Multiple media outlets report that the Red Sox are close to agreement on a one-year contract with reliever Hideki Okajima.
The Sox non-tendered Okajima earlier this offseason, making him a free agent. The team, however, indicated it might be interested in bringing back the 35-year-old left-hander for less than the 2.75 million he earned in 2010.
Okajima striggled in 2010, posting career highs in ERA (4.50), WHIP (1.717) and walks9 innings (3.9), and career lows in ERA-plus (97), strikeouts9 innings (6.5) and strikeoutwalk ratio (1.65). He pitched in a career-low 56 games, with a career-low 46 innings.
Okajima would be the fifth lefty fighting for what might prove to be one spot in the bullpen. The others are Lenny DiNardo, Felix Doubront, Rich Hill and Andrew Miller. Bullpen spots would seem to be assured to Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, Scott Atchison and Tim Wakefield, all right-handers.
Boston is also rumored to still be interested in free agent left-hander Brian Fuentes, though his demands may be too rich for the role (left-handed setup manlefty specialist) the Sox would have him fill.
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.”