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Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Unexpectedly Busy Day On Yawkey Way For The Red Sox In Mid-January

Believe me, the last thing I want to think about at the moment is the Red Sox. The Patriots are one win from another Super Bowl, the Celtics are playing much better (except for last night) lately and the Bruins are set to open their 2013 regular season on Saturday night. Still, I felt that I had to note three items of interest related to our favorite baseball team that came out today.

Outfielder Shane Victorino was named to Team USA for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Mike Napoli agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million (up to $13 million with incentives) and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $4.5 million.

Outside of the Pro Bowl and preseason NFL games, I'm not sure if there is a more useless sporting event in America these days than the WBC. Nobody watches it or cares, it's during spring training when attention is rightly on March Madness plus the NHL & NBA regular seasons. With that said, if I do find myself watching it for a second this time around, at least I'll have someone in particular to root for. Victorino is the only Red Sox on the team while local guys Tim Collins (Royals reliever from Worcester, MA) and Steve Cishek (Marlins reliever from Falmouth, MA) are also on manager Joe Torre's squad that features some MLB stars (Ryan Braun, David Wright, Mark Teixeira) but also a bunch of randoms (Willie Bloomquist, Glen Perkins).

Alfredo Aceves (Mexico) along with prospects Jose De La Torre (Puerto Rico) and Xavier Bogaerts (Holland) will also take part in the World Baseball Classic for their respective countries.

As for Napoli, I think we can all agree that while the wait (over 6 weeks) between him originally agreeing to a deal (3 years, $39 million) with the Red Sox and now was ridiculous, the end result was well worth it. Giving him that kind of money seemed crazy at the time and that was before we knew about his hip issues. With this contract, he can try to put together a good 2013 season and actually earn that type of money for the next few years. What a concept!

Signing Salty in this case was basically a formality but nothing has changed the fact that Boston has a logjam of catchers on its current roster: Saltalamacchia, David Ross, Napoli (at times) and Ryan Lavarnway. Ross will probably be the backup-that's why they signed him-so I'd expect Lavarnway to get sent back to Pawtucket or possibly traded. That will definitely be one of the key positions to focus on when boring old Spring Training starts in a month in Florida.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Patriots, Celtics and Bruins related programming.

UPDATE 1/18: Jacoby Ellsbury ($9 million), Andrew Bailey ($4.1 million), Joel Hanrahan ($7.04 million), Aceves ($2.65 million), Daniel Bard ($1.8625 million), Andrew Miller ($1.475 million) and Franklin Morales ($1.4875 million) all agreed to one-year deals today, avoiding arbitration. Craig Breslow is the only arbitration-eligible guy that didn't agree to terms yet for the Red Sox but apparently he and the club are only $50,000 apart on what they want.

UPDATE 1/19: Today, Breslow received a two-year deal worth $6.25 million from the Red Sox. The contract includes an option for 2015 and it could max out at $10.15 million.

UPDATE 1/22: Along with officially announcing Napoli's deal today, the Red Sox designated pitcher Chris Carpenter (aka Theo's compensation from the Cubs) for assignment.

UPDATE 1/24: Haha today to make people look away from Terry Francona's tell-all book, the Red Sox hired Pedro Martinez to be a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington. That's the same figurehead job handed to Jason Vartiek in September. Oh joy. Hey remember 2004, wasn't that fun?

UPDATE 1/25: With Ryan Kalish needing shoulder surgery, the Red Sox signed Ryan Sweeney to a minor league deal as insurance. You'll remember him as the dope that punched a dugout door last season and broke his hand, thus ending his first year in Boston.

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