Red Sox have company in pursuit of Ordonez

191542.jpg

Red Sox have company in pursuit of Ordonez

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If the Red Sox are as interested as it seems in Magglio Ordonez, they have plenty of competition.

The Sox like Ordonez as a right-handed-hitting bat in their outfield, freeing Mike Cameron to serve as a depth outfielder behind Jacoby Ellsbury in center and J.D. Drew in right, while also supplying some at-bats as a righty alternative to David Ortiz at DH.

But as Ordonez's agent, Scott Boras, said Wednesday in the final full day at the winter meetings, there is no shortage of suitors for Ordonez.

"The marketplace for Magglio is pretty aggressive,'' said Boras.

In the end, whether the Red Sox land Ordonez may come down to their willingness to extend him a two-year offer. FoxSports.com reported that Ordonez's asking price is thought to be two years, 20 million.

That figure wouldn't necessarily knock the Red Sox out of the running. Even with the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox are currently committed to approximately 135 million. That figure includes an estimated 11 million salary for arbitration-eligible Jonathan Papelbon and several million more for low-service time players such as Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard and others.

But would the Sox commit to more than a year, guaranteed, to a 37-year-old outfielder who hasn't played more than 131 games since 2008?

Ordonez, who missed several months at the end of 2010 with a broken ankle, worked out in Florida for teams Wednesday. It was unclear whether the Red Sox had anyone in attendance.

At 36 -- he'll turn 37 before the start of next season -- Ordonez is probably past his prime, but that hasn't lessened the interest in him. Along with the Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, for whom Ordonez played the last six seasons, are very much in the mix.

A source familiar with the negotiations Wednesday added that there is also interest from an A.L. West team -- believed to be Texas -- and at least one other team in the National League other than Philadelphia.

Boras said Ordonez's ankle isn't an issue.

"He's 100 percent -- he's ready to go, Boras said. "Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams now that Jayson Werth is signed. He's a middle-of-the-lineup guy. He has a great batting average, is a productive guy, and he's a veteran player and he's a winner. There's a lot of things about Magglio Ordonez where he fits a broad base of teams."

Unsurprisingly, Boras is pitching Ordonez to teams who lost out on Werth, another of his clients, who signed a mammoth seven-year, 126 million deal with Washington on the eve of the meetings.

"Once Jayson signed,'' said Boras, "a lot of the teams that were interested in Werth turned to Ordonez.

"With the amount of interest and such, there's a chance for those types of contracts for hitters, veteran hitters . . . to move a little quicker than normal because of the fact that there's just so many teams who need bats. They need that 3-4-5 guy in the offense. There's a real shortage of that in the game today."

Of course, with the presence of newly-acquired Adrian Gonzalez, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and DH David Ortiz, Ordonez likely wouldn't fit into the 3-4-5 mix for the Red Sox. He'd likely bat sixth, preserving the left-right-left-right combination Terry Francona has all the way through the lineup, with J.D. Drew hitting seventh, a switch-hitting catcher (mostly hitting righthanded) eighth and right-handed Marco Scutaro hitting ninth.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- On Wednesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski was asked what else he might be searching for to complete his roster.
     
Dombrowski, noting that Travis Shaw had been dealt away in the trade that brought the Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg, said the Red Sox could use another utility infielder to compete with left-handed-hitting Marco Hernandez.
     
On Thursday morning, Dombrowski found a familiar body in the unlikeliest of places.
     
The Sox selected Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies in the Rule 5 draft. Rutledge, who was once obtained in exchange for outfielder Shane Victorino, spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox, posting a slash line of .276/.338/.358 with a homer and 13 RBI in 67 games.
     
He missed most of last season with a knee injury and was outrighted by the Sox last month, becoming a free agent. He signed a minor league deal with the Rockies, but was unprotected by the Rockies and made available in Thursday's draft.
     
"We always liked him,'' said Dombrowski. "He thought his opportunity to play at the big league level was better [in Colorado]. But it was a situation for us, we looked at our club and we thought we might need a right-handed [hitting] utility infielder. We looked over the list and we like what he can do for our ballclub. So he was on obvious choice for us.''
     
Rutledge will compete against Marco Hernandez to become another bench player to team with Brock Holt on the Red Sox  roster.
     
Deven Marrero is also a righthand-hitting infielder, but his strength is defense and he's yet to prove he can hit major league pitching.
     
"I'd rather have someone [competing] who can swing the bat a little bit more,'' said Dombrowski. "I think [Rutledge] lines up to be on our club. We'll see what happens in spring training, but we know him, we like him. There looks like there's a path for him.''
     
Drafting Rutledge cost the Red Sox just $50,000 and he must  remain on the team's 25-man roster all season or, be offered back to the Rockies and placed on waivers.
     
The Sox also lost two players in the Rule 5 major league draft. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chose right-handed pitcher Justin Haley, while the Baltimore Orioles chose outfielder Aneury Tavarez.

 

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.