Welcome to Boston: Mantei, Halama, Wells, Renteria

Matt Mantei is replacing Scott Williamson as our injury-prone, fireballing reliever. Mantei has been a closer and set-up man for the Marlins and Diamondbacks. In his last healthy season, which was 2003, Mantei had a 2.62 ERA in 55 IP of work. He may not be as effective in 2005 (career ERA is 3.86) but he should really shore up a bullpen. He signed a contract for one year at $750,000.
Also signed to be a presence in the bullpen is lefty John Halama who is actually a starter, but much, much more effective as a reliever. “He had a 2.46 ERA in 44 innings out of the bullpen last season and a 2.64 ERA in 136 1/3 IP over the last three years” (Rotoworld). Those are very effective numbers and can also be pressed into starting duty should one of our starters go down to injury, or if we need a spot start. He was signed for one year at one million dollars. I’m starting to get very excited about our bullpen.
David Wells, out of nowhere, is now a Red Sox for two years, a guaranteed $8 million, with $10 more million in incentives.

Under the terms of the agreement, Wells would receive a $3 million signing bonus and have a base salary of $2.5 million in 2005 and 2006. He also would have the opportunity to earn an additional $5 million in performance bonuses in each year of the contract. The deal will not be official until Wells passes a physical, reportedly scheduled for Tuesday.
“He really likes the makeup of the Red Sox from the perspective of they’re his kind of guys,” Clifton said before the signing was announced. “Those guys just go out there and love to play ball and don’t worry about what happens off the field. They’re ready to show up when the first pitch is thrown and they’re ready to win. David is the ultimate gamer. No one wants the ball more in big-game situations and no one wants the pressure more than David does. The combination of that and him with the Boston fans is a perfect fit.” (Boston Globe)

This is not a frivolous move by the Sox. Wells won a modest 12 games last season for the Padres, but he showed up in camp weighing 30 pounds less than he’d weighed the year before with the Yankees and made all of his starts, except for the time off because of the barstool accident. He walked just 20 batters in 195 innings, and was fourth in the National League in opponents’ on-base average (.285). In win shares, the barometer invented by Bill James to measure a player’s importance to a team, Wells ranks 10th lifetime among active pitchers, just behind a couple of guys named Martinez and Schilling. (Boston Globe)

Asked Friday if he was concerned that Wells’ carousing might upset the chemistry in the Boston clubhouse, general manager Theo Epstein said sarcastically, “No, we don’t have any guys like that.” (ESPN)

At first, I was shocked. Yankee lover David Wells was coming to Boston. This is the guy that loves and idolizes (and one would argue, is) Babe Ruth. The one that despises Fenway, and the one that got hammered last year (much to my delight) at the hands of the Red Sox, giving up five homeruns in 5.2 IP at Yankee Stadium. I was in New York at the time, and I remember watching the game at a Red Sox friendly house. Boy, was I loving it.
When Wells went to the Padres, I still didn’t care for him, but I kept an eye on him, and he did rather well with a 12-8 record in 31 games, 195.0 IP, 3.73 ERA, 1.14 WHIP (lowest since 1998) and I kept hearing how much of a mentor he was to the young Padre pitchers. Obviously he won’t be mentoring much, but he seems like a great mentor for Arroyo, and will take over for Derek Lowe both in his rotation spot and in his Arroyo mentoring. Derek Lowe was Arroyo