#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.

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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.

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.

#RedSox Reportedly Sign Carson Smith to Minor League Deal.

The Boston Red Sox have brought back RHP Carson Smith on a minor league contract for the 2019 season, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Smith, 29, originally elected free agency after being outrighted from Boston’s 40-man roster in November, but in a move that may surprise some, the Texas native is back with the organization.

Originally acquired from the Seattle Mariners along with LHP Roenis Elias in exhange for RHP Jonathan Aro and LHP Wade Miley back in December of 2015, Smith’s initial tenure with the Red Sox was riddled with injuries and several stints on the disabled list.

In parts of three different seasons with Boston, the former eighth round pick posted a 2.65 ERA and 10.3 K/9 over just 29 appearances out of the bullpen and 23.2 total innings pitched.

A recipient of Tommy John surgery in 2016, Smith made his first Opening Day Red Sox roster this past season, where he allowed six runs to cross the plate over 14.1 innings of work before his year ultimately came to an end on May 14th.

After serving up an eighth inning solo home run to the Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis, the right-hander slammed his glove in the Red Sox dugout of frustration upon retiring the side in the frame, which resulted in the subluxation of his throwing shoulder. An injury that would eventually see Smith placed on the 60-day disabled list and miss the remainder of the season.

To make matters worse, Smith essentially threw his manager Alex Cora under the bus following his embarrassing injury, saying that, “I think fatigue played a factor. My shoulder just couldn’t handle it. I think my shoulder is tired in general just from pitching. I’ve thrown a lot lately and I think my arm was just tired.”

That matter did not sit well with Red Sox fans back in the spring, but with the departure of Joe Kelly to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the probable departure of Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox have made adding pitching depth a priority this winter.

Already in the month of December alone the club has agreed to minor league deals with RHPs Erasmo Ramirez and Zach Putnam to go along with Sunday’s signing of Smith.

It remains to be seen if this latest deal with Smith includes an invite to major league spring training, but I’m going to go ahead and say it will.

#RedSox and Heath Hembree Avoid Arbitration with One-Year Deal for 2019 Season.

On Friday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox announced that they had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with RHP Heath Hembree.

According to Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the two sides will avoid salary arbitration with a deal worth approximately $1.312 million for the 2019 season.

Hembree, 29, posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 67 relief apperances and 60 innings pitched in his fourth full season with Boston in 2018.

The right-hander also held left-handed hitters to a .186 batting average against to go along with a career-high 11.4 K/9 for a whole campaign.

A former fifth round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2010, Hembree took Steven Wright’s spot on the Red Sox’ ALDS roster prior to Game Two against the New York Yankees and did not surrender a single run in any of the four postseason appearances he made on the way to a World Series championship.

With the departure of Joe Kelly and the somewhat probable departure of Craig Kimbrel, it’s quite likely that the South Carolina native will see an increase in usage in 2019 depending on what the Red Sox’ plans are for the remainder of the offseason.

Hembree found success early in the 2018 season by stranding inherited runners on base on a consistent basis, but the ability to do that seemed to fade as the year progressed, and the reliever’s numbers inflated as a result of that.

Per the Red Sox themselves, this signing now leaves 10 players, Matt Barnes, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, Brandon Workman, and Steven Wright, who remained unsigned and eligible for arbitration.