RED SOX RE-SIGN RELIEVER MIKE TIMLIN
The Red Sox announced Friday (11/14), that they have re-signed the trusted sinkerballer to a 1 year contract that includes performance incentives that could vest an option for 2005.
"We've very excited to have Mike back with the Red Sox, both for what he does on the mound and as a person," said Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein. "Mike demonstrated last year that he thrives under the spotlight in Boston. He's a key member of our ball club on and off the field."
In the postseason, Timlin was pitching 9 2/3 scoreless innings.
Terms of the deal was not disclosed. However, multiple published reports stated that Timlin will be paid $2.5 million in 2004. If his option vests, it would be worth $2.75 million.
Theo hints at closer
By Tony Massarotti/Red Sox Notebook
Saturday, November 15, 2003
Prior to boarding a plane back to Boston from the general managers' meetings in Phoenix, Red Sox [stats, schedule] general manager Theo Epstein conducted a teleconference yesterday to announce the re-signing of reliever Mike Timlin [stats, news]. In the process, Epstein seemingly confirmed his team's pursuit of a dominating closer. Even if he didn't mention Keith Foulke [stats, news] by name.
One year after building a bullpen with no true closer, Epstein said he expected the Red Sox to have such a presence at the end of their bullpen by the start of the 2004 season. While Epstein suggested the Sox already ``have pitchers with the talent and the makeup to get that done,'' the Sox have been dangling Scott Williamson [stats, news] in trade talks and pursuing free agent Foulke.
Does that mean last year's approach was a blunder?
``Yes and no. I'll certainly admit that I was wrong in some respects,''Epstein said. ``But I believe in two things: I believe in our approach last offseason because there wasn't a dominating closer available (at that time), and I also believe the most dominating relievers should not be saved only for the ninth inning with a one-, two- or three-run lead.''
The American League Fireman of the Year in 2003, the 31-year-old Foulke was a sterling 9-1 with 43 saves (in 48 chances) and 2.08 ERA. He was tied for ninth in the league in appearances and pitched 24 times in non-save situations, helping to explain his outstanding won-loss record.
Foulke earned a base salary of $6 million in 2003 and could earn $8 million to $10 million in a multiyear deal as a free agent. While the A's are seeking to retain him, they may be unable to bid with the Red Sox and New York Mets, who are believed to be the two primary bidders for Foulke's services.
Earlier this offseason, the Mets hired pitching coach Rick Petersen from the A's. Petersen coached Foulke this year and was formerly on the staff of Mets manager Art Howe when Howe was in Oakland.
Same role for TimlinThough the Sox reached agreement with Timlin on Thursday on a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $2.75 million, Epstein addressed the pitcher's future with the team yesterday, saying he expected Timlin to be used in much the same role he was this year.
``Pitching important innings and stabilizing our pen,'' Epstein said. ``He was the one guy in the bullpen all year who kept a positive outlook. He's very much a leader on the club and especially in the bullpen.''
Timlin's deal calls for a signing bonus of $800,000 in addition to a base salary of $1.7 million next year, accounting for a total of $2.5 million. The pitcher also will receive $250,000 if he fails to trigger incentive clauses that would guarantee an option for the 2005 campaign.
Should Timlin trigger the option - or should the Sox exercise it - the deal will be worth $5.25 million over two years with a salary of $2.75 million in 2005.
SPRING TRAINING BEGINS IN FEBRUARY....
I KNOW IT'S A LONG TIME BUT IT WILL BE HERE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT!!!
SO DON'T BE SAD!!!
JUST THINK OF THE GOOD TIMES WE'VE HAD AND THINK ABOUT WHAT IS TO COME!!!!
Sox line up for Schilling: Yanks first to talk with right-hander By Michael Silverman/Red Sox Notebook Wednesday, November 12, 2003
PHOENIX - The Red Sox [stats, schedule] will have to stand in line in order to talk to Arizona about a trade for Curt Schilling because the Yankees apparently got there first. Last night, according to a well-placed source, the 38-year-old Schilling said he was willing to listen to what the Yankees had to say about trading for him. Schilling, owed $12 million in the final year of his Diamondbacks contract in 2004, has a no-trade clause and must approve any deal. His willingness to talk to the Yankees by no means indicates he has approved being dealt to the Bronx, but it is a significant development given how many teams are looking for durable, proven starters such as Schilling. So far, the Yankees are said to be the only team approached by the Diamondbacks about a deal for Schilling. There is a possibility that any Yanks-Schilling deal could be a three-team affair with the Diamondbacks acquiring Brewers slugger Richie Sexson, whom they covet. There was no word on who the Yankees were willing to give up in any deal, but Nick Johnson could fill the hole at first base in Milwaukee if Sexson goes. Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. and Yankees GM Brian Cashman were chatting at a table outside a hotel restaurant in the early evening. Said Garagiola before that meeting: ``I'm not going to characterize discussions of any player, period - mine or someone else's. That's it. We've met with clubs, several clubs, and talked about players but that's it.'' Maddon interviews today Red Sox GM Theo Epstein will interview Anaheim bench coach Joe Maddon for the team's managerial opening here this afternoon, but because of the GM meetings, the session will be far shorter than the six-hour interviews the team had Glenn Hoffman and Terry Francona go through at Fenway Park earlier this month. If all goes well, the Sox could expand on the interview in a second session back at Fenway after the GM meetings end. Maddon is the last known candidate, but a new name could be added to the list shortly: DeMarlo Hale. The Rangers bench coach is a former Red Sox minor league manager who comes highly recommended to the ballclub. The Sox have not yet sought permission to interview Hale, nor is it guaranteed, but don't be surprised if he pays a visit to Fenway soon. The Red Sox' search for a new manager could stretch well into December. Varitek, Lowe on deck Scott Boras, the agent for Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek [stats, news] and starter Derek Lowe [stats, news], said he expects to discuss contract extensions for both players by spring training, if not sooner. ``Usually we get to those things in spring training,'' Boras said, ``but Theo called me and said, `We definitely want to sit down and talk about extensions for both of them.' '' Both Varitek and Lowe are signed through the 2004 season. Boras said he and the Red Sox are scheduled to discuss his free agent crop of pitchers during the meetings. Boras represents right-handers Kevin Millwood and Greg Maddux, as well as left-hander Kenny Rogers. Boras pooh-poohed the notion that owners are struggling with their revenue streams this winter. ``The owners are making more money now than they did a year ago, by $200, $300, $400 million,'' said Boras, who cited new dollars flowing in from domestic and international TV packages, as well as increased equity from more owners owning, rather than leasing, their ballparks. ``Revenues for owners are way up - if they choose to spend the money is the issue.'' Boras struck the richest baseball deal ever when his client Alex Rodriguez inked a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Rangers in December of 2000. Said Boras: ``If A-Rod were in this market today, he would get as much and even more money than he would have got three years ago, without question. The reason is he is a great player, a franchise player.'' Sox, Timlin `close' Epstein characterized the negotiations between the ballclub and free agent reliever Mike Timlin [stats, news] as ``close, but no deal.'' . . . A source close to 39-year-old free agent Rafael Palmeiro said that he would be open to signing with the Yankees. . . . MLB executive vice president Sandy Alderson, who oversees the umpires, said that he thought the QuesTec computerized strike zone system ``has done wonders'' for the sport and that it will only get better and more precise in the coming years. ( Gerry Callahan contributed to this report. )
Sox eye ex-Jays righty Escobar
By Michael Silverman
Friday, November 14, 2003
PHOENIX - With their trade talks not gaining a whole lot of traction after four days at the general managers' meetings, which wind up this morning, the Red Sox [stats, schedule] have not wasted time in turning to the free agent market to fulfill their needs - just in case.
Besides their pursuit of free agent closer Keith Foulke [stats, news], the Red Sox have also turned their attention to the starter's market by expressing early and significant interest in Toronto right-hander Kelvim Escobar. The 27-year-old Venezuelan was the object of the Red Sox' attention last July, when the Blue Jays were asking for a package of prospects, believed to be left-hander Jorge de la Rosa and infielder Freddy Sanchez. The cost was too high then for the Red Sox, who knew Escobar would be available on the open market this autumn.
Autumn is here and the Red Sox have come calling.
``The Red Sox called both early in the process and have also called again - they are one of the more aggressive teams calling about Kelvim,'' said Escobar's agent, Peter Greenberg. ``And the Red Sox are definitely high on Kelvim's list of teams to play for.''
Greenberg said seven teams have contacted Escobar. The others are the White Sox, Mets, Angels, Devil Rays, Phillies and Blue Jays, who have already made a two-year offer.
``They have made it very clear that they want Kelvim back but with all due respect to them, Kelvim wants to see what else is out there as well,'' said Greenberg. Escobar is looking for a multiyear deal beginning at three years, although a two-year guarantee at better money with an option for a third year is feasible.
Escobar made $3.9 million last year, so he would cost any team that obtains him somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million to $7 million a year.
There are some good players in that neighborhood, but they are far more modest than the likes of some of the other free agent alternatives, such as Bartolo Colon, Kevin Millwood and Andy Pettitte [stats, news].
The Red Sox may get involved at some level on one of those three marquee starters, but for now, only an initial exploratory call to Colon has been made. The team is believed to be lukewarm about Colon.
``We're in on a lot of free agents,'' said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.
On the trade front, Epstein said the Red Sox have spoken to most of the 29 other teams.
Yesterday, Epstein was seen meeting with both the Dodgers, who are shopping starter Odalis Perez and possibly Hideo Nomo, and the Expos, who are listening about Javier Vazquez. According to one source at these meetings, the Red Sox do not have the players the Expos are looking for in exchange for Vazquez.
``We've been doing a lot of research, really,'' Epstein said. ``It seems like there won't be any significant deals done out here. It looks like the offseason is really going to get hot and heavy in December and January.''
With Curt Schilling unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to the Red Sox and Vazquez an unlikely acquisition at the moment, the Red Sox have a couple of other trade options for a starter, including Perez and Seattle's Freddy Garcia. Their talks with other clubs will continue in the coming days and weeks. Somewhere down the road, they will make a deal or two.
``We did a lot of foundation work for future conversations with other clubs,'' Epstein said. ``The offseason has been slow getting going, with teams trying to get a feel for the market. We've proposed a few things here and there, but mainly, we're just trying to get a feel for the market, too.''
Epstein: A-Rod buzz `baseless'
By Michael Silverman
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
PHOENIX - Of all the many puzzle pieces lying scattered at Theo Epstein's feet at this early stage of the hot-stove season, the ones that form a picture of Alex Rodriguez playing shortstop for the Red Sox [stats, schedule] in 2004 and Nomar Garciaparra [stats, news] in an Anaheim uniform are missing.
``It's baseless,'' Epstein said last night of a reported three-way deal that would have the Rangers sending Rodriguez to Boston, the Sox sending Garciaparra to Anaheim, and the Angels sending shortstop David Eckstein and prospects to Texas.
``We haven't talked to Texas or Anaheim,'' Epstein said. ``This was created and promulgated by the media, not the teams.''
Texas general manager John Hart, who said he has not spoken with the Red Sox or Anaheim about the deal, called the rumor ``ludicrous.''
It's no secret the Rangers are open to dealing Rodriguez, who it is believed would approve a trade to the Red Sox. While the Red Sox would love to add Rodriguez to the roster if they could make it financially feasible, there is a big difference between talk and action, and in this instance there has been neither.
This particular three-way deal, reported by Newsday on Monday, may represent wishful thinking on the part of one of the teams, perhaps the Angels, as a way to get Southern California native Garciaparra to Anaheim. The whispers in the lobby of the Arizona Biltmore Resort during the general managers' meetings here were that the Angels would send one of their top pitching prospects, Bobby Jenks, an infield prospect, Casey Kotchman, and Eckstein to the Rangers.
Epstein said that in addition to speaking to assorted agents yesterday, he also spent time with four different teams exploring trade possibilities. He did not get into specifics, but the Red Sox are not operating under the assumption that they must trade Garciaparra this offseason. He does have one season remaining on his contract, but the Sox believe he wants to sign an extension with them and they plan to speak with him this winter about making that a reality.
One should expect few leaks from those talks, given Garciaparra's penchant for privacy on most matters, but especially this one.
``Nomar's never given us any indication that he does not want to stay in Boston,'' Epstein said. ``Especially in Nomar's case, we are not going to take any public steps in our talks. We are going to respect the confidentiality of our relationship.''
Trade talk about Rodriguez is certainly the juiciest hot-stove topic one could concoct. The consensus pick as the best player in the game, Rodriguez also has the richest contract in baseball: seven years, $189 million remaining, with a complete no-trade clause and the ability to opt out of his deal and become a free agent after the 2007 season.
It is impossible to imagine a Red Sox roster with both Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez [stats, news] (who has $105 million remaining on his contract), yet the Rodriguez rumors to the big-market teams will likely persist.
``The rumors have come up, and Alex has called, but I can't put any reality in this because the fact is that the Rangers have to even put credence that they would consider moving him,'' said Rodriguez' agent, Scott Boras. ``I've not had any conversations with (Rangers owner) Tom Hicks about it. Alex has seven years to go, he has a no-trade clause. I imagine if and when a time comes that that is something they need to address, I'm sure they'll let us know.''