Ortiz takes Sox up on arbitration offer after talks stall

560386.jpg

Ortiz takes Sox up on arbitration offer after talks stall

DALLAS -- With less than three hours to spare before a pending midnight deadline, David Ortiz officially informed the Red Sox Wednesday night that he was accepting their offer of salary arbitration, binding him to the Sox for at least the 2012 season.

A Red Sox source confirmed the news.

Earlier Wednesday, the Sox and Fernando Cuza, the slugger's agent, closed the gap somewhat on a two-year deal, but remained enough apart in their negotiations that arbitration loomed as the likeliest outcome to bring Ortiz back to the club for a 10th season.

A baseball source with knowledge of the discussions said the Red Sox upped their previous offer of two years, 18 million "slightly" but the two year deal still fell shy of the 20 million mark.

ESPNBoston was the first to report the Sox' initial offer of two years, 18 million on Tuesday.

The acceptance of the offer of arbitration doesn't mean that the two sides can't continue to negotiate. If they fail to reach agreement on a two-year deal, Ortiz could earn as much as 14 million for 2012 through the arbitration process.

Some reports have suggested that Ortiz could get as much as 17 million through arbiration, though an industry source dismissed that, noting that Ortiz is already, by a significant margin, the highest-paid DH in the game, and there would be little in the way of a comparable salary to send his price that high.

Now that Ortiz has accepted arbitration, the Sox may be less likely to continue to pursuing a two-year deal, since they must move on to filling other needs on the roster and must be mindful of the amount of money committed to 2013.

There is an accounting benefit to the club should a two-year deal be reached, since that would lower the average annual value (AAV) of Ortiz's contract. If, for instance, the two sides agreed to a two-year, 20 million deal, the Sox would be assessed an AAV of 10 million for 2012 and 2013.

That would represent a savings of as much as 4 million (compared to a 14 million arbitration awardsettlement) toward the team's payroll counting against the luxury tax.

A baseball source said Ortiz did have some interest from other American League clubs, but his strong preference was to return to the Red Sox -- even through arbitration -- rather than be guaranteed slightly more money for a second year from another club.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

red_sox_craig_kimbrel_052517.jpg

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.