Red Sox make formal offers to several relievers

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Red Sox make formal offers to several relievers

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

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.

FoxSports.com 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 smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

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Red Sox recall infielder Mike Miller, ship Cuevas back to PawSox

The Red Sox made another pitcher-for-infielder roster swap today, sending William Cuevas back to Pawtucket and bringing up Mike Miller as his replacement.

The Sox had summoned Cuevas from the PawSox over the weekend when they ran through their bullpen in Friday night's come-from-behind victory over Texas and he pitched twice against the Rangers, holding them to two hits over 2 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday and Sunday. Deven Marrero had been shipped out when Cuevas arrived, leaving the Sox with only one backup infielder (Marco Hernandez).

Now they have two again, with Miller making his first trip to the major leagues. He's been primarily a second baseman for Pawtucket, though he's also seen action at short and third. Miller -- the team's ninth-round selection in the 2012 draft -- had a combined .251 average in 46 games for the PawSox and six games for Double-A Portland.

However, his stay with the Red Sox will likely be as short as Cuevas'. Brock Holt may soon be ready for reactivation, after having missed more than a month because of a concussion, and he could take Miller's roster spot when he returns.

Bogaerts taking aim at Red Sox and MLB hits records

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Bogaerts taking aim at Red Sox and MLB hits records

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.