Red Sox

Hill knows all about New England microscope


Hill knows all about New England microscope

By MaureenMullen

PAWTUCKET -- Dont expect Rich Hill to revel in the difficulties Dennys Reyes is having with the Red Sox.

Dennys is a great left-handed pitcher, Hill said Thursday night before the start of the Pawtucket Red Soxs season-opening game against Rochester. Its . . . still early in the year. Theyve only played six games.

"I understand the microscope in Boston is really small, as expected. However, hes a guy thats done it over and over for 13 years. And I learned a lot from him in spring training. He was great to me in spring training. I became friends with him. And even last year we were together in camp with the Cardinals, but I didnt get to know him as well until this year. Hes been doing it for 13 years. Hell be fine.

The only left-hander in the Sox pen, Reyes has struggled since the start of the season. He's pitched 1 23 innings in four games with a 16.20 ERA.

Although they are both lefties, essentially competing for the same spot in spring training, Hill takes no joy in Reyes' struggles. A Milton, Mass. native, he knows whats expected here.

Its not easy to do, Hill said. To play this game and play it at the highest level, in Boston, New York, Chicago, L.A., the biggest markets, is difficult. Some other places, people might look past that and say, Oh, well, were not expected to do anything here this year in a smaller market. But since its such a big market, and everythings magnified, expectations are so high.

"So, yeah, you do feel for a guy that goes out there and struggles . . . Youve been in that position and struggled so you know exactly how that feels.

You want everybody to play to the best of their potential because when that happens, the competition's greater and thats what makes it a lot more fun. You want guys to go out there and be at their best when youre pitching against those hitters because you can say I beat them at their best, not on a day when they werent at their best. But the days that youre not, you've got to find a way to get through it and win.

When the Red Sox sent him down, on March 25, they gave him very simple instructions.

Just pitch, Hill said. Thats really essentially all you can do. Pitch with conviction and really let things happen. Things that are out of your control you cant control. You can only control the pitch that youre throwing at that time. Thats really all I think about.

That's what Hill did Thursday night, picking up the victory in the PawSox' 2-1 Opening Night win with 2 13 innings of scoreless relief.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.