Newly acquired RP Mark Melancon

The Boston Red Sox traded Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to the Houston Astros for relief pitcher Mark Melancon. Melancon, 26, posted a 2.78 ERA (3.25 FIP) while recording 20 saves (80% success rate) in 74.1 innings.

Jed Lowrie had fallen out of favor with the front office with his ‘soft’ mentality and propensity for injury. Lowrie averaged just 58 games over the past three seasons. Lowrie was known for having a very streaky bat. He started the 2011 season on fire; he had a .962 OPS in the month of April. However that number declined over the season to a less-than-stellar .685. The most valuable attribute Lowrie provides is his ability to crush left handed pitching, against which he hit .330/.353/.523 last year.

Weiland, an esteemed prospect in the organization, struggled in minimal playing time in the major leagues last year. He could grade out to be a back end starter, or a solid reliever.

The Red Sox also signed infielder Nick Punto yesterday to a a 2 year/$3 million deal. Punto can play second base, third base and shortstop. His defense is an upgrade from Jed Lowrie’s, though he leaves much to be desired with the bat as evidenced by his career 76 OPS+. Punto’s greatest asset may be his intangibles as he is regarded as a great clubhouse presence. Nick won a World Series with St. Louis last season and GM Ben Cherington said he is  ”a guy who understands his role on a winning team.”

The Red Sox have signed Kelly Shoppach to a 1 year/$1.35 million deal to be the backup catcher to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, bringing an end to Jason Varitek’s tenure with the organization. Shoppach has played seven seasons with the Indians, Rays and Red Sox. He has a career .227/.318/.431 slash line with a .322 wOBA and 7.4 WAR.

Jason Varitek, who has been with Boston since 1997, will turn 40 at the beginning of the 2012 season. Varitek has been the captain of the team since 2005, following the first Red Sox World Series win in 86 years. Varitek has not ruled out playing for another team, but is likely to retire.

Red Sox stud prospect Ryan Lavarnway will begin the season in AAA Pawtuckett as a result of the signing.

According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, Big Papi has decided to accept arbitration. He will earn slightly more than the $12.5 million he made this year. Ortiz joined the Red Sox in 2003 and has been a fan favorite ever since. Big Papi hit .309/.398/.554 with 29 home runs and a 154 OPS+ in 2011.

Andrew Miller, 26, was the not-so-proud owner of a 5.54 ERA (77 ERA+) and a 1.82 WHIP while struggling with consistency last year for the Red Sox. Sources have now confirmed that Miller will be back with the team next season. The deal is reportedly a one year, major league deal for less than the $1.6 million he earned last year.

“I’m excited and look forward to the new season” Miller said.

UPDATE: The contract is not guaranteed.

Resign (arbitration) these players:
• Alfredo Aceves (1 yr/ 1 million)
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1 yr/ 850K)
• Daniel Bard (1yr/1 million)
• Jacoby Ellsbury (1 yr/ 8.5 million)
• Jed Lowrie (1 yr/ 500K)
• Franklin Morales (1 yr/ 480K)
• Mike Aviles (1 yr/ 700K)
• Matt Albers (1yr/ 950K)
• Rich Hill (1yr/ 700K)

Decline Andrew Miller’s option

Free Agent Signings:

Andruw Jones (2 yr/7 million)
Luis Ayala (2 yr/ 8 million)                                                                                                                                   Hiroki Kuroda (2 yr/21 million)

Trade:
Josh Reddick, Kyle Weiland and Lars Anderson to Oakland for Andrew Bailey.
Continue reading »

A week after Bobby Valentine took Terry Francona’s old job as manager of the Boston Red Sox, Francona is returning the favor. Francona will assume Valentine’s previous position on Sportscenter and ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. Francona was a broadcaster for Fox during the playoffs after vacating his position within the Red Sox organization. Francona should excel in his new position as he has always been known for a friendly and charismatic personality, while his two Championship rings speak to his knowledge of the game.

Congratulations Tito!

David Ortiz

Sorry Big Papi, but we have to let you go

Arbitration Raises/Decisions

Jacoby Ellsbury: $5.5 Million

Alfredo Aceves: $1 million

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: $0.9 million

Daniel Bard: $1.1 million

Mike Aviles: $0.85 million

Jed Lowrie: $0.75 million

Franklin Morales: $0.5 million

Andrew Miller: $0.00 (decline his option)

Offer David Ortiz arbitration, declined by David Ortiz

Don’t offer Darnell McDonald arbitration

Continue reading »

By: Chris Jaffe

If nothing else, the next few years should be interesting up in Boston.

That’s the first reaction many had when they heard the news that the Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine to be their next manager. This is especially interesting to me because I wrote a book on managers, Evaluating Baseball’s Managers(winner of The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award for 2010), so I’m always looking to talk managers.
Continue reading »

By: Wessel Brocken

Resign (arbitration) these players:

  • Alfredo Aceves (1 yr/ 1 million)
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1 yr/ 830K)
  • Daniel Bard (1yr/1 million)
  • Jacoby Ellsbury (1 yr/ 8 million)
  • Jed Lowrie (1 yr/ 500K)
  • Franklin Morales (1 yr/ 480K)
  • Mike Aviles (1 yr/ 700K)
  • Matt Albers (1yr/ 950K)
  • Rich Hill (1yr/ 700K)

    Carlos Beltran

    Could Beltran be in a Red Sox uniform in 2012? It's possible.

Decline Andrew Miller’s option

Sign/resign:

Carlos Beltran (3 yr/ 37 million)

Reed Johnson (1 yr/3 million)

Frank Francisco (2 yr/ 12 million)

Matt Capps (2 yr/ 12 million)

Joel Zumaya (1 yr/ 1 million with appearances based incentives, deal could reach 3 million. Includes club option for 2012/3 million with incentives as well.)

Trade:

Josh Reddick, Kyle Weiland, Stolmy Pimentel and Jose Iglesias to Atlanta for Brandon Beachy Continue reading »

By Nick DiBattista

 

Sorry Jose, I'm not sold on you in that uniform

I already know that writing this article is going to bump heads with a few writers on the staff, and probably a majority of you readers—but I feel that it needs to be said.  Jose Iglesias IS a bust, and his value is only going to remain this high as long as he hides in AAA, so before he comes up to the majors and ruins his trade value, the Red Sox should look to trade him.  Right now, the holes are filling up one by one on the roster, so there won’t be a shortage of options the Sox could package Iglesias for.  The time to move Iglesias is now, where the team could use two starting pitchers, a few arms in relief, a steadier shortstop, infield depth (particularly at third base), an option at DH, some catching depth, and a corner outfielder.  Granted, players like Ryan Lavarnway can make their way to full time roles, splitting time in the catching/DH holes (provided the Sox do not resign Ortiz), but aside from Doubront, the minors will not offer much assistance with the pitching staff in 2012, and Iglesias plays a coveted position and is highly regarded by other clubs.  Read on if you want to know why I think Iglesias is so tradable.

Continue reading »

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