McAdam: Sox saving their money

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McAdam: Sox saving their money

Some 30 years ago, an oil filter company had a TV spot, the tag line to which was: "You can pay me now . . . or pay me later.''

If you put that choice to the Red Sox in 2012, they would opt for the latter.

Despite a report Tuesday which suggested that they were "closing in" on a short-term deal with free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda -- a report denied by multiple industry sources -- the Sox are not likely to spend much more on their payroll before the start of the regular season.

Look at the nature of their recent signings: Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook and Justin Germano. Each is a small move, with little in the way of guaranteed money on the major-league payroll.

With a rotation that boasts Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buccholz and, for the time being, Daniel Bard, the Red Sox think they already have four quality starters.

To find a fifth, they're willing to have a spring competition between a handful of in-house candidates (Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves) and some of the low-cost minor-league free agents added in the last 10 days (Silva, Cook, Germano).

If they're fortunate, one will emerge as the Red Sox' version of either Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia, two veterans who helped the New York Yankees last season when the Yanks were in a similar cost-conscious mode.

With some off-days in the mix, the Red Sox need to get 15 or so starts from a fifth starter by the All-Star break.

Should they spend their money now, the Sox will give themselves little flexibility to make any in-season moves.

As such, the Red Sox have posed this question: Is it more likely that A) we can find a suitable back-end starter now and not need help in July, or is it more likely we can B) cobble together some fifth-starter solution for the first half of the year then have some available resources should we need to re-assess and make a move at the deadline?

The answer, of course, is "B.''

If the All-Star break arrives and the team needs pitching reinforcements -- either because of injuries or performance issues or both -- the Sox will have some flexibility for the final two months of the season and beyond.

What's more, their chances of convincing ownership that the addition outlay of salary in July will be better then than it is now.

When you factor in upcoming salary increases through arbitration, the remainder of the 40-man roster and the cost of benefits, the Sox are already projected to be over the luxury tax threshold of 178 million.
Signing an expensive veteran such as Kuroda or Roy Oswalt now would send them well over that figure, with no guarantee that either pitcher would hold up physically.
If the Sox put some money aside, find some cheaper in-house solutions and remain in contention, they will give themselves additional options. Remember, taking on salary at the July 31 deadline means taking on almost exactly one-third of someone's yearly pay.

So, should, Silva, Miller and Cook get them through the first 3 12 months of the schedule, the Sox will have saved their financial bullets to allow them to make a bigger impact at the deadline.

Report: Red Sox acquire Chris Sale

Report: Red Sox acquire Chris Sale

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox -- who came away with the top starting pitcher (David Price) and top reliever (Craig Kimbrel) last offseason -- apparently have done it again.

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Sox have acquired White Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale for four prospects. Two have been identified (infielder Yoan Moncada and pitcher Michael Kopech) and two are as-yet unnamed:

More to come . . . 

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

BRIGHTON, Mass -- The Bruins lost Matt Beleskey for six weeks to a knee injury this week, and now they’re hoping to get another winger back now that 22-year-old Frank Vatrano has rejoined the Bruins at practice.

Vatrano was wearing a red no-contact jersey at Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, but his presence along with the other players at the team skate means that he’s moving closer toward a return to the B’s lineup. While initial timetables for his recovery from foot surgery had him in the early January range for returning to the Bruins lineup, it appears that he might be at least a couple of weeks ahead of that initial expectation.

Either way Vatrano is happy to be back on the ice with his teammates after the torn ligaments in his foot wiped out his training camp and the first two plus months of the regular season for him.

“It was a big step for me today. It was nice to be out there with the guys for the first time,” said Vatrano, who scored a combined 44 goals last season for Providence and Boston in a breakout season with the B’s organization. “I’ve gone through the rehab and done everything I need to do to get back playing, so now the next step is getting back on the ice with the guys. I felt great, so now it’s just waiting to hear the news when I start playing again.”

While Vatrano is still a young, relatively inexperienced player with just one full year of pro hockey under his belt, the sense from the Bruins is that he’s going to help a team that’s currently ranked 25th in the NHL in offense. Claude Julien was encouraged by seeing him out there in the red, no-contact jersey that his teammates were chirping him about, and said that his level play at last spring’s world championships should give him confidence when he jumps back into a big role with the Black and Gold.

“It’s a step in the right direction for Frank. That’s the best way for him to get to the pace of our game because it’s going to take a while when you’ve been out that long,” said Vatrano. “I think his experience at world championships last year is a real blessing in disguise because he gained a lot of confidence there. I think that’s going to help him a lot more than had he not gone.

“He played against a lot of elite players last year, and he fared really well. I think he’ll be coming in now with some confidence, and we just have to sure coming in that we give him every opportunity to succeed by using him properly, and giving him a chance to find his game.”

That certainly sounds like the Bruins are preparing for a top-6 role and maybe some power play time once the young, sharp-shooting Vatrano is back up to full speed. That should be fun to watch once he’s ready to play, and ready to again unleash that shot and release that rivals anybody else for tops on the Bruins roster.