Sox lose Minor League free agents, sign one


Sox lose Minor League free agents, sign one

According to Baseball America, the Red Sox have lost several of their minor league free agents, including a former first-round pick, while signing one.
The Sox added outfielder Mitch Maier earlier this month. Maier, 30, was a first-round (30th overall) pick of the Royals in 2003 out of the University of Toledo. He made his big league debut with the Royals in 2006. In parts of six seasons with the Royals, he appeared in 360 games, batting .248, with a .327 on-base percentage, and .344 slugging percentage, while playing all three outfield positions 209 games in center, 101 in right, and 38 in left. Maier, who bats left and throws right, also pitched in two games for the Royals, and appeared in one at first base.
Right-hander Billy Buckner, 27, has signed with the Angels organization. Buckner, a  second-round pick of the Royals out of the University of South Carolina in 2004, was in the Sox organization for one season. He made 27 combined starts for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2012, going 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA.
Right-hander Caleb Clay has signed with Washington. He was a first-round (supplemental, 44th overall) pick of the Sox in 2006 out of Cullman High in Alabama. In six seasons in the Sox organization, he appeared in 120 games, making 51 starts, posting a combined record of 15-28 with a 4.70 ERA and 13 saves. But Clay, who turns 25 in February, did not advance beyond Double-A.
Right-hander Michael Olmsted signed a major league contract with the Brewers and was added to their 40-man roster.  Olmsted, 25, was a ninth-round pick of the Mets in 2007 out of Cypress College in California. He had been in the Sox system for two seasons.  He split 2012 between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. In 47 total games he posted a record of 1-4 with a 1.52 ERA and 19 saves. In 14 games with Portland, spanning 20 innings, he did not allow an earned run, recording 31 strikeouts with seven walks.
Third baseman Marquez Smith signed with Cincinnati. He was an eighth-round pick of the Cubs in 2007 out of Clemson. Last season was his first in the Sox organization.  Smith, who turns 28 in March, appeared in 71 games for Portland, 55 at third, 13 at second, and serving as the designated hitter in three. Smith hit .293 with eight home runs, 37 RBI, a .358 on-base percentage, and .413 slugging percentage.
Infielder Nate Spears has signed with Cleveland. Spears, 27, was a fifth-round pick of the Orioles in 2003 out of Charlotte High School, in Florida, just north of Fort Myers. He had been in the Sox organization since 2010. He made his major league debut in 2011. In the last two seasons, he appeared in seven big league games, playing three games in left field, two at second base, and one at third. In four big league at-bats he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Former Sox manager and new Indians manager Terry Francona was always quick to praise Spears in their time together.
Also, right-hander Will Inman tweeted over the weekend that he has signed with the Rays. Inman, who turns 26 in February, had been with the Sox for just one season. In 33 appearances with Pawtucket, he posted a record of 1-3 with a 2.23 ERA and six saves. Inman was a third-round pick of the Brewers in 2005 out of Tunstall High in Danville, Virg.
The Sox have several other minor leaguers who became free agents after the season, including pitchers  Yeiper Castillo, Nelson Figueroa, Mike MacDonald, Tony Pena Jr.,  Jason Urquidez, and Leonel Vasquez; catcher Mike Rivera; first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez; and third baseman Andy LaRoche.

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all.