Thursday, December 16, 2010

News and Notes

Bullpen and catching edition.

-The Red Sox have been falling short in most of their attempts at big-name bullpen arms. Koji Uehara returned to Baltimore, Matt Guerrier went to the Dodgers, Jesse Crain looks like he's headed to the White Sox, and Pedro Feliciano might be a Yankee. Brian Fuentes is still out there and David Aardsma and Justin Masterson might be available via trade. Andrew Miller, Hideki Okajima, and Taylor Buchholz are all Red Sox non-tenders that could be brought back.

-Putting a bullpen together is difficult as relievers can be very inconsistent. Just look at Ramon Ramirez last year, who was great in 2009 but not good at all in 2010. So Boston should be taking a stance on not offering huge money for relievers. Nevertheless, they need to do something.

-The Red Sox did pick up a few potential bullpen arms, but no one of any real consequence. Jason Bergmann was recently picked up from Washington, but he only pitched eight games last year. Brandon Duckworth was signed, but he has not pitched in the Majors since 2008. The Red Sox signed a former Red Sox pitcher, Lenny DiNardo from the Athletics. He also has not pitched in the Majors since 2009.

-The Red Sox look to be close to signing Dan Wheeler and Matt Albers, who at least pitched last year. Wheeler has been pretty good for Tampa Bay the last few years, so this would be a decent pickup. They still need a decent left-hander though.

-As for catching, the Red Sox appear committed to going into the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek. Saltalamacchia is something of an unknown quantity, so fans are nervous about this catching situation. Russell Martin was pursued, but the Yankees ultimately got him because they promised him a starting catching role. I can't really see Boston putting up decent money for another option. It's time to see if Saltalamacchia is ready. He's spent enough time in the minor leagues.

EDIT: Two new pieces of news:
-The Red Sox sent Eric Patterson to the Padres to complete the Adrian Gonzalez trade. I liked Patterson, but he was expendable.

-Bobby Jenks may be headed to Boston to help the bullpen. This is a pretty decent signing. More when it becomes official.

-The Red Sox officially signed Matt Albers to a minor league contract.

-The Red Sox retained Andrew Miller, also to a minor league contract.

-They signed former first round pick of the Cubs, Ryan Harvey, who is making the transition from outfielder to relief pitcher.

So with all those changes, Boston may have its bullpen put together: Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and Tim Wakefield. Brandon Duckworth, Jason Bergmann, Robert Coello, Robert Manuel, Michael Bowden, Matt Albers, and Ryan Harvey will all be available in the minors.

-The Red Sox have also officially re-signed Rich Hill, a left-handed bullpen option, Randy Williams, and Clevelan Santeliz. Busy day, but barring a move for Brian Fuentes or Dan Wheeler, Boston appears to be done dealing with the bullpen.

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