The reported signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez are apparently not slowing the Red Sox in their pursuit of Jon Lester.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweeted on Monday that Boston is “still very much engaged” with Lester and the “process [is] ongoing” in spite of the club’s recent free agent splashes.
Ramirez’s deal, first reported by FoxSports.com, is four years and $88 million with a $22 million vesting option for a fifth year. Sandoval’s is a five-year contract worth close to $100 million, CBSSports.com reported.
The Red Sox have met with Lester — who has met also with the Braves and Cubs, and could now be a target for the Giants — and made him an offer.
– Joey Nowak
It’s no secret that Cole Hamels could likely be dealt out of Philadelphia this offseason and, as it turns out, the Red Sox are the team that has had “the most serious talks” with the Phillies regarding the left-hander, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Boston, of course, also still has an offer in to Jon Lester. With the club reportedly on the verge of signing both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, however, the Red Sox could now be in a position to move some of their surplus pieces in a potential trade.
The Red Sox offer to Lester has been reported to be in the range of $110-120 million. The 30-year-old Hamels, meanwhile, is owed $96 million over the next four seasons, with a $24 million option for 2019.
Though Boston reportedly shot down trade offers from the Phillies earlier this offseason, the Red Sox’s recent flourish in free agency certainly changes the team’s current outlook. With Ramirez and Sandoval locked up for the foreseeable future, the Red Sox may now be willing to part with the players ultimately needed to land Hamels.
The Red Sox also need to figure out what exactly to do with Ramirez, as they are almost certainly not going to give up on 22-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts. That means the most likely scenario involves moving Ramirez to the outfield, where the Red Sox already have an abundance of potential starters.
Among the list of potential outfielders currently on Boston’s roster are Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig and Jackie Bradley Jr. The recent signings of Sandoval and Ramirez could indicate that at least one of those outfielders will be on the move at some point this winter.
Either way, it seems the Red Sox are far from done this offseason.
– Paul Casella
The Mariners are reportedly close to signing third baseman Kyle Seager to a seven-year, $100 million extension, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.
Seager is coming off another impressive year in 2014 when he posted a .268/.334/.454 batting line to go along with 25 home runs and 96 RBI over 159 games. Along with reaching the 20-homer plateau for the third straight season, Seager also had a stellar year defensively en route to winning his first Gold Glove Award.
Seager, who just turned 27 years old earlier this month, would have been arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. Instead, he is now under team control through at least 2021 and the deal reportedly also carries a club option for 2022. Passan reports that the option for an eighth season could be worth as much as $20 million, depending on performance-based incentives.
Though a bit under the radar, Seager has been steadily emerging as one of the top all-around third basemen in the Majors over the past few seasons. With this reported extension, the Mariners would have now dedicated two nine-figure contracts to infielders in as many offseasons. Seattle, of course, inked second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million deal last winter.
– Paul Casella
The Orioles are reportedly viewing outfielder Melky Cabrera as a “fallback option” in the event they are unable to re-sign Nick Markakis, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. It appeared early this offseason as if the Orioles and Markakis were on the verge of reaching a new deal, though talks have apparently progressed rather slowly over recent weeks.
It’s still widely believed that the Orioles will ultimately bring back Markakis, but it seems as if they are at least exploring contingency plans behind the scenes.
Signing Cabrera would likely be a bit more expensive than Markakis, but he would certainly help fill the potential void. Markakis posted a .276/.342/.386 batting line this past season, while Cabrera put up a .301/.351/.458 line with the Blue Jays.
Along with Cabrera being a more expensive option, the Orioles would also need to surrender a draft pick in order to sign him due to the fact that he declined the Jays’ qualifying offer. That could become a moot point, however, as the Orioles would receive a compensatory draft pick of their own if fellow free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz departs to sign with another team.
Again, the Orioles’ priority seems to remain bringing back Markakis, but Cabrera is on the radar as a potential replacement, if it comes to that.
– Paul Casella
With Pablo Sandoval reportedly set to sign with the Red Sox, the Giants could take the money they had set aside for re-signing Sandoval and use it to pursue marquee free agent starter Jon Lester, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
That said, Sandoval’s expected departure obviously leaves a hole at third base the the Giants need to address. They’ve already been rumored as a potential landing spot for Cuban outfielder/third baseman Yasmany Tomas, while free agent Chase Headley is yet another option to replace Sandoval.
As for Lester, he would obviously provide the Giants with a pair of aces at the top of the rotation, pitching alongside Madison Bumgarner. Aside from Bumgarner, however, the Giants’ rotation is a bit unclear right now. Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong are both free agents, Matt Cain is coming off elbow surgery, Tim Hudson will turn 40 years old next season and Tim Lincecum can’t be counted on as a consistent option at this point in his career.
Though not re-signing Sandoval certainly puts the Giants in a position to pursue Lester financially, the left-hander is already known to also be on the radar of the Cubs, Braves, Red Sox, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Royals.
– Paul Casella
It appears that not long after they secured one high-profile free agent, the Red Sox moved on and got another.
After reports began surfacing Sunday that Boston could be landing both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the two deals reportedly came to a head late Sunday/early Monday.
According to CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman, the Red Sox agreed to a deal with the two-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion Sandoval for close to $100 million over five years.
The Red Sox have not commented on the reports.
With Sandoval coming to play third and Ramirez possibly moving to the outfield, there’s a good chance Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Allen Craig or Shane Victorino could be on the move.
– Joey Nowak
We wrote earlier in this space that the Red Sox are reportedly pursuing two big free-agent infielders, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. It appears they’ve already come to an agreement with one of them.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted late Sunday night that Ramirez will fly to Boston on Monday morning to finalize a deal with the Red Sox. Rosenthal, citing sources, also tweeted that Ramirez’s deal “will be in the range of” $90 million over five years.
What remains to be seen is what the Sox will do with Ramirez.
They have an offer out to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, but Ramirez could play there if Sandoval signs elsewhere. They have young shortstop Xander Bogaerts, but they could deal the former top prospect to acquire a starting pitcher. They have Yoenis Cespedes in left field, but with Ramirez reportedly willing to play anywhere, they could put Ramirez in left and either move around Cespedes or trade him.
Ramirez, who will turn 31 next month, began his career in Boston before he was traded to the Marlins in 2005. Arguably the best overall hitter on the free agent market this offseason, Ramirez batted .283/.369/.448 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs in 128 games for the Dodgers last year.
Ramirez, a friend of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, has spent nearly his entire career at shortstop. He has started 1,069 games at short and only 97 at third base.
Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas continues to draw interest from a number of teams. As MLB.com has reported, the Padres were expected to meet with Tomas’ agent on Saturday and the Braves were also going to meet with the slugger this weekend.
It appears a few more teams are in the mix for Tomas.
According to a tweet from Peter Gammons, Tomas has received offers from the Padres, Braves and Giants. Gammons writes that the Phillies, D-backs and Mariners are “lurking” on Tomas as well.
The Braves and Padres are believed to be the favorites to land the 24-year-old slugger, while the Giants seem likely to ramp up their efforts to acquire Tomas if they can’t retain third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reported that the Braves likely would have to trade outfielder Justin Upton (and his $14.5 million salary) in order to acquire Tomas or lefty Jon Lester, and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted on Sunday that Atlanta wouldn’t necessarily need to trade Upton or Evan Gattis before signing Tomas, as the market for either player should be strong enough throughout the winter.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez has reported that Tomas is looking for a five- to seven-year deal with an average annual salary near $15 million, or he could opt for a short-term, high-dollar deal that allows him to establish his value quickly before hitting the free agent market.
The Red Sox have been frequently linked to free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval over the past few days, with Sandoval now reportedly choosing between Boston, San Diego and San Francisco.
But here’s a new wrinkle: The Red Sox are “trying hard” to sign both Sandoval and free agent Hanley Ramirez, according to CBSSports.com.
Boston has been in touch with Ramirez, who turns 31 in December, since the General Managers Meetings in Phoenix, according to the report.
Citing an industry source, WEEI reported on Sunday that the Red Sox are in “advanced conversations” with Ramirez, and a deal “could come together quickly.” However, there is not yet an agreement in place.
While Sandoval would obviously fit right in at third base in Boston, it’s less certain where Ramirez would play. If Sandoval signs elsewhere, Ramirez could be the answer at third base. If the Red Sox sign both players, Ramirez could wind up in left field or any number of positions.
Ramirez began his career in Boston. The Red Sox signed him as an amateur free agent in 2000, and he played two games for them in 2005 before he was traded to the Marlins. Playing shortstop for the Dodgers last year, Ramirez hit .283/.369/.448 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs in 128 games.
As CBSSports.com notes, three of this offseason’s biggest free agents are possibly in play for the Red Sox in Sandoval, Ramirez and former Sox lefty Jon Lester. Boston already has extended an offer to Lester.
The A’s acquired first baseman Ike Davis and international bonus slot 86 from the Pirates on Sunday in exchange for international bonus slot 27.
The A’s are hoping the addition of Davis can add depth to their infield, along with some extra pop. Davis hit 32 home runs for the Mets in 2012. He finished the ’14 season hitting .233 with 11 home runs with 51 RBIs.
Davis was designated for assignment by the Pirates on Thursday. He played the first 12 games of the season with the Mets before being traded to Pittsburgh.
The A’s designated outfielder Andrew Brown for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
– Quinn Roberts