Red Sox make formal offers to several relievers


Red Sox make formal offers to several relievers

By Sean McAdam

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Intent on improving a bullpen that was a season-long weakness last year, the Red Sox have made formal contract offers to "a number'' of free-agent relievers -- both left-handed and right-handed -- and some could result in deals soon, Theo Epstein said Tuesday night.

"We've had offers out on a few guys for a while now,'' said Epstein, "even before we got down here to the winter meetings. Those haven't gone anywhere, but we've made a few other offers to other pitchers here, as well.

"In some cases, we're getting close to a deal -- if we wanted it to be. Others, we're still far apart.''

Epstein wouldn't specify whether any the offers were of the multi-year variety.

"I'd rather not say,'' he said.

Thanks to the precedent-setting deal signed by Joaqin Benoit (three-years, 16.5 million by Detroit) a number of free-agent relievers have been demanding three-year contracts. It would seem highly unlikely that the Sox would go beyond two years to any set-up reliever.

Since becoming general manager, Epstein has only given one contact longer than two years to a reliever. That was to Keith Foulke, who was signed to a four-year deal after the 2003 season. reported that one of the offers has been made to Kevin Gregg, who pitched for Toronto last season and has closed for both the Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins.

Gregg throws hard, averaging more than a strikeout per inning over most of his career.

According to a source familiar with the club's thinking, there's some division of thought on Scott Downs. The left-handed Downs is a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration by the Blue Jays, meaning that signing him would require the Red Sox to surrender a first-round pick.

The Sox have gained an extra-first round pick in losing catcher Victor Martinez, and could stand to pick up another if Adrian Beltre signs with a team which had a winning record last year.

Additionally, the Sox gained a sandwich round pick for Martinez and could do the same with Beltre, giving them as many as 5 picks in the first 50 or so selections next draft.

It's known the Sox have also been interested in ageless lefty Arthur Rhodes, who last year became an All-Star for the first time at the age of 40 while pitching for the Cincinnati Reds.

Despite his age and high mileage -- Rhodes has pitched 19 years in the big leagues -- he comes without the price tag of compensation since the Reds did not offer him salary arbitration.

Last year, Rhodes compiled a 1.01 WIP. Over his last three seasons, all in the National League, Rhodes had a 2.39 ERA while allowing just 86 hits over 121 23 innings with 112 strikeouts.

The Sox are also known to have an interest in Matt Guerrier and Brian Fuentes, two of four members of the 2010 Minnesota Twins bullpen currently on the free agent market.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.