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.

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.

Juan Nieves

Juan Nieves

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

But shouldn’t the most important voice on the matter come from the man who will be charged with guiding the starting staff through the season, with or without that No. 1 guy?

Talking on the phone from his home in North Carolina, Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves weighed in on what has become one of this winter’s weightiest matters.

“Other than that first turn through the rotation, whomever goes out there every fifth day, I’m a firm believer, that’s my ace,” Nieves said. “I also think team generally win without having five aces, but if you have three or four pitchers pitch like a one or a two for two or three months and pitch like a three for the rest of the year, that pitcher is going to win a lot of games. And when that five pitches like a three and gives you some deep innings and some eight-inning outings, and even pitches like a strong No. 2 for a few months, that’s when you see teams winning and never go in slumps. I think overall I’m a firm believer that my five guys in the rotation are my five aces. Whomever is out there for me is my ace.”

Nieves’ philosophy has merit, especially considering it was born from what the Red Sox starters accomplished during their World Series run of 2013.

While Jon Lester was ultimately identified as the team’s no-hold’s-barred ace, it would have been difficult to designate him such on Day 1. He was coming off a 2012 season which encompassed a 4.82 ERA. The guy who ended up as the staff’s No. 2, John Lackey, hadn’t even pitched the year before. Clay Buchholz, who pitched in the No. 2 spot to being the season, had totaled a 4.56 ERA in ’12. And, when it all said and done, the inconsistencies of Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront ultimately forced the Sox go out and get Jake Peavy at the non-waiver trade deadline.

But, to Nieves’ point, what worked for that group in ’13 was that each pitcher went on at least one top-of-the-rotation-type run during that season.

Before his injury, Buchholz began the season with a 9-0 mark and 1.71 ERA over 12 starts (in which the Red Sox went 11-1). Doubront rattled off 15 starts in the heart of the season in which he accumulated a 2.55 ERA, while averaging 6 1/3 innings per outing.

Dempster managed a pair of runs, one coming to start the ’13 season in which he carried a 2.93 ERA over his first seven starts. The other stretching in June and July when he managed a 3.86 ERA over 11 outings, during which the Red Sox went 7-4.

Of course, while it is important to find such stretches from those considered in the middle of on the back end of one’s rotation, it is equally urgent to get a couple of pitchers who can sustain such excellence for even longer period of time. In that case, that’s where Lester and Lackey came in.

So, does this group have what it takes to make Nieves’ way of thinking hold up?

As previously mentioned, Buchholz has gone down this path before. It is also easy to find a similar stretch of dominance from Justin Masterson (although he only went more than two starts in between allowing five or more runs once in ’14, and that was a three-start period).

Joe Kelly experienced success similar to Buchholz in ’13, totaling a 9-3 mark with a 2.28 ERA as a starter in 15 outings. And last season, Rick Porcello’s first three months included an 11-4 record and 3.12 ERA in 16 starts.

There is also obvious hope when it comes to Wade Miley, as well, with the lefty finishing off a subpar ’14 with a 3.43 ERA in his last nine starts. His best stretch? Probably a two-month period in which he managed a 1.96 ERA over 10 starts in the middle of ’13.

So, if Nieves’ theory holds up, there is hope for this current group of Red Sox starters. Now it’s just the question of if they can find enough stretches of ace-level pitching from this bunch.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Don “Bear” Bryant, who was a bullpen coach for the 1975 Red Sox team that won the American League pennant, passed away last Thursday in Gainesville, Florida, the team announced Wednesday. He was 73.

Bryant, a former major league catcher best known for catching Don Wilson’s no-hitter for the Astros against the Reds in 1969, spent his final three seasons in the Sox’ minor league system. He was a player/coach for Triple-A Pawtucket under manager Darrell Johnson in 1973, and when Johnson was promoted to manager in Boston in 1974, Bryant followed him.

Bryant also followed Johnson when he was hired to be manager of the Mariners in 1977, serving there until 1980.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar