The PawSox 2010 roster is slowly beginning to take shape.
Baseball America ran a list over the weekend of the first wave of minor league free agents who have signed contracts this winter, and it included six players who have inked deals with Boston.
PawSox fans will be thrilled to know that the list is headed by closer Fernando Cabrera.
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
Cabrera was Pawtucket’s best pitcher in 2009, as he posted a 1.71 ERA while going 22-for-22 in save situations. I’m sure he’ll go to spring training with a chance to be part of Boston’s bullpen, but if he doesn’t make the big club, Cabrera would give the PawSox one of the league’s most dominant closers.
Gil Velazquez, a member of the PawSox for the last two years, also re-signed with Boston.
Gil is coming off a rough season as he batted .193 in 93 games, but he’s solid defensively at all four infield spots and can also play left field in a pinch. His defensive versatility has led to big league time with Boston in each of the last two seasons.
The list of newcomers who have signed minor league deals with Boston is headed by 31-year-old outfielder Darnell McDonald, a Triple-A All-Star in 2008 while playing for Rochester. McDonald is a favorite of former Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson, and Darnell hinted to me last year that wanted to play for the PawSox in the future. He’ll get his wish if he doesn’t stick with Boston as an extra outfielder, and Pawtucket would be McDonald’s seventh International League stop having played previously in Rochester, Ottawa, Durham, Buffalo, Columbus, and Louisville.
Angel Sanchez could be Pawtucket’s starting shortstop in 2010. The former Kansas City Royal is considered to be excellent defensively and had a good year with bat in ’09, hitting .305 with 29 doubles and 6 HR for Triple-A Los Vegas.
The Red Sox always sign veteran relief pitchers to help Pawtucket and give the organization experienced arms in case of injury at the big league level. This year, they’ve signed righties Edwin Moreno and Bob McCrory to minor league deals.
Moreno split last year between San Diego and Triple-A Portland of the PCL, while McCrory pitched for Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk.
The Baseball America article also mentioned some members of last year’s team who will not be back with Pawtucket.
Enrique Gonzalez, who led the PawSox in wins and strikeouts last year, has signed a minor league deal with Detroit. Infielder Travis Denker will be headed to the west coast after signing with the Seattle Mariners organization.
Additionally, the Red Sox have released outfielder Sean Danielson and catcher John Otness.
Boston is likely to sign more minor league free agents and one position the Sox could be targeting is third base. Jorge Jimenez was projected to be Pawtucket’s starter at that position after hitting .289 with 87 RBI for the Portland Sea Dogs last year, but Jimenez was taken in the Rule 5 draft last week by Houston and then traded to Florida. Since he was a Rule 5 pick, if Jimenez doesn’t make the Marlins, he could return to the Red Sox organization.
By the way, if the Red Sox are looking for any advice as they shop for minor league free agents, I.L. MVP Shelley Duncan is on the market. I guarantee that Pawtucket pitchers would appreciate not having to face him in 2010.
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