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Sources: Red Sox agree to 4-year deal with Hanley Ramirez

11.24.14 at 12:17 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz at the 2010 All-Star Home Run Derby, in which Ortiz beat his former -- and now future -- teammate in the finals. (Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz at the 2010 All-Star Home Run Derby, in which Ortiz beat his former — and now future — teammate in the finals. (Getty Images)

An industry source has confirmed that free agent Hanley Ramirez is on his way to Boston to finalize a five-year agreement with the Red Sox. News of the five-year deal was first reported (via twitter) by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who reported that the agreement was “in the range of five years, $90M.”

UPDATE (Nov. 24, 1:20 p.m.): Another industry source has confirmed an update from Rosenthal that the deal is a four-year guarantee with a vesting option for a fifth rather than a straight five-year deal. Multiple reports have the deal as being worth $88 million over four years with a $22 million vesting option.

Ramirez, who signed with the Red Sox as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican in 2000 but was traded by the organization (with Anibal Sanchez and others) to the Marlins as part of the deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston, is arguably the best pure hitter available this year in free agency. One evaluator recently called him the ‘€œclosest right-handed hitter to Manny [Ramirez] I have seen,’€ someone who is an impact bat regardless of who’€™s on the mound. In 2014, Ramirez nearly matched free agent Pablo Sandoval’€™s numbers against righties (he had a .283/.362/.439 line, compared to Sandoval’€™s .317/.363/.461) while proving even more impactful against lefties (.282/.393/.476). For his career, Ramirez has a higher OBP and roughly the same slugging percentage against righties as Sandoval and a massive advantage against lefties.

Still, a number of concerns appeared to dampen a potential free agent bonanza for Ramirez. Among them: He’ll be 31 in December, meaning that most of his next contract will fall outside of his career prime; he has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons; his defense at shortstop is poor, and while there is some belief in industry circles that he could represent a quality option at a corner position, his ability to adapt to a new spot represents something of an uncertainty; and concerns about his makeup with both the Marlins and Dodgers have been significant.

That said, those concerns were largely against the backdrop of expectations that a deal could reach more than five years and upwards of $20 million a year. The concerns still exist, but the risk undertaken by the Sox would appear to be at least somewhat diminished by the terms as reported by Rosenthal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Source: Red Sox deal for Hanley Ramirez ‘could come together quickly’

11.23.14 at 5:57 pm ET
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According to an industry source, the Red Sox are in advanced conversations with free agent Hanley Ramirez, with the possibility that a deal “could come together quickly.” As of this afternoon, the source said, there was not an agreement between the sides, but the potential for a deal is real.

At this point, what is not clear is whether talks with Ramirez are as a third base fallback should free agent Pablo Sandoval sign with one of his other suitors (the Giants or Padres), or if the pursuit of Ramirez might be in conjunction with the pursuit of Sandoval, with Ramirez moving to left field and Sandoval at third base. If the Sox did pursue Ramirez, it could be part of yet another domino, with the possibility of trading Yoenis Cespedes increasing.

Ramirez is arguably the best pure hitter available this year in free agency. One evaluator recently called him the “closest right-handed hitter to Manny I have seen,” someone who is an impact bat regardless of who’s on the mound. In 2014, Ramirez nearly matched Sandoval’s numbers against righties (he had a .283/.362/.439 line, compared to Sandoval’s .317/.363/.461) while proving even more impactful against lefties (.282/.393/.476). For his career, Ramirez has a higher OBP and roughly the same slugging percentage against righties as Sandoval and a massive advantage against lefties. Read the rest of this entry »

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Source: Pablo Sandoval decision to come next week

11.22.14 at 6:00 pm ET
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According to a source, Pablo Sandoval’s decision on which team he will sign with will come next week and it looks like it will come down to the Red Sox, Giants or Padres. There is no mystery team. The source adds the teams involved are believed to have been asked already to submit final offers.

Sandoval was in Boston earlier this week with his representatives meeting with Red Sox officials and to see the city, as he had never been.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported Sandoval has offers from the Red Sox, Giants and Padres and his decision would likely come next week.

For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

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Curt Schilling’s son accidentally causes bomb squad to respond at Logan Airport

11.22.14 at 2:52 pm ET
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It was an unusual Saturday morning for the Schilling family.

While going through security at Logan Airport Saturday morning, Curt Schilling‘s son said he left a “fake grenade” in his bag. Moments later TSA agents called the bomb squad, but after they arrived and realized the situation, order was restored.

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Source: Jon Lester to meet with at least 2 more teams next week

11.21.14 at 5:11 pm ET
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After meeting with the Red Sox, Cubs and Braves this week, Jon Lester is scheduled to meet with at least two more teams next week, according to a source.

After Lester’s meeting with the Red Sox, a source said the Red Sox have made it clear that there will be a “willingness to negotiate.” Lester’s agent, Seth Levinson, said in an email to WEEI.com that the Red Sox “extended great respect” to Lester.

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Red Sox promote Raquel Ferreira to vice president of baseball administration

11.21.14 at 9:24 am ET
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Raquel Ferreira, described by Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett as “the glue that holds the Red Sox farm system together,” has been promoted by the Red Sox from senior director of minor league operations to vice president of baseball administration, according to multiple team sources. Ferreira becomes one of three women in Major League Baseball to reach the level of vice president, joining Kim Ng (senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB) and Yankees senior vice president and assistant GM Jean Afterman.

Ferreira is one of the longest tenured members of the Red Sox front office, having joined the organization in 1999. Since then, her responsibilities have grown steadily to include:

— Operations of the farm system, including individual affiliates, player contracts, transactions
— The major league budget (non-payroll)
— Immigration and work visas

“She makes an impact in that [operational/administrative] area because she is especially good at it. As you can imagine, it’s no easy task to organize that volume of responsibility that is required to get all those people in all those different areas to the right place at the right time in a way that’s sort of functional, within budget. It’s a Herculean task and she’s very good at it,” Cherington said in this Minor Details podcast. “The best thing I can say is in the 16 years now, I can’t remember her making a mistake. I can’t. And there’s been a lot of opportunities for mistakes.”

Beyond that formal role, Ferreira has played a central role in the creation of the culture of player development in the Red Sox organization. Invariably, Ferreira plays a prominent role when players discuss their experience coming through the minors for the team, given that she’s often among the first — and frequently the first — point of contact for players with the organization, and players and staff members rely upon her as a trusted voice for both on- and off-field concerns, to the point where minor leaguers will sometimes describe her as being akin to a second mother. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox performing ‘due diligence’ on Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada

11.20.14 at 4:00 pm ET
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One of the most interesting free agents this offseason is unlikely to open 2015 in the big leagues. Yoan Moncada, a 19-year-old Cuban infielder who could receive a signing bonus of $30 million to $40 million (with teams paying a penalty of 100 percent on his bonus due to the rules governing international amateur free agents who are under the age of 23), recently worked out for teams in Guatemala.

The Red Sox — who have already blown past their recommended international amateur bonus pool for the 2014-15 signing season, adding top 16-year-old pitchers Anderson Espinoza and Christopher Acosta — are considered to be a team that could be in the mix for Moncada, who was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball but who is still waiting for clearance from the U.S. government to negotiate with teams. Red Sox amateur international scouting director Eddie Romero, prior to an event for the Foundation To Be Named Later, was among those in attendance at Moncada’s workout.

“It was a good opportunity just to lay eyes on him, to see him physically for the first time. He’s in tremendous shape, tremendous shape,” said Romero. “We’ll do our due diligence there and see where it goes.”

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Join Rob Bradford for Red Sox Hot Stove live chat, starting at noon

11.20.14 at 10:07 am ET
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Join Rob Bradford of WEEI.com for a live chat, starting at noon, to talk all things Red Sox offseason (or anything else that might be on your mind). It’s a great way to warm up for tonight’s “Hot Stove Show” with Bradford, Alex Speier and Mike Mutnansky on WEEI, starting at 7 p.m. So get your question in now …

Live Blog Rob Bradford Hot Stove live chat
 

Red Sox minor leaguer Cody Kukuk arrested for robbery

11.19.14 at 9:26 pm ET
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According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Red Sox left-hander Cody Kukuk was arrested in California on a charge of home-invasion robbery at an apartment in Lawrence, Kansas, on Nov. 8. The report says that Kukuk was among a group of individuals who “entered the Arkansas Street apartment with handguns, battered residents and took their belongings,” which included cash, cell phones, an Xbox and a safe’s contents. Kukuk and 20-year-old Gabriel Alexander Patterson are in jail in Long Beach, Calif., without bail, awaiting a hearing that could lead to extradition to Kansas.

The incident marks the second arrest for Kukuk since he entered the Sox system as a seventh-round draft pick (given a $800,000 bonus) out of high school in 2011. He was also arrested on charges of driving under the influence in Fort Myers in May 2012, but the charges were dropped in August of that year when the police were found to lack probable cause for pulling over Kukuk. Kukuk missed nearly all of that year before making five appearances at the end of the season in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League.

The left-hander has spent the last two years in Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem, showing an electric three-pitch mix (mid- to high-90s fastball, slider, change, all of which can generate swings and misses) that has yielded 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings but little ability to control it, as evidenced by his 7.0 walks per nine innings. While he continued to show stuff to suggest an enormous ceiling, Sox officials had measured expectations for his career given his lack of control and concerns about his makeup. To the chagrin of the team, those have now been borne out to the point where thoughts about his career are essentially irrelevant while his fate resides in the hands of the criminal justice system.

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Update: Blake Swihart, Eduardo Rodriguez headline four Red Sox added to 40-man roster

11.19.14 at 8:38 pm ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

Thursday represents a day of notable roster change, as teams face a deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster for the purposes of protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. The Red Sox appear likely to add four prospects to the 40-man, including top prospect Blake Swihart. That’s convenient, since the Sox have four open spots on their 40-man roster.

A brief look at the players expected to be protected:

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Red Sox announced that they had indeed added the following four players to their 40-man roster.

Blake Swihart, C, 22 years old

2014: Double-A/Triple-A – 110 games, .293/.341/.469, 13 HR

The top-ranked Red Sox prospect is among the top catching prospects in the game based on his potential for above-average offense and defense. Swihart could become a big league consideration sometime in 2015, with a more likely lasting big league opportunity to come in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, 21 years old

2014: Double-A (Orioles and Red Sox systems) – 22 starts, 120 innings, 3.60 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9

Rodriguez probably has the best stuff of any starting pitching prospect in the Red Sox system, with the left-hander sitting at 92-94 mph and capable of reaching back for 96-97 mph while featuring an excellent changeup and a slider that shows the potential to be an above-average pitch. It remains to be seen if Rodriguez looks more like the pitcher who struggled through the first four months of 2014 in the Orioles system or like the singularly dominant pitcher who proved a head-turner once in the Sox system. Either way, adding him to the 40-man roster is a no-brainer. If Rodriguez builds on his Portland performance, he has a chance to force his way into the big league rotation sometime in 2015.

Read the rest of this entry »

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