Red Sox

Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time


Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time

BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez made a timely display that perhaps he is ready to break out of whatever has been causing his power slump this season.

Although the Red Sox were mostly stymied by White Sox rookie Dylan Axelrod over 6 23 innings, it was Gonzalezs RBI single in the first that scored Carl Crawford and tied the score at 1, accounting for the only run the Chicago righthander allowed.

Then in the eighth, with the score still tied, nobody out and Crawford and David Ortiz on base after walks from rookie lefty Leyson Septimo, Gonzalez mashed a 2-and-1, 93-mph fastball into the Monster seats, putting the Red Sox up by three on their way to a 5-1 win.

He walked the first two hitters so I could see a couple of pitches, Gonzalez said. Never faced him before. Fell behind 2-1, I saw fastball for a strike so I was looking for another fastball for a strike, be aggressive. And he threw a fastball up in the zone that I was able to get to.

I mean, it feels great to win the game. Im not really worried about hitting the home runs or any of that stuff, Gonzalez said. Im just trying to have good at-bats.

It was just Gonzalezs seventh home run of the season and first in 66 at-bats, since his last on June 24 against the Braves. The blast gave him a season-high four RBI, the most since he also drove in four runs on May 20, 2011, against the Cubs at Fenway.

The home run also gave Gonzalez 50 RBI for the season, and a team-leading nine game-winning RBI this season.

It was big, said manager Bobby Valentine. It really inspired us to victory, thats for sure. We were kind of dull there for a while. He got the first RBI in the first inning and we really werent doing anything. He showed a lot of patience and delivered.

Gonzalez, who went 2-for-4, ended a career-best 18-game hitting streak on July 8, the day before the All-Star break. Still, he has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games at a .384 (33-for-86) rate with five doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI, and 13 runs scored.

Just trying to hit singles, Gonzalez said of his current stretch.

Gonzalezs first RBI, on a single, allowed him to make up for his error in the top of the inning that allowed the White Sox to score their lone run.

With left-hander Adam Dunn batting, and Kevin Youkilis on first base with a single, the Red Sox employed the infield shift. On Dunns groundout to Pedro Ciriaco at second base, Youkilis took second . But with Will Middlebrooks still off third, Youkilis broke for third. Gonzalezs errant throw to Middlebrooks sailed into left field, allowing Youkilis to come home, scoring an unearned run off Aaron Cook.

Gonzalez blamed it on his lacking quarterback skills.

I was thinking back shoulder, Will was thinking over the top, Gonzalez said. It didnt work out.

On this night, thought, just about everything else did.

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


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" 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 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


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.