Archive for March, 2010

Despite Murphy injury, Mets not interested in Lowell

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

According to a major league source, the Mets — despite learning that starting first baseman Daniel Murphy will be out for 2-6 weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee — are not interested in a trade for Red Sox corner infielder Mike Lowell. The Mets instead plan to stay in house with a replacement, and GM Omar Minaya told reporters today that New York will use Mike Jacobs as their starting first baseman with Murphy sidelined.

All evidence continues to point to Lowell being with the Sox as a backup on Opening Day. While the Rangers have shown the most interest of any club in acquiring the 36-year-old, the Sox and Texas do not appear to be close to a deal.

Meanwhile, Lowell would appear to have as much value to the Sox — if not more — than he does to any club. Lowell would serve as insurance for the Sox at third and first base, while also giving the Sox a strong platoon option with designated hitter David Ortiz.

Sources: Beckett talks gaining momentum

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. — According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the Red Sox and Josh Beckett are getting closer to an agreement regarding a contract extension for the pitcher. One source confirmed that the annual value of the deal would be $17 million per season, a figure first reported by the Boston Herald.

While the sides appear to have the framework for an agreement, there is a possibility that the discussions could last beyond Sunday night’s opener. SI.com first reported that the team and pitcher were nearing a four-year deal.

On Tuesday, Beckett told WEEI.com that he had not heard from agent Michael Moye about a potential extension. While he said that he wasn’t allowing contract talks to enter his thinking, Beckett did reiterate his interest in remaining with the Red Sox.

“I’m not too concerned with [negotations],” said Beckett. “If it’s meant to be and the Red Sox want me to be here then I’ll stay here because I enjoy playing in Boston. Playing in front of those fans. I can’t imagine going anywhere else. They do everything they can to make us successful as possible and I don’t think there are a whole lot of organizations that do that.”

If Beckett and the Sox do reach an agreement, waiting until after Opening Day to announce it would be beneficial to the Sox in assessing the competitive balance tax. In the past, the Sox have announced extensions with players such as Coco Crisp and David Ortiz shortly after the start of the regular season.

Report: Beckett, Sox near four-year deal

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Red Sox and Josh Beckett are close to an agreement that would pay the right-hander close to $70 million over four years. Heyman cites sources close to the situation in suggesting that the agreement will be announced shortly after the start of the season.

On Tuesday, Beckett told WEEI.com that he had not heard from agent Michael Moye about a potential extension. While he said that he wasn’t allowing contract talks to enter his thinking, Beckett did reiterate his interest in remaining with the Red Sox.

“I’m not too concerned with [negotations],” said Beckett. “If it’s meant to be and the Red Sox want me to be here then I’ll stay here because I enjoy playing in Boston. Playing in front of those fans. I can’t imagine going anywhere else. They do everything they can to make us successful as possible and I don’t think there are a whole lot of organizations that do that.”

If Beckett and the Sox do reach an agreement, waiting until after Opening Day to announce it would be beneficial to the Sox in assessing the competitive balance tax. In the past, the Sox have announced extensions with players such as Coco Crisp and David Ortiz shortly after the start of the regular season.

Lowell belts two doubles, deal still not likely

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mike Lowell took a few steps toward building his trade value Wednesday, although the impact doesn’t figure to be immediate.

According to multiple sources, the Red Sox and Rangers aren’t close to a deal that would send Lowell to Texas to serve as a back-up for third baseman Michael Young, first baseman Chris Davis, and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero. The main issue continues to be Texas’ reluctance to allocate the kind of money the Red Sox would be looking for the Rangers to absorb out of the $12 million the infielder is scheduled to be paid this season.

Despite the likelihood that nothing is going to get done prior to Opening Day, Texas has shown the most interest of any team in acquiring Lowell.

Lowell did his part in impressing prospective trade partners Wednesday in Sarasota against the Orioles in the Red Sox’ 14-6 win, rifling doubles to left and center field, respectively. He now stands at 5-for-17 (.294), having notched four hits in his last two games. After playing third base against Baltimore, he figures to play first base against the Twins Thursday.

Asked after the game if he is coming to the realization that he is going to be on the Red Sox come Opening Day, Lowell told reporters, “I don’€™t know? Am I. I don’€™t dwell on it, I’€™ll tell you that. But I really don’€™t know. I just don’€™t.”

Other news from Sarasota included:

- Jon Lester turned a solid outing in his final spring training appearance, allowing just one run on three hits over seven innings, walking three and striking out three. He will next pitch Tuesday at Fenway Park against the Yankees. Lester finishes his spring with a 3.12 ERA, having struck out 22 and walked 10 in 26 innings of work.

- Offensively, Victor Martinez led the way with two homers and six RBIs. Kevin Frandsen (grand slam) and Dustin Pedroia (3-for-5, 2 runs) also turned in solid performances.

- Kevin Youkilis fouled a ball off the back of his right knee, but was deemed OK by Sox manager Terry Francona.

- Neither Scott Schoeneweis or Alan Embree distinguished themselves in the battle for one of the bullpen’s final spots. Schoeneweis, pithing the eighth inning, allowed a run, while Embree surrendered a three-run homer on the way to giving up four runs in one inning of work (pushing his spring training ERA to 38.57 in three appearances).

Bonser, Lowrie to start season on D.L.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Red Sox pitcher Boof Bonser and infielder Jed Lowrie were both placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26. Bonser, who missed all of 2009 after undergoing shoulder surgery, landed on the D.L. with a right groin strain that he incurred on March 22 in an outing against the Rays. Lowrie landed on the shelf due to his ongoing recovery from mononucleosis.

Lowrie was already expected to start the year in the minors, so his presence on the disabled list does not significantly impact the team’s major league roster. Bonser’s trip to the D.L., on the other hand, removes him (at least temporarily) from the competition for the Red Sox’ last two bullpen spots. That competition currently features right-handers Scott Atchison and Joe Nelson and left-handers Alan Embree and Scott Schoeneweis. Atchison is the only one of those pitchers with options remaining, suggesting that he would be the easiest to move between the majors and minors if Bonser is expected to be available shortly after the start of the season.

Bonser was 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances (7 innings) this spring. Lowrie was 2-for-9 in nine Grapefruit League plate appearances, and last played on March 11.

Lowell likely to stay with Red Sox

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Despite the fact the Rangers will again have a scout in attendance to watch Mike Lowell at the Red Sox‘ spring training game against the Orioles in Sarasota Wednesday, sources familiar with the situation indicate that any interest Texas may have in acquiring Lowell is tempered by their reluctance to allocate any substantial amount of money to a player who would be filling a reserve role.

Whereas Texas viewed it worth the $3 million and a young player (Max Ramirez) to occupy a designated hitter/first base spot on its roster before the Sox’ infielder failed the Rangers’ physical, the acquisition of Vladimir Guerrero negated that dynamic. What would be left for Lowell if acquired by the Rangers is a back-up role, which would include insurance/mentoring for young first baseman Chris Davis, leading to the Rangers to ask the Red Sox to potentially pick up almost all of the 36-year-old’s $12.5 million this season. According to a source, despite their hesitations, the Rangers still have more interest in Lowell than any of the other 28 teams.

There is also still a desire among teams to get a better look at Lowell, who only has 13 spring training at-bats. One scout said that while he was encouraged by watching Lowell go the other way for two hits Monday (all 3 of his hits have been to right field), there is a desire to see him start turning on and driving balls. The scout also hoped to get a better gauge of Lowell’s effectiveness playing third base, where he has had limited chances thus far in the spring.

Prior to the Red Sox’ game with Tampa Bay Tuesday, Red Sox manager Terry Francona hinted that Lowell wouldn’t begin the season on the disabled list, a possibility the infielder talked about Monday.

‘€œI don’€™t know what they think are quality at-bats. Maybe yes, maybe no. I honestly have no idea. I don’€™t know what they feel is adequate or not. It’€™s the organization’€™s call, not mine,’€ Lowell said. ‘€œTo go to Boston to not play? Same thing, right? If I go it’€™s not like I’€™m going to play right away and if I don’€™t go it’€™s not like I’€™m not going to play right away. I’€™m not playing either way, so it’€™s all up to them.’€

The Rangers did also show interest in Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie before he contracted mononucleosis, and Texas acquired Andres Blanco from the Cubs to become its utility infielder.

Red Sox come to terms with Cuban outfielder

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. — According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox have come to terms with Cuban outfielder Jorge Padron to a minor league contract that will include a signing bonus of $350,000. The signing was first reported by the El Nuevo Herald. The 22-year-old Padron, who left Cuba, following Cuba’s 2009 season.

According to the Web site ScoutingBook.com is “a stocky contact bat who hits from the left side.” The left-handed hitting Padron is reportedly a spray hitter who is tough on right-handed pitching. He had been playing left field for Pinar del Rio, manning the team’s leadoff spot for the 2007-08 seasons.