With just hours before their scheduled arbitration hearing, the Red Sox signed slugger David Ortiz to a one year, $14.575 million deal. That’s right between where the two sides seemed headed as they went to their arbitration hearing but fortunately they were able to get a deal signed before things got nasty.
This isn’t a huge surprise and I expected to see Ortiz back in the mix but I would have hated to see a contentious arbitration hearing. Ortiz bounced back from a subpar season the year before and he belted 29 home runs and he had an OPS of .953. I think the team also liked the idea that he accepted arbitration rather then testing the waters of the free agent market this year.
The Red Sox signed MVP candidate Jacoby Ellsbury to a one year deal that’ll pay him $8.05 million next year. Ellsbury won both the come back player of the year award as well as coming in second place to Justin Verlander for the AL MVP. He had a monster season and you hope he call follow that up with another nice one in 2012.
The Red Sox also signed Mike Aviles to a one year deal worth $1.2 million. Aviles was scooped up from Kansas City last year and he’s nice to have because he can play anywhere. That leaves David Ortiz, Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Bailey as arbitration eligible players who haven’t signed yet. Nobody has gone to the arbitration table since Theo Epstein has been in the mix and you’d hope they don’t start now.
The Red Sox signed catcher and one time top prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a one year, $2.5 million deal. A one time blue chip prospect with the Braves, Jarrod was traded to the Rangers where he struggled until 2010 when he was dealt to the Red Sox. In 2011, he had the best season of his career with Boston.
He finished with 16 home runs and a .737 OPS. Not too shabby for a catcher although he could work on his batting eye a little. He’s also young still at just 26. He’s probably not going to play in an All Star Game, but he’s a solid backstop who can help out the Red Sox in 2012.
1) Will Middlebrooks 3b
2) Xander Bogaerts ss
3) Blake Swihart C
4) Anthony Ranaudo RHP
5) Bryce Brentz OF
6) Brandon Jacobs OF
7) Garin Cecchini 3b
8) Matt Barnes RHP
9) Ryan Lavarnway C
10) Jackie Bradley OF
The Red Sox have their closer. After Jon Papelbon’s departure, the Red Sox needed a new ninth inning guy and they got him by picking up Athletics closer Andrew Bailey in a five player deal. The Red Sox also get Ryan Sweeney and they gave up Josh Reddick, Miles Head and Raul Alcantara.
Bailey missed the first two months of the season with a strained intercostal muscle but then he came back strong and saved 24 games last season. This is a guy with a career 2.07 ERA but a lot of those games came with nobody on and nobody out. Still, he has a sub 1.00 WHIP and 174 strikeouts in 174 innings.
Of course with Reddick leaving the team, now the Red Sox have a hold in right field. Ryan Kalish is also an option. Still, I like the way the Red Sox bullpen is shaping up.
The Red Sox signed utility infielder Nick Punto to a two year, $3 million deal. With the departure of Jed Lowrie, Punto will most likely fill the role of utility infielder with the Red Sox. He’s a little better defensively then Lowrie so that will be a plus.
Punto had a solid season last year with the Cardinals. In 63 games, he finished with an .809 OPS. That was by far the best of his career. Still, Punto is a career .249 hitter and it’s pretty hollow at that so you can’t expect too much from him other then as a fill in. He is a switch hitter, but his OPS is pretty much the same against lefties versus righties. He does have a nice though and last year that helped give him a .388 OBP.
John Sickels put out his top 20 Red Sox prospects list and while there’s no blue chips yet, there’s some depth. Coming in at number one is Xander Bogaerts who’s a shortstop. He still has a way to go and Sickels gave him a B+ but also said that he could have given them an A-.
Number two is the top pitcher, Matt Barnes. He slipped to the Red Sox in the draft last year but Sickels talks about how he has a major league build and could be a solid starter. Will Middlebrooks (3b) is third and he’s close but will probably spend some time in Pawtucket.
Rounding out the top five is Ryan Lavarnway (C-DH) and Garin Cecchini (3b). He indicated Cecchini has some potential.
The Red Sox met their arbitration deadline obligation and made decisions on their arbitration eligible players. David Ortiz (Type A) and Dan Wheeler were both offered arbitration where as the odd men out were Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek.
Under the new compensation rules, the Red Sox are set to get some compensation for both Wheeler and Ortiz. It’s expected that Ortiz will eventually sign though although whether he takes arbitration or not is another question.
The team has to sell Red Sox tickets. A big part of competing next year will be bringing back Ortiz so my guess is, they do what it takes.
Other guys who weren’t offered arbitration were Erik Bedard, Trever Miller, J.D. Drew and Conor Jackson.
The 2012 MLB season is creeping closer as we approach the New Year, which means the 2012 schedule for the Boston Red Sox is up and fans are already picking their seats! There are some excellent games set on the schedule that will certainly have a good turnout, like the Yankees at Red Sox on April 21, the Tampa Bay Rays at Red Sox on April 13 and May 27, and the Orioles at Red Sox on May 5.
Since this site is about the Red Sox of the past, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the last time the Red Sox faced these three teams (Yankees, Rays and Orioles) in the regular season. It is well known that the Red Sox had a rough end to their 2011 season, so this might be slightly painful:
Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays – 9/15-9/18 @ Boston – Rays (3 wins) vs. Red Sox (1 win)
Red Sox vs. New York Yankees – 9/24-9/25 @ New York – Yankees (2 wins) vs. Red Sox (1 win)
Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles – 9/26-9/28 @ Baltimore – Orioles (2 wins) vs. Red Sox (1 win)
Although the Red Sox may not have won those series, it definitely means they are due for some wins this 2012 season. Keep an eye out for great games on the 2012 MLB regular season schedule. Game on!
Alright, we’ve already hit up two games in the Greatest Games series so let’s look at one more. Man it would have been awesome to have Red Sox Tickets for this game. This one we have to go way back to 1975. With the Red Sox down 3-2, they went back to Boston and played one for the ages. I know many people thing Game seven in 1991 and now games six in 2011 are the greatest World Series games but Game six of the 1975 World Series is my personal favorite.
White the Reds weren’t to be denied in the series, this game gave everyone pause. The Red Sox jumped out to a three run lead in the first only to see the Reds score six unanswered runs. The Reds then came back, scored three in the bottom of the eighth and then neither scored until the twelfth when you have the Carlton Fisk down the foul line home run that ended the game and forced a game six. Just writing about it here makes me want to go back and watch this one again.
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