Report: Jacoby Ellsbury agrees to deal with Yankees
Free agent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and the Yankees have agreed to a seven-year, $153 million deal, according to New York Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand.
The deal is pending a physical. Yahoo! Sports reported the deal includes an option for an eighth year that could bring the total to $169 million.
The Red Sox will receive a compensatory draft pick from the Yankees because Boston tendered a qualifying offer to Ellsbury when he became a free agent after the World Series.
Ellsbury has spent his entire seven-year major league career in Boston. He has a career batting average of .297 with 65 home runs, 314 RBIs and 241 stolen bases.
He was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2005 draft.
Earlier Tuesday, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the sides were in “serious talks’’ and “it is believed the deal would exceed Carl Crawford’s $142 million, seven-year deal.’’
Previously, Heyman reported the Nationals had joined a field of teams interested in Ellsbury that already included the Mariners, Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Phillies, Astros, and Mets . According to Heyman, one team interested in Ellsbury said agent Scott Boras set Crawford’s deal as a benchmark to begin contract discussions.
The Red Sox signed Crawford to the deal in December of 2010, but traded him in August of 2012 to the Dodgers after he did not live up to expectations.
Report: Jarrod Saltalamacchia signs with Marlins
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who played in Boston from July of 2010 through the 2013 season, has signed a $21 million, 3-year deal with the Florida Marlins, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal had reported earlier that the Marlins made an offer for the catcher’s services, and also that the Red Sox had previously made him a two-year offer. The Red Sox will move forward with catchers A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross.
Report: Mariners interested in Napoli
Ken Rosenthal, from FoxSports.com, reports his sources indicate the Mariners have interest in Red Sox free agent Mike Napoli. “The Mariners had interest in Napoli last offseason, but wanted him partly as a backup catcher,’’ Rosenthal wrote. “Sources say the team backed off due to the condition of Napoli’s hips.’’ Last offseason, Napoli had a three-year deal with the Red Sox before concerns about his hip reduced the agreement to one year. Napoli went on to have a career year in at bats (498), runs (79), hits (129), doubles (38), and RBI (92) – as well as playing a solid first base. Rosenthal says that if the Mariners offer Napoli three years or more, the Red Sox might bow out.
The Globe’s Peter Abraham previously reported the Red Sox have had more extensive contract talks with Napoli and his agent Brian Grieper, with Abraham reporting that GM Ben Cherington said that “We absolutely have an interest in having [Napoli] back.’’
On Nov. 7, the Herald’s Scott Lauber wrote that the Red Sox need to re-sign Mike Napoli, citing that he has proven that he truly wants to stay in Boston and the team will be better for keeping him around that trying to work in a replacement after Napoli has shown dedication to the team and the city.
According to Jeff Passan, a columnist for Yahoo! Sports, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has received a multi-year offer from the Red Sox, but has decided to shop around.
Boston.com’s Chad Finn predicted Napoli would ultimately sign a two-year $29 million deal with the Red Sox this offseason. “Right player, right time, right city, right team,’’ Finn wrote.
Mets could deal Davis
The Mets are torn on what to do with Ike Davis, according to Nick Cafardo’s latest Sunday Baseball Notes. The team is hoping he can become the 32-home run hitter he was a couple of seasons ago, but his major struggles have given them pause. The Red Sox may or may not have a need at first base depending on how the offseason goes.
Red Sox have weighed in on Matt Kemp
The Red Sox are one of several teams who have made inquiries on Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp according to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo. The Sox have probably made a few dozen of these types of calls on trades and free-agents, but Kemp is certainly intriguing.
Kemp is still owed six years at about $130 million, but it would appear the Dodgers would have to eat some of the contract in any deal in order to receive fair player acquisition.
Kemp, 29, had an injury-filled season last season limiting him to 73 games and played in only 106 games the year before. But prior to that he was a durable players playing in 155, 159, 162 and 161 games per season. His 162 game career averages are .293 with 26 homers and 94 RBIs with an .844 on base percentage. His best season was 2011 when he led the National League with 39 homers and 126 RBI to go along with a .324 average.
After the emergence of rookie Yasiel Puig, it has become clear to the Dodgers that they no longer have room for Kemp and outfielder Andre Ethier. Both can play center field.
The Red Sox will have a big void to fill in centerfield if they cannot re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury, and adding either Kemp or Ethier to play center would allow them to keep 2013 Gold Glove winner Shane Victorino in right field.
Red Sox have ‘serious interest’ in signing Carlos Beltran
The Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported on Nov. 19 that the Red Sox, Orioles, and Yankees have expressed serious interest in signing Beltran while the Herald’s Scott Lauber tweeted that Boston has already engaged in “serious dialogue” with the 36-year-old free agent.
On Nov. 10, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that there could be a problem in the Red Sox going after Beltran: namely, his age and knee issues are making some view him as mainly a DH possibilty, which the Red Sox clearly don’t have room for. He may need more regular rest in Boston if he were to play outfield full time than if he signs elsewhere and is a primary DH.
According to the New York Post, the Red Sox have more than a passing interest in Beltran. Cafardo confirmed that there is interest, but it is “not that aggressive to this point according to team source.’’
The Post cited “a person who knows Carlos Beltran,’’ who said the Yankees and Orioles have shown interest, but the Red Sox have “been more aggressive.’’
Beltran received a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals. He hit .296 in 2013 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also showed he knows how to play Fenway Park’s outfield angles when he robbed David Ortiz of a potential home run in Game 1 of the World Series despite running into the outfield wall.
Agent for Corey Hart says he’s talked to Red Sox
During an appearance on a Sirius XM radio program, first baseman/outfielder Corey Hart said his agent has been in contact with the Red Sox.
The free agent missed last season because of knee surgery. Hart has spent nine seasons in Milwaukee, and is a career .276 hitter with 154 home runs and 508 RBIs.
Hart also said his agent has been in contact with the Rays, Rockies and Brewers.
Masahiro Tanaka not off the Red Sox radar
Amid speculation that the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the most likely bidders for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, the Globe’s Nick Carfardo says that the Red Sox could be interested in the pitcher who went 24-0 with the Rakuten Golden Eagles this past year, according to a prominent agent that wished to remain nameless.
Cafardo reports that the posting fee just to talk with the starter could be anywhere from $50-$70 million, followed by a contract of $50-$60 million; in hindsight the Red Sox paid over $50 million simply to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006.
There is worry though, however, in some offices about the amount of work Tanaka has been subjected to over the past few years, according the the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Tanaka has been used extensively by the Golden Eagles, including this postseason, when he threw a 160 pitch game and then threw 15 pitches the next night to get a save.
The Yankees are currently believed to be the most aggressive team in trying to secure a posting fee to negotiate with Tanaka.
Rajai Davis could give Red Sox speed they need
If the Red Sox are looking for speed on the market this winter, an option they could turn to would be Rajai Davis, according to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo. The outfielder stole 45 bases last year, and the Red Sox could be looking for speed if Jacoby Ellsbury does not resign with the team. He could provide some stolen bases off the bench and serve time as a backup outfielder, similar to what Quintin Berry gave the Red Sox down the stretch in their run to the World Series title in 2013.
Shin-Soo Choo might be too costly for Sox
Boston.com columnist Chad Finn writes: “Under different circumstances, Shin-Soo Choo might be heavily coveted by the Red Sox. The Reds’ leadoff hitter last season reached base at a .423 clip last season, with an NL-best 112 walks; David Ortiz led the Red Sox in OBP at .395. Choo has power (21 homers), decent speed (20 steals, but in an inefficient 31 attempts), and is capable enough defensively that Dusty Baker was comfortable using him in center field. Unfortunately, he’s represented by Scott Boras, who also reps Jacoby Ellsbury, and it’s hard to figure on the Sox signing one Boras client to replace another, especially when Choo’s asking price is said to be in the range of Jayson Werth’s $126 million deal.”
Mark Trumbo a first base possibility
If the Red Sox cannot work out a deal with Mike Napoli, the Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports that an option for the Sox to consider could be trading for Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo. Trumbo hit 34 home runs and had 100 RBIs this season, is five years younger than Napoli, and is under contract until after the 2017 season.
Cafardo says that the Angels are in need of a third baseman and a pitcher, and speculates that Will Middlebrooks and Felix Doubront could be the chips that it would take to get a deal for Trumbo done.
Boston.com’s Chad Finn, however, doesn’t believe that Trumbo is the right answer at first base for the Red Sox, as Trumbo, he points out, has very similar career averages to Middlebrooks, and adding Doubront into a deal for Trumbo wouldn’t make sense.
John Lackey garners interest from the Braves
After John Lackey’s resurgent year in 2013, some have speculated that there is no better time to trade the righthander than right now. Others have suggested teams that could have interest in Lackey: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien suggests that if the Braves cannot resign Tim Hudson, then Lackey could be a good fit in Atlanta.
Lackey is currently signed to the Red Sox for a $15.25 million salary in 2014, but has a team option for the league-minimum in 2015, which could be the biggest bargain in baseball if his 2014 season is anything close to his 2013 campaign.
The Globe’s Nick Cafardo also reports that the Giants and Phillies could be good fits for Lackey, along with the Braves. He says that the Red Sox would also like to move one of their veteran starters, such as Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy, in order to make room on the staff for a young starter.
Stephen Drew’s agent to test the market
Shortstop Stephen Drew is likely to turn down the Red Sox’ qualifying offer. According to baseball reporter Peter Gammons, Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, has already set up a number of meetings at the general manager/owner meetings Nov. 11-13.
Gammons tweeted the news as follows: “GM: ‘Forget Stephen Drew accepting the $14M. Scott(Boras) already has set up a number of meetings on Drew for Tuesday at the GM meetings.’’
The Globe’s Nick Cafardo also reported just after the World Series that Boras told him he had received several inquiries related to Drew.
Brian McCann signs with Yankees
Catcher Brian McCann agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract with the Yankees on Nov. 24. There was much speculation that McCann would be a good fit for the Red Sox. McCann hit .256 with 20 home runs in 2013 for the Braves.