|Jarrod Saltalamacchia on M&M: ‘I was upset’ about Red Sox’ lack of interest||12.10.13 at 2:30 pm ET|
Former Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning to discuss his offseason negotiations with Boston, his decision to sign with the Marlins, and the reports that he had a falling out with Sox manager John Farrell this offseason.
Despite showing an interest in returning to Boston in 2014, Saltalamacchia ultimately signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Marlins on Dec. 3.
“It’s real tough. You don’t want to just go to different teams, regardless of if its free agency, trades, it doesn’t matter,” Saltalamacchia said. “You don’t want to continue to move around, especially if you’ve got a wife and kids. … I was upset. I was trying to get something done with [Boston] for a couple of years now. I was open to negotiations during the season [and] spring training. It didn’t matter.
“But, they just wanted to wait, and I kind of had no choice but to test the free agent market, and unfortunately I’m not coming back, but I get a chance to go and be with a lot of young, good pitchers that are really just starting to begin their careers, and it’s going to be exciting to be a part of it.”
A sticking point in the negotiations reportedly was the length of the contract, as Boston has shown to be hesitant in signing catchers to long-term deals with prospects such as Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart in the minor leagues.
I was open to two years as well, but obviously, as a player, you want to have that stability,” Saltalamacchia said, adding: “Three years is big. You don’t want to have to go back into the free agent market after two years. … It had something to do with it, but ultimately it was a decision that me and my family had to make.”
There was a report that Saltalamacchia developed a strained relationship with manager John Farrell, who chose to give David Ross more action in the World Series. Saltalamacchia said it’s not true that he had not been in touch with Farrell after the season.
“I don’t think so,” Saltalamacchia said. “He texted me probably two weeks or a week into the offseason. … I don’t feel like we did any less talking than we did during the season or during the offseason last year. I don’t think that’s too accurate.”
A.J. Pierzynski is expected to take over behind the plate for the Red Sox in 2014 after signing a one-year deal last week. Pierzynski, who turns 37 later this month, hit .270 with 17 home runs in 134 games with the Rangers in 2013.
“I respect the heck out of A.J. That’s a guy who, on the other side, you hate him obviously because he’s such a competitor and you’re like, ‘Man, that guy just gets on your nerves or whatever,’ but up until I actually met him for the first time, it’s like a lot of players you watch on the other side, you don’t feel the same way until you meet the guy, and then you’re like, ‘Wow, I was completely wrong,’ and that’s how A.J. is to me,” Saltalamacchia said.
Added Saltalamacchia: “No matter what you say about the guy, he’s out there playing his 130-140 games every year. … The guy goes out there and plays and gives it everything he’s got.”
|John Farrell discusses offseason on Salk & Holley: Red Sox ‘jolted’ by Jacoby Ellsbury deal||12.04.13 at 10:47 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an appearance on WEEI’s Salk & Holley show, acknowledged that Red Sox players were “jolted” by the news of Jacoby Ellsbury‘s seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees, particularly given that word of Ellsbury’s signing came on the same day that the Red Sox elected to sign A.J. Pierzynski, thus opening the door for the departure of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Marlins on Tuesday.
Farrell said that he heard from a number of players — he estimated about a half-dozen — who were curious about the developments.
“Because Jacoby and Salty hit the airwaves that they both signed, it was, OK, are we bringing any guys back? That was part of the question,” said Farrell. “I said, ‘Absolutely, we’re in the works. We’re in the process.’ … That’s where [GM Ben Cherington] is doing the best he can with the two remaining guys, with [Mike Napoli] and [Stephen Drew], we’re going to do anything we can to bring both guys back.”
Farrell touched on a number of offseason topics facing the Sox. To listen to the complete interview, click here. Some highlights:
On learning about Ellsbury’s deal: “I did get a text message last night saying, hey, he’s heading in for a physical, it sounds like it’s done. Then the news broke on the numbers and, my gosh, congratulations to Jacoby. We’ll miss him. He’s a very good player, had a great run here, granted, missed some time because of some serious injuries he went through. But he played through a lot last year for us. The foot breaking. The left thumb that was in a lot of pain towards the end of the year. But you know what? He deserved the right to see what his market was, and obviously it’s a big one.”
On the challenge of replacing Ellsbury: “Losing Jacoby Ellsbury, those players don’t come along very often, evident by the contract he got in New York. … To say how much we’ll miss him will be dependent on what we do with the roster before next spring training — whether we stay internal and look at our overall team, what we’re capable of, that’s probably the answer — not specifically one player compared to Jacoby. … Read the rest of this entry »
|GM Ben Cherington: ‘Market got past’ where Red Sox were comfortable retaining Jacoby Ellsbury||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 »
Johnny Damon appeared on Mut & Merloni on Wednesday and discussed the Yankees’ reported signing of Jacoby Ellsbury while revealing details of his own departure from Boston.
Ellsbury, who won two World Series with the Red Sox, reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $153 million contract with New York on Tuesday night. Damon, after spending four seasons as Boston’s center fielder and claiming a World Series with the Sox, also signed with the Yankees once his Boston contract expired in 2005.
“I respect the way [Ellsbury] plays. I know there were tons of comparisons with me when he came out of college, and there’s plenty of comparisons now, too,” Damon said. “I know he’s a good kid, he needs to stay healthy, I think he will do great in New York.
“I’m sure if Boston wanted to do six, seven years, he probably would have stayed. But Boston’s looking out for themselves. Sometimes when you get burned by certain contracts, like the [Carl] Crawford thing, it scares you some, and rightfully so. Boston is going to continue to make the right decisions.”
Asked about what Ellsbury will go through as he switches sides in the rivalry, Damon said: “I think the toughest thing for Jacoby is going to be going back to Boston, and everything leading up to it. What do you think the fans are going to do — are they going to cheer you or are they going to boo you? He’s going to answer that question so many times, and probably every time he goes back for the next seven years. I think that was the hardest thing.
“Everywhere you go people are Red Sox fans. I’ve been on deserted islands and a Red Sox fan popped up and started telling me how big of a fan they are. Red Sox fans are avid and passionate and it’s incredible. Jacoby’s going to find out how many Red Sox fans are out there now, just telling him how they respected his game, but also, ‘How could you go to the Yankees.’ But seven years, [$]153 [million], that’s a lot of loot.”
After signing with New York before the 2006 season, Damon said he had something to prove when he played against his former team.
“For me, it was about trying to show them that first year,” he said. “I was so upset that I didn’t re-sign with Boston. I bought a house, they told me to buy a house, I did, and then they don’t sign me, and I’m kind of like, ‘Oh, boy, this is not good.’ … This was after the World Series. I talked to Theo [Epstein] and he said I would be there for a long time. Then again, Theo the next year said, ‘You’re having too good of a year. You’re overpricing yourself to keep playing in Boston.’ … And I wasn’t going to take a few pitches looking to get the average down and get the numbers down.
“Unfortunately, I did have a great year. But if I had a worse year they would have just let me go and said he’s done. I had too good of a year, and I ended up going to New York.”
|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 »
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 »
|Report: Red Sox agree to deal with A.J. Pierzynski||at 8:00 am ET|
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has agreed to a deal with the Red Sox, according to a tweet from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
A deal with Pierzynski would appear to end the Red Sox’ relationship with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was not tendered a qualifying offer last month.
Pierzynski, 36, is a 16-year veteran who played for the Rangers last season on a one-year deal, hitting .272/.297/.425 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs in 134 games. He previously spent eight seasons with the White Sox and also has played for the Giants (2004) and Twins (1998-2003).
A lifetime .283/.322/.428 hitter, Pierzynski is known for his durability and outspoken personality, which has been known to get him in trouble with opposing players.
A two-time All-Star (2002, ’06), the lefty-hitting Pierzynski won a World Series in 2005 with the White Sox.
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