According to press reports out of Venezuela, the Red Sox viewed a workout done by Bobby Abreu that included his taking grounders at first base.
A 17-year veteran of the majors and a two-time All-Star, Abreu is a free agent. He turns 39 in March and is coming off a season in which he hit .242 with a .693 OPS for the Angels and Dodgers over 100 games and 257 plate appearances.
The lefthanded hitting outfielder could fill a spot on the bench for the Sox. But he has never played first base professionally. Abreu also is 18 of 87 (.207) with one home run in his career as a pinch hitter. Presumably, if the Red Sox were to sign him it would be to a minor league contract.
The predominantly righthanded Red Sox could use a lefty hitter off the bench, preferably somebody who could play first base and the outfield.
(Thanks to Chris Cotillo, who passed along the news via Twitter. You can find him at @TradeDeadliner.)
If the Red Sox are able to come to an agreement with Mike Napoli, they probably won't make any significant financial additions to the 2013 roster before spring training starts on Feb. 12.
They need a lefthanded hitting bench player of some sort, probably a first baseman, and maybe a veteran infielder who can compete for a spot on the roster. But beyond that, their team looks fairly set.
So let's take a look at the financial aspects of how the roster has changed.
SALARY THAT CAME OFF THE BOOKS
Adrian Gonzalez: $21 million (2013 salary)
Carl Crawford: $20 million (2013 salary)
Josh Beckett: $15.75 million (2013 salary)
David Ortiz: $14.575 million (2012 salary)
Kevin Youkilis: $11 million (2012 salary the Red Sox paid)
Daisuke Matsuzaka: $10 million
Cody Ross: $3 million (2012 salary)
Ryan Sweeney: $1.75 million (2012 salary)
Nick Punto: $1.5 million (2013 salary)
Mike Aviles: $1.2 million (2012 salary)
Assorted others (Atchison, Cook, Hill, McDonald, Melancon, Padilla): $5.5 million (2012 salary)
Total off the books: $105.275 million
SALARY ADDED FOR 2013
David Ortiz: $15 million (including signing bonus)
Ryan Dempster: $13.25 million
Mike Napoli: $13 million
Shane Victorino: $13 million
Stephen Drew: $9.5 million
Joel Hanrahan: $6.9 million (estimated given his arbitration status)
Jonny Gomes: $5 million
Koji Uehara: $4.25 million
David Ross: $3.1 million
Total added: $86 million
The difference is roughly $19.275 million. But that money is largely accounted for.
Contract raises due in 2013
Jon Lester: $4 million
Clay Buchholz: $2 million
Dustin Pedroia: $2 million
Total: $8 million
Expected raises for players offered arbitration
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: $1.4 million
Alfredo Aceves: $1.4 million
Franklin Morales: $0.6 million
Craig Breslow: $0.6 million
Andrew Miller: $0.36 million
Jacoby Ellsbury: 0.1 million
Andrew Bailey: $0.1 million
Daniel Bard: 0.1 million
Total: $4.66 million
Total in expected raises: $12.66 million
So, the Red Sox dropped roughly $105.275 and will add roughly $95.66 million. Their payroll will remain pretty much what it was last season, around $176 million. That is just under the $178 million line for paying the competitive balance tax.
You can certainly debate the merits of the players the Red Sox added. But there's no denying that the money saved in the Dodgers trade was spent, as ownership promised it would be.
It remains to be seen how the Sox proceed in 2014, '15 and beyond with the money saved by trading Beckett, Crawford and Gonzalez. But based on their actions this winter, there's no reason to think it won't be plowed back into the roster.
All the roster turnover — along with the new manager and almost entirely new coaching staff — has to be considered a plus. While no one person is at fault for what has transpired since Sept. of 2011, it was evident that the Sox needed a new cast of characters and they have that.
Free agent Mike Napoli agreed to terms with the Red Sox back on Dec. 3, accepting three years and $39 million to be the team's primary first baseman.
Ben Cherington acknowledged a deal was in place that day and happily talked about Napoli's strengths as a player.
Nearly four weeks later, Napoli remains a free agent. His physical caused enough concern for the Red Sox to seek an adjustment in the terms. Napoli is believed to have a pre-existing hip injury.
Manager John Farrell, during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub, said Napoli remains a priority.
“That is still being worked on. As Ben has mentioned, there are no updates in terms of where that situation exists. We’re hopeful he is in a Red Sox uniform, but there are still things to work through,” Farrell said.
"The thing that has not changed is Mike Napoli is a clear-cut target for us. We’re not turning the page on this situation as of today, and that’s not to allude that at some point in the future we’re going to. But our goal, and Ben’s goal, is to get something worked out and a deal in place.”
The Red Sox, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported, have stayed in touch with free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche while working on a deal for Napoli.
LaRoche is seeking a three-year deal to stay with the Washington Nationals. The team would prefer a two-year agreement for the 33-year-old.
If the Red Sox were to sign LaRoche, they would forfeit a draft pick. Their first-round pick (No. 7 overall) is protected. But the Sox would lose their second-round pick, which will be among the top 50.
The Sox also would lose the money linked to that pick, approximately $1 million. If the player selected signs for less, that money can be used for other players.
Beyond that, LaRoche would almost surely require a three-year deal to come to Boston.
The Sox have so far avoided free agents linked to draft pick compensation. That could change if they become desperate for a first baseman. But a more likely outcome still appears to be working out a deal with Napoli.
Stephen Drew will wear No. 7 for the Red Sox next season, the same number his brother wore from 2007-11.
For some fans, that will bring up memories of J.D. Drew's sometimes-exasperating tenure with the Red Sox.
Signed to a five-year, $70 million deal, J.D. Drew hit a modest .264 for the Sox with 80 home runs. Statistics showed that he was among the most productive right fielders in the American League and an excellent defensive player. But those numbers were overshadowed by Drew missing 204 games over his five years with assorted injuries.
Drew played hard when he was on the field. But his outwardly calm demeanor drew the ire of those fans who prefer players demonstrate their emotions.
During a conference call with reporters earlier today, Stephen Drew made a point to say that while he looks up to his brother, he is not a copy of him.
"You guys know J.D., kind of laid-back. I’m laid-back, but probably hold a little more emotion on my shoulder," Drew said. "At the end of the day, me and J.D., I’m a different person than J.D. and J.D. is different than me. I told people coming into it, J.D. plays right field; I play shortstop. I’ve got a little more pressure playing in the middle of the infield and kind of dealt with that. I’ve always been under my two older brothers. It’s nothing new to me."
All three Drew brothers — J.D, Tim, and Stephen — were first-round picks.
Drew said that like his brothers, he considers himself a role model for kids.
“I don’t really throw my helmet off [or] throw my bat. You don’t see that,” Drew said. “There’s times you get frustrated. But at the end of the day me and J.D. are a little different. I think I share my emotion. I’ve always been geared to play the game. I love to play the game. I respect J.D. I think I look up to him a lot and learned things from him that have always been with me. But at the same time, we’re totally different players.”
Drew signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal. The shortstop suffered a severe ankle fracture in 2011 and started last season on the disabled list. He returned to play in 79 games and hit .223. Arizona traded him to Oakland in late August.
"I came back a little too soon, which I knew, because they wanted me out on the field. I was doing the best I could to come back as fast as possible," he said.
Drew hit .263/.331/.431 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 29 games for Oakland in September, helping the Athletics make the playoffs.
Before his ankle injury, Drew was durable and productive. He played in 674 of a possible 746 games for Arizona from the start of the 2007 season until he was injured. From 2007-10, Drew hit .270 with a .773 OPS.
Now he will try and restart his career in Boston.
"The need for shortstops is so great and then when you add in Stephen’s swing plane and his offensive metrics — where he hits the ball in Fenway — we really felt that was kind of a match made for what strengths Stephen has as a hitter and what the ballpark in Boston provides," agent Scott Boras said.
"We fully expect a very successful season and I think it’s going to give the Red Sox [and] the Red Sox fans a chance to see a player that ... I’m not sure everyone really understands the talent level of Stephen Drew. I think after this year, I think everyone is going to think a lot different about what type of player Stephen is and the impact he can have on a division-contending team.”
Said Drew: "I think I’m a good fit in Boston. It’s going to be fun playing with [Dustin] Pedroia. I’ve played against him, but to actually get to play with a good second baseman is going to be a really good opportunity for me.
"I’m going to come in this year and just hopefully have a great year. The biggest thing is just stay healthy. I think my talent will be OK. Everybody that has talent, you just have to stay healthy. It’s kind of unfortunate with my ankle injury. Hadn’t really never missed any long-term time in the major league except for this injury. I can’t really say where I’m going to be at the end of this year coming up after Boston’s season over. I’m just going to play it by ear and see what happens. I’m just really excited to be there and I know it’s going to be a good fit for me."
Drew's injury, which came on a slide to the plate, was gruesome. His foot bent at an awkward angle, causing him to break his fibula and suffer ligament damage. He had a plate attached to the bone as part of the surgery.
“The ankle is doing well," Drew said. "I’m very pleased with it. I put a lot of hard work into it not knowing where I’d be at this past season. Coming back strong at the end of the season really gave me confidence. The ankle is doing tremendous."
Boras believes the rehab process made Drew an even better defender than he was before.
"Stephen has actually come through this with greater defensive acumen as far as range after the ankle injury than before because of the fact that he has worked so diligently and hard on his conditioning and on his lateral movement in preparing to come back and play," he said.
Here's the video of the injury:
Mark Melancon had the worst season of his career with the Red Sox in 2012. He pitched poorly, was demoted to the minors, and then used as a mop-up man once he returned.
The Sox traded the righthander to the Pirates Wednesday as part of a package to obtain closer Joel Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt.
“I have no regrets,” Melancon said. “I never do. This game is built on failure and I feel like what I went through will make me a better pitcher. I know it made me a better person.”
Melancon started the season as the primary set-up man and lasted only four games before being banished to Triple A Pawtucket.
Melancon gave up 11 earned runs over two innings in those appearances. He pitched fairly well when he returned to the team in June, particularly in September. But Melancon was used mainly in low-leverage situations and never gained the trust of former manager Bobby Valentine.
Still, the Sox are taking a risk in trading him. Melancon had a 0.90 ERA in eight appearances in September/October, striking out 13 in 10 innings with one walk. He could prove to be a player they regret moving.
“It’s a good opportunity for me,” Melancon said. “I wish it had worked out with the Red Sox because that’s a great organization. But I’ve had a great offseason and I feel I can go out there with the Pirates and prove myself.”
• Sox assistant GM Brian O'Halloran on Brock Holt, the infielder obtained from the Pirates: “I think he’s going to be a good player for us. He’s a very hard-nosed player. He’s had a lot of success in the minor leagues and we’re excited to have him and the energy that he brings to the table.”
• O’Halloran said Stephen Drew had no issues with his physical.
“Our folks were very pleased with his progress. It was obvious to them how hard he had worked given the nature of that injury,” he said. “We feel that he’s going to be fully healthy for us and make us a better team. We’re excited to have him.”
Sox manager John Farrell said Drew showed no diminished range once he returned to the field.
“The evaluations we did were very positive,” Farrell said.
Drew will wear No. 7, the number his brother, J.D., wore for the Sox from 2007-11. The elder Drew, now retired, hit .264 with 80 home runs in a Red Sox career marked by frequent stints on the disabled list.
• O’Halloran offered no update on the status of Mike Napoli, who agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox Dec. 3 but has yet to actually sign.
“There are conversations ongoing,” O’Halloran said.
Napoli, major league sources said, has an issue with his hip and the Red Sox are seeking protection in the contract language. That could mean cutting the deal to two seasons with the third year a vesting option based on plate appearances.
It has become somewhat of a holiday tradition for the Red Sox, trading players viewed as spare parts to a budget-conscious team and getting an All-Star closer in return.
The well-intentioned idea failed miserably last season. Andrew Bailey was injured in spring training and pitched in just 19 games for the Sox while Josh Reddick became a standout for Oakland, belting 32 home runs and winning a Gold Glove.
Undeterred, the Sox are trying the same formula again. Just shy of a year since they traded for Bailey, the Sox completed a six-player trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, obtaining closer Joel Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt for righthanded reliever Mark Melancon and three prospects.
The similarities are remarkable. Bailey was 27 when he was traded and had twice been an All-Star. He had appeared in 157 games for Oakland and recorded 75 saves, His wife had family in Connecticut and he was glad to be coming to the Sox.
Hanrahan is 31 and a two-time All-Star. He has appeared in 238 games for the Pirates and recorded 82 saves. His wife has family in the Brockton area and he is glad to be coming to the Red Sox.
Hanrahan averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings for Pittsburgh, Bailey 9.0 for Oakland. Hanrahan is entering his third year of arbitration eligibility, Bailey his second.
Now they're together. Manager John Farrell made a smart move, contacting both pitchers and letting them know that Hanrahan will close and Bailey will move into a set-up role. Drama is not on the agenda for spring training.
“It was a great conversation, obviously,” Hanrahan said. “[Farrell] told me they’re excited for me, to have me there. They look forward to having me at the end of the bullpen here, closing for them.
“I’m just excited for that opportunity. I wasn’t sure what the role was going to be because there’s obviously guys that have closed before and had great success closing as well.”
Farrell said the Sox weren’t necessarily looking for a closer when the offseason started. But they couldn’t pass on the idea of strengthening their bullpen.
“This makes us a better team,” Farrell said. “Joel will come in and join a strong group. This is an All-Star closer, a pitcher with a high conversion rate for saves.”
Hanrahan looks the part of a closer at 6 feet 4 inches and 250 pounds with a bushy goatee. He has the stuff, too. Hanrahan averaged 95.8 miles per hour with his fastball last season, a slight drop from 2011. He also has what scouts describe as a “wipeout” slider, a pitch that dives out of the strike zone and produces plenty of bad swings.
Hanrahan walked 36 over 59.2 innings last season and allowed eight home runs, which led to a 2.72 ERA. Hanrahan had a poor September, allowing five earned runs over 9 innings and walking 10 as the Pirates fell out of contention.
“I had some issues with my legs last year,” Hanrahan said. “I hurt my hamstring early on in the year and had a sore ankle for a while that went under the wraps. I was wearing a tight ankle brace for a couple of weeks that kind of restricted my mechanics. I don’t think that walks are going to be a concern.”
With general manager Ben Cherington traveling, assistant GM Brian O’Halloran spoke about the deal. The Sox, he said, are convinced Hanrahan’s control issues can be cured.
“We looked at that very closely, we think that there are some reasons that we saw the uptick in walks,” O’Halloran said. “We’re going to talk to Joel and [Farrell] has already started that process. It’s not something that we’re concerned about long term. We believe that we’re going to get the guy that has been a great closer for two years.”
Farrell felt that Hanrahan used his third pitch, a cutter, too often. He also lacked precision in non-save situations — walking 16 in 22 innings.
“There’s more to command when you add a different pitch,” Farrell said. “It’s important for any pitcher to rely on their strengths.”
Bailey allowed 12 earned runs on 21 hits and 8 walks in 15.1 innings last season and blew three saves in nine chances. He did not respond to requests for comment on his new role. But Farrell said Bailey understood why the Sox made the trade.
“He was professional. He’s confident in himself and confident he’ll be able to pitch to the level he did in 2011 and is very much a team guy,” Farrell said. “He feels like he’ll regain that form needed for us to get better and deeper.”
Bailey's biggest issue is staying on the field. Injuries have limited him to 108 games the last three years.
The Red Sox potentially have a strong, versatile bullpen, having added Hanrahan and righthander Koji Uehara to a group that included Bailey, Junichi Tazawa, Alfredo Aceves, Craig Breslow, Franklin Morales, and Andrew Miller. The Sox also hope Daniel Bard can rebound after a disastrous 2012 season.
“We have created depth that will allow us to rest the closer when needed,” Farrell said. “If they pitch up to their capability, it’s strong group.”
The Red Sox took notice of Hanrahan during an interleague series in Pittsburgh in 2011. In two saves against the Sox, Hanrahan threw 25 of his 35 pitches for strikes before sellout crowds.
His four-pitch strikeout of Adrian Gonzalez with a runner on second base to preserve a 6-4 victory on June 25 was a career highlight for Hanrahan.
“When people look back at me as a Pirate, that’s one that stands out the most to them. It was a fun weekend,” he said.
Said O'Halloran: "It definitely made an impression on me. I hadn’t seen very much of him. I’d seen him just a little bit here and there prior to that, and that was pretty impressive. If you go back and look at the video of that, it was not fun to be in the batter’s box against Joel Hanrahan, I’m sure, for our hitters. We’re excited to have him on our side.”
Hanrahan has never pitched in Fenway Park or even visited the ballpark.
“It’s change of pace from the NL Central but I think it’s going to be great,” Hanrahan said.
Hanrahan will be a free agent after the 2013 season. He is eligible for arbitration and in line to land a one-year contract worth roughly $7 million.
With Ben Cherington traveling, Red Sox assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran spoke to reporters this afternoon about the trade with the Pirates.
He said that manager John Farrell spoke to Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey and told them that Hanrahan would be the closer going into spring training with Bailey as one of the set-up men.
"We see Andrew as playing a very important role in our bullpen as well," O'Halloran said. "There will be plenty of opportunities for him to help us win games in key situations late in the game. We know he's very capable both closing and pitching in other high-leverage situations at the end of games."
• O'Halloran had no update on the Mike Napoli situation.
• The Red Sox, O'Halloran said, checked out Stephen Drew's right ankle and were satisfied with his health. He suffered a severe fracture during the 2011 season.
The Red Sox today announced the signing of shortstop Stephen Drew, who last week agreed on a one-year deal worth $9.5 million.
Drew, who turns 30 in March, hit .223 with a .657 OPS in 79 games for Arizona and Oakland last season. He hit .270 with a .773 OPS in the six seasons prior for the Diamondbacks.
Drew suffered a severe fracture of his right ankle on July 20, 2011 while sliding into home during a game against Milwaukee. He did not return until June 27, 2012. Drew hit .193 in 40 games for Arizona before being traded.
Drew ranks fourth among all Major League shortstops over the last five seasons with a .441 slugging percentage and fifth with a .770 OPS (min. 1,500 plate appearances).
He is a .265 career hitter with 181 doubles, 52 triples, 77 home runs, 349 RBI, 414 runs, 293 walks, and 34 stolen bases. The lefthanded hitter has finished with the second-most triples in the National League on three occasions and his 41 triples since 2008 rank sixth in the majors. His 52 career triples are an Arizona franchise record.
In 2008, Drew became the third shortstop in Major League history to collect at least 40 doubles (44), 10 triples (11) and 20 home runs (21) in a season, joining Nomar Garciaparra (Boston, 1997) and Hall of Famer Robin Yount (Milwaukee, 1980 and 1982).
All 792 of his career appearances in the field have come at shortstop. His 72 errors are third-fewest among active shortstops with at least 3,000 total chances.
He is the younger brother of former Red Sox outfielder and 14-year Major League veteran J.D. Drew. The younger Drew will wear No. 7, just as J.D. did with the Red Sox. His older brother Tim also pitched for parts of five seasons in the majors.
The Red Sox have finished off their trade with the Pirates.
In addition to righthanded reliever Joel Hanrahan, the Red Sox also obtained middle infield prospect Brock Holt from Pittsburgh in return for righthanded reliever Mark Melancon and three minor leaguers: infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., righthander Stolmy Pimentel and first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands.
De Jesus and Sands were among the five players the Red Sox obtained from the Los Angeles Dodgers in August for Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto.
Hanrahan, 31, will be a free agent after the season. He has 76 saves and a 2.24 earned run average over the last two seasons, striking out 128 over 128.1 innings.
"I'm very excited to be joining the Red Sox and look forward to joining the great history of Boston and making some new history!!!," Hanrahan posted on Twitter shortly after the trade was announced.
Hanrahan had a dominant 2011 season, allowing only 16 walks over 68.2 innings and striking out 61. He had a 1.83 ERA. The big righthander slipped in 2012, walking 36 over 57.2 innings and posting a 2.72 ERA. But he did strikeout 67.
Hanrahan had a poor September, allowing five earned runs over 9 innings and walking 10 as the Pirates fell out of contention. He was offered arbitration by the Pirates and is in line for a one-year, $7 million deal in 2013. The Sox also could attempt to sign him to a longer-term deal.
Holt, 24, is a former ninth-round draft pick out of Rice University. He played 24 major league games for the Pirates in September, hitting .292 in 65 at-bats. Holt hit .322 with Double A Altoona over 102 games and .432 in 24 games for Triple A Indianapolis.
In all, Holt hit .344/.406/.453 in the minors last season. He is a career .317/.381/.427 hitter in four minor league seasons, albeit with only 11 home runs. Holt has 49 stolen bases. He projects as a backup player.
Melancon, who turns 28 in March, had a rocky one-year tenure in Boston. Obtained from Houston for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland last December, Melancon started the season as the primary set-up man and lasted only four games before being demoted to Triple A Pawtucket.
Melancon gave up 11 earned runs over two innings in those appearances. He pitched fairly well when he returned to the team in June, particularly in September. But Melancon was used mainly in low-leverage situations and never gained the trust of former manager Bobby Valentine.
Once the closer in Houston, Melancon could return to that form in the National League.
Pimentel, 22, was once considered a strong prospect but has faded in recent years. He had a 4.59 ERA in 22 starts for Double A Portland last season.
DeJesus, 25, appeared in eight games for the Sox in September then was designated for assignment in November before being outrighted to Pawtucket.
Sands, 25, never played in the Sox organization. He was a player to be named later in the trade and came over on Oct. 4. Sands hit .296 with 26 home runs and 107 RBIs for Triple A Albuquerque last season.
The Red Sox are not planning any announcements over the next few days given the holiday. Traditionally, teams and MLB give their employees this week off.
But Ben Cherington and his elves have plenty to do:
• Mike Napoli, who agreed to terms on Dec. 3, has yet to finalize his contract. The sides are dickering over those terms because of a pre-existing hip injury. Cherington and agent Brian Grieper have remained largely quiet about this, which suggests they're working toward a resolution.
Giving up now would be tough for both sides. Napoli becomes damaged goods on the market while the Red Sox would be out a first baseman. Adam LaRoche remains unsigned, but that would mean giving up a high draft pick (second round, as their first-round pick is protected) and he is reportedly getting closer to a deal with the Nationals.
Under the new system, draft picks are assigned a value and that money goes into a pot teams can use to sign their picks. Giving up a high second-round pick would cost the Sox that pick plus money that could be used in signing other players later in the draft.
• The Sox have the framework in place to trade for Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. It could be Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel for Hanrahan or a larger deal that would involve more players.
• The Sox have yet to announce their one-year deal with shortstop Stephen Drew.
• The 40-man roster is at 40. So adding three players would require some moves, even if Sands and Pimentel are traded.
• The Sox have an abundance of catchers and relievers. That doesn't necessarily require a trade. But it certainly opens the door to one.
So for now, Merry Christmas to all Extra Bases readers. Thanks for reading all season, we certainly appreciate it. It has been fun to meet so many of you and talk baseball, too. Opening Day is less than 100 days away.
Here are the names I checked off on the Hall of Fame ballot:
A few notes if you are interested in the process:
The voting: There were 37 players on the ballot this season. There is no minimum number of players to pick, but you cannot vote for more than 10. The electorate consists of the 600-plus members of the BBWAA with at least 10 years in the organization.
(In my opinion, too many people who don't actually cover baseball any more get to vote. But that's for another day.)
The board of directors of the Hall of Fame determines those rules. The results will be announced on Jan. 9.
Resources used: The Black Ink and Gray Ink tests developed by Bill James, which are found on Baseball-Reference.com, were useful.
I also relied heavily on the research done by Jay Jaffe. His JAWS formula is a terrific resource in this endeavor. Jay writes for Sports Illustrated. I've known him for probably about 10 years and he cares passionately about baseball and baseball history.
I also looked at career records as kept by Baseball-Reference.com and used their research tools to compare players by way of traditional and sabermetric statistics.
In the end you have make a personal decision about every player. But it's good to have as many facts at your disposal as are available. If they are available, why not use them?
General philosophies: I tried to compare players to others of their generation, other players at their position and players at their position who are already in the Hall.
Some writers believe getting elected on the first ballot is a great honor and they withhold their vote from those players they find undeserving of that honor. I vote for the players who come up best in my tabulations, period. I don't see how a retired player gets any better a year from now. Either you deserve a vote or you do not.
Performance-enhancing drugs: I wrote about this complicated issue a month ago and explained why I've changed my stance. Basically, I believe PED use was part of a particular era of the game and the Hall of Fame should reflect those times. The place is a museum, after all.
Let's be honest, everybody involved in the game ignored the PED issue for a long time. MLB, the MLBPA, owners, GMs, managers, players, media, and fans, we all marveled at all the home runs and didn't ask many questions. To me, it would be hypocritical to have ignored the issue in 2002 and then punish players in 2012.
I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of using suspicion as a reason not to vote for somebody. Excluding players like Bagwell and Piazza because you kinda sorta think they probably did steroids is McCarthyism. Beyond that, no voter can be absolutely sure that a player he believes to be clean was in fact clean.
That said, home runs hit during the Steroids Era have to be devalued to some degree because home runs were cheap to come by.
Now onto the players:
Jeff Bagwell: The pride of the University of Hartford was durable, consistent and productive. This was a player who hit for power, showed great patience, played an excellent first base and even stole 202 bases. His WAR is seventh among first basemen all time. Take away any suspicion and he's an automatic choice.
Craig Biggio: It's hard to argue against 20 seasons, 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 55 triples, 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs and 1,844 runs scored for a second baseman. Historically, Biggio is one of the best to ever play his position. That he also caught and played center field at times only adds to his resume. His 3,000th hit came off Aaron Cook. Just guessing, but it was probably a sinker that stayed up.
Barry Bonds: Let's say you deduct 20 percent off his statistics because was a no-good cheating bum. Bonds is still one of the best hitters of all-time. That's how good he was. Bonds is fourth in career OPS behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
Roger Clemens: Before there were pink hats, seats on the wall and Red Sox Nation, there was The Rocket. His turn in the rotation was an event that caused everybody to take notice. Clemens had a 3.06 ERA and 192 wins with the Sox before there was a hint of improper behavior. His perjury acquittal aside, Clemens probably did some things he regrets. But there is no discounting his place in history. Clemens is one of the three or four best starters the game has seen.
Mike Piazza: He is one of the best-hitting catchers ever, if not the best. He also played the bulk of his career in Dodger Stadium and Shea Stadium, two tough parks for hitters. Piazza hit .320/.389/.575 from 1993-2003 while catching. That's insane. Piazza also was a better defensive player than he is generally given credit for. He had a flair for calling games and he blocked balls in the dirt very effectively.
Tim Raines: Simply put, Raines was the second-best leadoff hitter in history behind Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. New metrics showcase his value and by those standards he deserves to be in Cooperstown. Not voting for Raines is not doing your homework.
Curt Schilling: It's popular to say that Schilling should get in because of his stellar postseason numbers. He was 11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 starts with three rings, after all. But that diminishes his regular season excellence. Schilling's 3,116 strikeouts are 15th all-time, he averaged 2.0 walks per nine innings and he finished second in the Cy Young voting three times. Schilling won "only" 216 games, but he is indisputably one of the best starters of his time. Take away Schilling and the Red Sox might still be searching for their first title since 1918. He should get a spot in the Hall for ending all that insufferable angst.
Alan Trammell: Before Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, and all the other hard-hitting shortstops, there was Trammell. He was one of the best all-around shortstops in history and has been overlooked in the voting.
Notable omissions: Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff. Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Larry Walker, Bernie Williams.
Martinez, along with David Ortiz, ranks as one of the best DHs ever. But DH is a not a position. Were he a third baseman, Edgar would be a borderline case. It's hard to reward a guy for not playing a position. ... McGriff, a first baseman in an era of standout first basemen, didn't make the cut. ... McGwire was very good at hitting home runs and getting on base, two critical skills. But when you compare the duration of his career and the peak of his career to other first baseman, he is not a lock for the Hall regardless of his PED use. ... Morris had a 3.90 ERA and over the course of his career was just a little better than average (based on ERA+). He was more about great moments than consistent excellence. ... Murphy was a terrific player at times but at other times was just another pretty good one. Like Don Mattingly, there is just not enough there. ... Palmeiro and Sosa were 10th and 11th on my list. Palmeiro compiled a lot of impressive statistics. But when compared to other Hall of Fame first basemen, his marks lose a little luster. He was a product of his era. Palmeiro also faces the stigma of having tested positive after MLB's drug testing program was put in place. That doesn't exclude him in my estimation. But it works against him. Sosa had some amazing highs in his career. But he also had a .344 OBP and isn't in the same league as other Hall of Fame right fielders. Sosa had a .777 OPS over the first nine years of his career, too. Given the state of the game at the time, his 609 home runs are no magic number. ... It's easy (and not necessarily accurate) to dismiss Walker as a product of Coors Field. He was more than that, but not quite a Hall of Famer. I'd rank him above Sosa, however. ... Williams was a center fielder and a middle-of-the-order hitter on some excellent Yankees teams. But he didn't do enough to reach Cooperstown.
Please, feel free to post a comment with your thoughts. Hall of Fame discussions are fun to have.
Cody Ross signed a three-year, $26 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in a deal that came together Tuesday when the D-Backs brass got together and decided to target the Scottsdale, Az. resident.
Ross said he never got back to the Red Sox or any of them teams interested once the Diamondbacks put together their offer.
On the Red Sox he said, “I don’t know what happened but we could never agree on terms. They thought I’d come back no matter what because they thought I loved playing there. And I did. Who wouldn’t love playing at Fenway Park? I just wanted a fair deal. I told them what I wanted. I wasn’t trying to break the bank. They weren’t willing to do it.”
Major League sources indicate that the Red Sox were trying to re-sign Ross for two years, but Ross was seeking a three-year deal at between $21-$31 million the figures that comparables Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer signed with the Twins and Rockies respectively last offseason.
Ross also said that he probably got along with manager Bobby Valentine better than any other player on the team. He said Valentine texted him to congratulate him on his Diamondbacks deal.
“When Bobby came in his way of doing things was a lot different than what they were used to under Terry Francona and it was a shock to them. They weren’t on board with it. For me, I’d played for four or five managers and for me it was ‘OK, this is the way he does things.’ We never butted heads. I had a good relationship with Bobby,” Ross said.
The D-Backs came out of the blue. General Manager Kevin Towers said he had a meeting with CEO Ken Kendrick who said he had a name of a free-agent he thought could help and he asked Towers if he also had a name. It turned out they both had Ross on their list.
Towers said his phone “blew up” after the signing with teams wanting to inquire about their outfielders like Justin Upton, Jason Kubel and others now that he has an excess. Towers said he doesn’t necessarily have to deal anyone, but Kubel and Upton are in demand.
ESPN's Jim Bowden has reported that the Red Sox and Pirates have finalized a Stolmy Pimental and Jerry Sands for Joel Hanrahan deal.
The teams were talking a Pimental/Sands package and were also trying to expand it further, but so far it appears they've stopped at three players.
Sands was acquired from the Dodgers in the Josh Beckett/Carl Crawford/Adrian Gonzalez deal last August 25th. Pimental was on Boston's 40-man roster and was once considered one of Boston's top pitching prospects.
The Pirates wanted Jose Iglesias but Boston wanted to hold on to the young shortstop.
If Hanrahan winds up in Boston, it would likely mean Andrew Bailey would be a set-up man to start the season or could also be trade bait.
The Red Sox announced a slew of personnel moves on Thursday.
Here's the press release detailing the promotions and appointments within the team's baseball operations department:
Jared Banner has been promoted to Assistant Director, Player Personnel after serving as Coordinator, Amateur Scouting from 2011-12. Banner joined the organization as Red Sox Fellow in baseball operations in 2007 and served as Assistant, Player Development in 2008-09 and Assistant, Amateur Scouting in 2010.
Mike Murov has been promoted to Coordinator, Baseball Operations. Murov previously served as Assistant, Baseball Operations from 2011-12 after joining the Red Sox as an intern in the baseball operations department in 2010. He was also a baseball operations intern with the Reds (2009) and Marlins (2008).
Duncan Webb has been promoted to Assistant Director, Player Development. Webb had held the role of Player Development Programs Coordinator from 2010-2012. He joined the Red Sox organization as an intern at the Red Sox Academy in the Dominican Republic in 2006 and also served as Latin Education Coordinator from 2007-09.
Laz Gutierrez has been promoted to Coordinator, Player Development Programs. Gutierrez was an amateur scout for Southern and Northeast Florida beginning in 2006 and also served as Short-A Lowell’s pitching coach in 2007 and 2010. A former left-handed pitcher, he spent three seasons in the Detroit and San Diego minor league systems from 1998-2001.
Tim Hyers has been promoted to Minor League Hitting Coordinator after previously serving as the club's area scout for Georgia over the last four years (2009-12). He was hitting coach at Single-A West Michigan in the Tigers minor league system in 2002, and played parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with the Padres (1994-95), Tigers (1996), and Marlins (1999).
George Lombard has been promoted to Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator. Lombard had served as manager for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox from 2011-12. He joined the Red Sox organization as a hitting coach for Short-A Lowell in 2010. A former outfielder, he played parts of six Major League seasons with the Braves (1998-2000), Tigers (2002), Devil Rays (2003), and Nationals (2006). He also spent two seasons in the Red Sox farm system, appearing at Double-A Portland (2004) and Triple-A Pawtucket (2004-05).
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"We have not closed the door by any means," Cherington said. "I have not had a conversation recently with him. But no we have not closed the door."
Cherington also said that he wants shortstop Jose Iglesias to play every day now that the team has signed Stephen Drew. That likely means at Triple A Pawtucket.
"At this point in his career he should be playing every day," Cherington said.
"We're hopeful we’ve added some depth there too," Cherington said. "Not ready to announce anything (Drew will be in later this week for a physical), but I know I said there were clearly holes to fill and then other things that we were going to try to be a little more opportunistic on. We’ve done a little bit of both I guess so far. Like I said, first base is one area that was a clear need at the start of the offseason that we haven’t been able to execute on yet. So we’re still working on that."
Asked about his comments at the winter meetings that he was not looking to deal Jacoby Ellsbury: "Nothing’s changed on that."
The Red Sox introduced starting pitcher Ryan Dempster Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park, and the pitcher quickly did his best to dispel the notion that he would have trouble adjusting to the American League.
“I’m very aware that the AL East is a tough division,” said Dempster. “If you go out there and make the pitches and execute, it won’t matter who you’re pitching against or where you’re pitching.”
The Sox reached a two-year, $26.5 million deal with Dempster last Thursday. The team officially announced the deal Wednesday afternoon, and much like the team’s introduction of outfielder Shane Victorino last week, Dempster’s introduction focused on what the veteran pitcher can do both on the field and off it.
“We’re excited to add a guy of this caliber to our rotation and to our clubhouse,” said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.
Dempster is projected to be a starter in the back end of Boston’s 2013 rotation. He has made at least 28 starts and has won at least 10 games in each of the last five seasons. He made 16 starts for the Chicago Cubs last season, posting a 2.25 ERA before being acquired by the Texas Rangers at the July 31 trade deadline. At the time, Dempster ranked second in the National League in ERA. Following the trade, Dempster made 12 starts for the Rangers and posted a 7-3 record with a 5.09 ERA.
Dempster said Wednesday it’s a goal of his every season to throw 200 or more innings. He said another goal of his is taking the Red Sox back to the World Series.
“That’s why we play,” said Dempster. “The money and things like that in baseball are great, but I came here because I believe this team has a chance of winning as much as anybody else. I’ve always believed that should be your mentality going into any season.
“Every team’s going to win 50 games. Every team’s going to lose 50 games. It’s what you do with the other 62 that matter.”
The Red Sox finished in last place in the AL East last season, but Dempster praised the additions of Victorino, Koji Uehara, Jonny Gomes, and Mike Napoli (Napoli has not yet signed) as good for both the clubhouse and on-field product. On Napoli, Dempster said, “He’s one of the best teammates I had in my time in Texas.”
Dempster spent the first 14 1/2 seasons of his career in the National League and owns a career record of 124-124.
To make room for Dempster on the 40-man roster, righthanded pitcher Pedro Beato was designated for assignment.
"There’s really nothing to comment on," Cherington said at Ryan Dempster's introductory news conference. "As with any free agent, until it’s done, it’s not done. We continue to work on different ways to improve the team. I’ll comment on it as soon as I can, but I can’t right now. We’ve had some more dialogue. I wouldn’t classify it as one way or the other. We’ll see what happens. We’re trying to improve the team and hopefully we can do that."
Cherington would not address the accuracy of a report by Will Carroll of SI.com that the teams was trying to reduce the three-year, $39 million contract to two years.
"I haven’t seen that. I’m not gonna comment on discussions we’re having other than to say we’re still talking. We’re still working through some issues and will continue to do so,” Cherington said.
He did indicate the team is still trying to work on acquiring things and perhaps even a first baseman. Adam LaRoche and Nick Swisher remain on the free-agent bump.
“Sure, we’ve got to keep active. Until something is done, it’s not done. Even then we can’t be blind to trying to improve the team in other ways. We’re still working on a number of fronts so hopefully we can add to the team. That will continue through January and until spring training.
“First base is the area going back to the beginning of the offseason, we clearly identified as a need. We haven’t been able to address that yet. Still working on it, still working for ways to improve the team across the scope of the roster we’ll see what opportunities come our way"
Cherington also said about the status of his starting rotation with Dempster in the fold, “I think you always keep an open mind to it. We feel pretty good about where we are and guys we have projected there to start the season and depth beyond that with younger guys and other options. Things can come up in January after the holidays. We’ll be active I’m sure if there are ways to improve even more.”
Swisher is visiting teams, and stopped by Cleveland and will visit with an undisclosed team today.
The Red Sox are trying to work out a snafu in Mike Napoli's contract in an effort to make that official. If that should fall through, Swisher and Adam LaRoche appear to be fallback candidates.
The Red Sox are banking on the hope that Farrell's return can get Lester back to being a top-of-the-rotation starter.
Lester had a 1.383 WHIP with a 9-14 record and 4.82 ERA in 33 starts and 205 1/3 innings in 2012.
One of the things the Red Sox need to work on with Lester is his constant battles with umpires. It's not doing him any favors and his reputation has spread around the league rapidly, according to a major league source.
Uehara, who will wear Josh Beckett’s old No. 19, missed two months with a lat strain for the Texas Rangers in 2012, but he was very effective. In 37 relief appearances Uehara had a career-low 1.75 ERA (7 ER). He had the fourth lowest WHIP in major league history at 0.64.
The downside is that he’s 37, that the Sox probably need to limit his back-to-back appearances, and be careful how often he’s up in the bullpen. He’s definitely a late-inning guy – especially with his $4.25 million salary - who could close some games. Only Dennis Eckersley’s 18.33 strikeouts-to-walk ratio in 1990 was better than Uehara’s 14.33 last season season.
Righties hit only .125 (7 for 56) against him. He spent 10 seasons in Japan, and was signed by the Orioles in 2009 to be a starter. He went to the bullpen in 2010 and since then he’s led the majors with a 10.76 strikeout-to-walk ratio (183 K/17 BB) and has averaged 11.36 strikeouts per nine innings (145.0 IP), the third-highest mark among American Leaguers with at least 125.0 innings over that time.
Over the last three years, he has held righthanders to a .177 batting average (47-for-265), third in the AL during that time (minimum of 200 batters faced). He posted a 0.72 WHIP or lower in consecutive seasons (0.72 in 2011, 0.64 in 2012), becoming just the second big leaguer ever to accomplish the feat along with Eckersley in 1989 and 1990.
In 10 seasons (1999-2008) for the Yomiuri Giants in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Central League, Uehara was 112-62 with 33 saves, a 3.01 ERA (518 ER/1,549.0 IP) and 1,376 strikeouts. He led the NPB in wins in 1999 and 2002, ERA in 1999 and 2004, and strikeouts in 1999 and 2003.
Here's information on two upcoming charity events you may be interested in:
• The Jimmy Fund's annual "New Stars for Young Stars" even will be Jan. 19 at Jillian's in Boston, right across from Fenway Park. It runs from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Players scheduled to attend include Craig Breslow, Garin Cecchini, Rich Hill, Ryan Kalish, Deven Marrero, Anthony Ranaudo, Blake Swihart, and Brandon Workman.
The program includes an autograph session, buffet lunch, sports memorabilia sale, opportunity drawing, silent auction, and bowling.
Tickets are available in advance for $89 per person, which includes one autograph from all attending players and one guest ticket. VIP tickets for $250 are also available and include one of the first 30 spots in line and a Red Sox jersey.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to jimmyfund.org/new-stars or call 1-800-52-JIMMY. All proceeds go to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.
• The annual Hot Stove/Cool Music Baseball Roundtable will be Jan 11 at Fenway Park. It will be hosted by Cubs president Theo Epstein and Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons.
The discussion will be on changing the culture within a clubhouse. Panelists include Epstein, Ben Cherington, John Farrell, Buck Showalter, and Mike Hazen along with others to be named.
Tickets are $125 and on sale now at FoundationToBeNamedLater.org. The event begins at 6 p.m. with a reception.
The annual Hot Stove/Cool Music concert will be Jan. 12. Featured acts include Tanya Donelly, Parkington Sisters, Christian McNeill & Sea Monsters, The Chad Hollister Band, and the Hot Stove All-Stars featuring Gammons, Bill Janovitz, Kay Hanley, and Robin Lane.
Proceeds benefit the Foundation’s Peter Gammons College Scholarships and nonprofit beneficiaries including BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), Citizen Schools, City Year Boston, The Home for Little Wanderers, Horizons for Homeless Children, Roxbury Youthworks, Steps to Success and West End House Boys & Girls Club.
The Nation isn’t happy with the offseason acquisitions. No star power. No excitement being generated.
As I write in one of my responses, I think the Red Sox want it that way. They’re trying to fly a bit under the radar. They offer very little public comments on anything. Very quiet. You can hear a pin drop and I think they’d like their offseason work to speak for itself on the field once the season starts.
Have a Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
The new model seems to be to build around Dustin Pedroia, have good coaching that can improve the pitching that already exists and a new manager in John Farrell who is on board with the way things are done and then hope that Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and other prospects become great players.
I call for many of you to calm down and let it play out before passing judgment. Many of you are not listening.
So let’s read what you have to say:
With the recent acquisition of Stephen Drew, how likely is it that the Red Sox will move Jose Iglesias in a trade? They have Salty and some BP arms as well that could be turned into a decent package for a starting pitcher or left fielder.
Kelven, Monterey, Calif.
I think he’s always been available, but nobody has knocked down their door. He seems headed back to Triple A. They have been afraid to commit to him, so they must not think he can hit well enough to take the job.
Would you trade Clay Buchholz for Justin Upton or Mike Trumbo?
Khoren, Cranston, R.I.
Great question. I’ve thought about that from time to time. I would say no. I think Upton’s performance is erratic. I like Trumbo, but he has holes in his swing and defensively. Buchholz is also inconsistent at times, but I think if someone can straighten out the inconsistencies and get him to be a 200-inning pitcher, he’s worth keeping.
The Red Sox had eight outfielders on the disabled list at various times last year, Ryan Kalish and Jacoby Ellsbury are injury prone, Shane Victorino is old, and Jonny Gomes is not used to playing a lot of games. Why not Cody Ross ... does he want too many years?
Marco, Austin, Texas
I think they’ll sign another outfielder or two before all is said and done. They also have Jerry Sands from the Dodger deal, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Jacoby Ellsbury, Juan Linares, and other guys who will be in Triple-A. I’m surprised Cody Ross hasn’t signed because he said he wanted everything settled before Christmas this year. He was out there a long time last season. Maybe his price has gone up. Don’t know.
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With Stephen Drew in the fold pending a physical and Xander Bogaerts so highly touted, Jose Iglesias can’t be too pleased about his future with the Red Sox.
While Iglesias is spending the offseason working with Dustin Pedroia, he no longer projects as Boston’s starting shortstop, not with Drew earning a hefty $9.5 million paycheck this season.
Once again, the Red Sox picked up an underperforming player from the previous season joining Mike Napoili and Shane Victorino in that category, but paid him handsomely to rebound.
Drew was once a very productive offensive player but a broken ankle and the recovery from that slowed him last season when the long-time Diamondback was traded to the Oakland A’s. The A's did try to retain him, but not at that price.
Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, is basically giving the Red Sox an Adrian Beltre-type pillow deal so Drew can re-establish his value. The lefthanded hitter does give the Red Sox some balance in what had become a top-heavy righthanded lineup.
Drew hit 21 homers in 2008 for the D-Backs so he does have some power.
With the signing, the Red Sox will have paid the Drew family $80 million before the year is over.
As for Napoli, a report by Will Carroll of Sports Illustrated indicates the Sox are trying to reduce the deal from three to two years to protect against the deterioration of a physical situation (believe to be a hip). So far, no resolution. The Red Sox have kept communication with Nick Swisher and Adam LaRoche should the deal fall through.
Shortstop Stephen Drew has agreed to a one-year deal with the Red Sox, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported on Monday.
Drew, the 29-year-old brother of former Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew, spent last season with the Diamondbacks and Athletics, appearing in 79 games and batting .223 with a .657 OPS and seven home runs.
Drew, 29, agreed to a $9.5 million deal, according to a tweet from Heyman. He suffered a serious ankle injury in the 2011 season in a play at home plate while playing for the Diamondbacks. He was traded to the A’s last August.
Kevin Youkilis, signed to a one-year, $12 million deal by the Yankees, has no idea whether Yankee fans will embrace him immediately after being a Red Sox so long.
"You can't control what people are going to think about you. All you can control is what you're doing in the game. I think over the years I've had a lot of Yankee fans come up to me and say 'Hey, I'm a huge Yankee fan but I like the way you play the game.' So, I think I don't change the way," he said Friday. "I'm going to play as hard as I can every day and I think a lot of fans will appreciate that. So, that's all I can bring to the table and I hope that the Yankee fans enjoy watching me play."
He mentioned his relationship with Joba Chamberlain, who often threw at Youkilis:
"All that stuff that goes on on a baseball field is just things that happen. It's not a big deal to me. If it was that big of a deal, I wouldn't be signing with the Yankees. But I don't think it's that big of a deal. And I think a lot of is made out to be a lot bigger with the media and the fans. You know, there has been plenty of times where things have happened on the field where if you look at my stats I've been hit 99 times. So there's been multiple people that have hit me with pitches. I think Joba's only it me once, this year. But it's not a big deal. We're teammates now. We have the same goals. Going to spring training and trying to win. They fortunately got to win the AL East title which I'm looking to do again as a Yankee."
Any hesitation with joining Yankees?
"I think at first it was kind of different to think after all these years playing with the Red Sox, it's just a different rivalry and different things you witness on the other side, I mean at first it was like wow. It was more of a shock at first of like 'Oh my God, I never thought I'd have the Yankees call me and want me on their team.' But after just going through and thinking it over, it really helped me when I had my charity event in Boston. There are so many great Red Sox fans and I'm sure we've actually had Yankee fans in the Boston area that come out. But everyone was gracious and told me that hey, we really wish you the best and that meant a lot.
"There's a lot of great Red Sox fans and they just wanted the best for me going forward. I know there's going to be some that don't like this decision. You can't worry about that. For me personally, I just want to go out and play and win, and I'm very fortunate now that I got traded to the White Sox, another historic franchise too. So now I'll have the opportunity to play on three unbelievable franchises in the game of baseball.
"But we talked it over and we just thought it was an exciting opportunity to play there. Boston, it will always be a home for me there because it was such a great time. But unfortunately, times change. I didn't play up to my capabilities up there last year and there's a great young player Will Middlebrooks that deserves to play. So you've got move on.
"So, I wish the Boston Red Sox success, only that in those 19 games they don't have success against us, and finish below us in the AL East standings."
How will the Fenway crowd react when the Yankes come to Fenway on July 19?
"The funny thing is you know the whole when people chant Youk at Fenway it sounds the same as Yankee Stadium when I get booed. So, they always had fun with that," he said.
The Red Sox officially announced their minor league staffs for the 2013 season, including the hiring of Triple-A skipper Gary DiSarcina and the promotion of Darren Fenster to be the team's Gulf Coast League manager.
DiSarcina rejoins the Red Sox after working in the Los Angeles Angels organization. He had previously spent five years with the Sox as a consultant, minor league manager, and infield coordinator.
Fenster had been the GCL Red Sox' hitting coach in 2012.
Here are the staffs:
Manager - Gary DiSarcina
Pitching coach - Rich Sauveur
Hitting coach - Dave Joppie
Athletic trainer - Jon Jochim
Manager - Kevin Boles
Pitching coach - Bob Kipper
Hitting coach - Rich Gedman
Athletic trainer - Brandon Henry
Manager - Billy McMillon
Pitching coach - Kevin Walker
Hitting coach - Nelson Paulino
Athletic trainer - David Herrera
Manager - Carlos Febles
Pitching coach - Paul Abbott
hitting coach - Tim Hyers
Athletic trainer - Mackenzie Zabbo
Manager - Bruce Crabbe
Pitching coach - Walter Miranda
Hitting coach - Noah Hall
Gulf Coast (Rookie)
Manager - Darren Fenster
Pitching coach - Dick Such
Hitting coach - U.L. Washington
Coach - Dave Tomlin
Coach - Tom Kotchman
Athletic trainer - Mauricio Elizondo
Dominican Summer (Rookie)
Manager - Jose Zapata
Pitching coach - Amaury Telemaco
Pitching coach - Oscar Lira
Coach - Junior Zamora
Coach - Wilton Veras
Coach - Aly Gonzalez
Coaching assistant - Claudio Sanchez
Athletic trainer - Guillermo Hinojosa
Strength and conditioning coach - Antonio Diaz
The Red Sox have their pitcher.
Just a couple of hours after Ben Cherington said the Sox "were engaged" with a free-agent pitcher and after our report this morning that a deal was close, we've been able to confirm a FoxSports.com report that the Sox have agreed to terms with veteran Ryan Dempster on a 2-year, $26.5 million deal.
The deal is pending a physical.
Two general managers had told me this morning that they thought the Red Sox would land Dempster and were willing to go a third year either through an option or straight deal. All indications are they didn't have to go to a third year. Dempster had turned the Red Sox down on a 2-year, $25 million deal last week.
Now comes the issue of how will Dempster do in the American League?
The feeling is Dempster will have more problems against good American League lineups.
"The Red Sox are aware of this, and will certainly try to manage who he pitches against if possible," one National League general manager said.
The Sox needed someone who could give them between 180 and 200 innings and Dempster fits that.
Sox general manager Ben Cherington said at a press conference today to announce Shane Victorino's signing, "We’re engaged on a pitcher, but that’s all I can say at this point. We’re still working on a number of things."
Cherington added, "We feel we’re further ahead than we were when we left Nashville. We’re talking to free agents and working through some trade options. We’re not ready to comment on any specific player or trade scenario. We’re working on a number of things. We’ll see where it leads us."
Asked about obtaining a pitcher who can throw 200 innings, Cherington said, "We struggled in that area for different reasons. One of the things we’ve been lacking is reliability and someone who can be a reliable and durable part of the rotation. That is something that we’ve focused on this offseason and haven’t executed anything yet. Hopefully we can do that. We feel like we need to go into 2013 with more starting pitching depth we have right now. Hopefully we’ll be able to add somebody."
It’s probably what the Red Sox should have done. They should have made a splash and signed Josh Hamilton, one of the best players on Earth, warts and all. But the Angels, who have agreed to terms with Hamilton on a five-year, $125 million deal, have swept in and taken the best free agent.
The Red Sox couldn’t have done that?
Instead the Red Sox will have Shane Victorino in right field. No knock against Victorino, who presented himself well at his Red Sox press conference Thursday.
He’s a high-energy player, sort of the Dustin Pedroia of the outfield, good character guy and all that. But five years for Hamilton is a great deal. It was an affordable deal for the Red Sox and not the seven- or eight-year commitments they were trying to stay away from.
But they chose to stick to their plan of good value players at lower cost and years and we’ll see how that turns out.
“Shane fits perfectly into our short- and longer-term plan,” Cherington said. “He’s been a big part of great teams. He’s a guy that can do a lot of things on the baseball field. A great defender, a great baserunner, hitter from both sides of the plate, and one of the highest-energy players in the game.
Hamilton is no slouch when it comes to energy either. He's one of the best five-tool players in the game and should continue to be that. While the Angels might have gone overboard on Albert Pujols' 10-year deal last offseason, they made a very good deal this time around.
Not a bad outfield - Hamilton, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo.
"I understand the question," Cherington said when asked about the topic at today's press conference to announce Shane Victorino's official signing. "It's a situation where we’re working through some things in regard to the player. Until every aspect of agreement is resolved, we’re not in position to comment publicly or announce anything. We’re still working through some issues. That’s all I can say at this point."
Major league sources indicate that the language issues are related to a medical situation and that it involves the leg or hip area or both. Under former medical director Thomas Gill, who is now strictly the New England Patriots' medical director, he always insisted on contractual language to protect the team. He did it with John Lackey, J.D. Drew and with Jason Bay, who declined and signed with the Mets.
The Drew language took almost five weeks to resolve. That protected the team in case Drew had a shoulder ailment, which would have voided the final year of the contract. That never happened. However, the clause did protect the Red Sox in Lackey's case where Lackey had Tommy John surgery. If Lackey is an effective pitcher, he will have to pitch a sixth year for the Red Sox at the minimum salary.
Cherington would not comment on whether the language was medical.
"I don’t want to comment specifically. Every time we sign a free agent to a guaranteed deal there are a number of things you have to come to agreement on, including contract language, terms, and money, and then there’s a physical with all these agreements. Until all those things are done and agreed upon, I can’t comment on it. All I can say is we continue to talk and there’s that consistent dialogue and work to resolve the issues that are outstanding. I can't classify it more than that.
"Our hope is to be able to resolve the issues and again we’re working on it. There’s nothing else I can say about it," said Cherington, who also indicated there's no timetable associated with when it needs to be resolved.
Cherington said he's still looking to improve the team and may be looking at another first base option if this doesn't get resolved.
Energy, character, and playoff experience were the main talking points as the Red Sox introduced outfielder Shane Victorino to the media Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park. Sox general manager Ben Cherington praised Victorino's versatility both on and off the field.
"He's been a big part of great teams," said Cherington. "He's a guy who can do a lot of things on the baseball field: Great defender, great baserunner, hitter from both sides of the plate, and one of the highest energy guys in the game. We're thrilled to add him to our team and to our clubhouse."
Mentioning the team's tradition, Victorino called Fenway Park one of his favorite places to play as an opponent. He said he was "ecstatic" to call Boston home for the next three years. On the team's recent clubhouse turmoil and last-place finish in 2012, Victorino said he hoped to be part of the solution.
"The last couple years has been definitely tough for the Boston organization," said Victorino. "At the end of the day we look beyond that now. We need to look forward to 2013 and being that organization that we can be. The game of baseball is the game of baseball. It happens sometimes like that and you can't put a finger on it."
Victorino said he did not need to be sold hard on coming to Boston.
"There was no convincing," said Victorino. "It's Boston. That in itself says it all. It's the Red Sox.
"I look at the chemistry on this team... I look at the makeup of this team. This is one of those things we can turn around. That's the goal. We don't want to be known as the team that didn't make the playoffs."
Victorino signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Sox. He has primarily played center field in his big league career (762 games), but he is slated to start in right field as Jacoby Ellsbury mans center field for the Red Sox. Victorino won three consecutive gold gloves for the Phillies from 2008 to 2010.
"I did the same thing when I went to LA," Victorino said of moving to right field. "People talked about how I should be the center fielder going there. I always look at it as, 'I'm going to help this team win'. I came in as a right fielder. If you speak to [Phillies manager] Charlie Manuel you can ask him, he thinks I was the best right fielder who ever played.
"Don't get me wrong, I love center field, I want to be a center fielder, but I play right. I'm excited for the opportunity. I might wrap myself around that pole, but if I've got to go get the ball I've got to go get it."
The 32-year-old Victorino set a career-high with 39 stolen bases in 154 games for the Phillies and Dodgers last season. He ranks second among major league players with 46 triples since 2009.
We may soon get more details on the Mike Napoli holdup. Napoli has had injury issues surrounding his legs and hip and that may be where the Red Sox want some language protection.
The team continues to look for pitching, focusing on Ryan Dempster, but also in on Kyle Lohse, Anibal Sanchez, and Edwin Jackson.
The Chicago Cubs claimed Rosario, a hard-throwing reliever who has changed teams four different times.
The Sox roster is now at 38.
The Sox have been trying to work out language (best guess is medical language) in Mike Napoli’s contract the past few days in order to solidify a 3-year, $39 million deal. Shane Victorino reportedly had his physical today and could be introduced to Boston media Thursday. That’s two spots. The Sox would then need one more to get Koji Uehara on the roster as well.
The 27-year-old Rosario has had quite a ride.
The Red Sox claimed him off waivers from Miami in October, designated him for assignment in November, worked out a deal with the A’s for right-hander Graham Godfrey when he didn’t get through waivers and then got him back on waivers when the A’s couldn’t fit him on their 40-man.
It seems everyone is trying to outright Rosario because he has a great arm, but there seems very little room on 40-man rosters these days.
The Red Sox need a starter desperately so they appear to be going all out to get 35-year-old righthander Ryan Dempster, who pitched two splendid games against them last season allowing no earned runs over 13-2/3 innings.
Dempster turned down a two-year, $25-million deal from Boston last week and now his agent is back with the Red Sox trying to land a bigger deal.
Two general managers around the game feel the Red Sox may have a good shot at landing Dempster. As one said, “They’re overpaying for shorter term. The team that gives him three at market or close to market will get him, but the Red Sox may hike up the average annual value on two years and get it done that way.”
Is Dempster worth it?
The way he pitched with the Cubs, yes. The way he pitched for the Rangers, no.
He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA for the Cubs and was truly an ace. He was 7-3 with a 5.09 ERA for the Rangers in 12 starts.
He had trouble, however, against good American League lineups. The Angels ate him up in three starts. He allowed nine hits and eight runs in 4-2/3 innings in one start; six hits and five runs over 3-1/3 innings in another; and seven hits and our runs in 5-2/3 innings in a third.
The Yankees beat him up for nine hits and eight runs over six innings. The A’s got him for six hits and five runs over three innings.
The Rangers have not made a big effort to re-sign him.
Some scouts believe he’s a National League pitcher. His interleague record (and he’s only spent a half-season of his career in the AL) is 11-15 with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.465 WHIP.
Yet he’s a workhorse, who for four straight years pitched 200 or more innings for the Cubs. Previous to that, he threw 200-plus innings for the Marlins for three straight years.
He’ll be 36 May 3, which means he’ll pitch the majority of the season at that age. Pitchers can pitch with age. Hiroki Kuroda is doing swell at 38. Andy Pettitte is still good at 40.
A newly acquired Red Sox player usually comes to Boston for a physical and officially signs the contract. Then, the player is introduced at a Fenway Park press conference.
It seems like for days now the Red Sox have been on the verge of an announcement that Mike Napoli has been signed to a three-year, $39 million deal, but none has come.
The delay has given rise to speculation that there's a hang-up or snag which FoxSports.com speculated on Tuesday night.
No Red Sox official, or Napoli himself, has returned text messages on the subject.
It was confirmed that Napoli did come in for a physical so perhaps it's just a matter of a doctor clearing the deal. Is there something they need to double-check? Napoli suffered from a quad injury last season. He's also had shoulder surgery in the past.
Shane Victorino, who agreed to a similar deal as Napoli, was scheduled to come into Boston from his home in Hawaii Wednesday for his physical.
It may be the Red Sox want to unveil both at the same time.
There are also roster considerations. The Red Sox are at 39 so they could add Napoli, but they also have to make room for Victorino. That means somebody has to go from the 40-man roster.
We'll see if it's that simple.
Gary DiSarcina will be announced as Pawtucket’s new manager at an 11 a.m. press conference Friday at McCoy Stadium.
DiSarcina, a Billerica native who resides in Plymouth, recently received a promotion in with the Angels and would have been a special assistant to Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto.
"It was a great opportunity I just couldn't pass up," DiSarcina said. "The Red Sox asked permission to speak to me and Jerry (DePoto) could have turned them down. But he let me speak to them and we came away with an agreement during the Winter Meetings in Nashville."
DiSarcina was a manager of Boston's at Single A team in Lowell for three years and also managed team Italy. He is also a former NESN color analyst and former major league shortstop for the Angels.
First Ellsbury. I find it amusing that so many people want Ellsbury traded. I remember suggesting that many times and getting feedback like “Stop picking on Jacoby!” Or, “You’re driving him out of town!”
Have a Submit your question here to be considered for the next edition of Ask Nick.
Even after he returned from his injury last season, he wasn’t nearly the player he was in 2011. Why do you think the Red Sox play up Jackie Bradley Jr. so much? They know Ellsbury is gone after this season. If they could trade him, they would.
There were rumors that the Sox could have had a Cliff Lee deal for him, but Philly evidently backed off. Maybe as things shake out in free agency, there’s a team out there who missed out on a center fielder willing to take the chance on him. Scott Boras told me he and Ben Cherington will get together in January to see if there’s a deal to work out.
As for the KC deal, I don’t think Boston has the pitching depth to do what Tampa Bay did. The equivalent of James Shields and Wade Davis was probably Jon Lester and Felix Doubront. But Shields is a better pitcher than Lester, so not sure KC would have done it anyway.
On to the mailbag:
Do you think the Sox could have made a similar deal for Wil Myers as the Rays did? I don't like the Victorino signing. Do you?
Lennart, Wallingford, Conn.
Well, they’d probably have to deal Lester and Doubront. They don’t have the pitching depth the Rays do. As for Victorino, I’d rather have taken Ichiro for a year.
Why not trade Ellsbury for R.A. Dickey heads up seeing they're both in their walk year, sign Hamilton for three years and $80 million, and you would have a contender if the three other pitchers pitch up to expectations.
Ralph, Wallingford, Conn.
I don’t think the Mets want a player they can’t sign.
Can we face the fact that 2013 is going to be a nothing year for the Red Sox? I think it will be an extended spring training. With that said, it may be a good time to trade Ellsbury and stock up on young talent (a la Tampa Bay and Myers). What do you think?
I want to see what the rest of the moves are before saying 2013 will be “nothing.” They need pitching and until I see a strong pitcher added to the mix, I can’t see this team making the playoffs. It’s a great time to trade Ellsbury, but it’s tough to do. Teams need to know they can sign him long term. And nobody knows that.
The closer position was horrible. Do the Sox really trust Andrew Bailey? Why not go after Rafael Soriano, a great closer, especially with Mariano Rivera coming back to the Yankees?
Ben, Kensington, Md.
I think one of the reasons they signed Koji Uehara was their concern for late in the game. I think they have the pieces in place. Hard to judge Bailey when he returned from surgery. He’s a two-time All-Star, so he can’t be that bad. Let’s see what happens this year. It would be a shot in the arm if they could straighten out Bard. They do have Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Uehara, Clayton Mortenson, Mark Melancon and Bailey, so I think they have some good arms there.
For more Q&A, click the Full Entry button.FULL ENTRY
This is perhaps the most critical area of the team and arguably the biggest need they have. It was subpar last season and perhaps Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and a returning John Lackey will collectively improve it. But the Sox need some outside help. Ideally they need a top of the rotation starter, but it appears that ship has sailed.
Remaining top free agents include Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, and Edwin Jackson. We hear the Red Sox are at least in on these guys. To what degree?
The Red Sox would seem to have to break their pattern of 3-year, $39 million deals to obtain one of them.
Otherwise they’re looking at possible deals.
The Cubs would still move Matt Garza. While he’s on schedule to start the season after an elbow injury, it may be that teams would have to watch him in spring training before executing a deal. What Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would want in return is what could nix things. The Cubs are trying to build up their young talent depth and there are players – Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. - the Red Sox just won’t part with.
The Marlins would likely deal Ricky Nolasco for the right price. Again, a middle-to end-of-the rotation starter. There’s always Gavin Floyd with the White Sox, though the Red Sox could shoot higher for John Danks. The Dodgers, who have hit the jackpot by signing Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, will make lefty Chris Capuano available. The Red Sox tried to deal for him during the September collapse of 2011.
The West Springfield, Mass., native had a decent year for the Dodgers, going 12-12 with a 3.72 ERA and a very good 1.22 WHIP in 198 1/3 innings.
The Mets would deal the top two pitchers in their rotation – Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and veteran lefty Johan Santana. The Red Sox have talked to the Mets about Dickey. The Mets would have to eat the majority of Santana’s $25.5 million salary (and $5.5 million buoyout) to deal him and they appear willing to do that.
The Indians could consider deals for Justin Masterson or Ubaldo Jimenez, but it would be costly.
Otherwise, the Sox will have to consider free agents like Shaun Marcum, Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Chien Ming Wang, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Villanueva, and Derek Lowe types. It doesn’t appear Ryan Dempster or Brett Myers want to (or in Myers’ case can) pitch in Boston.
There are in-house choices like Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves, Junichi Tazawa, and Andrew Miller.
The Red Sox have trade bait in Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but so far the Salty market hasn’t been great and the Ellsbury market is difficult because of his signability problem.
The Red Sox on Monday re-acquired righthanded pitcher Sandy Rosario, whom they traded to the A's on Nov. 28.
Boston claimed Rosario off waivers. He was designated for assignment by the A's on Nov. 30, two days after they acquired him for righthanded pitcher Graham Godfrey.
The Red Sox originally acquired the 27-year-old Rosario off waivers from the Marlins in October.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano doesn’t play golf. But he attends the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic every year to support a man he has come to regard like an older brother.
Cano readily admits that he has no personal enmity for any of the Red Sox players. The rivalry exists more in the hearts of the fans than it does on the field. Cano would even happily welcome former Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis to the Yankees.
Youkilis, who was traded to the White Sox in June, is a free agent and weighing offers from the Yankees and Indians. New York has $12 million on the table for one season, Cleveland $18 million for two years.
The Indians offer a chance for Youkilis to play for Terry Francona again. He also is from Ohio, having been born in Cincinnati. But choosing the Yankees means having a better chance at returning to the postseason.
With Alex Rodriguez expected to miss at least half the coming season because of a left hip injury that will require surgery, Youkilis could play a significant role with the Yankees.
Seeing Youkilis in pinstripes would be strange. But Cano hopes that will be the choice Youkilis makes.
“Everything stays on the field. I’ve gotten a chance to talk to him and he’s a nice guy. I’ve had a chance to meet him at the All-Star Game, and he always seemed cool in talking with everybody,” Cano said. “There’s some guys that, the way they play the game, you say this guy is not a nice person. But he’s a great person.”
Youkilis has antagonized the Yankees over the years with his aggressive style and it’s probably no coincidence that their pitchers have hit him 17 times, five times last season alone.
Joba Chamberlain sailed two fastballs over Youkilis’ head in 2007 and was suspended for two games. Youkilis has to be restrained when he stepped toward the mound in 2008 after Chamberlin threw a pitch up and in that sent him sprawling in the dirt.
Cano laughed at the idea of Youkilis sharing a clubhouse with Chamberlain.
“It would be nice,” he said. “But those kind of things, I don’t think [Chamberlain] ever hit him on purpose. I would tell you that he would be the first guy who would be happy to see him on our team because we know he’s the kind of guy who would help us a lot because he’s been in a situation like that before. He can hit and he plays the game the right way.”
Cano will be a free agent after the season. At 30, he is in the prime of his career and stands as one of the best second basemen in the game. He also has enlisted Scott Boras as his agent.
Already there is talk that Cano will not give the Yankees any discount and will be difficult to sign.
“I’ve never been in that position before. I hear guys say it isn’t fun when you’re going to be a free agent. But I’ve got another year and I’ve got to go out there and perform and help the team win a championship again,” he said.
“You always want to stay with your people. But this is a game and it’s a business. It’s a business and we’ll see what happens.”
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — The David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic featured a mini-reunion of the 2004 Red Sox.
From left, there's Terry Francona, Ortiz, Kevin Millar, Tim Wakefield, Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon.
The tournament was today. There was a pairings party last night hosted by Millar and Sean Casey. Millar introduced himself to the crowd by saying, "I'm the guy who took the walk."
You know what happened then.
The event benefits the David Ortiz Children's Fund. Check out their web site to learn more about the work David and his board are doing to help sick children here in the Dominican and back in New England.
It was fun last night to talk baseball with some of the '04 Sox. Also had a chance to meet Shawn Thornton of the Bruins, who is a tremendously nice guy.
It was fun to speak to gold medal gymnast Aly Raissman of Needham. She said she is planning to compete in the 2016 Games in Rio. David's event gets a lot of support from celebrities in and out of sports.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Johnny Damon was asked to return to Fenway Park late in the season for a celebration honoring the 2004 championship team. He said Friday that he was willing to attend if the Red Sox put him on the roster.
“They really wanted me up there for the eight-year anniversary,” Damon said. “I was like, ‘Eight years sounds weird. If I can play, suit me up. I’m still in shape. I’ll be there.’ But they couldn’t adjust the roster and I didn’t go up. It would have been classic.”
Damon, 39, was released by the Indians in August after hitting .222.
Damon said he would “enjoy life” and retire if a team does not sign him before spring training.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Pedro Martinez is comfortably retired, having turned down all entreaties to pitch again since he lost the final game of the 2009 World Series.
He will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in two years and surely will be elected on the first ballot after what was a brilliant career. That he pitched at the height of what has come to be known as the “Steroids Era” only enhances what Martinez accomplished on the mound.
“I never had a complaint. I don’t have it. I think I did it the best way possible,” he said on Friday. “What would have happened if I had a level playing field? It’s something to be guessed. This is the same body that you saw, except for a couple of more pounds.”
Martinez offered no firm opinion on the Hall of Fame candidacies of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, pointing out they had impressive statistics before “everything exploded.”
“It’s really difficult for me to choose either one. I would have loved to face Roger Clemens when he was Roger Clemens with nothing. I would have loved to face him all the time.
“I was clean. I know I was clean. That’s all I can say. I was out there and they got the best out of me. Beat me or not, that was the best I had, and clean. I wish it were the same way for every one of them.”
Martinez said he often pitched while hurting, particularly at the end of his career.
“In my last years with the Mets, I was pushed too far. I was going too far with the pain. I did it naturally, I rehabbed naturally. I went through struggles a lot naturally. Today I can actually sit back, relax and enjoy the flight because I did it clean and my integrity is right where it belongs.”
Martinez is now devoted to his family and charitable causes. He spoke Friday at an event to promote a celebrity golf tournament hosted by former teammate David Ortiz that raises money for pediatric care.
But when the time is right — and it could be soon — Martinez plans to join the Red Sox front office in some capacity and learn baseball from a new angle.
“That’s what I want to do, I want to be there,” Martinez said. “To get close to Ben Cherington and [Larry] Lucchino, learn a little bit and see if I like the office or if I like more on the field.
“I’m just going to get my feet wet and learn and then decide what I’m really going to do.”
See the Globe tomorrow for more from Pedro, including what he feels was his most special moment in Boston.
The Pawtucket Red Sox will host their Annual Christmas Party at McCoy Stadium on Saturday from 11 a.m. — 2 p.m.
The event is free. Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway will make a special appearance along with PawSox Governors’ Cup champions Tony Thomas and Jeremy Hazelbaker.
Refreshments will be served and the Governors’ Cup trophy will be on display and available for photos.
The first 300 fans who either bring a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots or make a $5 donation to the PawSox Charitable Foundation will receive a free personalized snow globe featuring a photo of themselves (or their family) with the Governors’ Cup.
Individual game tickets for all Pawtucket Red Sox regular-season home games in 2013 will go on sale at McCoy at 10 a.m. The box office will be open until 2 p.m.
Tickets will also be available on-line at www.pawsox.com. Starting on Monday, tickets can be obtained by calling (401) 724-7300.
If you've never been to McCoy for a game, you should go. It's a great place to watch a game, it's a fun place to bring kids and it's affordable. They do a great job there.
The Red Sox today acquired righthander Graham Godfrey from the Oakland Athletics to complete the November 28 trade of righthander Sandy Rosario. Godfrey has been assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Godfrey, 28, spent most of last season with Triple-A Sacramento and was named to the Pacific Coast League’s mid-season all-star team.
"I'm thankful for everything the A's and their fans have done for me. I'm excited for change and a new opportunity with the Red Sox," Godfrey wrote on Twitter.
Godfrey was 9-2 with one save, a 3.29 ERA and 60 strikeouts over 104 innings. He was listed with the best control among PCL pitchers by Baseball America in its 2012 poll of managers.
Godfrey started the season with Oakland. He made five appearances (four starts) for the Athletics, going 0-4 with a 6.43 ERA. He is 1-6, 5.09 ERA in 10 major league appearances.
Godfrey was a 34th round draft pick by Toronto in 2006. He was traded to Oakland for Marco Scutaro before the 2008 season.
Godfrey has a 4.00 ERA in 149 minor league appearances. All but 20 have been starts.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Like everyone else interested in the rebuilding of the last-place Red Sox, David Ortiz has been following what moves general manager Ben Cherington has been making.
Big Papi is pleased. But he is waiting for more.
Ortiz said Thursday night that he is excited about the additions of Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino.
They each agreed to three-year deals, Napoli on Monday and Victorino on Tuesday.
“We’re getting good players and that’s what it’s all about,” Ortiz said. “That’s how you win games. It’s going to be fun to watch [Napoli]. A power hitter, a righthander, we haven’t had that in a while. We had Cody [Ross] this year, but it’s going to be fun to watch Napoli hitting some balls over the Green Monster.”
Ortiz expects that he will personally benefit from having Napoli in the middle of the lineup.
“In the American League there’s a lot of good lefthanded pitching,” he said. “We had a lot of lefthanders in the lineup. You need that [righthanded] help. They won’t be putting too many lefties against us.
“Power is hard to find right now. When you get a power hitter you have to keep him today’s day and Napoli is one of those guys. You need guys who are game-changers and he’s one of them. That’s good to hear.”
Ortiz also approved of signing Victorino.
“That’s my boy,” he said. “I’m very happy that he’s going to come in and join us. He’s going to be a guy people are going to love in Boston. People are going to love him. He goes at it hard. He’s got a lot of adrenalin going on. I love that. It gets me going.”
In general, Ortiz feels better about the state of the team.
“I think we’re on our way there,” he said. “Still, we’ve got some other things to do. I think that’s a good way to start things. There’s a lot of guys out there still that I’m sure they’re going to be chasing.
“I’ll tell you guys, you’re going to see some things happen.”
Ortiz is hosting a celebrity golf tournament this weekend to raise funds for pediatric care in New England and the Dominican Republic.
Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Barry Larkin and Juan Marichal will be on hand along with former Red Sox players Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon, Tim Wakefield, Kevin Millar and Sean Casey.
Robinson Cano, Luis Tiant, Hanley Ramirez and gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman also are on Ortiz’s guest list.
The event has raised $750,000 over the last four years.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Former Red Sox star Johnny Damon, who played for Thailand in a recent World Baseball Classic qualifying round, said Thursday night he would welcome a chance to play in 2013 in the right situation.
Damon, 39, hit .222 for the Indians in 64 games last season before being released.
"I liked being home last season with my kids. But I'm in shape and if I could play, I would," he said. "We'll see what happens. I still think I have something left if I am used the right way."
Damon played 18 years in the majors with seven teams. He hit .284 with a .785 OPS and won two World Series rings.
Damon and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor are the only players in history with at least 2,700 hits, 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 home runs and 400 stolen bases.
Damon is attending the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic this weekend.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is scheduled to join Boston.com readers for a live chat Friday at 11 a.m. from the Dominican Republic, where he is hosting the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic, a fund-raiser for the David Ortiz Children's Fund.
The David Ortiz Children's Fund provides critical pediatric healthcare to children in New England and the Dominican Republic.
Mets knuckleballer and 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey was named the recipient of the 23d Tony Conigliaro Award, the Red Sox announced Thursday.
The award goes to a player "who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage that were trademarks of Tony C."
Dickey was a minor league journeyman with occasional major league appearances before going 11-9 for the Mets in 2010. He was 8-13 in 2011, and then had a breakout season in 2012 at age 37, going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA.
The award will be presented by the Conigliaro family at the Boston Baseball Writers Association of America's annual banquet Jan. 24.
The Red Sox began the award in 1990 in memory of Conigliaro, a former Red Sox player who died that February after an eight-year struggle to recover from a heart attack that left him severely handicapped. Major League teams submit nominations and an independent 12-person panel does the voting.
Globe baseball writer says the Red Sox filled holes with solid players without blowing their budget.
The Red Sox have acquired minor leaguer Kyle Kaminska, a righthanded pitcher, from the Pirates to complete the Nov. 28 trade of pitcher Zach Stewart, the team has announced. Kaminska was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The 24-year-old Kaminska was 9-4 with one save, a 4.19 ERA, and 66 strikeouts with 11 walks allowed in 81 2/3 innings over 40 appearances (four starts) between the Pirates and Marlins systems last season.
The Red Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Koji Uehara, according to a league source.
The 37-year-old righthander had a 1.75 ERA and a 0.639 WHIP in 37 games for Texas last season. He struck out 43 and walked three. The deal is pending a physical.
The Red Sox have coveted Uehara for years, and he projects as a late-inning option for them.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday he had tried to re-sign Uehara before he decided to accept Boston’s offer.
‘‘We would have liked to have him back,’’ Daniels said. ‘‘We made an offer early in the process.’’
Material from an Associated Press report was included.
The Red Sox added one player -- at least temporarily -- and lost two through the first seven picks of the Rule 5 draft Thursday morning.
With the seventh selection, the Red Sox chose Nationals second baseman Jeff Kobernus. According to WEEI.com's Alex Speier, Kobernus will be dealt to the Tigers for minor league infielder/outfielder Justin Henry.
A second-round pick in 2009 out of Cal, the 24-year-old Kobernus hit .282 with a .658 OPS in 82 games at Double A Harrisburg last season. He stole 42 bases in 53 attempts.
With the No. 1 overall selection, the Houston Astros selected relief pitcher Josh Fields, who despite an excellent 2012 season between Portland and Pawtucket was left off the Red Sox' 40-man roster and thus was left unprotected for Thursday's draft.
Three picks later, the Twins selected righthander Ryan Pressly.
Fields, a hard-throwing 27-year-old righthander, had a 2.01 ERA in 42 appearances between Double A and Triple A last season, with 78 strikeouts in 58 innings. He did not allow a run in 10 appearances at Pawtucket.
A former first-round pick of the Mariners in the 2008 draft, he was acquired by the Red Sox in 2011 in the Erik Bedard deal.
Pressly, 23, had a 2.93 ERA at Portland in 14 appearances last season, but struggled at Single A Salem (6.28 ERA in 20 appearances, including 12 starts). He throws in the upper-90s and progressed after converting to the bullpen.
Players selected in the Rule 5 draft must remain on the drafting team's 25-man roster all season or else be offered back to their previous team.
In the Triple A portion of the draft, the Red Sox selected Jack McGeary, a 23-year-old lefthander out of the Nationals organization who starred at Roxbury Latin. Here is a profile the Globe's John Powers wrote on him in 2009.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he's made progress "on one thing" which hasn't been reported in the media and his choice for the Pawtucket manager, but was not willing to announce it as he left the winter meetings this morning.
"We spent last night working on a couple of of things but nothing we're ready to announce," Cherington said. "We made progress on one thing but its not quite teed up yet."
Asked whether it was a free-agent or trade and Cherington said, "Can't say but sometime soon I can say."
Cherington said he's had the need to add a lefthanded hitter or two who can play first base and the outfield.
"We've been trying to add to team without taking away from the team and keep our core of young talent in place. We made some steps toward that but we have more work to do. We have to add more things. I guess it (Winter Meetings) was productive. We learned a lot and got some things done."
Cherington has added catcher David Ross, outfielder's Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli.
The biggest area of need - starting pitching - is still a work in progress.
"We've done more work on it, but nothing is close," he said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The annual Rule 5 Draft of veteran minor leaguers will be this morning. The Red Sox have the seventh pick if they care to use it.
Any player selected must remain on the major league roster all season or be offered back to his original team.
“Wouldn’t rule it out,” GM Ben Cherington said when asked if the Sox would pick a player. “We have done it in years past, we’ve taken Rule 5 guys and carried them. It’s a little tough in a place where you’re trying to win, trying to put the most developed 25-man roster out there.”
First baseman Chris McGuiness could interest the Sox. The 24-year-old lefthanded hitter was drafted by the Sox in 2009 and spent part of two seasons in the organization before being traded to Texas as part of the deal for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
He reached Double A last season and had an .840 OPS, McGuiness was then selected as the MVP of the Arizona Fall League.
Cubs righthander Nick Struck is considered a likely pick by scouts.
The Red Sox have several players they could lose. Righthanded reliever Josh Fields, 27, had 78 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings last season and walked only 18. He spent the majority of his season with Double A Portland.
Outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker hit .273 with an .807 OPS last season. He had 19 home runs and 36 steals.
“Wouldn’t be surprised,” Cherington said when asked if he expected the Sox to lose any players.
Once the Rule 5 Draft ends, the Winter Meetings will be over, too. Everybody will head home.
Globe baseball reporter Nick Cafardo reports on the Red Sox' acquisitions this week at the Winter Meetings and what lies ahead for the team in the offseason, including whether a trade of Jacoby Ellsbury is feasible.
NASHVILLE — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington met with the Boston media in his suite at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Wednesday afternoon.
A few floors below, agent Scott Boras was conducting his annual press briefing at the winter meetings.
For both men, Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was a topic of conversation.
The Red Sox agreed to terms with outfielder Shane Victorino on a three-year deal Tuesday, ostensibly to play right field. But Victorino has been a center fielder for much of his career and his presence gives the Red Sox the flexibility to trade Ellsbury, who will become a free agent after next season.
Major league sources told the Globe that the Sox were investigating trades and had spoken to several teams regarding Ellsbury. ESPN and other outlets reported much the same.
Those talks, apparently, were not fruitful. Because a day later, Cherington said trading Ellsbury was not in the plans.
“That’s not our intent. We’re expecting Jacoby to have a really good year in 2013 and be a huge part of what we’re doing,” he said. “You answer the phone and take the calls and listen to ideas. But our expectation is Jacoby will be here and be our center fielder.”
At the same time, Boras was asked whether Ellsbury might agree to sign an extension with a team if he were traded.
“I do what Jacoby Ellsbury tells me to do. I think Jacoby is focused on playing in Boston and seeing where things go after this year,” Boras said.
Boras said his intent was to speak to Cherington in January about a contract for the 2013 season.
“Until we’re told otherwise that’s the focus of it,” Boras said.
Cherington acknowledged that teams have inquired about players on the Red Sox roster.
“We have a number of guys who are really valued by other teams. So we’ve been asked about a number of guys,” he said. “We’re not looking to move guys off our roster. We’re looking to add talent to the roster, not move guys off at this point.
“We’ll see. You’ve gotta listen and learn and have the conversation. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t at least have the dialogue and gather information and see what other teams are interested in doing.”
Ellsbury is almost certain to test his value in the open market. Whether it’s now or during the season, the Red Sox will wrestle with the idea of whether to trade him.
“We’ve done plenty of deals with [Boras] before, free agent deals [and] guys that are here,” Cherington said. “I think it’s more specific to the player and the situation that [the player] is in.”
If the Red Sox were to trade Ellsbury now, Victorino could shift to center field. Then the Red Sox could sign another player for right field.Cherington said he met with a player while here. Major league sources said it was outfielder Josh Hamilton on Monday.
Cherington also kept the door open on the idea of retaining right fielder Cody Ross.
“Yeah, we’re open-minded about it. See where it goes,” he said. “I suppose every time you potentially add a player to any sort of significant commitment dollar-wise, it makes it a little bit tougher to add more. I don’t want to rule anything out. We’re still looking to improve the team.”
NASHVILLE — A large crowd of reporters gathered around Indians manager Terry Francona Wednesday afternoon. Within a few minutes, everybody was laughing.
Francona appeared relaxed as could be as he discussed returning to the dugout after spending a year with ESPN. He also seemed at peace with how his eight seasons ended with the Red Sox.
Francona left Boston in a fog of acrimony, upset with how the team collapsed at the end of the 2011 season and that he was blamed for it by ownership.
“That was tough, man. I don't care what city you're in. When you go 7-20, if you're the manager, you're wide open for criticism,” he said. “That's just the way it is.”
Francona said that while he was hurt by what happened, he didn’t want to be vindictive.
“I have too many people there that are too special. I was disappointed with the way it ended, and I'll probably always feel that way, but it doesn't mean it wasn't a great seven years and five months,” he said.
Francona felt stepping away from the game was something he needed.
“It's not necessarily the easiest thing in the world to tell yourself you need to do that, but it was, I think, really healthy for me,” he said. “I know I get back into it now feeling like I'm better prepared to do the job correctly because it's got to be almost 24 hours a day to do it right. At least I think so. I was pretty beaten up by the end of that last year.”
Then came the jokes. When asked about the Red Sox signing free agent outfielder Shane Victorino, a player the Indians wanted, Francona smiled.
“Bastards,” he said. “You know what, it's kind of hard to fault a guy like Shane Victorino for going to Boston. When guys get to be a free agent, they earn that right to go wherever they want, and it's a great baseball town.”
Francona was then asked about the Red Sox coaching staff.
“Being totally honest, I think Boston's biggest weakness is their manager,” he said, joking about his close friend John Farrell.
Then there was this zinger about evaluating the moves teams make in the offseason.
“As I found out the hard way, the team that wins the winter doesn't always win the season. Sometimes it makes you an analyst,” he said.
Francona also mentioned that he thought the 2008 Red Sox, who lost in the ALCS against the Rays, were the best team he managed. Josh Beckett’s injury cost them that series, Francona felt.
“Besides that one guy in the third row that used to scream at me, I thought Boston [was] a wonderful place. If you care about baseball, it's a wonderful place,” he said.
“Sometimes things happen in that city. You can't have all that good without having some of the bad, and I got caught up in it.”
Francona has a book coming out early next season (with the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy) and was asked what he thought the reaction to it would be.
“I don't know. I hope people want to buy it,” he said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn — Here's new Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino (and his son, Kingston) wearing a Red Sox hat at his charity golf tournament in Hawaii.
Victorino, who seems to love posting on Twitter, wrote that he woke up "proud to be a Red Sox."
You can debate whether signing Victorino was a good move. But at least the guy has a personality and seems excited to be playing for the Sox. That's more than could be said for some of the players who took up space on the roster the last few years.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Greetings from the Opryland Hotel, where I've gone about 12 hours without getting lost. It feels like an accomplishment.
It's Day 3 of the Winter Meetings. The Rule 5 draft will be Thursday morning and then everybody will clear out of town. The Red Sox have made a deal each day. Can they make it three in a row?
Their need now is starting pitching. There are two options:
Sign a free agent: The Red Sox, despite signing David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, are not remotely close to the luxury tax threshold. Their payroll (for luxury tax purposes) is approximately $138 million. That's well below the $178 million line.
The Sox can use their short-term, high-value model and offer three years and $39 million (or two years and $26 million) to one of the free agents. That won't get Zack Greinke or Anibal Sanchez. But it would get Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse or Brandon McCarthy.
That would be the easiest way to do it.
Make a trade: Think about all the trade chips the Sox have. Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway, Alfredo Aceves, Franklin Morales, Andrew Miller and Mark Melancon all could be moved. Plus Alex Wilson, Drake Britton and their other second-tier prospects.
The Sox can figure out of a mix of those players, led by Ellsbury, and get a starter. It's not going to be Felix Hernandez or Cliff Lee. Ellsbury will be a free agent after 2013 and has played in 51 percent of the games over the last three years. He has value but less than you probably think.
But the Sox could get Homer Bailey from the Reds or maybe one of the hot Atlanta prospects. Texas needs a center fielder and maybe Seattle, too. The White Sox need catching, as do plenty of other teams.
The Sox need to figure out whether the most value in Ellsbury is letting him play for them in 2013 or turning him into a starter. Know this: he will enter the free agent market after the season. He didn't hire Scott Boras as his agent to make a deal with the Sox. He hired Boras to find him him the best deal out there. Sure, that deal could be with the Sox. But once a player hits the market, anything can happen.
If the Braves were willing to give up 22-year-old Randall Delgado for Ellsbury, it would be tempting.
The Sox also could turn Salty and assorted parts into a pitcher, too.
Meanwhile the Sox also need a backup first baseman who can hopefully do some other things. And maybe a backup shortstop type.
Stay tuned. We'll have the updates.
The Red Sox landed Shane Victorino on Tuesday. That could mean a trade for Jacoby Ellsbury as the Sox search for pitching.
Nick Cafardo writes that the Sox are changing the face of their team.
The notebook has John Farrell addressing some issues with the Sox.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked about the Sox adding Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino.
“Napoli can hit the ball out of the ballpark, no doubt about it. He had a great year in 2011,” Girardi said. “Victorino is a guy that can play in the outfield, a switch hitter. He's very dangerous from the right side [and there are] lot of lefthanders in our league. They've improved their club, no doubt about it.”
• Ben Cherington said he is looking for a player who can back up Napoli at first base “and preferably someone who could do more than just that.”
• The Sox are among the teams interested in free agent starters Ryan Dempster and Kyle Lohse.
• Long-time Red Sox scout Buzzy Bowers was named the East Coast scout of the year by the Scout of the Year Foundation.
• Rangers manager Ron Washington on Napoli, whom he had for two seasons: “He's got a tremendous character. He's a winner. It's unfortunate that things didn't work out here, but we do wish him well in Boston.”
• Red Sox have signed RHP Anthony Carter to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Carter, 26, has spent seven seasons in the White Sox system, mostly as a reliever. He was in Triple A last season and made 39 appearances.
• Marco Scutaro got a three-year deal and $20 million from the Giants. Good for him. The best thing that ever happened to Marco was getting traded by the Sox to the Rockies. That led to him going to the Giants and now he has a ring and a new deal. And he is 37.
NASHVILLE, Tenn — Red Sox manager John Farrell fielded 10 questions from Toronto-based reporters during his scheduled interview session.
Farrell had to again defend his decision to leave the Blue Jays with a year left on his contract to join the Sox. Suffice it to say, Farrell is in for an angry reception when the Sox play in Toronto next season.
“Looking forward to it,” he said with a smile.
There was time to sneak in a few questions about the Red Sox:
On Mike Napoli: "We see him as a first baseman primarily, but with the ability to catch and to acclimate him to our pitchers in spring training. One of the things we would do, provided all this goes through, is that we would have him catch in spring training early on, but then certainly make sure that we've got enough reps at first base for not only him to feel comfortable there, but for us as well.”
On some injured players: Will Middlebrooks, he said, has no lingering effects from his broken right wrist while John Lackey will not be restricted in spring training after recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. “Spring training is going to tell us a lot about where John's at, and we fully expect him to be ready to go,” said Farrell.
David Ortiz is coming along with his strained right Achilles tendon. “Everything has progressed on schedule. I think he's due to come back to Boston sometime middle of this month to get another re-check,” Farrell said. “The overall prognosis of his rehab is to be ready for spring training.”
On Daniel Bard: “The separation of mental and fundamental is a great debate, what's going to come first. I think it's first and foremost that we get him in a position to command the baseball a little bit more regularly. Just in reviewing some video from last year versus a couple of years previous, there's some noticeable changes there just from a physical side.”
Farrell believes Bard changed his mindset when he became a starter and that affected the quality and velocity of his pitchers because he was too focused on going deeper into games.
“I think he tried to ‘pitch’ rather than be dominant with his stuff. So those are the angles that I would want, and I would both look to take with him and get him back to a more simplified, more power type of approach,” Farrell said.
On Alfredo Aceves: “Personally, I see him as a very dominant reliever late in the game. Whether we sit here today and fully define what that role is. I don't know if we're here to do that,” Farrell said. “There's a lot of discussion internally that he could still provide a depth starter for us or possibly a fifth starter. The one thing we have is a talented pitcher that can do some things physically that not many can do.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Red Sox, as you know, reached agreement with Shane Victorino on a three-year deal worth $37.5 million. But will he play right field or center field?
The Sox are not necessarily finished constructing their outfield according to major league sources. General manager Ben Cherington is considering the idea of trading center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury for a starting pitcher, playing Victorino in center field and signing another player for right field.
Cody Ross and Nick Swisher are among the free agent right fielders still available. The Sox, those same sources said, are telling free agents to remain available.
Cherington did not discount the idea of the Red Sox signing another outfielder.
“Wouldn’t rule out adding two outfielders to the mix,” he said. “We’ll see what’s attainable.”
When asked specifically about Ross, Cherington did not cross off the incumbent right fielder as a possibility for next season.
“As of now, we haven’t been able to find something that make sense. But the door is still open and we’ll see what else happens,” Cherington said. “He’s got other options, too. I don’t think I can add anything to that.”
Ross has been seeking a three-year deal.
Ellsbury will be a free agent after the 2013 season and has not considered signing a contract extension with the Red Sox. The Braves, Phillies, Rangers and several other teams need a center fielder.
The Sox also have a surplus of catchers, creating more trade possibilities.
The 32-year-old Victorino is a three-time Gold Glove winner in center field but has started 122 games in right field in his nine-year career. If Ellsbury remains on the team, Victorino would shift there.
That would give the Red Sox the flexibility of trading Ellsbury during the season and give them a replacement in center field if he bolts as a free agent.
The Red Sox believe in the promise of 22-year-old center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. But he has played only 61 games above the Double A level and may not be ready until 2014.
Cherington did not comment at length about signing Victorino, joking that he had to “speak in code” because it wasn’t finished.
But Victorino went on Twitter a few hours later and announced it while in his native Hawaii.
"Just agreed to join the Boston Red Sox in the middle of paradise,” he said. “Blessed! Can’t wait to yet to Boston!”
Red Sox players Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias and Jon Lester took to Twitter to welcome Victorino to the team.
“Congrats man,” Lester wrote. “Pumped to have you there behind me.”
The Cleveland Indians, according to sources, offered Victorino four years and $44 million. The Red Sox countered with a higher average annual salary and the appeal of playing in a larger market.
“There’s been a preference to try and keep the deal shorter. In order to do that, we may have to use a little bit of our yearly flexibility to get accomplished,” Cherington said.
Victorino, a switch hitter, is a career .275 hitter with 90 home runs and 201 stolen bases in his career. He was with the Phillies for parts of eight seasons, making the All-Star team twice.
See the Globe Wednesday for more on the signing.
The deal is pending a physical.
The Red Sox were the front-runners to land Victorino, but the Indians were also involved. Victorino, who just turned 32, is a nine-year veteran who hit .255 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs for the Phillies and Dodgers last season.
Victorino has played center field for much of his career, but would shift to right for the Red Sox.
He is a career .275 hitter with 90 home runs and 409 RBIs. He has played 1,076 major league games with the Padres, Phillies, and Dodgers.
NASHVILLE — Red Sox manager John Farrell just met with the media for about 25 minutes. He touched on a few topics in between answering questions from Toronto reporters about his leaving the Blue Jays.
In terms of right field, as the Red Sox move closer to a deal for Shane Victorino, Farrell said that defense is a major consideration for the Red Sox in that position and that they aren't necessarily looking for a typical right fielder.
Nick Cafardo is reporting that the Sox are the front-runners for Victorino, offering a three-year deal that could be worth $38 million.
Farrell said the Sox will have Mike Napoli catch more in spring training just to get to know the pitchers.
John Lackey is fully recovered from his Tommy John surgery and is being penciled in for a spot in the rotation.
Farrell likes Alfredo Aceves in a late-inning relief role. But there is still talk in the organization about whether he should start. So far, only Franklin Morales will get stretched out in spring training.
Farrell said there's a lot of work and discussion with Daniel Bard about getting him back to what he was. He believes the change in role changed how Bard approached pitching. Farrell said the hope is to get Bard back to being the pitcher he was in 2010 and 2011.
The Sox are waiting to hear what players will be asked to play for teams in the World Baseball Classic. The health status of David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia will come into play there.
NASHVILLE, Tenn — Have received a lot of reaction to a tweet about Ichiro Suzuki being a fit for the Red Sox in right field since they’re seeking a lefthanded bat. Ichiro can still run (he stole 29 bases) and is still a superb defender. And he can throw.
Some have mentioned him not being good in a clubhouse, but that was toward the end in Seattle when things weren’t going well. He was well-received and well-liked in New York. The other downer is his age, but while he’s not the 200-hit guy he used to be, he’s still a very good player. He wouldn’t be a bad one- or two-year bridge guy.
Jason Kubel, a 30-homer guy in Arizona could be available in a deal with the Diamondbacks, but not sure the Red Sox match up with them. D-Backs are looking for a shortstop/third baseman/ starting pitcher …
I’ve been writing for some time that Kyle Lohse has been on Boston’s radar. He seems to be an excellent fit …
Alfredo Aceves will be in Boston’s bullpen, but not as a closer. He also won’t be a starter and that’s not going to go over well with Aceves …
The Jarrod Saltalamacchia market seems to exist, but if he’s not dealt, there could be a scenario where he’ll have to play some first base …
The Yankees appear to be in on Kevin Youkilis to play third now that A-Rod is out for half a year. We’ll see how that goes. The Phillies and Indians (first base) also have interest.
The media relations directors of all 30 teams and folks in the MLB front office are raising funds for cancer research and they have put together an amazing list of prizes to bid on.
From the Red Sox alone, there's lunch with John Farrell, a "Fenway 100" book autographed by Jim Rice, and three innings behind the Green Monster (along with four tickets).
There's something from every team and MLB-related offers, too. Check it out when you get a chance.
Tickets for the Red Sox 2013 spring training season go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m.
Ticket prices at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., remain at their 2012 levels and start at $5. The Red Sox will host 20 games this spring.
Fans may purchase tickets at the JetBlue Park box office, online at redsox.com, and by phone at 888-REDSOX6.
The Red Sox will be offering hourly giveaways, raffles, and discounts at the team store for those who attend this Saturday’s festivities at JetBlue Park.
Fans can also take their holiday photos in front of JetBlue’s Green Monster and the park’s decorated holiday tree, while refreshments will be available for purchase. Red Sox manager John Farrell and members of the coaching staff will be greeting fans.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It's another journalism day game for the baseball writers as it's Day 2 of the Winter Meetings. Powered by some good music this morning (mostly Guns N' Roses), here is what we have going on today:
• Red Sox manager John Farrell will meet with reporters this afternoon. We'll hopefully get his thoughts on Mike Napoli and how the Sox plan to use him.
• The Sox are still on the prowl for players. They need a starting pitcher and a right fielder, preferably one who hits lefthanded and can play center field if needed. Or not.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Red Sox are among the many teams interested in RHP Brandon McCarthy. He could be a bargain in the starter market given his upside. The White Sox, Cubs, Royals, Diamondbacks, Twins, Rangers, and Angels also have interest.
• Just a thought, but don't the Red Sox need a solid backup first baseman? Because Mike Napoli can catch, it's certainly feasible he will catch on occasion or even switch from first base to catcher if a need arises. The Sox could use a good glove to come off the bench.
Check back later for more.
The Red Sox wanted Mike Napoli from the start and on Monday they got him with a three-year deal.
Nick Cafardo writes that the Sox made some choices with Napoli because he's not a complete player.
The notebook has the Sox needing to look for a lefthanded hitter.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — One last post before calling it a night. Here are a few notes:
• Are the Red Sox an attractive spot for free agents? Ben Cherington said that was a good question given the 93 losses last season.
“It has been a question that’s been asked, but it hasn’t been that hard to answer,” Cherington said. “I think players and agents understand that despite what happened this year Boston is Boston. We’re committed to having a winning team. We have a history of having a winning team. Sure, they ask the question to make sure that they understand the direction we’re headed, but it hasn’t been an obstacle from what I can tell.”
• The Red Sox had Tim Wakefield on their roster for 17 years and a few weeks ago added Steven Wright to their 40-man roster. They are not afraid of knuckleballers, clearly.
That’s why Cherington, sources said, met with the Mets on Monday to discuss a possible trade for National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
Dickey has one more year on his contract and the Mets would be willing to trade him if they cannot come to an agreement on an extension. Dickey, who lives in the area, spent time with Mets officials on Sunday.
The Red Sox, according to what the Globe has learned, are not particularly interested in Dickey and certainly for the premier prospects the Mets are seeking.
• The Red Sox have signed four players to minor league contracts. Righthanded starter Terry Doyle, a Concord native who played at Boston College, left the White Sox for the Red Sox. He finished last season in Japan. The Sox also added utility player Drew Sutton, who was with the organization in 2011 and played in 31 major league games. Righthander Oscar Villareal has 258 games of major league experience with the Diamondbacks, Braves and Astros. RHP Jose De La Torre also signed.
• Infielder Pedro Ciriaco left his winter league team because of a sore right shoulder. He was checked out in Boston last week and is fine.
• The Rays signed James Loney, the first baseman who came over in the Dodgers deal. The Red Sox never showed much interest in bringing him back.
• The Yankees need a third baseman given the news that Alex Rodriguez will miss at least the first half of next season following hip surgery. Imagine if Kevin Youkilis were their choice?
That's it for now. Catch you tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rays manager Joe Maddon is always one of the most entertaining and insightful people to speak to in baseball. He also knows Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli pretty well.
Maddon managed Gomes and was the bench coach with the Angels when Napoli was there.
Here is some of what he had to say today:
Maddon on Gomes being a presence in the clubhouse: "There's something about Jonny, yeah. I saw [Kevin] Millar right there. I was thinking of Millar right there. Jonny Gomes, he's a different cat. He really cares. He really cares about the rest of the group."
Maddon on Gomes as a player: "I think he's really improved his batting stance and shortness of his swing the last couple of years have been more effective, and I know the kind of hitter that he plays in that ballpark. I know he's going to ingratiate himself to the fans there. He's the perfect guy. John is going to fit in really well there. Good for the Red Sox."
Maddon on Napoli: "Love Nap. He came on a couple of years in Texas. What made him great is acceptance of the opposite field. He became much more difficult with two strikes. Nap's always had severe power. I remember working on him at the backfields at Diablo, just trying to clean up some things back then, because he had this enormous power, but there was a lot of swing and missing too."
"He's made some really great adjustments. He's a makeup guy like [Gomes] is. Not as outspoken as Jon, maybe not as flamboyant in a sense, but a man's man kind of a thing. Going to be great in the clubhouse. Nap is a good catcher. Pitchers like him. Pitchers like Nap. Probably maybe not going to catch as much. But both of them together are going to bring a lot of positives to that clubhouse. There's no doubt. And it's good for the Red Sox.
Here's what Oakland manager Bob Melvin had to say about Gomes:
"That was a nice little deal. ... He's in a good place for him. I know he's excited about it, and I've talked to him a couple times since the deal, and he's excited. ... He's just a guy that's respected [in the clubhouse] based on the fact that he's there to win. He's been some places where their teams weren't expected to do well and did. I mean, everywhere he's been, it seems like teams have done pretty well. You know, especially for us with the younger group last year, he was kind of a resource for a lot of our younger guys, and there's certain guys that are able to do that, and he's one of them."
NASHVILLE, TENN — Among the projected Red Sox starters, only Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz are lefthanded hitters with Jarrod Saltalamacchia a switch hitter.
The additions of Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli have the Red Sox tilted to the right.
As the Sox search for a right fielder, that factor could come into play.
“We would like to find some balance,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “I’d rather have the right players than just add a lefthand hitter just to say we added a lefthand hitter. I guess it’s a balancing act. We’d be hopeful that we could find some ways to add a lefthand bat somewhere to complement the current group.”
The premier lefthanded hitter available is outfielder Josh Hamilton. The Red Sox have discussed Hamilton, but are balking at the idea of a long-term, eight-figure contract.
Switch hitters Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino are available and the Sox have been in contact with their agents. Swisher is not likely to sign until after Hamilton does as that will better define his market.
Cody Ross, a righthanded hitter who had a strong season for the Sox, remains in contact with the team. But adding Gomes and Napoli may signal Ross is heading to another team. The Yankees have inquired about him.
“We’re working on it. I’m not sure I could classify the progress. We’re working on free agent alternatives, trade alternatives. Different flavors of ice cream. We’d like to add in that area,” Cherington said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn — Mike Napoli is not going to be a full-time catcher. But to some degree he is a catcher. That gives the Red Sox six catchers on their 40-man roster, four with major league experience.
That's too many. But if a trade is the works, GM Ben Cherington did his best to disguise it.
“We’re pretty comfortable were we are. There’s some time before spring training. But we’re trying to strengthen the team all over the roster and it just so happens that we’ve made some additions in that area,” he said.
“We’ll see how this offseason goes. There’s certainly a very viable scenario where all the guys that are here are here in spring training and we figure out Opening Day based on the guys who are here.”
One other scenario, perhaps more viable, would be trading Lavarnway or Saltalamacchia as a way to fill one of their other needs. Cherington said he is still gathering information on what the market would be for a catcher.
“It could be that presents opportunities. We’ve got some potential surplus in that area,” Cherington said.
The White Sox, Mets, Rangers, Rays and Yankees all need catchers to some degree. The Sox aren't dealing within the division, most likely. But they could with the other teams.
The White Sox have Gavin Floyd. The Mets have Jon Niese. The Rangers have some pitchers, too. Or the Sox could look for an outfielder in return or even prospects.
Interesting question: Does Salty have more value because he has MLB experienced and performed pretty well last season or is Lavarnway more valuable because he is younger and would be under team control longer? Salty has one year left before free agency, so it could be Lavarnway. It's a good debate.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington did not announce the deal for Mike Napoli when he met with reporters earlier. Napoli first has to pass a physical for the contract to be official.
But he tacitly acknowledged there was an agreement in place by discussing what Napoli’s addition would mean to the Red Sox.
“He’s a guy who gets on base, has power and could be a good fit for our ballpark,” Cherington said. “He’ll improve on the overall lineup performance.”
Spending $13 million a year on a player who has made the All-Star team once in his career may seem like a risk. But the Red Sox felt the 31-year-old Napoli was an undervalued player. They were also willing to spend more per year in return for the player accepting a shorter-term contract.
Napoli, sources said, was pressing for a four-year deal at the start of his free agency. He considered returning to the Texas Rangers and an offer from the Seattle Mariners before electing to join the Red Sox.
“We liked Napoli,” Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik told reporters who cover the Mariners. “Congratulations to him on his contract and to Boston for getting him. I think that Napoli brought things to the table that we liked. He’s an offensive guy, a right-handed guy, a veteran guy. But, he’s no longer available.”
Napoli hit .320 with 30 home runs and 75 RBIs in 2011, helping Texas to the World Series. He fell to .227 last year but had 24 home runs.
Napoli has been primarily a catcher in his career but has 118 starts at first base. The Sox see him playing first base with occasional games behind the plate.
“If he’s here, I’d imagine he would do some of both. That would be up to our manager to figure out,” Cherington said.
Napoli could be matched up with John Lackey, his former battery mate when both were with the Los Angeles Angels. Lackey was one of the players who urged Napoli to come to Boston, enlisting Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester in that cause.
“Welcome to the team!” Lester wrote on Twitter. “Awesome addition to our team! Good news.”
The genesis of the Napoli move came in August when the Red Sox traded Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gonzalez, a middle-of-the-order hitter, was the most significant loss.
“We knew when we made the Dodger trade and we moved Gonzalez that we were going to have to try and find a way to replace that offense,” Cherington said.
The Sox are not expecting Napoli to do that alone. But he has been one of the better righthanded hitters in the game in recent seasons. Since the start of the 2011 season, Napoli has a .379 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage to go with 54 home runs.
Napoli missed 33 games last season with a left quad strain. When he returned in September, he had a 1.051 OPS over 16 games with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. The Red Sox believe he has fully healed.
The Red Sox now need a right fielder and a starting pitcher to patch the major holes their roster before spring training.
The addition of Napoli boosted the 2012 payroll to roughly $110 million, well below the $175 million the Sox spent last season.
There are no plans to reach that level, but the Sox have the flexibility to fill their needs.
NASHVILLE — The Red Sox have a deal in place with Mike Napoli. Now what?
Needs: A right fielder and a starting pitcher and a shortstop, probably a reliable veteran to back up Jose Iglesias.
Resources: They still have great payroll flexibility (roughly $110 million is committed for 2013 counting the arbitration-eligible players). They also have a spare catcher to trade and a bit of surplus in the bullpen. There are no indications the Red Sox would trade any of their top-tier prospects. But they have developed a solid group of players below that. They could put together a package for somebody like Gavin Floyd. R.A. Dickey is available, too. Do the Sox go down the road with another knuckleballer?
The chatter: The Red Sox are talking to Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino and Cody Ross about their outfield opening. Ben Cherington mentioned on Saturday that he liked the idea of a right fielder who also could play center. All three of those guys fit that description. Swisher may not sign until after Josh Hamilton does. He is viewed as a Plan B by a lot of teams. ... What of Hamilton? Until he has signed, anything is possible. But there is probably a team out there willing to go at least five years and the Red Sox very much want to avoid that. ... Oakland has not ruled out retaining RHP Brandon McCarthy but made it clear they won't pay what the market rate is for him. If healthy, McCarthy would be an interesting player for the Red Sox to consider. ... There is a lot of interest in Stephen Drew if the Red Sox are thinking about him as a shortstop possibility.
NASHVILLE — Mike Napoli is considered a solid teammate by those who have played with him and know of him from his time both in Anaheim and Texas.
"He'll work hard, give it all he has," said one former Angels coach who coached Napoli in Anaheim. "He's not the best catcher or thrower, but he can handle pitchers and knows how to call a game. At first base, I suppose the more he plays there the better he'll be. He's average to below average as a fielder. but he'll work at it. Listen, the Red Sox are getting him for his bat and power at Fenway and that part of it should work out well."
"He wants to do well and do the right thing," said a Texas official. "He's tough for us to lose but we just didn't want to go as far as Boston did on the contract."
NASHVILLE — The Red Sox have a three-year deal in place with first baseman Mike Napoli, the Globe has confirmed. It is worth $39 million according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
This fits in with the team's plan to avoid long-term deals.
Napoli has a .931 OPS the last two seasons. Among righthanded hitters, only Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp are higher. As was the case with Jonny Gomes, the Red Sox zeroed in on a righthanded hitter who should perform well at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox are 79-83 at Fenway Park the last two seasons. Signing Napoli and Gomes are clearly evidence of the team's desire to improve their offense at home. Both also are players who will take a walk and grind through at-bats, a skill the lineup was missing last season.
Napoli was a player the Red Sox have been targeting for a long time, going back to the summer. John Henry was telling people then that Napoli was a player he thought would be a good fit.
The Sox have now have eight lineup pieces in place: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Napoli, Gomes and their assorted catchers. They need a right fielder.
Nick Swisher is available, as is Cody Ross. The Sox are talking to both players.
NASHVILLE - According to major league sources, the Red Sox have agreed to terms on a three-year deal with free-agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli. According to reports, the three-year deal is worth $39 million.
The Red Sox want Napoli to be their first baseman and part-time catcher.
The plan, according to a major league source, would be for Napoli to catch a lot in spring training, and then depending what happens with other Sox catchers via trade, have him catch some so he keep that aspect of his game in tact.
The Mariners were going hard after him as well. The Rangers, who currently do not have as catcher, were keeping Napoli in mind as well, but had not been willing to go beyond two years with an option.
Currently there hasn't been much action on Nick Swisher. The Red Sox are still focusing on Cody Ross and others.
The Josh Hamilton market is also about to develop. Hamilton has been seen in Nashville and may start meeting with teams. It's not known if the Red Sox are one of them.
Larry Lucchino said that comments he made on his XM radio appearance yesterday were confused. It was reported that Lucchino said the Red Sox would be willing to pursue Hamilton but for no more than five years.
Lucchino denied that's what he said.
The Red Sox are in a wait-and- see approach with Hamilton. They are monitoring the market and if it falls they will pursue it.
NASHVILLE — Red Sox officials are talking about Mike Napoli like he's part of the team. It's not official yet, but a three-year deal could be announced before the end of the day.
No word yet on the value of the contract. But it sounds like the Red Sox went with a larger average annual salary to avoid going four years. First base is easily the thinnest position in the Red Sox farm system but the Red Sox are trying hard to avoid long-term deals.
Napoli, 31, has been one of the best righthanded hitters in the game the last few years. He hit only .227 for the Rangers last season but had an .812 OPS. Over the last five seasons, Napoli has 120 home runs and an .879 OPS.
The Red Sox plan to allow Napoli to catch some according to sources. But they will primarily use him at first base.
With Napoli now part of the catching group, even if only a small part, it seems almost likely the Sox will trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway. The other alternative would be to leave Lavarnway in Triple A.
NASHVILLE — R.A. Dickey, who lives in Tennessee, was spotted at the sprawling Opryland Hotel on Sunday.
The National League Cy Young winner was meeting with Mets trainers to discuss some minor surgery he had.
There has been talk that the Mets would be willing to trade the knuckleball pitcher if they can't sign him to an extension. Given the comfort they had with Tim Wakefield over the years, you have to think the Red Sox would give the idea some serious thought.
• There is talk that Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke will attend the meetings and meet with teams.
• Curt Schilling is here for ESPN. Hoping to speak to him about what he thinks about the Hall of Fame voting. He's on the ballot for the first time.
• The Nationals aren't going to do anything crazy to sign Adam LaRoche. But there is a growing sense that something will get done. So if the Red Sox don't sign Mike Napoli, what happens then at first base?
That's why they'll sign Mike Napoli.
• The hotel here is quite a place. You literally need a map to find your room, the place is so big. It's also under a giant glass dome. Along with the Winter Meetings, there's the annual Country Christmas celebration. For reasons not entirely clear, there are assorted characters in the hotel. I saw Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, and Puss In Boots. My goal is to snap a photo of Nick Cafardo with one of them.
Good morning from Logan Airport. We are here waiting for a flight to Nashville and the Winter Meetings.
The offseason in baseball has become its own event. Once the World Series ends, you have the GM meetings, the non-tender date, the Winter Meetings, the Rule 5 Draft and everything else.
The Winter Meetings are the big show. Everybody in baseball — except the players — gathers in one place to talk shop. The athletic trainers have a meeting. So do the traveling secretaries, the media relations directors, the team doctors and even the BBWAA. The managers are there, the GMs and all their assorted assistants.
The minor league executives have their convention. All the agents show up and there's a press room the size of a football field for all the reporters. MLB lets pretty much everybody in. Scott Boras gets a block of rooms.
The meetings are varying degrees of fun. If your team makes a big move, the stories will be some of the most-read you write all season and it's exciting. If not, the stories will be a lot of speculation and double talk and the fans will be frustrated.
Most folks never leave the hotel except for a random dinner or two. There's so much going on, almost 24 hours a day, that you don't want to miss it.
I'm sure Nashville is a nice city. I'll see the airport and the hotel. That's about it.
As to the Red Sox, everybody wants to know what they'll do. Here is a semi-educated guess:
First base: They seem to be focusing in on Mike Napoli. The Rangers and Mariners are the competition. If Napoli can get four years, good for him. But that seems like a lot for a player who has made the All-Star team once. This is a pretty good player, not a franchise-altering star.
If the Red Sox were to make a trade, this could be where it happens. The free market is thin for first basemen.
Outfield: Nick Swisher fits the profile for the Sox. Versatile, good clubhouse guy, on-base skills, still fairly young (32) and switch hits with power. Back in the summer, when contemplating free agency, Swisher told me that the idea of playing for the Red Sox was tough to contemplate after spending time with the Yankees. But Yankees fans viciously turned on Swisher in the postseason and he may be more agreeable to switching sides in the rivalry.
Is Swisher for four years and $60 million too much?
You get the impression the Sox would happily take Cody Ross back and be done with it. I get no sense Josh Hamilton is a realistic option unless his market falls apart and he's willing to take three years. It's hard to imagine why the Sox would trade away two unwieldy contracts in August then take on a bigger risk in December. That would defeat the whole purpose of the Dodgers trade.
Rotation: There is no sense that the Sox will take a plunge on Zack Greinke. Big contracts for starters are about as dumb as it gets in baseball. They've been burned and they're not going down that path again. Anibal Sanchez for $90 million also seems a little nutty.
Think a No. 3 starter. It's not sexy but it's realistic.
Other stuff: They're looking for a reliable backup shortstop type. Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco are not exactly trustworthy at this point. ... It's hard not to imagine Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway getting traded. ... Every team in baseball is willing to add bullpen pieces.
So hang out on Extra Bases this week. Nick Cafardo will join me in Nashville and we'll have blogs, Twitter updates, newspaper stories and everything else. We'll probably pop up on NESN, too.
Thanks for reading. We will do our best to keep you updated.
It was "Christmas at Fenway" today and there were a bunch of Red Sox folks around. Ben Cherington, John Farrell and assorted players mixed with the fans and spoke to reporters.
Here are a few items of interest:
• When the Red Sox signed catcher David Ross on Nov. 14, it started immediate speculation that Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway would be traded. Both Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway were on hand and neither seemed particularly concerned.
“That’s not my expertise,” Saltalamacchia said. “I don’t think too much into it. I’ve been in situations before where things can happen and I understand. I look at it as an opportunity for me and David to work together.”
Lavarnway said the issue hasn’t come up when he has spoken to Cherington or Farrell.
“I have no control over it all at this point. I don’t think about it,” he said. “[Ross] is a great player. He brings a very high level of character to the clubhouse. They obviously think he can help us.”
Lavarnway spent most of last season with Triple A Pawtucket. At 25, he looks ready for the majors.
“I trust Ben. Whatever he feels I need to do, I’ll do,” he said. “There’s a difference between playing well in Triple A and being ready for the majors. I feel I’m ready to make the transition.”
Farrell said there has been no discussion about moving Lavarnway or Saltalamacchia to first base.
• Lavarnway is living in the Denver area with his fiancee. He working out at a place called Viking Power Fitness with trainer Oyvind Guldrandsen. Tell you what, that guy sounds strong.
• Andrew Bailey on being the closer: “They traded for me for a reason. There’s no doubt in my mind I can do what they wanted me to do. I would think I’m the only guy in that role. ... My performance last year, I’ll be the first to say it wasn’t who I was and wasn’t anything that I was proud of. This year I’m going to go out and do my job and make sure I hammer down those games.”
• Cherington said the Red Sox would like to bring back relievers Scott Atchison and Rich Hill, who were released on Friday. They will be offered minor league contracts and invitations to spring training.
• Farrell said the Red Sox would have lefty Franklin Morales come to spring training and work as a starter. “You can always go back [to the bullpen] more readily,” Farrell said. “What he did in the rotation last year for the time he was there was very impressive.” Morales had a 4.14 ERA in nine starts.
• OF Ryan Kalish, who had shoulder and neck surgery after the 2011 season, stayed in Boston after the season to work with strength coach Mike Boyle and therapist Dan Dyrek on regaining his athleticism. He said his shoulder is nearly back to normal and the strength has returned.
This was the most optimistic I've seen Kalish in a long time. If healthy, he can help the Sox. He was on the verge of something good after the 2010 season.
Having Torey Lovullo on the coaching staff will help him. Arnie Beyeler, too
• New pitching coach Juan Nieves is planning to visit as many of the pitchers as he can in January. He mentioned Daniel Bard in particular. The righthander had a disastrous 2012 season, losing command and velocity after becoming a starter. “I want to see what the progress is and what the plan is,” Nieves said.
Nieves is a very impressive guy and talked about his experience with respected White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. It's too early to judge his work, obviously. But Nieves could be the man who finally brings some stability to that position.
• Jason Varitek, now a special assistant to Cherington, will be attending the winter meetings, which start on Monday in Nashville.
• Farrell on Alfredo Aceves: "We've had some brief conversations, a number of messages left. Colorful. He's a talented pitcher. He can do some things in the game, he may be the only guy who can do them. With the frequency with which he can pitch, to the number of pitches that are thrown, he's a talented guy."
Farrell said he wanted to be "candid" with Aceves. He also indicated the Sox like him as a reliever.
• Farrell on Pedro Ciriaco: "When you consider he was a minor league free agent, he was a darn good player. He's athletic, can do a number of things. ... Good first-step quickness, plenty of arm strength to play anywhere on the field, I don't want to say he was a great find, but he was a heck of an addition when you consider how he came to the big leagues."
• As you would expect, Rubby De La Rosa will come to camp as a starter. Cherington said it was possible he could help the team at some point in 2013.
De La Rosa will be 24 in March. He has yet to pitch in Triple A but does have 61.1 innings in the majors.
• The Red Sox coaching staff and other team officials will meet at the team facility in Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday and Saturday to start planning out spring training. As Farrell said, most of the coaches haven't been in the building before.
• Bobby Valentine's stuff was cleaned out of the manager's office long ago. But, so far, Farrell has left the photos of previous managers on the wall, which was something Valentine did. There is no photo of Bobby V added to the group.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Whenever players change teams, the beat writers will swap info about whether a player is good to work with. In our jobs, it's always a little easier if the player is a nice guy and can deliver a few quotable lines.
When the Sox signed Jonny Gomes, a friend in Oakland texted to say that he was great with the writers.
Gomes hopped on a conference call today and he delivered the goods.
The idea of going to the Red Sox appealed to Gomes for reasons beyond the two-year, $10 million contract he received. He said he has been in awe of Fenway Park since coming up with the Tampa Bay Rays and considers Boston “the Mecca of baseball.”
Sox fans, he said, are the "Chevy and American Pie of baseball."
Gomes also likes the idea of helping the team recover from a last-place finish.
“I know the core guys of the Red Sox,” he said. “I know Dustin [Pedroia], I know Jacoby [Ellsbury], I know [Jon] Lester. I know Big Papi [David Ortiz]. … The Red Sox are going to play with the biggest chip on their shoulder.
“I would be honored and love to bring back the fire to the Nation. Me being a historian of the game and a fan of the game, it was a pretty easy decision to call Fenway home.”
Gomes had a unique view of his role.
“How does a big machine run? A big machine runs with a lot of grease. You get a tall building with all kinds of fancy windows. It’s that foundation that keeps that building up. I always say I represent the grease that runs the machine, not the machine. I represent the foundation, not the star at the top.”
That's gold, Jerry. Gold.
Gomes has been a platoon player the last two seasons, getting most of his starts against lefthanded pitchers. But the Red Sox see him as more than that.
“He’ll have the opportunity to earn the highest number of at-bats that he can,” manager John Farrell said.
Gomes is a career .223 hitter against righthanders with a .732 OPS. He hit .209 against righties last season for Oakland. He had a .709 OPS against righthanders when he was a regular for the Reds in 2010.
“We did a lot of work on him and he’s developed a really good reputation as a leader in the clubhouse, a guy that can mentor young players and be a big influence,” Ben Cherington said.
“He plays with an edge. He’s familiar with the AL East. He’s a good fit all the way around.”
The Red Sox had general manager Ben Cherington meet with reporters in a drafty hallway at Fenway Park this morning, just a few feet away from where snow was falling.
“I hope this is going to be quick,” said Cherington, who had left his jacket behind.
It wasn’t. There’s just too much going on with the Red Sox and so many questions that need answering.
In the two months since their 93-loss season ended, Cherington has fired manager Bobby Valentine, hired John Farrell and replaced nearly the entire coaching staff.
The Sox retained David Ortiz, signed backup catcher David Ross and picked up outfielder Jonny Gomes. Compared to most teams, the Sox have actually been busy.
But they still need a first baseman, a right fielder and at least one starting pitcher. At the moment, the Sox have less than $100 million in payroll spoken for — well below the $175 million they spent last season.
With the winter meetings starting in Nashville on Monday, the Red Sox have three significant holes and the resources to sign virtually any free agent they desire.
But tickets are now on sale and the pressure make a significant move is rising. After Cherington met with reporters, he spoke to fans attending the annual “Christmas at Fenway” promotional event. Those diehards were happy to see the ballpark on a cold December day and get a few autographs. But most fans want action in the form of big names being added to the roster.
One the one-year anniversary of the team’s ill-fated decision to hire Valentine as the manager of an expensive team of mismatched stars, Cherington sounded like an executive determined to get it right this time and not be rushed into anything.
“There are things we know we could do right now. Things we’re not ready to do right now. Things we’re choosing not to do right now,” he said. “I still see the weekend before the winter meetings as pretty early in the offseason. There’s a lot of time before pitchers report and plenty of time to do stuff.”
Here's Cherington on a few different topics:
The outfield: “We’d certainly like to add one [outfielder]. We wouldn’t rule out more than that. … There are things we’d like to do and then there’s a price you’re willing to pay. We’re still working through that with the different options.”
The rotation: “Generally it needs to improve. The performance of the rotation wasn’t good enough last year. I think that [improvement] will mostly come from the guys that already here. That’s going to make a bigger difference than anyone else we add, likely.”
On making a splashy move: “I can’t handicap it. You can’t rule it out. I certainly wouldn’t rule it i. I think if there’s a deal that we feel really makes the organization stronger short and long term, we’ll pursue it. Some of those could fit into that category.”
On the idea of trading a starter: “Anything’s possible but it certainly gets harder to do that, to subtract somebody."
Jonny Gomes has hit .233/.307/.425 against righthanded pitchers in his career, .209/.324/.391 last season.
His value comes in mashing lefties (.284/.382/.512).
But Red Sox GM Ben Cherington indicated this morning that Gomes, who was signed to a two-year deal, would be the primary left fielder next season.
"We see him playing a lot of left field. We think his bat fits well in the lineup and the ballpark," Cherington said. "We did a lot of work on him and he’s developed a really good reputation as a leader in the clubhouse, a guy that can mentor young players and be a big influence. He plays with an edge. He’s familiar with the AL East. He’s a good fit all the way around.
"We expect him to play a lot. Exactly how many at-bats it ends up being, that’s up to John [Farrell] and I guess up to Jonny. He’ll have the opportunity play a lot. We see him as an important part of the team."
Asked about Gomes struggling against righthanders, Cherington said:
"He’s had opportunities where he has handled righthanders pretty well. I think the ballpark is a good fit for him. He’s a grinder, he’s an intense competitor. So we’ll see. I think matchups aren’t always all about left/right. Sometimes there’s certain pitchers that a guy’s a good fit with and others who they aren’t. Those things are up to John [Farrell] and the staff to figure out. Jonny’s a guy we just felt fits well on a numbers of fronts, from a personality standpoint, from an ability standpoint."
Gomes was last an everyday player with the Reds in 2010. He had 346 at-bats against righthanders that season and hit .257/.301/.408.
Cherington also indicated the Red Sox would be interested in signing one more outfielder, not two.
"We’d certainly like to add one. We wouldn’t rule out more than that. We’d like to add another outfielder. After that we’ll see what’s available," he said.
"We’ve always felt it’s important at Fenway to have not just somebody who can play right field but really two guys that can handle center or right. I think our best teams have had that in the past. Easier said than done. That would be optimal."
The Red Sox agreed on a two-year, $10 million deal with outfielder Jonny Gomes on Nov. 21. They announced it on Saturday, having cleared room on the 40-man roster.
Ben Cherington will be speaking to the media at Fenway Park this morning and Gomes will be available later in the day. So check back later.
The Red Sox picked a player by the name of David Ortiz off the non-tender market back in 2003, so you can bet Ben Cherington and his lieutenants will take a long look at those players who became available today.
Here are some of the more interesting ones:
RHP Jair Jurrjens (Braves): Jurrens made the All-Star team in 2011. He is 4-7 with a 6.42 ERA in 18 major league starts since. He was so bad early last season that the Braves sent him to the minors. Jurrjens was terrible (6.89 ERA, 1.86 WHIP) in the 48 1/3 innings he did pitch in the majors. He turns 27 in January, too young to give up on. But Atlanta probably isn't making a mistake here.
LHP John Lannan (Nationals): He was pretty decent for the Nationals over six seasons, going 52-52 with a 4.01 ERA in 134 starts for some bad teams. Only 28, he'll get a chance with somebody after getting caught in a numbers game with the Nats and spending most of 2012 in Triple A.
RHP Mike Pelfrey (Mets): He threw 782 innings and started 129 games from 2008-2011, going 45-45 with a 4.27 ERA. It caught up to him last season when Pelfrey needed Tommy John surgery in April. The Mets would like to bring him back on a smaller deal. Given that Pelfrey may not be ready to pitch until May or June, he's not an immediate answer for any team.
1B Mark Reynolds (Orioles): He has struck out 993 times in 3,209 plate appearances over the last five years. Of course, he also has hit 164 home runs. The Sox can live with strikeouts. But Reynolds has a career .332 OBP and isn't very adept in the field.
The Orioles liked him, just not for what it could have cost them. Reynolds told Orioles reporters that he would prefer a team that trains in Arizona but is open to seeing what is available. The Sox could do worst at first base.
RHP Brian Wilson (Giants): The crazy reliever with the funky beard is from New Hampshire. So obviously the Red Sox should look into him.
Well, maybe. Wilson missed nearly all of last season after having a second Tommy John surgery. According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Wilson is angry with the Giants for offering him an incentive-laden deal and doesn't plan to return.
Wilson has said he will be ready for Opening Day. But it would be difficult to invest in a max-effort reliever who has undergone two elbow reconstructions. Beyond that, the Red Sox actually have a fairly solid bullpen.