From Comcast SportsNetBOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with right-hander Ryan Dempster on a two-year contract worth 26.5 million, two people familiar with the negotiations said Thursday.Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington would not comment on Dempster at a news conference to announce the signing of outfielder Shane Victorino. "We're engaged with a pitcher. That's all I can say at this point," Cherington said, without mentioning Dempster by name.But a few hours later the sides completed the framework of a deal, the two people familiar with the talks said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement was pending a physical.Dempster would help a rotation led by Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, promising young pitchers coming off subpar seasons. At the other end of the staff are Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront; pitchers the Red Sox hope can develop into dependable starters. John Lackey returns after missing last season due to elbow ligament-replacement surgery.Dempster, 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA this year, gives the Red Sox a reliable pitcher who has thrown more than 200 innings for four of the past five seasons. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA with the Chicago Cubs this year before being traded to Texas. He was 7-3 with a 5.03 ERA for the Rangers.Boston hopes he will be an improvement over Josh Beckett, who was 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that conceded the 2012 season while clearing 250 million in future salaries. Daisuke Matsuzaka, who arrived in Boston to international fanfare, was 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA last season while battling injuries.Dempster, 35, has a 124-124 record and a 4.33 ERA in a 15-year big league career, most of it with the Marlins and Cubs.
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MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski may not be looking closely at the Yankees' and Astros' rosters, but chairman Tom Werner appears to have peeked.
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“Sure there’s pressure,” Werner said at Winter Weekend when asked about the Yankees’ pick-up of Giancarlo Stanton and the Astros’ addition of Gerrit Cole. “Houston was formidable last year. I thought we played them competitively in Fenway Park. They’ve obviously improved. But if we have the kind of performances I expect from some of our players this year — obviously we’re looking for some more improvement from certain players. Hopefully, a healthy David Price will be very important to that.
"I think we have an excellent team, but anything can happen in a short series. The Yankees have improved, there’s no question about it. They have a deep bullpen and a great offense. But I like our chances.”
At the Boston baseball writers awards dinner on Thursday, Sox president Sam Kennedy cracked a joke about Dombrowski presenting Yankees general manager Brian Cashman with an Apple Watch as a gift. The rivalry perked up in 2017.
“I’m sure that when Judge and Stanton come to Fenway Park this year, it’ll be electric,” Werner said.
It’s not exactly an offseason punch-for-punch dynamic with the Sox and Yankees, though, as it was circa 2003-04.
“Not specifically,” Werner said of countering Stanton. “It’s important for us to be competitive with them, but we’re not trying to play chess with them.”