Sox tender contracts to three pitchers

Red Sox tender contracts to trio of hurlers

BOSTON -- The Red Sox gave another strong indication on Tuesday as to how they will go about structuring their 2006 pitching staff.

All five of the team's arbitration-eligible players are pitchers, and the Red Sox tendered contracts to three of them.

Starters Bronson Arroyo and Josh Beckett, along with reliever Guillermo Mota, were all tendered. As a result, if the three hurlers choose to do so, they can take their case to an arbitrator early next year or settle with the team, with the possibility of a long-term contract.

The Red Sox could be exploring long-term deals, since all three could enter free agency after the 2006 season.

"We've had dialogue and will continue to have dialogue with their agents, and if a long-term deal is in the best interest of the club, that's something we'll explore," said co-general manager Jed Hoyer. "If we had a deal that was in the best long-term interests of the club, that's something we'd definitely talk about. I would say it's a dialogue and debate we'll have internally and with those agents over the next month and a half or so."

Arroyo went 14-10 with a 4.51 ERA in 32 starts and three relief appearances for Boston last season.

Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP, went 15-8 last season with a 3.38 ERA in 29 starts for the Marlins.

The hard-throwing Mota posted a 2-2 mark with two saves and a 4.70 ERA in 56 games for Florida last season.

With the acquisition of Beckett and the potential development of Jonathan Papelbon as a starter, Wade Miller was deemed expendable and thus non-tendered. Miller had right labrum surgery in September. Also non-tendered was reliever Chad Bradford, who went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 31 appearances for the Red Sox in 2005.

"Chad did a great job for us last year, but like Mike [Myers], he is a pitcher who does much better against one side of the plate, and I think what we'd like to do going forward is find pitchers that are a little bit more balanced, able to get out both sides of the plate," said Hoyer. "As we build this bullpen, that's one thing we're trying to do."

Both Miller and Bradford effectively become free agents.

Manny and other business: During a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, Hoyer and co-GM Ben Cherington updated their work on the Manny Ramirez front. Both cautioned against reading too much into Ramirez selling some of his Sox memorabilia to a local collectibles dealer.

"No, we don't put much into the fact that he's put some of his memorabilia up for sale," said Cherington. "Obviously, that's a personal decision. We're talking to more of Manny's representatives than Manny directly. We continue to work with him to see if there's a deal that works for him and the Red Sox, but we also continue to talk to him to appease some of his concerns, so we're working on a parallel front there."

The only bit of news on the Manny front came when Hoyer and Cherington acknowledged that someone from the Red Sox had spoken directly to the slugger once since the season ended, but neither Cherington nor Hoyer would elaborate on the details, adding that all other discussions have involved Ramirez's representatives.

"We also continue to talk to Manny and his representatives and continue to work on flushing out the issues he has, so that's an ongoing process," said Cherington.

In addition to an outfielder, the club continues to look for a shortstop and, possibly, a first baseman.

"Those things are things we're working on a lot, and we have a list of guys we're going after," said Hoyer. "We're talking to a lot of teams and a lot of agents, and hopefully, we'll get something done. It's something that's taking a big part of our day every day, trying to solve those [three] pieces."

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.