The Red Sox have agreed to terms with Mike Napoli. The contract is a two-year deal worth $32MM. The slugger confirmed his return on his own Twitter feed, saying “The beard is coming back to Boston!!!”
Napoli’s clear desire to remain with the World Series champions impacted his decision. Counting his $13MM salary from 2013 (in both base salary and incentives), Napoli will end up receiving $45MM between 2013-15 — well above the $39MM he was originally set to earn from Boston before he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both of his hips, which caused the Sox to pull their multiyear offer and extend just the one-year pact.
The 32-year-old silenced all questions about his health by hitting .259/.360/.482 with 23 homers in 578 PA for the Sox last season, also posting big numbers in the ALCS during Boston’s championship run. Napoli turned down a one-year, $14.1MM qualifying offer from the Red Sox earlier this winter and thus would’ve netted the club a compensation draft pick had he signed elsewhere, but now the club will have its starting first baseman back in the fold after already losing Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in free agency this offseason.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that Napoli had received an offer from another club but his preference was to remain in Boston. The Marlins, Rangers, and Mariners were all rumored to be interested in Napoli’s services. Texas was believed to have made Napoli a larger offer though sources later told them that the Rangers never made a formal offer. Napoli also turned down at least one three-year offer, but Napoli preferred to remain with the Sox and accepted their smaller deal.
So, the Sox will continue to have their strong clubhouse presence led by Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes. Weei.com’s Alex Speier wrote a piece about that clubhouse culture Saturday.
In baseball, what is a clubhouse culture worth? What is it worth to have players who are in a place that they want to call their home?
The curiosity is virtually impossible to answer. But on Friday, the Red Sox benefited from a strong indication that the phenomenon does indeed have a value that can be measured in specific cases in tens of millions of dollars.
On a day when Robinson Cano agreed to bolt from New York with a reported 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners that jarred the baseball world, the contrast to Cano’s longtime American League East counterpart was lost on few. In 2013 — at a time when he was a year and a half from free agency — Dustin Pedroia passed on the opportunity to test his market in order to sign an eight-year, $110 million deal that replaces the final two seasons of the original deal.
No one will suggest that Pedroia will struggle to make ends meet any time in this life. And it’s also worth noting that, even had Pedroia reached the free agent market, he might well have fallen short of Cano’s contract on the market. But would he have been deemed worthy of less than half the guarantee of Cano, and just over half the average annual salary of his longtime Yankees rival? Almost certainly not.
But Pedroia made clear that he valued being a Red Sox for life over maximizing his earnings. And in doing that, he made clear that he wanted to help position the Red Sox to be a winning team going forward, one that had the financial flexibility to build a strong club around him. In accepting a deal with an average annual value (as determined by the Players’ Association based on deferrals) of $13.2 million rather than having tried to clear the $20 million a year hurdle, Pedroia put the Sox in position to maneuver around his contract in order to forge a well-rounded club.
“I’m not here to set markets or do anything like that. I want to make sure that the team I’m on wins more games than the other team’s second baseman,” Pedroia said at the press conference to announce his deal in July. “That’s the way I look at it. Our job is to win games, and that’s what I play for.”
Mike Napoli, who agreed to a two-year, $32 million deal with the Sox on Friday night, ended up representing a similarly striking demonstration of the value of having created an environment where players want to be. The Red Sox managed to retain a middle-of-the-order power hitter on a deal that fits squarely within the team’s preferred model of shorter-term contracts for higher salaries.
According to an industry source, the first baseman had at least one offer of three guaranteed years on the table. He could have made more money than the $32 million where he landed. And at one point on Friday — a head-spinning day of megadeals — the gap between what the Sox offered and what Napoli was sufficient to create some pessimism about the player’s return to Boston.
But in the middle of negotiations, the closeness that characterized the 2013 Red Sox spilled into the talks between the player and the team in a way that helped to secure his return to Boston. It’s difficult to say whether this influenced the team’s approach to the player, but according to multiple sources, Red Sox players lobbied GM Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell in an effort to get the team to up its offer and retain a player who represented a significant contributor to the championship team both on and off the field.
Again, it’s not clear whether that entered into the Sox’ thinking as they negotiated with the first baseman, who had represented their clear first priority at the position this offseason. But certainly, the show of support behind him — coupled with improvements in the Sox’ offers — represented a significant selling point for Napoli, underscoring a great deal of what had appealed to him about playing in Boston with this particular cast.
The Sox did raise their two-year offer and, according to multiple sources, they explored a number of different scenarios meant to find middle ground with the first baseman, even as they tried to protect themselves in terms of the length of the deal. It is believed, for instance, that the Sox explored ways of meeting Napoli’s desire for a three-year deal, but with a front loaded structure that featured a lower value in the third year of the deal so that, in case Napoli’s degenerative hip condition showed signs of worsening in the later years of a deal, the Sox would not be in a position where their payroll would be hamstrung in case of health issues.
But in the end, Napoli knew with certainty that he wanted to return to the Sox, and valued that above the possibility of a larger guarantee in terms of absolute dollars or even more years — a significant concession for a player who a year ago discovered that he had a potentially career-ending hip condition. He elected to take a straight two-year deal from the Sox (one that did indeed feature the highest average annual salary of any of the offers he received), to stay with a team and a city that have embraced him.
In a different scenario, in which the Red Sox had not woven such a tight-knit clubhouse, would Napoli have returned on a two-year deal? Hard to say, certainly. But as of now, at a time when the free agent marketplace is exploding in a way that players are finding extra years and dollars at every turn, it is noteworthy that the Sox have managed to retain a pair of central contributors on deals that fit into their payroll structure and operating philosophy.
That hasn’t worked without exception, of course. The team didn’t end up finding middle ground with Jacoby Ellsbury, who bolted for the Yankees on the sort of deal that the Sox are trying to avoid. Nonetheless, the fact that the Sox have been able to retain Pedroia and Napoli while maintaining the payroll flexibility to build other pieces around them (such as the additions of A.J. Pierzynski and bullpen additions Edward Mujica and Burke Badenhop) attests to more than the team’s considerable financial resources. It suggests the dramatic change in the clubhouse culture, and the creation of a team of which players want to be a part.
The Winter Meetings got underway late last night and 45 Miles from Fenway will keep you posted on all the news and notes from Orlando throughout the week.
Happy Monday! Thanks for reading!
Free agent Robinson Cano and the Mariners have agreed on a 10-year, $240 million contract, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports confirmed the value of the deal.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the parties were close to agreeing on a contract worth “at least” $225 million.
The Mariners walked away from negotiations Thursday with Robinson Cano when Jay Z upped his ask to 10 years and $252 million, according to the New York Daily News. But the two sides resumed talks on Friday, reported Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Cano and his rapper-turned-agent Jay Z and CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen reportedly had assurances of a deal with the Mariners for nine years and $225 million, but Mariners chairman/CEO Howard Lincoln reportedly “exploded” Thursday night when Jay-Z demanded an additional year.
Heyman’s source said reports of talks breaking off were overblown.
The Yankees made Cano an offer of seven years for $165-$170 million and reportedly had not heard back from Cano or his agents as of late Thursday night and were not willing to up their offer to $200 million.
In other Yankees news, they signed righty Hiroki Kuroda to a 1-year deal for $16 million. Now they have THREE starters in their rotation, C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Kuroda…But they still have plenty of money to spend after not re-signing Cano.
The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a two-year, $9.5MM contract with right-hander Edward Mujica, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Mujica will take a physical today, according to Passan.
Mujica, 29, possesses some of the best command of any pitcher in the Majors. He issued just five walks in 64 2/3 innings this season to go along with 46 strikeouts and a 2.78 ERA. Mujica entered the season buried on St. Louis’ bullpen depth chart but ascended to the role of closer. Jason Motte underwent Tommy John surgery, Mitchell Boggs flopped and the Cardinals elected to deploy rookie Trevor Rosenthal in a setup role. The end result was Mujica notching 37 saves for the Redbirds, though he wilted down the stretch and was a complete non-factor in the playoffs.
From Alex Speier writing for Baseball America
BOSTON — After two years in the Angels front office, Gary DiSarcina had a mission in 2013 in his return to the Red Sox as manager of the organization’s Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate.
“We’re here to get you out of here,” DiSarcina said of his approach to working with players on the doorstep of the big leagues. “Use us.”
It was an approach that made DiSarcina a valued member of the Red Sox player development staff from 2007-10 as a manager for short-season Lowell (2007-09) and as a roving infield instructor in 2010 before he was hired by the Angels. And in his return to the Sox, the 45-year-old had the opportunity to help a number of familiar prospects he’d seen earlier in their development.
This time, the conversations were different. Whereas DiSarcina had largely been trying to help players like Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts develop a foundation, this time he proved a critical contributor in the latter stages of their apprenticeships.
At a level of the minors where it can prove challenging to maintain a positive clubhouse attitude, DiSarcina kept sometimes-frustrated players focused on productivity.
“DiSar is a really loose and upbeat personality, one who connects with a lot of different types of people well ,” Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett said of DiSarcina, who left the Red Sox after the season to become the Angels’ third-base coach. “It was impressive the way he took charge, got guys’ respect quickly but also managed different egos—both older players and younger prospects.
“He really did a nice job of dealing with challenges as they appeared.”
Perhaps the most significant instance of that attribute came in the management of Jose Iglesias, who was admittedly disappointed after being sent to Triple-A following a strong start in early April, at a time when Stephen Drew was on the disabled list. Iglesias struggled not just offensively but also with his effort level in Triple-A, failing to run out grounders on multiple occasions.
DiSarcina pulled Iglesias in the middle of a game after one such incident, and the shortstop sat out of the next three games. But DiSarcina presented the approach not as a benching or a punishment, but instead an opportunity for Iglesias to catch his breath, to return to playing with the energy and joy that are often associated with the 23-year-old.
Iglesias did just that, while also taking well to his introduction to other positions as he started to take grounders at third and second base with DiSarcina. Iglesias’ adaptation to third proved critical, as he became the Sox’s everyday third baseman for a key stretch in June and July, not only becoming a key contributor to the Sox for that two-month stretch but also restoring his trade value to the point where he could turn into the key cog in a deal that landed the Sox righthander Jake Peavy.
Iglesias, of course, deserved the lion’s share of the credit for putting himself in the position to thrive in the big leagues, but team officials felt that DiSarcina’s approach in managing the player had an impact.
DiSarcina guided Pawtucket to first place in the International League’s North Division with an 80-63 record and the Governor’s Cup championship round in the playoffs. He likewise received praise for his handling of Middlebrooks when the Opening Day third baseman was sent down, his work in getting Bogaerts prepared to play a relatively new position (third base) in the big leagues and his counsel for Jackie Bradley after the 23-year-old struggled in his first exposure to the big leagues at the start of the season.
“You never want to throw in a player’s face what his weaknesses are,” he said. “You encourage them to come out for work, say, ‘Hey, let’s go work on this,’ ” he said. “Players are different nowadays. This isn’t back 30 years ago where you could be rough and gruff with their guys, get in their faces and say, ‘You need to work on this,’ have that stern attitude.
“When the players realize you’re in it for them, just trying to get them to the big leagues with no other agenda, they’ll come out and work on their weaknesses because they feel a connection to you and they feel the organization wants them to do well. It’s not just to get to Boston. Ultimately, what we want to do is to get these guys to the big leagues. It may be with the Dodgers. It may be with someone else. But if they feel you’re in it for them, they’ll come out and work on anything, so long as you’re coming from a genuine place.”
Front-office personnel and members of the big league coaching staff likewise came to rely on DiSarcina’s candor and precise insights. In part because of his range of experiences that spanned the front office and work both as a manager and a rover, DiSarcina was far more than a steward of talent in Pawtucket.
The Sox considered his evaluations invaluable, the equivalent of having a front-office member sitting in the dugout on a day-to-day basis, as when the team was trying to make a determination about the relative big league readiness of Middlebrooks and Bogaerts in August.
“To me, what stood out the most was that when you pressed him, ‘I need to know this,’ there was never any wavering,” Red Sox big league manager John Farrell said. “It was clear, it was concise and as accurate as it could be. What we saw come to life was spot on. When it came to specific guys we were considering, his first-hand evaluations, his first-hand involvement, his experience with the individuals, he knew more than what maybe just what an evaluator’s eye would see from the stands.
“It was critical. When you talk about a guy, how they might handle the major league environment for the first time, what the shortcomings might be, how we can best address and help that transition, he’s got such a good feel for people and obviously a lot of first-hand experience himself. His recommendations were spot on.”
The below article is courtesy of Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:
Red Sox manager John Farrell called the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees a jolt after the thrill of winning the World Series.
But it was not unexpected. Ellsbury had steadfastly refused all entreaties to sign an extension with the Red Sox and entered free agency at a time when baseball is awash in revenues. That Ellsbury went to New York was a bit of a surprise. But if not the Yankees, it would have been another team.
“When you get into free agency with a player of Jacoby’s caliber, you know going in that there’s probably a handful of spots where he could end up,” general manager Ben Cherington said Wednesday. “Certainly New York is always going to be one of those potential spots.
“We wish Jacoby well. He was obviously a really good player here in Boston. During the time he was here, he was a big part of two World Series teams. We would have loved to keep him. But we felt like there was an area, a range, we were willing to go to and the market just got past that.”
That range was around $100 million, far less than the Yankees were willing to pay after finishing tied for third place with their fewest wins since 1995.
The Red Sox play their first game against the Yankees April 10 in New York. Unless he is on the disabled list, Ellsbury will wear pinstripes at Fenway Park for the first time on April 22 and perhaps pick up his World Series ring.
That’s for later. On Wednesday, there was little panic or fretting by the Red Sox. In 23-year-old Jackie Bradley Jr., the Red Sox have a former first-round draft pick ready to step into center field.
“We certainly feel real good about some of the in-house alternatives and one of those guys is certainly Jackie Bradley,” Cherington said. “That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t add an outfielder. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t add a player at another [outfield] spot.
“We’re not going to talk about exactly what the team’s going to look like on Opening Day because we don’t have to yet. There’s still time and we’re working. We’re going to work through different options. We certainly feel fortunate that Jackie is in our organization and we would feel good if he was playing center field if that’s the way it plays out.”
Bradley hit .189 over 95 major-league at-bats last season. But he is a career .297 hitter in the minors with an .876 OPS — statistics that are comparable to what Ellsbury did in the minors before joining the Red Sox full-time in 2007.
Right fielder Shane Victorino has played center field for much of his career. But Cherington and Farrell have said repeatedly they prefer to keep the Gold Glove right fielder where he is. Victorino’s glove and strong arm saved numerous runs in Fenway Park’s spacious right field last season.
If the Red Sox elect to stay with Bradley, they could sign a veteran center fielder as his backup.
Free agents Shin-Soo Choo and Curtis Granderson have appeal. But Choo, like Ellsbury represented by Scott Boras, could command a contract of at least $130 million. If the Red Sox were uncomfortable with that commitment to Ellsbury, signing Choo is unlikely.
Granderson, who missed considerable time with injuries last season, would be cheaper and offers the appeal of lefthanded power, having hit 84 home runs for the Yankees from 2011-12. But, like Choo, he is a qualified free agent who would cost the Red Sox their first-round draft pick.
The Red Sox have the depth to execute a trade. The Dodgers have made two-time All-Star Matt Kemp available but he has six years and $128 million remaining on his contract. Los Angeles would have to pick up a significant amount of that.
Another hot topic of late has been what the Red Sox will do with all of their depth at the catching position. With the recent signing of AJ Pierzynski to a one year deal to share time with David Ross, what happens to PawSox staples Ryan Lavarnway and Dan Butler? The names Christian Vasquez and Blake Swihart are the “future” of the Red Sox, but Lavarnway and Butler have shown their skills over the last two seasons in Pawtucket.
Weei.com’s Alex Speier dove head-long into the Red Sox catching pool…
Speier also looks at what the Sox might do next.
Happy Thursday and thanks for reading!
Like it or not, but Jacoby Ellsbury is a New York Yankee.
He helped the Red Sox to two World Series titles (’07 and ’13). He was a solid player. He was dynamic in the field, at the plate and on the bases. But at age 30, a seven-year contract is not what the Red Sox wanted, or needed, to do.
For a guy who’s legs are his calling card, a four or five year deal makes sense, but not seven. Just ask the Angels on how that Albert Pujols deal has worked out…and he still has EIGHT years left on that contract.
Does this departure hurt more than Johnny Damon’s? I don’t think it does. Damon was a key part of the “idiots” that helped snap an 86-year-World Series drought. Coming off of that emotion with ending the streak, and overcoming the Yankees in seven games, Johnny Damon leaving to sign with the Yankees was worse. Babe Ruth left the Red Sox for the Yankees, Roger Clemens did it (via Toronto first), Damon did it, Youkilis did it (after half a year with the White Sox) and now Ellsbury. It happens. Ellsbury could hit .300 with 15 homers and 50 steals in 2014…he could also miss 50 games.
There are so many unknowns with this signing, but, Jacoby got paid. He was a part of a lot of GREAT Red Sox teams. He has two World Series rings and he’ll never forget that. Red Sox Nation should say thank you for his contributions over the last six years and move on…and I really think they have.
What this signing really does…it forces the Red Sox ‘kids’ to produce. NOW is the time for Jackie Bradley Jr. to shine. The Red Sox centerfield job is now his to lose, barring GM Ben Charington making a move. JBJ may not have the pure stolen base ability that Ellsbury has, but he is (in my opinion) a better overall hitter, a better defender and gets on base at a better percentage. And most of all, he is a sensational clubhouse guy. Not to say Ellsbury wasn’t, but JBJ is a dynamic player AND person.
Off my soap box on Ellsbury.
Want some other moves around baseball? There were plenty Tuesday.
Former Red Sox backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed a three-year deal with the Miami Marlins for $21 million.
Oakland traded one of their top prospects in outfielder Michael Choice and infielder Chris Bostick to Texas for outfielder Craig Gentry and right handed pitcher Josh Lindblom. They also traded for former Orioles closer Jim Johnson (for former 1st rounder Jemile Weeks). AND they dealt outfield Seth Smith to San Diego for arguably one of the best set up guys in baseball, Luke Gregerson.
Colorado traded centerfielder Dexter Fowler to Houston for outfielder Brandon Barnes and starter Jordan Lyles (another former 1st rounder).
Detroit signed closer Joe Nathan to a two-year deal shoring up the back end of their bullpen.
Toronto traded reliever Brad Lincoln to Philadelphia for catcher Erik Kratz and lefty Rod Rassmussen (who was drafted in 2010 and is now in his 5th organization).
And in a three-team deal between the Reds, Ray and D-backs…The Rays received reliever Heath Bell from Arizona, catcher Ryan Hanigan and cash. The Reds got minor league starter David Holmberg and Arizona received righty Justin Choate and a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Whew…That’s a lot of moving and shaking! And all of this before the Winter Meetings next week in Orlando.
Here’s something to ponder…Now that the Yankees signed Ellsbury for seven years and $153 million and Brian McCann for five years and $85 million, do they bring back Robinson Cano? Does his agent, Jay-Z, shop him to Seattle, or LA (either one), or….big breath….Boston?! Can’t wait to see how that situation unfolds.
Happy Wednesday!! Thanks for reading.
The Red Sox have agreed to a deal with catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal. The contract seems to close the door on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was acquired by the Sox at the 2010 trade deadline and is now a free agent.
Pierzynski, 37 later this month, signed a one-year deal with the Rangers last offseason and went on to hit .272 with 17 home runs in 529 plate appearances. He offers good power for the position and has displayed perhaps the best durability behind the dish in baseball. Pierzynski will be paired with David Ross in Boston. The contract represents the first free agent deal of the offseason for the World Champion Red Sox, who still need to address first base at the least with Mike Napoli a free agent. The Twins and Blue Jays were reportedly among the other teams showing interest in Pierzynski this offseason.
Pierzynski is already the seventh catcher to sign a Major League deal, following Brian McCann (Yankees), Carlos Ruiz (Phillies), Dioner Navarro (Blue Jays), Jose Molina (Rays), Brayan Pena (Reds), and Francisco Pena (Royals). Saltalamacchia now appears the only starting option on the free agent market, though it’s possible the newly non-tendered J.P. Arencibia could get significant playing time with a new team in 2014. In addition, the Reds seem likely to trade Ryan Hanigan.
On the Salty front, reports said that Boston offered a two-year deal, but, obviously, it was not agreed upon. The swtich-hitting catcher has also reportedly been offered a contract by the Miami Marlins.
The deadline to tender free agents was last night at midnight (east coast time) and the Red Sox non-tendered Andrew Bailey and Ryan Kalish. It was thought, and reported Sunday, that Bailey would be tendered a deal, but that was not the case. The oft injured and former rookie of the year will become a free agent and more than likely sign with another team. He has battled through right thumb and right shoulder problems over the last two seasons.
Kalish, who has not played a game since 2012 because he underwent surgery on his right shoulder last winter and then cervical fusion surgery in August, was drafted by the Red Sox in the ninth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. As he came up through the farm system, many compared him with former fan favorite Trot Nixon because of his hard-nosed style of play.
But aside from 2010, when Kalish got 179 at-bats for the Red Sox, he was never healthy enough to develop into the player the club had hoped. He is still only 25 years old, meaning it’s possible he can still reach his potential.
Thanks for reading!
I trust everyone enjoyed a nice break with Thanksgiving last week. And, if you’re anything like me, a couple pounds heavier today.
Not much happened with the Red Sox last week, but we did learn that Boston will tender a contract to closer/set-up/7th inning man, Andrew Bailey. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, “the reliever can serve as insurance for the incumbent closer Koji Uehara and/or become a valuable trade chip this summer. Projections show that Bailey will earn $4.3MM through arbitraton, after earning $4.1MM during an injury-plagued 2013.
Bailey underwent shoulder surgery in July and is expected to miss the first half of the 2014 season making him a non-tender candidate. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports Bailey has made twice-weekly trips to Boston since the end of the season to work with Red Sox physicians and trainers and will begin his throwing program in January. The 29-year-old, however, refused to put a timetable on his rehab.
“I don’t want to say I’m ahead of schedule, but things are going really well,” Bailey told MacPherson.
Bailey saved eight games and pitched to a 3.77 ERA, 12.2 K/9, and 3.8 BB/9 in 28 2/3 innings (30 innings) before landing on the disabled list. Since being acquired by Boston two years ago, Bailey has struggled with thumb and shoulder injuries limiting his production to 14 saves in 49 appearances covering 44 innings. In his previous three seasons with Oakland, Bailey was the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star with 75 saves in 157 appearances (174 innings). The right hander pitched in one game with the PawSox on a rehab assignment allowing a run in one inning of work on May 18 vs. Indianapolis.
In PawSox news last Tuesday, Matt White was named Chief Operating Officer. White, 43, started his second tour of duty with the PawSox in 1999 and was named Vice President, Chief Financial Officer in 2000. He began working for the PawSox in 1989 and served in various capacities with the ballclub through 1995 at which time he left to earn his Master’s degree in Accounting from the University of Rhode Island in 1997. Prior to rejoining the PawSox in 1999 he was employed with Arthur Andersen, LLP in Boston.
In his new role, White will oversee the organization’s day-to-day business operations and will report directly to team President Mike Tamburro and Sr. VP & General Manager Lou Schwechheimer.
“Matt is immersed in the PawSox culture and has a full understanding of the PawSox role in the community and our dedication to player development in the Boston Red Sox organization,” said Tamburro. “He has earned this new challenge with the PawSox and we look forward to working with Matt even more closely on a daily basis.”
“It’s an honor to move into this new role with the PawSox as it will allow me the chance to work even closer with our president Mike Tamburro and GM Lou Schwechheimer,” said White. “This is a tremendous opportunity and I’m excited to work with Mike and Lou, along with our dedicated staff, as we are all committed to providing our fans with the best possible PawSox experience at McCoy Stadium.”
Sorry for the delay in reporting this news, but if anyone deserves this promotion, it’s Matt White!
And finally, I’ll post just a couple photos from the Thanksgiving break as I traveled to Ohio to spend the holiday at my sister’s house.
We, the Levering’s, developed a new tradition as we fried our turkey for the first time ever. It went so well, and saved so much space not being in the oven, that we have openly declared, “no more baked turkey”. AND our 17 pound bird only took 45 minutes to cook.
A few years ago, I came across an outstanding recipe for butternut squash and have been requested to make it each year since. Essentially, without too much detail, it’s roasted butternut squash marinated with molasses combined with pastina (or orzo) pasta and baked inside of a hollowed out pumpkin (and topped with some parmesan cheese). If you want the recipe, shoot me an email and I’ll gladly share it. The toughest part of the process this year was gutting the pumpkin, which had been frozen outside! I could have made some great pumpkin flavored snow-cones! Below is the finished product…
So, there you have it…an update on a Monday and a welcome back from a couple days away.
We’ll continue to update you as we hear anything regarding Red Sox news and notes, and how the search for the PawSox new manager is coming along as well.
All the best and thanks for reading!
It’s not as flashy as their signings of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher last offseason, but the Indians added to their outfield depth by officially signing David Murphy to a two-year contract with a third-year club option, the team announced on Monday. Murphy’s contract is reportedly worth $12MM. He will earn $5.5MM in 2014, $6MM in 2015 and has a $500K buyout on a $7MM club option for the 2016 season.
Murphy, 31, hurt his free agent stock in 2013 with a career-worst .220/.282/.374 in 476 plate appearances. While Murphy seemed destined for a sizable deal after 2012, a season in which he posted an OPS of .859, he raised question marks for clubs in his follow-up act and didn’t make Tim Dierkes’ Top 50 Free Agents list. The left fielder has spent the last seven years in Texas, posting a .275/.337/.441 slash line in that span.
With Michael Bourn and Michael Brantley as virtual locks in the 2014 outfield, Murphy’s addition brings Drew Stubbs’ role with the club into further question. The two could form a platoon, as Murphy has a .280/.347/.469 slash line against righties in his career, and Stubbs has slashed .274/.349/.448 against lefties. That platoon would figure to pay the pair $9.3MM, however, which might be spendy for a solid but not elite tandem. The Indians could trade or non-tender Stubbs and give Murphy the bulk of at-bats in right field.
Murphy began the 2013 season as Texas’ starting left fielder, but fell into a slump and saw his playing time dwindle. A return to the Rangers was viewed as unlikely and it now appears that the club has their eyes on more ambitious outfield targets such as Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury, with Choo possibly being higher on their list. The Rangers could also bring back Nelson Cruz to give them pop in one of the corners.
In related news, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed catcher Alberto Rosario, who was with Pawtucket for 30 games in 2013. Combined between the PawSox and Portland Sea Dogs (41 games) the back stop hit .214 (27-for-126) with two homers, three doubles and 10 RBI.
And reports have indicated that utility man Mike McCoy and left handed reliever Tommy Layne have signed with the Red Sox as Minor League Free-Agents.
McCoy, 34 on April 2nd, spent all of 2013 with the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays, Triple-A). He batted .245 with four homers and 22 RBI while stealing 29 bases. He made his Major League debut with the Rockies in 2009 and has played in a total of 170 big league games with Colorado and Toronto. He was originally drafted by St. Louis
Layne, 29, spent 2013 between San Diego and their Triple-A affiliate in Tucson. He was 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 49 games with Tucson while going 0-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 14 big league appearances. Layne made his Major League debut in 2012 with San Diego.
Barring any news later today, 45 Miles from Fenway will be hitting the road for Thanksgiving. So, if we don’t get to you later, have a very happy and filling Thanksgiving!!
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The Brewers have traded right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop to the Red Sox in exchange for left-handed pitcher Luis Ortega, according to a press release from Milwaukee.
Badenhop, 30, posted a 3.47 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances during his only season with the Brewers. The reliever was acquired from the Rays in December 2012 in exchange for outfielder Raul Mondesi Jr. Badenhop, who pitched to a 3.03 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings for the Rays in 2012, is eligible for arbitration and projected to earn $2.1MM by our own Matt Swartz.
Ortega, 20, was signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent on July 2, 2011.