Ortiz the big question as arbitration deadline nears

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Ortiz the big question as arbitration deadline nears

Midnight Wednesday is the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their own free agents. For the Red Sox, who have eight players eligible for free agency, that should be a pretty routine call.

Of the eight free agents -- David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Varitek, Dan Wheeler, J.D. Drew, Conor Jackson, Trever Miller and Tim Wakefield -- four are ranked free agents under the current system.

Papelbon and Ortiz are Type A free agents; Varitek and Wheeler are Type B free agents.

Papelbon, of course, has already signed a four-year, 50 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, so, after-the-fact, the Sox will offer Papelbon arbitration and get a first-round pick and sandwich pick as compensation.

Ortiz represents a more interesting call. If the Sox offer Ortiz arbitration and he accepts -- players must do so by Dec. 7 -- then the Sox run the risk of going to arbitration and having Ortiz awarded a salary somewhere between 13.5-15 million next season.

Still, though that would represent a modest raise from Ortiz's 12.5 million salary for 2011 and force the Sox to a pay huge number for a DH, it would limit the team's commitment to the 36-year-old to one season.

And, as former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was fond of saying: "There's no such thing as a bad, one-year contract."

The cases of Wheeler and Varitek are more problematic.

The Red Sox have already opted not to pick up a 3 million team option on Wheeler. Wheeler made 3 million in 2011, meaning offering him arbitration would virtually guarantee that he would get a raise for 2012.

If the Sox weren't willing to lock him in at 3 million -- though they indicated they were open to re-signing him at a lesser figure -- why would they tie themselves to the arbitration process where Wheeler would almost certainly get more?

With Varitek, who earned 2 million as the backup catcher last year, would seem to represent too great a risk for the Sox to offer aribtration. Even a modest raise to, say, 2.5 million, would be way more than the Sox would want to pay a reserve catcher, especially with the much younger (and infinitely less expensive) Ryan Lavarnway in line for the same role.

In the unlikely event both Wheeler and Varitek were offered salary arbitration by the Sox and then signed elsewhere, the Sox would receive sandwich picks for both.

Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

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Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

SAN JOSE, Calif. - David Bingham had his sixth shutout of the season and the San Jose Earthquakes tied New England 0-0 on Wednesday night, extending the Revolution's winless streak to five games.

Bingham, who was tied for second in MLS soccer with 12 shutouts last season, had three saves - including a stop on Diego Fagundez's shot in the 86th minute.

The Revolution haven't scored since a 3-1 victory over Chicago on Aug. 9, a stretch of more than 270 minutes.

New England (6-11-8) had beaten San Jose three straight times.

San Jose (7-7-10) has just one loss in its last seven matches. 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.