Red Sox

Agent: Gonzalez deal likely only weeks away

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Agent: Gonzalez deal likely only weeks away

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Almost four months after obtaining him in a deal, the Red Sox still don't have a contract extension done with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. But his agent, in town to meet with Red Sox management Tuesday, said a new deal is likely only weeks away.

Negotiations broke down in the 48-hour window the sides had in the first week of December, but there was an understanding even then that Gonzalez was seeking a seven-year, 154 million deal.

That, of course, would represent the second-biggest deal ever given by the Red Sox and the biggest ever given by the current ownership group.

John Boggs, who represents Gonzalez, met with general manager Theo Epstein and assistant GM Ben Cherrington and came away with the meeting filled with optimism.

"It was a very positive meeting,'' said Boggs. "At the end of the day, everything has been as expected. I just think it's going to move very positively in the direction of probably trying to get something done sometime in April.''

As has been widely reported, there's an accounting and payroll benefit for the Red Sox to announce a new extension after April 1, Opening Day.

If the Sox make a deal official before then, the average annual value of the entire deal would be applied toward their payroll for 2011. If it's completed after April 1, the Sox get to use Gonzalez's budget-friendly 2011 salary of 6.25 million.

Nonetheless, Boggs and the Red Sox continue to maintain that the lone holdup is the slugger's health. He underwent surgery last October to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and, because of that, didn't appear in a Grapefruit League game until March 12, two weeks after exhibition games began.

"The main thing,'' said Boggs, "is the health issue. When he's seen to be every day, playing competitively in a regular season, I think the Red Sox are going to have a degree of comfort and obviously, that will be a time to probably get something done.

"Prudently, probably, on their part, they just want to see him play back-to-back-to-back-to-back, get into the season and say, 'OK, we're good to go.' ''

Asked for a specific timetable, Boggs said: "I would anticipate something around April. When in April, I don't know. It could be the beginning, middle, end -- but that's it. That's really the parameters we're looking it. If something drags it on past that, then, yeah, we'll probably have to revisit a lot of things. But I don't anticipate that at all.''

Boggs emphasized that no new ground was broken during Tuesday's meeting and that it was merely a continuation of where they left off in December and hinted that there's a degree of inevitability to an extension.

"I would be very surprised if a deal didn't get done,'' he said. "You can always be surprised in life, but I would be very surprised. There were very positive feelings on both sides. There's a lot of relationships in the past. I've deal with Theo a lot. I've dealt with Larry Lucchino a lot. John Henry was the first owner Adrian played for with the Florida Marlins. There's so many relationships involved here that if you can't have an agreement, I probably can't have one with anyone.''

Beyond the general parameters in place, Boggs said there's other work to do before a deal is in place, covering performance bonuses, award incentives and other "nuanced" parts of the deal.

But he reiterated that Gonzalez isn't concerned that he signing months ahead of two other potential free agent first basemen -- Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

"Adrian made it perfectly clear in December where his bottom line was and if they were ready to accept his bottom line, he wasn't going to play those logistic options . . . Adrian knew what it was going to take, bottom line. He wasn't concerned with chasing after or breaking salary records. He just wants to be fairly compensated.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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