BOSTON It will be 16 years ago Friday that Rogers Clemens pitched his last game in a Red Sox uniform. A 4-2 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park. He went 7 23 innings, with 10 strikeouts.He went on to pitch 11 more seasons before calling it quits in 2007.Well, quits so far, maybe that should be. Clemens, who turned 50 on Aug. 4, pitched for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters this season, contemplating a major league comeback.He has said recently, though, that such a comeback is unlikely. When he was asked that question Wednesday night at Fenway, though, he added another layer of ambiguity.Well, I had a lot of ice last time I pitched, he said. I dont know. It seems to get worse and worse each time. So, we were just having fun with it.Clemens was back at Fenway as part of the All-Fenway Team honored before Wednesdays game against the Rays to recognize the 40 best Sox players in the 100-year history of Fenway.I felt young around some of the guys and I felt old around the others, he said. "It was a great night. Everybody was pretty excited about it.Clemens made his big league debut May 15, 1984, in Cleveland. He didnt get his first win at Fenway until June 12 that season, against the Yankees. He went on to record 192 wins, tied with Cy Young for most in Red Sox history.All 13 years here were wonderful just for the fact that when I drove into the ballpark from Framingham people were coming from all over New England and they cared, Clemens said. Thats what I was excited about. they cared and they showed up to watch you work.Clemens has been an infrequent visitor to Fenway over the last few years, but hes been around over the last few days. He took part in the tribute to Johnny Pesky after Sundays game and was back for Tuesdays game against the Rays. For the most part, he was given a warm welcome unlike the times he returned as a visiting pitcher.I cant control the smattering of other things, but every time Ive been in this town theyve been nothing but great and thankful for the effort I gave when I was here, he said. I know how I went about my work here and we came close so many times. We made a lot of great memories. I had 13 wonderful years here.He believes the Sox can rebound from their lost 2012 season.This is an organization that youll get back on top pretty quick if you get the right players with the right attitude that mentally can stay on course, he said.
He was dubbed "Closer B" by Red Sox manager John Farrell when acquired at the trade deadline last summer, now Addison Reed is "Closer B Gone"...to the Twins.
The right-handed reliever, 29, has agreed to a two-year, $16.75 million free-agent deal with Minnesota, pending a physical, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and TheAthletic.com reports.
Free-agent reliever Addison Reed in agreement with #MNTwins on two-year deal for slightly under $17M, sources tell The Athletic. Pending a physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 13, 2018
Reed began last season with the Mets and had 19 saves and a 2.57 ERA before being traded to the Red Sox, where he had a 3.33 ERA in 29 games (27 innings) without a save as a setup man for Craig Kimbrell.
The Red Sox and star right fielder Mookie Betts intend to go to an arbitration hearing in February, and there were signs this was coming even a year ago.
Betts was the only arbitration-eligible player on the Red Sox who did not settle on a contract with the team on Friday, when a deadline arrived for all teams and arbitration-eligible players to exchange 2018 salary figures. Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Drew Pomeranz were the biggest names to avoid hearings.
Betts filed for a $10.5 million salary and the Red Sox filed at $7.5 million. Betts and the Red Sox agreed previously that if no figure could be settled on by the Friday deadline, they would proceed to a hearing, assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran said.
A three-person panel of arbitrators therefore is set to determine what Betts makes in 2018: either the $7.5 million figure the Sox filed or the $10.5 million figure Betts' camp submitted. The arbitrators won't settle on a midpoint for the parties.
O'Halloran noted to the Globe there are no hard feelings involved.
Nonetheless, such a large gap would seem to provide incentive to settle. The parties technically could still decide to do so, but that would take a change of course from the present plan. The idea was to settle any time before Friday, and they did not.
Betts is asking for near-record money for a first-year arbitration eligible player. Kris Bryant set the record Friday with a $10.85 million settlement.
The hearings can be difficult for player-team relations because teams have to make the case in front of the player that he is worth less money than he wants.
Betts, 25, hit .264, with 24 homers, 102 RBI, 25 stolen bases and a .803 OPS in 2017, numbers that fell from his American League MVP runner-up performance in 2016, but were nonetheless very strong and coupled with first-rate defense.
This offseason is Betts' first of arbitration eligibility. In the first three years of service time in a players' career, there's no recourse if you don't like the salary a team is offering. Teams can pay players anything at league minimum or above.
The only option a player has in those first three years is to make a stand on principle: you can force the team to technically "renew" your salary, which notes to everyone that you did not agree to the salary. Betts and his agents did that in 2017 when the Sox paid him $950,000, a very high amount relative to most contract renewals.
Some of the standard thinking behind forcing a team to renew a contract is that if an arbitration case comes up down the road — and one now looms for Betts — it's supposed to show the arbitrators that the player felt even in seasons past, he was underpaid.
Still, the Sox may have effectively combatted that perception by paying Betts almost $1 million on a renewal. Per USA Today, that $950,000 agreement in 2017 was "the second-highest one-year deal ever for a non-arbitration-eligible player with two-plus years of big league service." Mike Trout got $1 million in 2014.