The Boston Red Sox began to play catch-up by getting All-Star catcher Mike Napoli, Tampa Bay took a chance on James Loney and the New York Yankees prepared for more time minus Alex Rodriguez during a brisk Monday at baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville.
Soon after the hall of fame welcomed three new members from long ago, teams got busy. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants kept center fielder Angel Pagan while the Texas Rangers agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent reliever Joakim Soria and reached a deal to keep catcher Geovany Soto.
Soria, a two-time All-Star with Kansas City, is recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery on April 3. The 28-year-old right-hander also had the ligament replaced in 2003.
Josh Hamilton, who hit 43 home runs with 128 RBI for the Rangers last season, was in Nashville but not to speak with the Rangers.
Coming off a last-place finish, Boston tried to resolve its catching situation. Napoli got a $39 million, three-year contract, a source said. “Awesome addition to our team!” Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester tweeted.
The Red Sox are aiming at another prize, too, exploring trade possibilities to pry Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets. Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington didn’t mention the knuckleballer by name, simply saying the price for pitching was “definitely pretty steep for the better guys.”
The Yankees know Rodriguez won’t be in the lineup on Opening Day. The 37-year-old third baseman, looking nothing like the slugger who ranks fifth on the career list with 647 homers, will have surgery on his left hip and could be out until the All-Star break.
The first announcement at the meetings podium came from the hall of fame, which said its pre-integration panel had elected former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, longtime umpire Hank O’Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White. They were honored for their achievements before the first half of the 20th century, and increased Cooperstown’s membership to 300.
Ruppert brought Babe Ruth to New York, built Yankee Stadium and transformed the pinstripers into baseball’s most dominant power. He did so much, many people just figured he was already enshrined.
Former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced to 6½ months in prison for hiding baseball gloves and other heirlooms from his playing days that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing, capping a tumultuous year of legal woes.
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson weighed Dykstra’s battle with drugs and alcohol versus the crimes he committed. Dykstra, formerly of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, also was ordered to do 500 hours of community service and pay $200,000 in restitution.