Boston John Smoltz and Brad Penny are on their way to the Red Sox. Rocco Baldelli already was in Boston, holding up his new jersey.
After missing out on Mark Teixeira, the biggest free-agent prize of the offseason, the Red Sox were poised to make a series of smaller deals that would essentially complete their roster. They announced Baldelli’s signing on Thursday night at the annual dinner of the Boston Baseball Writers Association, with more news expected soon.
“I think you’ll see us now turn to players who we can take chances on, players who represent potential impact players,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. “We still have some things going on.”
Epstein would not confirm the deals for Smoltz or Penny, but as he spoke Penny was on his way out of Boston after completing his physical. The two-time All-Star, a native Oklahoman, was off to watch the Sooners play in the Bowl Championship Series title game against Florida.
Smoltz, who spent his first 21 years with the Atlanta Braves, reached a preliminary agreement with the Red Sox on a $5.5 million, one-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. The person said Smoltz will have the chance to earn another $5 million in performance bonuses based largely on how much time he spends on the active roster.
The deal is contingent on Smoltz passing a physical, which was scheduled for Monday.
Penny is 94-75 in nine years for the Florida Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, going 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA in ’07 and finishing third in voting for the NL Cy Young Award. But he was 5-9 with a 5.88 ERA in 15 starts last year for the Dodgers before going on the disabled list because of shoulder tendinitis and bursitis. His deal could be announced as early as Friday.
Smoltz, the only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves, is coming off major shoulder surgery that sidelined him for most of last season, but feels healthy enough to pitch at least one more year. Smoltz, 41, prefers to finish his career as a starter.