What to Expect From Red Sox as MLB Roster Freeze Ends on Friday

Rosters across Major League Baseball have been frozen since late March. That freeze will end at noon eastern time on Friday.

Minor transactions have still taken place over the past few months, but beginning on Friday, clubs will have the chance to pick up where they left off earlier in the year in terms of roster construction ahead of a truncated 60-game season that begins in late July.

Prior to the roster freeze, the Red Sox were quite busy making some moves themselves with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom at the helm.

Officially speaking, major-league transactions across baseball ceased on March 27th. Right before that, Boston made a few somewhat notable moves, such as acquiring minor-league catcher Jhonny Perada from the Cubs, signing former Cardinals utilityman Yairo Munoz to a minor-league contract, and optioning relievers Jeffrey Springs and Josh Osich to Triple-A Pawtucket, Colten Brewer to Double-A Portland, and Chris Mazza to High-A Salem.

By the last week of July, Bloom and Co. will have to narrow a pool of 60 players down to 30 ahead of a modified version of Opening Day on July 23rd or 24th, so it’s likely that plenty of roster shuffling is to come beginning on Friday afternoon.

On top of that, the Sox were involved in a handful of trade rumors prior to the roster freeze as well.

More specifically, talks between the Red Sox and Padres surrounding outfielder Wil Myers seemed to be heat up after Boston dealt Mookie Betts to the Dodgers in February.

Per The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee, the Sox were interested in acquiring touted prospects like Cal Quantrill or Luis Campusano from the Padres in exchange for taking on a portion of the $61 million owed to the 29-year-old Myers over the next three seasons.

According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, though, “no trades involving the Red Sox were ‘imminent’ at the time MLB put a freeze on all transactions on March 27.”

March 27th was nearly three months ago, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to assume that some GMs might have some moves lined up for when the roster freeze does finally end.

That being said, when I “spoke” to Bloom via e-mail last week, he stated that during this long layoff, he has “continued to speak to counterparts and contacts throughout the game, but not to discuss trades or roster moves.”

Another aspect of the business side of the game that will return on Friday are contract extensions.

Prior to the pandemic-induced shutdown, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported in late February that “teams across baseball are trying to lock up pre-arbitration players to multi-year contracts that buy out free agent years.”

Outside of some rumors pertaining to Rafael Devers last fall, the Red Sox really weren’t linked to any other players on the roster who could be due for an extension before the shutdown.

Andrew Benintendi agreed to a two-year contract extension in early February, but that only buys out two of the 25-year-old’s three years of arbitration eligibility.

Other than Devers, Brandon Workman, who will become a free agent after the 2020 season, and Eduardo Rodriguez, who will become a free agent after the 2021 season, are certainly prime candidates.

Long story short, just about everything I mentioned above can be summarized in this one tweet from noted exceptional Twitter follow @RedSoxStats:

See you at 12 PM eastern time on Friday.

 

No Trade Talks Involving Red Sox Were ‘Imminent’ at Time MLB Froze Rosters in March, per Report

The Red Sox were not close to making any sort of trade at the time Major League Baseball froze rosters, and roster moves, in late March, a source told WEEI’s Rob Bradford earlier Friday.

This report comes decently close to two months after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to suspend the remainder of spring training games on March 12, effectively butting baseball on hold.

Still. clubs were allowed to make moves for about two weeks after that. The Red Sox signed free-agent infielder Yairo Munoz to a minor-league deal on March 24th, for instance.

It wasn’t until March 28th when rosters were frozen as part of an agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. No transactions have been made since.

Before that freeze went into effect though, as Bradford notes, the Sox were involved in trade rumors ‘almost daily,’ particularly with the San Diego Padres and 29-year-old outfielder Wil Myers.

Going back to a February 18th report from the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee, the Friars were apparently looking to offload ‘about half’ of the remaining $61 million owed to Myers over the next three years, while the Sox were in return looking for young, controllable talent, such as pitching prospect Cal Quantrill or catching prospect Luis Campusano. Basically, in this scenario, Boston would be “buying prospects” by taking on a “bad” contract.

Despite those ever-swirling rumors, no trade talks between Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and the Padres, or other clubs for that matter, ever reached the “imminent” stage at the time the roster freeze went into effect, per Bradford.

Although there is no set date for baseball to return, roster movement between clubs will once again be permitted once a new Opening Day for this year is scheduled, if there is one, that is.

 

 

Red Sox Still Appear Interested in Acquiring Wil Myers, Prospects From Padres

Even after dealing Mookie Betts to the Dodgers last week, the Red Sox are still talking to the Padres about acquiring former All-Star outfielder Wil Myers, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee.

Per Acee, the Sox are also interested in Padres right-hander Cal Quantrill, in addition to top prospects Luis Campusano and Gabriel Arias, while San Diego is interested in offloading ‘about half’ of the $61 million owed to Myers over the next three seasons.

In initial trade talks revolving around Betts, it was reported that the Padres wanted Boston to assume more than half of Myers’ remaining salary due to the money San Diego would be taking on for the 2020 season.

Now, with Betts out of the equation, it seems as though Padres general manager A.J. Preller is more interested in ‘attaining the salary flexibility moving Myers would create.’

Because of that notion, any return the Pads would get in a potential trade with the Red Sox is ‘unclear’, according to Acee.

After shipping both Betts and left-hander David Price to Los Angeles, the Sox are a little more than $13 million below the $208 million luxury tax threshold, so they would be capable of assuming a portion of Myers’ 2020 salary without going over.

Speaking of that, the 29-year-old Myers is set to earn $20 million this coming season in the fourth year of the six-year, $83 million extension he signed with San Diego in 2017. But, since the average annual value of that deal comes out to about $13.8 million, that is the amount that will count towards the luxury tax in 2020.

Myers was coming off an All-Star season when he inked that extension with the Padres, but he has fallen off since, most recently slashing .239/.321/.418 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI over 155 games played in 2019.

The North Carolina native is capable of playing both first base and all three outfield positions, and he does have a history with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom when the two were with the Rays.

If this deal were to happen, it would be interesting to see who Boston parts ways with. Jackie Bradley Jr. comes to mind when considering the signing of Kevin Pillar, but he is owed $11 million in his final year of team control before reaching free agency in the winter.

Anyway you put it, it looks like Bloom and Co. are in pursuit of pitching, which is a positive development given the current questions surrounding the Red Sox’ starting rotation.

Red Sox Close to Trading Mookie Betts, per Report

The Red Sox are close to trading star outfielder Mookie Betts, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who said on Monday’s installment of MLB Network’s Hot Stove that, “This is going to happen, Mookie Betts is getting traded. The only question is when and where.”

The Dodgers and Padres appear to be the favorites to land the 27-year-old Betts, who will make $27 million this upcoming season before becoming a free agent for the first time next winter.

Per Rosenthal, Los Angeles has “the ability to do this a little bit cleaner” since San Diego would be looking to include outfielder Wil Myers, who is owed $61 million over the next three years, in any trade.

Any deal involving the Dodgers would most likely be headlined by 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo and 21-year-old infield prospect Jeter Downs coming back to Boston.

Of course, any return the Red Sox get could depend on whether or not David Price is packaged with Betts in any potential trade.

Price, 34, is set to make $96 million over the final three years of the seven-year, $217 million deal he signed with the Sox back in December 2015. If he were dealt, Boston would probably be responsible for a majority of that $96 million.

Bundling Betts and Price in the same deal could help the Red Sox reach their goal of getting under the $208 million luxury tax threshold for the 2020 season, but it could also hinder the compensation for giving up an elite talent like Betts.

On Sunday, MLB Network’s Peter Gammons tweeted that he spoke to three different National League executives who said that Betts going to the Dodgers is “inevitable” at this point, with Verdugo, Downs, and a pitching prospect going to the Red Sox.

Red Sox Have ‘Expressed Interest’ in Padres Catching Prospect Luis Campusano in Mookie Betts Trade Talks, per Report

In discussions with the San Diego Padres revolving around the idea of trading star outfielder Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have reportedly ‘expressed interest’ in acquiring Padres catching prospect Luis Campusano in any potential deal, per The Athletic’s Dennis Lin.

Campusano, who turned 21 last September, was listed as the fifth-best prospect in San Diego’s farm system and the seventh-best catching prospect in baseball at the end of the 2019 season, according to MLB.com.

The former 2017 second-round pick out of Cross Creek High School in Georgia put together an impressive campaign in his second full professional season last year, slashing .325/.396/.509 with 15 home runs and 81 RBI over 110 games played for the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm. He was named co-MVP of the California League for his efforts back in August.

In the Arizona Fall League, Campusano, along with other Padres prospects, played for the Peoria Javelinas, the same team the Red Sox were affiliated with.

In an organization that is full of quality prospects, Campusano might not garner the same attention that others such as MacKensie Gore or Luis Patino do, but he is an exciting player nonetheless.

“He’s really special,” Lake Elsinore hitting coach Doug Banks said of Campusano in an interview with Baseball America last June. “He does some special things. There’s things he can do because he’s just so talented. For him to do what he’s doing at his position, catching, being as young as he is, it really is incredible.”

Any deal that involves Betts heading to San Diego would most likely involve the Red Sox getting multiple pieces, prospects and major-league players alike, in return, such as 29-year-old outfielder Wil Myers, who is owed $61 million over the next three seasons.

Because Betts is set to become a free agent for the first time next winter, it is safe to say that Padres general manager AJ Preller would be unwilling to move a prized prospect like Gore for what could turn out to be just a one-year rental.

That’s where players like Campusano come in. The 79th-ranked prospect on Baseball America’s Top 100 list would easily become one of the three best prospects in the Sox’ system.

San Diego may value the young backstop highly, but with veteran catcher Austin Hedges and former top catching prospect Francisco Mejia already on the active roster, Campusano could be expandable. Especially for a player of Betts’ caliber.

On Thursday, Lin reported that an agreement between the Red Sox and Padres was viewed as ‘unlikely’ so there is still a possibility that nothing comes from all this speculation. We’ll have to wait and see on that.

 

Red Sox Have Reportedly Had Discussions With Padres About Potential Mookie Betts Trade

The San Diego Padres have reportedly reached out to the Red Sox about trading for star outfielder Mookie Betts, according to The Athletic’s Dennis Lin.

Per Lin, “Recent talks between the teams have focused on sending a significant amount of prospect talent and outfielder Wil Myers to Boston, according to sources.” However, “Multiple people familiar with the discussions characterized an agreement as unlikely, and the industry consensus is that Betts will be in a Red Sox uniform on Opening Day.”

Before Thursday, it seemed as though things had gone quiet on the Betts trade front. Now, we have this, which is not really revealing anything we did not know before.

It was known that the Padres were one of the handful of teams that inquired about Betts’ services. It was also known that the Padres were looking to move the contract of former All-Star outfielder Wil Myers, whose recent on-field performance has made the remaining three years and $61 million he is owed look like a potential overpay.

Earlier in the offseason, Boston and San Diego talked about another trade that would require the 29-year-old Myers to swap coasts, but that involved the Sox moving the remaining three years and up to $96 million owed to left-hander David Price.

In regard to that scenario, the Padres have “little interest,” per Lin.

Because the Red Sox have made little progress towards their goal of getting under the $208 million luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season, swapping Betts and Myers would save the club at least $13 million towards the luxury tax this year. That is the case because the average annual value of the six-year, $83 million extension Myers signed in 2017 comes in at approximately $13.8 million, while Betts’ comes in at $27 million.

Of course, the Red Sox would require more than a return of Myers to part ways with their six-time All-Star, and it just so happens that the Padres have one of the best farm systems in baseball.

As nice as that sounds though, top prospects like MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patiño and CJ Abrams would most likely be off the table in any trade talks due to the fact that Betts will be a free agent for the first time next winter.

There is a chance he could sign a lucrative extension with any team he is dealt to, but the consensus seems to be that the 27-year-old is locked in on hitting the open market, which makes trading for just one year of team control all the more riskier.

The Padres, led by aggressive general manager AJ Preller, have not qualified for postseason baseball since 2007. They may just be desperate enough to take that risk and acquire the best right fielder in baseball, even if for just one season.