Tigers' signing of Martinez provides best haul for Red Sox

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Tigers' signing of Martinez provides best haul for Red Sox

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

If the Red Sox had to lose free agent Victor Martinez to another team, they got the best possible result they could have hoped for when Martinez signed a four-year, 50 million deal with the Detroit Tigers Tuesday.

Here's why: The Tigers, by virtue of their record in 2010, had MLB's first "unprotected pick" in the 2011 draft. That pick now goes to the Red Sox as compensation, and gives the Sox one of the top 20 selections . . . compared to the late-50s pick they'd have received had Martinez signed with a team with one of the top 15 choices.

As part of the current rules, MLB ordinarily "protects" the first 15 picks in the first round. That's meant to ensure that teams with poor records the previous year keep their first-round pick even if they sign a Type A free agent -- as Martinez was classified. If teams with protected picks sign a Type A free agent, they surrender their second-round pick rather than their first-rounder.

The draft order is determined in reverse of the previous year's standings, meaning the Tigers, who finished with a 81-81 record, were determined, after tiebreakers, to have the 16th pick. But rules dictate that teams that failed to sign their 2010 first-round picks (Arizona, San Diego and Milwaukee) are given make-up picks in essentially the same slot as the previous year. Thus, the Tigers were pushed back from 16 to 19.

Interestingly, Detroit went into the last day with an 80-81 record. Some executives believe that, mindful of their place in the drafting order, the Tigers were intent on losing the final, otherwise insignificant game of the regular season against the Baltimore Orioles. Rather than use one of their regular starting pitchers, they cobbled the game together with five relievers.

But it didn't work. The Tigers overcame an early 2-0 deficit to win 4-2.

The win proved costly. Had they lost, the Tigers would have finished 80-82 and nudged the Oakland A's out of the final slot in the "protected pick" list.

Under that scenario, the Tigers would have forfeited their second-round pick. So instead of getting the No. 19 pick (along with a sandwich-round pick), the Red Sox would have gotten a pick somewhere in the late 50s as compensation for Martinez. (There are 33 picks in the first round -- 30 teams, plus three make-up picks -- the entire sandwich round, which will be determined by the number of teams losing free agents, and 15 more picks into the second round.)

Thus, a costly victory for the Tigers resulted in the Red Sox A) improving their compensation pick by about 45 slots and B) getting the best possible pick available for Martinez.

Had Martinez signed with Baltimore or Seattle, two other teams in the running, the Sox also would have gotten only a sandwich and a second-rounder since the Orioles and Mariners have "protected" first-round picks.

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

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

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Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

QUOTES

* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.

NOTES:

* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.

STARS:

1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.