#RedSox and Portland Sea Dogs Extend Affiliation Agreement Through 2022.

Earlier Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox announced that they had extended their player development contract with their Double A affiliate Portland Sea Dogs for the next four seasons.

Originally affiliated with the then-Florida Marlins, the Sea Dogs have been affiliated with the Red Sox since the start of the 2003 season.

Since then, the Eastern League club has won a pair of division titles in 2005 and 2014 as well as their lone league title in 2006.

As things stand right now, the Red Sox’s 40-man roster includes 24 players who came up through the pipeline by way of Portland.

Notable alumni include Sea Dogs Hall of Famer Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, and Matt Barnes.

On the same day this news broke, the Sea Dogs also introduced former MLB catcher Joe Oliver as their 13th manager in the club’s history. Oliver, 53, has been with the Red Sox organization in a minor league managing capacity since 2014.

 

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#RedSox Avoid Arbitration with All 12 Eligible Players.

The Boston Red Sox have reached settlements with all 12 arbitration eligible players on their 40-man roster, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reports.

The 12 players who were eligible for arbitration, along with their brand new salaries for the 2019 season, go as follows:

Matt Barnes: $1.600MM
Mookie Betts: $20.000MM
Xander Bogaerts: $12.000MM
Jackie Bradley Jr.: $8.550MM
Heath Hembree: $1.312MM
Brock Holt: $3.575MM
Sandy Leon: $2.475MM
Eduardo Rodriguez: $4.300MM
Blake Swihart: $0.910MM
Tyler Thornburg: $1.750MM
Brandon Workman: $1.150MM
Steven Wright: $1.375MM

Prior to Friday, deals with Hembree, Thornburg, and Wright had already been settled upon.

Mookie Betts, meanwhile, was on the receiving end of far and away the largest one-year contract ahead of the upcoming season for any arbitration eligible player across baseball, let alone one in their second year of eligibility.

In total, the club spent approximately $55.395 million on these 12 contracts for 2019.

The Red Sox’ official Twitter account confirmed the 10 signings made on Friday just moments ago.

Mookie Betts and #RedSox Avoid Arbitration with $20 Million Deal for 2019 Season.

The Boston Red Sox and 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts have settled on a one-year, $20 million deal for the 2019 season, thus avoiding arbitration. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith was the first to report this.

Betts, 26, will be making history with this settlement, as $20 million is the most any player has earned in just their second year of arbitration eligibility.

The three-time All-Star earned $10.5 million this past season, so he will see his salary just about double this year.

Given the fact that Betts and the Red Sox could not come to an agreement on what the Tennessee native’s salary for 2018 would be and instead went to arbitration, the way things unfolded before the 1 PM EST deadline on Friday appear to be a lot more promising.

Rumors about a potential contract extension with Betts have loomed seemingly since the Red Sox won the World Series title in October. Now that the two sides have worked out a deal in pretty simple fashion, perhaps that increases the likelihood of an extension happening once the former fifth round pick’s market is determined.

In his 2018 season with Boston, Betts slashed .346/.438/.640 with 32 home runs and 80 RBI on his way to a historic AL MVP campaign. He also collected his second Silver Slugger Award and third consecutive Gold Glove Award.

Dustin Pedroia Is Set to Test His Injured Left Knee Next Week.

Earlier Thursday, The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato reported that Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will start running for the first time in months beginning next week to test his surgically repaired left knee.

As Mastrodonato’s tweet reads, Pedroia’s health going into spring training next month is crucial to what the club’s plan at second base will be for the upcoming 2019 season.

Although there is some level of uncertainty surrounding Pedroia, the fact that the Red Sox already have veteran infielders such as Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez on their 25-man roster is reassuring, but those two did not stop president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi from going out and acquiring Ian Kinsler from the Los Angeles Angels last July to seemingly fill in for Pedroia.

On the subject of Kinsler, it’s also worth mentioning that any acquisition Boston makes regarding a second baseman in the coming weeks would more than likely be a lower-level, minor league deal type of signing, as the club simply cannot promise regular playing time until Pedroia’s availability is determined.

Mastrodonato notes that the California native’s rehab will almost certainly take place in his adopted home state of Arizone, rather than at the Red Sox’s facility in Fort Myers, Florida.

When asked about Pedroia’s status at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas last month, Dombrowski said, “We’re hopeful that, again, Pedey will be fine. We are looking to add more minor league, guys on six-year renewal option players in general just because we need more depth. That’s a process we’ve been working on for a while.”

Pedroia, who will turn 36 this August, battled inflammation in his left knee throughout 2018 following cartilage restoration surgery in October of 2017.

The four-time All-Star only appeared in three games with Boston this past season, but still made his presence felt as a vocal leader off the field.

Chicago White Sox and RHP Kelvin Herrera Agree to Two-Year Contract.

The Chicago White Sox have reached an agreement with free agent reliever Kelvin Herrera on a two-year, $18 million contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The deal also includes a vesting option for a potential third year, and per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, that could take the value of this contract northward of $27 million.

Herrera, 29, opened the 2018 season with the Kansas City Royals, where he posted a miniscule 1.05 ERA over a span of 25 relief appearances before being dealt to the Washington Nationals in June.

There, the right-hander had a much more difficult time of things, as his ERA skyrocketed up to 4.34 over a span of just 21 appearances with the Nats.

Injuries were also an issue for Herrera this past season, as he was placed on the 10-day disabled list on two separate occasions in August.

The first occurrence, an impingement of the right rotator cuff on August 8th, saw the Dominican Republic native shelved for nearly two weeks before being activated on August 21st.

Less than a week after that, Herrera was once again placed on the disabled list due to a tear in the lisfranc ligament of his left foot. That saw his season ultimately come to an early conclusion.

Prior to all this injury-related news going down, the Red Sox were reportedly interested in acquiring the services of the flame throwing Herrera at the non-waiver trade deadline on the last day of July.

President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters that he had a deal in place for a reliever on that Monday leading up to the deadline, but things fell through because, “[The Nationals] thought they were going to move somebody, and then decided to change their mind. It was a discussion for a reliever. It was one of the few guys we put in that position that we thought would be an upgrade for us.”

With that in mind, it made sense that the Red Sox would be interested in potentially bringing in Herrera as a free agent to stabilize the back-end of their bullpen with the return of Craig Kimbrel still a question mark.

However, the fact that Herrera is coming off a lingering foot injury and still received a hefty chunk of change from the White Sox might mean that the Red Sox were never going to seriously head in this direction.

New York Yankees Agree to Three-Year Deal with LHP Zach Britton.

After losing out on David Robertson to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, the New York Yankees have brought back left-handed reliever Zach Britton on a three-year contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Britton, 31, was acquired by New York from the Baltimore Orioles last July, and posted a 2.88 ERA and 7.6 K/9 over 25 relief appearances and exactly 25 innings pitched while manning the back-end of the Yankees bullpen.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Britton’s three-year contract will be worth approximately $40 million, meaning the southpaw will earn about $13 million per season.

Britton’s contract also includes a $14 million team option for a potential fourth year that would need to be activated after the second year, meaning he could earn more than $50 million over the life of his new deal. The Texas native could also opt out if the Yankees fail to pick up that option following the 2020 season.

From the perspective of the Red Sox, this acquisition marks the second time in the past week that intriguing free agent bullpen options have been taken off the board by teams intending to contend in 2019.

It is unclear how hard the club pushed for the services of the oft-injured Britton, but I would like to imagine this increases their chances of retaining Craig Kimbrel at the moment.

Former Colorado Rockie Adam Ottavino remains an option on the relief market as well, but Rosenthal did previously reported Saturday that it’s, “not out of the question [the Yankees] will sign [Britton and Ottavino],” so we’ll have to wait and see if anything picks up on that front.

 

Philadelphia Phillies and RHP David Robertson Agree to Two-Year Deal.

The Philadelphia Phillies have reached an agreement with free agent reliever David Robertson on a two-year, $23 million dollar contract, per the team’s official Twitter account. As the tweet reads, the contract also includes a club option worth approximately $12 million for a potential third year.

Robertson, 33, had spent the past season and a half with the Yankees before signing his deal with Philadelphia on Thursday.

Back in November, it was reported that the right-hander was looking to sign on with a club near his home in Rhode Island, thus the Red Sox were viewed as legitimate suitors for Robertson’s services.

Instead, the University of Alabama alum more than likely chose the team that offered him the most money in the Phillies, while also not straying off too far from the Ocean State.

Known for providing quality work out of the bullpen in a variety of roles throughout his 11-year major league career, Robertson posted a 3.23 ERA and 11.8 K/9 over 69 relief appearances and 69.2 innings pitched with New York in 2018. He also recorded five saves.

With this news, one would have to assume that Philadelphia is out of the running for free agent closer Craig Kimbrel after adding Robertson to the back-end of the bullpen.

Whether or not that increases the chances of a reunion between the Red Sox and the seven-time All-Star remains to be seen, but President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has essentially kept that door open for the time being. And as we near closer and closer to spring training, Kimbrel’s price is sure to go down.

The Red Sox have also remained interest in free agents Adam Ottavino and Zach Britton. If I were to guess on where each would be going, I would venture to say one signs with Boston, while the other winds up in the Bronx, best case scenario.