With spring training just less than a few weeks away the Boston Red Sox are hoping to build the team back up to a competitive level after a 2012 season that saw the team finish in last place in the AL East. Towards the end of last season, the Sox traded away some hefty contracts and in doing so got rid of players that were starting to be considered non-character guys and in the off season, the team fired manager Bobby Valentine, hired manager John Farrell away from the Toronto Blue Jays and signed players considered good club house guys, most notably outfielder Shane Victorino. All of this in hopes of bringing a competitive nature back to Fenway Park. Boston.com reported Friday that the Red Sox have signed some of the team’s key contributors from the 2012 season to one-year contracts. One of those players is center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ellsbury was one of seven players signed Friday by the Red Sox. After a career year in 2011, Ellsbury spent most of the year on the disabled list but is still considered a key component in getting the Sox back into contention. Last season, the center fielder played in just 74 games, hitting .271 with just four home runs and 14 stolen bases. As reported by Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, Ellsbury and agent Scott Boras haven’t expressed interested in a long-term extension with the team. This is the third consecutive year that he has signed a one-year deal and will be eligible to enter free agency after the season.
The deal signed by Ellsbury is for $9 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility. This gives the Sox an option of trading Ellsbury during the season to get value back for him if the team is out of contention.
On Thursday, the Sox signed catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia to a one –year deal worth $4.5 million. Saltalmacchia was one of the bright spots last season offensively. John Farrell can have a nice offensive lineup with Saltalmacchia, Ellsbury joining a lineup that now has recently signed Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroa, Will Middlebrooks and Johnny Gomes.
The Red Sox also signed pitchers Andrew Bailey, Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Franklin Morales and Andrew Miller to help sure up a bullpin that now has closer Joel Hanrahan who was obtained from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hanrahan received $7.04 million in his final season of arbitration and has an incentive of earning an additional $60,000 based on how many games he closes.