Tigers' signing of Martinez provides best haul for Red Sox


Tigers' signing of Martinez provides best haul for Red Sox

By Sean McAdam

If the Red Sox had to lose free agent Victor Martinez to another team, they got the best possible result they could have hoped for when Martinez signed a four-year, 50 million deal with the Detroit Tigers Tuesday.

Here's why: The Tigers, by virtue of their record in 2010, had MLB's first "unprotected pick" in the 2011 draft. That pick now goes to the Red Sox as compensation, and gives the Sox one of the top 20 selections . . . compared to the late-50s pick they'd have received had Martinez signed with a team with one of the top 15 choices.

As part of the current rules, MLB ordinarily "protects" the first 15 picks in the first round. That's meant to ensure that teams with poor records the previous year keep their first-round pick even if they sign a Type A free agent -- as Martinez was classified. If teams with protected picks sign a Type A free agent, they surrender their second-round pick rather than their first-rounder.

The draft order is determined in reverse of the previous year's standings, meaning the Tigers, who finished with a 81-81 record, were determined, after tiebreakers, to have the 16th pick. But rules dictate that teams that failed to sign their 2010 first-round picks (Arizona, San Diego and Milwaukee) are given make-up picks in essentially the same slot as the previous year. Thus, the Tigers were pushed back from 16 to 19.

Interestingly, Detroit went into the last day with an 80-81 record. Some executives believe that, mindful of their place in the drafting order, the Tigers were intent on losing the final, otherwise insignificant game of the regular season against the Baltimore Orioles. Rather than use one of their regular starting pitchers, they cobbled the game together with five relievers.

But it didn't work. The Tigers overcame an early 2-0 deficit to win 4-2.

The win proved costly. Had they lost, the Tigers would have finished 80-82 and nudged the Oakland A's out of the final slot in the "protected pick" list.

Under that scenario, the Tigers would have forfeited their second-round pick. So instead of getting the No. 19 pick (along with a sandwich-round pick), the Red Sox would have gotten a pick somewhere in the late 50s as compensation for Martinez. (There are 33 picks in the first round -- 30 teams, plus three make-up picks -- the entire sandwich round, which will be determined by the number of teams losing free agents, and 15 more picks into the second round.)

Thus, a costly victory for the Tigers resulted in the Red Sox A) improving their compensation pick by about 45 slots and B) getting the best possible pick available for Martinez.

Had Martinez signed with Baltimore or Seattle, two other teams in the running, the Sox also would have gotten only a sandwich and a second-rounder since the Orioles and Mariners have "protected" first-round picks.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. 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.