By Sean McAdam
The Red Sox' bullpen for 2011 is beginning to take shape, as the team has reached agreement with ex-Tampa Bay reliever (and Warwick, RI) native Dan Wheeler on a one-year contract, plus an option for 2012.
The news was first reported by ESPN Boston and later by WEEI.com.
Wheeler, 33, has pitched for Tampa Bay since 2007. He had a 2-4 record with 3 saves and a 3.35 ERA in 48 13 innings over 64 games for the Rays last season. His WHIP was 1.076, after having been below 1.0 (0.995 in 2008 and 0.867 in 2009) over the two previous years.
Wheeler broke into the majors with the Rays in 1999 and pitched parts of three seasons for them before being released on Dec. 13, 2001. He spent 2002 in the Braves' organization and was released again, then signed with the Mets and spent his first full year in the major leagues in New York in 2003. He was traded to the Astros in August 2004, and then back to Tampa Bay in July 2007.
He earned 3.5 million last season. He will make 3 million in 2011, and the option -- which kicks in if he appears in 65 games -- for 2012 is also worth 3 million. It will rise to 3.25 million if he appears in 75 games in '11.
Since the end of the season, the Red Sox have rebuilt their bullpen with Wheeler, Bobby Jenks and Matt Albers from the right side, and Andrew Miller and Lenny DiNardo from the left. They join returnees Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Scott Atchison, Tim Wakefield, Felix Doubront, Michael Bowden and Rich Hill.
Sean McAdam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam
Never say never?
While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.
CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season.
For the full interview with Martinez, click here.
Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.
The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.
But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.
“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.
“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”
He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.
He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.
But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.
“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”