Red Sox, Rob Refsnyder avoid arbitration by agreeing to $1.2 million deal for 2023 season

The Red Sox and outfielder Rob Refsnyder have avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal for the 2023 season, reports Chad Jennings of The Athletic.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo relays that Refsnyder will receive $1.2 million in 2023, which represents a 50 percent raise from the $800,000 he earned in 2022. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier adds that the deal includes up to $100,000 in performance bonuses.

Refsnyder originally signed a minor-league pact with the Sox last December. After failing to make Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, the 31-year-old accepted an assignment to Triple-A Worcester. He first made his Red Sox debut as a COVID-related substitute in late April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in early June.

In 57 total games with the Red Sox, Refsnyder batted .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 177 plate appearances. The right-handed hitter proved to be particularly effective against left-handed pitching as evidenced by his .359/.411/.594 slash line off southpaws.

Defensively, Refsnyder saw playing time at all three outfield positions this season. The 6-foot, 205-pounder logged 24 2/3 innings in left, 115 innings in center, and 163 innings in right while registering one outfield assist. He also has past experience at every infield position besides shortstop.

“Great season. Great job for us,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said last month in regards to Refsnyder’s performance. “He was really good. Offensively, the versatility, the quality of the at-bats were awesome.”

For as productive as Refsnyder was this year, he also dealt with his fair share of injuries. A right knee sprain sidelined him from July 30 until August 6. He then missed the final four games of the season after being shut down with low back spasms.

“It’s a matter of staying healthy,” said Cora. “That’s the most important thing with him. We’ll set up a good program for him in the offseason and this is a guy we really like. We really like. And he can contribute at this level.”

Refsnyder, who turns 32 in March, provides Cora and Co. with experienced outfield depth. The native South Korean is likely to serve as the club’s fourth outfielder next season, but he could also platoon with a left-handed hitter if needed.

As things stand now, the Red Sox have Refsnyder, Alex Verdugo, and Enrique Hernandez as available outfield options while Jarren Duran is also on the 40-man roster. That being said, the expectation seems to be that Boston will look to bolster its outfield via trade and/or free agency this winter.

With Refsnyder locked in for 2023, the Red Sox still have nine other arbitraiton-eligible players on their roster in Ryan Brasier, Rafael Devers, Nick Pivetta, Franchy Cordero, Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Josh Taylor, Reese McGuire, and Yu Chang. The club has until next Friday, November 18, to tender these players a contract or they will otherwise become free agents.

(Picture of Rob Refsnyder: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rob Refsnyder is in Red Sox’ plans for 2023: ‘He’s a guy we definitely can rely on,’ Alex Cora says

The Red Sox placed Rob Refsnyder on the 10-day injured list with low back spasms on Monday, thus ending the outfielder’s season.

Refsnyder, 31, originally signed a minor-league deal with the Sox last December. The former fifth-round draft pick came with plenty of experience, as he previously bounced around between the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Rangers, and Twins over the course of six seasons after breaking in with New York in 2015.

Once heralded as a top prospect in the Yankees organization, Refsnyder had to settle for a minors pact with Boston this past winter. After failing to make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster, the right-handed hitter began his season with Triple-A Worcester. He first served as a COVID-related substitute in late April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in early June.

Though he missed some time in August with a right knee sprain, Refsnyder still proved to be a valuable asset for the Red Sox in 2022. In 57 games, he batted .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 177 plate appearances.

“Great season. Great job for us,” manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) on Monday. “He was really good. Offensively, the versatility, the quality of the at-bats were awesome.”

As advertised, Refsnyder proved to be particularly effective against left-handed pitching by going 23-for-64 (.359) with six doubles and three homers off southpaws. He also posted a .417 on-base percentage and .932 OPS in 17 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.

Defensively, Refsnyder saw playing time at all three outfield positions for the Sox. The 6-foot, 205-pounder logged 163 innings in right, 115 innings in center, and 24 2/3 innings in left. His one outfield assist came against the Rays at Tropicana Field on April 24. He also made a fantastic diving catch against the Mariners in Seattle on June 12.

Refsnyder, who turns 32 in March, is under club control through 2024 and is eligible for salary arbitration next year. Given his ability to hit lefties and play all over the outfield, it certainly seems like Refsnyder is in the Red Sox’ plans for 2023 as a potential fourth outfielder.

“He’s a guy we definitely can rely on,” Cora said, via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “We recognized it in spring training. I remember we were talking (during) the lockout and all that. We had our meetings with the information department. And the ability to impact the baseball was there and the projections. Defensively solid.

“It’s a matter of staying healthy,” added Cora. “That’s the most important thing with him. We’ll set up a good program for him in the off-season and this is a guy we really like. We really like. And he can contribute at this level.”

(Picture of Rob Refsnyder: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

Red Sox avoid arbitration with all eligible players, including Rafael Devers

The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with all five of their arbitration-eligible players heading into the 2022 season, the club announced on Tuesday.

Boston was able to come to terms with pitchers Nick Pivetta and Josh Taylor, infielders Christian Arroyo and Rafael Devers, and outfielder Alex Verdugo on Tuesday, thus avoiding a possible hearing. They did the same with reliever Ryan Brasier and catcher Kevin Plawecki prior to last November’s non-tender deadline.

Pivetta, 29, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $3.2 million in 2022. The right-hander will instead net $2.65 million this year, according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel.

Taylor, 29, was also entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLBTR to earn $1.1 million in 2022. The left-handed reliever may not be ready for the start of the season due to a back issue, but he will be making $1.025 million this year regardless, per McDaniel.

Arroyo is another first-year arbitration-eligible player. The 26-year-old second baseman was projected by MLBTR to also earn $1.1 million in 2022. He has instead avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.2 million salary for the upcoming season, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.

Devers is undoubtedly the most notable name on this list and the most expensive as well. As a second-year arbitration-eligible player, the 25-year-old All-Star was projected by MLBTR to earn $11.1 million in 2022 — representing a 143% raise from the $4.575 million he made in 2021.

There were some rumblings that Devers and the Red Sox were not going to come to an agreement on a salary figure for the 2022 season ahead of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. eastern time deadline and would instead be going to an arbitration hearing. Those concerns turned out to be premature, though, as the two sides have since settled on a $11.2 million salary for the year, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Finally, we arrive at Verdugo, who is also embarking upon his first season of arbitration eligibility. The 25-year-old was projected by MLBTR to earn $3.2 million in 2022 but will actually make a little more than that at $3.55 million, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

These agreements do not preclude the Red Sox from engaging in contract extension talks with any of the aforementioned players leading up to Opening Day on April 7. This is particularly prevalent for Devers, who can become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Kevin Plawecki to one-year deal, thus avoiding arbitration; veteran catcher will earn $2.25 million in 2022

The Red Sox have signed catcher Kevin Plawecki to a one-year deal for the 2022 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration, the club announced Wednesday morning.

Plawecki, who turns 31 in February, will earn $2.25 million in 2022, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive $2 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Originally signed to a one-year deal last January, Plawecki has emerged as a stable presence behind the plate while backing up Christian Vazquez in his time with the Red Sox.

This past season, the 30-year-old backstop slashed a solid .287/.349/.389 to go along with seven doubles, three home runs, 15 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 12 walks, and 26 strikeouts over 64 games spanning 173 plate appearances.

Plawecki put up those numbers while earning $1.6 million in 2021, so the $2.25 million he will receive this coming season represents a a 40.6% increase from that amount.

The right-handed hitter out of Purdue University figures to once again slot in behind Vazquez as Boston’s No. 2 catcher going into the spring and is slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.

By locking up Plawecki for 2022, the Red Sox have now signed two of their eight arbitration-eligible players after inking right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier to a one-year pact and not tendering a contract to speedy outfielder Tim Locastro on Tuesday.

Besides Plawecki and Brasier, Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe, Nick Pivetta, and Josh Taylor are all arbitration-eligible players who remain unsigned, though they have been tendered contracts for the 2022 season.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox non-tender Tim Locastro, but ‘are already trying to re-sign’ speedy outfielder, per report

The Red Sox may have non-tendered Tim Locastro on Tuesday night, but the club may already be looking into bringing the speedy outfielder back.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Sox are indeed trying to re-sign Locastro, who was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $700,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2022.

Locastro, 29, was originally claimed off waivers from the Yankees on November 5 and was subsequently added to Boston’s 40-man roster. He spent the 2021 season with the Diamondbacks and Yankees, slashing .180/.263/.252 with four doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, 15 runs scored, five stolen bases, seven walks, and 33 strikeouts over 64 games (156 plate appearances) between both clubs.

Upon getting traded from Arizona to New York on July 1, Locastro suffered a season-ending injury very early into his Yankees career, as he tore his right ACL in a game against the Red Sox in the Bronx on July 17.

After undergoing season-ending knee surgery on July 21, Locastro later lost his spot on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, thus allowing the Red Sox to claim him in the first place.

As of early November, the right-handed hitting speedster had began running again and was making significant progress in his rehab.

“Tim’s on track for a full recovery from his injury,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a recent conversation with BloggingtheRedSox.com. “With his speed and athleticism, he’s great depth for us to add at the beginning of the off-season.”

At that time, Bloom also said, “We’ll see how things play out from here.” Less than a full month later, it turns out Boston has removed Locastro from their 40-man roster.

While coming off a tough injury such as an ACL tear, Locastro had previously established himself as one of the quickest base runners in the majors. Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder led the league in sprint speed in 2019 (30.8 feet per second) and 2020 (30.7 feet per second) and was tied with Trea Turner atop the leaderboard in 2021 (30.7 feet per second).

Taking his elite speed and the fact that he plays all three outfield positions into consideration, there is an appeal to Locastro’s game. The former 13th-round draft pick out of Ithaca College does not turn 30 until next July, has one minor-league option year remaining, and is also under club control through 2024.

With that being said, Cotillo notes that in their efforts to retain Locastro, the Red Sox could get the New York native to sign a minor-league deal for the 2022 season that would include an invite to major-league spring training.

Boston has, after all, been active in minor-league free agency as of late. On Tuesday, the club reportedly inked outfielders Rob Refsnyder and Christin Stewart to minor-league contracts for the 2022 campaign.

Adding Locastro via another minors pact would only further strengthen the Sox’ outfield depth behind the likes of Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, and Jarren Duran.

On another note, it is worth mentioning that Locastro was one of 41 players to not be tendered a contract by their respective teams on Tuesday. It’s likely that the Red Sox will be involved in talks with those who have recently been made free agents before the impending work stoppage begins on Wednesday night.

(Picture of Tim Locastro: Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Ryan Brasier, non-tender Tim Locastro in flurry of roster moves

In a flurry of roster moves made on Tuesday, the Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract with Ryan Brasier for the 2022 season, did not tender a contract for 2022 to Tim Locastro, and tendered contracts to all 27 remaining unsigned players on the major-league roster.

The club made all of these transactions official earlier Tuesday night.

By signing Brasier to a one-year pact for the 2022 season, the Red Sox have avoided salary arbitration with the right-handed reliever.

According to FanSided’s Robert Murray, Brasier will earn $1.4 million next year, which is the exact same amount MLB Trade Rumors projected he would receive in what would have been his second season of arbitration eligibility.

This past season marked Brasier’s fourth in the Red Sox organization since originally inking a minor-league pact with Boston back in March 2018, and it was certainly a hellish one.

After breaking his pinky finger over the winter and straining a calf muscle during spring training, the 34-year-old was struck in the head by a line drive during a simulated game in Fort Myers in early June.

Brasier was left with a concussion, but the veteran righty made his way back to the major-leagues by September and wound up posting a 1.50 ERA with nine strikeouts to four walks over 13 appearances spanning 12 innings pitched out of the Boston bullpen.

Brasier, who does not turn 35 until next August, put up those numbers while making $1.25 million in 2021, so the $1.4 million he is slated to earn in 2022 represents an increase from that amount.

On the flip side of retaining Brasier, the Red Sox non-tendered Locastro, the speedy outfielder they claimed off waivers from the Yankees in early November.

Locastro, 29, tore his ACL last season and is just months removed from the season-ending surgery he underwent in July.

While he is on track for a full recovery, the Sox ultimately decided against tendering Locastro a contract for the 2022 campaign, thus bringing the size of their 40-man roster down to 37 players as he becomes a free agent.

That being said, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that the Red Sox are already trying to re-sign Locastro on a new deal. The New York native was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $700,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility, but could be brought back to Boston on a minor-league deal.

Besides Brasier and Locastro, the Red Sox tendered contracts to all remaining unsigned players on their major-league roster. That group also includes arbitration-eligible players such as Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, Kevin Plawecki, Rafael Devers, Hunter Renfroe, Nick Pivetta, and Josh Taylor.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, Verdugo, Arroyo, Pivetta, and Taylor are all first-year eligible, while Devers and Renfroe are in their second year of eligibility and Plawecki is in his third.

(Picture of Ryan Brasier: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers avoid arbitration with $4.575 million deal for 2021

The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have avoided salary arbitration, as the two sides reached agreement on a $4.575 million contract for the 2021 season, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand

UPDATE: It’s official now.

Devers, 24, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility. He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $6.3 million in 2021.

Had Devers and the Red Sox not settled on a dollar figure by Friday’s deadline, the two sides would have had to appear in front of an arbitrator sometime next month in order to determine the infielder’s salary for the upcoming season.

Prior to Friday’s deadline, Devers had been the only arbitration-eligible player the Sox had yet to come to terms with, as the club signed the likes of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Austin Brice, Kevin Plawecki, and Eduardo Rodriguez to contracts in December.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, neither Boston nor Devers’ camp talked about a potential long-term contract extension leading up to Friday’s agreement. The Dominican national’s agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of REP1 Baseball, said as much when speaking with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier last week.

“We haven’t talked about 2021 or a multiyear deal right now,” Montes de Oca said. “Right now he’s just concentrated on getting in shape for 2021 and put in the best season and helping the team win. We haven’t talked or thought about any multiyear deal at this point.”

Despite the notion that there have been no talks about an extension to this point, the two sides are free to explore that possibility in the meantime. Though, as noted by Cotillo, “conversations about those types of contracts usually take place before or during spring training and are tabled before the beginning of the season.”

As of this writing, Devers is eligible to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign.

For now, the former top prospect will prepare to embark on his fifth big-league season (fourth full) as he reunites with manager Alex Cora.

According to Speier, Devers is currently working out in Tampa to prepare for the season. The start of spring training is just a few short weeks away, after all.

By reaching an agreement with Devers, the Red Sox — or any players on the team for that matter — won’t have to attend any arbitration hearings this spring for the first time since 2019.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox have yet to talk to Rafael Devers about long-term contract extension, third baseman’s agent says

The Red Sox have yet to engage Rafael Devers about a potential long-term extension, the third baseman’s agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of REP1 Baseball, told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Devers, who turned 24 in October, is about to enter his first season of arbitration eligibility and is on track to reach free agency at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

After he was tendered a contract last month, Devers’ camp and the Red Sox have until this coming Friday to exchange arbitration figures, meaning there is still time — before and after the end of this week — for the two sides to reach agreement on an appropriate salary for the 2021 campaign.

“We haven’t talked about 2021 or a multiyear deal right now,” Montes de Oca told Speier. “Right now he’s just concentrated on getting in shape for 2021 and put in the best season and helping the team win. We haven’t talked or thought about any multiyear deal at this point.”

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million in 2013, Devers is coming off a rather underwhelming 2020 season — his fourth (third full) in the majors — after finishing 12th in American League MVP voting the year before.

Over a team-leading 57 games played, the left-handed hitting infielder slashed .263/.310/.483 with 11 home runs, 16 doubles, and 43 RBI over 57 games and 248 plate appearances. He also committed 14 errors while posting negative-6 defensive runs saved in 475 innings patrolling the hot corner, as noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Some of those defensive struggles can be linked to a left ankle injury Devers suffered in August, which resulted in him missing a few games.

“That affected his range and throwing mechanics,” writes Speier. “He committed three throwing errors in a game shortly after his return to the field and made nine in total after returning. While there was no structural damage serious enough to keep him out of the lineup, Devers nonetheless struggled through the end of the year.”

Despite dealing with those aforementioned ankle issues towards the latter half of the 2020 season, Devers is apparently on track to be ready for spring training come February. He’s even headed to Tampa Bay later this month to get some work in with a personal trainer.

“He’s 100% now,” Montas de Oca said of his client. “He’s getting ready to have a really good 2021 season. He takes pride on helping the team win and hopefully bringing another championship. He loves that team. He loves the city and loves the fans.”

Back in October, MLB Trade Rumors projected that Devers would earn approximately $3.4 million in his first season of arbitration eligibility. We will have to wait and see if that projection comes to fruition in the coming weeks.

(Photo of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Matt Barnes, 6 others to one-year deals, tender contract to Rafael Devers

UPDATE: As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox also signed right-hander Chris Mazza and outfielder Yairo Munoz to one-year deals on Wednesday.

The non-tender deadline came and went Wednesday night without the Red Sox cutting a single arbitration or pre-arbitration eligible player from its 40-man roster.

Per a team release, the Sox agreed to one-year contracts with the likes of right-handers Austin Brice, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Chris Mazza, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, and catcher Kevin Plawecki.

Additionally, Boston will tender one-year contracts for the 2021 season to 25 players who remain unsigned, with third baseman Rafael Devers being the most notable of those individuals after the two sides failed to reach agreement on a deal.

The 24-year-old will have until January 15 to come to terms on a contract with the Sox or he will otherwise be headed for salary arbitration for the first time in his career come February.

As for the other players involved here, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo has the details on how much Barnes, Brasier, Brice, Mazza, Munoz, Plawecki, and Rodriguez will be earning next season:

Barnes: $4.5 million salary for 2021
Brasier: $1.25 million salary for 2021
Brice: $870,000 salary for 2021
Mazza: $576,000
Munoz: $582,500
Plawecki: $1.6 million salary for 2021
Rodriguez $8.3 million salary for 2021

All in all, the Red Sox owe this group listed above more than $17.5 million headed into the upcoming season.

Barnes, 30, and Rodriguez, 27, are the only two players who were entering their final year of arbitration eligibility, meaning they will become free agents for the first time in their respective careers next winter barring any extension talks.

On account of them not making any sort of cuts or subtractions on Wednesday, Boston’s 40-man roster is still at full capacity. That is likely to change now that this offseason’s free agency class has increased in size due to other clubs non-tendering a staggering amount of their eligible players in order to save money.

Diving Into 2021 Arbitration Salary Projections for Nine Eligible Red Sox Players

MLB Trade Rumors released their annual arbitration salary projections for the 2021 season earlier Thursday.

Unlike past years, projecting arbitration salaries for 2021 has become even more confounding than usual due to the financial circumstances the pandemic-induced, 60-game 2020 Major League Baseball season created for its clubs.

With that in mind, MLBTR’s Matt Swartz has put together three different projection models for this exercise in salary arbitration. The first of these three models directly uses statistics from the 2020 season, while the second model “extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals,” and the third, which only applies to non-first-time arbitration eligible players, gives players 37% of the raise they would have received if the 2020 season was 162 games long. That being the case because 60 divided by 162 is equal to 37%.

It is somewhat confusing, but here is how those projections would apply to the nine members of the Red Sox who are currently eligible for salary arbitration this winter, again courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

PlayerModel 1Model 2Model 3
Matt Barnes$3.7MM$5.7MM$4.1MM
Ryan Brasier$1.00MM$1.6MM$1.0MM
Austin Brice$700K$900K$700K
Rafael Devers$3.4MM$6.3MM$3.4MM
Zack Godley$800K$1.1MM$800K
Jose Peraza$2.9MM$3.2MM$3.0MM
Kevin Plawecki$1.6MM$2.0MM$1.3MM
Eduardo Rodriguez$8.3MM$8.3MM$8.3MM
Ryan Weber$900K$1.5M$900K

Among these nine players, Matt Barnes and Eduardo Rodriguez are both entering their final seasons of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency for the first time next November.

Other names listed above, such as Zack Godley and Jose Peraza, could very well be non-tendered by Boston by December 2, which would make them free agents.

Even if a record number of non-tenders are expected between now and early December, this projection model is certainly still helpful. And if we take the projected salaries of the players listed above and use the third and most-likeliest model to be used in this scenario, the total amount of arbitration salaries would add up to approximately $23.5 million.

Take that total and add it to the salaries of players who are under contract or have options for 2021, which would be approximately $155 million, and you arrive at the Sox’ projected payroll for next season, $178.5 million as noted by @RedSoxPayroll.

Of course, this does not take into consideration any players the Red Sox could add over the course of what is sure to be another busy winter for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co, so that projected payroll number is likely to change relatively soon.

I hope this piece was insightful as Major League Baseball prepares to embark on an offseason unlike any before in recent memory. Should be intriguing to monitor to say the least.