Junichi Tazawa

Junichi Tazawa

The Red Sox avoided arbitration with right-handers Rick Porcello and Junichi Tazawa on Friday night and announced that each had agreed to one-year deals.

According to an industry source, Porcello signed for $12.5 million, while Tazawa will be paid $2.25 million.

The Red Sox have two arb-eligible players remaining — outfielder Daniel Nava and left-hander Wade Miley. Miley has requested $4.3 million and the team has countered at $3.4 million, numbers first reported by CBSSports.com.

Porcello earned $8.5 million last year while going 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA. He has won at least 10 games in all six of his big league seasons, and is expected to compete with Clay Buchholz and Miley to be Boston’s starter on opening day.

As for Tazawa, he has emerged as one of the most reliable arms in John Farrell‘s bullpen, a late-innings power arm with excellent command. He went 4-3 with a 2.86 ERA last season.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

For two guys with barely 60 games between them, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo project to play major roles on the 2015 Red Sox.

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

For two guys with barely 60 games between them, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo project to play major roles on the 2015 Red Sox.

The two worked out at Harvard on Friday at the team’s rookie development program, though it’s fair to say they were in very different places than the rest of the prospects in attendance.

In Betts, the Red Sox have the player they believe can take the torch from Jacoby Ellsbury and become their leadoff hitter for the next five or 10 years. In Castillo, they boast an athletic center fielder who will likely start the year at the bottom of the batting order, but is more than capable of hitting atop it.

Betts and Castillo represent energy and excitement, two dimensions last year’s team sorely lacked.

‘€œ(The Red Sox) will take care of what they need to take care of, which is the Red Sox,’€ Betts told reporters. ‘€œThey’€™re going to put the winning nine out there. If I’€™m not a part of it, that’€™s fine. I’€™ll be ready and on the bench to go. And if I am, that’€™s great as well.’€

As for Castillo, he’s coming off a successful winter ball stint in Puerto Rico, as well as a nice run in the Arizona Fall League, and is raring to get to spring training and begin his big league career in earnest.

‘€œIt’s gone really well actually,’€ he said through translator Adrian Lorenzo. ‘€œIt’s helping me build some experience and on top of that, when I got back to Miami after playing in those leagues, I really stepped it up with my preparation and my training so I feel really good going into this season and this spring training.’€

Betts hit .291 with an .812 OPS at age 21 in 52 games with the Red Sox last year. Castillo arrived in mid-September and hit .333 with a pair of homers in 10 games.

If they make an impact in 2015, the Red Sox will be in business.

‘€œThe first thing that stands out about playing in Boston is the difference in the size of the crowds, playing in front of tens of thousands of people is an obvious difference,’€ Castillo said. ‘€œBut I guess I was able, especially towards the end of my stint, I was able to do well in controlling that and keeping the nerves down and I think that’s something I’ll take to help me out moving forward.’€

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Blake Swihart’s time is coming. But he won’t be rushed.

Blake Swihart’s time is coming. But he won’t be rushed.

The team’s No. 1 prospect ‘€“ and one of the top prospects in baseball ‘€“ is on the cusp of the big leagues. He’s everything a club could want in a developing catcher, a switch hitter with legit power potential, a live arm, and an athletic build that’s reminiscent of Giants MVP Buster Posey.

Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

The Red Sox have resisted including Swihart in deals for established talents like All-Star left-hander Cole Hamels of the Phillies, because they believe he has the chance to be something special.

The 22-year-old has only played 18 games at Triple A, though, and the Red Sox have learned from the problems that a number of their prospects faced last year. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Swihart spends most or all of this season in the minors. Quicker isn’t always better.

“That’s always a goal, but no matter where I’m at, I need to just play where I’m at and do what I know I can do,” Swihart told reporters on Friday at Harvard, where he was one of 10 prospects to take part in the team’s rookie development program. “There’s always opportunities. You’ve got to take them in stride and take advantage of them.”

There’s plenty to like about Swihart, who hit .293 with 13 homers and an .810 OPS between Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket last year. Drafted in the first round as a raw high school talent out of New Mexico in 2011, Swihart has slowly but surely improved while ascending through the minors.

He has grown as a game caller, and last year he threw out an impressive 45.6 percent of opposing base stealers (31 for 68).

“Just the knowledge of catching,” Swihart said when asked how far he had come. “Like you said, I was new when I first came in. Now that I’m more grown into it, I guess you’d say, I’ve developed in overall aspects. I know how to call pitches now. I know how to get chemistry with my other pitchers. That’s what it takes, is get your chemistry going and get your feet wet and now everything’s running smoothly.”

Farm director Ben Crockett knows the team struggled integrating Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts into the lineup last year. Without speaking directly about Swihart, he said the club plans to be sensible about promoting its prospects, while also cautioning against being over-cautious.

‘€œThere were a lot of areas that, organizationally, from our end and on the field, it could be done better,’€ Crockett said. ‘€œWe try to learn from that. At the same time, we’re not going to be shy or hesitate to trust the next young player to make an impact and to have an important part on the team.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.

[0:01:10] ... the first the first Major League Baseball is that Sunday night and Jon Lester Philly on Monday will that yes the maple sic which is eighty. There is a late night out number so five weeks ...
[0:01:56] ... let's say opening day. Eighty days from now I've been hiding for Cole Hamels I body was the perfect guy rob. Top of the rotation for the Boston Red Sox before or sell low. Before the other moves they made in their pitching rotation Cole Hamels makes the deal may be a bite the bullet traits are your top pieces but. You got enough of where you can. He can. Afford to trade a top prospector Q4 in a broad picture like Cole Hamels you're a story right Alan W we got dot com it's not saying it's not gonna happen but for now. It's not gonna have unrealistic. It's no wait a source familiar with the the -- way of thinking raised unrealistic. In terms of what the Phillies are asking and that's no surprise much filed against any surprise at all because. They don't have to trade Cole Hamels let me give you analogy. You have your jolt when windows and doors right you have your windows and your doors killed when fine fine product. You have those rule tomorrow on the other side of that door or that went and he's just creaking open a little bit. He's just dusted off the see that he has opened that's what he's doing right now he's opening scene everywhere we come on in. Asked how what this. It's hey you know I'm giving up a let you know a little bit there Hamels Cole Hamels is available but only at this price. And the price is as I said before. Unrealistic. And the action be anybody surprise. This guy is under contract for another four years. Five years if you the Red Sox because he's gonna make you pick up the option because he's he's on his no trade list. And this is where it winner gets tricky for Ruben Amaro the GM for the Phillies much. That's fine if you wanna hold out that's fine if you say we don't need to trade Cole Hamels. We've seen what happens to pitchers if you hold on to 21 clip what what would you say about Cliff Lee remember couple years ago it's very very nice the room couple right and yeah minarets are for entrusted and hey you know what you want Cliff Lee you have to pay this now we're not comfortable that's fine will hold onto. Wall Cliff Lee was cruising along bull what happened last year. This is the chance that you take when of these pictures it's getting out the right time and if Cole Hamels gets hurt just what Ruben Amaro is probably out. Job seated interest you because I would have told you that even given ...
[0:06:04] ... adds I don't blame them for not giving up the farm for Cole Hamels right now even though he's a good fit for them. You know I would I would be lining for Hamels if if ...
[0:07:39] ... teams try to trade them and don't have to go nuts for Cole Hamels got a text crack the points out. As a for a half ERA against. The American and it will the figure you ...






Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.

[0:01:10] ... the first the first Major League Baseball is that Sunday night and Jon Lester Philly on Monday will let you as the maple sic which is eighty. Basically nice round numbers so five weeks from tomorrow ...
[0:01:56] ... let's say opening day. Eighty days from now I've been hiding for Cole Hamels I body was the perfect guy rob. Top of the rotation for the Boston Red Sox before or sell low. Before the other moves they've made in their pitching rotation Cole Hamels makes the deal may be a bite the bullet traits of your top pieces but. You got enough of where you can. He can. Afford to trade a top prospect Q for a number one pitcher like Cole Hamels you're a story right Allen W we got dot com it's not saying it's not gonna happen but for now. It's not gonna have unrealistic. It's how a a source familiar with the Ruiz way of thinking raised unrealistic. In terms of what the Phillies are asking and that's no surprise month filed against any surprise at all because. They don't have to trade Cole Hamels let me immunology. You have your jolt when windows and doors right you have your windows in your doors yelled when fine fine product. Yeah of those Robert Amaro is on the other side of that door or that went and he's just creaking open a little bit. He's just just enough to see that he has opened that's what he's doing right now he's opening scene every wouldn't come on in. Asked how what this. It's hey you know I'm giving up a let you know a little bit there Hamels Cole Hamels is available but only at this price. And the price is as I said before. Unrealistic. And the action be anybody surprise. This guy is under contract for another four years. Five years if you the Red Sox because he's gonna make you pick up the option because he's he's on his no trade list. And this is where it winner gets tricky for Ruben Amaro the GM for the Phillies much. That's fine if you want to hold out that's fine if you say we don't need to trade Cole Hamels. We've seen what happens to pitchers if you hold on to 21 club what what would you say about Cliff Lee remember couple years ago so it's very very nice the room couple right and yeah and reds are for entrusted and they pay you know what you want Cliff Lee you'd have to pay this Ballard are comfortable that's fine will hold onto. Wall Cliff Lee was cruising along bull what happened last year. This is the chance you take when of these pitchers it's getting out the right time and if Cole Hamels gets hurt just what Ruben Amaro is probably out. Job seeing its interest you because I would have told you that even ...
[0:06:04] ... adds I don't blame them for not giving up the farm for Cole Hamels right now even though he's a good fit it for them. You know I would I would be lining for Hamels if ...
[0:07:39] ... teams try to trade them and don't have to go nuts for Cole Hamels got a text cracked the points out. As a for a half ERA against. The American today in the will the thing ...






Remember a few years ago when Arizona was floating out Justin Upton in the offseason? He was the then-23-year-old, super-talented outfielder who had already put in two full seasons of star-level production.

Cole Hamels. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Cole Hamels. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Remember a few years ago when Arizona was floating out Justin Upton in the offseason? He was the then-23-year-old, super-talented outfielder who had already put in two full seasons of star-level production.

Upton also had just signed a six-year extension for $51.25 million, making him a reasonable investment all the way through the outfielder’s 2015 season (when he would be 28 years old).

No deal was done, with then-Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers asking for three significant players in return.

Moral of that story: you never know unless you ask.

It sure seems like this is the way things are trending in regards to the Phillies’ approach to trading Cole Hamels.

According to a source familiar with the Phillies’ thinking on the matter, Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro and his club have been “unrealistic in their expectations” in regard to a return on Hamels.

The Red Sox are still are keeping an eye on Hamels’ availability, with a report from CSN Philly stating that the Rangers, Cardinals, Padres and Red Sox are the “primary suitors” for the lefty.

It seems clear the Phillies won’t deal Hamels unless they get the haul they’re looking for, with the pitcher owed $96 million over the next four seasons. If the Red Sox make a move, Hamels would surely ask them to exercise the fifth year option — pushing the deal up to $110 million — since the Sox are on his no-trade list.

Amaro has to hit a home run on this deal, and he knows it. That’s why the asking price. But the caveat to waiting things out is any risk the Phillies run in regards to an injury to the 31-year-old.

Hamels has been sturdy, making at least 30 starts in each of the last seven seasons, but as the Phillies learned in the Cliff Lee situation, such runs can easily come to an abrupt halt.

The Red Sox are also in a position where they can let a more palatable deal come to them, with a collection starters the organization feels comfortable heading into spring training with. There are also a myriad of starters with one year left on their current deals, making the acquisition of such a frontline starter potentially more reasonable closer to the non-waiver trade deadline.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford