Archive for November, 2010

Red Sox announce spring training schedule

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Red Sox announced their spring training schedule on Tuesday. Seventeen of the 36 games will be played at City of Palms Park.

Their spring play will begin with games against Boston College and Northeastern University on Saturday, Feb. 26. The Grapefruit League schedule will begin with a game against the Twins at Hammond Stadium on Feb. 27. The two teams will play the following day at City of Palms Park, with the Mayor’s Cup rivals playing five games total against one another throughout the spring.

The Yankees will play two games against the Sox, the first of which will be played on March 4. The Red Sox will play four games against the Rays and Orioles and will play two vs. the Blue Jays.

The Sox will play the Mets on St. Patrick’s Day at 1:05 p.m. Tickets for spring training games will go on sale on Saturday, Jan. 8. The team has sold out every Grapefruit League game at City of Palms Park since March 16, 2003.

Felipe Lopez declines arbitration offer

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

According to a baseball source, free agent Felipe Lopez declined the Red Sox‘ offer of salary arbitration. The Type B free agent, who was signed by the Sox in the final days of the season after being released by the Cardinals in September, will instead pursue a contract on the open market. Presuming that he does not re-sign with the Sox, Boston will get a compensatory draft pick in the sandwich round when he departs — a key reason that the Sox wanted to sign him at the end of the season.

Lopez hit .231 with a .651 OPS in 109 games with the Cardinals before getting released for what the team deemed unacceptable behavior. He was claimed on release waivers by the Padres, but declined the claim to become a free agent, allowing him to sign a deal with Boston. He appeared in four games for the Sox, hitting .267 with a .779 OPS. The 10-year veteran is a career .266 hitter with a .731 OPS. He signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Cardinals last season.

Lopez was one of three Red Sox players who was offered arbitration. Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre, both Type A free agents, also received arbitration offers. Martinez signed with the Tigers, meaning that the Sox will get one of Detroit’s draft picks (unless they sign Jayson Werth, their first-round pick, No. 19 overall) as well as a sandwich pick. Should Beltre elect to sign with another club, he would also entitle the Sox to a pair of compensatory draft picks.

The Sox have acquired a number of key players — including Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Anthony Ranaudo — through the years via compensatory draft picks. For a full list of such players acquired under GM Theo Epstein, click here.

Report: Rockies to let Manny Delcarmen go

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Rockies had long liked Manny Delcarmen, and the idea of acquiring the reliever from the Red Sox had long been of interest. But when they finally did acquire the right-hander, grabbing him in exchange for Single-A right-hander Chris Balcom-Miller on Aug. 31, the results proved disappointing.

Acquired to solidify the Colorado bullpen in the pennant stretch, Delcarmen instead contributed to its struggles. After posting a 4.70 ERA for the Sox while walking nearly as many (28) as he struck out (32), the right-hander had a 6.48 ERA in nine appearances for the Rockies while permitting nearly two base runners per inning.

That, in turn, reportedly has the Rockies ready to part ways with the right-hander. According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via twitter), the Rockies are expected to decline to tender Manny Delcarmen an offer of salary arbitration for the 2011 season. If non-tendered, Delcarmen would become a free agent, able to negotiate with any team.

Renck described Delcarmen as an “interesting experiment that didn’t work out” for the Rockies. In parts of six big league seasons, Delcarmen has a 3.97 ERA and 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings. The Sox took him in the second round of the 2000 draft.

While the Rockies appear ready to walk away from Delcarmen, the Sox have received positive initial returns from Balcom-Miller. The right-hander was 7-7 with a 3.30 ERA in the Single-A South Atlantic League this year, and in two pro seasons, he has a 2.73 ERA and a ridiculous 180-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Nuggetpalooza’s Red Sox Review: Kevin Youkilis

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Nuggetpalooza is kicking off the reviews of the 2010 Red Sox players by taking a look at one of the two critical players who was lost to injury during the season, crippling the team’s postseason hopes: Kevin Youkilis. The numbers in here tell me that Youkilis is a superstar who performs at an All-Star level so consistently that he’s in danger of being taken for granted.

Here’s his “Nuggetpalooza Player Card” for 2010:


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* – Kevin Youkilis posted a career high OPS of .975 in 2010.  In fact, his OPS has increased in every season of his career (six consecutive seasons of increases).  Only seven other players in baseball history have increased their OPS in six straight seasons:

Red Schoendienst (1948-1953)
Kelly Gruber (1985-1990)
Joey Cora (1992-1997)
Todd Hundley (1992-1997)
Cliff Floyd (1996-2001)
Jason Giambi (1996-2001)
David Ortiz (2002-2007)

Only Gruber increased his OPS in the six seasons immediately following his first year (as Youkilis has). No player has done it in seven straight seasons.

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* – Youkilis’ 435 plate appearances in 2010 were his fewest in a season since 2005.

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* – Youkilis’ career 4.31 pitches per plate appearance ranks third highest since they began tracking the stat back in 1988 (min. 2,500 plate appearances):

4.47 – Jayson Werth
4.36 – Rickey Henderson
4.31 – Kevin Youkilis
4.30 – Mickey Tettleton

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* – “Youk” not only led the major leagues in batting average against lefties last season (.404; minimum 100 plate appearances against LHP), but he had the highest such average (.404), OBP (.513), slugging percentage (.798) and OPS (1.311) by any Red Sox player in a season since they began tracking the stat in 1974.

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* – Prior to getting injured, Youkilis reached base in 10 of his final 13 plate appearances against lefties.

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* – The Red Sox were just the fifth AL team since 1974 to have multiple players with an OPS over 1.100 against lefties (min. 100 such PA):

1994 White SoxFrank Thomas, Julio Franco
1996 Athletics – Mark McGwire, Scott Brosius
1996 Mariners – Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey, Jr.
2000 Mariners – Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez
2010 Red Sox – Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez

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* – Youkilis is the AL career leader in OPS during the month of May (since 1950; minimum 500 May plate appearances):

1.038 – Kevin Youkilis
1.025 – Mickey Mantle
1.006 – Mo Vaughn
.998 – Frank Thomas
.997 – Jim Gentile

His 2010 May OPS (1.204) was the fourth best by a Red Sox since 1950 (same minimum):

1.300 – Mo Vaughn (1996)
1.278 – Ted Williams (1957)
1.214 – Wade Boggs (1986)
1.204 – Kevin Youkilis (2010)

Note that he is the only right-handed hitter on that list.

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* – Youkilis put the ball in play 13 times following 3-and-0 counts last season and collected six hits… and all six went for extra bases.  He’s just the third player since 1988 to get six or more hits following 3-and-0 counts in a season and have all go for extra bags:

Rafael Palmeiro (1999 Rangers)
Miguel Tejada (2001 Athletics)
Kevin Youkilis (2010 Red Sox)

All three had exactly six such hits.

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* – Youkilis hit a career low .258 with runners in scoring position last season, dropping his career average in that category from .344 to .333.  He now stands third in Red Sox history (since 1974; minimum 500 such PA):

.347 – Wade Boggs
.335 – Manny Ramirez
.333 – Kevin Youkilis
.326 – Nomar Garciaparra
.325 – Fred Lynn

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* – Youkilis’ .950 OPS against “star” pitchers (see definition on player card above) ranked second in the AL last season (min. 80 such PA):

1.102 – Miguel Cabrera, DET
.950 – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
.922 – Jim Thome, MIN
.913 – Nick Swisher, NYY

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* – Youkilis put up an OPS of 1.573 after getting ahead 2-and-0 last season, third best in the majors (min. 50 such PA):

1.711 – Joey Votto, CIN
1.615 – Jose Bautista, TOR
1.573 – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
1.514 – Luke Scott, BAL
1.495 – Curtis Granderson, NYY

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* – Youkilis hit a career high .274 on groundballs last season.  Grounders made up 37.0 percent of his batted balls, also a career high.

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* – Youkilis’ swinging strike percentage (4.9 percent) was a career low and was the third lowest last season among the 120 players who hit 15 or more home runs:

3.1% – Victor Martinez, BOS
3.9% – Martin Prado, ATL
4.9% – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
5.4% – Bobby Abreu, LAA
5.5% – Chase Utley, PHI

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* – After creating +2.28 runs above average per 100 fastballs in 2008 and +2.49 in 2009, Youkilis’ created a career high +2.50 per 100 heaters in 2010, ranked seventh in the AL. Chicago’s Paul Konerko led the league at +3.45 (min. 300 plate appearances).

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* – Here’s some context on Youkilis’ RBI averages from his player card above:

Youkilis’ .282 RBI average (62 RBI divided by the 220 runners on base when he batted) ranked 19th out of 195 players who batted with at least 200 runners on last season.  Here are the top three:

.432 – Jose Bautista, TOR
.359 – Carlos Gonzalez, COL
.351 – Joey Votto, CIN

Youk’s .549 RBI average with RISP ranked 18th out of 217 players who batted with at least 100 runners in scoring position.

Again, the top three:

.799 – Jose Bautista, TOR
.686 – Adrian Gonzalez, SD
.671 – Joey Votto, Cin

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As always, I’d love your feedback.  Leave a comment here, email me (gmarbry@weei.com), or tweet me at @nuggetpalooza.

Check back often for more Red Sox Reviews as we count down the days to spring training and the 2011 baseball season!

Source: Red Sox show interest in reliever Matt Guerrier

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

According to a major league source, the Red Sox have shown interest in free agent relief pitcher Matt Guerrier. The right-hander, who has spent his entire seven-season major league career with the Twins, went 5-7 with a 3.17 ERA in 74 games with Minnesota in 2010. In the previous two seasons he led the American League in appearances with 76 and 79, respectively.

The 32-year-old had been classified as a ‘Type A’ free agent, but the Twins failed to offer him arbitration thereby not costing any team that would sign the righty a draft pick. Primarily a ground-ball pitcher, Guerrier’s best pitch is a slider, which helped limit right-handed batters to a .210 batting average in ’10. He also walked just 22 in 71 innings last season.

Guerrier made $3.15 million in ’10.

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Red Sox bid on Tsuyoshi Nishioka falls short

Friday, November 26th, 2010

According to a baseball source, the Red Sox placed a posting bid for Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the mid-$2 million range. However, the Sox were outbid by the Twins, who won the right to negotiate with the 26-year-old switch-hitter with a bid that was described by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune as $5 million and that Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com suggested (via Twitter) was “about $5.3 million.

The Twins’ bid will entitle them to have exclusive negotiating rights to Nishioka for 30 days. If they reach a contract agreement with the Japanese star, they will pay the Chiba Lotte Marines the posting fee that they bid. If they fail to reach an agreement with him, the Twins will owe the Marines nothing.

Nishioka hit .346 with a .423 OBP, .905 OPS, 206 hits and 121 runs for Chiba Lotte in 2010.

Tigers announce Victor Martinez signing, say he will serve chiefly as DH

Friday, November 26th, 2010

The Tigers made their signing of Victor Martinez to a four-year, $50 million deal official in a press release on Friday, with Detroit President, CEO and GM Dave Dombrowski heralding the arrival of “a premier hitter” who will slot into the middle of their lineup.

Interestingly, given the degree to which Martinez’ value is tied to his position, the Tigers have already stated that Martinez will serve primarily as a DH who also catches two to three times a week. From the release:

“We expect Victor to be in our lineup on a daily basis, serving primarily as our club’s designated hitter and catching two to three times a week,” Dombrowski said. “He also has the ability to fill in at first base and his versatility allows us to keep a premier bat in our lineup every day. We’ve discussed this role with Victor and both sides are very pleased with what he brings to the Tigers organization.”

Martinez’ ability to play different roles certainly possesses value. Indeed, it was part of what made him such an appealing and impactful acquisition for the Sox in 2009.

Still, if he is to serve primarily as their DH, he becomes a less valuable asset than he would as an everyday catcher. Finding a designated hitter who can add middle-of-the-order production — hello, Vladimir Guerrero — is a less daunting task than identifying a catcher who can do so. That is part of the reason why David Ortiz is viewed as being overpaid for the 2011 season, when he will be playing on a $12.5 million option. Certainly, Martinez retains some added value over a DH in his part-time catching role, but it is not quite as much value as was the case in 2010, when he was the Sox’ everyday catcher.

How the Tigers can ruin the Red Sox’ winter (and other leftover Victor Martinez thoughts)

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

For the Red Sox, there was a silver lining to the fact that the Detroit Tigers signed Victor Martinez to a four-year, $50 million deal. Because the switch-hitting catcher was a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration, the Sox stand to receive a pair of draft picks for his departure, both the Tigers’ top pick and a sandwich pick.

The Tigers actually have the highest unprotected pick in the draft at No. 19 overall. The teams with the worst 15 records in the game cannot forfeit their first-round pick if they sign a Type A free agent; it is only the teams in the upper half who can lose their first rounder. The Tigers, who finished the year with an 81-81 record, were the worst team without a protected pick. Because three teams did not sign their first-rounders, Detroit was positioned to draft in the No. 19 spot in the draft. Now, that pick would appear likely to go to the Sox.

But that is not a certainty. The Tigers could truly play the part of offseason spoilers for the Sox if they elected to sign a free agent outfielder like Jayson Werth. (The Detroit Free Press reports that Detroit may pursue either Werth or Crawford, depending on how much owner Mike Ilitch wants to spend.) Werth (as well as shortstop Derek Jeter, closers Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera and starter Cliff Lee) is rated ahead of Martinez in the Elias Player Rankings used to determine what kind of compensation (Type A, Type B, or none) a player will net if signed as a free agent. If the Tigers signed one of those free agents, then their top pick would go to another club (the Phillies for Werth), while the Sox would get Detroit’s second-round pick, roughly 50 picks later in the draft.

So, if the Tigers were to sign Werth, they would not only be grabbing a player who might hold significant interest for the Sox — a player who arguably rates as the best right-handed hitter on the market, and an excellent defensive outfielder to boot — but also they would be tarnishing the one silver lining for the Sox of Martinez’ decision to head for greener backs (and pastures). (more…)

Sox hire former Diamondbacks scouting director

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The Red Sox have hired former Diamondbacks director of amateur scouting Tom Allison to be a regional cross-checker. He will cover Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Allison became the director of amateur scouting for Arizona in 2007. He oversaw four drafts for the Diamondbacks. (For a look at his draft record, click here.) He was dismissed by new Arizona GM Kevin Towers in early October.

Before becoming the D-backs director of amateur scouting, Allison was a regional cross-checker for the Brewers under Jack Zduriencik (now Seattle’s GM). He also spent 10 years with the Mets as a player, coach, area scout and assistant scouting supervisor.

For an interesting look at Allison, check out David Laurila’s interview in Baseball Prospectus.

Red Sox claim OF Jordan Parraz on waivers from Royals

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The Red Sox announced that they have claimed outfielder Jordan Parraz on waivers from the Kansas City Royals. As a 25-year old (Parraz turned 26 in Oct.), he hit .266/.350/.410/.760 with 11 homers and 61 RBI in 123 games for Triple-A Omaha. He played right field in 114 of his 123 games last year, serving as the designated hitter in the other contests.

The 2004 third-round pick by the Houston Astros has hit .289 with an .814 OPS and 54 homers in seven minor league seasons. He is currently playing winter ball in Venezuela.