Red Sox Reflections
- Updated: February 10, 2009
Here’s a few notes concerning recent Red Sox news…
Boston signed 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis to a a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year for around $41M (not including the 5th year option).
In order to make room on the 40 man roster for some of the moves they’ve made this off season, the Sox have traded pitcher David Pauley to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league pitcher Randor Bierd and then they sent relief pitcher David Aardsma to the Seattle Mariners for lefty Fabian Williamson.
In order to avoid arbitration, they also signed closer Jonathan Papelbon to a one-year contract for around $6.75M and lefty specialist Javier Lopez to a one-year contract as well for $1.35M.
They have also signed a few minor leaguers that they have invited to camp. They are free agent catcher Carlos Maldonado, who had been with the Pirates, free agent outfielder Chip Ambres, who had been with the Padres, and free agent shortstop Ivan Ochoa, who had been with the Giants.
They have also signed one of the most important free agents in the market in catcher and captain Jason Varitek to a one year, at $5 million, with an option for 2010 that Boston could activate at $5 million or Varitek could at $3 million. It’s not that Varitek is at the top of his game offensively, but he is a key component to the success of the pitching staff if you believe the words of the likes of Curt Schilling and others. Plus, if you read between the lines, Epstein hinted at the importance of signing Varitek during the whole off season up to the signing. After all, getting offense out of the catcher’s position is an added bonus that you jump at if you can get it, but the most important part of the job is how he handles himself behind the plate. Whether that be in his defense or how he can control/call a game. Something has to be said for Varitek holding the record for most “official” no hitters caught by a catcher (4: Lowe, Nomo,Buchholz and Lester ). And if you don’t believe that, I have heard that someone on the 2004 Yankees said that they think that the turning point in the series was when Varitek started to change how he had the Boston staff pitch to the Yankee batters after being down 3-0.
Concerning Big Papi and not having Manny bat behind him in 2009…
First, I think that a lot of Ortiz’s problems offensively last year had more to do with nagging injuries than declining performance from an aging player. I expect him to hit around .280 with an OBP of over .400 with 30+ HRs and over 100 RBIs. If you’re still concerned about him without Manny’s protection behind him, I ask you to remember when Manny “gave up” on the team towards the end of the year in 2006 when Ortiz hit 54 HRs (which he will never again reach). This year should see Bay and Youkilis hitting around Ortiz and that should be plenty of protection. What do you think?