoli where not only did the Red Sox reduce their file down to one year and $5 million but no other team jumped in based on the same information. With catchers, it’s certainly going to be one of the first things you’re going to look at. It says a lot that you have the Cubs and a number of other teams that are out there potentially looking at catchers, no one’s jumping up.” Read the rest of this entry »
|11.25.13 at 10:40 pm ET|
The Red Sox executed a well-defined template last winter in trying to emerge from the wreckage of a 69-win season. On Monday, as team CEO/president Larry Lucchino prepared to see the Wang Theatre premier of the Official 2013 World Series Film that stood as a testament to that approach, he acknowledged that it might prove difficult to repeat that formula.
Lucchino said that it remains premature to say whether the market has moved in an unexpected direction. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that the early stages of the offseason have produced “a couple of big contracts … for a couple of big guys,” and that “everyone is expecting [the market] will go up because nothing ever goes down and because there’s new television money available.”
That reality suggests that the Sox may face a different offseason landscape than they did last year. Then, their mandate was to improve, and they were able to follow a principled route to do so. The team focused on limiting the term of the contracts given (all seven of the free agents whom they acquired received deals of three or fewer years) — sometimes giving players more dollars to do so — while also preserving all of its draft picks by avoiding signing any players who had received qualifying offers from their former clubs.
This year, Lucchino suggested, the team would like to follow a similar script. But that won’t necessarily be possible.
“Fewer years, more dollars — it’s our preferred model, but you can never get exactly what you want,” said Lucchino.”We still value the draft picks enormously, and our behavior has shown that. We still prefer shorter to longer-term contract. We have a presumption against really long-term contracts. A lot of things we did last year proved to be successful, at least in the short term, so I think we’re going to behave accordingly going forward.
“You need to have a diverse portfolio of contracts. Some will be longer than you want. Some will be heavy at the front end. You’ve got to mix the structure of all the contracts so you have the kind of diversity you need for long-term stability.” Read the rest of this entry »
|11.25.13 at 9:01 pm ET|
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, at the Wang Theatre in Boston for the screening of MLB Productions’ World Series Film, discussed a few dimensions of how the offseason has taken shape to date. Among the takeaways:
– Cherington said that the team feels it can be “choosy” in the catching market given the long-term strength of the system at that position, where Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart are in the pipeline. He said that the team continues to talk with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but noted that, even with free agents Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz off the board, the team still has options.
“We kind of thought that might be a position that moved quicker just because there seemed to be sort of a set of teams and a set of somewhat comparable, somewhat equal players and the musical chairs would start. I guess that leaves us still talking,” said Cherington. “We have interest in a small handful of free agents. We’ve also talked to teams about trades. And we also think we’re in a pretty strong position long-term with the young catching we have in the organization and so we have, we’re in a position to be a little choosy, a little selective. If we could do something there, we’d love to. So we’ll see what happens.
“[Saltalamacchia is] certainly one of the guys we’ve talked to, continue to have an open door with, spoken to him pretty consistently — or spoken to his representative — pretty consistently since the season ended. Hopefully that continues. He’s doing the same thing we are, just trying to see what’s out there for him, too.” Read the rest of this entry »
|11.24.13 at 7:17 am ET|
Brian McCann is off the market with his reported five-year, $85 million agreement with the Yankees (a pact that contains a vesting option for a sixth year that can push the value of the deal up to $100 million) and Carlos Ruiz signed his three-year deal to return to the Phillies last week (which contained an option for a fourth year), and so Jarrod Saltalamacchia stands alone as the top catcher on the free-agent market (and one who doesn’t require a team to sacrifice a draft pick to boot), and there isn’t really a close second. So where does that leave the 28-year-old free agent who hit .273 with a .338 OBP, .466 slugging mark, 14 homers and 40 doubles?
The Rangers and Red Sox both showed considerable interest in McCann, and both have what are typically characterized as strong backups (David Ross for the Red Sox, Geovany Soto for the Rangers) but still not necessarily a frontline option behind the plate. Both teams represent potential landing spots for Saltalamacchia. However, according to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox have shown no willingness to budge off of a two-year offer, and with Saltalamacchia clearly seeking at least three years (in a market where a player who is six years older in Ruiz received three years, and a player with a recent injury history in McCann got five), it seems likely that he’ll have to go elsewhere to get it. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.23.13 at 9:09 pm ET|
The offseason seems to be fitting Mike Napoli just fine.
Saturday afternoon, the free agent first baseman was content in spending his downtime signing autographs for a flood of fans at Johnny Cupcakes T-shirt store on Newbury Street. And while he will return home to Texas for a brief Thanksgiving week stay, Napoli will continue to call Boston home all the way up through the end of the year.
There is no inkling that the uncertainty of free agency is weighing on the 32-year-old.
“I know what to expect this year. I’m just going to let the process happen,” he told WEEI.com just prior to an hour-long signing session that celebrated the release of a new T-shirt. “I told [agent] Brian [Grieper] I don’t want to do the whole flying around here and there, meeting people. I’m just being patient, seeing my options. I do want to play here. You just have to go through that whole process and see what’s going to go on.”
When asked why there would be no recruiting trips (like the one hosted by Red Sox principal owner John Henry last offseason), he said, “I’ve been to every city. I don’t have to see the cities. I feel like you can tell my agent on the phone what you’re going to tell me in person, what your plans are. I don’t need to go out to dinner or be spoiled in some way. I’m just not that type of person who wants to do that process. I didn’t want to do it last year, but I kind of had to. I like to be home and enjoy my time with my friends and family.”
So, while Napoli clearly wants to return to the Red Sox, does he feel there is a good chance the two sides will come to an agreement?
“I wouldn’t see why not,” he said. “I’ve got a great relationship with [Red Sox general manager] Ben [Cherington] and this whole organization. Hopefully it will come down to something where I come back here.
“But it’s part of the process. Some teams have needs. Of course I’m going to have my ears open. That’s part of free agency.”
While this is the second straight year Napoli has had to go through the free agent process, he reiterates this time around figures to be different.
Napoli is not only coming off a world championship season, in which he totaled an .842 OPS with 23 home runs, but can call himself a plus-defender at a position (first) that doesn’t have much competition in the free agent market.
And then there is his health.
Napoli recently received the results of his season-ending MRI, getting more evidence than the Avascular necrosis in his hips aren’t currently an issue.
“Everything was the same,” he said of the latest examination. “It might have even have been a slight, slight improvement. The hips aren’t really an issue. I showed I could play the whole year and have it stay the same, so that’s encouraging.”
The current plan for Napoli is to stick to his normal offseason routine, starting workouts in December.
While he isn’t shy about expressing his desire to return to the Sox, Napoli is keeping all options open, evidently including the Rangers despite their recent acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder.
“Things happen. I definitely enjoyed my time playing there,” he said of Texas. “I’m familiar with that place. You never know what’s going to happen. They still have some needs, so we’ll see what happens.
“I’m going to be playing somewhere next year. There’s not a timeline for me. What’s going to happen, is going to happen.”
|11.23.13 at 6:21 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Yankees have agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal with free agent catcher Brian McCann. According to FoxSports.com, the contract also has a sixth-year vesting option that can take the deal up over $100 million.
The Red Sox had interest in McCann, but, according to sources, were hesitant to commit to the years ultimately given to the catcher. Still on the free agent market are Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Dioner Navarro and A.J. Pierzynski, with Reds backstop Ryan Hanigan potentially available in a trade.
McCann was perceived as the top free agent catcher on this year’s market, having totaled an .823 career OPS. In 2013, the catcher was limited to 102 games, hitting .256 with a .796 OPS and 20 home runs. He has managed 20 or more homers in each of the last six seasons.
Check back for more information.
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