February 20, 2011

On Baseball: Red Sox's busy offseason seems like it will pay off

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Numbers: None of the three minor leaguers made it above low Class A. Mendez is considered a mid-level prospect. Saltalamacchia, 25, has not played a full major league season because of injuries and inconsistency. He batted .233 in 84 games in 2009.

Cash: Saltalamacchia will make $750,000 this season and will not be a free agent until 2014. 

HOW DID THE RED SOX DO?

They replaced a powerful corner infielder with a younger one, who reportedly will be under contract for eight years.

They replaced two ineffective relievers for two, maybe three proven arms.

They replaced a dangerous-hitting catcher for one who is still a question mark, but is expected to be better defensively and, potentially, can become a solid hitter.

They added one of the best outfielders in the game.

They replaced three top prospects and the 24th overall draft pick in 2011, with for four picks in 2011 -- the 19th, 26th, and two supplemental-round picks. The 2011 draft is expected to be loaded with talent.

They added at least one minor league pitcher, while losing three low Class A minor leaguers and a utility player who may not have made the Boston roster this year.

They will be paying a lot, on average, dishing out roughly $50 million for Crawford, Gonzalez, Jenks, Wheeler, Aceves and Saltalamacchia this year -- depending how Gonzalez's extension is worked out -- instead of about $30 million for Beltre, Martinez, Ramirez and Delcarmen.

But the increase not only improves Boston's team, it secures its future.

Next year, about $46 million comes off the books when the contracts run out on J.D. Drew ($14 million), David Ortiz ($12.5), Jonathan Papelbon ($12) and Mike Cameron ($7.25). The majority of the Red Sox core will remain with most players in their prime.

Epstein's dealing began last July 31 when he acquired Saltalamacchia from Texas, and sent Ramirez to San Francisco. Since then, he's signed bigger names and made bigger deals, as well as some lesser known trades. The Dustin Richardson for Andrew Miller deal may end up being a steal.

Epstein may still be tinkering. But most of the work is done.

Spring training games begin Saturday, the regular season less than six weeks away. For Red Sox fans, it cannot come soon enough.

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

kthomas@pressherald.com

 

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