Red Sox’ Eric Hosmer will not exercise opt-out clause in contract; first baseman is set to earn $39 million over next 3 seasons

Eric Hosmer has informed the Red Sox that he will not be opting out of the final three years and $39 million of his contract, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

The Red Sox acquired Hosmer and minor-leaguers Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome at the trade deadline in early August. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to take on nearly the entirety of Hosmer’s remaining contract, leaving Boston on the hook for only the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with stability at first base at a time when they desperately needed it. The 33-year-old recorded just nine hits in his first 12 games with the club before low back inflammation kept him sidelined and on the injured list into October. He returned in time for the final two games of the season.

After batting .272/.336/.391 with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 40 RBIs, 32 runs scored, 33 walks, and 55 strikeouts in 90 games (369 plate appearances) with the Padres to begin the year, Hosmer slashed .244/.320/.311 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts over 14 games (50 plate appearances) with the Red Sox to close it out.

Given that level of production, Hosmer’s decision to opt in is not necessarily a surprising one. The former first-round draft pick of the Royals spent the first seven years of his major-league career in Kansas City before signing an eight-year, $144 million deal with the Padres in February 2018.

At that time, Hosmer had inked the largest free-agent contract in Padres history. The deal included a full no-trade clause from 2018-2020 and a limited no-trade clause thereafter that prevented the Boras Corp. client from being traded to 10 teams.

The Padres attempted to trade Hosmer to the Nationals as part of the Juan Soto/Josh Bell swap over the summer, but the four-time Gold Glover exercised his no-trade rights. While San Diego ultimately sent Luke Voit to Washington to complete the deal, it also found a trade partner for Hosmer when the Red Sox — who were not on his no-trade list — agreed to acquire the veteran first baseman.

Because he was traded by the Padres, though, Hosmer once again received full no-trade protection. Only this time it would last for the remainder of his contract. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported about this provision last month.

Given that unique caveat, the Red Sox may have difficulty in finding a trade partner for Hosmer since he has the ability to veto a trade to any other team. At the same time, however, there could still be plenty of interest on account of the fact Boston only owes Hosmer $720,000 per year over the next three years.

As things stand now, Hosmer’s fit on the 2023 Red Sox would seem to be an imperfect one. Boston already has a left-handed hitting first baseman on the rise in Triston Casas, so on paper there really would not be much of a need to carry two similar players like that.

With that being said, the Red Sox could elect to retain Hosmer as insurance behind Casas. It also helps that Hosmer played a role in mentoring Casas, a fellow American Heritage High School alum, after the 22-year-old was called up for the first time in September.

Beyond first base, Hosmer could help fill the void left behind by J.D. Martinez at designated hitter since Martinez is expected to sign elsewhere in free agency. He also has past experience in right field, though his last appearance out there came during his age-25 season in 2015.

At the end of the day, the Red Sox have options when it comes to what they will do with Hosmer moving forward. It should be interesting to see what the future has in store for him.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts officially becomes free agent after opting out of Red Sox contract

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has officially opted out of his contract and is now a free agent, the Major League Baseball Players Association announced earlier Monday morning.

Bogaerts had until Tuesday to decide if he would opt out of the remaining three years and $60 million of the six-year, $120 million extension he originally signed in April 2019. The Boras Corp. client was expected to opt out and the Red Sox will now extend him a $19.65 million qualifying offer within the next three days.

In the same way that he declined to opt in to his deal, Bogaerts is also expected to turn down Boston’s qualifying offer by the November 20 deadline. Since they exceeded the $230 million luxury tax threshold this season, the Red Sox would receive a compensatory 2023 draft pick that falls after the fourth round if Bogaerts were to sign elsewhere this winter.

With that being said, the Red Sox can negotiate exclusively with Bogaerts until Thursday. The right-handed hitting infielder is coming off an impressive 2022 campaign in which he batted .307/.377/.456 with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 84 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 118 strikeouts over 150 games (557 plate appearances). He finished third in the American League batting race and was named a Gold Glove Award finalist for just the second time in his 10-year career.

On the heels of such a productive season, Bogaerts has put himself in position for a promising payday that would far exceed the $60 million left on his original deal. The New York Post’s Jon Heyman projects that the 30-year-old All-Star net an eight-year, $225 million deal in free agency this offseason. MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo adds that Bogaerts could seek a shorter-term deal with a higher average annual value.

Either way, Bogaerts has joined a talented free agent class at shortstop that includes the likes of Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, and Trea Turner. He also joined Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, Matt Strahm, and J.D. Martinez as members of the 2022 Red Sox to elect free agency.

Since their season ended last month, the Red Sox have made it clear that they would like to have Bogaerts back in 2023 and beyond. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom described re-signing Bogaerts as a top priority during the club’s end-of-season press conference at Fenway Park. They are now on the clock to prove as much.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Barring last-minute extension, Xander Bogaerts will opt out of Red Sox contract; what happens after that?

Depending on when the World Series ends, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is expected to opt out of the remainder of his contract and become a free agent by next Wednesday at the latest.

Bogaerts initially signed a six-year, $120 million extension to remain with the Sox ahead of his age-26 season in 2019. The deal went into effect in 2020 and afforded the Boras Corp. client the opportunity to opt out after three years if he wanted to test the open market at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Now 30 years old, Bogaerts has put himself in position for a promising payday this winter that would far exceed the $60 million remaining on his current deal. In 150 games this season, the right-handed hitter batted .307/.377/.456 with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 84 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 118 strikeouts over 557 plate appearances.

Though the power numbers were down from where they usually are, Bogaerts still finished third in the American League Batting race behind the Twins’ Luis Arraez and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. He also had a stellar year defensively and was named a Gold Glove Award finalist for just the second time in his 10-year career.

Even before Opening Day in April, the Red Sox — knowing full well that Bogaerts was likely to opt out — made it known that they wanted to keep their All-Star shortstop in Boston long-term. Whether it came from manager Alex Cora, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, or president and CEO Sam Kennedy, it seemed as though the club was intent on bringing Bogaerts back for 2023 and beyond.

During the team’s end-of-season press conference at Fenway Park on October 6, Bloom emphasized that extension talks with Bogaerts were the top priority and were “going to start right away.” That same day, Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reported that Bogaerts had met with Red Sox principal owner John Henry and team chairman Tom Werner several times before heading home to Aruba.

Since then, however, it does not appear that talks between the two sides have gained much traction. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reported on Thursday that “barring an 11th-hour extension — which a source familiar with the talks considered unlikely as of last week — Bogaerts will opt out.”

On Friday, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman projected that Bogaerts would net an eight-year, $225 million deal in free agency this offseason. The average annual value on that hypothetical contract comes out to $28.125 million, which represents a 42.5 percent raise from the $20 million he would earn over the next three seasons if he were to opt in.

An eight-year deal would take Bogaerts through his age-37 season. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, though, Bogaerts could elect to pursue a shorter-term deal that would exceed $30 million in average annual value.

Given that Bogaerts’ is slated to make more than $20 million per year moving forward, he is unlikely to accept the $19.65 million qualifying offer the Red Sox will extend to him within the next seven days. If Bogaerts were to sign elsewhere this winter, Boston would receive a compensatory 2023 draft pick that falls after the fourth round since it exceeded the luxury tax threshold this year.

With all that being said, Bogaerts is slated to be part of a loaded free agent class at shortstop that includes the likes of Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, and Dansby Swanson.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Chris Sale will not exercise opt-out clause in contract; left-hander is set to earn $55 million over next 2 seasons

Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale will not be opting out of the final two years and $55 million of the five-year, $145 million contract extension he signed in March 2019, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier on Tuesday.

Sale, who turns 34 in March, has been limited to just 11 starts and 48 1/3 innings pitched over the last three seasons due to a plethora of injuries. The veteran southpaw missed the entirety of the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his 31st birthday.

The procedure kept Sale sidelined for the next 17 months. He returned to the Sox’ rotation last August and posted a 3.16 ERA with 52 strikeouts to 12 walks across nine starts (42 2/3 innings of work) before pitching in both the American League Division and Championship Series’.

Boston was anticipating on having a fully-healthy Sale coming into the 2022 season. But the lefty sustained a right rib stress fracture while throwing a bullpen session at his alma mater (Florida Gulf Coast University) during the MLB lockout in February. His recovery from that was slowed down in May due to a non-baseball related medical condition.

After making four rehab starts, Sale again re-joined the Red Sox in early July. He tossed five scoreless innings in his season debut against the Rays on July 12, but then broke his left pinkie finger in the first inning of his start against the Yankees five days later. The fracture came as a result of a 106.7 mph line drive off the bat of Aaron Hicks at Yankee Stadium.

Though Sale was forced to undergo surgery to repair his broken finger, the Red Sox were optimistic that he would be to pitch again in 2022. That outlook changed in August, when it was revealed that Sale fractured his right wrist in a bicycling accident and would be out for the remainder of the year.

Despite this recent string of freak injuries, the Red Sox expect Sale to be ready to contribute once spring training begins in February. The 33-year-old hurler is slated to earn $27.5 million in each of the next two seasons now that he has opted in. His deal also includes a vesting option for 2025 if he finishes in the top 10 in American League Cy Young voting and is not on the injured list at the end of the 2024 campaign.

Originally acquired from the White Sox for four prospects (including Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech) in December 2016, Sale made a strong first impression in Boston by finishing second in AL Cy Young voting and ninth in AL MVP voting in 2017. The following October, Sale put the finishing touches on a dominant season by recording the final three outs of the World Series against the Dodgers.

Entering 2019, Sale was in the final year of the five-year, $32.5 million extension he had signed with the White Sox in March 2013. The Red Sox, under former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, rewarded Sale by signing the seven-time All-Star to a more lucrative five-year extension.

Sale made 25 starts for Boston in 2019 and produced a career-worst 4.40 ERA in 147 1/3 innings before being shut down with left elbow inflammation in mid-August. The following spring, Sale tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery.

Since putting pen to paper a little more than three years ago, Sale has received $90 million from the Red Sox. Although the extension did not officially kick in until 2020, Sale has made just 36 starts and pitched to 4.09 ERA over 195 2/3 innings dating back to the start of the 2019 season.

While Sale’s outlook may be cloudy at the moment, the Red Sox remain optimistic that he can play a pivotal role in the club’s success come Opening Day.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez will not be opting out of final two years of contract

As had been expected, Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez will not opt out of his contract with the Red Sox this offseason, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Martinez, who just completed his third season with Boston, will instead opt in to the remaining two years and $38.75 million remaining on the five-year, $110 million deal he signed with the Red Sox prior to the start of the 2018 campaign.

Of course, the 33-year-old also has the option to test the free agency waters again if he so chooses next winter, otherwise he would earn $19.375 million in the fifth and final year of his current contract.

Like so many across the game, Martinez endured great struggles at the plate this past season, posting a dismal, overly-uncharacteristic .213/.291/.389 slash line to go along with seven home runs and 27 RBI over 54 games.

One reason the three-time Silver Slugger Award winner had such a tough time of things in 2020 was due to a lack of in-game video and video room access that came as a result of the Astros’ and Red Sox’ sign-stealing scandals as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Guys are struggling and trying to work. It’s tough when you don’t know what to work on or what to do so everyone is feeling for stuff and it’s a tough situation,” he said of the video-related restrictions back in August. “We’re only allowed to be here five hours before game time, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for guys to go in the cage and grind it out and figure it out with the hitting coach. It’s tough. I mean it’s a tough hand. We’ve got to find a way to make it work though. I told my guys anytime they know they have anything they know they can come up to me and ask me questions and stuff like that. It’s just different. I don’t have that time to go in and break down guys’ swings and look at guys’ stuff and really dive into it.”

As underwhelming as Martinez may have been this year, the South Florida native, a lifetime .290/.354/.530 hitter, is certainly a prime candidate to bounce back in 2021 as he prepares to embark on his 11th big-league season while inching closer to accruing 10 years of major-league service time.

Red Sox’ Collin McHugh Opts Out of 2020 Season

Right-handed pitcher Collin McHugh has opted out of the 2020 season, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke announced Sunday.

Per Roenicke, McHugh made this decision based off the fact that he really was nowhere close to appearing in a game anytime soon and it had nothing to do with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, the 33-year-old would have begun the year on the injured list and it would have taken about “half a season” to get him back healthy. Now, while at Summer Camp with the Red Sox, it became apparent that McHugh, who is recovering from an elbow procedure, was more in “rehab mode” rather than “game prep mode,” as Roenicke put it. In other words, “His arm just didn’t respond as fast as he’d like it to.”

By opting out of the 2020 season, McHugh will be removed from Boston’s 40-man roster, meaning the club now has two open spots on said roster to work with. Those two spots could go to Brian Johnson and Zack Godley.

As for McHugh, the veteran right-hander initially signed a one-year, major-league deal with the Sox back in February after undergoing a non-surgical procedure to repair a flexor strain over the winter. He will now return to his family in Atlanta.

 

 

Dodgers’ David Price Opts Out of 2020 Season Due to Concerns Surrounding Coronavirus

Former Red Sox and current Dodgers left-hander David Price is the latest player who has made the decision to sit out the 2020 Major League Baseball season due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a tweet, Price, who turns 35 next month, writes in part: “After considerable thought and discussion with my family and the Dodgers, I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me not to play this season.”

Along with four-time All-Star Mookie Betts, Price was dealt to the Dodgers back in February from the Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo, infield prospect Jeter Downs, and catching prospect Connor Wong.

One reason Price opted to not play in this shortened season could be the fact that he has two young children at home in three-year-old Xavier and 11-month old Isabel. Not to mention his wife, Tiffany.

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To paraphrase a section of the March agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, “High-risk players can opt out of the 2020 because of coronavirus concerns and still get paid. Players who are not deemed to be at a high risk can also opt out while surrendering their 2020 salaries and service time.”

If he is not deemed to be at a high risk, Price would have to surrender the $11.9 million he was set to earn in prorated salary this season. Because of this, as The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham notes, the Red Sox should be off the hook for the $5.95 million they would have owed the lefty in 2020.

Back in late May, Price committed $1,000 to every minor-league player in the Dodgers’ organization to help support them during the coronavirus pandemic. Los Angeles is sure to miss his veteran presence during these unprecedented times.