8-16-2011: Sox have another successful draftee signing deadline

The Red Sox had a number of unsigned draftees the day of the signing deadline, but it was a general trend throughout baseball, as there were a rash of signings last night before midnight. The Sox signed seven more of their top picks, giving them success on nine of their top eleven selections. Only second round pick OF Williams Jerez and 8th rounder OF Senquez Golson did not sign from that group.

Theo Epstein managed to sign both first rounders and both first-round sandwich picks, who we profiled here. RHP Matt Barnes received a $1.5M bonus, while C Blake Swihart signed for $2.5M, LHP Henry Owens got $1.55M and OF Jackie Bradley got $1.1M. Pretty reasonable, since the Pirates had to shell out $13M on their top two picks. 3rd round C Jordan Weems had already signed last month, and 6th round LHP Miguel Pena signed shortly following the draft in June. Also signing with Boston yesterday were the following:

Read more of this post

6-8-2011: Red Sox 2011 draftees, part 1

With 4 of the top 40 picks, the Red Sox had quite draft the past two days. Here’s a look at the talent they selected. Now all they have to do is sign them!

Round 1, pick 19: Matt Barnes, 21 yo RHP, University of Connecticut (6-4, 203)

Barnes is as solid as pitching prospects come, with a high baseball IQ and throwing a low- to mid-90s fastball, a plus-curveball and a changeup. Throwing out of a 3/4 arm slot with minimal effort, his size and track record suggest he can be a very durable pitcher. He was seen by many as a top five pick at the beginning of the year. Can’t go wrong with choosing a New England name, even if he is a Yankee fan. Barnes also played for Team USA and in the Cape League. Here are his numbers from UConn:

Year W L ERA IP K/9 BB/9
2011 11 4 1.62 116.7 8.56 2.39
2010 8 3 3.92 82.7 8.17 2.72
2009 5 3 5.43 53.0 9.34 3.91

Multiple scouts mention that he’s got some refining to do with his delivery, so he’s probably going to need about two years of seasoning in the minors. Scouting director Amiel Sawdaye said that the Sox view him as a “middle of the rotation guy” with “three plus-pitches”. Given his age and the lack of openings on the Sox staff, we probably won’t see him before late 2013.

Round 1, pick 26: Blake Swihart, 19 yo C (S/R), Cleveland HS (6-1, 175)

Read more of this post

Link 5-23-2011: Picks for the June MLB 2011 draft

River Ave Blues has compiled the complete draft order here, and the always informative¬†MLB Trade Rumors has the rundown on the number of early picks by team. Our Red Sox have 5 of the first 90 picks (#19, #26, #36, #40 and #81), which is not bad for an offseason in which we added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the roster. That’s the fourth highest total in the early going, which should really help to replenish our farm system.

We’ve noted before that the Tampa Bay Rays are in a great position to reload, with an unbelievable 12 of the first 90 picks. That’s the reason they let their whole bullpen walk this past offseason right there. The second-most number of picks with 7 is another division rival, Toronto, and third-most is the Padres with 6. Seems like everyone in the AL East knows that in order to compete, you’ve got to stockpile those compensation picks wherever possible. Everyone except the Yankees and Orioles, that is, who have just two selections each in the top 90. The Yankees have some ability to make up for that, given that they will go overslot a lot in the later rounds, but the pickings are getting slimmer every year as teams spend more on the draft.

1-31-2011: Pedey’s foot in question, watching ST, prospect rankings, random factoids

Pedey’s foot

Dustin Pedroia set off alarms around Red Sox Nation this week when he said in a radio interview that “there have been some surprises” with his foot recovery this offseason. Things are not going as quickly as he thought, but it’s still pretty early. I think it mainly affects his conditioning at this point, but it’s not like he’s Pablo Sandoval here. Don’t panic unless he packs the crutches for Florida.

Spring Training TV Schedule

NESN released their spring schedule.

Prospect rankings

Read more of this post

1-14-2011: The Yankees and Soriano, 2011 draft picks, Sox offseason pays off

The Yankees signed a pretty good reliever in Rafael Soriano yesterday, but curiously, I’m fairly positive about it. I’m happy because his 3-year, $35M deal (with TWO opt-out clauses) smacks of desperation. It’s like they were trying to copy what we did with Bobby Jenks, but botched it badly. Nobody pays this much to a setup guy, but somehow Scott Boras made the Yankees just look foolish. Brian Cashman had to directly go back on his word to sign Soriano, and they gave up their first-rounder to Tampa Bay in order to do it. They also ensured that we would get Texas’ first-round pick for signing Adrian Beltre. The Yankees haven’t improved this offseason, and they have some heavy payroll commitments coming up. I’m not saying that Soriano won’t make them better. He’s a very good player when healthy. But they could end up flushing quite a bit of change down the toilet on this deal.

We’ve done pretty well on gathering draft picks while also improving as a team (getting younger and more athletic). Only Tampa Bay has acquired more early picks, but I’m of the opinion that they will take a pretty big step back this year, so they’ll need them.

The Red Sox offseason has already paid off, as far as upper management is concerned. They are selling tickets like crazy, and ESPN has picked up four of their early games on Sunday nights. They are relevant again. They also have some ticket voucher giveaways coming right up.

Hideki Okajima has resigned with Boston for one year on the team’s terms. I still think he could be mildly effective, though we probably won’t see any more low-2 ERAs from him anytime soon. I feel somewhat comfortable with him and Felix Doubront as lefty options out of the pen, though even the righties don’t have terrible splits against lefties.

Read more of this post

Links 12-27-2010: Lefty lineup, Jenks’ role, the bullpen, character guys, minors

It’s no coincidence that the Red Sox spent big money on two big left-handed bats the same offseason they decided to bring in those right-field fences about 10 feet. All the lefties in the lineup should benefit some as a result.

You have to like the Red Sox’ thinking on signing Bobby Jenks to a two-year contract. Yes, he is slated to be the setup guy for Jonathan Papelbon, but the incentive clauses in his contract make it pretty clear that he could take over the role should Papelbon be traded, falter, or leave via free agency next year. Very proactive. It’s just that you can’t talk about that stuff while Papelbon is still the team’s closer.

Read more of this post

Links 8-20-2010: Prospects post, playoffs slipping away, some bright spots, Papelbon

All told, the Red Sox spent a team record $10.66M on signing bonuses for this year’s draft class, guys who had not pitched a professional inning. It was a necessary infusion of talent into a farm system that has been drained of top prospects and had some of our best young guys get injured or tarnished this year. Considering we drafted well and signed all of our first 10 picks, evaluators have been picking the Sox draft as the best in our division this year.

Baseball America published their “best tools” series this week, and many Red Sox prospects got recognition, especially the superb defense currently at Double-A Portland.

Catching prospect Adalberto Ibarra did not pass his physical, so he renegotiated his contract with Boston to the tune of $700-800k. That’s a far cry from the $3M guaranteed deal that he originally agreed to. Sure, it saves money, but it must have been a significant issue for him to backtrack so much on the numbers.

Goodbye 2010?

Just when you think the Sox are ready to turn the corner, a day like yesterday happens. Dustin Pedroia is held out with foot pain, and Josh Beckett gets lit up by a so-so lineup in the Angels. Jarrod Saltalamacchia gets sent to the DL with a mystery leg infection. Add that up with no more Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron, and you’ve got a boring October looming.

Read more of this post

8-18-2010: So you’re saying there’s a chance, bullpen, outfield, draft signings, etc

This AL East race is just maddening. Every time the Sox look like they’re about to go on a run, they stumble, and every time they stumble, so does either New York or Tampa Bay. This is the season that just refuses to die.

The porous bullpen has been better of late, though it is still prone to blowups. It seems that Felix Doubront has surpassed Dustin Richardson on the depth chart, since Richardson was sent down to make room for Dustin Pedroia.

The outfield situation is beginning to look especially dire, given that Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron are out for the year. Yes, those would be our only real center field options for 2010. Add to that Eric Patterson going on the DL, and we’re looking at a whole lot of Ryan Kalish over the next two weeks. Hey, he’s been playing great for us, but any rookie who is pressed into duty will get exposed a bit… On a related note, Kevin Youkilis thinks he could play in October if we make it that far. Mike Lowell is filling in admirably at first base for now, and with Carlos Delgado on the shelf, we may not have many other options. The Diamondbacks’ Adam LaRoche just cleared waivers today, so there’s an off chance that we could try to bring him back if we get back in the race.

Read more of this post

Links 8-13-2010: Playoff hopes fading, Salty and Hall, draft deadline coming, Sickels reviews our farm

The Red Sox took two of three from the Blue Jays, which is okay, but we should have had game 3. If we let games like that slip away, I don’t see us getting back to the playoffs this year. The math is starting to get pretty tough for us, points out Rob Neyer.

It certainly won’t be any easier with Jonathan Papelbon lacking his previous dominance as a closer. It’s not just one game, but Pap is showing a gradual decline which started last year. He’s still a very good closer, but he’s rapidly losing elite status, and that’s bad with just one year of arbitration left.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was called up this week, and did just fine in his first start yesterday. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we let Victor Martinez walk this offseason, but there’s some hope yet for Salty to become something.

Seems like people only remember a couple of botched plays when they think of Bill Hall, but he’s had a pretty good season at the plate. Jeremy Greenhouse points out that, in at least one situation, you’d rather bat him than Prince Fielder.

Read more of this post

Links 8-11-2010: Lowell/Delgado/Saltalamacchia controversy, roster moves, looking ahead

Despite yet more heroics yesterday, the Red Sox have made it abundantly clear that they don’t trust Mike Lowell to play every day at first base. Jerry Remy also thinks Lowell will be somewhat limited. First they signed Carlos Delgado to a minor league deal, and now with Kevin Cash on the DL, they have called up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, probably to be the backup catcher/left-handed first baseman. It makes sense to employ a platoon at first base to try and replace some of the production lost with Kevin Youkilis, says Matt Klaassen. For his part, Lowell is confident that he can play regularly, and he doesn’t see himself being ousted by former teammate Delgado.

Hideki Okajima hit the DL with a hamstring issue, and Felix Doubront has gotten the call to the bullpen. Apart from the solo HR he allowed yesterday, Doubront has looked every bit the part of a strong Major League reliever.

Jeremy Hermida cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket this week. That really says something about how far his star has fallen; nobody wanted him for free (besides his remaining salary, which isn’t nothing). He’ll be called up on September 1 when the rosters expand, but he’s running out of time to convince the Red Sox he’s worth a roster spot.

August 17. Circle that date on your calendar, because that’s when The Laser Show (TM) comes back to town. That’s right, Dustin Pedroia has a due date.

The Red Sox signed 6th-round OF pick Kendrick Perkins for a $600k bonus this week. Perkins is super-athletic and has drawn comparisons to Carl Crawford.

Beyond the Box Score ranks catchers by overall value this year, and finds that Red Sox catchers are smack in the middle of the road, thanks primarily to Victor Martinez.

MLB Trade Rumors looks at teams who may pursue Adrian Beltre in the offseason. I think if the Red Sox can’t land him, it’ll be the Tigers or Angels.