Red Sox designate Cameron, call up Navarro


Red Sox designate Cameron, call up Navarro

By Sean McAdam Red Sox InsiderFollow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA - With slightly more than half a season remaining on his two-year deal, the Red Sox designated outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment on Wednesday.

Cameron, 38, has approximately 3.6 million remaining on the two-year, 15.5 million deal.

The Sox recalled Yamaico Navarro to take Cameron's spot on the roster.

Cameron was not in the lineup Wednesday despite the fact that the Sox were facing lefthander Cole Hamels. He arrived to the clubhouse later and met with both manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein.

Cameron was hitting just .149 with three homers and nine RBI in 33 games this seaosn.

"It's not a move we were looking to make necessarily,'' said GM Theo Epstein. "We were trying to strike the right balance, buying guys as much time as we could to let them get on track a little bit. Mike obviously has a great track record and even last year, when he
was hurt, he still raked left-handed pitching.

"The expectation coming into the year was that he would help us against lefties and it ended up being a tough adjustment for him to a role he wasn't that familiar with. We were trying to strike the balance between giving him enough time to get untracked and realizing that that's an area of the club where we might need to try something new.''

Epstein said the unavailability of third baseman Kevin Youkilis "forced our hand a little bit,'' since it left the Sox short on infield depth.

"We decided to go ahead and make the move now,'' said Epstein. "The timing was right. We want to thank Mike for all his hard work and battling through the tough injury he had last year. It wasn't easy. He played through a lot of pain last year and had a tough adjustment this year to a new role. I'm sorry it didn't work out. He's a great person.''

Epstein said the Red Sox "have been scratching their heads'' over Cameron's struggles at the plate this season.

"I'll take the hit on this one,'' said Epstien. "We try to be disciplined and look for players in their prime and sometimes you just can't do that. Mike was still a producitve player when we got him.''

Epstein traced Cameron's downfall to the abdominal-groin injury which first impacted the outfielder in the spring of 2010 and required surgery months later.

"Despite the great shape he keeps himself in,'' theorized Epstein, "(the age) made the recovery that much more difficult. He's a remarkable athlete and keeps himself in fantastic shape and worked his tail off on the rehab. There's a chance he goes somewhere else and snaps back into form and makes a huge difference for somebody.''

He added that Cameron was "used to being an everyday player. He's maybe going from 500 at-bats to 350 and then when he got off to a slow start, (his playing time) was reduced even more and it never came together for him.''

The Sox have 10 days to trade, release or assign Cameron's contract. Epstien said he had discussions with several teams in recent weeks, but surely his poor production and remaining salary made -- and will continue to make -- Cameron a tough sell.

As for Navarro, who spent part of September with the Sox last season, Epstein described him as having "a pretty potent bat against lefties. He's got a lot of bat speed, an aggressive hitter, can hit the ball out of the ballpark.''

Navarro can play short, second and third, and has been deployed some in the outfield this season at Pawtucket.

"He has limited experience out there (in the outfield),'' said Epstein. "He's done a nice job so far in a few games out in right field. In an ideal world, we'd have someone more experienced but he's a versatile guy and can hit lefthanded pitching and has a chance to help us.''

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

Need a reminder all prospects don’t hit? Happy anniversary, Andy Marte trade

Need a reminder all prospects don’t hit? Happy anniversary, Andy Marte trade

In a week that has seen the Red Sox trade arguably the best prospect in baseball, Thursday can serve as a reminder that not all prospects -- even the great ones -- end up hitting. 

Eleven years ago today, the Red Sox traded Edgar Renteria to the Braves, and in eating some of the veteran shortstop’s contract, got Atlanta to give them third baseman Andy Marte. 

Andy freaking Marte. Those stupid, stupid Braves.

If you were a baseball fan at the time, you were flummoxed at the notion that the Braves, who were a factory for developing good, young players, would trade the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball from 2005, according to Baseball America. At 22 years old, he was coming off seasons that saw him hit 23 homers in Double-A and 20 in Triple-A. 

“There’s nothing not to like about Andy Marte. He’s and outstanding defender with a chance to be an impact player offensively,” an opposing Double-A manager said of him, per Baseball America. 

Some of the other guys in the top 10 that year? Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez and Scott Kazmir. Sitting one spot behind Marte on the list? Hanley Ramirez. 

And when the Red Sox got Marte, he immediately shot up to No. 1 on the Baseball America’s list of Boston’s prospects. Look at the rest of this list. Hell, there’s a combined 10 All-Star nods between Nos. 2 and 3 alone, and that’s not to mention the American League MVP sitting at No. 5. 

So what did Marte do for the Red Sox? Well, he got them Coco Crisp. After Theo Epstein returned from his hiatus, he shipped Marte, the recently acquired Guillermo Mota (dude got traded three times in six months), Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named later and cash for Crisp, Josh Bard and David Riske. 

Crisp didn’t exactly rip it up in Boston, but Epstein’s (and then-Braves general manager John Schuerholz’) foresight to trade Marte proved wise. Marte spent six seasons in Cleveland, seemingly given every chance to break out, but never played more than 81 games. He was designated for assignment in 2009 and cleared waivers, allowing him to stay with the organization as a Triple-A player. The next season was his final one in Cleveland, and he left a six-season stint in with the organization having averaged just 50 games, three homers and 16 RBI at the Major League level. 

Marte would bounce around a bit in the Pittsburgh and Angels organizations, but he didn’t make it back up to the bigs until 2014 on a July 31 callup with the Diamondbacks. He’s now playing in Korea. 

Great prospects often become great players, and the Red Sox’ roster is proof of that. Strikeout concerns aside, there’s not much to suggest Yoan Moncada won’t be an absolute stud. Fans looking for silver lining to losing a top-tier prospect (other than the fact that you could Chris Sale for the guy), can look back 11 years and hope for the best. A lot of people were wrong about Andy Marte.

Report: Chapman, Yanks reach agreement on five-year, $86 million deal


Report: Chapman, Yanks reach agreement on five-year, $86 million deal

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.