Valentine reaches Crawford for lengthy chat
Red Sox left fielder seems 'determined' to get back on track
By Ian Browne / MLB.com | 01/14/12 3:48 PM EST
BOSTON -- At last, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine heard the sound of Carl Crawford's voice. Valentine had spent a few weeks trying to reach his left fielder, but he had been limited to voicemails or texts.
Valentine sure sounded as if he felt it was worth the wait.
"We finally got that call into Carl," Valentine said. "Carl sounded great. [The conversation], yeah, it was long. [General manager] Ben [Cherington] was on the line and [Crawford's] agent and Carl, so we talked a long time. It went well."
Getting Crawford back on track could play a big role in how successful Valentine is in his first season with the Red Sox. In 2011, Crawford was the one making the transition to Boston -- and it didn't go well. The left-handed hitter produced a .255 batting average with 11 homers and 56 RBIs in the first of a seven-year, $142 million pact, making it all the more important Crawford bounces back.
"He seemed very determined," Valentine said. "He seemed very understanding of the fact that things got spinning a little fast for him last year in a new environment, and he seemed to be determined to correct that."
Valentine has worked overtime trying to touch base with every player on his roster. He has made plane trips to visit with Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and many others.
This past week, Valentine visited the team's new training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
"The facility looks great," he said. "I'm sure that it's going to be ready and I'm sure it's going to be a place we're going to get a lot of work done. Everyone should be proud of that. It's really beautiful. It looks neat from the road."
While at the complex, Valentine ran into Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ryan Kalish and prospect Luis Exposito.
Cherington meets with Ortiz's agent in Boston
BOSTON -- Agent Fernando Cuza confirmed that he met with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Friday in Boston to discuss David Ortiz's contract situation.
The Red Sox are due to exchange salary arbitration figures with Ortiz by Tuesday. The design of the meeting was to see if an agreement could be reached before then.
"I think both sides expressed their positions and that's where everything is right now," Cuza said from a Jimmy Fund charity event across the street from Fenway Park. "I can't talk any more about it."
At this stage, it does not appear a deal will be worked out before the exchange of arbitration figures. However, the sides are still free to negotiate before a potential arbitration hearing in February.
During Theo Epstein's nine-year regime as general manager in Boston, he never went to salary arbitration with a player.
Ortiz made $12.5 million last season, when he hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs. Once he accepted Boston's offer of arbitration, he guaranteed himself a raise for 2012, perhaps in the range of $14-16 million.
Ortiz would like the security of a multi-year deal. The Red Sox would be willing to do one if it was in the right price range.
Several other Sox players filed for salary arbitration, including closer Andrew Bailey, righty Daniel Bard, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, righty Alfredo Aceves, lefty Franklin Morales and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Wake, 'Tek battling for spots 'unimaginable'
BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine has never managed Jason Varitek or Tim Wakefield, but he has enough respect for their track records that he has a hard time imagining what it would be like for either player to come to camp as a non-roster invitee.
"I couldn't imagine having Wake come in and compete for a job," Valentine said. "I can't imagine it. Or even 'Tek, for that matter. It's not something I can imagine."
Given that neither player has signed to this point and there doesn't appear to be a defined role for them on the Red Sox, the non-roster scenario would probably be the only way Varitek or Wakefield would wind up in camp with the Red Sox.
"I'm just trying to think if I ever had a guy with a 'C' on his chest who came in as a non-roster [player]," Valentine said. "The fact of the matter is, right now [Varitek is] not on the roster. If he came to Spring Training, I would think he would be a non-roster player."
One report suggested Friday that the Red Sox had already extended an invite to Varitek. However, a source told MLB.com that there's been no formal invite, and that the club is still waiting to see what Varitek's wishes are. The captain could elect to retire or sign with another team. If Varitek retires, there's a strong chance he could remain with the Red Sox organization in some capacity.
"I wish I saw them both play up close and personal last season, and I wish I had a real grasp of the entire 40-man roster," Valentine said. "I have a good idea. I know the situation right now is that everyone I've seen on the 40-man roster, at least I've heard about, seen on film and the reports I've seen, those are guys you don't really want to take off the 40-man roster and lose them. It's a tough situation."
The Red Sox have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach penciled in behind the plate, with prospect Ryan Lavarnway waiting in the wings. The pitching rotation has Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard targeted for the first four spots. Alfredo Aceves, Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva are among those who will be in competition for the fifth spot, seemingly leaving the 45-year-old Wakefield without a landing spot in Boston.