Red Sox

Red Sox have big decisions to make for 2011 payroll

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Red Sox have big decisions to make for 2011 payroll

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

CHICAGO -- The bad news for the Red Sox? They have lots of improvements to make for next year and risk losing two key players to free agency.

The good news? They should have room in their budget -- assuming they spend close to their payroll figure of this year -- to spend toward making the team a playoff contender again.

For now, the Red Sox are committed to approximately 100.5 million to 12 players for 2011, plus assorted payments on existing buyout clauses and the like.

The team will be rid of deals for Mike Lowell (12 million), Jason Varitek (3 million) and shortstop Julio Lugo (9 million). (Lugo hasn't played for the team since July of 2009, but the Sox were responsible for his contract this season).

In addition, several key players -- including closer Jonathan Papelbon and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury -- are due significant raises through the salary arbitration process. Papelbon will likely get somewhere between 11-12 million, with Ellsbury expected to get somewhere just under 1 million.

Furthermore, if the Sox elect to pick up the 12.5 option for slugger David Ortiz, that would bring the projected payroll to approximately 125 million for 15 players.

That would leave approximately 40 million or so to spend on players acquired from outside the organization, either through trade or free agency -- if, that is, the Sox intend to spend roughly to the level they spent this year.

The budget has not yet been set for 2011, and even when it is, the team is loathe to release details about its spending limits, arguing that making such information public puts the team at a competitive disadvantage.

Until the parameters are known, it's uncertain exactly how many impact free agents the Red Sox might be able to sign.

Re-signing both third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher Victor Martinez will likely cost the Sox a combined 25 million. If they kept both, would there still be money in the budget to add an impact free-agent outfielder such as Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth?

Both Werth and Crawford are expected to sign long-term deals with an average annual value in excess of 15 million.

Signing Beltre, Martinez and either Crawford or Werth would cost more than 40 million and would cover just 18 roster spots. Factor in another seven players -- even young players without arbitration rights or inexpensive free agents -- would mean another 5-10 million, and carrying the payroll well past 170 million for the first time.

One positive for the Sox -- their starting rotation, though expensive, is a fixed cost for 2011, with all five starters under control.

"When you have to go out and sign starting pitching,'' said one rival executive, ''that's where it really gets costly. They have some holes, but at least they don't have to go out on the free agent pitching market.''

To save payroll, it's possible that the Sox could deal Daisuke Matsuzaka -- due 8 million next season and 10 million in 2012 -- for outfield help, while giving the fifth spot in the rotation to a younger (and far less expensive) option such as Felix Doubront.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.