As the full squad workouts are underway at Fenway South, week one of spring training has not produced any huge headlines. As I stated last week Ryan Dempster would likely be moved to the bullpen, but Ryan Dempster decided he could not play in 2014. He announced such a decision last Sunday and it is believed the team knew two weeks ago. Dempster will be placed on the restricted list and will not be paid his $13 million salary for this season. Neck issues and wanting to spend time with his family are the reasons for him not playing this season.
When I think of Dempster, I think of him plunking Alex Rodriguez. His plunking of Alex Rodriguez means so much more now that he is leaving money on the table. Easily Dempster could have taken a stint on the disabled list until he deemed himself good enough to go and collected his salary. He said he has too much respect for the game and his teammates. That is refreshing to here in today’s world where athletes seem to chase the money. Alex Rodriguez will of course not play in 2014 because of suspension.
With Dempster salary off the books, will the Red Sox make any moves? Well one was made yesterday in bringing in left handed pitcher Chris Capuano on a one year deal. Capuano, who pitched for the Dodgers last year, will make $2.25 million (with incentives capable of brining that to $5 million) and fill the role we thought Dempster was going to fill this year. Spot starter in the bullpen, as well as a long reliever capable of going multiple innings. You can never have enough pitching, even with the young pitchers the Red Sox have, Capuano is a good pickup as he is a veteran. A career National League pitcher, Capuano will have to make adjustments against American League lineups, but John Farrell will use him where he can be most successful.
Capuano’s salary is nothing big, could the Red Sox afford to bring back Stephen Drew? According to Ben Cherington, that is not on the radar right now. He is comfortable with the infielders they have which I love hearing as Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks deserve their chance and not the thought of Stephen Drew coming in, possibly hampering their performance. Don’t get me wrong, Drew is a nice player who helped the Red Sox win a World Series last season, but it is time for the kids to play and hope they collect a draft pick if Drew signs with another team before the June draft. Of course super agent Scott Boras is still holding out for a good deal for Drew but the longer he waits the less likely Drew will get what they expect his proper value.
David Ortiz came to camp on Tuesday will some less than thrilling words about hit haters. All Ortiz wants is another year tacked onto his deal. Ortiz showed up with his agent which may dictate that the team may work something out in the near future. John Henry has said he wants Ortiz to retire in a Red Sox uniform and that will likely happen. Ortiz is in the second year of a two year deal signed last offseason, which many argued why they gave him a two year deal after a 2012 season where he tore his Achilles and was not all that happy with the team. 2013 silenced his critics but apparently not enough and now he is seeking another contract. All these haters Ortiz describes I don’t know exactly who they are because every media member seems to defend him, but maybe they will help his performance if he is angry. Nomar Garciaparra towards the end of his Red Sox tenure had haters and that lead to him leaving town, let’s hope that is not the case for Ortiz.
Spring Training games begin next Thursday already with the annual college matchups between Northeastern and Boston College. Friday the Sox take on Ft. Myers neighbors the Minnesota Twins. The Sox are likely to start some of the prospects in those games and get the expected rotation in on the second turn through the rotation, a way of giving them extra rest after a short offseason. Hard to believe spring games are already upon us and with plenty of coverage, Red Sox fans will get to know the players who might have an unexpected impact on this upcoming season.