Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dunn Deal for SOX?

click here for full story
Adam Dunn in a Sox uniform -- why the hell not! he is a strong left handed batter with huge slugging stats over the years. he is an insurance policy IF Papi & Lowell break down. He also is a huge role player on a Championship calibre team. I say -- sign him. Adam comes cheap (in current baseball mad money) $6 - $7 million a year.
I feel this might be a puzzle piece the Sox might need in this summer when two of their middle hitters are still recovering from major injuries that hampered the Sox down the road to the World Series.
Sign away - Theo -- Sign away!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Back In Time - Happened on January 28!

Red Holtzman & Red Auerbach
New York Coach Red Holzman (pictured here with Red Auerbach) wins his 600th game, only the second coach at the time to reach that plateau, as the Knicks defeat Golden State, 107-103.


Roy Campanella

Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella is seriously injured in an auto accident in New York. He would never return to play again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The "Mayor" Retires

Friendly 1B Sean Casey Retires After 12 seasons
CINCINNATI — During his 12-year career, Sean Casey’s most endearing trait became his most enduring.

Fellow major leaguers dubbed him "The Mayor" because he seemed to know everyone he met. He chatted up runners at first base, making the game’s luminaries smile by respectfully calling them "Mr." before offering a compliment.

When he retired on Tuesday to move into broadcasting — a career that fits his gift for gab — the 34-year-old Casey remained proud of his reputation as baseball’s Mr. Congeniality.


The NEGATIVE FACE of baseball in 2009!

The Chief Jack Ass of Baseball - Scott "I am a greedy bastahd" Boros. This man makes the Grinch look like The Blessed Mother! It makes me sick that the young men who play a young boys game and get paid outrageous money to do so - trust this money monster!

Boros is demolishing any real love I have for the players. I have NO sympathy for them at all. they can sugar coat their lives and say they are making a contribution to the community and are real role models. NO they are not1 they are the reflection of their agents. Boros is the prime suspect in this disease that is going to eventually destroy our nation pastime.

The Red Sox Captain's disaster is a real example of how one man and his greed has thrust a team against a beloved player. More money - more years --- MORE! MORE! MORE!

In an era when people are rubbing pennies together to make nickles - these guys do not have a clue.

Boros should be banned from Fenway and every bastion of the love affair between towns and their teams. It is about time that the real fans of Red Sox Nation stand up and be counted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sox Anderson top 10 MLB Prospects according to SI!

Lars Anderson - 1B - Boston Red Sox
Baseball America once called this lefty the best power-hitting prospect in Boston's organization. He's batted .304 in two minor league seasons, and posted a .526 slugging percentage in a brief stint at Double A in 2008.

UMass Beacons Play in Winter Haven

The UMass Boston Beacons Baseball team will travel to Winter Haven FLA for a slate of games in march. Many Yawkey League -- McKay Club Beacons will play on the '09 UMass Roster.
Here is the early schedule for the harbor Campus ball club:

vs. Mcla
Lake Myrtle Field - Winter Haven, FL
9:00 a.m. ET

vs. Mcla
Lake Myrtle Field - Winter Haven, FL
12:00 p.m. ET
vs. Trinity (Conn.)
Lake Myrtle Field - Winter Haven, FL
10:30 a.m. ET

vs. Trinity (Conn.)
Lake Myrtle Field - Winter Haven, FL
1:30 p.m. ET
vs. Anderson
Chain Lakes Field - Winter Haven, FL
3:30 p.m. ET
vs. Endicott College
Chain Lakes Stadium - Winter Haven, FL
9:00 a.m. ET
vs. Hope College
Polk Community College - Winter Haven, FL
12:00 p.m. ET

vs. Hope College
Polk Community College - Winter Haven, FL
3:00 p.m. ET
vs. McDaniel College
Lake Myrtle Field - Winter Haven, FL
1:00 p.m. ET

vs. McDaniel College
Lake Myrtle Field - Winter Haven, FL
4:00 p.m. ET
vs. Fontbonne
The Boston Baseball Head will attend some of these games and scout present players and some prospects while on his Spring Training Baseball junket!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

VTeck Time to Make a Decision!!!!!

Formal offer to Varitek
Sox factor in his desire for 2d year
By Tony Massarotti
Globe Staff / January 25, 2009

Roughly three months after the end of their 2008 season and fewer than three weeks before the start of spring training, the Red Sox have made a formal proposal to catcher and captain Jason Varitek that could end a winterlong stalemate.

One way or the other.

According to a baseball source, the Sox have formally presented an offer to Varitek's agent, Scott Boras, that could appease the catcher's desire for a second guaranteed season. While the precise value or term of the proposal was unclear, the Sox could ensure Varitek a second year by guaranteeing it outright or making it attainable through an option.

In the latter scenario, Varitek could trigger the option through reachable incentives (like at-bats or games played), or the club could grant him a player option for the 2010 season. Another possibility would involve a dual option, first giving the Sox the choice of bringing back Varitek next season (at a higher number) and, subsequently, Varitek the right to return of his own volition (at a lower number than the team's option).

In 2006, former closer Keith Foulke had a contract with a dual option. The Sox declined to exercise their option ($7.5 million) before Foulke similarly declined his ($3.75 million) and opted for free agency.

Varitek earned $10 million last season in base salary and a prorated share of his signing bonus, an amount he almost certainly will not reach this offseason in a one-year deal. From the beginning of negotiations, multiple sources have indicat ed that Varitek has wanted at least a two-year deal, something that helps bring into focus many of the happenings over the last few months.

In December, for instance, Varitek and Boras rejected the Sox' offer of salary arbitration, a process that might have earned Varitek a $10 million-$12 million salary in 2009. According to sources, Boras and Varitek discussed accepting arbitration with the hope of then using the process to negotiate a two-year contract, but they decided against it for an assortment of reasons.

For starters, according to one source, Varitek was insistent upon getting a two-year commitment from the club without having to leverage the team via arbitration given his longstanding relationship with the club (he came here via trade in 1997). Second, there was some concern Varitek could end up with a nonguaranteed contract if the matter reached a hearing.

All arbitration awards are nonguaranteed, meaning a player could be released in spring training and end up with only a fraction of his potential salary.

It should be noted that during general manager Theo Epstein's six-plus years with the Sox, no player ever has gone to an arbitration hearing. In the case of Varitek specifically, it is highly likely the club and Boras would have negotiated a guaranteed settlement rather than go to a hearing given Varitek's history and status with the organization.

It also seems highly unlikely the Sox would release a player of Varitek's stature at any point during spring training because of the PR damage it could do.

The current offer to Varitek was made within the last 3-4 days, a source said, and it was unclear whether Varitek and Boras faced a deadline of any kind.

The Sox currently have a group of inexperienced or relatively unaccomplished catchers that includes Josh Bard, George Kottaras, Dusty Brown, and Mark Wagner. The club has been discussing trade options throughout the winter - most notably for Miguel Montero (Arizona) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Texas) - though those discussions are largely independent of the Varitek talks.

According to multiple sources, in fact, the Sox made it clear to Varitek and Boras immediately after the season that they foresaw at least a slightly reduced role for their captain, who will be 37 April 11. Varitek caught 131 games last year and has caught at least 125 games in eight of the last 10 seasons, the two exceptions in 2001 and 2006, when he suffered significant injuries.
In those same discussions, according to sources, the Sox indicated a willingness to begin the transition to a younger catcher and their desire to have Varitek serve as a mentor. That request is part of the reason Varitek is seeking a two-year deal, a source said, and was something Varitek stressed to owner John Henry during their meeting Jan. 16.

Tony Massarotti can be reached at

Friday, January 23, 2009

Patriots celebrate 50 years - From Fenway to Gillette

Patriots Unveil 50th Season Logo
New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots will be celebrating their 50th season in 2009 and are already preparing for another exciting year. Today, the team unveiled an anniversary logo that will be used throughout the year to brand all of the team's anniversary activities, publications and press announcements in 2009. The anniversary logo will be utilized throughout the year on the Patriots' many media platforms and will commemorate each of the season tickets issued in 2009.

The red, white and blue logo contains the text "New England Patriots" and "50 seasons." It features both the original "Pat Patriot" logo as well as the current "stylized minuteman" trademark that was introduced in 1993. The words "50 seasons" and the "Pat Patriot" logo are centered and rest atop the Patriots' current logo. Six stars in the design represent the six New England states.

On Nov. 16, 1959, the Boston Patriots became the eighth and final original AFL franchise. During the 1960s, the Patriots played home games at stadiums throughout Boston, including Boston University Field, Fenway Park, Harvard Stadium and B.C. Alumni Stadium. A year after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the franchise moved to the newly-constructed Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. and the team was renamed the New England Patriots.

The franchise enjoyed only moderate success in its first 34 seasons (1960-1993), appearing in one AFL title game in 1963 and one Super Bowl in 1985, both losses. In the last 15 seasons, coinciding with Robert Kraft's purchase of the team in 1994, the Patriots have claimed three Super Bowl victories, five conference titles and eight division championships. Their 173 victories in the last 15 years are the most in the NFL.

New England is currently in the midst of a remarkable run of sustained success as the only NFL team to have a winning record in each of the last eight seasons. The Patriots are one of just two teams in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span, and in 2007 became the only team in NFL history to complete a regular season with a 16-0 record. The team now plays its home games at state-of-the-art Gillette Stadium, a 68,756-seat facility that opened in 2002. Patriots fans are among the most loyal and passionate fans in the country, selling out each home game since 1994. In 2008, the team unveiled The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, a cutting-edge, 36,000-square-foot experience showcasing the tradition of the New England Patriots, providing a home for the team's hall of fame and exploring the history of football in New England.

The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon will host a number of alumni events that will allow fans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise with Patriots past and present. Fans will also have an opportunity to help the organization select a number of the most memorable moments and events in franchise history through a series of online voting initiatives that are planned in 2009.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Teck Talks Lag.....

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff January 22, 2009 12:38 PM

Representatives for the Red Sox and Jason Varitek are continuing to talk in the wake of the catcher's meeting with owner John Henry last week, but the sides appear no closer to a deal than they have been for weeks.

But the nearer we get to spring training, the more likely that will all change.

Though the Sox are not believed to have increased their offer to Varitek following the meeting between their captain and owner last week, the club is believed to have a proposal on the table for the catcher. Agent Scott Boras's negotiating history suggests that he would not accept any proposal until negotiations fully run their course, and the only deadline facing Varitek is the start of spring training.

Even then, Varitek could resist being in camp from the start, though that would go against some of his general principles and philosophies. In the past, Varitek has taken great pride in maximizing time with his pitchers during camp.

Red Sox pitchers and catchers are due to report to Fort Myers on Feb. 12. Physical exams are scheduled for Feb. 13 and the club's first organized workout is slated for Feb. 14.

According to one source familiar with the negotiations, Varitek has not given up hope of securing a two-year deal, though that outcome seems unlikely. The challenge for the team and player now comes in finding a deal that will satisfy all parties in the wake of the decision by Varitek and Boras to forgo salary arbitration, a process that likely would have earned the player a one-year deal worth $10 million-$12 million.

At the moment, with arbitration no longer an option, Varitek has little leverage and could be looking at a deal for a fraction of that amount.

Three Sox Prospects to watch this Spring

Dan Bard
Age: 23 Born: June 25, 1985 Charlotte, NC
Height: 6-4 Weight: 200 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st round, 2006; 20th round, 2003 by NYY
How Acquired: DraftCollege: North Carolina High School: Charlotte Christian (NC)
ETA: late 2009

Scouting Report: Live arm with a smooth delivery, although he needs to work on keeping a consistent release point. His fastball looks effortless, and consistently hits 97-98 with decent command but minimal movement. When he reaches back, he can apparently hit 101 mph on the gun. Two-seamer shows a bit more break and sits in the low-to-mid 90s. Secondary pitches are decent, but need a lot of refinement, including: (1) a high 80s cut fastball; (2) an 84 mph slider; and (3) a circle change with some downward movement. Previously Bard's breaking pitch was a high 70s slurve, but it was converted to a slider with more velocity in mid-2008. Needs some improvement on keeping all of his pitches down in the zone. Struggled through major control issues throughout the entire 2007 season, particularly with his slurve Has a strong frame and a mature demeanor, but has some confidence issues. Bard took well to a bullpen role in the Hawaii League in 2007, and was converted to a full time reliever in 2008. He changed his delivery by lowering his arm slot prior to the 2008 season, adding a little bit of life to his fastball.MLB Comparison: Kyle Farnsworth

Michale Bowden
Age: 22 Born: September 9, 1986 in Aurora, Ill
Height: 6-3 Weight: 220 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st round, 2005
How Acquired: Draft - High School: Waubonsie Valley HS (Ill)
ETA: mid-2009

Scouting Report: Bowden is a big righty starter with a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, presently projecting as a solid third starter at the major league level. He is an advanced pitcher for his age, but there's some room for improvement. He has an arsenal of three pitches that could be big-league caliber: a 90-93 mph four-seam fastball that tops out around 95 mph, a very good 12-6 hard breaking curve, and an excellent circle changeup with plus potential. His main pitch - the four-seamer - has a late, heavy sinking movement, and he generally keeps it down in the zone. Bowden can also work in a two-seamer that is a few mph off of his four-seamer, with a bit more movement. His deceptive changeup sits in the low 80s, about 10 mph off of his fastball, with action moving away from lefties. His mid-70s curve is pretty sharp and he keeps hitters at bay with it. However, he can telegraph his curve on occasion. Secondary stuff is really coming along in 2008. Overall, Bowden has an excellent command of the zone. One aspect that should come with more experience is improved pitchability against advanced hitters. His mechanics are somewhat unconventional in that his delivery is quite compact and he doesn't pull back with a lot of torque. Relies more on arm strength than leverage. But he's able to maintain consistent arm action throughout his outings, so the Sox haven't messed with it. Bowden is said to be a workaholic and just loves to pitch - another player who just lives and dies for baseball. Very athletic and competitive


Age: 21 Born: September 25, 1987 in Oakland, CA
Height: 6-4 Weight: 210 Bats: Left Throws: Left
Drafted: 18th round, 2006
How Acquired: Draft - High School: Jesuit (CA)
ETA: late 2009

Scouting Report: Large, powerful slugger with a great hitter's frame, excellent present power, and an elite power ceiling. Extremely smooth and fluid swing. Impeccable batting eye with very good patience at the plate, he actually could stand to be a little more aggressive. Hits especially well to the opposite field, but also can pull the ball on occasion. His swing is tailor-made for Fenway. Still strikes out a little bit too much, particularly against off-speed stuff from more advanced pitchers. Athletic for his size, plays a pretty good first base. Digs throws in the dirt well. Makes some nice diving plays, but still can look awkward at times. Mediocre range. Not a stolen base threat, his speed is about average for a big 1B. Takes instruction well and learns fast. Strong work ethic. Intelligent and confident. Likely would have been a supplemental first round pick in 2006 if not for high bonus demands. Anderson spent significant time in left field in high school (but has yet to play there professionally), so it's not out of the question that he could spend some time in the outfield in 2009 in case his path is blocked at 1B in the Red Sox system.
MLB Comparison:
Justin Morneau

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bull Pen Security!

Red Sox
A new deal
Closer Jonathan Papelbon agreed to a one-year, $6.25m contract with the Sox, avoiding arbitration.

Papelbon, Lopez sign one-year deals
Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff January 20, 2009 02:58 PM

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rice will always be HIS Hero!

Jim Rice rushed badly injured Johnny Keane to the ambulance after he was struck in the head and bloddied by a foul ball at a April 1 ,1983 game.

Jim Rice Forever His Hero

Fan still grateful for slugger’s quick-thinking aid 27 years later
By Dan DugganTuesday, January 20, 2009

Jim Rice evokes many different kinds of memories.

One generation of Red Sox [team stats] fans remember the 382 career home runs and the MVP season in 1978. A younger sect of Sox followers may know him primarily as a NESN studio analyst. Most recently, Rice became a Hall of Famer, after he secured 76.4 percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s votes last week.

But even given all of these roles, the 55-year-old has found one moment that has resonated as much as any home run he ever smashed over the Green Monster.

On Aug. 7, 1982, four-year-old Jonathan Keane of Greenland, N.H., was sitting with his father, Tom, in the second row along the first base line at Fenway Park [map] when he was struck in the left temple by a foul ball of the bat of Red Sox first baseman Dave Stapleton. Rice sprung from the dugout, lifted the bloodied boy into his arms and raced him through the clubhouse to an ambulance.

“There’s a big reaction from that,” Rice said. “People always say, ‘What happened to the kid?’ ”
The “kid” is now 31 and living in Raleigh, N.C., where he works for an Internet company. While Keane suffered a fractured skull and was hospitalized for five days, he had no lasting effects from the incident. For that, he thanks Rice’s quick reaction.

“What he did saved my life,” Keane said. “In those types of situations, most people freeze. He was really quick to react. That’s heroic in my eyes.”

Rice downplays his response as something he’d like to think others would do if his children were in the same situation.

“I had two kids at the time. It was just a reaction,” Rice said. “It wasn’t anything where you could sit there and plan or anything like that. I knew doctors were in the ballpark. Why not pick the kid up and bring him in the clubhouse where he could have medical attention?”

Rice is reminded of the moment every time he’s at Fenway.

“That picture is in a collage upstairs (in Fenway Park). When I go upstairs, I see that picture,” Rice said. “When I come to Fenway Park, every time I look at the park . . . that’s the thing I think about the most.”

Keane was too young to have vivid memories of the day, but a small scar on his forehead serves as a reminder of his injuries and how Rice responded. With that in mind, the Keane family was thrilled to see Rice finally get voted into the Hall.

“I think it’s about time,” Keane said. “My whole family was hoping he would get in every year and we never knew if it would happen. We’re really happy that it did.”

Rice fondly recalled a letter Keane sent eight years ago after he graduated from North Carolina State, but aside from that the two haven’t had much contact. But that one moment 27 years ago was all Keane needed to form his opinion of Rice.

“I think what he did speaks volumes about his character,” Keane said. “He really did save my life. There’s no question about it.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Day In Baseball History......

After an 80-day departure, Theo Epstein (pictured here at the 2007 "Hot Stove, Cool Music" festival in Boston) returns to the Red Sox in a yet-to-be named capacity. The youngest general manager in baseball history, who assembled a World Champion team in 2004, had left Boston on Halloween Day, saying the position was not "the right fit."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Supah Fans on Baseball Show

Stu Sklaver, SUPAH FANS Founder - Kev Krueger and The Boston Baseball Head - Dave McKay are pictured here. Kevin is a Yawkey League All Star who played for T's Pub of Brighton and the Brighton Lincoln Sox. He grew his love of baseball into a very successful outer wear business. Kevin was an interesting guest, who brought many samples of his products to display.

The VOICE OF RED SOX NATION on Baseball Heads Show

Cuz Stu Sklaver, Carl Beane and Dave McKay on the Boston Baseball Heads Show.
Comcast Crew surround Carl Beane the Voice of Red Sox Nation.

Stu Sklaver, Carl Beane - The Voice of the Red Sox, Arlen Showstack, Fran Morello and Dave McKay at Comcast Studios on Sherman Street in Cambridge. the taping of the February Show was a thrill for staff and crew. Carl was amiable and informative. His presence was a land mark for the Community Access Show. A class act and a great interview will be seen the first two weeks of February on CH 12 in Boston & Brookline on Comcast.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tom to Wed!

Well, it's official. Tom Brady and Gisele are finally engaged. After rumors flew (and were denied) that the Patriots quarterback proposed to the super model before Christmas, he actually popped the question last week. It's amazing. Even when he's not playing, Brady finds a way to win this time of year.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jim Rice IN The Hall of Fame!

Red Sox legend Jim Rice (above, at a press conference at Fenway Park this afternoon) was elected today to the Hall of Fame on his final time on the ballot. Rice gave Carl Yastrzemski credit for teaching him how to play Fenway's left field.

Rice through the years Massarotti: Wait over for Rice
Shaughnessy, Cafardo react Mazz on Rice

It is a done deal - Jim Rice was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame and will accompany Rickey Henderson into Cooperstown this July. It took 14 years for #14 to make it -- but who cares. he is there. Only one percent of the players who put on the uniform make it to the Hall and Rice is Happy - Red Sox Nation is Happy!

Congratulations to Jim Rice - #14 will be mounted on the Right Field facade after all!

Additional Jim Rice News:

Click on the UNDER LINED area and get additional news, pics and viseos on Rice election to HOF:

Save the best for last: In final shot, Rice makes Hall
In his 15th and final time on the ballot, Jim Rice's patience was rewarded as he was elected to the Hall of Fame along with Rickey Henderson on Monday. Full story > Hall calls Rice Rice reacts Highlights • Photos: Career Reaction
Photo: Jim Rice spent his entire career with the Red Sox. (Brita Meng Outzen/

Rice speaks about his election to the Hall of Fame
Rice talks to MLB Network after being elected into the Hall

Rice to the MLB Hall at 2PM today!

Jim Rice gets into the MLB Hall of Fame today. That is final. i have a very good feeling that the left fielder who dominated baseball in all MLB batting categories from 1975 to 1986 MUST be called to the Hall by the Baseball Writers of America in his last year of eligibility.

Rice was never loved by fans and writers enough to get to the hall before today. Listening to the crap I heard from many writers online and on national TV these last few days amazes me. There is a huge problem. many of the guys who have a vote -- NEVER saw Jim Ed play baseball.

That is wrong. That is unfair and stupid! Just as stupid as an 8-8 team getting a chance to play for the AFC Championship in the NFL next week. Rules are rules and the writers have the vote. BUT<>

I can just see Bob Ryan, Tony Maz and Sean McAdam stand up to the [plate as Rice did many years ago. Mush mouths all! Each "reluctantly" voted for Rice this time out. Assholes all - especially Ryan. A long-time idiot, who gets paid to speak his opinion about sports. most of the time his opinion stinks like a baby diaper! Maz is not far behind and McAdam is the only one of the 3 who speaks clearly.

Rice was squelched by many issues. he did not have the long time years that Yaz had and others. Years where they beefed up their stats and over all numbers. Rice fell flat at the end of his career. he also fell into a trap of being so quiet and sometimes surly to the press that he made enemies who stand until today.

Rice also jammed with Joe Morgan in front of 32,000 fans and on TV at Fenway. he was pinch hit for after going 6-43 twice by Morgan. Jim took offence to being dragged out of the batters box and grabbed Morgan and dragged him into the run way to the Club House and beat the day lights out of his manager. That antic stays in the mind of many who saw it as a signature negative in the rice Career.

Forget his not reaching 500 HR's. Forget the Morgan situation. Forget his lack of love for the media. All of these issues are erased by the fact that Jim Rice played 16 years for the same team and dominated baseball like no other player from 1975 to 1986!

There will be good news in the Rice House today at 2PM. Boston will see 14 added to the right field facade in April and we can root for our newest red Sox in Cooperstown!

Friday, January 9, 2009


John Smoltz -- John Andrew Smoltz

Bats Right, Throws Right Height 6' 3", Weight 210 lb.
Debut July 23, 1988 Born May 15, 1967 in Detroit, MI
Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft. Player signed September 22, 1985. (All Transactions)
About biographical information Minors.B-R: Minor League StatsBR Bullpen: Find or enter more info for this person (what's this?)Oracle: Find all of this player's teammates.

Rocco Baldelli
Boston Red Sox — No. 5

Born: September 25, 1981 (1981-09-25) (age 27) Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut -- March 31, 2003 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Career statistics(through 2008 season)
Batting average
Home runs
Runs batted in

Bradley Wayne Penny

Birth Date -May 24, 1978
Birth Place - Blackwell, OK
Weight: 260 lbs. Height: 6-4
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Experience - 8 years
Salary -- 2008: $9,250,000

Smoltz to Red Sox; Baldelli, Penny will join him
By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP)—John Smoltz and Brad Penny are on their way to the Red Sox. Rocco Baldelli was already in Boston, holding up his new jersey.

After missing out on Mark Teixeira, the biggest free-agent prize of the offseason, the Red Sox were poised to make a series of smaller deals that would essentially complete their roster. They announced Baldelli’s signing on Thursday night at the annual dinner of the Boston Baseball Writers Association, with more news expected soon.

“I think you’ll see us now turn to players who we can take chances on, players who represent potential impact players,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. “We still have some things going on.”

Epstein would not confirm the deals for Smoltz or Penny, but as he spoke Penny was on his way out of Boston after completing his physical. The two-time All-Star, a native Oklahoman, was off to watch the Sooners play in the Bowl Championship Series title game against Florida.

Smoltz, who spent his first 21 years with the Atlanta Braves, reached a preliminary agreement with the Red Sox on a $5.5 million, one-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. The person said Smoltz will have the chance to earn another $5 million in performance bonuses based largely on how much time he spends on the active roster.

For example, the pitcher would get $125,000 if he’s on the opening-day roster and $500,000 if he’s on the roster on the final day of the regular season.
The deal is contingent on Smoltz passing a physical, which was scheduled for Monday.

“I was going to withhold comment until the announcement of my signing with a new team,” Smoltz said in a statement issued through his agent, “but I now feel the need to clear up any misconceptions and inaccuracies about the contract negotiations between myself and the Atlanta Braves. There were large discrepancies between the offer from the Braves and offers from other teams.”
The Red Sox are also negotiating with Mark Kotsay to return as a backup first baseman and outfielder. They are also pursuing a catcher, while holding out the possibility that Jason Varitek could return or be replaced by a platoon that played at Triple-A last year.

The Red Sox agreed to pay Baldelli $500,000 for 2009, taking a chance on a player who spent most of last season on the disabled list for the AL champion Rays. The 27-year-old batted .263 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 28 games after being diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that causes chronic muscle fatigue.
Further tests, however, and a recent visit to the Cleveland Clinic led to what Baldelli called a “refined” diagnosis of channelopathy, a protein irregularity considered more treatable and less severe.

“The results were positive,” he said. “It was something I was definitely excited about for my personal health and for my career.

“I think once I get to spring training and get to my feet again, I’ll know a lot more,” said Baldelli, who received the Tony Conigliaro Award on Thursday for overcoming adversity with courage and determination. “I anticipate being able to do more than I did last year.”

A Rhode Island native who homered against Boston in the Rays’ Game 3 victory during the AL championship series and had a go-ahead single in the seventh game, Baldelli can earn $7 million in bonuses.

“I didn’t like him so much when that ball went over the Green Monster,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “If there are some risks, it seemed like it was kind of worth it from our side because he is so accountable as a player and as a person.”

Penny is 94-75 in nine years for the Florida Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, going 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA in ‘07 and finishing third in voting for the NL Cy Young Award. But he was 5-9 with a 5.88 ERA in 15 starts last year for the Dodgers before going on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis and bursitis.

His deal could be announced as early as Friday.

But Smoltz could be the biggest splash for a team that lost out in pursuit of Teixeira. The rival Yankees spent $423.5 million on contracts for Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett after missing the playoffs last season.

“They spent a lot of money,” said Francona, who joked near the end of the season that the Yankees would spend $1 billion in the offseason. “I was like half right. They spent a lot of money and they got a lot of good players and it doesn’t make our job easier. But we’ve gone toe-to-toe with them really well.

“Our division is a monster. We beat up on each other and we will continue to do that. And our job didn’t get easier but that doesn’t mean we can’t win.”

The only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves, Smoltz is coming off major shoulder surgery that sidelined him for most of last season, but feels healthy enough to pitch at least one more year.

Smoltz, 41, who prefers to finish his career as a starter, would join a rotation that already includes Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3), Jon Lester (16-6), Josh Beckett (12-10) and Penny. The Red Sox also have Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz for the rotation if Smoltz or Penny aren’t ready at the start of the season.

In this April 27, 2008 file ph… AP - Jan 8, 12:07 pm EST

A minor leaguer when he was acquired from Detroit in 1987 for Doyle Alexander, Smoltz was the cornerstone of Braves teams that won a record 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005, including a World Series championship in ‘95.

“I have always loved the city of Atlanta, and it will always be my home,” Smoltz said in his statement. “I will cherish my 21 years with (manager) Bobby Cox and all my Braves’ teammates. I continue to wish the Atlanta Braves nothing but success in the future.”

Braves general manager Frank Wren declined comment when reached by e-mail.
Smoltz won 24 games and the NL Cy Young Award in 1996, but elbow problems led him to shift to the bullpen to relieve the stress on his arm. He set an NL record with 55 saves in his first full season as a closer in 2002.

After three years finishing games, Smoltz went 47-26 in his second run as a starter. But shoulder pain cut short his 2008 season after only six appearances.

BOSTON, Massachusetts - Rocco Baldelli, who suffers from a rare disorder hastening muscle fatigue, signed a one-year Major League Baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

The 27-year-old outfielder was hit by a series of injuries until he was diagnosed with a condition that tires him quicker than normal.

Baldelli hit .263 with four home runs and 13 runs batted in over 28 games last season for Tampa Bay, but went 4-for-20 with two homers in the playoffs as the Rays reached the World Series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.

In five major league seasons all spent in Tampa Bay, Baldelli has a .281 average with 52 homers and 234 runs batted in over 447 games.

Baldelli figures to be a top reserve and pinch-hitter, filing the role left when Coco Crisp was traded to Kansas City.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

MLB & NHL Ring in 2009!

The Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks play out in the cold at Wrigley Field during the NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

Blackhawks netminder Cristobal Huet wears a Wrigley Field painted goalie mask for the Winter Classic.