Former Red Sox Top Prospect Yoan Moncada Signs Five-Year, $70 Million Extension With White Sox

Former Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada has reportedly signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension with the Chicago White Sox, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

The extension includes a $20 million club option for a sixth year, meaning the 24-year-old would not reach free agency until after his age-30 season.

Moncada enjoyed a great deal of success in a breakout 2019 campaign, slashing .315/.367/.548 with a career-best 25 home runs and 79 RBI over 132 games in his third season with Chicago.

The news of this extension comes on the same day that the Red Sox revealed that Chris Sale has a flexor tendon strain in his left elbow and will be shut down for at least the next week, which is pretty interesting when you consider that Moncada was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Sale to Boston a little more than three years ago.

We’re also coming up on the five-year anniversary of the Red Sox signing Moncada as an international free agent out of Cuba in March 2015 for a staggering $31.5 million.

Moncada quickly rose to become one of the top prospects in all of baseball while in the Red Sox organization, and after making his major-league debut and having a tough time of things during the final month of the 2016 season, he, along with prospects Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz, was traded for Sale that December.

Since that time, it was no surefire thing that Moncada was going to be a big league success with the White Sox. OPS+’s of 103 and 96 in 2017 and 2018 led many to believe that he was over-hyped, but the Cuban national took the first steps towards proving those doubters wrong in 2019.

We already talked about his improved slash line last year, but it is also worth mentioning how much Moncada cut down on his strikeouts. For instance, in 650 plate appearances in 2018, he struck out a league-leading 217 times, or 33.4% of the time he stepped up to the plate.

A year later, he dropped that strikeout rate by nearly six points, instead whiffing in 27.5% of his 559 plate appearances this past season.

Durability remains somewhat of an issue as well, but as he enters his age-25 season, Moncada could really just be coming into his own as a star in the American League Central, both offensively and defensively speaking.

You also have to give credit to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and the young core of talented players he has locked down on long-term, pre-arbitration extensions.

In addition to Moncada, outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert also signed lengthy contract extensions within the last calendar year. The three together are set to earn approximately $163 million over the next five to six years.

Add the lengths of all their contracts, a total of 17 years, and that’s less than $10 million in average annual value, if that makes any sense.

It hasn’t come with much team success to this point, but the White Sox do look like they could be legitimate contenders in the Central very soon.

Bringing this back to the Red Sox, it’s also probably worth mentioning that this Moncada extension could lay the groundwork for Boston to get one done with their own third baseman in Rafael Devers.

Coming into the 2020 season, the two infielders essentially have the same amount of service time, with Moncada having been in the majors 36 more days than Devers has to this point.

The two came through the Sox’ minor league system together and were both going to become arbitration eligible for the first time next year before Moncada signed his extension on Thursday.

I doubt the Red Sox would want to pay Devers more than the ≈ $800,000 he is owed this coming season, but if chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could find a way to work something out long-term and buy out any number of the 23-year-old’s potential free agent years after 2023, that would be quite promising.

Anyway, I would just like to close by saying that I have always been a big Yoan Moncada guy. I’m not going to get into who won or lost the 2016 trade between the Red Sox and White Sox, but I have enjoyed watching Moncada come into his own at the big-league level. Hoping for more improvement from him this season.

Red Sox Win Arbitration Case With Eduardo Rodriguez

The Red Sox have won their arbitration case with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The club will pay Rodriguez $8.3 million this season, not the $8.975 million he filed for last month.

Rodriguez, who turns 27 in April, is coming off a breakout campaign last year after posting a 3.81 ERA and 3.86 FIP over a career-best 34 starts and career-best 203 1/3 innings pitched. That was solid enough to earn him a sixth-place finish in American League Cy Young voting.

The Venezuela native was one of only two Sox players who remained unsigned going back to the deadline to exchange arbitration figures last month.

The other player, Andrew Benintendi, agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract extension with Boston last week that essentially buys out his first two seasons of arbitration eligibility.

By earning $8.3 million in 2020, Rodriguez will become the third-highest paid pitcher on the club’s active roster. He is eligible to become a free agent for the first time following the 2021 season.

Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi Agree to Two-Year Extension to Avoid Arbitration

The Red Sox have signed outfielder Andrew Benintendi to a two-year, $10 million extension through the 2021 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration. The club made the signing official earlier Saturday.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Benintendi’s new contract is worth $10 million, so the 25-year-old will presumably earn $5 million per season the next two years.

Benintendi had been one of the two Sox players who were eligible for salary arbitration before Saturday, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez being the other.

By essentially buying out his first two arbitration years, this move should create more payroll flexibility for Boston next year since they would not have to bump up Benintendi’s salary.

2019 was a bit of a disappointment for Benintendi, as he slashed .266/.343/.431 with 13 home runs and 72 RBI over 138 games while playing inconsistent defense in left field.

Still, the former 2015 first-round pick did show flashes reminiscent of his breakout form in 2018 and is a prime bounce-back candidate for this coming season.

It’s been a fascinating last few days for Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox to say the least, but at least they were able to get this done in the midst of everything else going on.

Red Sox and Mookie Betts Avoid Arbitration With Record-Breaking $27 Million Deal for 2020

The Red Sox and outfielder Mookie Betts have reportedly agreed to a one-year, $27 million deal for the 2020 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1215694968137883648?s=20

Headed into his final year of salary arbitration before becoming a free agent for the first time next winter, the 27-year-old Betts was projected to earn around $27.7 million by MLB Trade Rumors and now comes away with a record-breaking $27 million.

Last year, the Colorado Rockies and All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado settled on a then-record-breaking $26 million for Arenado’s final year of arbitration eligibility before the two sides ultimately reached agreement on an eight-year, $260 million extension that February.

The news of Betts and the Sox coming to an agreement Friday comes on the same day that all 30 clubs and their eligible players had until 12 PM eastern time to exchange arbitration figures.

Just because Betts is now under contract for the 2020 season does not mean that the groundwork has been laid for a potential contract extension. But, it now gives opposing teams such as the Braves, Cardinals, or Dodgers, a more specific idea of what one year of the All-Star outfielder would cost in any trade conversations.

As we all know, Betts still appears locked in on hitting the open market come this November. If no extension between him and Boston is agreed upon by that time, the Tennessee native will have earned approximately $59.5 million in six full seasons with the Sox before reaching free agency.

Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez Says He Wants to Stay in Boston

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez wants to stay in Boston. He said that much to MLB.com’s Nathalie Alonso at the 12th annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic in Miami on Sunday.

“I would love to stay with Boston,” said Rodríguez, in Spanish. “If they offer me an extension, and we come to an agreement, I would love that.”

Rodriguez, who turns 27 in April, still has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining, hence the talks of a possible extension. He is projected to earn $9.5 million in 2020.

Coming off a 2019 campaign in which he finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award Voting thanks to posting a career-best 3.81 ERA and 213 strikeouts over 34 starts and 203 1/3 innings of work, Rodriguez has found himself in an intriguing spot this winter.

“It was a very important step for me, because for the first time I was able to pitch an entire season,” the Venezuela native said of his 2019 season Sunday. “That was my goal when the season started, 30 starts and throw more than 200 innings, and I was able to do it. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Rodriguez, then a 21-year-old prospect, from the Baltimore Orioles in July 2014 in exchange for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, who went on to sign a four-year, $36 million deal with the New York Yankees that offseason.

Because of the fact he started his professional career in the Orioles organization, I was quite surprised when I read that Rodriguez said that Boston is where he began his career and that he, “would love to finish it there.”

Perhaps Rodriguez is speaking in regard to just his major-league career, but an interesting, and perhaps heartfelt, comment nonetheless.

As we all know, the Red Sox want to cut payroll while still remaining competitive in 2020, so it might be in new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s best interest to try and buy out Rodriguez’s last two years of arbitration while also locking down the lefty for a number of years at a decent rate after that.

A similar situation took place in Chicago last March, when the Cubs and right-hander Kyle Hendricks agreed to terms on a four-year, $55 million extension that does not take effect until 2020 and has a team option for 2023 attached to it.

Granted, Hendricks had one, not two years of arbitration remaining, but an extension for Rodriguez with an average annual value in the range of $13-$15 million does not seem too far-fetched.

With the Winter Meetings set to take place in San Diego next month, that may be a good time to see whether talks between the Red Sox and Rodriguez’s camp ramp up at all. If not then, perhaps spring training in February or March.

Red Sox Reportedly Planning on Offering Rafael Devers Contract Extension This Offseason

The Red Sox are reportedly planning on offering third baseman Rafael Devers a contract extension this offseason, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford. An offer has yet to be extended to Devers at this point in time.

Devers, who turns 23 in October, is wrapping up what looks to be a top-seven finish in American League Most Valuable Player voting kind of season, as he entered Saturday slashing .309/.360/.556 to go along with a career-best 32 home runs and career-best 115 RBI over 154 games played.

The budding star infielder earned approximately $614,500 in his second full major league season in 2019, and is projected to earn somewhere around $800,000 in his final year of being pre-arbitration eligible in 2020, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

With all the recent rumblings about the Red Sox wanting to get under the $208 million threshold for the 2020 campaign, it may seem confusing as to why the club would want to commit a large sum of money to one player.

However, as Bradford points out, any extension attached to Devers more than likely would not come into effect until after 2020, meaning the 22-year-old would still earn that $800,000 in salary or so next season.

The same sort of thing happened with the Houston Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman this past March, when the two sides agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract extension.

Bregman, who will more than likely finish as the runner-up in AL MVP voting this year, is still earning a base and luxury tax salary of $640,500 in 2019 while his extension does not kick in until 2020.

With shortstop Xander Bogaerts already locked up through at least the 2022 season, the Red Sox have a real chance to secure the left side of their infield for years to come.

When It Comes to Contract Talks, Mookie Betts Is All Business

At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.

There has been plenty of speculation surrounding what the Red Sox should do with Betts at the end of the 2019 season, whether that be to offer him a lucrative extension, hold on to him for one more year, or possibly trade him in order to replenish the club’s farm system.

When speaking with WEEI’s Rob Bradford in Texas on Wednesday, the 26-year-old broke down the approach he is utilizing for this whole process.

“As a whole, when it comes to business in general, whether it’s buying a building or contract negotiations or whatever it is, you have to take emotions out of it, “said Betts. “That’s what people forget. Fans and media get caught up in emotions and that’s just not how I was raised and that’s just not what my point of view with my agents is. We take emotions out of it and we focus on the business part.”

Betts explained how this approach was adopted, saying that he wanted to quit his youth football team the first day he put pads on, but his Mom talked him out of it.

“She told me there was no need to quit, “Betts quipped Wednesday. “Just because you had a bad day or just because things didn’t go your way doesn’t mean you quit. You see it through, you started it and you finish it. It was an emotional decision and that was to quit. That was my first thought.”

Since that time, the Tennessee native has taken emotions out of his decisions and been all business. He had the chance to play college baseball at the University of Tennessee, but instead opted to take the $750,000 signing bonus offered to him by the Sox as a fifth round draft pick in 2011.

Less than six years after making that decision, Betts told Bradford that another difficult time for him came when Boston took a shot at offering their young outfielder a contract extension at the conclusion of the 2016 season, the year he burst onto the scene and finished as the runner-up in American League MVP voting behind only Mike Trout.

“That was a really emotional time,” Betts said. “Because I was like, ‘Mom, we’ve never seen this amount of money.’ She was like, ‘OK, cool. It’s a lot of money. I think we know it’s a lot of money. So let’s focus on the facts. Let’s focus on what is real and we took the emotions out of it.’ The first one was definitely the hardest.”

No contract extension was agreed upon then, but Betts has earned approximately $31.5 million since and has one year of arbitration left.

At the end of the day though, Betts is going to what is right for his family without taking the outside noise into consideration.

“I don’t care about (the public’s perception.) It is what it is. I am who I am and my family is who we are and we’re going to make the right decision.”

It’s long been believed that if Betts were to reach free agency, he would more than likely go to the highest bidder. What the Red Sox have in front of them is a 26-year-old MVP who appears to be on pace for a Hall of Fame career.

If they were to allow this kind of special player to walk away simply because they did not want to exhaust their financial resources to retain his services, then I do not believe that would be the best of looks for the organization.

I understand that there is also a chance that Betts would be unwilling to consider any sort of contract extension in order to test the open market, so it would be in the Sox’ best interests to trade him in order to build their farm system back up.

However, I find two issues with that argument. The first being that the Red Sox have yet to appoint a head of their baseball operations department. The second is that if Boston intends to compete again in 2020, trading off Betts would significantly decrease the chances of that happening.

All in all, if it’s just going to come down to money with Betts, the Red Sox cannot afford to be outbid by any other club.

#RedSox Officially Announce Six-Year Extension for Xander Bogaerts

After hammering out the final details and agreements Sunday night, the Red Sox officially announced Monday that they had signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a six-year, $120 million contract extension through the 2025 season. The club tweeted the following to make it official.

Bogaerts, 26, will in fact still earn the $12 million he is due in 2019 before the new contract goes into effect beginning next year.

According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the six-year pact includes two key components, with the first being an opt-out after the 2022 season, and the second being a $20 million vesting option for 2026, as long as Bogaerts compiles at least 535 plate appearances and is healthy at the end of the 2025 campaign.

Originally set to become a free agent this winter, the Aruba native will look to provide the Red Sox with solid offensive and defensive production for the forseeable future.

Four games into his sixth full season with the club, the two-time World Series champion and one-time American League All-Star is 3/16 with one double, one home run, and one RBI.

As things stand right now, the $20 million average annual value of Bogaerts’ new deal would make him the highest paid shortstop in all of baseball in 2020.

A press conference regarding Bogaerts’ extension with the Red Sox is scheduled for later Monday out in Oakland.

#RedSox and Xander Bogaerts Finalizing Seven-Year, $132 Million Contract Extension

Eight days after locking up ace left-hander Chris Sale for the next five seasons, it appears that the Red Sox have locked up another key piece who was set to hit free agency later this year in shortstop Xander Bogaerts, per WEEI’s Evan Drellich.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that Bogaerts’ potential contract extension with Boston will be worth $132 million over seven seasons. That averages out to approximately $18.6 million per year.

Passan also notes that the extension starts this season, presumably meaning that Bogaerts’ initial $12 million pact for 2019 will be ripped up. The deal will also include an opt-out.

A client os super agent Scott Boras, Bogaerts, 26, was set to become a free agent for the first time later this winter, but now appears to be a key member of the Red Sox infield for years to come.

Making his big league debut in 2013, the Aruba native has appeared in 762 games with Boston, tallying 75 home runs and 387 RBI over that time to go along with a career .283/.342/.429 slash line, one All-Star appearance, and two World Series titles.

Given that Opening Day was this past Thursday, I must say that I am honestly shocked this sort of deal got done at the time it did.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said at himself during the Chris Sale press conference last week.

“I think as far as negotiations are concerned I think it’s usually wise to stop on Opening Day because you don’t want to be a distraction,” Dombrowski said. “You want them focused and putting up the best numbers they can and win a championship.”

And less than two full weeks after that statement was made, the Red Sox are finalizing an extension with Xander Bogaerts as we speak.

This deal is not official yet, so I will provide more details as they come sometime tomorrow.

#RedSox Officially Announce Five-Year Extension for Chris Sale

On Saturday morning, the Red Sox made their five-year, $145 million contract extension with Chris Sale official after the left-hander passed his physical Friday night.

Sale will still earn the $15 million he was due in 2019 before this new contract kicks in.

One notable detail about this deal is that it his heavily front-loaded, as the 29-year-old will make approximately $30 million per year from 2020-2022.

Then, we reach the opt-out part of the pact, where Sale will have the opportunity to become a free agent at the age of 33 following the 2022 season, or he could opt-in for the final two years and $55 million of the contract.

This contract also includes deferred money, a full no-trade clause starting in the middle of the 2020 season, and a vesting option worth at least $20 million for a sixth season in 2025 depending on the number of starts Sale makes, notes ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier and the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox chose to announce this extension as five-years/$145 million instead of six-years/$160 million like some initially thought in order to help with luxury-tax payroll.

As Rosenthal states, “average annual value of extension is $29M, but structure of deferrals lowers Sale’s annual luxury-tax number to $25.6M,” meaning the club, at this point, will not be hitting the third tier of luxury tax penalties with their payroll for 2019 still below $246 million.

One final note from Passan, Sale’s extension can increase in value from 2021-2024 and the value of the vesting option in 2025 can also fluctuate depending on where the southpaw finished in Cy Young Award voting in previous seasons.

So, I think I covered just about everything.

Sale, who was scheduled to pitch against the Minnesota Twins Friday, will be making his final Grapefruit League start of 2019 against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon.

First pitch of Boston’s Grapefruit League finale is scheduled for 1:05 EDT at JetBlue Park.