The Yankees already have Derek Jeter and Brendan Ryan on their roster, giving them little incentive to sign Stephen Drew. Beyond that, they badly need starting pitchers far more than another shortstop.
Whatever slim chance there was has vanished, according to Peter Gammons. He reported on Twitter that Brian Cashman said the Yankees would not be signing Drew.
The Red Sox have said for months they would be interested in Drew returning. The longer he remains a free agent, the more leverage the Red Sox gain. Outside of the Mets, no other team is known to be considering Drew.
Of course, agent Scott Boras could scare up a team at any time. As other free agents sign, teams will shift their priorities and interest could pick up in Drew.
A few links to take you into the New Year:
Jon Lester never seeks publicity for the work he does with young cancer patients.But stories like this add some insight into what kind of person he is.
ESPN's Jayson Stark offers up plenty of strange but true baseball stories from 2013.
Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated breaks down the stats about why the Hall of Fame ballot was so tough this year.
Thanks for reading. Here's to a great 2014.
Here are the names I checked off on the Hall of Fame ballot:
Ideally, Alan Trammell and Barry Bonds would have been added. But you can vote for a maximum of 10 players. That required voting strategically, and the intent was to do the least damage to the process.
Trammell, unfortunately, was a victim because he received only 33.6 percent of the vote last season and was 12th on my list. It felt like voting for him would come at the expense of a candidate with a legitimate shot at being inducted.
The same was true of Bonds, who received 36.2 percent last season and was first on my list. He won't get close to the 75 percent required because of his connection to performance-enhancing drugs. That is also the case with Clemens, so I flipped a coin to decide which one to exclude.
I'll vote for Bonds and Trammell down the road, space permitting. I voted for both last year and wanted to again.
As for the issue of performance-enhancing drugs, the Hall of Fame offers no guidelines beyond instructions that "voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."
Essentially the BBWAA voters are left to form their own standards. After a few years of waffling, I decided to vote based on a player's record on the field. The Hall of Fame is a museum that reflects what happened in the game and the Steroid Era can't be ignored.
Frankly, I don't think the BBWAA is equipped to decide who cheated. It's easy to point at Bonds and Clemens, certainly. But some of my colleagues exclude Bagwell and Piazza based only on suspicion. Meanwhile, there are almost certainly other players we all think are "clean" who did use.
Our votes shouldn't be influenced by who best concealed their drug use. The Hall is full of players of questionable character. The place won't collapse if Bonds and Clemens are inducted someday.
As for the votes (with some content repeated from last year):
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. He's the one that got away for the Red Sox.
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 for a second baseman who also caught and played center field. Historically, Biggio is one of the best to ever play his position.
Roger Clemens: He is third in career WAR for pitchers and 11th in adjusted ERA. Clemens struck out 4,672 (third all time) and won 354 games. He's one of the top five starters in history. It's easy to denigrate the guy based on what he might have done. But everybody has to admit, we're missing what would be a heck of a speech.
Tom Glavine: The lefty from Billerica is one of the best No. 2 starters in baseball history. Pitching in the considerable shadow of Greg Maddux, Glavine was 305-203 with a 3.54 ERA over 22 seasons. Glavine struck out a modest 2,607 batters over his career. His game was to finesse batters into bad swings, not overpower them with a fastball. At his best, Glavine controlled the game by changing speeds and locating pitches. Few pitchers had more confidence in their changeup.
Glavine's performance in Atlanta's clinching Game 6 of the 1995 World Series (8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K) against a 100-win Indians team was legendary.
Greg Maddux: Some Hall of Fame voters make it a policy to never vote for a player the first time he is on the ballot. This sort of grandstanding (and, really, that's all it is) should be put aside for Maddux.
He had a 3.16 ERA over 23 seasons, 744 games and 5,008.1 innings. There were four Cy Young Awards, 3.371 strikeouts and countless teammates who hung on every word he uttered about pitching.
Maddux won 355 games, the most for a righthander since the 1940s, and appeared in 13 postseasons. All that came at a time when offense was booming. Maddux had uncanny command of his fastball and best demonstrated the art of pitching. There were few better days at the park than the days he started.
Former Braves manager Bobby Cox was voted in earlier this month. He should stand at Cooperstown in July with Maddux and Glavine.
Mike Mussina: Of all people, Johnny Damon makes the best case for Mussina.
Mussina, he points out, pitched from 1991-2008 in the AL East for the Orioles and Yankees. During that time, he was in a division that produced eight World Series champions and three other teams that reached the Series.
"Every year he faced the best teams, Damon said in 2008. "He was a No. 1 or a No. 2 starter in a great division his entire career."
Mussina also pitched in two hitter-friendly parks in Camden Yards and old Yankee Stadium. Yet he was 270-153 with a 3.54 ERA and finished 19th in career strikeouts. Mussina is Glavine without all the trophies.
Mussina has a better ERA+ than Glavine, more strikeouts per nine innings, a lower WHIP and a better strikeout-to-walk ratio. He won only 35 fewer games than Glavine in 144 fewer starts.
Mussina did not win a World Series or a Cy Young. He won 20 games his final season. He was an All-Star only five times. But if you look at the factors a pitcher can control, Mussina passes the test. Like Raines, Mussina requires a voter to dig deeper. But it's there when you look.
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. 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 statistical 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.
Frank Thomas: The fact that "The Big Hurt" started 968 games at first base will aid his candidacy. He was a DH for much of his career but spent more time in the field than Edgar Martinez, who has yet to gain admission.
Offensively, there's not much question. Thomas hit .301 with a .419 on-base percentage and .555 slugging percentage. The .300/.400/.500 trinity is Hall material.
Thomas also hit 521 home runs, walked at least 100 times 10 years, and twice won the MVP. That he was a loud voice against PED use will help him gain votes.
Strongly considered: Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, and Larry Walker were players who came close.
McGwire, Palmeiro, and Sosa were products of an era where offense came easy, and that has to be taken into account. Arbitrary standards like 500 home runs have to be erased.
Kent, Martinez, Morris, and Walker were close misses for me. Hall standards should be very high. Morris's candidacy has become a flashpoint between older members of the BBWAA and younger ones more willing to rely on advanced metrics.
Good memories: Hall of Fame voting is fun because you remember players you watched and dive into statistics and box scores to learn more. Kenny Rogers, for instance, was a lot better than you think and probably deserves to stay on the ballot. And Hideo Nomo was the player who opened the door to Japan for a lot of players.
It was amusing to see the likes of Jacque Jones and Paul LoDuca on the ballot. The Red Sox had a bunch of guys. In addition to Clemens, Schilling, and Nomo, there was Sean Casey, Eric Gagne, Todd Jones, J.T. Snow, and Mike Timlin.
Thanks: The wonders of Baseball-Reference.com made research painless. The work done by Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated was invaluable. Jay should be part of the committee that puts together the ballot.
It also was helpful to speak to other writers and assorted players, managers, and executives about the candidates.
There's no perfect ballot because baseball opinions are subjective. It makes for a good debate and whether you agree with my choices or not, I hope the feedback in the comments section is civil.
Now that you're done unwrapping all those Red Sox T-shirts, DVDs, and caps, here are some notes, observations, and opinions on the team gathered over the last few weeks:
• Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka has been posted and is available to all 30 teams. The cost is a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles and what is sure to be at least a $100 million deal for Tanaka.
There is no sign yet that the Red Sox are interested. They've obviously steered away from high-priced free agents for the last few years and already have a deep group of starters along with several promising prospects in Triple A.
The Sox also would face avid competition from the Yankees, who are desperate for starters. A side issue would be to what extent signing Tanaka would impact an extension with Jon Lester.
• Had a chance to spend some time with Jose Iglesias at David Ortiz's charity event earlier this month. Iggy was genuinely surprised, and a little hurt, when he was traded.
"I'll always be proud I was with the Red Sox," he said. "I learned so much from David and [Dustin] Pedroia and all those guys. They were like my family when I first came over here."
The Red Sox made the right move trading Iglesias. They had depth at the position and the acquisition of Jake Peavy stabilized the rotation and allowed Brandon Workman to take an important role in the bullpen. But Sox fans will miss seeing Iglesias play over time. The Tigers are a great fit for him.
• Let's say Stephen Drew is unsigned a few weeks from now. What a hammer the Red Sox have. They don't necessarily need Drew but still could make good use of him. They can offer him a one-year deal, take it or leave it. If he balks, they'll take the draft pick when he finally signs with another team.
The only way the Red Sox lose is if Drew waits until after the draft to sign, and that is unlikely.
• For the moment, the Red Sox look like the favorites with Drew. But don't underestimate the value of that draft pick. Talented young players are the greatest commodity in baseball and adding talent to an already deep farm system could trump the idea of retaining Drew for a year or two.
The Red Sox also have to be curious to find out whether Xander Bogaerts can play shortstop. Because if he can, that bat at a premium defensive position is a huge advantage.
• In case you missed it, the Red Sox were $225,666 under baseball's luxury tax threshold of $178 million last season. The Sox had the third-highest payroll in baseball behind the Yankees ($237,018,889) and Dodgers ($236,872,242).
To put that in perspective, the Red Sox paid $1.82 million per win and the Yankees $2.79 million. When you toss in the benefits gained by staying under the limit, the Red Sox are in a strong position moving forward.
The Astros had a total payroll of $29,270,160.
• There were wedding bells for a few Red Sox this winter. Congratulations to Ryan and Jamie Lavarnway, Jackie and Erin Bradley, and Craig and Kelly Breslow.
• The Philadelphia Phillies are desperate to trade Jonathan Papelbon, who has two years and $26 million left on his contract with a vesting option for 2016. Papelbon averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings from 2007-12. It fell to 8.3 last season. His fastball tailed off as the season went on and averaged 92 miles per hour. It was 94.8 in 2010.
Teams need closers, if only because managers seem to favor that model of bullpen management. But paying big money for closers is bad business. Better to gather up good arms and let the bullpen settle in over time.
• Speaking of closers, here's a prediction that Koji Uehara does not save 30 games next season. Uehara will be 39 on April 3 and is coming off a season that saw him appear in 86 games and throw 88 innings.
Uehara appeared in 37 games and threw 38 innings for the Rangers in 2012. The heavier workload is going to have an effect and John Farrell will have to manage accordingly.
Whether it's Junichi Tazawa or Edward Mujica or somebody else (don't sleep on
Cuban righthander Dalier Hinojosa), the Red Sox will need depth at that spot.
• The Red Sox lineup looks worse today than it did in October. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are gone and Ortiz is older. Even if Drew returns, the Sox won't be as explosive because Ellsbury did so much that helped the offense.
But the drop-off may not be as dramatic as you think. Bogaerts could have a Manny Machado-type impact on the lineup over a full season. He's that good. The Red Sox also will get more production from Pedroia, who played all of last season with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He slugged .415, the worst mark of his career.
Shane Victorino presumably will be better absent the assorted injuries he had. If Drew doesn't return, the Red Sox also will get more out if Will Middlebrooks than they did last season.
The Red Sox scored 853 runs last season, 57 more than any other team. There's wiggle room there.
• It's always a fun to catch a game at Pawtucket. But if you go this season, you'll see a lineup and rotation full of prospects instead of the usual cast of Triple A veterans.
The Pawtucket rotation could be Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, and Drake Britton along with guys like Chris Hernandez and Steven Wright.
The lineup will feature players such as Christian Vazquez, Bryce Brentz, and Alex Hassan. That's why the Sox promoted Double A manager Kevin Boles to manage Pawtucket and added a fourth person to the staff in Bruce Crabbe. Many organizations add an extra coach in the lower levels. But the Sox have development going on in Triple A.
• Nice stretch for John Henry and Tom Werner. Liverpool, despite a 2-1 loss against Manchester City on Thursday, has become a contender in the English Premier League and could earn a place in the lucrative Champions League with a top-four finish.
Funny how the halfwits who used to complain about Fenway Sports Group owning a soccer team are quiet now.
• The Red Sox don't seem too intent on signing any more notable free agents. But Jesse Crain is an interesting name given his connections to Juan Nieves and A.J. Pierzynski.
• In a market where Phil Hughes was worth $8 million a year, the Red Sox could get a nice return for Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster or John Lackey if they choose.
Lackey ($15.25 million), Peavy ($14.5 million) and Dempster ($13.25 million) each have a year left on their deals. All three would be good pickups for a contender, particularly a National League team.
The Red Sox hold an option on Lackey for 2015 at the league minimum because he missed the 2012 season with an elbow injury, so he is essentially signed for two years at $15.75 million.
• Finally, here is the Christmas card the Red Sox sent out:
The Red Sox announced the signing of Stephen Drew on Dec. 26, 2012. The one-year, $9.5 million deal was seen as a bit of a surprise given the presence of Jose Iglesias in the organization. Drew also had missed much of the previous two season recovering from a gruesome ankle injury.
But it proved to be one of the many prescient moves made by general manager Ben Cherington. Drew started 122 games at shortstop and hit .253 with a .777 OPS. His OPS was second among American League shortstops.
Drew also had strong year defensively. His 5.3 UZR was sixth among AL shortstops. His 3.1 WAR put him fourth in the league at his position.
By almost any measure, Drew was one of the best shortstops in the league. He became a free agent after the season and the Red Sox made him a qualifying offer of one year and $14.1 million.
That also proved to be a smart move. If Drew signs with another team, the Red Sox will receive a supplemental first-round draft pick. If the qualifying offer depresses Drew's market, the Red Sox will be waiting with another short-term deal.
The qualifying offer has certainly played a role in Drew still being a free agent as Christmas approaches. Drew, Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kendrys Morales and Ervin Santana remain unsigned, all having been attached to the loss of a draft pick.
Agent Scott Boras insisted at the Winter Meetings that there was a lively market for Drew. But that market has not made itself known several weeks since that statement.
Boras, known for his patience in such matters, could draw the process out into the middle of January. It would be foolish to underestimate his ability to find a team. Boras is one of the best at what he does and he only needs one team to believe.
But as days pass, the odds of Drew returning to the Red Sox increase. The qualifying offer system does not serve second-tier free agents well and Drew has been a victim.
The Red Sox win either way. Either they get a draft pick in what is said to be a deep draft, or they get a productive player back on their terms. One or two more years of Drew would give the team enviable depth on the left side of the infield.
The Sox could play Drew at shortstop with Xander Bogaerts at third base, a combination that helped win the World Series. Will Middlebrooks could simply be returned to Triple A Pawtucket as depth in the event of injury or poor performance.
Or Middlebrooks could be used as part of a trade package. The Red Sox could see what Middlebrooks and Jake Peavy bring back. Or Middlebrooks and John Lackey. Or Middlebrooks and Ryan Dempster. You get the idea.
That package would not return a star player. But it could return some high-end prospects or perhaps a center fielder.
Cherington's model of creating roster and financial flexibility has served the team well. Drew is a great example of that. A year later, Drew doesn't know what team he will be on. But the Red Sox know they will benefit somehow.
Happy Holidays to all of you from Extra Bases. It was an exciting season for the Sox and it was reflected in the record number of people who read the blog. We appreciate your support and your friendship.
Here's a video you'll enjoy. It's off the GoPro video camera Mike Carp had strapped to his cap for the Red Sox World Series celebration.
By the way, that's a $100,000 bottle of "Ace of Spades" champagne David Ortiz is spraying on everybody.
You're excused for not knowing who Alex Castellanos is. But if you're interested, he's no longer a member of the Red Sox.
The Texas Rangers claimed Castellanos, a 27-year-old outfielder, off waivers from the Red Sox this afternoon.
The Red Sox traded Triple A outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker to the Dodgers Oct. 23 to obtain Castellanos, who has 24 games of major league experience. Castellanos was designated for assignment Dec. 12 when Mike Napoli returned to the 40-man roster.
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.
The Red Sox officially announced the signing of Mike Napoli to a two-year contract. The first baseman agreed to terms last week on a $32 million deal. The contract calls for $16 million a season with limited no-trade rights.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated utility player Alex Castellanos for assignment.
The Red Sox obtained Castellanos from the Dodgers on Oct. 23 for Jeremy Hazelbaker.
The Orioles chose Michael Almanzar, a 23-year-old third baseman from the Dominican Republic who played for the Double A Portland Sea Dogs last season. Almanzar hit .268 with 16 homers, 81 RBIs and 42 walks in 2013.
The Orioles must keep Almanzar on the major-league roster all season or offer him back to the Red Sox. The Red Sox did not make a selection in the major-league portion of the Rule 5 draft.
In the Triple A portion, the Red Sox picked shortstop Jonathan Roof from Philadelphia.
The full results of the Rule 5 draft are on MLB's website.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — For the Red Sox, the Winter Meetings were uneventful. Shortly, they will be over.
The Rule 5 Draft is at 9 a.m. this morning and the Red Sox are expected to pass, already having a full 40-man roster. Based on this preview from Baseball America, the Sox do not have compelling unprotected prospects who might get taken.
Any player selected in the Rule 5 must stay on the major league roster all season or be offered back to his original team.
Once the draft is over, the baseball people will leave the Swan and Dolphins hotel posthaste.
A few other items of note:
• Ryan Kalish, released by the Red Sox after missing much of the last three seasons with assorted injuries, is in the final stages of signing with another team.
• The Yankees will introduce Jacoby Ellsbury on Friday in New York.
• David Ortiz's annual celebrity golf tournament is this weekend in the Domincan Republic. Scheduled attendees include Pedro Martinez, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Sean Casey, Tim Wakefield, Johnny Damon, Pudge Rodriguez, Barry Larkin, Jim Rice, Andres Galarraga, Luis Tiant, George Bell, Craig Sager, Lawrence Taylor, Troy Brown, Rick Fox, Micky Ward, and Aly Raisman.
The Globe and Boston.com will have coverage of the event from the DR.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A few Red Sox items picked up today:
• The Sox met with Scott Boras regarding Stephen Drew earlier today, the latest of several such meetings since the end of the World Series. The Red Sox are open to Drew returning on their terms.
“We like Stephen and the job he did,” Ben Cherington said. “Because of that we’ve kept the door open. We’re going to continue to listen and talk and see where it ends up.
“If a deal makes sense for us, we would do it today for any player. I don’t think there’s any need to wait on anything. … I think we have a sense of what’s important to him and I think he has a sense of what’s important to us. We’ll see where it goes.”
The Sox can afford to be disciplined knowing they can slide Xander Bogaerts into the position.
“We think we have a pretty good solution at shortstop,” Cherington said.
• The Rule 5 Draft of unprotected veteran minor leaguers will be Thursday morning. The Red Sox, who have a full 40-man roster, will not have a pick in the major league phase. Cherington is not sticking around for it.
• The Red Sox agreed to terms with first baseman Mike Napoli on Dec. 6. The official announcement could come by the end of this week.
• The Red Sox will start spring training afternoon home games at 1:05 p.m., not 1:35 p.m., as was the case last season. The players and coaches pushed for the change.
• The Red Sox looked into lefthander Johan Santana, who is making a comeback from injury, and decided not to pursue a deal.
• Cherington indicated the Red Sox could sign 37-year-old Shunsuke Watanabe, a submarine-style righthander, to a minor league contract. He was a long-time starter in Japan and pitched in the World Baseball Classic.
David Ortiz hit a 525-foot home run off Watanabe in an exhibition game in 2004.
• The Red Sox are expected to name Double A manager Kevin Boles as the manager at Triple A Pawtucket according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE. Boles spent three seasons managing Portland and has managed six years in the minors for the Sox. Boles is the son of former Marlins manager John Boles.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. — Major League Baseball's rules committee voted Wednesday to eliminate collisions at the plate.
The rule has yet to be written and would have to be approved by owners and the MLB Players Association. But committee chairman Sandy Alderson, the Mets general manager, is confident the rule will be place for the coming season.
Alderson said the idea is to limit injuries, particularly concussions.
"It's an emerging issue, and one that we in baseball have to address as well as other sports. So that's part of the impetus for this rule change as well," Alderson said.
Managers, general managers and team medical staffers discussed the issue.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher whose career was ended by concussions, made a presentation. Giants manager Bruce Bochy also has been an advocate since the season-ending injury Buster Posey suffered in 2011.
College and high school leagues prohibit collisions. MLB is expected to treat the plate like any other base, meaning the catcher could not block the runner's path. Runners who collide with catchers could face fines or suspension.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Agent Scott Boras said this afternoon that free agent shortstop Stephen Drew has several multi-year contracts on the table.
Drew, he predicted, would have "numerous options to choose from" once his market takes better shape. Boras said that some of Drew's offers are contingent on the team making another move — ostensibly to clear payroll space — first.
"Obviously, there are a variety of teams that want a shortstop of his defensive acumen and capability," Boras said.
So Drew won't have a problem getting multi-year deals?
"No, that's not a problem," Boras sad.
The Red Sox made Drew a qualifying offer that he rejected. So any team that signs Drew would have to forfeit its highest unprotected draft pick. That could serve to dampen Drew's market, which Boras admitted could be the case.
"I don’t think that the qualifying offer system helps major league players in the slightest," Boras said. "I think something really needs to be reviewed. The one thing you want to make sure, fans want to make sure, is that every year you have the opportunity to make the major league team better and still grow in the minor leagues. There should be no barrier."
The Red Sox, GM Ben Cherington said, are open to the idea of bringing Drew back and are monitoring where his market goes. If Drew lacks options, the Red Sox could be waiting.
Boras also said he believes two other clients — Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts — would have places in the Red Sox lineup.
“Clearly. Bradley played very well in September. He hit about .270 and his defense was great. Bogaerts really established himself in the major leagues," he said. "When you’ve got a young man that age playing in that environment, it’s a pretty remarkable achievement. I think Xander Bogaerts is going to be one of the top five players in baseball.”
Boras, by the way, refers to Bradley as "The Mayor" because of his likable personality.
Click the full entry button for video of Boras discussing Drew on Wednesday.FULL ENTRY
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. — The Dodgers did discuss Matt Kemp with several teams, the Red Sox included. But if that deal ever does go down, it won't be now.
The word started to come out last night that the Dodgers wouldn't be trading Kemp. ESPN's Jayson Stark adds some details to the story.
In essence, it would make little sense for the Dodgers to trade Kemp while his value is so low. It also would make little sense for a team to acquire him without knowing the state of his health.
In other Dodgers outfielder news, Carl Crawford is the father of a baby being carried by Chad Johnson's ex-wife, a reality TV star.
Things have really gone well for Carl since he left Tampa Bay.
Tickets for the 2014 season will go on sale for the first time on Saturday at 10 a.m. in conjunction with the "Christmas at Fenway" event.
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 with the exceptions of Opening Day, Patriots Day, and Yankees games.
“Sox Saver” games will be offered as part of this sale.These select April and May games will be offered at special reduced prices ranging from 8 to 50 percent off the base price as a result of the new variable pricing structure.
The Holiday Trophy Caravan started today with the 2004, 2007, and 2013 World Series trophies going to Boston-area schools, businesses, and hospitals, It ends Friday.
The trophies will be on a duck boat at South Station on Thursday morning. On Thursday afternoon, the Sox will take the trophies will visit three Boston-area businesses. The winning offices will receive an office-wide holiday photo with the trophies, a visit from Wally the Green Monster, 20 tickets to a Red Sox game, and merchandise and memorabilia from the 2013 World Series.
Businesses can tweet @redsox using the hashtag #WeWantTheTrophies explaining why their office deserves to be chosen.
The three trophies and members of the 2013 Red Sox will visit patients at area hospitals on Thursday and Friday. Craig Breslow, Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, and Ryan Lavarnway with be on hand along with coaches Juan Nieves, Victor Rodriguez, and Dana LeVangie.
Hospital visits include stops at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Official Hospital of the Boston Red Sox, Shriners Hospital for Children, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund Clinic, and Children’s Hospital Boston.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Today is the last full day of the Winter Meetings. The event will break up on Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.
A few notes on today's activities:
• General managers, managers, athletic trainers and others in the game will continue discussions about whether collisions at home plate should be banned or somehow altered.
Traditionalists believe it's part of the game. But exposing the catcher to being plowed over and often injured is not worth tradition, especially given what we now understand about concussions.
• The annual Scott Boras Winter Meetings press conference should be today. It's not a formal event, necessarily. But Boras will make it known he'll be around and he takes questions from all comers.
It will be interesting to hear his take on a market for Stephen Drew. Because if there is one, it's sure hidden. Being attached to a draft pick is hurting his value.
• The annual managers/beat writers luncheon is today, too. No, the managers are not forced into the room with tasers. Well, probably not.
• It would be nice if there was something interesting to report on the Red Sox. Alas, not so far today. The Sox are content with their roster and even more content with the idea of letting the market come to them.
They can wait to get the best offers on their starters and wait on Drew. Their only real need is for a utility infielder and those sorts of guys are usually easily had.
One intriguing name: Justin Masterson. The Indians are willing to listen to offers with the big righthander approaching free agency. The Red Sox have long regretted trading Masterson to the Indians.
The Sox don't need a starting pitcher but there are many connections between the franchises and perhaps there's a deal to be struck. Presumably it would have to include Henry Owens, Matt Barnes or Anthony Ranaudo.
UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.: The Indians have taken Masterson off the market, if ever he was really on it. Terry Francona said he called Masterson to tell him he wasn't being traded.
The Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston will host its annual New Stars for Young Stars event on Jan. 11 at Jillian's Boston across from Fenway Park. It will run from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The event will feature an autograph session with A.J. Pierzynski along with prospects Mookie Betts, Drake Britton, Rubby De La Rosa and Blake Swihart.
There is a buffet lunch, sports memorabilia sale, opportunity drawing, silent auction, and a bowling contest to help strike out cancer.
Tickets start at $89 and VIP tickets are $250. All proceeds will benefit the Jimmy Fund.
Go here to purchase tickets.
Since 2006, New Stars for Young Stars has raised more than $221,000, hosted approximately 300 clinic patients and their families at private parties with Red Sox players, and contributed nearly 1,500 pieces of autographed memorabilia to patients at the Jimmy Fund Clinic.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A few notes from Ben Cherington's session with the beat writers:
• The Red Sox have not spoken recently with agent Scott Boras about shortstop Stephen Drew. But Cherington hopes that will happen before the Winter Meetings end. The Red Sox are interested in keeping Drew if the terms are right.
• Cherington said many of the trades he has been discussing would be smaller ones involving bench players. Those, he said, would be more likely to be made than any major deals he has talked about so far.
• There was an interesting discussion about younger pitchers. Cherington said the Red Sox like the idea of Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and others in that group to either pitch extensively in Triple A (a model the Rays favor) or break in through the bullpen (which the Cardinals do).
• The Sox obviously have an extra starter. But that depth could have more value than trading one of them.
"Every time we think about potentially moving a starter, something in the back of our head reminds us, don’t do it unless it really makes sense. We know we’re going to need more than five starters to get through the season, probably need more than six starters to get through the season," Cherington said.
Young pitchers, Cherington said, would get their opportunities over the course of the season even if the Red Sox have a full rotation.
• The Red Sox have extra pitchers and the Yankees have extra outfielders. Why not make a deal? Cherington said minor deals with division foes are possible but a major trade is difficult because you would want $1.50 worth of value for $1.
-- The Red Sox haven't made a trade with the Yankees since 1997 (Tony Armas for Mike Stanley).
-- The last player swap with Baltimore was in 2009 (David Pauley for Randor Bierd.).
-- The last (and only) deal with the Rays was in 1999. Minor leaguer Will Silverthorn was swapped for Julio Santana.
-- The Sox traded Mike Aviles to Toronto last October for John Farrell and David Carpenter. Before that, the last player-for-player deal was in 2004.
Some other notes from around the meetings:
• Yankees manager Joe Girardi on his new outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury: “I think we've acquired a great player. We've seen the damage can he do against us. We first-hand witnessed that how he can change a game.” Ellsbury will be introduced in New York on Friday.
• For what it’s worth, the Marlins again said they won’t trade Giancarlo Stanton and Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said he doesn’t need to trade one of his outfielders, including Matt Kemp.
• One-time Red Sox OF prospect Brandon Jacobs is expected to be a player-to-be-named in the three-team deal between the White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Angels. Jacobs would go from Chicago to Arizona assuming he not selected in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.
The deal has Mark Trumbo going to the Diamondbacks, pitchers Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs joining the Angels, and Adam Eaton going to the White Sox.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jon Lester is going to have to determine his priorities sometime soon. The lefthander is entering the final year on his contract and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday that an extension is on the team’s agenda.
“He’s a key guy, obviously. He’s been a horse for us for us for a long time. He didn’t show any signs of slowing down this October. Obviously he’s a guy we’d like to keep,” Cherington said.
Those negotiations usually come just before or during spring training.
“We’ll see,” Cherington said. “There’s certainly a willingness to have a conversation and we’ll see where that goes. But we haven’t done that yet.”
Dustin Pedroia took a below-market extension from the Red Sox in July, saying he wanted to end his career with the team. But Lester could benefit by waiting. It is increasingly rare for a No. 1 or No. 2 starter to enter the free agent market and he could command a multiyear deal worth at least $20 million a year.
Lester was 15-8 with a 3.75 earned run average last season before going 4-1, 1.56 in the postseason with two victories in the World Series.
Lester turns 30 in January and has proven to be durable and effective, making an average of 32 starts over the last six seasons with a 3.74 ERA.
Tim Lincecum has a 4.76 ERA the last two seasons and the Giants gave him $35 million over two years. Lefthander Cole Hamels of the Phillies, who turns 30 in a few weeks, signed a seven-year, $153 million extension in 2012. Lester’s statistics compare favorably to those of Hamels.
See the Globe on Wednesday for more on Lester.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — New Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski has hit 172 home runs over his 16 seasons in the major leagues, several at ballparks that have since been torn down.
But in 121 plate appearances at Fenway Park, Pierzynski has yet to go deep. He has played 32 games at Fenway, the first in 1999 and the most recent just last season. But that darn ball hasn't gone over the fence.
"It bothers me," Pierzynski said. "It's the only park I haven't hit one in. I haven't figured out a way to sneak one around the pole down there in right field.
"I've hit a few off the wall in left. But every time I seem to hit one to right, for some reason, they either catch it or it bounces. One of these days I'm going to run into one there and I'm going to have to probably get the ball."
Pierzynski is a career .322 hitter at Fenway with 12 doubles. He actually likes hitting there.
"It's always been a good place to hit," he said. "It always has a good feel as a batter. It always feels like you can reach out and touch left field. It's a good feeling when you know you can get beat and still get a hit.
"It's a good park and I've always loved playing there because of the energy. There's always a good energy. It's one of the special places in baseball."
Pierzynski, who lives in Orlando, stopped by the Winter Meetings to have lunch with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He played eight years in Chicago, helping the White Sox win the 2005 World Series, and the two remain close.
“I was trying to go unnoticed. But it didn’t go so well,” he said while standing in front of a semicircle of reporters from Boston.
Check back later for more from Pierzynski.FULL ENTRY
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Remember all those signings and trades last week? That's why the Winter Meetings have been so uneventful so far.
But persevere we must. So here are a few notes:
• Curtis Granderson, who was introduced by the Mets today, told reporters he negotiated with the Red Sox several times, including after Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees.
Granderson was looking for a long-term deal (he received four years from the Mets) and talks with the Red Sox proved fruitless. Granderson was left with the impression that the Sox would go with Jackie Bradley Jr.
• The Mets are interested in Stephen Drew, who would certainly be a major upgrade over the likes of Ruben Tejada. But don't expect the Mets to make a big play for Drew. Like the Red Sox, they would be content to see where his market goes first and sign him to a shorter-term deal.
The longer Drew is unsigned, the better the odds of his returning to the Red Sox. But don't underestimate the ability of agent Scott Boras to find a team. He just needs one and he's willing to wait.
Sox GM Ben Cherington said Monday that while the door is open to Drew, it won't be forever. At some point the Red Sox will set their roster and spend the money they have to spend.
• A.J. Pierzynski, who lives in the area, will be meeting with Boston reporters this afternoon.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — David Ortiz was named the winner of the Edgar Martinez Award as the game's most outstanding designated hitter for the seventh time. He was a unanimous pick of beat writers, broadcasters, and public relations departments in the American League.
Ortiz also won the award from 2003-07 and in 2011.
Detroit's Victor Martinez was second in the voting.
Ortiz hit .309 with 38 doubles, 30 home runs, and 103 RBIs for the Red Sox. He also walked 76 times and scored 84 runs. Ortiz is the career leader among DHs with 381 home runs and 1,245 RBIs.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Trade talk dominated the first day of the Winter Meetings according to executives from several teams, a byproduct of so many high-profile free agents making decisions last week.
For the Red Sox, though, inquiries on their starting pitchers have yet to pick up.
“There’s been a handful of teams that have been calling since the beginning of the offseason and that hasn’t really changed since some of the free agents have gone off the board,” general manager Ben Cherington said on Monday.
The Sox have six starters on their roster, seven if you count Brandon Workman. Trading one of the veterans could bring a good return and free up some payroll space.
But it’s also appealing to go into spring training with the depth to protect against injuries. Trades can always be made in March.
“We’re very comfortable not doing anything,” Cherington said. “If the movement with free agents or trades creates motivation on some team’s part and that leads to something that makes sense for us, we’ll certainly consider it.”
A few other Sox notes:
• Dustin Pedroia, who had surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb in November, recently had a pin taken out. “He feels good,” Farrell said. “We'll see how things advance but everything points to him being ready not only for spring training, but getting ample at-bats.”
• Clay Buchholz, who ended the season with right shoulder fatigue after making only 16 regular-season starts, has recovered. “No residual feeling of any kind of physical discomfort. He's initiated his normal offseason strengthening program,” Farrell said. “So all of that has calmed down from last year.”
• Felix Doubront was instructed by the team to make his annual trip home to Venezuela earlier in the offseason so he could report to the team complex in Fort Myers in mid-January and work on his conditioning. The Sox were angry when the lefthander reported out of shape last season. Righthander Rubby De La Rosa is on the same program.
• If the Red Sox were to retain free agent shortstop Stephen Drew they would be fine with Xander Bogaerts playing third base after seeing him in the postseason. “I think we're completely comfortable with him playing either position,” Farrell said.
• Cherington offered no odds on the idea of retaining Drew. “I don’t know right now. You can’t handicap it,” he said. “We’ll see. He’s someone, we obviously like him. He’s a good player and he did a really good job for us. If there’s a way to make it work, we’ll see if we can do that.”
• The Red Sox hope to soon announce their deal with Mike Napoli, who is finishing off his physical. The Sox have a full 40-man roster and could be looking to deal off a spare part before officially adding Napoli.
• The Sox are close to hiring a manager for Triple A Pawtucket to replace Gary DiSarcina, who joined the Angels coaching staff. Cherington said the leading candidate was from within the organization. Double A manager Kevin Boles could be the choice. Many of Pawtucket's players in the coming season will be prospects Boles has worked with.
• The Red Sox are seeking an infielder who can play shortstop and third base. Brock Holt, who played 26 games last season, remains an option. Cherington said the Sox remain in touch with 39-year-old John McDonald, a late-season addition. McDonald also could be a candidate for a coaching position in the organization.
• Ryan Lavarnway is stuck in the middle between two veteran catchers and three prospects. But stuck is where he may stay.
“He’s a good hitter," said Cherington. "Obviously we made a decision not to just pencil him in the lineup next year. But we still like him. I think that overall at that position, we’ve obviously got two veterans with one year left on their contracts and a bunch of young guys behind them. ... But there’s plenty of opportunity for competition down the road, not too far down the road. Nothing has really changed. I’m sure he’d prefer an open door to a major league job and he may not have that quite yet."
Cherington said no consideration has been given to Lavarnway changing positions. He lacks the speed to play anywhere other than first.
"At some point it’s something to think about. We’re not quite at that point. If we get to a point where we think his bat might help us at at another spot, it’s something to consider," Cherington said.FULL ENTRY
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jarrod Saltalamacchia expressed his disappointment that he and the Red Sox could not work out a deal to keep him in Boston. The Red Sox only offered him a two-year deal.
But Saltalamacchia, who blogged his appreciation to the Red Sox fans, has moved on and said in a press conference today how happy he was to be a Miami Marlin.
"On my side of it, I was a little bit (disappointed)," said Saltalamacchia at the Winter Meetings at the Swan and Dolphin Hotel. "But at the same time, they're in a different situation. I'm not in all the meetings. I don't know what their plans are in the future. I didn't see a lot of the players besides up in the big league level. So, I understand there's a lot of thought process that goes into it and a lot of different things. I wasn't hurt by it. I'm in a good place, so at the end of the day, that's kind of what's important."
It will certainly a different place as the Marlins will struggle for a while. But Saltalamacchia pointed out the Red Sox went from worst to first.
Saltalamacchia said he didn't speak to either John Farrell or Ben Cherington until well after the World Series parade.
"It wasn't about anything in the future," Saltalamacchia said when asked about his conversation with Cherington. "It was just mainly about what I've done since I've been here and how proud he was of me. And it was kind of the same for him. I thanked him for giving me the opportunity that I wasn't getting in Texas. They gave me the opportunity and brought me over here and took a chance on me, and I think it paid off for both sides."
Saltalamacchia will earn $7 million per year on a three-year deal. He's reunited with former Red Sox coach Rob Leary, who is now Mike Redmond's bench coach.
Click the full entry button to see video of Saltalamacchia.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — At baseball's Winter Meetings Monday, Red Sox manager John Farrell talked about a few of the trending topics involving his team:
On the recent additions: "We addressed areas that not only were current needs. There are still [needs] that remain. I think bringing Mike [Napoli] back certainly keeps a mainstay in the middle of our lineup together. I thought Edward Mujica as an addition into the back of our bullpen is a guy with good experience, good addition, and very good strike thrower.
"With all things considered on the catching side of it, I thought with some young guys coming, some talented young guys, A.J. [Pierzynski]'s selection and him joining us is a really good fit for multiple reasons. More than anything, it's his overall desire to win, which I think will really fit in."
On a leadoff hitter: Probably looking at a couple of guys that quickly come to mind. Obviously, it's Vic [Shane Victorino], and it's Daniel Nava, both guys hit in the leadoff spot sparingly this past year. But I think the most important thing is we're not going to replace some 50-something stolen bases by Jacoby [Ellsbury]. The biggest thing would be who is our best on-base percentage guys to keep them or keep that individual in front of Pedey, and David [Ortiz], and Nap, those are the two guys that quickly come to mind right now."
On Jackie Bradley Jr. playing center field: "Defensively, no question. He showed us that each time he was on the field. And I think through this past year and the transition he went through and the challenges he faced and the way he faced major league pitching, swung the bat, I think, with a little more productivity late in the season in September. And if that's the way we go, you know, we're more than willing to have him in center field. He's a good player."
On having six starters: "Well, we're certainly comfortable going six guys. I know that there are teams and Ben [Cherington] has fielded a number of calls on our starters. And rightfully so. They're talented, they've pitched well, they've long track records. So whether or not we show up in Fort Myers with six or seven capable starters remains to be seen."
On Dustin Pedroia'a health following thumb surgery: "Everything is looking like it [he will be ready for spring training]. I know he was getting his pin out here late this past week. I don't have the exact date. But my recent conversation was that was to be removed, and he feels good We'll see how things advance, but everything points to him being ready not only for spring training, but getting ample at bats."
On whether Will Middlebrooks will play a significant role on the team: "Yes, yes. This is a guy that's still got very good raw talent. He had some challenges this past year, but there is no reason to think that he can't regain some of the form which he came with into the big leagues in 2011. So, yeah, that is a talented guy. Collectively we've got to get back on track and be consistent."
Click the full entry button to watch video of John Farrell at the Winter Meetings.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be introduced by the Miami Marlins today at the Winter Meetings. "Salty" joined the Red Sox on July 31, 2010 in a trade with Texas and was a key member of the 2013 World Series champions.
In his own words, here is a message he asked to send to Red Sox fans:
I was going to say that I’ve made the decision to take my talents to South Beach but I heard that someone took that line already. Seriously, I wanted to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the city of Boston, its fans, the Red Sox and especially my teammates for providing me the best three-plus years of my baseball life.
When I was first traded to the Red Sox in the late summer of 2010, I was thrilled and humbled to be able to join such a storied franchise in such a great city. But honestly, I never in my wildest expectations thought it would be the tremendous experience it turned out to be. This Southern boy became absolutely amazed at the warmth and hospitality that a New England town’s fans provided me and my family.
It's pretty obvious that this past season was one that was special in too many ways to count. Walking to Fenway Park every day to go to battle with teammates I loved, in front of the world’s greatest fans was something that I’ll cherish long after my playing days are over.
But I am now starting another chapter in my baseball life in a place that is actually and in reality, home. I’m very grateful for the opportunity the Marlins have provided and extremely excited to bring with me the lessons learned from my Boston experience.
So I close with once again thanking all of you for the opportunity to be small part of Boston Red Sox history. It was an unbelievable experience.
Click the full entry button to see a video of Saltalamacchia Monday at the Winter Meetings.FULL ENTRY
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Retired managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre were unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame by the expansion era committee.
They will be inducted in July along with any player elected in the Baseball Writers' Association of America voting.
Cox managed the Braves and Blue Jays for 29 seasons, leading his teams to 15 first-place finishes. From 1991-2005, Cox led the Braves to 14 straight seasons where they finished in playoff position.The Braves won five National League pennants and the 1995 World Series under Cox, who finished with 2,504 victories – the fourth-best total of all time.
La Russa managed the White Sox, A’s and Cardinals for 33 seasons, winning 2,728 games – the third-highest total of all time. He led his teams to 12 first-place finishes, six pennants and three World Series titles.
Torre led the Yankees to six AL pennants and four World Series titles in his 12 seasons in New York, and also managed the Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers. His 2,326 wins in 29 seasons rank fifth on the all-time list. Torre also spent 18 seasons as a major league catcher and third baseman, earning nine All-Star Game selections and the 1971 NL Most Valuable Player Award.
"It hits you like a sledgehammer," Torre said. "I can't tell you excited I am."
Cox said he hoped that two of his former Atlanta Braves aces, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, would join him in Cooperstown. Both are on the ballot for the first time this year.
Torre was asked whether he had a feeling he would get in.
"Sometimes you believe what you hear," he said. "People said, 'Oh don't worry about it.' Well that's what they said when I was up 3-0 against the Red Sox."
Said commissioner Bud Selig: “I am thrilled that these great managers during my tenure as commissioner will join the legends of our game in the halls of Cooperstown. In careers of consistent excellence and incredible longevity, Bobby, Tony and Joe all left indelible impacts on our national pastime."
Twelve votes were needed for election. The 16-member panel, which consists of Hall of Famers, baseball executives and media members, did not give any other candidate more than six votes. That includes former MLB Players Association director Marvin Miller or former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark criticized the vote in a statement.
"Words cannot adequately describe the level of disappointment and disbelief I felt when learning that once again the Hall of Fame has chosen to ignore Marvin Miller and his unparalleled contributions to the growth and prosperity of Major League Baseball," Clark said. "Over the past 50 years, no individual has come close to matching Marvin’s impact on the sport. He proved to all involved in Major League Baseball, and to outside observers, that a healthy collective bargaining environment would benefit all the game's stakeholders.
"Today, players, owners, front office personnel, fans and the media owe Marvin a debt of gratitude. Despite the election results, Marvin’s legacy remains intact, and will only grow stronger, while the credibility of the Hall of Fame continues to suffer.”FULL ENTRY
Major League Baseball is a strong supporter of Stand Up To Cancer. An online auction to raise money to fight the disease is underway on MLB.com and one of the prizes is a chance to bring the 2013 World Series trophy to your home or office.
Check all out the different awards on this list. Several are Red Sox-related.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell will meet with reporters at 4 p.m. this afternoon.
The big news of the day will come at 10 a.m., when the Hall of Fame announces the results of the Expansion Era Committee elections. That could be very good news for Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. The late Marvin Miller, head of the MLB Players Association, also is a prime candidate for election.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be here as well as the Miami Marlins have a press conference for their new catcher.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington also will speak to Red Sox beat writers at some point. As to whether he'll have anything to talk about, we shall see.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Baseball's Winter Meetings are back at the Swan and Dolphin hotel complex at Disney World for the first time since 2010. It was here the Red Sox made their ill-fated seven-year, $142 million deal with Carl Crawford.
The Sox were kings that week, trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Crawford in a span of a few days.
Don't expect that kind of action this week.
The Red Sox have filled their primary needs by signing free agents Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski and Edward Mujica. No matter what happens, the offseason has been a success.
At the moment, the lineup could be something like this:
Shane Victorino RF
Daniel Nava / Jonnny Gomes LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
A.J. Pierzynski / David Ross C
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
That lineup, right now, is not as good as the group that finished last season. There's no real leadoff hitter, for instance. But taken as a whole, the Sox should score plenty of runs. Bogaerts will have a Manny Machado-like impact on the offense.
Pedroia, now that his left thumb has a working ligament, should be a more productive offensive player. Pierzynski will likely provide roughly the same production as Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Middlebrooks can't help but be better than he was last season.
The drop off will come in center field. But Bradley is better than his brief stints in the majors showed last season.
The Sox also have a strong rotation and bullpen. They'll send a solid starter to the mound every day and that is where success starts.
“I do think we go into the Winter Meetings in a position of strength, with a very strong roster and one that we feel good about going into the season if not much changes,” Cherington said.
In a way, having a largely settled roster could create more work for Cherington and the baseball operations staff. Not having many specific needs will allow the Sox the freedom to be creative in the trade market and seek ways to improve a team they already feel is strong.
“I have a feeling it will be just as busy. The pace won’t be any different. We’ll just be talking about different kind of things,” Cherington said. “When there’s a clear need to fill, there’s more of a linear process and we’re focusing on certain things and trying to march down the field on certain things, a certain player or trade that fills that need.
“When you’re not doing that kind of thing as much, it’s a bigger universe so there’s a lot of ideas floating around the room and a lot of conversation.”
A few thoughts on where those conversations could go based on talks with sources from various teams, including the Red Sox:
• Making a big trade: The Sox have an extra starter, an extra catcher in Ryan Lavarnway and some solid prospects. It's enough to cobble together a deal.
The Dodgers have spoken to the Sox to gauge interest in outfielder Matt Kemp, a two-time All-Star. But there is ample reason for caution.
In the last 14 months, Kemp has twice had surgery on his left shoulder and once on his left ankle. He had a torn labrum repaired in Oct. of 2013 then a procedure on the AC joint a year later.
Kemp hit only six home runs in 263 at-bats last season and there is concern that the shoulder injury affected his mechanics and power, much in the same way it did Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has averaged 22 home runs in the three seasons since his shoulder surgery. He averaged 32 in the five years prior.
Kemp also has six years and $128 million remaining on his contract. The Dodgers would presumably pick up part of that in a trade, but the Red Sox have avoided long-term deals for two years now outside of Dustin Pedroia.
• Making a medium-sized trade: The Sox could deal from their depth and pick up a solid first base or outfield prospect, two areas where the farm system is a little deficient.
• Pick up an infielder: The Red Sox need a utility infielder, somebody who could back up at second, third and shortstop. Free agent Justin Turner would work. Maybe they will bring John McDonald back.
• Retaining Stephen Drew: In what has been a frenzied market for free agents, Drew's name has not come up much because of the draft-pick compensation attached to his price. If he is still searching for a team on Jan. 20, the Red Sox could be waiting. They would take him back on their terms and play Bogaerts at third base.
The Red Sox are willing to be patient with Drew because they can always simply play Bogaerts at shortstop and Middlebrooks at third.
It's important to note that the Sox are close to their payroll number of last season. Contracted raises, arbitration and a full year of Jake Peavy added to the payroll along with the free agents. Cherington also values having some money to be flexible for in-season additions.
So don't expect the Red Sox to be in play for a prominent free agent like Shin-Soo Choo. Such a move would require some roster manipulation.
No matters what happens, we'll have coverage from the Meetings all week here on Extra Bases and in the Globe.
Jacoby Ellsbury passed his physical, making his $153 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees official, the team announced. The deal has a club option for 2021.
Also today, we got our first glimpse of Ellsbury in pinstripes via MLB.com in this baseball card-style image:FULL ENTRY
Spring training starts in about two months. But the Red Sox may already be done assembling the team that will defend their World Series championship.
In a span of four days, the Red Sox signed three free agents: catcher A.J. Pierzynski, righthanded reliever Edward Mujica and first baseman Mike Napoli. That filled the biggest gaps on the roster.
“The way team stacks up right now, we’ve gotten some stuff done and we think that if Opening Day was tomorrow we’d be in pretty good shape,” general manager Ben Cherington said on Saturday. “It’s not, so we’ll keep working.
“There are things that we could do. There are some things we’d like to do, to pursue. There’s still the flexibility and means to do that.”
The Red Sox seem comfortable with the idea of using Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.FULL ENTRY
First baseman Mike Napoli made it clear after the World Series that he wanted to stay with the Red Sox. He liked his first season in Boston so much that he stuck around for a few weeks after the World Series.
Team officials also wanted Napoli back and on Friday night a two-year, $32 million deal was reached.
“The beard is coming back to Boston!!! Couldn’t be happier!!” Napoli posted on Twitter at 9:09 p.m. WEEI reported first that a deal was in place.
The Red Sox had competition from the Texas Rangers and several other teams on Friday, another busy day for baseball. That served to bring the agreement into place.
The Rangers, major-league sources said, had a more lucrative deal on the table but Napoli elected to stay with the Red Sox. He said several times during and after the season how much he enjoyed playing in Boston and his teammates.FULL ENTRY
When Dustin Pedroia signed an eight-year, $110 million extension with the Red Sox this summer, we all wondered how much Pedroia shortchanged himself in order to remain a Red Sox. Now we know by how much.
After Robinson Cano agreed to a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners today, the difference between the two deals is $130 million.
And you know something? Pedroia doesn’t seem to have any regrets. He’s with the team he wants to be with, he has more money than he’ll ever need, and he’s happy. His reaction to the Cano signing was an indication of that.
“Couldn’t be happier for him and for us," Pedroia wrote in a text. "We don’t have to face him 19 times a year.“FULL ENTRY
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum opened its World Series "Autumn Glory" exhibit on Thursday, and the artifacts include many items from the Red Sox' run to the World Series title.
• Bat used by World Series MVP David Ortiz in the postseason.
• Spikes worn throughout the World Series by closer Koji Uehara.
• Jacket worn in Game 6 by Red Sox Manager John Farrell.
• Catcher’s helmet and mask worn by Red Sox catcher David Ross.
• Glove used through the 2013 postseason by Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew.
• Batting gloves used by Boston rookie Xander Bogaerts during the World Series.
• The fake beard Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk wore when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 6.
• Bat and batting gloves used by Jonny Gomes in Game 4 when his three-run homer gave Boston the win.
• Number “0” from Fenway Park scoreboard at end of Game 6.FULL ENTRY
Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan reports the deal is for two years and $9.5 million.FULL ENTRY
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.
A.J. Pierzynski was hired by Fox to provide analysis during the postseason, a position that gave him a close-up view of the Red Sox and their run to the World Series title.
The veteran catcher, who was about to become a free agent, used the opportunity to check out the Sox as possible landing spot. He was impressed with what he saw.
“As a member of the media you learn a lot and you get to see a lot more than you do as a player,” Pierzynski said Wednesday during a conference call.FULL ENTRY
My colleague Nick Cafardo wrote in the paper today that he thought Jacoby Ellsbury would return to the Red Sox.
This topic is one Nick and I have disagreed on over the last few years and we'll have to again. There was more of a chance that Carl Crawford would light the Christmas tree at Faneuil Hall than Ellsbury would come back.FULL ENTRY
A.J. Pierzynski passed his physical and the Red Sox announced his signing to a one-year contract. Terms were not announced, but sources said Pierzynski received $8.25 million.
Red Sox fans have read this story before. A popular and speedy center fielder becomes a free agent and decides to switch sides in baseball's most heated rivalry and sign a big contract with the hated Yankees.
Johnny Damon did it in 2005 and Jacoby Ellsbury followed the same template Tuesday night, agreeing with the Yankees on a seven-year deal worth $153 million, according to major league sources.FULL ENTRY
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has agreed to terms with the Miami Marlins on a three-year deal worth $21 million, according to a major league source. The former Red Sox catcher selected the Marlins over the Minnesota Twins.
Saltalamacchia resides in Wellington, Fla., about 70 miles from Marlins Park.
Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, who had a 3.52 earned run average in 29 regular-season starts, has been voted the winner of the 24th Tony Conigliaro Award. The honor is presented to a major league player who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.FULL ENTRY
Let's be honest, the public image of new Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is that he's a pain in the butt. He has tangled with teammates and opponents over the course of his 16-year career and built a reputation for being irksome.
Pierzynski throws his helmet, he curses, and he talks trash. He is known to be an avid fan of pro wrestling and he enjoys playing the heel. In the oh-so-sensitive world of baseball, Pierzynski makes waves.
It won't take you long to find YouTube.clips of him brawling or the poll from Men's Journal in 2012 that named him the most hated player in baseball.
But that's a simple-minded approach. The guess is that the Red Sox looked well beyond Google in assessing whether Pierzynski would fit into their clubhouse.FULL ENTRY
The Boston Red Sox announced that “Sox Pax” and single-game tickets for April and May games will go on sale Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. Registration for the chance to attend the 11th annual Christmas at Fenway event begins today.
The Red Sox have agreed to terms with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The one-year deal is worth $8.25 million.
Pierzynski will be playing for his third team in as many years. After spending 2005-2012 with the White Sox, he joined the Texas Rangers last season and hit .272 with a .722 OPS. He had 17 homers and 70 RBIs. Pierzynski started 111 games behind the plate.FULL ENTRY
Two major league sources said Monday night that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is unlikely to return to the Red Sox.
Saltalamacchia is the top catcher remaining on the free-agent market and is expected to command at least a three-year contract. The Red Sox have held at two years and are prepared to move on.FULL ENTRY
For righthanded reliever Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Kalish, the last few seasons have been marked by long stretches on the disabled list and major surgeries. On Monday night, the Red Sox made them free agents.
The two were not offered contracts by the midnight deadline and are now free to sign with any team, the Red Sox included.FULL ENTRY
The Los Angeles Dodgers have hired former Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra as an announcer.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Garciaparra would leave ESPN for a new role with the Dodgers.
Garciaparra, 40, is a southern California native and played three seasons for the Dodgers near the end of his 14-year career. Garciaparra was with the Red Sox from 1996-2004.
A few notes while we wait for official word on the Red Sox tender decisions:
• The catching market is growing thinner with the news that Dioner Navarro has signed a two-year, $8 million deal with Toronto. The Red Sox did not have great interest in Navarro.FULL ENTRY
The sixth annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic will be Dec. 12-15 in the Dominican Republic. The event supports the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which provides critical pediatric healthcare for children in the Dominican and the Boston area.
Through Dec. 14, there's an online auction with a variety of unique packages and memorabilia including:
• Hitting lessons with Ortiz.
• Tickets to Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit launch party in February in New York.
• Round of golf with NFL Hall Of Famer Lawrence Taylor.
• Dinner at Boston’s Strega Waterfront with actor and comedian Lenny Clark.
• Tickets to Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year” event in December.
• Dinner for eight at celebrity chef Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger in Wellesley.
For a full list of items in the auction visit: www.events.org/ortizauction.
Follow @OrtizClassic on Twitter for all the latest news surrounding the event and the auction.
Monday is the deadline for teams to offer contracts to players eligible for salary arbitration. Any player not tendered a contract would become a free agent.
For the Red Sox, that means decisions on six players, five of them relief pitchers.
Righthander Andrew Bailey will be offered a contract, according to a report by the New York Post on Sunday. That comes as a bit of a surprise. Bailey has a 4.91 earned run average and 1.46 WHIP over parts of two seasons in Boston and has pitched in only 49 games because of various injuries.
Bailey underwent extensive shoulder surgery in July and is not expected to return until midway through the coming season. Based on his service time and previous accomplishments, Bailey would command a contract worth approximately $4.3 million.
General manager Ben Cherington said last month that one of his goals would be to stockpile bullpen arms. The cost of Bailey could be worth his being available in late July.
Lefthander Franklin Morales is another question mark. He has a 5.06 ERA in his last 31 appearances going back to 2012 and has been dealing with an assortment of injuries along with a drop in velocity.
Morales was on the roster for the entirety of the postseason but was not used in the World Series after pitching poorly in the Division Series and ALCS. But Morales, who turns 28 in January, can be retained for less than $2 million.
Righthander Burke Badenhop, first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp, lefthander Andrew Miller and righthander Junichi Tazawa are all expected to be offered contracts. Carp, Miller and Tazawa all played significant roles last season and Badenhop was obtained from the Brewers on Nov. 22.