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Evan Longoria, Dustin Pedroia and extensions for franchise cornerstones 11.26.12 at 8:07 pm ET
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Evan Longoria said at a press conference announcing his six-year, $100 million extension (which will functionally turn his current contract into a 10-year, $136 million pact with the Rays that runs through 2022) that the free agent market never really enticed him, and that he’s hoping to become the first wire-to-wire member of the Rays in franchise history. He was willing to leave potential money on the table in pursuit of that outcome.

Had he concluded his original contract — signed just days after his big league debut in Tampa Bay — in good health while maintaining his career performance to date, then at age 30, the gifted third baseman might well have commanded a contract for nearly double the $100 million he’s been guaranteed by the Rays. But in order to secure a nine-figure deal a full four years before free agency, and to stay with the only franchise he’s ever known, that was a sacrifice Longoria was prepared to make, and one that, from the team’s vantage point, he had to make. There is, after all, considerable risk for a team in making a commitment that does not start until 2017.

The Sox, of course, have their own homegrown franchise cornerstone in Dustin Pedroia, and like Longoria, he jumped in with both feet to sign up long-term with the Red Sox early in his career. The second baseman, shortly after he was announced as the winner of the 2008 AL MVP, agreed to a six-year, $40.5 million deal that runs through 2014 and includes an $11 million (with a $500,000 buyout) for 2015.

Had he passed on the opportunity to sign a long-term deal, Pedroia would have been a free-agent this offseason. Instead the Sox have him under team control (assuming the option is exercised) for three more years at $31 million — an extraordinary value for the club.

As it currently stands, assuming (again) that the Sox would be inclined to exercise their option (a no-brainer), Pedroia is positioned to reach free agency after his age 31 baseball season (he will turn 32 in August 2015). Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an interview earlier in November on the Dennis & Callahan show, cited Pedroia’s deal as an example of a successful long-term commitment and hinted that the team would like to retain him beyond its current commitment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Breaking down the Buchholz contract terms 04.10.11 at 6:04 pm ET
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Here is the breakdown of the four-year, $29.945 million extension that the Red Sox signed with Clay Buchholz:

Signing bonus: $1 million

2012: $3.5 million
2013: $5.5 million
2014: $7.7 million
2015: $12 million

The 2016 club option is for $13 million (with a buyout of $245,000), while the team option for the 2017 season is for $13.5 million (with a $500,000 buyout). The 2017 option increased to $14 million if Buchholz finishes either first or second in Cy Young voting during the contract.

The signing bonus and buyout of the 2016 option bring the value of the first four years of the deal to a guaranteed $29.945 million.Coupled with the $550,000 that Buchholz is making this season, Buchholz would be guaranteed $30.495 million from 2011 through 2015.

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Source: Gonzalez, Red Sox have framework for seven-year deal 12.06.10 at 1:14 pm ET
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A baseball source confirmed that the Red Sox and newly acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez have agreed to the framework of an extension that will pay the slugger roughly $22 million a year for seven years. The extension, which will likely wait be announced after the start of the season both so the Sox can ensure that Gonzalez’ right shoulder is healthy and so that they can diminish their luxury tax hit, would run from 2012-2018. Gonzalez will play this season for $6.2 million, the option year on a four-year contract he signed with the Padres for the 2007-10 seasons.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was the first to report the seven-year, $154 million framework, which would ultimately result in Gonzalez being paid just over $160 million over eight years in Boston.

Read More: adrian gonzalez, extension, Hot Stove,
Assessing the Likelihood of a Victor Martinez Extension 12.07.09 at 12:04 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS ‘€“ It didn’€™t take long for Victor Martinez to warm to the Red Sox. Yet the fact that he did find Boston so welcoming suggests that, when his contract expires after the 2010 season, he might not be as reluctant as once was the case to test the free-agent waters.

That is not to say that Martinez wouldn’€™t like to extend his tenure in Boston. He said less than a month into his Red Sox career that he hoped to negotiate an extension with the Sox. But Alan Nero, whose Octagon agency represents Martinez, suggests that the catcher is prepared to explore the market if he cannot reach an agreement to return to Boston, in part because of what he went through this summer.

‘€œAs much as he would love to remain with the Red Sox, the concept of having to go through this again is now more palatable. We’€™ll have to see,’€ said Nero. ‘€œIt’€™s going to be entirely on the Red Sox.

‘€œIf he needs to, he’€™ll be a free agent. The trauma of leaving the Cleveland organization, which, for him, he loves his teammates and grew up in that organization, was catastrophic. For him to understand and immediately buy into the Red Sox culture, that’€™s a transition that he never dreamed of having to make. Now, the potential of him having to become a free agent at the end of the year is not scary.’€

The question of an extension for Martinez is not a front-burner one for the Sox at the Winter Meetings. The team is still working to fill out its roster. Once that happens, the team will likely touch base with Martinez later in the offseason to see whether the framework for an extension exists.

If Martinez does reach free agency, of course, he would stand to be in line for a top contract among catchers. While he would fall short of Joe Mauer’s class-unto-himself, he could easily cite deals such as the four-year, $52.4 million deal that Jorge Posada signed as a 36-year-old as a baseline for any negotiations.

Martinez hit .303 with a .381 OBP, .861 OPS, 23 homers and 108 RBIs in 2009. Though he split his time between catching (85 games), first base (70) while setting a career high with 155 games played this year, he averaged 132 games behind the plate with the Indians from 2004-07.

For that reason, and because of a maniacal commitment to fitness, Nero believes that Martinez should not suffer in the face of more playing time behind the plate. The Sox have already announced that Martinez will be the primary starting catcher next year, with Jason Varitek ‘€“ with whom Martinez enjoyed a tremendous working relationship last season ‘€“ relegated to a more limited backup role.

‘€œMy opinion is that Victor, basically all he cares about is contributing. If the manager tells him to go out and shag balls, he’€™s going to do it,’€ said Nero. ‘€œIf he was told they wanted him to play the outfield, the next day we’€™d get a call saying he needed a glove.

‘€œThe bottom line is, he wants to contribute. Whatever they want him to do, he’€™s going to do. He’€™s an amazing, amazing player that’€™s a team guy. He understands it. He gets it.’€

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What’s going to happen to Beckett? 11.04.09 at 11:57 am ET
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Josh Beckett is signed for $12.1 million for the 2010 season (thanks to his option vesting after making 28 starts in ’09). Beckett and his agent, Michael Moye, are going to sit down with Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein in the coming weeks, with Beckett telling WEEI.com Tuesday night, “We’re just letting things die down a little bit.”

This we know.

Heck, we knew this back in February when the Sox’ pitcher identified such a get-together as a priority, saying in the first few days of spring training: ‘€œAt the end of the year hopefully we’€™ll sit down and maybe have a talk with (Red Sox general manager) Theo (Epstein), me and my agent (Michael Moye) and see what they’€™re thinking about. … I want to see where they’€™re going, if I’€™m even in their plans. If I’€™m not it was an awesome run. I really haven’€™t sat down and thought about it too much, but at the end of the year we will sit down and at least have a talk. Even if nothing comes of it, just to say, ‘€˜Are we in the plans? Are we looking to get younger?’€™ It’€™s really up to them. I would like to stay here. I love playing in Boston. I can’€™t imagine another organization that would go so far out of the way to make my job as easy as possible. They realize our jobs are very demanding and very hard, and they do everything they can.’€

After that nobody knows what’s going to happen, but whatever transpires, it might just define what the Red Sox will have to prioritize in the very near future.

One of the most important — yet also perhaps most under-publicized — aspects of the coming offseason is just starting to gain some steam. Take, for instance, the first comments from Epstein on the matter at hand:

‘€œIt’€™s been really fun for us to watch him mature on and off the field during his time in Boston,’€ Epstein said. ‘€œHe’€™s put himself in a position to be valued very highly by us. He’€™s someone we’€™d obviously like to have to be a part of our future. Those things have a way of taking care of themselves. ‘€¦ We’€™ll see what happens.’€

Nobody — not Beckett, or the Red Sox — can have any idea of what lies ahead, which makes the big picture of the Sox a bit blurry.

This is what you should know heading into the conversations:

THIS IS HIS BIG CHANCE: Beckett isn’t likely to take a hometown discount. He happily signed his extension in 2006, despite the fact that many surmised he lost out on as much as $60 million by not becoming a free agent after ’07 (assuming he was in line to make Johan Santana money following the ’07 playoff run). As he pointed out throughout the last few seasons, he will have made $50 million by the time he’s 30, and that’s OK by him. But the deal was also made palatable by the fact that he knew if his performance stayed fairly consistent, there was another big contract waiting around the corner.

That corner is getting really close.

By the time next offseason rolls around, Beckett will be 30, which is under the Mendoza Line when it comes to the age at which teams are more willing to roll out the five-year plan for free-agent starting pitchers.

“We’ll see,” was Beckett’s line when asked about the scenario that lies ahead, talking with a bit of a smile. Leading up to his last deal, there were few grins. His ERA was hovering above 5.00 heading into July and he was coming off an offseason during which he was told there was going to be some issues in getting his right shoulder insured. The Red Sox were approaching the pitcher at the right time. Now, Beckett has some chips on his side.

ABOUT THE HEALTH CONCERNS: Some will say that Beckett’s health should be a concern for any team diving into a long-term deal with the Texas native. Over the past few years, he has had various physical issues (oblique, back, elbow) that have popped up at inopportune times.

Heading into his tenure with the Red Sox, his current club had similar doubts. The MRI on Beckett’s right shoulder wasn’t good (five years earlier, a doctor wanted him to have labrum surgery before Dr. James Andrews convinced him it wasn’t necessary), and there were those concerns raised over the potential insurance risks.

Since then, however, Beckett has gotten insured (after taking an MRI following the 2007 season), while committing himself to an in-season training regimen that not only has kept his shoulder strong but has served as an example for the young pitchers in the Sox’ organization.

The various physical issues that have occurred in his tenure with the Red Sox will be some of the things that make this far from a cut-and-dried negotiation, but with 792 innings under his belt since the beginning of ’06 (17th-best in the majors) to go along with his 65 wins (third-most), he has seemingly shown enough for some team to be willing to go down the four- (or maybe even five-) year road. A.J. Burnett, after all, wasn’t really known as the most durable of pitchers when he signed a five-year deal with the Yankees last offseason, or with the Blue Jays (with an opt-out after three years) following the 2005 campaign.

FROM THE RED SOX’ PERSPECTIVE: If Beckett did become a free agent after ’07, the Sox might have been in trouble considering the amount of years and dollars the pitcher would have commanded. The question now is: How many years are the Sox willing to go this time around?

One thing that plays in Beckett’s favor is the role he has taken on as a staff leader (while sharing the ace role with Jon Lester). The Sox point to the starter when identifying what type of commitment it takes to be successful between starts, and how to approach the job as a whole. Ironically, this is one of the major drawing cards when entertaining the notion of committing to any sort of long-term deal with Roy Halladay, a pitcher three years older than Beckett.

But what if the Red Sox aren’t willing to go to the lengths of another team, or to the level of Beckett’s liking? Then this is where the conversations in the coming weeks might translate into how the Sox’ approach this offseason. If there is a hint that Beckett is going to be a difficult signing, than securing the likes of a Felix Hernandez or Halladay (who, right now, appears to be locked into Toronto with the Blue Jays holding onto the ace for the time being) becomes a priority.

And if Hernandez, Halladay, or another sure-fire, top-of-the-rotation pitcher becomes the be-all, end-all, then where does it leave the Sox in regard to having the chips to trade for a much-needed bat? As hesitant as the Red Sox are to dip their toes in the free agent market, it might become a necessary route if for no other reason as the need to hold on to some of their high-end minor leaguers.

They are scenarios that make you realize how important the signing of Lester was, as well as Beckett’ initial extension, and, whether you want to admit it or not, the long-term commitment to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who at least has the potential for top-of-the-rotation residency.

So while these initial talks might not yield any sort of tangible progress, any hints they could deliver could go a long way in helping the Red Sox’ plan of attack heading into the next few months.

Read More: Contract, extension, Josh Beckett, michael moye
Bay, Red Sox ‘table’ extension discussions 03.15.09 at 10:41 am ET
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Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said that, after substantive conversations with outfielder Jason Bay (and his representatives) about the possibility of a contract extension this spring, the two sides have concluded that an agreement is not possible at this time. The Sox and Bay will disengage from discussions for the rest of the spring, though the two sides remain open to resuming conversations over the course of the season.

The reason for the inability to come to an agreement was a dramatically changing market for the services of power-hitting corner outfielders. This offseason, that market seemed to collapse, with players such as Pat Burrell (two years, $16 million), Adam Dunn (two years, $20 million) and Bobby Abreu (one year, $5 million) all getting much less than the market would have suggested in past offseasons.

Bay is entering the final year of a four-year, $18.25 million deal he signed with the Pirates before the 2006 season. He is due to receive $7.5 million for the coming year.

Bay, a career, .282 hitter with a .375 OBP and .516 OBP, performed almost exactly to those numbers with the Red Sox after being traded to Boston last July 31. The 30-year-old hit .293/.370/.527 with the Sox during the regular season, then hit .341/.471/.634 in the playoffs.

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