Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cubs Breaking The Bank To Land Jon Lester

The next time someone tries to tell you there's no bad blood between Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino, have them re-visit this year's Jon Lester Sweepstakes. Multiple reports suggest that the Cubs have blown past the Red Sox—offering a six-year, $135 million contract. For the cipher-impaired, that works out to $22.5 million per year—compared with Boston's $20 million a year offer. Worse yet, some reports have the Cubs going "north" of $135 million. And the Giants—recently burnt by the Red Sox in The Panda Chase—may go as high as $25 million per year for Lester. Hello, Cole Hamels!

Jon Lester's Value Is Soaring In FA Marketplace

While the Red Sox have reportedly offered Jon Lester a six-year $120 million contract ($20 million per year), industry sources peg his real value at $25 million per year. According to Bruce Levine of Chicago's WSCR Radio, the average annual value of a potential Lester contract is viewed in that stratospheric range—suggesting the Red Sox might be out of luck. The only pitchers to have averaged $25 million are Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw.

Farrell: Cespedes Could Play Either CF Or RF

(AP Photo)
What?!? It's probably just a feint—but Red Sox manager John Farrell stated today that Yoenis Cespedes is willing to play either center field or right field. This puzzling bit of news came on the heels of the The Panda's introductory press conference. With Hanley Ramirez penciled in for left field, everyone was assuming that—with a likely Cespedes trade for pitching—Rusney Castillo would patrol center and one of about 68 potential players would man right. Not so fast, OutFieldLogJam Breath! Again, this is probably just a stall until Ben Cherington can "package" Cespedes in a deal with prospects for a front-line starter. Is it Spring Training yet?

Dice-K Set To Sign With Japan's Champ Hawks

(Kelly O'Connor Photo)
According to a report in The Japan Times, former Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is about to sign a deal with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks—the reigning Japan Series Champions. Dice-K pitched pretty well out of the Mets bullpen last year (3-3, 3.89), and is looking to re-ignite his starting career back in his home country. For Boston, he won 18 games in 2008—and captured a World Series ring in 2007. Matsuzaka had Tommy John surgery in 2011, but has never recovered his early effective form. Former Dice-K teammate Hideki Okajima was a member of last year's championship Hawks team.

Sandoval: 'Two-Part Deal—Me And The Panda'

The Red Sox held an introductory press conference this afternoon to announce the signing of Pablo Sandoval. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington praised Sandoval as the kind of competitive player the organization wants on the team. When asked about whether his Panda persona would translate from West Coast to East, Sandoval stated, "Ben didn't sign one guy. It was a two-part deal. Me and The Panda. I have a feeling fans are going to like The Panda." Honestly, it could be bigger here than it was by The Bay.

Red Sox Make Panda Deal Official, Will Be #48

The Red Sox made it official just before a 1PM news conference—stating they had signed Pablo Sandoval to a five-year contract. The release also noted that there is a team option in the contract for a sixth year. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated catcher Ryan Lavarnway for assignment. The Panda—sure to be a fan favorite at Fenway Park—will play third base and wear uniform number 48. Sandoval has a lifetime .304 average against right-handed pitching—and hit .317 against righties in 2014. It's expected that Sandoval will be introduced to the media at a 1PM press conference today.

REPORT: Red Sox Trade Expected By 2PM

Ben Cherington must have to be somewhere special on Thanksgiving. After a whirlwind Monday of double free-agents signings, there are reports out that the Red Sox will be engaged in a major trade by 2PM Eastern time today. Rumors are swirling about who their partner might be—but it's likely to come down to starting pitching targets from three teams (Phillies, Nationals, Reds). The likely suspects from our end are Yoenis Cespedes, Christian Vazquez and Matt Barnes—although one of the teams (likely Philly) may hold out for including Mookie Betts in the package.

Poorly-Timed Red Sox Tweet Quickly Deleted

After having one of the most eventful days in franchise history—the two mega-free-agent signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval—the Red Sox understandably wanted to toot their own horn on TWITTER. So, a little after 9PM last night, the team tweeted out the following, "So, how was everyone's Monday?". Pretty innocuous, right? Well, unfortunately the tweet went out just after the announcement that no indictments would be brought in the Ferguson, Missouri case involving the death of Michael Brown. After an online uproar from numerous fans, the team quickly deleted the tweet.

Sox To Hold Press Conference At 1PM Eastern

The Red Sox will hold a press conference at Fenway Park this afternoon at 1PM Eastern time. Presumably, the event will be to introduce their two new acquisitions—Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Given the lack of political-correctness among the Boston sports media corp, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is sure to be asked when he will acquire starting pitching. You can watch the live stream of the press conference HERE.

Pablo Sandoval Deal Is Five Years, $95 Million

The first confirmation of specific terms for the Pablo Sandoval deal comes from CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. His report cites a five-year, $95 million contract—less than the numbers that were being floated about in the last several hours (closer to $100 million). Thus, The PandaPact—along with the four-year, $88 million signing of Hanley Ramirez represents a commitment by the NOG of $183 million. Perhaps more significantly, it represents an abandonment of the Yawkey Way prohibition on contracts longer than three years. For perspective, The Evil Ones signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million deal ($21.8 per year)—and Boston will be getting two players for about $30 million more over a shorter term.

'Pand-Ley' Mega-Deal Puts Sox Back On Map

(USATSI)
Say what you will about the NOG (and we certainly do whenever we get the chance), they were clearly embarrassed enough by 2014 to open their wallets for 2015. With the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval (let's call it "Pand-Ley" for short), they have re-made their line-up in one fell swoop. Now, the next (and some would argue more important) challenge is putting together a credible starting pitching corp. With a ridiculously crowded outfield (Shane Victorino, Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Daniel Nava, Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley, Jr.—and now Ramirez), and a bevy of young prospects, Boston should be able to put together a deal for an elite starter (Cole Hamels, Chris Sale, Johnny Cueto). In addition, a final free agent signing of either Jon Lester or James Shields would turn the last-place Sox into the favorites in the AL East. We're already paying the highest ticket prices in baseball—just do it!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sox-Panda Deal Confirmed Pending Physical

According to The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea, the free-agent deal between the Red Sox and Pablo Sandoval is confirmed—pending a physical. No specific word on the exact terms of the contract agreement is—as yet—available. Shea also states that the new deal will be "announced shortly". Perhaps as satisfying as the signing itself is the early reaction from the sports media in Baghdad-by-the-Hudson. For example, the formerly influential New York Times is whining about how the Red Sox are clearly gearing up for another title run. Stay tuned for further details on the Panda deal.

REPORT: Red Sox And Lester 'Close' to Deal

According to MLB Insider Jake Wesley, the Red Sox and free-agent lefty Jon Lester are "close" to a deal in the range of $120-$140 million. At this point, there is no specific word on the duration of the proposed contract. Boston is also reportedly in "serious" trade talks with the Philadelphia Phillies for another left-handed starter—Cole Hamels. Stay tuned!!!!

Red Sox In 'Serious' Trade Talks For Hamels

(USAToday Sports)
According to USAToday's Bob Nightengale, the Red Sox are in "serious talks" with the Philadelphia Phillies regarding a trade for ace lefty starter Cole Hamels. Clearly, after signing both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, Boston needs to fill the two open spots at the top of their pitching rotation. The Red Sox surplus of outfielders and bevy of young prospects could be just enough to pry Hamels away from The City Of Brotherly Love. And, a Hamles trade would not necessarily preclude Boston from still going after Jon Lester. Keep those seatbelts fastened!

Hanley To Play LF, Deal Is 4YRs And $88M

According to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox deal with Hanley Ramirez is for four years and $88 million—with a fifth year "vesting option" valued at an additional $22 million. Reports are also confirming that Ramirez will be the Red Sox left-fielder.

Would Hanley And Lester Re-Start PizzaGate?

Could the Red Sox follow-up on their dual-mega-signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval by signing Jon Lester? If so, it could potentially re-ignite the famed PizzaGate incident of 2010. Back then, Lester stated the following about his former teammate Ramirez, "I'd have a better chance of being struck by lightning than me and him getting a pizza together. You can take that for what it's worth. But there was no chance on God's green earth that I was getting a pizza with him." Pretty harsh words! Can these two co-exist in the same clubhouse again? Stay tuned!

Panda And Hanley Mega Signings By Red Sox

It appears that the Red Sox will sign two top free agents—as reports point to deals with both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Reportedly, the Panda deal is for five years and almost $100 million. The Ramirez deal is five years and $90 million. It's unclear where Ramirez would play—but left field is a likely landing spot. If both of these deals are consummated—and every indication is that they will be—it heightens the possibility of more deals to free up the outfield logjam. Boston could package Yoenis Cespedes and some prospects for a front line starter like Cole Hamels. Alternatively, the Red Sox could hold on to their kids and sign more free agents—like Jon Lester and/or James Shields. Stay tuned, sports fans!

Sox Will Sign Hanley Ramirez To 5-Year Deal

Multiple media reports indicate that the Red Sox will sign former farmhand Hanley Ramirez to a five year, $90 million contract. Reportedly, Ramirez is on his way to Boston this morning. Ramirez. 30, was traded to the Marlins in exchange for Josh Beckett. Presumably, Ramirez would play third base (which he has indicated would be fine with him). However, if Boston also signs Pablo Sandoval, Ramriez would likely move to left field.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is Evil Empire Lurking In Shadows On Lester?

According to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, there are six teams involved in the Jon Lester sweepstakes—and he warns us not to count out The Bronx Embalmers. Rosenthal states that while The Pinstriped Posers have denied interest, "the entire sport is bracing for them to snap to attention, as they always do". Of course, no outcome could be worse than The Evil Ones snaring Lester. Stay tuned.

Is Hanley Ramirez Headed Back To Red Sox?

He's been rumored as a legitimate alternative to Pablo Sandoval. However, until recently, Hanley Ramirez re-uniting with the Red Sox has seemed like a long-shot. This morning, two separate reports—albeit from non-traditional sources—state that Raimrez is on his way to Boston. It's important to state that no independent confirmation is available on these reports, but it may be that Ben Cherington is tiring of being used as a pawn by The Panda to fetch higher bids from the likes of San Diego.

Poll Switch: Majority Now Oppose Panda Push

In a stunning reversal of opinion, a solid majority of FenwayNation readers (57%) now oppose going beyond five years and $100 million to land The Kung Fu Panda. Reportedly, Boston has offered five years and $95 million to Pablo Sandoval—but they have been outbid by the San Diego Padres. Current sentiment is against the Red Sox furthering the bidding beyond the century mark. In our first reading, almost six in ten supported the idea of pushing the limits for Sandoval—now, not so much. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Padres Top Bid On Panda; But He's Leaning Sox

According to a report by The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea, the San Diego Padres are the top bidders for the services of free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval—higher than the offers made by the Giants and Red Sox. However, the word is that The Panda is leaning toward the Red Sox—who reportedly offered five years and $95 million. Expect the Sandoval camp to make a decision by Thanksgiving—or sooner. Stay tuned!

Red Sox Offer Panda 5 Yrs., $95M

Multiple reports suggest that the Red Sox offered Pablo Sandoval a five-year, $95 million contract on Friday. This exceeds the Giants offer of five years and $90 million. Only the Padres remain as an additional suitor—and it's highly unlikely they will surpass Boston's offer. Sandoval's agent did, however, meet with San Diego General Manager A.J. Preller on Friday in Miami. While there is no official confirmation as yet from Yawkey Way, it looks like PandaTime at Fenway could be at hand!