June 12, 2011

On Baseball: Big contracts don't always pay off for Red Sox, Yankees

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Boston Red Sox paid $103 million for six years of Daisuke Matsuzaka, when the $51 million negotiating rights fee is factored in.

MAINERS IN THE MINORS

(Statistics through June 9)

Ryan Baker, Portland, catcher (Yankees): Has played three games for Double-A Trenton, recording one RBI in nine at-bats.

Charlie Furbush, South Portland, pitcher (Tigers): Was 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA for Triple-A Toledo before being called up to Detroit on May 21.

Ryan Flaherty, Portland, Inf/OF (Cubs): Batting .313 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI and a .981 OPS for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies.

Andrew Giobbi, Portland, catcher (Mariners): Batting .206 in 21 games for the advanced Class A High Desert Mavericks in the California League.

Mike MacDonald, Camden, pitcher (Blue Jays): Is 3-2 with a 5.94 ERA in 11 starts with Triple-A Las Vegas.

Ryan Reid, Portland, pitcher (Rays): Has a 3.47 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 13 appearances (23-1/3 innings) for the Triple-A Durham Bulls.

Mark Rogers, Orrs Island, pitcher (Brewers): Remains on the disabled list with the Class A Brevard County Manatees.

NOTES: Flaherty was named to the Southern League All-Star Game. Reid has allowed two earned runs in his last 13 innings.

-- Kevin Thomas

That's an average of over $17 million a year through 2012. Boston will keep paying this year and next, even though Matsuzaka might not pitch for the Red Sox again. He underwent Tommy John surgery Friday.

This is the luxury of teams in the big-money markets, like Boston and New York. They can make big-money gambles.

The Yankees, with their salary structure, may be moaning about the high cost of over-priced veterans in two years.

This season, they're paying 39-year-old Jorge Posada $13 million to bat .203.

Plus, the Yankees had their own failed Japanese pitching experiment -- $46 million for five years for Kei Igawa. Now in his fifth year, Igawa is pitching for Double-A Trenton.

As for Boston's busts in 2011, besides Matsuzaka, the Red Sox are paying 35-year-old J.D. Drew $14 million (.229 average), and 38-year-old Mike Cameron $7.25 million (.171 average). 

IN 2013, THE numbers become staggering.

The Yankees have committed $121 million to six players, not including club options. Boston will be paying about $99 million for seven players, not including club options.

Those six Yankees (with their ages in 2013) are Alex Rodriguez (37), $28 million; C.C. Sabathia (32), $23 million; Mark Teixeira (33), $22.5 million; Derek Jeter (38), $17 million; A.J. Burnett (36), $16.5 million; and Rafael Soriano (33), $14 million. They also have club options in 2013 for Robinson Cano ($15 million) and Curtis Granderson ($13 million).

The seven Red Sox players tied up in 2013 are Adrian Gonzalez (31), $21 million; Carl Crawford (31), $20 million; Josh Beckett (33), $15.75 million; John Lackey (34), $15.25 million; Jon Lester (29), 11.6 million; Dustin Pedroia (28), $10 million; and Clay Buchholz (29), $5.5 million.

Plus, Boston has a $13 million club option on Kevin Youkilis, who will be 34.

That is a lot of money tied up. If the Red Sox have an advantage here, it is youth. 

IN THE MLB DRAFT completed last week, the Red Sox drafted 29 high school players and 24 college players. Twenty-nine are pitchers, 10 are infielders, 10 are outfielders and four are catchers.

The most likely to reach Portland first is Boston's top pick, University of Connecticut right-hander Matt Barnes. He appears to have the potential to be a true power pitcher.

The most common feature among the draft picks: tall left-handed pitchers. Of the eight lefties chosen, the shortest are 6-foot-2. Henry Owens, a 6-6 high school pitcher, was taken in the supplemental round.

The best athlete may be eighth-round pick Senquez Golson, an outfielder with a football scholarship to the University of Mississippi.

Boston drafted outfielder Brandon Jacobs in the 10th round in 2009 and paid him $750,000 to give up his Auburn football scholarship. He's batting .323 in Class A Greenville.

The best names belong to lefty pitcher Cody Kukuk (seventh round) and outfielder Cody Koback (10th round). They could be fine picks if Kukuk can be wooed from a University of Kansas scholarship, and the speedy Koback adjusts after hitting .424 for Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Best case of nepotism goes to 45th-round pick Matt Gedman, a second baseman who hit .397 for the University of Massachusetts. He is the son of former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman. Gedman could end up in Lowell, where a lot of college kids go -- and where his father is the hitting coach.

ANTHONY RIZZO had a nice major league debut with the Padres on Thursday, going 1 for 2 with a triple and two walks. Looks like Rizzo will make it to Fenway Park after all. The Padres play in Boston June 20-22. 

TWO FORMER SEA DOGS made it to the majors with Boston. Reliever Tommy Hottovy was called up to Boston to be the only left-hander in the bullpen. Catcher Luis Exposito was summoned to Yankee Stadium Wednesday and Thursday as an emergency backup because Jarrod Saltalamacchia was sick.

News on other former Sea Dogs includes catcher Dusty Brown's call-up to Pittsburgh on May 30. He's batting .125 in six games.

Brandon Moss is still playing the outfield for the Phillies' Triple-A club in Lehigh Valley (.247, seven home runs).

The New York Mets sent outfielder Bubba Bell down from Triple-A to Double-A Binghamton on June 4. Bell was traded from the Indians to the Mets on May 13. The B-Mets come to Portland July 18.

First baseman/outfielder Aaron Bates is batting .347 in 28 games for Triple-A Rochester, since signing with the Twins.

Outfielder Jason Place, signed by the Yankees after he was released in spring training, was promoted to Double-A Trenton on June 7. The Thunder come back to Hadlock on June 21. 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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