When the dust of adding Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez settled, Boston Red Sox fans turned to the pitching staff and the only soft spot on the team. Now the Sox are looking to strengthen it.
Sources are reporting that the Sox have come to terms with free agent closer Bobby Jenks. Formally of the Chicago White Sox, Jenks has reportedly signed a two-year $12 million contract, which could become more lucrative based on performance.
Sources close to the deal have said Jenks was told he would be a set-up man for the Red Sox but would be considered for a closer spot if current closer Jonathan Papelbon falters.
Jenks was second in White Sox history with 173 saves since joining Chicago midseason in 2005 and helping the club win its first World Series since 1917. He had four saves in the postseason, pitching in all four Series games during a sweep of the Houston Astros.
He saved 27 games for the White Sox last year in an injury plagued season and his numbers have been on the decline but he adds much needed experience, especially playoff opportunities.
In addition, the Sox agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Matt Albers and made utility man Eric Patterson the “player to be named” to finish the Gonzalez trade with the San Diego Padres.
The Sox also announced the signings of six other players to minor league contracts in a press release:
The six free agents are left-handed pitchers Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Randy Williams and Lenny DiNardo, and right-handed pitchers Clevelan Santeliz and Ryan Harvey. Hill, Miller, Williams and Santeliz have also been invited to Boston’s Major League Spring Training camp as non-roster players.
Hill, 30, split the 2010 season between the Red Sox and Cardinals organizations, including 4.0 scoreless innings of relief with Boston, while going 1-0 with one hold over six Major League outings after his September 13 call-up. He also combined to go 7-4 with a 4.00 ERA (44 ER/99.0 IP) and 102 strikeouts in 42 appearances (10 starts) between the Cardinals Triple-A Memphis affiliate and Triple-A Pawtucket. The left-hander signed with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent on June 30 and posted a 3-1 record with 55 strikeouts in 19 appearances (six starts) for the PawSox, leading the team with a 3.74 ERA (22 ER/53.0 IP) after his July 1 debut. A native of Milton, MA, Hill is 22-20 with a 4.82 ERA (214 ER/399.1 IP) and 358 strikeouts in 84 career appearances (70 starts) over parts of six Major League seasons with the Cubs (2005-08), Orioles (2009) and Red Sox (2010).
The 25-year-old Miller was acquired by the Red Sox from the Florida Marlins on November 12 and he was non-tendered by the club on December 2. The left-hander was a teammate of Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard at the University of North Carolina, where he won the Roger Clemens Award as college baseball’s top pitcher in his a junior year. He was originally selected by Detroit in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and owns a 15-26 record with a 5.84 ERA (191 ER/294.1 IP) in 79 career Major League appearances (54 starts) over parts of five seasons with the Tigers (2006-07) and Marlins (2008-10).
Williams went 0-1 with one hold and a 5.40 ERA (15 ER/25.0 IP) in 27 relief appearances with the White Sox in 2010. The 35-year-old also appeared in 21 games (one start) with Chicago’s Triple-A Charlotte club, going 1-0 with two saves and a 2.53 ERA (9 ER/32.0 IP). Originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft, Williams has a career 3-3 record with a 5.74 ERA (47 ER/73.2 IP), 69 strikeouts and 52 walks in 90 Major League relief outings over parts of four seasons with the Mariners (2004), Padres (2005), Rockies (2005) and White Sox (2009-10). He has posted a 4.50 ERA (2 ER/4.0 IP) in four games this offseason with Venados de Mazatlan in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.
DiNardo, 31, posted a 3.40 ERA (18 ER/47.2 IP) and tallied a 2-5 mark in 10 games (nine starts) with Oakland’s Triple-A Sacramento affiliate in 2010. He previously pitched in the Red Sox organization during the 2004-06 seasons, going 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA (50 ER/81.1 IP), 53 strikeouts and 37 walks in 43 games (seven starts) with the Major League club. Originally selected by the New York Mets in the third round of the 2001 First Year Player Draft, DiNardo is 10-18 with a 5.36 ERA (153 ER/257.0 IP) in 94 career Major League games (34 starts) over parts of six seasons with the Red Sox (2004-06), A’s (2007-08) and Royals (2009).
Santeliz, 24, posted a 4.67 ERA (28 ER/54.0 IP) while going 1-4 with two saves over 38 relief outings with the White Sox Triple-A Charlotte club in 2010. He recorded 50 strikeouts and 34 walks while holding opponents to a .213 average (40-for-188), including a .188 mark (18-for-96) vs. right-handed batters. A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Santeliz was signed by the White Sox as an international free agent on May 19, 2004 and has gone 14-30 with 14 saves and a 4.48 ERA (192 ER/385.2 IP), 358 strikeouts and 234 walks in 202 career minor league games (31 starts) in Chicago’s system.
Harvey will be in his first season as a pitcher after spending his first eight professional seasons as an outfielder. The 26-year-old hit .213 (51-for-239) with 12 doubles, 11 home runs, 36 RBI and 30 runs in 68 games for Colorado’s Double-A Tulsa club in 2010, playing primarily in right field. Originally selected by the Cubs in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Harvey has batted .244 (578-for-2,372) with 117 home runs and 439 RBI in 642 career minor league games in the Cubs (2003-08) and Rockies (2009-10) organizations.