July 2013

Peavy headed to Red Sox

The exhaustive search for a proven starting pitcher wound up a successful mission for the Red Sox as general manager Ben Cherington reeled in right-hander Jake Peavy from the White Sox in a three-team, seven-player deal late Tuesday night.

To pry Peavy away from the White Sox, the Red Sox also had to include the  Tigers. Jose Iglesias, who started at third base for Boston on Tuesday only to be removed in the ninth inning once the deal seemed probable, is headed to Detroit.

The trade was completed with a little time to spare before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline.

Trailing the Rays by a half-game in the American League East, Cherington hopes Peavy can aid the final push for Boston’s attempt at its first postseason berth since 2009.

“We’re really excited to bring Jake here,” said Cherington. “He’s obviously a proven Major League starter. He’s had a ton of success in his career. And I think if there’s one thing we wanted to do if we could pull it off is to add a starting pitcher. As we looked at the next two months, we’re in position to compete for a playoff spot and we just felt like adding a starting pitcher was probably the most important thing we could do to protect our chances to do that.”

Red Sox close to acquiring Peavy

The Red Sox are closing in on a deal for starting pitcher Jake Peavy, multiple sources have confirmed to MLB.com.

The deal has not been announced, but it likely will be once the Red Sox finish reviewing Peavy’s medical records. The non-waiver trade deadline is Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com was the first to report the Red Sox and White Sox had agreed to a deal. WEEI.com reported that the Tigers are also involved in the trade, and they could be getting Jose Iglesias from Boston.

Peavy would give the Red Sox another proven arm in the rotation at a time Clay Buchholz remains out with a right bursa sac strain.

Buchholz last pitched for the Red Sox on June 8, and he is like three to four weeks from being activated.

The 32-year-old Peavy is 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts. He has made two starts since returning from the disabled list. Peavy had been sidelined with broken ribs.

The Red Sox would also control his contractual rights for next season, when he would earn $14.5 million.

In 12 Major League seasons, Peavy is 128-97 with a 3.49 ERA. He won the National League Cy Young Award with the Padres in 2007, going 19-6 with a 2.54 ERA.

Peavy has been with the White Sox since 2009.

The first inkling that a deal could be in the works happened in the top of the ninth inning in Tuesday night’s game at Fenway Park, when Boston manager John Farrell inserted Brandon Snyder at third base in place of Iglesias.

“Just to get Snyder on the field,” said Farrell. “I recognize the deadline tomorrow, there’s probably a lot of speculation that’s going on in every city. But that was the move.”

Snyder had just started on Monday, so it’s not like he needed the work.

Iglesias has been playing mainly third base for the Red Sox, but he’s a superb defender at shortstop.

The Tigers could soon see their starting shortstop Jhonny Peralta get suspended as part of the Biogenesis case that could impact several teams during the pennant race.

Iglesias got off to a hot start for the Red Sox at the plate this season, but has cooled off of late. He went 0-for-3 on Tuesday and is hitting .330 with one homer and 19 RBIs.

The Sox signed Iglesias out of Cuba in 2009. He has always been highly touted for his glove, and this year has proved his bat also has some life in it.

Xander Bogaerts, the top position player in Boston’s farm system, is a shortstop, perhaps making it easier for the Red Sox to put Iglesias in a trade.

Pedroia’s new contract

Here are the terms of Dustin Pedroia’s new contract, through an industry source:

The contract is eight years, $110-million including the restructuring of Pedroia’s original contract for 2014.

The signing bonus is $1 million.

Here is the year-by-year

2014 — $12.5 million

2015 — $12.5 million

2016 — $13 million

2017 — $15 million

2018 — $16 million

2019 – $15 million

2020 — $13 million

2021 — $12 million

Some of the salary is deferred.

The deal contains trade protection, but not a full no trade.

There is a standard awards package.

Pedroia’s $100-million deal done pending physical

In a matter of days, the Red Sox will formally announce that they’ve reached a seven-year, $100-million contract with Dustin Pedroia.

While the financial security is nice, Pedroia made it clear that his motivation was to make sure he never plays a Major League game for any team besides the Red Sox.

“It’s not official or anything, but this is my home.” Pedroia said. “I love being here, I love my teammates, love this city. If it becomes that, I’ll be pretty excited.”

“That’s really important. The Red Sox drafted me. A lot of teams passed on me because of my size and stuff like that. It’s pretty important. That’s why I want to make sure I work as hard as I can to make sure that they made the right choice in drafting me and me being here my whole career.

The deal will be complete once Pedroia passes his physical, which is expected to be on Wednesday.

That being said, Pedroia admitted how exciting the likelihood is that he will be with the Red Sox through at least 2021.

Pedroia, 29, is in the fourth year of a six-year deal that included an $11 million team option for ’15. Instead of an option year, that will now mark the starting point of his new deal, which was first reported by WEEI.com and subsequently confirmed by MLB.com.

“I just want to make sure I’m playing my last game here. That’s important,” Pedroia said. “It’s the only thing I know. I love putting on the Red Sox uniform everyday. Every game is important to me and my teammates. It’s pretty special.”

In this day and age, it is rare for star players – or any players for that matter – to spend an entire career with one team. But Pedroia and the Red Sox have always had a unique relationship.

Pedroia loves all that entails with playing baseball in Boston, and the Red Sox fully appreciate a player who embodies everything they want their franchise to represent.

“As far as the contract, I know there’s conversations going on. I don’t know that anything is official yet,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “What Dustin means to this team is the example which he demonstrates every day, whether it’s his early work, the way he competes inside a game. He sets the tone for us. He embodies everything that we value as far as a player — the respect to the game that he has and the effort which he puts forth every night.”

Fresh off making his fourth All-Star appearance last week, Pedroia is hitting .308 with six home runs, 57 RBIs and 13 stolen bases while appearing in an American League-best 100 games.

His consistent production during his eight seasons with the Red Sox has included his winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in ’07 and AL MVP one year later. He led the AL in hits, runs scored and doubles in his MVP season and also led the league in runs scored in ’09.

Overall, Pedroia is a .303 lifetime hitter with 96 home runs, 466 RBIs and 115 stolen bases.

While there can sometimes be concern about a player letting down his guard after signing a long-term extension, it’s hard to fathom that ever being an issue with Pedroia.

“Not at all,” Pedroia said. “You guys have all seen me since I had a little bit more hair. I think I’ll play the same way I do for every game I play to the end. That’s about it.”

Perhaps the Red Sox will one day make Pedroia their captain, a role Jason Varitek filled from 2005 through his retirement after the ’11 season.

But titles have never meant much to Pedroia.

“It’s not going to change who I am or my role with the team. My job is still to go out there and to try to help us win a game every day. I try to do all I can to make that happen,” Pedroia said.

The importance of wearing the Boston uniform is something Pedroia can’t emphasize enough.

“Yeah, it’s really important to me. I’m a pretty loyal guy. I love being here,” Pedroia said. “I live and die by this team. It’s important to me to be here my whole time.”

Victorino finds Braun situation ‘unfortunate’

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino knew Ryan Braun from playing against him for many years in the National League. He also was his teammate in the World Baseball Classic.

When Braun successfully appealed his first suspension in the winter prior to the 2012 season, Victorino stood behind him. Now he wonders if that was a mistake.

Here was Victorino’s take after the Red Sox lost to the Rays on Monday night.

“It’s unfortunate for the game. But I don’t really want to touch upon what’s going on. Again, it’s a very unfortunate situation for the game of baseball. But again, for the most part, we as baseball players got to just keep going and understand things like this happen. It’s individuals that have to take care of the situation and understand the consequences that come with that when they do things like that. But again, I don’t sit here and I don’t worry about what’s going on here. I’ve got to worry about myself and worry about what the Red Sox are doing.

“As many people have commented, it’s a cloud for the game, especially when it’s one of the elite players in the game. People are going to say, ‘Well, that’s why he’s elite because he cheated.’ He’s still a good player no matter what. But again, it’s very unfortunate. I’ve known Brauny. I’ve known him personally. It’s a sad situation. First time it happened I put my support behind him. No looking back on it, it’s kind of like, well …

“But you support your guys that you play with, support the guys that you know. Again, it’s a situation there where it’s unfortunate. Knowing him from a personal standpoint, I don’t ever want to knock a guy down. But again, that’s his situation to handle. I’m not going to comment about what he is going through or the situation that’s happened. But again, he obviously got caught. He’ll face the consequences. But the game of baseball will still go on.

Does Victorino think the playing field will eventually be leveled if players keep getting disciplined for being associated with PEDs?

“I focus on myself. I worry about myself, what I’ve got to do. I worry about getting myself healthy, getting myself going out there and playing every day. I don’t care about what somebody else is doing. That’s their situation. Let them figure it out. I don’t sit here and worry about those kind of things. I just worry about myself, go out there and try to play the game at the highest level I can play, and that’s what I focus on.

“It’s in anything, in any field, not just athletes. If somebody was cheating in your job, you’d probably feel the same way. If they were succeeding and going and being considered the best at their job, not necessarily just baseball, it’s in any job, and I think that’s where it gets unfortunate. As people say, yeah, you want everybody to be on a level playing level, but hey, individuals make choices to do things like that. Again, I’m not going to sit here and comment about them. I think it’s great that the players’ association is … but again, they’ve still got to support us as athletes. They’re on our side. Obviously, they represent us as players. That’s what the union does. Again, it’s a very unfortunate situation.

“Speaking from a guy who I know personally and been on two WBC teams with and played against him all those years, again, it’s very unfortunate, but hey, he stood up for it today. He took the brunt of it, and I’m sure there’s more to come. But again, it’s a sad situation. I look at the game of baseball, and is there more? Who knows? People talk about there’s more to come, but I worry about what I’ve got to worry about and not worry about what’s being said.”

Buchholz gets clean bill of health from Andrews

Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz got just the piece of encouraging news he was looking for when he visited with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. on Monday.

There is nothing significantly wrong with Buchholz’s right shoulder or neck. The pain he feels when he tries to throw off the mound is normal considering the time he is missed.

Andrews had basically the same diagnosis as the Red Sox’s medical staff. Instead, he is just recovering from inflammation.

Now that Buchholz has heard that news from two different sources, he should have more self assurance in the final phases of his rehab.

“Most importantly, Clay comes back with a little more peace of mind, and he’ll continue on the throwing program that’s been already put in place,” said Red Sox manager Jon Farrell. “He’s coming off a good day of throwing yesterday — out to 100 feet with greater intensity. He’s traveling back here tonight, so he’ll be at the park tomorrow.”

Buchholz last pitched for the Red Sox on June 8, running his record to 9-0 in 12 starts.

Farrell estimated that Buchholz will need to throw three bullpen sessions and a simulated game in front of the Red Sox before he leaves for a Minor League rehab assignment.

“He’s got more of an understanding of what he’s experienced in the progression of the throwing that he’s done to date since being put on the DL,” Farrell said. “That assurance that the discomfort he’s feeling is not injury-related, it’s more about getting back into game shape, so I would think there would be more readiness on his part to push through that.”

Bailey could be done for season

The Red Sox emerged from the All-Star break with some worrisome news. Right-hander Andrew Bailey might be done for the season.

The reliever felt some discomfort in his shoulder following his appearance on July 12 in Oakland and was examined in Boston on Monday. A follow-up with Dr. David Altcheck on Tuesday confirmed what Bailey and the Red Sox feared.

“Both exams concur, there’s some damage,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I think Andrew is at the point now of just weighing all the information that he’s receiving to take the next step. There’s some damage to the labrum, there’s some damage to the capsule. So it’s fairly significant.”

Surgery is definitely an option Bailey is considering. Even if he took a more conservative approach and tried rest and rehab, there’s no guarantee he would pitch again in ’13.

“There’s still no guarantees with that,” said Farrell. “You’d be looking at a fairly prolonged rehab if that’s the path chosen.”

The Red Sox have already lost two pitchers for the season who were considered vital parts to the bullpen – right-hander Joel Hanrahan (Tommy John surgery) and lefty Andrew Miller (right foot surgery).

Bailey had spent time as Boston’s closer earlier this season before going into a slump. He had pitched much better of late and had been setting up for Koji Uehara.

In an effort to add as much depth to the organization as they can following the recent injuries, Boston signed veteran righties Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to Minor League deals on Friday. Both pitchers will report to Triple-A Pawtucket.

“We’ve had a tough 10 days to our bullpen, given the injuries we’ve sustained,” said Farrell. “I think our thoughts right now are with Andrew [Bailey] and what’s the best action for him and the commitment that he’ll have to make to the rehab, whether that’s through strictly rehab or following a surgery.”

 

Boras weighs in on Ellsbury

Though Jacoby Ellsbury is not at the All-Star Game, he is coming off a very solid first half, in which he hit .305 and stole 36 bases. Ellsbury remains a player to watch all season, considering this is his “walk year”.

Agent Scott Boras talked about Ellsbury’s season and future at Monday’s All-Star Media Day.

To Boras, it is simple. When Ellsbury is healthy, he produces.

“Health. Jacoby’s shoulder was really something that [impacted him last year]. Remember, Jacoby Ellsbury is a very durable player. He just has to make sure that people don’t run into him. The only time in his career he’s not been durable has been when someone ran into him, which has happened twice. And last year he came back early and played where his shoulder strength was not there. We’re starting to see that. I’m starting to see where this is starting to turn and he’s starting to drive the ball with authority in the gap, the opposite way, and that shoulder’s getting stronger as we go. And he’s always been a tremendously strong, elite athlete as far as running, quick twitch, first step in the outfield. He’s just a rare player. With each month of this season, his batting averages are going up, his numbers are there, his on-base percentage is really … Look, it’s no secret that the Red Sox are where they are. Jacoby’s had a big part of that.”

“When you get hurt, like last year, he didn’t have the shoulder strength. When he came into the season this year, when you’re a hitter and you see enough pitches, you grade off where you were, and then as the strength started coming, he’s now made the adjustment to understand more about that he does have that strength and now he’s certainly starting to let the ball get deeper and I can see more power and lift coming to him.
He understands the mental side of it, too, where his shoulder’s at. He’s now back to being healthy.

What about Ellsbury’s lack of power, compared to 2011?

“Whatever Jacoby does from the top of the lineup relative to home run power is not, that’s helpful but the main issue is that most players who are of Jacoby’s type, they don’t even know — it’s never there. They’re four, five home run guys. Jacoby, you know it’s there. There may be years where he hits 20 home runs. There may be another year that he hits 20. And there may be years when he hits 10. The reality of it is you’re going to pay him for the melding of his power, but what you’re really paying him for is the ability to score runs and the ability to get on base and the ability to provide up-the-middle defense. “

Boras laughs at the notion that the imminent arrival of Jackie Bradley Jr. will soon create an outfield log-jam and eliminate Ellsbury’s chances of staying.

“I’m sure in the Red Sox board room, Ben is sitting there going, ‘Wow, we just can’t have Jackie and Jacoby and Victorino in that outfield. They would be just too good defensively. It would provide too much production and speed. That would be such a horrible problem for us.'”

Boras is confident he will have productive discussions with Sox GM Ben Cherington once the season ends.

“Ben and I work together very well. He wants to focus on finishing the season and so do we,” Boras said.

Slumping Napoli out of lineup

Mike Napoli is not in Boston’s lineup tonight. Mike Carp is at first. This is becoming a big issue for the Red Sox when you consider how well Carp has been hitting in limited opportunities and the fact that Napoli’s bat has gone ice-cold since his grand slam homer at Yankee Stadium the night of June 1.

In his last 74 at-bats, Napoli is hitting .230 with one double, no homers and 10 RBIs.

In Napoli’s first 212 at-bats of the season, he hit .269 with nine homers, 44 RBIs and an .846 OPS.

The Red Sox need Napoli’s production from the right side, particularly because of the protection he can give David Ortiz in the lineup.

Napoli was out before today’s game taking extra batting practice. This is definitely a story to monitor in the coming weeks.

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