While many lineup holes and questions remain, the 2006 Red Sox bullpen appears to be taking shape.
The Red Sox officially announced that they have agreed to terms with righthander Julian Tavarez on a two-year, $6.7 million contract with a vesting option for 2008. Vesting options for pitchers are typically based on number of appearances or innings pitched.
To make room for Tavarez on the 40-man roster, righthander Tim Bausher was designated for assignment.
Tavarez, 32, officially joins the Red Sox after two seasons with the Cardinals, where he combined to go 9-7 with 51 holds, eight saves and a 2.90 ERA in 151 relief appearances during the last two campaigns.
Tavarez tied for the NL league lead with a club-record 32 holds in 2005, while his 51 holds since the start of 2004 rank fifth in all of baseball. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder set a career low with a 2.38 ERA in 77 relief outings in 2004, his most appearances since leading the NL with 89 outings in 1997 with the Giants.
In 642 major league appearances, including 79 as a starter, Tavarez is 72-55 with 21 saves and a 4.33 ERA. He joins his eighth organization and has pitched in all or part of 13 major league seasons with the Indians (1993-96), Giants (1997-99), the Rockies (2000), the Chicago Cubs (2001), Marlins (2002), Pirates (2003) and Cardinals (2004-05).
In his 563 appearances out of the bullpen, Tavarez is 44-27 with a 3.81 ERA. He went 2-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 74 relief appearances with the Cardinals last season, posting back-to-back campaigns with at least 70 outings for the first time in his career. His 32 holds trailed only Tom Gordon and Scot Shields (33 apiece) for most in the majors, while his 14 double plays induced tied for third among all major league relievers.
A native of Santiago, Dominican Republic, Tavarez made his professional debut in the Indians organization in 1990 and quickly rose through the system to make his major league debut with Cleveland in 1993. He has pitched in five postseasons, including a pair of World Series with the Indians (1995) and Cardinals (2004) and boasts a 3.52 ERA (12 ER/30.2 IP) in 31 post-season relief outings. As a member of the pennant-winning Indians in 1995, Tavarez went 10-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 57 relief appearances. Exclusively used in relief for five seasons from 1995-99, he made 67 starts from 2000-02 with the Rockies, Cubs and Marlins before returning to the bullpen with the Pirates in 2003.
Bausher, 26, went 3-2 with five saves and a 3.41 ERA in 44 relief appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2005.
From the Boston Globe on Jan. 12: 'Sox bolster the bullpen with Tavarez'