Red Sox

First win of road trip offers bit of relief for Sox

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First win of road trip offers bit of relief for Sox

SEATTLE -- The music blared in the clubhouse for the first time in more than a week. The conversation among players was loud and joyous instead of muted and somber.

One win isn't going to change the Red Sox' season with just four weeks remaining, but after a brutal stretch that saw them outscored and outclassed every night for a week, the Red Sox' 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners sure beat the alternative.

"The guys looked happy after the game," said Bobby Valentine. "It's great to see them with smiles. It was a good win."

The Sox would have taken any victory that came their way after being swept in Anaheim and Oakland, then kicking off the final series of the West Coast road trip with a loss Monday.

Valentine said that the team was physically and mentally spent after Monday's loss, the constant drone of losing having worn them down for the last week.

There seemed more energy in the clubhouse before the game and there was little doubt that, post-game, some stress was being blown off.

"It wasn't easy," said Jon Lester, who picked up his fourth win in his last five starts. "It wasn't easy. But it's big, especially the way we did it, coming back."

The Sox trailed 3-0 heading into the sixth before Cody Ross hit high fly left that carried into the seats, scoring Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury ahead of him.

Three batters later, Ryan Lavarnway followed up with a solo homer that put the Sox ahead to stay.

"It feels good to shake hands," said Ross. "It's been a really long time. It's been, what, probably a week now? But we're not going to give up. We're going to keep fighting. We're going to keep going out and keep battling. That's all we can do at this point."

The playoffs, of course, are completely out of reach and even a winning record is highly unlikely. But there's pride on the line for the Sox.

"We want to play well and keep fighting and try to create some momentum for next year," said Ross. "There's a lot stake right now. Even though we're not in the hunt, there's jobs at stake. Guys have to stay hungry, go out and battle and try to win a spot for next year.

"Whether you're a young kid or a free agent, you have to keep fighting and being a professional. That's what we're planning to do."

"Maybe it'll get something started," concluded Valentine of the win, which snapped the team's longest losing streak in more than a decade.

Then, after a beat, he added perhaps the understatement of the season.

"We're due," he said.

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.