Red Sox acquire Donnelly from Angels
BOSTON -- After landing Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox started working on finding some guys to relieve him.
Boston acquired former All-Star reliever Brendan Donnelly from the Los Angeles Angels on Friday and agreed to a contract with left-hander J.C. Romero. The team also finalized a deal to bring back Doug Mirabelli, who was the personal catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
Boston Red Sox
"Both go a long way toward building lot of quality depth in the bullpen," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said of the relievers. "Right now we don't have a closer. But we will, and behind that guy ... we have some quality numbers, guys we feel are on the verge."
Boston sent rookie left-hander Phil Seibel to the Angels for the 35-year-old Donnelly, who became expendable when the Angels signed right-hander Justin Speier and lefty Darren Oliver. Donnelly made $950,000 last season and is eligible for arbitration. He came become a free agent after the 2008 season.
"We've got a pretty solid bullpen right now. It looked like the opportunities for a guy like Brendan might not be as great this year as they were last year," Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said on a conference call. "We had discussed moving Brendan to the Red Sox for a while."
Donnelly was 6-0 with a 3.94 ERA in 62 games last season, going 5-0 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 games after the All-Star break and holding opponents scoreless in 19 of his last 21 appearances. He was 23-8 with a 2.87 ERA and four saves in 276 appearances with the Angels.
His best year was 2003, when he allowed only two earned runs in his first 50 innings and was the winning pitcher in the AL's 7-6 victory over the NL in the All-Star Game. He finished the season with a 1.58 ERA and a career-high three saves.
Donnelly has a 3.18 career ERA against the Yankees, allowing six earned runs in 17 innings with 16 strikeouts -- but four of those earned runs were given up Aug. 14, when Romero relieved Donnelly with the bases loaded and allowed all three runners to score.
Romero will get $1.6 million plus performance bonuses. He was 1-2 with a 6.70 ERA for the Angels, holding left-handed batters to a .211 average. He has a 26-22 record and 4.35 ERA in seven seasons, the first six with the Twins.
Mirabelli will earn $750,000 with the potential for that much again in performance bonuses. He was traded to the San Diego Padres last winter but brought back after Josh Bard struggled to handle Wakefield's knuckler.
When Mirabelli returned, he received a police escort from the airport, changing in the back of the cruiser, in order to make that night's game against the New York Yankees.
"The one guy that we know can catch Tim Wakefield is Doug Mirabelli," Epstein said.
But Mirabelli batted .191 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 73 games with San Diego and Boston. In 2004, he hit .281 with nine homers in 59 games to help the Red Sox win their first World Series since 1918.
"Doug has done a lot for this club over the years," Epstein said. "Last year was a disappointing year for him. He would say that, and we would say that. He has a lot to prove. He wants to demonstrate that he's an integral part of this club."
The 27-year-old Seibel spent the last three seasons in the Boston organization after being claimed on waivers from the New York Mets in November 2003. He pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in two games with the Red Sox in 2004.
Seibel went 6-3 with a 1.24 ERA for three Boston farm clubs last season. He didn't pitch in 2005 after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his pitching elbow following the 2004 season.
"Our scouts like Seibel," Stoneman said. "He's got four pitches, he throws them for strikes, and we like his stuff. Our scout made particular mention of his curveball, which he thought was pretty good. There is still an option remaining. But he's going to take a run at making our staff as a left-hander out of the bullpen in spring training.
"When he went to Triple-A, he was used in relief. It looked like he pitched really, really well, and the scouts liked him. This is a guy we liked, a guy that we asked them for when we talked about Donnelly."
Before turning professional, Seibel pitched three seasons for the University of Texas.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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