Youkilis, 34, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. He will earn a $4 million salary with $1 million available in incentives.
Youkilis played parts of nine seasons for the Red Sox, hitting .287 with 133 home runs. He was a three-time All-Star and appeared in 29 postseason games. He was a Gold Glove winner at first base in 2007, helping the Red Sox to the World Series title. He broke in during the 2004 season, appearing in 72 regular-season games but not in the World Series.
In April of 2012, former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said during a television interview that Youkilis was not “as physically or emotionally into the game" as he once was. Valentine was forced to apologize to Youkilis.
The oft-injured Youkilis was traded to the White Sox on June 24, 2012, after the Red Sox elected to start Will Middlebrooks at third base.
Youkilis signed a one-year, $13 million deal as a free agent with the Yankees for the 2013 season but was limited to 28 games because of injuries.
Joe Bick, Youkilis' agent, told ESPN that his client had opportunities in the majors but decided to take his family —to Japan.
Youkilis' wife, Julie, is one of Tom Brady's sisters. He has two children.
Youkilis is a career .281 hitter in the majors with a .382 on-base percentage that ranks 155th all-time.
Since the start of the 2012 season, Youkilis has hit .232 with a .726 OPS.
Football is coming back to Fenway.
Fenway Park will host the game between Boston College and Notre Dame on Nov. 21, 2015. The 7:30 p.m. game will be on NBC.
The game is part of Notre Dame's "Shamrock Series," an annual off-site home game. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is a native of Everett who played at St. John's Prep and Assumption before becoming a coach.
“The City of Boston will be ready to welcome Fighting Irish and Eagles fans alike when Fenway brings this historic rivalry to one of our most beloved landmarks in 2015,” mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “I'm looking forward to a memorable weekend that puts Boston, and all the great things our city has to offer, in the national spotlight.”
The game between the Fighting Irish and Eagles will be the first football game at Fenway Park since Dec. 1, 1968, when – after five years of calling it home – the Patriots played their last game at the ballpark.
The 2015 football game won’t be the first time Boston College and Notre Dame face each other at Fenway. On Jan. 4, the two schools will compete in a hockey game as part of Frozen Fenway 2014, a two-week series of hockey, skating, and sledding events.
The game will be one of many non-baseball events that have taken place at Fenway in recent years. On New Year's Day 2010, the Bruins battled the Flyers in the NHL's Winter Classic on a rink that covered Fenway's infield. A week later, Boston College and Boston University faced off on the ice at Fenway. In July 2010, Fenway played host to "Football at Fenway," a soccer match between European clubs Glasgow Celtic and Sporting Lisbon. In July 2012, Liverpool and Roma played a friendly at the ballpark.
In 2003, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off a modern-day run of concerts at Fenway Park. Jimmy Buffett, The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Police, Phish, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, New Kids on the Block, Jason Aldean, and Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z have all performed on a stage in Fenway's outfield since.
The Boston City Council proclaimed today as Luis Tiant Day in Boston.
Tiant, now 73, was honored for his playing career and role as an ambassador of the game by council president Steve Murphy (pictured in photo).
How about that mustache?
One would be the re-signing of Stephen Drew, which would create new situations, including a logjam at third base where Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts would then be possibly competing for one spot.
Drew and the Red Sox have mutual interest in getting together again, but Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, still sees a multi-year contract opportunity for Drew and not necessarily with Boston.
The other scenario is the Red Sox dealing a veteran starting pitcher to fill another need, to simply to add to their prospect list, and/or to experience some salary relief. The Red Sox would prefer to deal Jake Peavy or Ryan Dempster, who will earn $14.5 and $13.25 million respectively in 2014, the final years of their contracts. But they are perfectly willing to enter spring training with both pitchers if they can’t get their price.
The feeling with Dempster, 36, is if he does return, he would be well-rested since he threw only 19 2/3 innings in the final month of the season. Peavy, 32, who won 12 games and pitched 144 2/3 innings total between the White Sox and Red Sox, would also come back fresh and strong.
About a half-dozen teams have made inquiries on Sox pitchers, including the more preferable John Lackey and lefty Felix Doubront. Jon Lester has also been in demand, and teams have also inquired about Clay Buchholz’ availability.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has acknowledged interest in his pitchers as well, but has been consistent in commenting that he doesn’t have to deal anyone.
Cherington is often reminded of the team's flawed discussion surrounding the dealing of Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena. The Red Sox were looking for a power source at the time and Pena, who still makes his living hitting in Japan, was intriguing at the time. Then-Reds GM Wayne Krivsky was happy to hand him to the Red Sox for Arroyo, who wound up being a perennial 200-inning, 30-plus start performer.
The Red Sox seem to be more equipped to handle that now. They have Brandon Workman, Henry Owens, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and possibly Drake Britton knocking on the door and waiting for a spot in the rotation.
Cherington has not added depth from the outside because he believes he has good depth on the inside.
The starting pitcher market is beginning to weed out a bit.
Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, and Arroyo remain the top free agents still out there. Tampa Bay’s David Price and Chicago Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija remain top younger veterans their respective teams won’t be able to sign long-term.
But even if all of those pitchers are signed and/or traded, there will still be demand for Boston’s veteran pitching as teams try to fill out rotations.
Based on Lackey’s performance last season, a year after Tommy John surgery, and the odd structure of his contract (he will earn $15.25 million in 2014, then $500,000 on a team option in 2015) makes him an attractive alternative. Lackey, by the way, also receives a $500,000 relocation bonus if he’s traded, so his total compensation would be $1 million in 2015 if he were traded.
The Red Sox don’t want to give up on Doubront. They hope they can get him to the next level of off-season conditioning so he can become the 200-inning performer they feel he could be.
The Red Sox announced they've sent Morales and minor league reliever Chris Martin to the Colorado Rockies for infielder Jonathan Herrera.
Herrera adds depth to the Red Sox' infield, and likely projects as a reserve. He appeared in 81 games last season for Colorado and his .292 with a .364 OBP and a .701 OPS. Herrera played at least five games at shortstop, second base and third base in each of the last four seasons.
Morales, a lefthanded reliever, had been with the Red Sox since 2011. He appeared in 20 games last season after battling injuries. Morales played for the Rockies, who signed him as an amateur free agent, from 2007 to 2011.
Martin spent the 2013 season in Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket.
Kevin Boles will manage the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox, Billy McMillon will take over for Boles at the Double A Portland Sea Dogs, Carlos Febles takes over for McMillon at Single A Salem, and Darren Fenster will manage the Single A Greenville team that Febles skippered the past two seasons.
The manager for the short-season Single A Lowell is the only position remaining to be filled for next season.
The rest of the 2014 staffs are listed below:
Pawtucket (Triple-A, International League)
Manager: Kevin Boles served as skipper of the Double-A Portland club for each of the last three seasons (2011-13) and is entering his seventh year in the Red Sox organization. He also managed high Single A Salem from 2008 through 2010.
Pitching coach: Rich Sauveur will return in the same capacity in 2014, marking his seventh year in the organization, all in that role.
Hitting coach: Dave Joppie enters his eighth year with the Red Sox and second as hitting coach at the Triple A level. An addition to the Pawtucket staff for this year is coach Bruce Crabbe, who managed Short-A Lowell last season. 2014 marks his 10th season in the Red Sox organization.
Athletic trainer: Jon Jochim will return to the PawSox for his 11th year with the Red Sox, and fifth in his current role.
Portland (Double-A, Eastern League)
Manager: Billy McMillon will replace Boles after two seasons as manager of High A Salem, where he led the club to the 2013 Mills Cup Championship. This year will mark his seventh year in the Red Sox organization, and his fifth as manager.
Pitching coach: Bob Kipper will serve for the fifth consecutive year, and his seventh year overall (also in 2003-04). 2014 will be his 15th season in the Red Sox organization.
Hitting coach: Rich Gedman is back for his second year at hitting coach. The Worcester native is in his fourth season in the Red Sox system as a coach.
Athletic trainer: Brandon Henry returns for his third season with the Sea Dogs, and his eighth overall with the Red Sox.
Salem (Single-A, Carolina League)
Manager: Carlos Febles spent the last two years as the manager at Single-A Greenville and is in his eighth year in the Red Sox system as a coach, and his fourth year as manager.
Pitching coach: Kevin Walker will return for his fourth season on the Salem staff. 2014 will mark his sixth year in the Red Sox organization.
Hitting coach: U.L. Washington is also shifting from Greenville to Salem. This season will mark Washington’s 13th year in the Red Sox minor league system, and 11th as a hitting coach.
Athletic trainer: David Herrera will return to Salem for his third season in that capacity, and his seventh year overall with the organization.
Greenville (Single-A, South Atlantic League)
Manager: Darren Fenster, who made his managerial debut with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox last year, will serve as Greenville’s skipper this season. 2014 marks the third year for Fenster in the Red Sox organization and his second year in Greenville, as he was hitting coach for the Drive in 2012.
Pitching coach: Paul Abbott will return to the Drive for his second year in that role. This year will mark his fourth season within the Red Sox system.
Hitting coach: Nelson Paulino was the hitting coach at Salem last season. He is entering his 17th consecutive year with the Red Sox.
Athletic trainer: Satoshi Kajiyama will move up from Short A Lowell to serve as athletic trainer for Greenville in 2014. He is in his second stint with the Red Sox, and fourth year overall in the organization.
Lowell (Short-A, New York-Penn League)
Manager: Not selected.
Pitching coach: Walter Miranda will return for the second straight year, and his fifth year overall, as he also held that position in 2005, 2006, and 2008. He has been a member of the Red Sox organization since 1999.
Hitting coach: Noah Hall returns for the second year and 2014 will mark his third year in the Red Sox system.
Athletic trainer: Nick Faciana is new to the Red Sox organization in 2014. The Ohio native has served as an graduate assistant and interim athletic trainer for the University of Akron varsity football team (2011-13), a rehabilitation intern with the Philadelphia Phillies (2013), and athletic trainer for Double A Akron in the Cleveland Indians organization (2010-12).
Gulf Coast League Red Sox (Rookie, Gulf Coast League
Manager: Tom Kotchman, who has 20-plus years of experience as a minor league manager, and 30-plus years of service overall in baseball, will be the GCL skipper in 2014. The father of MLB veteran, Casey Kotchman, Tom is in his second stint with the Red Sox, as he managed Single-A Winter Haven in 1982 and 1983. He returned to the Red Sox organization last year, where he served as a GCL coach.
Pitching coach: Dick Such will return for his second year in that role, and his sixth year overall in the system.
Dave Tomlin is back for his fourth straight year as a coach for the GCL Red Sox. 2014 will be his ninth straight year, and 13th overall in Boston’s farm system. Tomlin also managed the GCL club from 2006 through 2010.
Hitting coach: Raul Gonzalez will also return to the GCL staff. It will be his second year in that role, and with the organization.
Athletic trainer: Mauricio Elizondo will enter his second straight year. This year will mark his seventh season in the Red Sox organization.
Dominican Summer League Red Sox (Rookie, Dominican Summer League)
Manager: Jose Zapata will again serve as both manager for the DSL Red Sox, and as the Red Sox’ Latin American Field Coordinator, his eighth straight year in those roles.
Pitching coach: Amaury Telemaco will be back with the DSL club in 2014, marking his fifth straight year in that role. Oscar Lira will also return in 2014 as a pitching coach. It will be his third year in that capacity, and fourth year with the Red Sox.
Bench coach: Junior Zamora will be back for his seventh straight year in that role, and in the Red Sox system.
Wilton Veras, and Aly Gonzalez will also return as coaches on the DSL Red Sox staff. Veras is entering his third year with the Red Sox, and Gonzalez is back for his second year. Claudio Sanchez is back for his ninth year as a coaching assistant. Antonio Diaz also returns for his seventh season as strength and conditioning coach, and his 19th year in the Red Sox organization.
Athletic trainer: Guillermo Hinojosa will return for his fifth year in that role for the DSL Red Sox.
Ortiz had told reporters at his charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic that his representatives have already reached out to the Red Sox about an extension, but team sources indicate that there have been no contract extension talks yet. There may have been an introductory conversation between Ortiz’ agent, Fern Cuza and the team, but nothing formal.
The Red Sox have been under the impression since the completion of Ortiz’ current two-year deal last offseason that a new deal wouldn’t be discussed until after Ortiz’s contract was up after this season. But only the Red Sox seem to remember the conversation.
The Red Sox don’t want to get into a war of words with their star hitter. Things, of course, have changed since that contract was completed.
Ortiz, who will earn $15 million this season (as part of a 2-year, $30 million deal), got over his Achilles' heel problems and had a great season. He earned a $50,000 bonus for making the All-Star team. Ortiz earned a $1 million signing bonus and a $14 million salary in 2013. Because he spent fewer than 21 days on the disabled list, his 2014 salary went from $11 million to $15 million.
He also won the World Series MVP.
You can’t blame him for trying to cash in on that. Any extension would likely mean a sizable raise that could push him closer to $20 million.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has said he wants Ortiz to finish his career in Boston. That will likely happen, but Cherington has a few other things to do before he can get to Ortiz, namely finish team building for the 2014 season.
The Red Sox are still exploring deals since they have an extra veteran starting pitcher to trade. They are also trying to add to their bullpen.
The team also has to decide on whether to engage in contract talks with Jon Lester’s representatives since Lester will be playing in his option season. Most teams don’t like to go this far to the end to tie up an ace pitcher who can go into free agency at the end of the season. But Lester’s excellent postseason has now put him into position to make big demands.
We’re all waiting to see whether Lester accepts a Dustin Pedroia-type hometown discount deal, or whether he’ll head into the market like Jacoby Ellsbury.
At some point Ortiz and the Red Sox will sit and chat this winter, but it may not be as quickly as Ortiz wants, nor may it be as far down the road as the Red Sox had intended after they signed Ortiz last offseason.
The Red Sox have signed 37-year-old Japan League veteran Shunsuke Watanabe to a minor league contract. He will report to minor league spring training in March and work as a reliever.
Watanabe was primarily a starter for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, going 87-82 with a 3.65 earned run average over 12 seasons. He also played for Japan twice in the World Baseball Classic. Watanabe was 0-4, 4.62 in six starts last season.
Watanabe has a severe submarine-stye delivery that finishes with him releasing the ball a few inches above the mound.
The Red Sox also released righthander Chris Carpenter so he could sign with the Yakult Swallow of the Japanese Central League. Carpenter, 27, was obtained from the Chicago Cubs in 2012 as compensation for the departure of general manager Theo Epstein to Chicago.
Carpenter appeared in eight games for the Sox in 2012, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and 10 walks over six innings. He was 0-2, 4.62 in 34 minor league games last season.
The Sox also received RHP Aaron Kurcz from the Cubs in that compensation deal. Kurcz had a 3.04 ERA with Double A Portland last season.
Lefthanded reliever Matt Thornton signed with the Yankees on Tuesday for two years and $7 million. The Red Sox made Thornton a free agent after the season when they declined his option for 2014.
The Red Sox obtained Thornton from the White Sox on July 12 and he was a disappointment, appearing in only 20 games before being left off the postseason roster, Thornton, 37, had a 1.76 WHIP and struck out only nine in 15 1/3 innings.
The nerve release surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas Graham in Cleveland. The Red Sox said Victorino is expected to be ready for spring training.
Victorino's thumb injury was one of several he dealt with during the season, his first with the Red Sox. The 33-year-old switch-hitter also had hamstring and back injuries.
Victorino played in 122 games, batting .294 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. Manager John Farrell gave him some extra days off in September to heal up for the playoffs.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Is David Ortiz, at 38, the new face of baseball?
Today's piece in the Boston Globe raises that question given Ortiz's popularity and his leading the Red Sox to a third World Series title in the last 10 years.Today is the final day of the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic. The tournament awards dinner was Saturday night and Alex Rodriguez was in attendance. Several of the players who spent time with Rodriguez said he was confident of victory in his battle with MLB.
Is that good for the Yankees? They would get a third baseman, albeit an aging one with diminished skills. But a year-long suspension of Rodriguez would free up money perhaps better used elsewhere.
Thanks for following along during the Winter Meetings and the Ortiz Classic.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Dressed all in black, controversial Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez turned heads when he arrived at a charity event hosted by David Ortiz on Friday night.
With his girlfriend, retired professional wrestler Torrie Wilson, by his side, Rodriguez made his way to a table and had dinner as photographers surrounded him.
The baseball world is waiting for a decision from arbiter Fredric Horowitz on whether the 211-game suspension of Rodriguez by Major League Baseball will be upheld. Rodriguez has been charged with taking performance-enhancing drugs and impeding baseball's investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.
Horowitz is reviewing what was a contentious appeals hearing and is expected to announce a decision next month. Legal wranglings have been going on since the summer and Rodriguez could take baseball to federal court if he disagrees with the outcome.
"I feel good. I have limits what I can talk about. I look forward to Horowitz making a decision and putting this behind me and getting back to hitting in the middle of the lineup," Rodriguez said.
"I'm optimistic, hopefully. It's been a very tough several months. Very tough year. I'm optimistic that [a decision] will come soon," he said. "We can get it behind us and take all the stuff off the back pages and focus on playing baseball and all great things that are happening with the game.
"Make a decision, whatever happens, let's move forward."
Rodriguez, 38, hit .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs over 44 games last season.
"I'm doing everything that I can, in my power, to get ready for spring training. This is the best I've felt in any offseason in a long time. My work is going very well," he said.
If he is eligible to play, Rodriguez would join a Yankees team that has added Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury to offset the departure of Robinson Cano to Seattle.
"We've made some strong moves. I'm looking forward to being a righthanded bat in the middle of that lineup," he said. "Cano's my little brother. I'm obviously happy for him and his family and I think he's going to have a fantastic career over there."
Rodriguez spent time in Santo Domingo earlier this week. He will participate in Ortiz's celebrity golf tournament on Saturday.
I’ve been coming here for a long time," he said. "The support I’ve received from the fans and the teams, and the players all around baseball has helped me get through this. It's tough to get through this. I’m just looking forward to getting a decision, put it behind me and get back to playing good baseball.
Ortiz, who invited Rodriguez, reserved comment about his legal battles.
“I’ve been his friend and I support him. If he is suspended, he’ll have to take that punishment,” Ortiz said. “I don’t know what happened.”
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, who is attending David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament, said he watched every game of the World Series rooting for his former Red Sox teammates to win.
“They were battling for my ring,” said Iglesias, who was traded in July.
Iglesias said the trade was shocking to him when it occurred but he adjusted once he got to know the Detroit players. He is happy he started his career with the Sox.
"This was my first organization. I've got a great memory of the organization that built the player that I am and the player that I will be,” he said. “Later on, when my son says, ‘What team did you used to play for, daddy?’ I'll say, 'I played for the Red Sox. Hey, look, I got a ring from the Red Sox.' I feel a big part of that win, as well, because I helped the team a lot."
Iglesias feels that Xander Bogaerts can play shortstop but will eventually play third base.
“Great kid, great player,” Iglesias said. “But for me, I think he goes to third.”
• Lefthander Franklin Morales pitched in 20 games last season because of injuries. To compensate, he will join Caracas in the Venezuelan League later this month to get some innings in.
“I know how my body feels and I need to pitch before spring training,” Morales said. “Last year was bad. This will be good for me before I go to spring training.”
Morales pitched effectively as a starter and reliever in 2012 before posting a 4.62 earned run average last season.
“My agent talked to the Red Sox and they’re OK. I’ll talk to [pitching coach Juan Nieves] this week about what I should be doing,” Morales said. “This will make me better.”
Morales plans to pitch in relief in a few games for Caracas before making some starts to build up his arm.
• Ryan Kalish signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs that included an invitation to spring training. Kalish was drafted by the Sox in 2006 when Cubs executives Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were with the Red Sox. Kalish hit .243 in 89 major league games for the Red Sox. He missed the 2013 season recovering from shoulder surgery.
• Ortiz invited Alex Rodriguez to his event but reserved comment about the disgraced slugger’s legal battles with Major League Baseball. “I’ve been his friend and I support him. If he is suspended, he’ll have to take that punishment,” Ortiz said. “I don’t know what happened.”
Three reporters from New York are in the Dominican pursuing Rodriguez, who arrived on Friday night.
• The Red Sox signed infielder Brandon Snyder and righthanders Miguel Celestino and John Ely to minor league contracts that include invitations to spring training.
Snyder played 27 games with the Sox last season, hitting .180. He has 83 games of major league experience.
Celestino, 24, a minor league free agent, has been with the Red Sox since 2010. He was 1-9 with a 6.12 ERA for Double A Portland last season.
Ely, 27, was 4-13 with a 5.70 ERA in 25 games for the Dodgers from 2010-12. He pitched in one minor league game in Houston organization last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Perhaps no one soaked up the euphoria of winning the World Series more than Mike Napoli.
He’ll be the first to admit it.
From mixing it up with fans at bars on Boylston to roaming in the city streets, Napoli wanted to stretch the championship celebration out as long as possible.
“I definitely had a good time after the World Series, after we won it,” Napoli said. “I just spent time with my family and my friends and the fans and the people of Boston. It was a great time. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Once the afterglow wore off, and the reality of having to work through the free agent process set in, he realized not only how much he wanted to do it again, but how much he wanted to do it in Boston.
As enticing as offers from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Miami Marlins might have been, signing a two-year $32 million deal made the most sense for Napoli.
“I think that after going through this and being able to sit down and realize what happened, for me, it makes me hungrier,” Napoli said. “I started training again and I can’t wait to get back on the field and get with my teammates again and try to do it again. “
As the cleanup hitter for the most productive offense in baseball, Napoli hit .259 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs.
He did it on a one-year $5 million deal (plus $8 million in incentives) after his original three-year $39 million deal was shorted when Red Sox doctors discovered a degenerative condition in his hips.
Having the process go more smoothly this time was a relief, Napoli said.
“After going through what I went through last year, it was definitely a relief to just go through this and it was fairly easier than last year,” he said. "But ultimately I’m happy to be back.”
The new deal is guaranteed with no provisions for future hip issues.
“We’re confident that Mike is healthy and we’re thrilled that he’s going to be a big part of our team for the next couple years and hopefully beyond,” Sox general manager Ben Cherington said.
The value Napoli added not only with his power but with with intangibles small and large — from the transition he made to first base to the major-league leading 4.59 pitches he sees per plate appearance — made it a priority for Cherington to bring him back.
“I think when we pursued Mike last year and ultimately signed him, we did that because we thought that his skill set would ultimately help us on the field,” Cherington said. “We had also heard a lot about his reputation as a teammate and the other things that he brings to the table.
“Having spent several months around him, it became very clear that he was not just a really important part of the team on the field and what he does on the field, but a particularly important guy on the clubhouse. A lot of the things that Mike does as a player and a teammate are things that we believe in strongly.”
The Red Sox brought the last three World Series trophies on a little tour of Boston leading up to Saturday's Christmas at Fenway event and kick off of 2014 ticket sales.
The trophies started at South Station early in the morning, made a stop at Massachusetts General Hospital with some players, then headed to three Boston businesses for office pop-up parties based on a twitter contest.
Boston.com stopped by Wayfair on Huntington Ave. to capture the celebration.
Click the full entry button to see video from the event.FULL ENTRY
Associated PressSince his breakout run as a rookie in 2007 that was pivotal in winning the World Series championship, Jacoby Ellsbury has been one of the key players for the Red Sox over the past seven seasons.
However, that run officially ended Friday when he was introduced as a member of the New York Yankees at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Ellsbury became a free agent after the World Series and agreed to a seven-year contract with the Yankees worth $153 million.
“I’m proud to be a New York Yankee,” Ellsbury said. “From the get go, the Yankees showed a great interest and showed that they really wanted me. I always enjoyed playing here [in New York], I love the tradition, the fans, it will be nice having them on my side now, but [it’s] just a great place to be, [I’m] honored to be here, and I’m excited.”
Ellsbury becomes the latest in a list of players who have jumped from the Red Sox to the Yankees. Johnny Damon made a similar switch in 2005 after winning a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004. Wade Boggs, Babe Ruth and Luis Tiant also went straight from Boston to the Bronx.
Ellsbury will wear No. 22 with the Yankees, a number worn recently in New York by Roger Clemens, who won two World Series titles with the Yankees after spending 13 years with the Red Sox.
“It’s definitely been done before,” Ellsbury said when asked of switching from the Red Sox to the Yankees. “[I have] nothing but great things to say about my old team. I’m just truly honored to be here. I know the rivalry being in the AL East, it’s just going to be an exciting time; I’m just happy to put on this jersey and hat.
“I talked, not to guys who have made the jump [from Boston to New York], but I’ve talked to previous players that have played with New York or are currently with the Yankees, and they said ‘You’ll love it here. It’s a great city, you’ll love playing here.’ And they showed that they wanted me from the get-go, and from that moment on I was definitely excited to become a New York Yankee.”
Ellsbury would not go into detail about his negotiations with the Red Sox about a possible return, focusing instead on how he enjoyed spending the first seven years of his career in Boston.
“It was seven great years,” he said. “The fans treated me great, the guys in the clubhouse... those are relationships that I’ll have for the rest of my life, regardless of what uniform I’m in or what uniform they’re in. And then the two world championships: I started my career with a world championship, ended my tenure there with a championship, so unbelievable first part of my career.”
Ellsbury’s time in Boston included three seasons where he stole at least 50 bases, including a career-high 70 in 2009. He batted over or just shy of .300 three times; had a 2011 season where he hit 32 home runs, drove in 105 RBIs, and finished second in MVP voting; and helped the Red Sox win two World Series.
“You are no longer a thorn in my side,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said to Ellsbury at Friday’s intrduction.
Ellsbury’s Red Sox tenure, however, was also plagued with lost seasons, such as 2010, when he played just 18 games after breaking several ribs in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre, and 2012, when he separated his shoulder in the home opener and played just 74 games as a shell of his 2011 production.
In his last action before joining the Yankees, Ellsbury thanked Red Sox fans for their support over his seven years in Boston, taking out a full page ad in the Globe on the day of his first press conference in the Bronx.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — David Ortiz said this afternoon that he is interested in a one-year contract extension with the Red Sox that would take him though the 2015 season.
Ortiz will make $15 million in 2014, the second year of his deal. The All-Star designated hitter, now 38, hopes to stay with the team beyond that.
"I have a contract for next year. I would like to talk to them and see if we can agree on another year and see what happens after that," Ortiz said. "I think we are in the best situation right now, especially after winning the World Series.
"My agent [Fernando Cuza] and them, they're talking right now to see if we can get another year. Hopefully everything goes well. I'm feeling good."
But according to a Red Sox source, there are no negotiations going on at the moment. If there are any substantive talks, they would probably come during the season.
The sides also informally agreed a year ago to table any further discussions until after the two-year deal was completed.
After his press conference, Ortiz clarified the situation to the Globe.
"We've talked before and had some words about it. I feel good about it," he said. "I don't see any reason why not. You know how it is, I'm going to produce. I shouldn't have to wait until after the season."
Later in the day, during a press conference regarding the return of Mike Napoli, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the team wants Ortiz to end his career in Boston.
"The door will always be open to David," Cherington said.
Ortiz, one of the team leaders, feels a veteran presence has value as the Red Sox incorporate more young players into the lineup.
"They have to take advantage of guys like myself so [young players] can learn and know how things work [in Boston]," he said. "I'm not much of a talker. But through my actions guys learn how things go in that organization. They've got [Dustin Pedoia] locked up for a while, which is a good thing. Who better than Pedroia to have around for a long time? Pedey is hungry, just like the first day that he got called up.
"That guy, he hasn't lost a beat. The base of the organization is right there."
In conjunction with the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic, an online auction is being held to benefit the World Pediatric Project and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. Auction items include hitting lessons with Ortiz, tickets to Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition launch party, and lunches with Heidi Watney and Jenny Dell. The full auction list can be viewed on the website for Ortiz's event.
Red Sox chief operating officer Sam Kennedy joined Boston.com readers Friday to discuss the team, Saturday's Christmas at Fenway event, the upcoming Frozen Fenway, and more. Review the discussion below.
Select tickets for the 2014 season go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Fans not at the park can purchase tickets via redsox.com and by phone at 888-REDSOX6. Tickets available include four-game "Sox Pax" and single-game tickets for April and May home games, except Opening Day, Patriots Day, and Yankees games.
Jacoby Ellsbury sent a thank-you message to Red Sox fans on Friday via an advertisement in the Boston Globe.
Ellsbury, who will be introduced by the Yankees at a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday at 11 a.m., left the Red Sox as a free agent after helping them win the World Series. He landed a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees.
The text of his message reads as follows:
Red Sox Nation,
Two World Championships and seven years of great memories.
To the fans of New England, teammates and the many friendships made.
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — The sixth-annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic gets started tonight with the golf tournament on Saturday.
Several teammates are expected to attend along with former Sox starts Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon, Jim Rice, Tim Wakefield and Luis Tiant.
Ortiz, by the way, doesn't actually play golf. But he putts with every group, poses for photos and has a good time. The event supports the David Ortiz Children's Fund, which has channeled millions into pediatric care here in the Dominican and in Boston via Massachusetts General.
We'll have reports all weekend. Rumor has it that Alex Rodriguez is going to show up. Lawyers in tow, no doubt.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m. (ET): A-Rod is on the way according to media reports out of Santo Domingo. Rodriguez was in the capital and met with president Danilo Medina. He told reporters there that he would he attended Ortiz's event.
Santo Domingo is about two hours away from here.