Red Sox look to focus on starting rotation


Red Sox look to focus on starting rotation

NASHVILLE -- With most of their outfield settled and most of the everyday lineup established, the Red Sox can now focus on finding an addition to their starting rotation.
But that could take a while.
Until two of the top free agent starters -- Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez -- sign, the market for starting pitchers isn't likely to be fully formed.
When Greinke and Sanchez decide -- the Sox aren't in the former at all, and only peripherally in on the latter -- it will determine what some of the lesser starters can command on the market.
"Could be,'' said Red Sox GM Ben Cherington when asked if he thought it might be a while. "We wondered if one of the guys went off (the board), it would speed up. We'll see. It seems like it may be moving a little bit.''
Among the names being considered by the Red Sox: Ryan Dempster; Brandon McCarthy; and Francisco Liriano.
Dempster, 36, who was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers last summer, is said to be looking for a three-year deal. To date, the offers he's received have not exceeded two years.
Further, according to a source, Dempster clearly prefers to pitch in the National League -- when he's pitched the vast majority of his career -- and also prefers to play for a team which has spring training in Arizona.
Those guidelines would seem to rule the Red Sox out of the running for Dempster.
McCarthy, who underwent brain surgery after being struck in the head by a line drive in early September, is fully recovered from his ordeal. But McCarthy has a long history of injuries and the Sox are said to be worried whether he can be counted on to provide 180 or more innings.
Finally, there's Liriano, who would give the Red Sox a third lefty starter to join Jon Lester and Felix Doubront. Liriano is likely to be among the more affordable starters on the market, in part because of his inconsistent performance since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2007.
Beyond the free agent market, the Sox continue to explore some potential trade opportunities for pitching.
Asked whether it was more likely the Sox find pitching help through free agency or the trade route, Cherington said: "I don't know. We're not close enough to anything to handicap it. We're definitely talking about both options.''
One trade partner would seem to be the Chicago White Sox, who are eager to shed some salary. Accordingly, righthander Gavin Floyd (9.5 million) is available and the White Sox have a need at catcher, which could lead to talk about Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
However, the White Sox are telling teams that if they moved Floyd, they would have to a get a more affordable starting pitcher back in return.

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years


Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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