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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shortly after trade, Sox install Hanrahan as closer

Club envisions Bailey working as primary setup option from bullpen

There will be no closer competition. Andrew Bailey, Boston's presumed ninth-inning man for 2013, has been moved to a setup role in favor of the centerpiece of Wednesday's six-player trade with Pittsburgh, right-hander Joel Hanrahan. The trade, which was near completion before Christmas, sent right-handers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel, infielder Ivan De Jesus and first baseman Jerry Sands to the Pirates in exchange for Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt. Manager John Farrell has already spoken to Bailey and Hanrahan. At the start of the month, Bailey said he was approaching the season as though he would close. "It was a great conversation, obviously," Hanrahan said. "He told me they're excited to have me there. ... I'm excited for the opportunity. I wasn't sure what the role was going to be, because there are obviously guys who have closed there before, with great success." Hanrahan, 31, had a 2.72 ERA in 2012 and a 1.83 ERA the year before -- both times earning All-Star selections -- and he has 76 saves since 2011. His lifetime average of 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings is a positive, too, but his walk rate from last season could be a red flag: that rose, from 2.1 to 5.4 per nine. The Red Sox said they vetted that matter and that adding a pitcher of Hanrahan's caliber is a rare opportunity. "His stuff, as I'm sure you've seen, is right at the top of the scale. He's got a fastball in the upper 90s, and when he's right, his slider is as good as anybody's in baseball," assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran said. "I spoke with John earlier, and he has spoken with both Bailey and Hanrahan, so I don't mind sharing with you that John plans to go into the spring with Hanrahan as the closer. He talked to Andrew." Bailey, 28, missed most of 2012, his first year with the Red Sox, after sustaining a freak injury to his right thumb during Spring Training. He finished with 19 appearances, six saves in nine chances and a 7.04 ERA, and he'll likely get closing opportunities if Hanrahan has pitched on too many consecutive days. "We see Andrew as playing a very important role in the back end of our bullpen as well," O'Halloran said. "There will be plenty of opportunities for him to help us win games in key situations late in the game, and we know he's very capable both of closing and pitching in other high-leverage situations at the ends of games. It's not too often you get a chance to add a two-time All-Star closer to the mix." Bailey will, in essence, serve as a backup closer, a role the Red Sox envisioned for Melancon last season. That didn't go as planned. When Bailey got hurt, Melancon was ineffective, and the Red Sox had to put swing reliever Alfredo Aceves in the role. A closer himself before joining the Red Sox last season, Melancon finished his only year in Boston with a 6.20 ERA, although he let up just one run in September. He told MLB.com from Hawaii on Wednesday that his time with the Red Sox was transformative. "Obviously, I got off to a rough start," Melancon said. "So, you know, I don't think they treated me unfairly. It's hard for me, because I feel like I didn't produce as well as I should have, and so there's nobody to blame but myself. Obviously, baseball is a game that's built on failure, so you have to understand that, too. It's exciting for me, because I had a great last half of the season last year, and that's kind of who I am and who I anticipate being. "I learned how to combat [being outside the closer's role], and it took me a little while, understandably, but it made me a better pitcher and a better person. In my mind, there wasn't a [lot of] bad, other than I let down some of the team. Which is never fun. But I think, as a whole, I got a lot better." For Pittsburgh, the trade could partly have been motivated by the roughly $7 million Hanrahan is set to earn in 2013, his last year before free agency, and Hanrahan was aware that he was likely on the block. He's never been to Fenway Park and only once been to Boston, even though his wife's family comes from Massachusetts (Brockton and Avon). "I've only seen Fenway on movies," Hanrahan said. "I've never actually been there. I've been to Boston one time for a wedding. That was kind of a quick little trip, in and out of there. I don't know a whole lot about the city or the stadium. I've seen it on TV, but I've never been there." Just in the number of controllable players, Pirates GM Neal Huntington got a sizable return, but the Sox needed space. Of the four players the Red Sox sent, De Jesus is the only who was not on the 40-man roster. "Any time you're making a trade or any transaction, you're keeping in mind where your roster sits," O'Halloran said, "but I wouldn't say that that was a big factor in making the trade." The Red Sox took notice of Hanrahan during an Interleague series in June 2011, when he nailed down consecutive saves while allowing just one hit between the two days. O'Halloran said that the team is comfortable Hanrahan's walk rate will drop in 2013, and Hanrahan said that he's healthy after dealing with ankle and hamstring issues last season. "Obviously, we looked at that very closely," O'Halloran said of the walks. "We do think there are some reasons that we saw the uptick in walks. We're going to talk to Joel, and John's already started that process, and [pitching coach] Juan Nieves and [bullpen coach] Gary Tuck and John will get together with Joel and throw out anything that they see and help him with that. It's not something we're concerned about long-term." Holt, 24 and a ninth-round Draft pick out of Rice University in 2009, made his Major League debut last season in 24 September games at second base. He held his own with a .292/.329/.354 line after he spent the majority of 2012 with Double-A Altoona. There he led the Eastern League with a .322 average and was the fifth-hardest player to strike out. "He's a very hard-nosed player," O'Halloran said. "We're excited to have him and the energy that he brings to the table. He's got a line-drive stroke, and we think he'll be a good addition to our middle-infield core." Pimentel, who will be 23 next season, had been in the Red Sox organization since he signed as a non-drafted free agent in July 2006. He started strong in the Minors and found himself on plenty of top-prospect lists, but he hasn't gotten over the hump in Double-A. Sands' and DeJesus' time in the organization was short. Both 25-year-olds came over as part of the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers last summer. Sands had strong numbers at Triple-A last season, hitting .296 with 26 home runs, 107 RBIs and a .900 OPS. De Jesus played in just eight Major League games with the Red Sox, but hit .304 between Los Angeles' and Boston's Triple-A affiliates. Only two of the five players the Red Sox acquired in that mega-deal remain their property: pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Red Sox, Bucs reportedly close to deal for Hanrahan


Red Sox, Bucs reportedly close to deal for Hanrahan

 
The Red Sox may be close to adding another late-inning reliever. Boston and Pittsburgh are nearing a trade that would send Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan to the Sox, ESPNBoston.com reported on Saturday. Andrew Bailey is the Red Sox's presumptive closer, although the acquisition of Hanrahan, 31, could serve to create competition, if not insurance. CBS Sports reported that Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias, who's ticketed for Triple-A once Stephen Drew's contract is finalized, is not a part of the expected multi-player package. Hanrahan had a 2.72 ERA in 2012 and a 1.83 ERA the year before -- both times earning All-Star selections -- and has tallied 76 saves since 2011. He has averaged 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings for his career. A right-hander from Iowa, Hanrahan has spent all of his six Major League seasons in the National League, between the Nationals and Pirates. Bailey said at the start of December that he was approaching Spring Training as though the closing job were his. "I think I have to," Bailey said. "Right now, I'd think I'm the only guy in that role. I feel, like I said, they traded for me for a reason. Last year was very frustrating on a lot of accounts and even when I was healthy, I didn't do my job to my fullest expectations or the organization's expectations. I'm taking that into my offseason workout, and knowing that I got to hammer down games for this organization and this team, and we got to get to the playoffs."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Red Sox, shortstop Drew agree to one-year deal

Red Sox, shortstop Drew agree to one-year deal

Prospect Iglesias likely to remain at Triple-A for another year of seasoning

BOSTON -- The Red Sox agreed to a one-year deal with shortstop Stephen Drew worth $9.5 million on Monday, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com. The Red Sox have not confirmed the deal. The agreement with Drew means Jose Iglesias won't be the Boston's starting shortstop in 2013, barring injury, and that Iglesias' status as the club's shortstop of the future is questionable. Drew, who turns 30 in March, split last season between the D-backs and the A's as he fought through right ankle problems stemming from a nasty break of the ankle in 2011. He hit just .193 with two home runs in 40 games and 155 plate appearances for Arizona, but did better once he was dealt to the upstart A's: he had five home runs and a .250/.326/.382 line with Oakland. Drew had a mutual option for $10 million that both he and the A's declined in favor of a $1.35 million buyout. With Drew in the fold, Iglesias is presumably pushed to another year at Triple-A Pawtucket to keep growing. Possessing an incredible glove, Iglesias turns just 23 in January, but hit just .118 in 77 Major League plate appearances last season. He has never hit well at Triple-A for an extended time either. If Iglesias returns to Pawtucket, he'll have power-hitting 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts right on his heels. Bogaerts finished the 2012 season at Double-A Portland, and did just as well there as he had at Class A Salem. Bogaerts, MLB.com's No. 1 Red Sox prospect, had a .307/.373/.523 line between both levels, and figures to start again at Portland in 2013. According to FanGraphs.com, Drew was a plus-defensive shortstop by Ultimate Zone Rating from 2009-11, but was not in 2012. Entering his eighth Major League season, Drew hasn't spent any time in the AL outside of the stint with Oakland. The D-backs drafted him as the 15th overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, and he's a lifetime .265/.326/.482 hitter. Drew reached double-digit homers from 2007-10, but hasn't been able to get enough plate appearances the last two seasons. Overall, Drew's signing fits the Red Sox's M.O.: a short-term deal on a guy with rebound potential. CBSSports.com first reported the deal. Last season was the first since 2006 that Boston didn't have a Drew on board, after Stephen's brother J.D. quietly went off into retirement following the 2011 season

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Red Sox, Napoli working to resolve holdup

BOSTON -- Shane Victorino put on his Red Sox jersey Thursday at Fenway Park. There was no word as to when another free agent, first baseman Mike Napoli, might be able to do the same. Napoli and the Red Sox agreed to terms a day before the Sox did with Victorino, but there's been at least one snag in closing the deal. General manager Ben Cherington acknowledged the situation Thursday, but he did not detail the specific holdup. "It's just a situation where we're working through some things in regards to another player," Cherington said. "And until, as has been our policy, until every sort of aspect of the agreement's resolved, we're not in a position to comment on it publicly." Like Victorino, Napoli agreed to three years and $39 million. But deals aren't finalized once a dollar figure is settled on. Napoli's physical could have revealed a condition that the team feels is risky enough to require contract language addressing it. In that scenario, the specifics of the language -- or from Napoli's perspective, the belief that there need be any language at all -- could be an obstacle. Cherington acknowledged a physical was part of the endgame, but nonetheless withheld a pinpoint explanation. "I don't want to comment specifically," Cherington said. "Every time we sign a free agent, any sort of guaranteed deal, there's a number of things you have to come to agreement on and get resolved. Some of it's contract language and some of it's terms and money, and etc. And then there's a physical. Until all these things are done and there's all of them agreed upon, [I] just can't comment on it." Outside of 140 games played in 2010, Napoli has never reached 115 games played in seven seasons. Part of that was a playing time matter in his time with the Angels from 2006-10, but part of that also stemmed from ailments like a left quad strain. That sent him to the disabled list each of the past two seasons with the Rangers. The Sox are still hopeful they'll reach a resolution. Cherington said twice on Thursday there is no timetable, and he didn't give an indication when asked if it looks more like a matter of days or weeks. "All I can say, we continue to talk and there's that consistent dialogue, and we'll continue to do that," Cherington said. "[We'll] work to resolve the issues that are outstanding." Cherington said broadly he still looks to improve the team while the Napoli matter is sorted, but stopped short of saying he's diving back into the first-base market. Napoli's provides a bat the Sox need at first base, with a combined 54 home runs the past two regular seasons and a career .306 average at Fenway Park in the regular season. "We're still certainly looking to improve the team, and we're still working hard on a number of fronts to be able to do that," Cherington said. "Until something's done, we got to continue to work to improve the team, in different ways, different parts of the roster."

Red Sox agree to two-year deal with Dempster


 
BOSTON -- The Red Sox and Ryan Dempster reached agreement on Thursday on a two-year deal, according to a source. The deal is worth $26.5 million, according to multiple reports. The club has not confirmed the move. Dempster, a 35-year-old righty, has spent all of his 15-season career in the National League aside from 12 starts with the Rangers to end last season. Dempster threw 173 innings last season between Texas and the Cubs, and in the four previous seasons, he reached 200 innings. The Sox have notably lacked durable arms. "We struggled in that area for different reasons," general manager Ben Cherington said of 2012. "One of the things we've been lacking has just been the reliability and someone who can be a reliable, durable part of the rotation. So that is something we've focused on this offseason. We haven't executed anything yet, but hopefully we can find somebody to do that. I think we feel like need to go into 2013 with more starting pitching depth than we have right now. There are different ways to do that." The Red Sox might feel this is the time to push for pitching, with moves expected to come faster ahead of Christmas and the new year, when things will slow down, if just briefly. "There's this period between now and 12 days from now, stuff tends to get done this time a year, then maybe there's a quiet period and things pick up again," Cherington said. "There are opportunities to get things done in the next 12 days, and after that, we'll keep working on it." If a deal with Dempster is reached, the largest question surrounding him would be the adjustment to not just the American League, but the AL East. Dempster's time in Texas didn't go as planned. After posting a 2.25 ERA with the Cubs, he had a 5.09 mark with the Rangers. That included 10 home runs in 69 innings. Dempster allowed one fewer home run (nine) in a lot more innings with the Cubs (104). But pitchers have been able to transition from the NL to the AL. Sometimes there's an element of surprise that works against hitters, but that's not likely to mean much across a whole season. "Harder. It's certainly harder," Cherington said of bringing guys across league lines. "When you talk about [the Yankees'] Hiroki Kuroda, it's easier because you just saw it in the AL East. You don't have that kind of recent history with everyone. That doesn't mean we can't find the right guy. Just got to keep working at it." Adding Dempster probably doesn't mean the Sox would be content with their stockpile of arms. Cherington said he's been involved with nearly every starting pitcher that's come off the market, be it by trade or free agency. That list, then, could include Zack Greinke and Dan Haren. "I think we've been involved at some level in just about every starting pitcher that's moved -- either signed or traded," Cherington said. "Not everyone, but just about everyone. In every case, you sort of have a limit, boundaries for what you're willing to do for each situation, and we haven't been able to execute it yet. "We're still hopeful we'll be able to add somebody or more than one guy. We're not going to stop necessarily. We'll see. I don't look at [those pitchers who have new teams] as missed opportunities, because you pursue things, but you have to have a limit of what you're going to do. We've had a limit, and at some point, we'll find a match. I'm hopeful and confident we'll be able to do that."

Red Sox ready to introduce Victorino

Red Sox ready to introduce Victorino

    Outfielder Shane Victorino is set to officially join the Red Sox on Thursday in a noon ET press conference at Fenway Park.
The 32-year-old gives the Sox a center-field-caliber right fielder: He comes to the Sox with three Gold Gloves and a three-year deal for $39 million. "ALOHA look forward to addressing #RedSox Nation," Victorino wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday night. The press conference will be streamed live on MLB.com and redsox.com Victorino's spent the entirety of his nine-year career in the National League and has a career .275/.341/.430 line. Meanwhile, another hitter the Sox agreed to terms with at the Winter Meetings, first baseman Mike Napoli, is still in the wind. Boston appeared to have reached a deal with Napoli a day earlier than it did Victorino -- but the former still has not been introduced. Napoli was reported to have had his physical Monday, and it's possible something negative arose in the evaluation. General manager Ben Cherington didn't acknowledge the Napoli signing at the time it broke. "We've made some progress and he's a guy who gets on base, has power and could be a good fit for our ballpark," Cherington said in Nashville, Tenn., where the Winter Meetings were held. Napoli, like Victorino, was believed to have a three-year, $39 million contract.

DiSarcina to manage Pawtucket in 2013

DiSarcina to manage Pawtucket in 2013

    Triple-A Pawtucket has its manager in place for a run at a repeat as Governors' Cup winners.
The Red Sox have hired Massachusetts native Gary DiSarcina away from the Angels, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez on Tuesday. DiSarcina spent 2012 as the Angels' Minor League field coordinator. He was named a special assistant to Halos general manager Jerry Dipoto in October. "This is 50 miles from home, and I miss managing," DiSarcina told the Los Angeles Times. "Jerry could have denied the Red Sox permission to speak to me, but he left the decision up to me." DiSarcina replaces Arnie Beyeler, who was added to Boston's Major League staff as its first-base coach under manager John Farrell. Beyeler led the PawSox to an International League championship in 2012, his second year managing the team. DiSarcina was born in Malden, Mass., and spent time in the Red Sox organization from 2007-10, including as a manager for the Class A Lowell Spinners. DiSarcina played in the Majors from 1989-2000 and went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Cubs claim reliever Rosario off waivers

Cubs claim reliever Rosario off waivers

 
CHICAGO -- The Cubs added another arm to the bullpen mix when they claimed right-hander Sandy Rosario off waivers from the Red Sox on Wednesday. Rosario, 27, has been active on the transaction wire. The Red Sox acquired him off waivers from the Marlins on Oct. 17, and he was designated for assignment on Nov. 20. Eight days later, he was dealt to the Athletics for right-hander Graham Godfrey. The Athletics then designated Rosario for assignment two days later. On Dec. 10, the Red Sox claimed him off waivers again. Last season, he combined for 17 saves and a 1.99 ERA in 31 Minor League games between the Marlins' Triple-A, Double-A and Class A teams. Rosario missed nearly two months on the disabled list because of a strained right quad. He's had limited appearances over the last three seasons with the Marlins, totaling 7 2/3 innings, and made four appearances in June with the big league team. At Triple-A New Orleans, Rosario posted a 1.04 ERA with 16 saves in 25 games, striking out 24 over 26 innings. This winter, he's been pitching for Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican, appearing in 12 games through Dec. 8. He has 13 strikeouts and five walks over 11 1/3 innings. Cubs manager Dale Sveum knows Rosario. Sveum was with Milwaukee when the pitcher made his Major League debut on Sept. 23, 2010, for the Marlins, and the Brewers' Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder hit his first and third pitches for home runs. Rosario is the third new arm added to the Cubs' bullpen, joining Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, who signed a two-year deal last Friday, and Hector Rondon, who was selected in the Rule 5 Draft. With the addition of Rosario, the Cubs' 40-man roster is now at 40

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Well-traveled Rosario returns to Red Sox's roster

Well-traveled Rosario returns to Red Sox's roster

Right-hander went from Miami to Boston to Oakland, then back to Boston

From the time he signed in 2004 until this offseason, right-hander Sandy Rosario knew one system. Now, in less than two months, he's been moved three times: from Miami to Boston to Oakland and back to Boston again. Rosario, 27, a native of the Dominican Republic, became Red Sox property again Monday when they claimed him from the A's. Oakland designated Rosario for assignment on Nov. 30. Rosario's travels began in mid-October. The Red Sox on Oct. 17 claimed Rosario from the Marlins, the organization he had been with since signing a pro deal in July 2004. When the time came for the Sox to set their 40-man roster in November, they designated Rosario for assignment before working out a deal with Oakland. Boston received right-hander Graham Godfrey as a player to be named. That trade was on Nov. 28. Two days later, Oakland designated Rosario again, and Boston still had interest. Rosario spent most of 2012 with Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins' system, posting a 1.04 ERA and 16 saves in 25 relief appearances. He allowed six runs in four relief appearances and three innings with the big club this season. He made two appearances in the Majors in 2010 and '11. Boston's 40-man roster is at 39.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Red Sox acquire right-handed pitcher Graham Godfrey from the Oakland Athletics to complete the Sandy Rosario trade

Red Sox acquire right-handed pitcher Graham Godfrey from the Oakland Athletics to complete the Sandy Rosario trade

The Boston Red Sox today acquired minor league right-handed pitcher Graham Godfrey from the Oakland Athletics to complete the November 28 trade of right-handed pitcher Sandy Rosario.  Godfrey has been assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket.  Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.
Godfrey, 28, spent most of last year with Oakland’s Triple-A Sacramento affiliate and was named to the Pacific Coast League’s mid-season All-Star Team.  A two-time PCL Pitcher of the Week in 2012, he went 9-2 with one save, a 3.29 ERA (38 ER/104.0 IP) and 60 strikeouts compared to 26 walks and 98 hits allowed for the River Cats and was tabbed as having the best control among PCL pitchers by Baseball America in its 2012 Best Tools Survey.  The right-hander began the 2012 season on the Athletics’ Opening Day roster and totaled five appearances (4 starts) for Oakland over the first two months of the season.  Including five outings (4 starts) in his 2011 Major League debut, he is 1-6 with a 5.09 ERA (26 ER/46.0 IP) in big league action.
In 2011, Godfrey led the PCL with 14 wins for Sacramento and earned a spot on the Baseball America Triple-A All-Star Team.  He was also named the A’s Organizational Pitcher of the Year that season.  Selected by the Blue Jays in the 34th round of the 2006 draft, Godfrey has compiled a 49-36 record with a 4.00 ERA (334 ER/751.0 IP) and 565 strikeouts in 149 career minor league games (129 starts) over six seasons in the Blue Jays (2007) and Athletics (2008-12) systems.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Boston acquires Kaminska to complete Stewart trade

Kaminska's stellar start00:00:40
Pirates pitching prospect Kyle Kaminska strikes out four over five shutout innings during the AFL Military Appreciation Game

The Red Sox acquired right-hander Kyle Kaminska on Thursday to complete the Nov. 28 trade that sent Zach Stewart to the Pirates. Kaminska was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket upon being acquired, the Red Sox announced. The 24-year-old went 9-4 with one save and a 4.19 ERA in 40 games split between the Marlins and Pirates organizations last season. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound righty has pitched in only two games at the Triple-A level and spent most of the year with Miami's Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla., where he went 6-3 with a 5.11 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. He walked just 1.2 batters per nine innings last season, not far below his career 1.8-per-nine-innings mark. Kaminska also played in the Arizona Fall League this year, going 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA, 21 strikeouts and only four walks in 28 innings over six starts. Kaminska was the Marlins' 25th-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and spent five years in Miami's organization before getting dealt to Pittsburgh at this year's July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He owns a career 30-28 record with a 4.22 ERA and 400 strikeouts in 135 appearances, including 66 starts.

Sox trade Rule 5 Draft pick to Tigers for outfielder

Sox trade Rule 5 Draft pick to Tigers for outfielder

Justin Henry hit .300 and stole 22 bases last season at Triple-A. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Red Sox selected second baseman Jeff Kobernus with the seventh overall pick in Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft, but they then traded the former Nationals prospect to the Tigers for outfielder Justin Henry. Henry gives the Red Sox some depth at the upper-Minor League level. Last year at Triple-A Toledo, the 27-year-old hit .300 and stole 22 bases. The Sox also lost a prospect at the outset, as the Astros took right-hander Josh Fields with the No. 1 pick in the Rule 5 Draft. "He's a good pitcher," said Red Sox director of professional scouting Jared Porter. "We like to keep everybody." Drafted by the Mariners in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Fields had been with the Red Sox's organization since coming over with Erik Bedard at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2011. Fields split the 2012 season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, going 4-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 42 games, all in relief. The Red Sox also lost righty Ryan Pressly to the Twins. Pressly was drafted by Boston in the 11th round in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He was 7-5 with a 5.38 ERA in 2012, splitting the year between Class A Salem and Double-A Portland. "He's always had a good arm. He has good stuff. Good fastball and curveball," Porter said. The Sox added a local product, taking left-hander Jack McGeary in the Triple-A portion of the Draft from the Washington Nationals. McGeary was born in Boston and went to high school at Roxbury Latin. "He missed some time, had Tommy John urgery, but he's a year and a half to two years removed from that," said Porter. "He's a good kid with good makeup. He's a lefty with good command. His fastball is up to 91 [mph]. [His] secondary stuff is still a work in progress. Good delivery

Red Sox add to bullpen with veteran Uehara

Red Sox add to bullpen with veteran Uehara

Right-hander has 2.89 ERA in four seasons with O's, Rangers since arrival from Japan

Uehara strikes out the side00:00:41
9/30/12: Koji Uehara strikes out the side in a dominant eighth inning, preserving the Rangers' 8-7 lead over the Angels
The Red Sox continued to make moves on the final day of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, reaching a a deal with free-agent reliever Koji Uehara, according to a Major League source. The deal is pending a physical. Uehara, 37, pitched 36 innings for Texas last season, his fourth in the Major Leagues. He would give the Red Sox another experienced late-inning arm. The right-hander worked to a 1.75 ERA in 37 appearances for Texas last season, and he has posted a 2.89 ERA in 157 big league appearances. Uehara was a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award, given annually to the best starting pitcher in Japan, during his tenure with the Yomiuri Giants of Central League, and he signed with the Orioles prior to the 2009 campaign. Uehara was traded to Texas in 2011, and he's pitched in the playoffs for the Rangers in each of the past two seasons.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sox land Victorino to patrol right field at Fenway

Sox land Victorino to patrol right field at Fenway


Victorino's three-run homer00:00:47
9/28/12: Shane Victorino jacks Jeff Francis' pitch over the wall in left-center field for a three-run homer in the second inning

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Winter Meetings continue to be a productive exercise for the Red Sox. A day after they got the slugger they coveted in Mike Napoli, Boston has agreed to a three-year deal for outfielder Shane Victorino, a source confirmed to MLB.com. The Red Sox have not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical, and reportedly worth $39 million. While the 32-year-old Victorino has been a center fielder for most of his career, he would likely shift to right field for the Red Sox, at least for 2013. Jacoby Ellsbury is under contract with Boston for one more season. Boston's offer to Victorino was first reported by The Boston Globe. With Fenway Park's cavernous right field, the Red Sox have always preferred a right fielder with center field skills. That is clearly Victorino, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner who has spent most of his career with the Phillies. "It's probably the toughest right field in baseball to play, just in terms of the space to cover," said manager John Farrell, "so that range comes into play. It might not be your prototypical right fielder where it's a power bat, because we do value the defense in that area. That's not to exclude anyone, but defense takes a high priority, in that position at Fenway particularly." The Indians were another team that was pushing hard for Victorino. Last week, Boston signed Jonny Gomes. With Victorino coming on board, that would likely rule out any chance of bringing free agent Cody Ross back. In 2012, Ross was one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox. He was seeking a deal worth roughly $25 million over three years. A switch-hitter, Victorino is a career .275 hitter with 90 homers, 409 RBIs and 201 stolen bases in 1,076 career games. Victorino's 2012 season was a down one offensively, as he hit .255 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs, splitting the year between the Phillies and Dodgers. Victorino stole 39 bases, which would give the Sox an element of speed they don't have much of beyond Ellsbury

Monday, December 3, 2012

Napoli, Red Sox agree to three-year contract

Napoli, Red Sox agree to three-year contract

 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Red Sox have landed one of their top targets of this Hot Stove season, signing right-handed slugger Mike Napoli to a three-year, $39 million contract, MLB.com has confirmed. The deal is pending a physical and could be announced before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday. WEEI.com was first to report the deal. The Red Sox have not confirmed the deal. Napoli is a powerful pull hitter who is a strong fit for Fenway Park, where he is a .307 hitter with nine homers, 20 RBIs and a 1.138 OPS in 75 at-bats, including postseason. Though Napoli has been a catcher for most of his career, the Red Sox are likely to make first base his primary position. Napoli has started 118 games at first in his career. Boston already has a logjam behind the plate with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway. First base, however, is a different story, as the Sox have been trying to find someone to fill that spot since Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Dodgers in August. The 31-year-old Napoli hit .227 with 24 homers and 56 RBIs for the Rangers in 2012, making his first All-Star team. The Red Sox think Napoli can get back to the level he was at in '11, his first year in Texas, when he hit .320 with 30 homers, 75 RBIs and a 1.046 OPS. Before his two-year stint in Texas, Napoli spent the first five seasons of his career with the Angels, where he played against the Red Sox in the postseason three years in a row (2007-09). With this year's free-agent market short on sluggers, Napoli drew significant interest from other teams, particularly the Rangers and Mariners. The Rangers didn't want to go longer than two years with Napoli, which was likely the deciding factor in him choosing Boston. With Napoli soon to be officially on board, the Red Sox can focus on several other needs they have this winter, which include an outfielder, a starting pitcher and possibly a shortstop. Napoli has played 727 games in the Majors, hitting .259 with 146 homers, 380 RBIs and an .863 OPS

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