Even with a fairly full bullpen, Red Sox manager John Farrell had stated that it would be nice to get one more answer against right-handed hitters.

Friday, he got his wish.

Even with a fairly full bullpen, Red Sox manager John Farrell had stated that it would be nice to get one more answer against right-handed hitters.

Friday, he got his wish.

After watching Alexi Ogando’s workout in Tampa, and the days leading up to the well-attended event, the Red Sox (and Farrell, who didn’t attend but watched video of the exercise) came away confident enough to lock up the rigthy to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with incentives.

“The expectation is to have a right-handed reliever who has had a lot of success late in the game, particularly against right-handed hitters,” Farrell said by phone Saturday afternoon. “He complements the other right-handers we have in our bullpen with that hard slider he has. The contrast of style and experience, adds to a very good group.

“He showed good arm strength. He was 93-94 mph in the bullpen. I thought what was equally important to the one outing was the work he had a couple of days prior, with some aggressive long-toss to nearly out 200 feet with a light bullpen and then the bullpen teams saw. At least there was some indication for the recovery rate with as aggressive as the work day was, showing the power that he did. Then with the physical that we put him through, we feel like he’€™s in a good place physically.”

Ogando, who struggled with elbow issues in 2014, has a history of using a wipeout slider to dominate right-handed hitters. In 2012, when he made the American League All-Star team as a reliever, the hurler held righty hitters to just a .179 batting average and .598 OPS.

But Ogando’s effectiveness diminished over the past two seasons thanks to shoulder and elbow ailments, taking away the bite on his slider and velocity on what had been an upper-90’s fastball.

But after watching Ogando’s recent workouts, putting him through a physical, and talking to the pitcher about his offseason workouts, the Red Sox don’t feel the 31-year-old will have to be babied throughout the early portion of spring training.

“In meeting with him yesterday, he feels like he’€™ll throw a normal number of bullpens prior to coming to camp. But we’€™re aware of what took place the last couple of years,” Farrell said. “So we he will start with all of his pitchers. It’€™s not like he comes in with special needs. But if we feel it’€™s best to give him an added day of rest now and then, we can certainly work that in.”

Another potential answer against righty hitters is newly-acquired Robbie Ross, who came over from Texas in a trade for Anthony Ranaudo. While Ross struggled in 2014, the Red Sox feel a full-time return to the bullpen (he started ’14 in the Rangers’ rotation) will do a world of good.

“One, we’€™re going to put him back in the bullpen with his stuff having the chance to play up with better velocity and better late action,” Farrell said of the lefty. “His first two years in the big leagues speaks to that role very well. What allows him to get right-handers out is that he has such a late cutter that guys don’€™t see that he can jam a righty and then he can make them give up on a cutter back on the outside corner with the backdoor. We just feel like it’€™s a better role for him in shorter stints.

“When he was a starter facing lineups multiple times he tried to sink a little bit. His four-seam fastball naturally cuts so to try and throw a sinker kind of works against the way he’€™s built and not at the same quality as his normal four-seam or cutter. Provided both guys are healthy and regain some previous form, these guys are two guys who have pitched extremely well out of the bullpen.”

The Red Sox now have what would seem to be a full bullpen, with Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica, Craig Breslow, Anthony Varvaro, Ogando and Ross seemingly having locked in spots. If there is a wild card to make the group, however, it might be Brandon Workman, whom Farrell confirmed will start spring training as a reliever. Matt Barnes, however, is going to be groomed as a starter despite spending time in a relief role as a major leaguer at the end of ’14.

“I met with Brandon at Winter Weekend (last weekend in Foxwoods) and let him know to think along the lines of coming in as a reliever and that’€™s where we see him,” the manager explained.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox announced come to terms on a one-year deal for pitcher Alexi Ogando. FoxSports.com, who was first to surface the agreement, reports the deal is worth $1.5 million. USA Today adds that incentives can push the deal up by another $1.5 million.

According to a major league source, the Red Sox have come to terms on a one-year deal for pitcher Alexi Ogando. The deal is contingent on the pitcher passing a physical. FoxSports.com, who was first to surface the agreement, reports the deal is worth $1.5 million. USA Today adds that incentives can push the deal up by another $1.5 million.

Ogando battled physical issues in 2014, making 27 appearances (all out of the bullpen), and compiling a 6.84 ERA. His most recent issues have involved his right (pitching) elbow.

Prior to ’14, the 31-year-old had success both as a starter and reliever. In 2011, he made the All-Star team, finishing with a 13-8 mark and 3.51 ERA in 29 starts. The following season he pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen, totaling a 3.27 ERA in 58 appearances (57 as a reliever).

Ogando was effective in ’13, making 17 starts and 23 appearances on the way to a 7-4 mark with a 3.11 ERA. But he was sidelined with right shoulder inflammation, an issue that plagued him the rest of the season.

The righty was beset with arm problems throughout ’14, leading the Rangers to non-tender him. Ogando recently performed a showcase for interested teams in Tampa, with the Red Sox one of the dozen or so teams attending.

If healthy, Ogando could factor into the Red Sox’ late-inning relief plans. During his best season as a reliever in ’12, the right-hander held righty hitters to just a .179 batting average. Without the bite on his slider last season, that number jumped to .327.

According to major league talent evaluators, Ogando could still be an effective option out of the bullpen, but only if his workload is managed.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Joe Kelly was in the prediction business when appearing on WEEI last Saturday (WEEI Twitter account)When it comes to this offseason, nobody was missing the shock and awe of scooping up almost $200 million of position players in the form of



Not bad for a guy who once got a check for $52 during his first year as professional baseball player.

Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava

Not bad for a guy who once got a check for $52 during his first year as professional baseball player.

Daniel Nava’s story isn’t a secret: Cut from his college team, he became equipment manager; Cut from his independent league team, he was brought back to fill out the roster; Sold to the Red Sox by the Chico Outlaws for $1.

But it is because of this path that taking stock of getting that one-year, $1.85 million contract he secured Thursday seems so important for the 31-year-old. (For details on Nava’s contract settlement, click here.)

“For every player it means something different,” said Nava, who made $800 a month playing in independent baseball as recently as 2009. “If you sign a big signing bonus, you’€™re fortunate and it’€™s not as much of a big deal. But being that I didn’€™t have a big signing bonus, to have this opportunity, to me it means a lot to have this opportunity. It means I was fortunate to be in the league for three years and I honestly didn’€™t know if I was ever to have a chance to be in the league this long. It has a little bit more of a special place for me than it might have for someone else, and that’€™s not knocking someone else’€™s journey. To me, arbitration means a lot. So whatever the number was I almost look at it as an added bonus on top of bonus of just being in the league for three years.

“I’€™m grateful the Red Sox have allowed me to play for them for three years. And I’€™m grateful to have the opportunity that the union worked so hard to allow this opportunity to be what it is. The players that have gone before have done a great job of allowing it to be what it is right now. That’€™s something we shouldn’€™t forget. I’€™m grateful I have this chance, I really am. So I don’€™t take it lightly one bit, especially considering all the things I was doing before I got this point.”

And now that he has settled his arbitration issue, Nava can fully turn his attention to the 2015 season. He continues to workout at EXOS (former Athletes Performance) in Phoenix, while flirting with the idea of altering his approach to switch-hitting.

“Essentially, all I’€™m going to be doing different is just trying to see how lefty on lefty feels, but I’€™m still going to be working as a switch-hitter,” Nava said. “I’€™m not going to completely give it up because I don’€™t know how I am going to feel doing it. But to clarify, I definitely have thought about going lefty-lefty. But I’€™m not fully committed to doing one side or another. I really have to see what lefty-lefty feels like. But I’€™m open to doing to hopefully get myself on the field more and be more productive.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

The Red Sox announced they have come to terms with Daniel Nava on a one-year deal, avoiding salary arbitration. According to a major league source, the outfielder will make $1.85 million for the 2015 season.

Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava

The Red Sox announced they have come to terms with Daniel Nava on a one-year deal, avoiding salary arbitration. According to a major league source, the outfielder will make $1.85 million for the 2015 season.

This was the first year Nava was eligible for arbitration, who was asking for $2.25 million with the Red Sox countering at $1.3 million. (For the outfielder’s thoughts on the process, click here.)

The Red Sox now have one arbitration-eligible player who remains unsigned, Wade Miley. The lefty pitcher has asked for $4.3 million, with the team countering at $3.4 million.

Junichi Tazawa and Rick Porcello, who were both eligible for arbitration, previously agreed to terms. Tazawa signed for $2.25 million, while Porcello came in at $12.5 million.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

It’s been a healthy debate throughout the offseason regarding if the Red Sox truly need a defined ace heading into 2015.