Sox Sign Infielder Ryan Roberts

Sox Sign Infielder Ryan Roberts

The Red Sox have signed veteran infielder Ryan Roberts to a Major-League contract today and have added him to the 25-man roster.

The 33-year old spent the entire 2013 season with the Tampa Bay Rays splitting time between AAA and the Major League level.

The need for a move escalated over the weekend after the team added starting third baseman Will Middlebrooks to the 15-day disabled list.

Middlebrooks has been diagnosed with a Grade-1 calf strain and now joins outfielder Shane Victorino on the DL.

The injury to Middlebrooks is not considered to be serious, but is expected to keep the slugger sidelined for up to three weeks.

The addition of Roberts gives the Sox some much needed infield bench depth and a viable short-term injury replacement for Middlebrooks.

Roberts is capable of playing six positions, but has seen the bulk of his playing time at third base with 1,737 innings logged over 217 games including 195 starts.

At third base, for his career, Roberts features a 5.9 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) and a .958 fielding percentage.

In 2013, Roberts hit .247 with five home runs and 17 RBI over 60 games for the Rays.

To make room for Roberts on the roster, the Red Sox optioned Brock Holt to AAA Pawtucket and transferred pitcher Steven Wright to the 60-Day DL.

New Sox utility man Jonathan Herrera will make his third-straight start at third base tonight against the Texas Rangers.

David Ortiz To Play In Opener

David Ortiz To Play In Opener

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is in the Opening Day lineup after sitting out the team’s final two exhibition games due to stiffness in his right calf.

The move to sit Ortiz was more precautionary and a good opportunity to provide the long-time veteran with some extra rest. The Red Sox will have just three days off during the month of April.

The 38-year old slugger is no stranger to lower leg issues and even the slightest hint of a problem is enough to have Red Sox fans fearing for the worst.

In 2012, Ortiz injured his right Achilles tendon in mid-July and missed the remainder of the season. Up until that point, Ortiz was having an All-Star caliber year batting .318 with 23 home runs, and 60 RBI in 324 at-bats over 90 games.

In 2013, Ortiz missed all of Spring Training and made his season debut on April 20th following his now famous pre-game “This is our [expletive] city” speech. Ortiz went on to hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI during the regular-season and was vintage David Ortiz leading the Red Sox to their third World Series championship of the last ten years.

Over the course of Spring Training, Ortiz batted .054 with one home run, two RBI and 13 strikeouts over 37 at-bats.

Terrible spring numbers, while sometimes alarming, are not a reliable tool in forecasting the outlook of a veteran major leaguer. Over the last eight spring training’s, Ortiz batted above .250 just once batting .333, over 24 at-bats, in the spring of 2006.

David Ortiz will have his fair share of health scares throughout the remainder of his big league career. Few players are able to remain as productive as he has been at such an advanced age. Every missed at-bat, every day off and every jog down the first base line will be dissected and discussed a million times over. Something every player on the wrong side of 35 can expect every day they continue to put on a uniform.

David Ortiz is the team’s longest-tenured member and a vital part of the team’s plans for a successful 2014 season. Injuries will always be part of the game and the Red Sox cannot afford to lose David Ortiz for any extended length of time.

The Red Sox feature one of the deeper rosters in Major League baseball, but nobody is capable of replacing David Ortiz.

David Ortiz Agrees To Extension

david ortiz agrees to extension

The Red Sox announced on Sunday night they have signed designated hitter David Ortiz to a one-year, $16 million extension. The deal will extend the slugger’s current contract through the 2015 season.

The extension also includes a vesting option for the 2016 season, based on plate appearances, and a club option for the 2017 season. Ortiz will receive a $1 million bump over his 2014 salary and now stands to end the rampant speculation as to if/when the Red Sox and the nine-time All-Star would reach an agreement regarding his future.

“With this agreement, we have near certainty that David Ortiz will finish his career in a Red Sox uniform, which is something we have all wanted and that we are all proud of,” said owner John Henry. “It is difficult to describe David’s contributions to our city both on the field and off the field, and we are so proud to have this ambassador of our game with us as he continues on this road to Cooperstown.”

Money Well Spent?

There has been a strong undercurrent to the yearly Ortiz contract saga questioning whether or not signing a designated hitter, at such an advanced age, is worth it. The Sox have had their fair share of detractors when they inked Ortiz to a two-year $30 million deal at the end of the 2012 season.

The arguments have merits on both fronts. Typically, multi-year deals given to aging players end poorly and, signing a DH-only, limits a ball club’s roster flexibility.

That all sounds great in theory, but David Ortiz is not your typical player and not your typical DH. By all accounts, Ortiz is paid largely on past performances. Ortiz has played a large part in molding this era of Red Sox baseball. As a three-time world champion, an ambassador for the game and pillar within the community, Ortiz’s value to the organization transcends the everyday box score.

The Sox have access to resources that most clubs simply cannot match. Ortiz has carried the team to three World Series crowns and is still largely motivated to win. A winning attitude and an overwhelming desire to be the best at your position is not something that money can buy.

In 2013, Ortiz hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI over 137 regular-season games and continued his torrid pace batting .353 with five homeruns, 13 RBI and a 1.206 OPS over 16 postseason games.

Over the last three seasons, David Ortiz has averaged 26 homeruns, 86 RBI, and a .311 batting average. Money well spent.