Pablo Sandoval weighing offers

November, 22, 2014
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[+] EnlargePablo Sandoval
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesPablo Sandoval will decide on his free agency destination this week, according to his brother.

Free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is expected to make a decision about his baseball future this week, according to his brother and co-agent.

Michael Sandoval did not specify which teams are in the running, but he told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes on Saturday that Pablo Sandoval has received contract offers from all of the teams under consideration and will take the weekend to weigh his options.

After Sandoval won a third World Series title in five years with the San Francisco Giants, he indicated that it was his desire to remain with the organization, but the Boston Red Sox are making a strong push to wrest him away from the Bay Area.

The Boston Globe reported Friday that the Red Sox have extended a five-year, $95 million offer. Other teams reportedly interested in Sandoval's services include the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays and the Giants.


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Report: Red Sox offer Sandoval

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
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[+] EnlargePablo Sandoval
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesThe Red Sox reportedly have offered five years, $95 million to free agent Pablo Sandoval.

The Boston Red Sox have offered free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval a five-year, $95 million contract, the Boston Globe reported Friday night.

The Red Sox have targeted Sandoval since the beginning of free agency. He arrived in Boston on Monday night, had dinner with slugger David Ortiz, and according to a club source, met with team officials Tuesday before leaving the next day.

The San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays also have interest in the 28-year-old switch-hitter, but a major league source indicated to the Globe on Friday that the Red Sox's offer might be in the lead.

Sandoval would represent a significant offensive upgrade at third base for Boston. A career .294 hitter, he hit 16 home runs with 73 RBIs and 68 runs scored this past season for San Francisco.


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Braves court Lester; Sandoval awaits offers

November, 20, 2014
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BOSTON -- While free-agent pitcher Jon Lester was in Atlanta on Thursday, listening to the Atlanta Braves make their pitch, free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval was still waiting to receive an offer from the Boston Red Sox, according to his brother and co-agent, Michael Sandoval.

[+] EnlargeJon Lester
Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports With the Braves pushing for Jon Lester, the only apparent certainty is he won't return to Oakland.
The Braves, like the Red Sox, have prioritized starting pitching for an upgrade. Earlier this week, they traded star outfielder Jason Heyward to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Shelby Miller (the best man in Sox pitcher Joe Kelly's wedding) and top pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins.

Their interest in Lester, a major league source said, goes beyond cursory inquiry. They scouted Lester extensively before the trading deadline (along with reliever Andrew Miller) and came away impressed not only with his stuff and performance, but his leadership qualities. He also comes without draft-pick compensation, which adds to his appeal.

Lester maintains his offseason home in suburban Atlanta, another potential selling point for the Braves.

Lester already had met with the Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, with the Sox making an offer for six years in the $110 million to $120 million range, according to the Boston Globe, with columnist Dan Shaughnessy citing a source who was in the room when the offer was made. That offer has not been confirmed, although the most notable component of the offer is Boston's evident willingness to offer six years, making Lester an exception to the Sox's reluctance to offer contracts of that length to players past the age of 30.

The salary amount offered, if accurate, would seem to fall well below market projections. For example, Max Scherzer turned down a six-year, $144 million offer from Detroit in spring training, while ESPN.com's Jim Bowden has projected a six-year, $138 million deal and the website MLBtraderumors.com, in a posting Thursday, predicted a six-year, $158 million deal for the left-hander.

[+] EnlargePablo Sandoval
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesPablo Sandoval could pick the team he will play for before Thanksgiving.
Still, it doesn't add up that the Sox would lowball Lester again (they offered a four-year, $70 million package that was rejected in March). That would hardly represent a face-saving move for an organization already widely criticized for not making a deal with Lester before he hit free agency. A more plausible explanation is that the Sox signaled to Lester and his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, that they were open to negotiating the dollar figure, with the six-year offer buying them a seat at the table while both sides gather additional information on where the market is headed.

Seth Levinson on Wednesday said that the Sox had shown "great respect to Jon." Given the pitcher's declaration that he would like to return to Boston, that would suggest further dialogue is likely.

Sandoval, meanwhile, arrived in Boston on Monday night, had dinner with David Ortiz, according to a club source, then met with Sox officials on Tuesday before leaving the next day. Sandoval was told to expect an offer from the Red Sox, his brother Michael said, but as of Thursday afternoon the third baseman had not yet received it.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman, who covers the Giants, said he spoke with Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans on Thursday, and Evans told him that Sandoval had asked the Giants to submit their best offer, which suggests a decision could come soon. Sandoval, 28, is expected to get at least a match to the five-year, $90 million deal the Giants gave outfielder Hunter Pence, though agent Gustavo Vasquez has said the player is looking for a six-year deal, which would suggest a deal of at least $100 million.

Evans said he believes the Giants were "right in the middle" of the bidding for Sandoval, and that the player's strong ties to San Francisco could still work in their favor.

"I think the interest is sincere," Evans told the Chronicle. "I think Pablo loves this fan base as much as any player loves a fan base and that could go a long way."

Swihart, Rodriguez among four added to 40-man roster

November, 20, 2014
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The Red Sox on Thursday added four players to the 40-man roster for the purpose of protecting them from the upcoming Rule V draft, including top prospect Blake Swihart and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, whom the team acquired from the Orioles in a swap at the trade deadline last July.

The team also added infielders Travis Shaw and Sean Coyle to the 40-man roster.

Thursday was the deadline for teams to add to the 40-man before they became eligible for the Rule V draft, which will take place at the winter meetings in December. With the moves, the team’s 40-man roster stands at 40:

PITCHERS (17): Matt Barnes, Drake Britton, Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa, Edwin Escobar, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, Tommy Layne, Edward Mujica, Anthony Ranaudo, Eduardo Rodriguez, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Allen Webster, Alex Wilson, Brandon Workman, Steven Wright.

CATCHERS (4): Dan Butler, Ryan Lavarnway, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez.

INFIELDERS (10): Xander Bogaerts, Garin Cecchini, Sean Coyle, Juan Francisco, Brock Holt, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Travis Shaw, Jemile Weeks.

OUTFIELDERS (8): Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino.

DESIGNATED HITTER (1): David Ortiz.

Report: Sox offer to Lester in $110-120M range

November, 20, 2014
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The Red Sox’s offer to Jon Lester is reportedly in the range of $110-120M (presumably over six years), but that’s more likely to be a starting point in the Lester negotiations rather than something that their former ace would accept.

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If you were running the Red Sox, how far would you be willing to go to sign Jon Lester?

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Lester, who has already heard pitches from the Red Sox and Cubs, is meeting with the Braves on Thursday and could visit others as well (Cardinals? Blue Jays? Yankees?), so it’s unlikely that Boston’s offer would be the best one on the table.

The soon-to-be-31 Lester is coming off the best season of his career and is expected to command a contract for at least six years, with projections in the $130 million to $150 million range.

ESPN.com Insider Jim Bowden projects a six-year, $138 million deal for Lester. Here’s his prediction for where Lester lands, made Thursday in his “10 bold predictions for the offseason Insider” Insider piece:

“Most analysts think Lester has pitched his last game for the Red Sox ... I'm not one of them. I think the Chicago Cubs will offer the most years (6) and dollars, but a return to Boston for fewer years (5) and less money is my prediction. The Red Sox desperately need a top-of-rotation starter and won't be a legitimate contender unless they get one. Lester was happy in Boston, and unless the Cubs blow the Sox's offer away, I think that's where he lands.”


How high would you like to see the Red Sox go to bring Lester back?

Minor leaguer Kukuk arrested for robbery

November, 19, 2014
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According to reports out of Lawrence, Kansas, Boston Red Sox minor league pitcher Cody Kukuk was arrested in California on a charge of home-invasion robbery at an apartment in his hometown of Lawrence on Nov. 8.

According to the report, Kukuk was one of five individuals arrested in connection to the incident. The report says the suspects forced their way into the apartment, where three men and a woman were inside. The suspects reportedly battered the victims, and at least one allegedly was carrying a handgun.

Court documents say the suspects took an Xbox 360, cell phones, cash and a safe from the apartment during the invasion. Kukuk reportedly fled the state and had a warrant issued for his arrest in California. He is being held in a jail in Long Beach, California, without bail and is expected to appear in court Thursday morning.

Kukuk, 21, was selected by the Red Sox out of high school in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB draft. A tall left-hander, Kukuk was awarded an $800,000 signing bonus and made his debut with the organization in 2012. Kukuk spent the 2014 season between Single-A Greenville and Advanced-A Salem, posting a 4.47 ERA in 25 starts. He’s considered a fringe prospect, ranked 43rd in the Red Sox organization by soxprospects.com.

This is the second time Kukuk has been in trouble with the law since signing with Boston. In 2012, Kukuk was arrested on charges of driving under the influence in Florida. Those charges were later dismissed.

Red Sox claim Juan Francisco

November, 19, 2014
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BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox have claimed infielder Juan Francisco off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Francisco played 106 games for the Blue Jays last season, batting .220 with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs.

He has played both first and third base in a major league career that also includes stops in Cincinnati, Atlanta and Milwaukee. In 404 games, he has batted .236 with 48 homers and 152 RBIs.



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Source: Red Sox prepping Sandoval offer

November, 19, 2014
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The Boston Red Sox did not make an offer to free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval during their meetings Tuesday but are preparing to make one at some point Wednesday, according to a major league source.

Sandoval arrived in Boston on Monday and spent Tuesday at Fenway Park meeting with Red Sox brass, whom have made signing the 28-year-old one of their top offseason priorities.

The Red Sox are seen as the biggest threat to the incumbent San Francisco Giants for Sandoval’s services. The Kung Fu Panda playing a huge role in the Giants' 2012 and 2014 title runs, but the team did not discourage him from testing his value on the free-agent market. According to a FoxSports.com report, Sandoval is expected to talk to the Giants again Wednesday.

The Sox, with an obvious need at third base and a left-handed bat, have the financial flexibility under the luxury tax threshold to handle a price tag of at least $90 million that Sandoval may be wearing. But given the weight issues that have saddled Sandoval since 2010, the Sox aren't expected to display much enthusiasm for the six-year deal that agent Gustavo Vasquez said his client wants. There are ways to get around that hurdle, of course, like an option for the sixth year that vests with a certain number of plate appearances.

And as an American League team that will have a need for a DH when David Ortiz retires, the Sox may have a greater tolerance for potential weight issues than Sandoval's former employers.

Red Sox offer on table for Jon Lester

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
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BOSTON -- The Red Sox made a contract offer to free-agent pitcher Jon Lester when he met with the team's owners earlier this week and are also preparing to make an offer to free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, according to major league sources.

Terms of the offer to Lester were not disclosed, but the Boston Globe -- citing someone who was present when the offer was made -- reported that the Red Sox pitched a six-year deal in the range of $110-120 million. A source said he did not expect the left-hander to make a quick decision. 

Lester's agent, Seth Levinson, would not comment on negotiations with his client other than to say the Red Sox "extended great respect to Jon." Still to be determined, of course, is whether that respect was sufficient to induce the pitcher to return to Boston.

Sandoval arrived in Boston on Monday and spent Tuesday at Fenway Park meeting with Red Sox brass. Michael Sandoval, Pablo's older brother and one of his agents, said Thursday they are still waiting to receive an offer from the Red Sox. 

The Red Sox, who have made signing the 28-year-old Sandoval one of their top offseason priorities, are seen as the biggest threat to the incumbent San Francisco Giants for his services. The Kung Fu Panda played a huge role in the Giants' 2012 and 2014 title runs, but the team did not discourage him from testing his value on the free-agent market.


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All's quiet on the Sandoval front

November, 18, 2014
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BOSTON -- While a Channel 7 TV crew was there to greet Pablo Sandoval upon his arrival at Logan Airport on Monday afternoon, seeming to catch the free-agent third baseman by surprise, his visit with the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday proceeded with considerably more privacy.

As of Tuesday night, the only public viewing of a Panda came at the Museum of Science, where the IMAX theater is showing "Pandas: The Journey Home," a title that dovetails nicely with how the Sox would like Sandoval to regard his visit to Boston.

But the Kung Fu Panda, as Sandoval was dubbed by San Francisco Giants teammate Barry Zito, managed to stay out of sight. No tweets, Facebook postings or selfies floating on the 'Net. No appearance on the video board at TD Garden, where the Bruins were playing, no stroll along the Freedom Trail, no ride on a duck boat.

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It can be confirmed that Sandoval did spend time at Fenway Park, along with agent Gustavo Vasquez and Michael Sandoval, his big brother who also acts as an agent. There he met with Sox ownership and the team's baseball operations staff, led by GM Ben Cherington. They presumably adjourned for dinner at some point -- hold the jokes about the all-you-can-eat buffets -- but not even a publicity hungry maître d' was volunteering where.

Thus it remains uncertain whether the Sox availed themselves of a preemptive strike, offering Sandoval the kind of contract that would dissuade him of any plans to return to San Francisco. Sandoval has helped the Giants to three World Series titles in five years, playing a huge role in the 2012 and 2014 title runs, but the Giants did not discourage Sandoval from testing his value on the free-agent market, and there are hints that they could be outbid for Sandoval's services.

The Sox, with an obvious need at third base -- and a left-handed bat -- have the financial flexibility under the luxury tax threshold to handle a price tag of at least $90 million that Sandoval may be wearing. But given the weight issues that have saddled Sandoval since 2010, the Sox aren't expected to display much enthusiasm for the six-year deal that Vasquez said his client wants. There are ways to get around that hurdle, of course, like an option for the sixth year that vests with a certain number of plate appearances. And as an American League team that will have a need for a DH when David Ortiz retires, the Sox may have a greater tolerance for potential weight issues than Sandoval's former employers.
The Red Sox are meeting Tuesday with free-agent third baseman Pabblo Sandoval, which make these tweets from ESPN.com beat writer Jerry Crasnick all the more interesting:



The Giants are presumed to have the inside track on re-signing Sandoval, but it appears the Red Sox are quite serious about their pursuit.



Stay tuned.

Jon Lester, Braves to meet

November, 18, 2014
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The Atlanta Braves will meet with free-agent left-hander Jon Lester this week, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney, and multiple reports say the meeting will take place Thursday.

Lester also met with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

Lester, 30, went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA for the Oakland Athletics after he was acquired in a trade deadline deal with the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Overall, Lester was 16-11 with a career-best 2.46 ERA in 2014.

He started for the A's in the American League wild-card game against the Kansas City Royals and left in the eighth inning with runners on first and second with one out and his team leading 7-4. The Royals won 9-8 in 12 innings.

Lester, who has an offseason home in the Atlanta area, is 6-4 and 2.57 ERA in 14 playoff appearances. He's been dominant in the World Series, where he is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three starts, helping the Red Sox win two championships.

Lester, who has a career mark of 116-67 with a 3.58 ERA in nine seasons, rejected a four-year, $70 million contract extension offer from the Red Sox in the spring. He was paid $13 million last season.


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Red Sox on clock in wooing Sandoval

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
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[+] EnlargePablo Sandoval
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesPablo Sandoval will be wined and dined by the Red Sox but doesn't figure to leave Boston with an agreement in place.

BOSTON -- Upon his arrival at Logan Airport late Monday afternoon, Pablo Sandoval smiled with mischief in his eyes and told a Boston TV crew he was on "vacation."

In the executive offices on Yawkey Way, there is no such luxury. If the past few days have demonstrated anything in Major League Baseball, it is that the pace of doing business has lurched into fast-forward. A patient reading of the market, which often took teams through the winter meetings and beyond, has given way, at least temporarily, to a quick-strike mentality, with teams pinpointing their needs and acting aggressively to fill them.

The general managers had not yet scattered from their meetings in Phoenix when the news broke that the Detroit Tigers had signed their designated hitter, Victor Martinez, to a four-year deal. Then, on Monday, came three transactions, one bigger than the next.


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'Excited' Pablo Sandoval in Boston

November, 17, 2014
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Free agent Pablo Sandoval arrived in Boston on Monday for a meeting with Red Sox brass, who were said to be "all-in" on luring the third baseman away from San Francisco.

Sandoval was spotted at the airport by local news station WHDH, whose sports director tweeted a photo of him from what appears to be baggage claim:

An executive with one major league club at last week's GM meetings in Phoenix said the Sox were making a big push to sign the 28-year-old Sandoval, who is also the top target of the San Francisco Giants, with whom he just won his third World Series title.

GM Ben Cherington would not confirm Sandoval's meeting with the Red Sox, but media reports indicated as early as last week that he was coming to town.

Cherington spoke in general terms of the value of a player visit.

"It's an opportunity for (players) to ask questions," he said. "These are choices, big decisions that free agents make. Obviously, a big piece of it is going to be the economics. But it's a life decision and they should get an opportunity to ask questions about whatever they want to ask questions about.

"It doesn't make sense in every case, but at times, you offer that and ask for it, just to give them a chance to ask questions."

A Giants source said he has "no clue" if Sandoval will choose to leave San Francisco.


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Bowden: How Red Sox could land Hamels

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
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Cole HamelsHunter Martin/Getty Images
Signing Jon Lester is priority No. 1 for the Red Sox. But what if they fail to land the big lefty?

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If you were Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, would you be willing to give up Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and Deven Marrero for Phillies lefty Cole Hamels?

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And what if they whiff on Max Scherzer and James Shields as well? The Red Sox cannot afford to go through this offseason without landing a No. 1 starter, so they’d probably turn to the trade market, namely Phillies lefty Cole Hamels.

Hamels has four years and $90 million remaining on his contract, with a fifth-year option he might insist be picked up if the Sox deal for him.

What would the prospect-rich Red Sox have to give up for Hamels?

That question was posed to ESPN Insider Jim Bowden, a former major league general manager. Bowden thinks the Phillies would ask for Yoenis Cespedes be included in the deal but would be rebuffed by the Red Sox.

Here’s the deal he thinks would get it done:

In this deal, the Sox would be giving up their seventh-, ninth- and 13th-ranked prospects respectively, according to SoxProspects.com.

Here’s Bowden breaking it down:

”The Red Sox might counter with Ranaudo and Marrero for Hamels. Their intention would be to keep Cespedes out of the deal, as he's an important bat for the team. Plus, they can argue the Phillies are already getting their best pitching and middle-infield prospect.

“But the Phillies will insist on another top pitching prospect if Cespedes is out of the deal, and they'll start by asking for left-handed pitcher Henry Owens. After getting turned down, they could accept Matt Barnes as the third player in the deal.”


If you were Ben Cherington, would you make this deal?

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