The Red Sox wrap up their spring training slate Wednesday night when they pay a visit to the Houston Astros.
Josh Beckett will get the start in his last tune-up of the spring.
Beckett, who is slated to start the team’s fourth game of the regular
season, is 0-4 with a 6.64 ERA in five Grapefruit League outings.
Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks and Dennys Reyes are all scheduled to follow Beckett out of the bullpen.
Boston closed down City of Palms Park on Tuesday in somewhat
non-dramatic fashion, tying Tampa Bay 1-1. That gives the Sox a 13-19-2
record this spring. They’ve lost as many as 20 spring training games
just three times since 1973.
Nelson Figueroa is on the mound for Houston. First pitch is 8:05 pm. (NESN)
Every year, there is one player that shows up for Spring Training with something to prove. They are typically more motivated, in better shape and more eager to get on the field. This year, it looks to be Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz has been near flawless thus far in spring training and he looks like he’s bringing it!
Last season, Buchholz went 17 and 7 for the Red Sox with a 2.33 ERA. That is
pretty good… VERY GOOD! With a little more offense, from the Red Sox, he probably would have ended up with 19 or 20 wins.
If Buchholz improves on last year’s stats, it’s going to be hard to call any one pitcher an “ace” without some serious arguments! Between Beckett, Lackey, Buchholz and Lester, there is some serious competition for the Ace role. Also, Wakefield probably won’t go the entire season making starts, but he might make a couple. And don’t forget Daisuke… when he is healthy, he can be a real asset to the pitching rotation.
The Red Sox have compiled a very competitive pitching staff this year and with improvements in the bullpen, the Sox should have a pretty good defensive year!
The Red Sox avoided arbitration with closer Jonathan Papelbon and
center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, agreeing to one-year pacts with both
players on Tuesday.
The deals were finalized on the same day all clubs and arbitration-eligible players were due to exchange figures.
It didn’t come to that, as general manager Theo Epstein increased his
streak to nine years of never going to arbitration with a player.
A Major League source confirmed that Papelbon’s deal is worth $12
million and Ellsbury will make $2.4 million. CSNNE.com was first to
report the new agreements for Papelbon and Ellsbury.
This marks the third year in a row the Red Sox have signed Papelbon to a
one-year deal, and means that the righty will be eligible for free
agency for the first time in November. Papelbon earned $9.35 million
An All-Star in his first four seasons, Papelbon had a career-worst 3.90
ERA in 2010. He also had eight blown saves, another career lowlight. On
the plus side, he still saved 37 games and had an impressive
strikeout-per-nine-inning ratio of 10.21.
Boston has brought in some more pieces to support Papelbon in the bullpen for 2011, including Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler.
This was the first time Ellsbury was eligible for arbitration. So even
after playing in just 18 games last year because of left rib woes, he
got a substantial raise from the $496,500 he earned in 2010.
Ellsbury was a first-round Draft pick in 2005 and was promoted to the
Major Leagues for the stretch run in ’07. He helped fuel the club to a
World Series championship that season with a strong September and
October. Ellsbury emerged as Boston’s starting center fielder in 2008
and stole a club-record 70 bases in ’09.
The 27-year-old outfielder has played 349 games in the Majors, hitting .291 with 222 runs scored and 136 stolen bases.
Papelbon was also instrumental during the 2007 title run, performing
brilliantly in both the regular season and postseason. He has pitched in
333 games for the Red Sox, all but three of them in relief. The
30-year-old has a career 2.22 ERA and is 188-for-214 in save
I think it will be nice to see both of them in a Red Sox uniform for 2011. Papelbon and Ellsbury were both in the Red Sox system and those are the kind of guys you want to keep. They are both fan favorites and have earned their keep on the Red Sox roster.
Hideki Okajima will remain a member of the Boston Red Sox! (For at least 1 more year). The Red Sox re-signed Okajima to a 1 year deal worth 1.75 Million. Okajima’s record of 16-8 and 6 saves (3.06 ERA) in 254 relief appearances in four years with the Red Sox was appreciated by all the fans.
Okajima started out as a very popular player and quickly earned a reputation as a serious pitcher in the Red Sox organization.
Personally, I am glad to see that Okajima has another chance with the Red Sox. He has the potential to earn a well deserved spot after this year… uncertain of the re-signing of free agent, Jonathan Papelbon.
A lot of questions have been answered for 2011, but it seems like there are a lot of questions for 2012. Theo Epstein has a method behind his madness, he always does.