Sox have decisions on minor leaguers before Rule 5 draft

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Sox have decisions on minor leaguers before Rule 5 draft

After their disastrous 2012 season, the Red Sox find themselves uncharacteristically in rebuilding mode. The big league roster has many holes to fill, some of which could be through promotions from the minor leagues.

Last season, the Sox used a team-record 56 players. No other team used more than 54 players. It was the highest number of players used in a season in the American League since the 2004 Royals used 58.  The Sox also used 26 pitchers (including outfielder Darnell McDonald, who appeared in one game).

Perhaps the 2013 Sox bullpen could have used a 6-foot-6, 245-pound right-hander with a high-to-mid 90s fastball who had a 4.43 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and 14.0 strikeouts-per-nine innings with Double-A Portland this season. Then again, perhaps that pitcher needed more seasoning before he could be added to the 40-man roster. The Brewers didnt think so. Right-hander Michael Olmsted filed for free agency and was signed by the Brewers over the weekend.

Olmsted, 25, appeared in 47 games, spanning 59 13 innings, last season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, posting a combined record of 1-4 with 19 saves and a 1.52 ERA. He struck out 92 with just 15 walks. In 14 games with Portland, he was 1-2 with three saves. In 20 innings, he gave up five runs no earned runs. He struck out 31, with seven walks and 11 hits.

Seeing a promising young player leave the organization is a scenario that could repeat itself this offseason. Along with Olmsted, 13 other Red Sox minor leaguers have filed for free agency. Additionally, the Sox face the prospect of potentially losing several players in the Rule 5 draft in December.

With David Ortiz re-signing, the Sox currently have 38 players on the 40-man roster. With numerous holes to fill first base, shortstop, left field, right field, a starting pitcher roster spots will have to be used judiciously.  Recent acquisitions, right-handers David Carpenter, Rubby De La Rosa, and Sandy Rosario and outfielder Jerry Sands were all added to the 40-man. The Sox currently have 23 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders, five outfielders, and Ortiz as the designated hitter on the 40-man.

The 13 minor league free agents are free to talk to any team, including the Sox. There is a possibility any of them could return to the organization. There is also the possibility none of them will.

Players are eligible for the Rule 5 draft if they are not on the 40-man roster and were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years or were signed at 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years. Those players must be added to the 40-man roster by Nov. 20.  Some of the players who could be exposed to the draft if they are not added include pitchers Brock Huntzinger (currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League), Josh Fields and Steven Wright, catchers Dan Butler and Christian Vazquez (also currently in Arizona), infielder Michael Almanzar (in Arizona), and outfielders Alex Hassan and Jeremy Hazelbaker.

While it is possible, and likely, some of the players currently on the 40-man will be taken off, potentially freeing up space, it is not likely the Sox will be able to free up sufficient spots to keep all the players who could potentially leave.

Bruins assign Noel Acciari to Providence

Bruins assign Noel Acciari to Providence

After sitting out the last month with a lower body injury, Bruins fourth liner Noel Acciari has been assigned to Providence presumably to get up to speed after missing a considerable length of time. It also means that Acciari has likely been cleared medically to play after appearing in B's practice over the last few days after missing the last 14 games. 

The 24-year-old former Providence College standout has appeared in 12 games with the Bruins this season after breaking camp with the team, and recorded two assists for two points with four penalty minutes and a plus-one rating before suffering a lower body injury.

By all accounts Acciari was a good energy player on a surprisingly good fourth line to start the season, wasn’t afraid to throw around his body for impactful hits and was having plenty of success aggravating opponents into losing their cool and taking penalties. Fellow rookie forward Anton Blidh has stepped in and played a similar role on the fourth line over the last couple of games for the Black and Gold, so that gives the Bruins plenty of time to get Acciari back up to speed at the AHL level without their fourth line’s level of play dropping in the meantime.

The Acciari demotion to Providence does mean that the Bruins head into Washington with 12 forwards, so it should again be Blidh, Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes as the fourth line barring any last minute wrinkles from Claude Julien. 

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

The Patriots should always be motivated heading into games against the Ravens. After all, Baltimore might be the team’s primary rival. 

Yet Monday’s matchup might be about more than past meetings. It could be a revenge game for the Ravens’ role in the Deflategate fiasco. 

As Tom E. Curran notes in the above video, the then-recently eliminated Ravens set off the ordeal when they tipped off the Colts entering the 2014 AFC Championship game. From there, the year-and-a-half-long saga played itself out, ultimately resulting in Tom Brady accepting a four-game suspension from the league. 

Curran and Mike Giardi discussed whether Monday could be a revenge game, with them both concluding that they feel the Patriots are still “pissed off” at the Ravens. 

"I’m just reading the tea leaves,” Curran said. “Bill Belichick will usually throw bouquet after bouquet at the Baltimore Ravens any time they play, from Ozzie Newsome, to George Kokinis, to Eric DeCosta, to John Harbaugh, Dean Pees, everyone. Not a lot of that today. Make of that what you will; I don’t think it’s a coincidence because I do know that when the Patriots were going through the process early on, the fact that the Ravens had dropped a dime -- their assistant special teams coach Jerry Rosburg calling the Indianapolis Colts and saying, “Look there was some foolishness going on with the K balls.’

“Additionally, when that email from the Colts to the NFL was sent to Mike Kensil, it said, 'It’s well-known throughout the league that the Patriots screw with the balls after they’ve been checked by the officials.' So if that conversation was going on during the week between those two teams, one certainly has to surmise that they also spoke about the fact of deflating footballs. 

“So as much as John Harbaugh has tried to dissuade anyone from thinking there was involvement, Dean Pees was interviewed by Ted Wells, Jerry Rosburg was interviewed by Ted Wells. Those are the only two principals from other organizations who were involved, so yeah, I think they’re still probably pretty pissed off about it.”