Mirabelli deal close

The Red Sox are close to consummating a one-year deal to bring back backup catcher Doug Mirabelli for the 2008 season. With the backup catching (and overall catching) markets slim pickings this offseason, the Sox bring back the catcher who has been with the team since the 2001 season (other than a brief stint with the Padres, when he was traded away and traded back).

Just a few details, including a physical, are left to finalize before the deal should be completed. Mirabelli earned $750,000 in the same capacity last season, but he will take a pay cut, with his base salary at $550,000 for the 2008 season. Incentives in his contract, though, could bring it close to a million dollars.

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Mirabelli has served as Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher for his tenure with the Red Sox, which has bolstered his value, especially given his declining offensive numbers. Mirabelli, who was signed to a one-year deal last season, hit just .202 in 114 at bats last season. He had five home runs and 16 RBI.

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