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Storylines: Red Sox bolster offense, sign Sandoval and Ramirez

Storylines: Red Sox bolster offense, sign Sandoval and Ramirez
Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the New York Yankees on September 21, 2013. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
November 25, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.

Here are the stories from Monday, Nov. 24. 

Top Stories:

 

  • The Red Sox reached an agreement with Hanley Ramirez, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal added that it's a four-year, $88 million contract with a $22 million vesting option for a fifth season. Christopher Meola, who initially broke details of the Giancarlo Stanton signing, first reported Sunday morning that Ramirez would sign in Boston. Ramirez, who hit .283/.369/.448 with 13 homers for the Dodgers last season owns a .300/.373/.500 slash line for his career. Since the Sox signed a deal with Pablo Sandoval, Ramirez could be moved into a left field role, joining Boston's very crowded outfield mix of Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley, Mookie Betts and Daniel Nava. Cespedes' name has been mentioned in trade rumors, so he seems like the most probable candidate to be playing elsewhere in 2015, but the Sox seem very likely to move multiple outfielders this winter.
     
  • The Red Sox agreed to a deal with free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Gustavo Vasquez, Sandoval's agent, confirmed the deal that was first reported by Oscar Prieto Rojas. In an article by Mike Oz of Yahoo Sports, he stated that Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has been told that Sandoval and the club agreed to a deal worth five years and $100 million.The Giants offered five years and $95 million with "room to go up," a source told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sandoval's addition immediately addresses Boston's need for a third baseman in the wake of Will Middlebrooks' disappointing 2014 season, and the switch-hitting Sandoval also adds some balance to a predominantly right-handed hitting Red Sox batting order. While Sandoval never had much trouble hitting at AT&T Park (a career .853 OPS in San Francisco), it stands to reason that the move to hitter-friendly Fenway Park will only help his production.
     
  • The Mariners and third baseman Kyle Seager completed a seven-year, $100 million extension, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The contract contains an option for an eighth season which could be worth as much as $20 million, depending on performance escalators, Passan added. Seager's deal is pending a physical. Seager's payday is well-deserved, as the 27-year-old has emerged as one of baseball's best third basemen over the past three seasons. Seager has established himself as a durable source of power in an increasingly pitcher-friendly environment, and he's a solid defender at third base as well. This past season, he batted .268/.334/.454 with a career-high 25 homers and excellent defensive marks (+10 DRS, +9.2 UZR/150) at third. His offense has increased incrementally with each full season in the Majors, and he's never been placed on the disabled list.

 

News and Notes:

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox and Lester are still "very much engaged" and it does appear possible for the Sox to add Lester, Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.
     
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke to one person with knowledge of the Giants' thinking who believed the loss of Pablo Sandoval could put San Francisco in play for Jon Lester, and Rosenthal then confirmed with a source that the Giants have indeed shown interest in Lester.
     
  • The Red Sox and Cubs are interested in Cole Hamels, and both could "jump" at the chance to acquire him if they miss on Lester, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Boston has had the "most serious talks" with Philadelphia, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that the Phils are confident about striking a deal if Lester does not return to his former club. The Dodgers are also in on Hamels, according to a tweet from Nightengale. Los Angeles represents a potentially powerful new entrant to that market, of course, and could shake up the pursuit if it decides to commit significant resources to adding a third stellar lefty to its rotation.
     
  • If the Orioles can't re-sign Nick Markakis, the team's "fallback option" is to pursue free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko reported. Markakis and the O's looked like they were headed towards a reunion earlier this winter when the two sides were seemingly close to a four-year contract, though there hasn't since been much progress.
     
  • Josh Willingham will officially retire after an 11-year Major League career, the outfielder told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Willingham's decision comes despite receiving what he termed a "substantial" offer from a contending club this offseason, Crasnick wrote.

User Comments

Ryan
December 5, 2014 - 7:51 PM EST
The key is how much will the Red Sox want for Cespedes. Considering they passed up on all other offers in terms of prospects etc for Lester in order to get Cespedes I am guessing he will not come cheap. My guess is that they will trade the prospects for a pitcher that is on the verge of FA.
Ryan
December 5, 2014 - 7:48 PM EST
It is funny how people love to complain about the lack of FA signings shows how bad the FO is, rather then realizing that the team might be actually pretty good so signing these overpaid marginal players would be irresponsible for the Indians, and thus the FO who built the team that doesn't need to overspend on this marginal talent is doing a good job.
Ryan
December 5, 2014 - 7:41 PM EST
And...so the Indians got Bourn and Swisher two years ago. Signed Murphy last year. Exactly where is there a roster spot to spend money on LaRoche for years 35 and 36. The big-market Nationals were so wary of his bounceback year they didn't want to spend 3 million more than his AAV. And don't we already have a better and younger player at 1B already?
Tigers signed Victor Martinez for 4 years? They got a no-hit CFer? You mean like Holt? You realize that the first move is a bad move and the second move does nothing to help the team when you have a starter already making 12+ million in that spot? It is really so sad that this team gets dumped on because they are actually try to be financially prudent and have enough young talent they don't have to overspend for marginal talent to get necessary improvement at holes. This team is already pretty much set with players under contract for the 25 man roster. Complaining they are not overspending for marginal players who may marginally improve the talent already present on the team and eating to cost for the already-present talent is pretty sad.
Seth
November 25, 2014 - 12:31 PM EST
Cespedes won't be eligible for a qualifying offer because of the way his contract was structured.
James
November 25, 2014 - 12:15 PM EST
I'm torn on Cespedes just because I think he will be unhappy playing in a small market like Cleveland and he is the type to let that show through. Might be a clubhouse problem. On the other hand, it is a contract year, so he will be otherwise motivated to try hard. He has a sweet gun for an arm though.
Tony
November 25, 2014 - 12:00 PM EST
Cespedes is a perfect fit if you ask me. A right-handed bat with some pop, solid defensively in the outfield with obviously a big arm and only 1 year $10M left on his contract. The Indians can also get compensation for him next year by offering him the qualifying offer. Sure, he's a low on-base guy, but the other things all weigh in and help balance that out.....and besides he is not getting a huge deal.
John M
November 25, 2014 - 11:52 AM EST
Just to confirm, Tribe has won more games than the last two WS Champs over the two year span. And while they had some down years previously, the Indians are constructed to have a run of winning seasons comparative to the Giants recent seasons.
John M
November 25, 2014 - 11:50 AM EST
Looking at this list, isn't it curious how teams like the Red Sox and Giants bob from year to year in winning year/losing year fashion? The Indians have won more games than both, yet the Sox and Giants are the last two champs. Here are the total wins per team going back to 2009 (2014-2009):

BOS - 71, 97, 69, 90, 89, 95
SF - 88, 76, 94, 86, 92, 88

Boston has been kind of all over the place recently, but if you look at the Giants, it seems the key to winning their three titles in five years has not been to blow the competition away every season, but to have steady production that gets you to the dance. As we have heard so aften, anything can happen once you get to the playoffs, and no team makes post-season magic happen better than the Giants, who seem to win with smoke and mirrors quite often.

The Indians have a team to consistently finish in the 85-95 win range. And I'm pretty sure (if they play defense) nobody would be too excited about brushing with their staff come October in the near future.

Looks like a recipe for success to me.
shy
November 25, 2014 - 11:35 AM EST
I predicted Sandoval going to Boston last week, I did not predict Ramirez. What this means is with Ramirez in left, they have too many outfielders. Cespedes, Rusny, Bradley can all play the sh## out of center, but not at the same time. Francona and Farrell have to be having some kind of great minds think alike moment on this and it spills over to the front offices. Boston need pitching just like the Tribe needs an outfielder. I would LOVE to see Cespedes playin at the Jake!
Tony
November 25, 2014 - 11:19 AM EST
Spending in free agency is an awful way to judge what teams are setting themselves up for winning because free agency a lot of times sets teams up for failure. The core pieces to most any team are the pre-free agent players in their prime and also some of the solid second or third level free agents that slip through the cracks. Look at the Indians offseason two years ago as an example.....Swisher and Bourn and Myers and Reynolds were their big moves of the offseason......but the true impact came from minor league signings Ryan Raburn and Scott Kazmir along with trades for then complementary pieces Yan Gomes, Brian Shaw, Mike Aviles, Drew Stubbs....and then the emergence of some players in the system.
Matthew
November 25, 2014 - 10:56 AM EST
Rocky, my friend. I'm with you all the way. Couldn't agree more. Well said.
Rocky55
November 25, 2014 - 9:50 AM EST
Combined wins for the past two seasons:

1) Cardinals: 187

2) Dodgers: 186

3) A's:184

4) tigers: 183

5) Nats: 182

5) Pirates: 182

7) Orioles: 181

8) Tribe: 177

9) Angels: 176

9) Royals: 176

11) Braves: 175

12) Yankees: 169

13) Red Sox: 168

14) Giants: 164

15) Mariners: 158

16) Blue Jays: 157

17) Brewers: 156

18) Mets: 153

Damned Antonetti doesn't know what he's doing. I'm looking at the team as it stands, thinking that the Frankie Lindor & Gio Urshela show of defensive wizardry will soon be appearing, thinking that while some on the pitching staff may regress, others will surely improve, thinking that we have a nice core of good, young hitters, thinking that Chisenhall's bat has improved the longer he stays at each level, thinking that the farm system is stocked & that the people that run the draft & the player development system are doing a fine job, I'm having a hard time being cynical. Maybe I'm just an upbeat guy.

John M
November 25, 2014 - 9:16 AM EST
My understanding is that Brewer is a SP depth sign, which is exactly what the Indians needed to do for a couple of reasons. We've often heard this off season that the only way the Indians will improve the team is through trade. What is the most desirable commodity? Pitching. Picking up a starter even as marginal as Brewer allows some flexibility on that front if you need to move, say, a Salazar for a good position guy. But odds are, it's just a shrewd baseball move because it gives the Tribe organizational depth at starter that they sorely lacked.

Ike Davis is exactly the kind of move the Indians make, and Butler would have been attractive as a free agent they would sign. Because they took a chance on Bourn and Swisher a couple years back they have money locked into older guys already and won't make that kind of move until those two come off the books. So let's not get too excited over the "loser" Indians and their management team for not breaking the bank in free agency.

85-win team or not, this group is set up to win over the long haul (next five years) with locked in good, young talent in their prime and pitching staff under control that costs very little. Pitching is the easiest place to lose money, as one pitch can lead to a career-ending injury for an expensive pitcher.

As k big spender DET how Cabrera's contract is starting to look, Verlander too for that matter. How many World Series titles does that group have?
Walter
November 25, 2014 - 9:10 AM EST
The reason why the Red Sox went after Ramirez and Sandoval is there big time hot shot rookie talent that everybody craves over, let them down last year, with poor performances and a last place finish. Red Sox fans have no patience to see rookies develop into stars. They want them to be stars right out of the gate.
Examples Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Nomar Garcipapra, and Dustin Pedroia.

Now they will try trade the so call over valued talent for a pitching staff that they gutted at the trade deadline.
Mark
November 25, 2014 - 7:59 AM EST
Joseph, seriously? The RedSox got them; that means 29 other teams also did NOT get them! Also, look around baseball, the rumors were that only 3 teams (THREE!!!!) were even in on them. That should tell you something, especially when big spenders such as the Dodgers, Angels, and Yankees were not in on them.

Only one team can sign any given player. Look around; there have been relatively few players signed so far. The offseason is young, and the largest contract players are going to be the ones to sign first to set the market.

Also, in case you were unaware, the RedSox carry $150M+ payroll. Even if the Tribe packed the stadium, we probably couldn't afford that payroll (go look at what tickets go for to a Sox game, and are prices Clevelanders would never pay).

Stop showing your ignorance. Cleveland (along with 25 other teams in MLB) are not going to sign these type guys. In addition, to further make my point, look at Swisher and Bourn. Do you really want to pay another two guys already in their 30's around $200M??? We've seen how that works, and Panda has weight issues, and Ramirez has had serious injury issues (reason the big spending Dodgers are bringing him back).

This continued drum beating of yours is old, and just repitition of the same worn out "DOLANZ IS CHEEP" mantra. Its childish, and ridiculous. Take it to Cleveland.com, where that ilk of uninformed "fans" congregate. Leave the reworld, realistic discussions here for the rest of us, and want to look at things objectively.
Ron Vollmar
November 25, 2014 - 7:22 AM EST
When the Indians fine some local fans with big money to donate to the Indians, they might be able to compete with the big boys.

The idea that they have a very limited amount of money and being smart they watch this year's money and the future years.

Big Money Teams can make major mistakes and move on. Small market teams can't afford to make mistakes.

It is nice to wish for the moon, the sun and the stars.

Right now the Cleveland Indians look like an 85 win team.

If they get their two rookies on the roster in May and they are starting, the defense improves. The pitchers will be happy. This is the way of a small market team.

If the minor league teams do not provide talent on a yearly donation, the small market team is stuck.32j5
gregg
November 25, 2014 - 7:15 AM EST
The A's added Butler and Ike Davis. The Blue Jays added Martin.

It's not just the Red Sox.


.
gregg
November 25, 2014 - 7:12 AM EST
The White Sox got Laroche. The Tigers resigned Martinez and p/u a centerfielder Gose for a minor league prospect. It's not just the Red Sox.
Clay
November 25, 2014 - 6:10 AM EST
If you stopped to think about the moves the Red Sox made there's only a handful of teams in baseball capable of making those two moves.

And if you're getting upset about the Indians by comparing two major free agent signings to a simple depth move, then it's your own fault and should probably reevaluate some things.
Joseph
November 25, 2014 - 4:47 AM EST
So the Red Sox get Sandoval and Ramirez...and we get Charles Brewer...What a joke! Can someone tell me ...why is Antonetti employed by this team? He does nothing to improve it. All he does year after year is...find cheap relievers and utility players. And year after year our offense struggles to score runs. Dolan and Antonetti are a joke...and they have no intention of REALLY improving this team, not with guys like Charles Brewer. By the way; what are these relievers protecting?...We seldom have a lead.

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