|Ben Cherington on D&C: In-season contract talks with Jacoby Ellsbury unlikely||05.23.13 at 9:52 am ET|
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, said that the Red Sox have talked at various points with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury about the possibility of something other than a one-year deal. However, each time, the team and player elected to agree to a one-year contract that avoided an arbitration hearing but that kept Ellsbury moving on a path towards free agency after the 2013 season. And now, in a season where Ellsbury has shown some recently promising offensive signs (reaching base in six of his last seven plate appearances) but has mostly struggled en route to a .249/.318/.340 line, Cherington suggested that the Sox expect that the team will not engage in contract talks with the 29-year-old until after the season.
“Because Ellsbury has gone through arbitration the last three years, there’s been an opportunity to talk to [agent Scott Boras] and Jacoby each of those years in the winter before spring training or early in spring training about his status. And each of those years we’ve signed a one-year deal and settled his arb case before it went to a hearing.
But during those talks, you talk about a lot of things. You talk about other options, other contract options, other sorts of scenarios,” said Cherington. “We’ve had those conversations. It’s just, in this case, we agreed before the season that we would defer it until the end of the season. That’s our expectation right now. You never say never. Things can change. But our expectation is we pick up the conversation after the season.”
As far as Ellsbury’s struggles, the GM suggested that there is reason to believe that the center fielder is in line for a turnaround.
“It’s a combination of things, and some of this is speculation, but we’ve seen a lot of lefties already early in the year. … He’s been a little bit unlucky on balls in play — hit some balls right at people,” said Cherington. “There’s nothing really alarmingly different in the underlying numbers — the strikeout percentage and the swing-and-miss rate. He’s still compact. He’s still doing a lot of things that he’s always done well. He’s healthy, the bat speed is there, the tools are there — he just looks to me like a guy who’s going to get hot at some point and we’ll stop talking about it. By far, the best outcome for all of us is for Jacoby to feel good, be productive in the leadoff spot. That helps him, helps us win games and I still think that’s going to happen.”
Whereas Ellsbury’s track record — and the similarities between the aforementioned underlying fundamentals this year and in previous seasons — gives the Sox optimism, the struggles of Will Middlebrooks — hitting .203/.236/.413 this year — are different. He doesn’t have the same established big league track record spanning multiple seasons, and he’s enduring a spike in his strikeout and swing-and-miss rate.
Still, Cherington expressed optimism that the 24-year-old will work his way through an early-career player development struggle to become a steady, meaningful contributor. Read the rest of this entry »
|Source: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox haven’t talked contract extension||05.21.13 at 8:45 pm ET|
CHICAGO – According to a major league source, the Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, have not engaged in talks regarding a possible extension for the outfielder. Ellsbury will be eligible to become a free agent at the conclusion of this season.
Prior to the Red Sox’ game with the White Sox Tuesday night, manager John Farrell didn’t suggest anxiety regarding the uncertain contract status was the cause of the outfielder’s struggles, but he said it could be somewhat of a factor.
“To say that’s the sole reason, no,” said Farrell of Ellsbury, who entered Tuesday hitting .241 with one home run and a .303 on-base percentage. “I wouldn’t say that’s the issue of what he’s dealing with right now. Also, know that he’s human and he understands where he’s at in his career and what’s ahead of him.
“The point that we continually try to make is that the routine of today is the most important point, and that’s the focal point, so what’s going to take place throughout the remainder of the season and into the offseason — time will indicate that and that will be addressed at the appropriate time. I can’t say that pending free agency has caused him to have the inconsistencies at the plate.”
Ellsbury signed a one-year, $9 million contract in the offseason in what was his last year of arbitration-eligibility. He is one of five Red Sox players — joining Joel Hanrahan, Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalmacchia and Mike Napoli — who will be eligible for free agency at the end of the ’13 season.
Appearing on WEEI in July 2011, then-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said the team had previously approached Boras about a possible extension.
“It is not a secret that we have sat down and tried in the past and tried to lock Jacoby up in the past, and we will sit down in the future and try and do it again at the appropriate time,” Epstein said at the time. “He is somebody that we have believed in as a core, young member in the organization that we look to keep around. We have certain organizational standards that have to be met, and we have worked hard to keep those standards with [Dustin] Pedroia and [Kevin] Youkilis and [Jon] Lester. … So we’d love to one day announce that Jacoby will be with this organization for a long time and this
Last season, Boras told WEEI.com that he hadn’t participated in any talks with the Red Sox regarding a long-term deal for Ellsbury.
“We’ve only had the traditional discussions of one-year contracts,” Boras during a July 20 interview. “Ben [Cherington] and I will certainly begin contract discussions at year’s end because we have to. We have at minimum a one-year contract to discuss. We’re going to play through the season. Ben’s operating his team and I’m signing draft picks, operating my team.”
Farrell also said prior to Tuesday night’s game that he had contemplated moving Ellsbury down in the batting order but was choosing to offer the lefty hitter a vote of confidence for the time being.
“Have considered it, yes,” said Farrell, who also revealed that the health of Shane Victorino weighed into making a move. “And we’re sticking with him to hopefully give him the opportunity to come out of the situation he’s in right now. But I can say this: Whether he’s hitting first or whether he’s hitting somewhere else in the lineup, there are still things we have to address and he has to address. Those are ongoing.”
|Buster Olney on M&M: Jackie Bradley Jr. could be ‘difference-maker’||04.03.13 at 12:58 pm ET|
ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox and other news from around the majors.
Olney said Jackie Bradley‘s ability to be patient at the plate and not give in to overeagerness is a sign of maturity that bodes well for the future.
“When you’re drawing walks in spring training games as opposed to being a young hitter who’s anxious and fired up, that says a lot about your personality,” Olney said. “If you’re drawing three walks on Opening Day, in your first game in the big leagues and you’re taking pitches off the edges …”
Added Olney: “I was thinking about John Havlicek. When they would take him out of the games when he played for the Celtics, they would check his heart rate sometimes and it would be about 40, which separated him from just about everybody else who played. That seems like what Jackie Bradley Jr. has, where it’s that absolute calm and understanding. And if that continues and there’s not some gaping hole, then you’re talking about a player who’s a difference-maker, and you’re talking about for the year an outfield that’s difference-making.”
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano left agent Scott Boras this week for Jay-Z‘s firm. Jacoby Ellsbury, like Cano a free agent after this season, is represented by Boras. Much to Red Sox fans’ chagrin, it appears he isn’t planning to make a switch.
“I haven’t heard any rumblings that he’s unhappy, and I can tell you that the perception of Jacoby among other players is that he’s strongly tied to Scott,” Olney said. “And if that’s the case, then he will play out his option and he probably is going to be a guy who’s out on the market for a long time this winter because Scott will play it out. He wants to have those guys on the market to use for leverage. That’s why I think there’s little to no chance that he re-signs with the Red Sox.”
|Dustin Pedroia discusses Bobby Valentine, says he’s not switching agencies||11.06.12 at 4:40 pm ET|
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said on Tuesday’s The Big Show that he regrets the way he criticized then-manager Bobby Valentine early last season over Valentine’s comments about struggling infielder Kevin Youkilis.
Pedroia said that after his now-infamous “That’s not how we go about our stuff here” comment, he became aware that fans weren’t always on his side as they were in past years.
“I started to get aware of it during the year and it was tough,” he said. “Looking back on it, I’ve had time to think about what I said, and the way everything went down. I regret that I said that in that way, but I’m proud in that to be a team leader, you need to have your teammates’ backs under any circumstances.
“I didn’t talk to Bobby after he said it, so I didn’t know in what manner he meant his comments towards Youk, but I’m a firm believer in when a guy’s having a tough time — and everyone has, this is the major leagues, everyone’s going to go through ups and downs — those are the times when you need your teammates, you need everybody in the front office, you need the fans. We need [everyone] to stick by us, and I felt like Youk was kind of thrown into a corner by himself. When the top dog comes down on you that hard, I felt like Youk needed someone to be there for him to have his back.”
Pedroia admitted that he understood why fans reacted unfavorably to his comments, but noted that his priority as a team leader was to defend Youkilis.
“Without question, it came out wrong,” he said. “I’ll be the first one to tell you it sounded like I feel like I’m high and mighty and I’m trying to run everything. Everybody who knows me [knows] that’s not the case. I just wanted to make sure I was there for Youk and our whole team was there for Youk and we needed him to be who he is for us to accomplish our goal. Kicking him when he’s down, I felt like I needed to be there for him and everybody else needed to be there for him too. It’s just I’m a little bit more vocal and the media comes to me when certain things happen, and I was right there, and I was the one that wore it. I’m fine with that.
“I would rather have people calling [into radio stations] saying however they feel [about me] than for me to walk into work and have to look at Kevin Youkilis and have him say, ‘Hey, man. He didn’t have my back when I needed him the most.’ To an extent, I’m proud that I said that because Youk knows now that under any circumstances I’ll have his back. That goes for all my teammates. I love them.”
|Agent Scott Boras on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove show: Assembling productive Sox team will be ‘difficult chore’||11.02.12 at 10:32 am ET|
The most well-known agent in baseball, Scott Boras, joined WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove program Thursday night to discuss how the market is shaping up this offseason. To hear the interview, go to the WEEI audio on demand page.
A number of teams have a need for a center fielder, which should help Jacoby Ellsbury when he enters free agency after next season. Boras, Ellsbury’s agent, said that a player at that position who can provide power and leadoff capability is limited.
“I think when you’re talking about players who are going to be in the market when they are elite players that play premium positions that are 30 or younger, there’s not going to be many,” Boras said. “There certainly aren’t many in this process where you’ve got a few center fielders that are available, that are guys that are going to give you a leadoff or some power. There might be a couple in [B.J.] Upton and [Michael] Bourn. As far as the corner outfielders, I think that market, I wouldn’t say that there is an elite young player that’s available. Really, over the next couple of years, there’s going to be a relative small infantry of people who will be available.”
Boras declined to reveal how he’d value Ellsbury if he were entering free agency today.
“When we’re done negotiating and players are done performing, we’ll kind of let everyone know what we come up with,” Boras said.
The Sox completed a blockbuster deal this summer that cleared their three biggest salaries in Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. Boras indicated that he thought it was a good move, but he said the Sox might have a hard time assembling a team this offseason that can produce runs and power.
“I think the Red Sox did a very good job,” Boras said. “Adrian Gonzalez, he’s a very valued player, the key to that deal certainly I’m sure for the Dodgers. His value, as we go forward, and the production he’s had particularly in the NL West, he’s going to be considered a player whose value and whose compensation is an asset to a team. … And when you look at it from the re-set side from the Red Sox, the hard part is that going out and getting middle-of-the-lineup bats that give you both power and on-base percentage and run production, that had been the keys to the Red Sox’ success in 2004 and 2007 when they won, to fulfill those deficiencies with the talent available is going to be a difficult chore.”
|Taiwanese phenom Tzu-Wei Lin close to starting pro career with Red Sox||06.28.12 at 11:22 am ET|
The Red Sox have agreed to terms with Tzu-Wei Lin, an 18-year-old shortstop out of Taiwan, on a signing bonus of $2.05 million, a major league source confirmed. The deal will not be official until Major League Baseball concludes its standard background investigation into the prospect, but he is expect to start his professional career in Fort Myers in the near future.
Lin is a burner, described by one scout as a plus-plus runner (a 7 on the 2-8 major league scouting scale, in which 5 is average) who on multiple occasions went from home to first in under 3.9 seconds. In addition to his pure speed, he is also viewed as a player with good baserunning instincts. Defensively, he has excellent hands at shortstop and the arm for the position.
“He definitely profiles there,” said one international evaluator. “There’s no reason to move him. This kid’s a true shortstop.”
Though small (perhaps a shade under 5-foot-10, he weighs in at about 160 pounds), he has an all-fields line drive approach and shoots the ball into the gaps. He also has a good sense of the strike zone and swings at strikes, with what the evaluator called an advanced feel for his age regarding the pitches he can drive. He was scouted against top amateur competition in Taiwan and abroad in international tournaments, where he showed the ability to hold his own against good pitching.
(Baseball America’s Ben Badler noted that Lin played at the World Junior Championship in 2010 — a tournament that featured Red Sox 2011 first-rounder Blake Swihart, among many others — and won tournament MVP honors while hitting .607/.656/.907 in 32 plate appearances.)
There was plenty of competition for Lin’s services. The Red Sox’ record of developing Taiwanese amateur talent — most notably, outfielders Che-Hsuan Lin and Chih-Hsien Chiang — played a role in convincing Tzu-Wei Lin to sign with the team, though of course, the size of the bonus did not hurt. Still, the Sox are an organization with a developed infrastructure for helping a player navigate from amateur status in Taiwan to the majors, something that carried appeal in the signing process.
Indeed, Lin’s $2.05 million bonus is identical to the $2.05 million received by Red Sox first-rounder Deven Marrero, who, like Lin, is a Scott Boras client. Indeed, the lower levels of the Red Sox farm system is now loaded with shortstops who are represented by Boras, as Lin, Marrero (currently in Lowell), High-A shortstop Xander Bogaerts and Greenville shortstop Jose Vinicio (who signed in 2010 for a $1.95 million bonus) are all clients of the same agent.
Because the agreement is in place and has already been submitted to MLB, the $2.05 million bonus — assuming that the deal is finalized, something that is considered a formality — will not count against the Red Sox’ $2.9 million international spending limit for the 2012 international amateur free agent period that commences on Sunday.
News of the $2.05 million agreement was first reported several weeks ago by multiple Taiwanese news agencies and confirmed in a subsequent report by the Boston Globe. SoxProspects.com reported yesterday that the deal was done.
|Hot Stove: Free agent Carlos Beltran drops agent Scott Boras||11.01.11 at 3:08 pm ET|
ESPN.com is reporting that free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran has dropped agent Scott Boras. He will now be represented by agent Dan Lozano, who also has free agents Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins in his stable. It remains to be seen precisely how the agent switch could impact Beltran.
With J.D. Drew‘s five-year, $70 million contract now having expired, the Red Sox have an opening in right field — the position that Beltran played in 2011 after years as an elite center fielder. The team has internal candidates Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish, but the club will also likely explore the free agent market at the position, with Beltran (a switch-hitter who could help provide balance to the left-handed-leaning Red Sox lineup) looming as one potential fit.
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