Red Sox

Dice-K roughed up in Triple-A outing

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Dice-K roughed up in Triple-A outing

BOSTON With strong performances from Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront in the last two games, the urgency to get reinforcements for the Red Sox battered starting rotation has waned. For now, anyway.

But, if Daisuke Matsuzaka was going to be part of the solution, those hopes may have to be put on hold, or at least adjusted.

Matsuzaka had a shaky outing in his fourth rehab start, second with Triple-A Pawtucket, on Saturday. Matsuzaka went 5 13 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk, with five strikeouts, two home runs, and a hit batter. He threw 90 pitches, 54 strikes. He left with the PawSox trailing, but the Pawtucket offense saved him from a loss, pulling out a win over Columbus.

In four rehab outings one with High-A Salem, another with Double-A Portland, and two with Pawtucket Matsuzaka has posted a combined record of 0-1 with a 4.34 ERA, giving up nine earned runs over 18 23 innings, with four home runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts. Opponents have hit .254 off him.

Looking at todays results, there are obvious areas that I need to work on, Matsuzaka told reporters through his translator after his Saturday outing. The command of my off-speed pitches to begin with. Most of the hits came off my off-speed pitches. Thats an area that I really need to improve.

Matsuzaka is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in June. His 30-day rehab assignment is set to expire on May 22, which would mean he would likely have just one more rehab start.

Im not sure where Im going to be pitching for my next outing, but its probably going to be in the minors, is my assumption, Matsuzaka said. In that game, I need to work on my two-seam, which is supposed to be a pitch that is going to help me.

Matsuzaka said his elbow felt fine after the outing. He had had some discomfort in it after his first outing with the PawSox on Monday. If Matsuzaka is not ready when his rehab assignment expires, he can be returned to the DL but cannot pitch in minor league games.

Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins

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Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins

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. 

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.  
 

Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration

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Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration

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.