|GM Ben Cherington: ‘Market got past’ where Red Sox were comfortable retaining Jacoby Ellsbury||12.04.13 at 4:52 pm ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington suggested that, while the Red Sox “would have loved” to retain Jacoby Ellsbury through free agency, the asking price ultimately reached a point where the team wasn’t comfortable doing so. He suggested that the fact that the center fielder — whom the Sox selected in the first round of the 2005 draft — ended up with the Yankees was not a huge surprise.
“There has been a bunch of dialogue with Jacoby or more specifically with [Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras] really since the season ended and the players left town. I met with Jacoby before he left Boston. Since then, I’ve been talking more to Scott. When you get into free agency with a player of Jacoby’s caliber, you know going in that there’s probably a handful of spots that he can end up. Certainly New York is always going to be one of those potential spots.
“It’s not altogether surprising that’s where it ended up. We wish Jacoby well. He was obviously a really good player here during the time he was in Boston. He was a big part of two World Series teams. We would have loved to keep him. But we felt like there was an area, a range we were willing to go to and the market just got past that. So we wish him well and will continue to work on our offseason plans as we try to build the best team we can for next year.”
Cherington suggested that the Sox have not yet identified how they will go about replacing Ellsbury. He spoke highly of prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. as one possible option to replace Ellsbury in center, but suggested that the team will continue to explore other options this offseason. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped out at two years, around $18 million||12.04.13 at 12:22 am ET|
According to multiple industry sources familiar with the talks, the Red Sox have been determined this offseason to limit offers to any free agent catchers to two years in order to avoid blocking the path to the majors of prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart. The team’s conversations with free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia reflected that approach, with one industry source suggesting that the Sox and the catcher talked about structuring a two-year deal that featured incentives that would allow it to top out around $18 million.
Such a deal could have offered the 28-year-old a higher average annual value than the three-year, $21 million deal to which he ended up agreeing with the Marlins, but for Saltalamacchia, the desire for a three-year deal was absolute. Had the Sox offered the same three-year, $21 million guarantee that Miami ultimately presented, there would have been a strong chance that Saltalamacchia would have accepted in order to return to Boston. But the Sox never considered moving to that length.
Ultimately, that proved a deal-breaker — just as it had with Carlos Ruiz earlier in the offseason. While the Sox had been willing to go beyond two years with Brian McCann (before he signed his five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees), he represented a different degree of flexibility given that the team viewed him as having the offense to emerge as a future DH or first baseman by the third year of a deal. Saltalamacchia and Ruiz being pursued solely as a catcher, thus creating the possibility of a bottleneck for Vazquez and/or Swihart.
Hence, the Sox felt that their best course — with McCann and Ruiz off the market and no common ground for Saltalamacchia — was to sign A.J. Pierzynski for one year at $8.25 million, a contract that will permit the team the greatest degree of flexibility entering 2015.
|Source: Red Sox not interested in Carlos Beltran at three years||12.03.13 at 11:10 pm ET|
According to an industry source, while the Red Sox have been engaged in talks with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team is unlikely to pursue a three-year deal for the 36-year-old.
As a switch-hitting corner outfielder who hit .296/.339/.491 in 145 games for the Cardinals in 2013, Beltran represents one of the best hitters on the market and someone whose ability to play either outfield corner would permit the Sox potential depth and roster flexibility. Moreover, he’s in line for fewer years than most of the other prominent free agents on the market. However, given that the eight-time All-Star (who has played on the All-Star team in each of the last two years with St. Louis) has a reported three-year, $48 million offer in hand (an offer reported by Buster Olney of ESPN.com), the Sox appear unlikely to set the market for his services.
|Sources: Jarrod Saltalamacchia signs with Marlins for three years, $21 million||12.03.13 at 7:13 pm ET|
According to industry sources, free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with the Marlins, pending a physical. The 28-year-old switch-hitter is coming off a career-best season, hitting .273 with a .338 OBP and .466 slugging mark, 14 homers and 40 doubles (most ever by a Sox catcher) in 121 games.
Saltalamacchia’s agreement comes on the same day that the Red Sox reached agreement with catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year, $8.25 million deal to serve as Saltalamacchia’s replacement. Pierzynski, 36, hit .272 with a .297 OBP, .425 slugging mark, 17 homers and 24 doubles (as well as one triple) in 134 games with the Rangers this year.
The Red Sox proved unwilling to go beyond two years in talks with Saltalamacchia, and ultimately preferred to go with an older catcher in Pierzynski (even if one coming off a down year in 2013) in order to maximize their options beyond the 2014 season, as the team has highly regarded Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart in the upper levels as potential big league frontline catchers, with Vazquez having a likely big league ETA of next season. While the team valued Saltalamacchia’s significant contributions in 2013 — particularly the impact he made as a game-changing force against right-handed pitching — they wanted to avoid obstructing the path of their prospects.
For Saltalamacchia, the deal with the Marlins represents an opportunity to play close to home. Saltalamacchia went to Royal Palm Beach High School, and he lives in driving distance of both Miami’s spring training facility in Jupiter (he would often drive to Jupiter from Fort Myers the night before Red Sox spring training games against the Marlins and their spring training co-habitants, the Cardinals) and the Marlins ballpark in downtown Miami.
The multi-year deal — the first of Saltalamacchia’s career — represents a significant milestone for a player whose future was in question when he was traded from the Rangers to the Red Sox at the July 31 deadline in 2010. But with the Sox over the last three years, he emerged as the team’s primary catcher, a streaky but at times formidable offensive presence in the bottom half of the lineup who represented an important part of the team’s clubhouse culture, and who was a key part of the Sox’ 2013 title run until his postseason struggles opened the door for teammate David Ross to serve as the catcher for the final three games of the World Series.
|Ryan Kalish suggests he’s open to Red Sox return after being non-tendered||12.03.13 at 12:46 pm ET|
Outfielder Ryan Kalish, who on Monday became a free agent after the Red Sox declined to tender him a contract in order to free a spot on their 40-man roster, said on Monday night that he felt only gratitude towards the organization that drafted him in 2006 and with whom he’d spent his entire professional career. While Kalish said that he didn’t know what to expect from free agency, he suggested that he would keep an open mind regarding the Red Sox.
“I’m not sure where this will go, but the Red Sox mean a lot to me,” said Kalish. “That’s not something that I’m going to take lightly.”
Kalish said that he is feeling better now — almost four months removed from a second surgical procedure on his neck — than he has in years, and he remains optimistic that he can reclaim the promise that he showed when he was last healthy in the big leagues as a 22-year-old in 2010. Regardless of whether his next move is a minor league deal or a big league contract, the 25-year-old sees reason for enthusiasm about the possibilities in front of him.
“I’m just ready to go out there and play — whether it’s in the major leagues right away or if it’s in Double-A. I don’t care. I don’t care at all. I’m just ready to compete again, I’m ready to play, and I think it’s there, man. I really do,” said Kalish. “I’m just kind of excited to see where this goes,” he added. “I’m feeling myself come back from that frail, fragile person that I felt I was. Right now, I’m getting the athleticism back. I was just with my family and we were playing tennis and just having a good time together. It’s starting to come back and I’m really excited to try and get out there and improve my health wherever that may be.”
For more from Kalish, click here.
|Buy high or buy low? A.J. Pierzynski vs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia||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 »
|Sources: Red Sox agree to one-year deal with A.J. Pierzynski||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 »
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