Red Sox

Jays belt Cook's two mistakes

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Jays belt Cook's two mistakes

BOSTON Aaron Cook entered Saturdays game having given up just two walks, and two home runs, with two strikeouts in his previous five starts, spanning 29 23 innings.

Hes not concerned about a lack of strikeouts, he has said. That means hes most likely pitching to contact and his sinker is doing its job. The lack of walks means hes pounding the strike zone. And the lack of home runs, well, thats speaks for itself.

Those numbers all changed Saturday against the Blue Jays, though, and the result also speaks for itself, as the Red Sox lost to Toronto, 7-3.

Cook went 6 13 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits, with a walk, a strikeout, and two home runs. He took the loss, falling to 2-3 with a 3.50 ERA. The quality start was little consolation.

Cook was pretty good, said manager Bobby Valentine. He had groundballs going. He kept them at bay for a while. And started off the seventh with a couple of comebackers. I think the walk might have, he might have lost a little concentration. I dont know, they only hit two balls hard against him. They both went over the fence. Thats a pretty good outing.

The two home runs accounted for the tying and go-ahead runs. With two outs in the sixth inning, Toronto tied the score on Edwin Encarnacions two-run home run after a walk to Colby Rasmus. The Jays pulled ahead in the seventh when J.P. Arencibia led off the inning with his 14th home run of the season.

In a span of three batters, Cook doubled the number of home runs hes allowed this season.

They were pitches that came back over the middle of the plate Cook said. If I had two pitches to take back the whole game, thosed be the only two. I felt like other than that, I was in a pretty good rhythm, putting the ball really where I wanted to and just those two bad pitches, they made me pay for them tonight.

A walk and a home run, you cant walk people before you give up a home run. Solo home runs really dont hurt you that bad. But that Rasmus at-bat I kind of just lost command a little bit and I was trying to get back into it with Encarnacion coming up next. I just left one that kind of looped back a little bit. He was starting to dive. So in retrospect if Id have probably thrown him a sinker in, probably get a different result. But you cant always look back and say, 'What if.' You just got to try to go with what you got. And that was the pitch that I was committed to. Just missed my location.

It was as simple as that.

I think thats just what it was, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He made two pitches over the middle of the plate. But other than that, I think he pitched well. The ball was moving a lot tonight. Kept the ball down, got a lot of groundballs, which is what you expect from him.

I think that you know what youre going to get from Aaron. Youre looking for a sinker. I think both those guys were looking for it and they just got the pitch over the plate. Thats all it was. I thought the one to Arencibia was a really good pitch. It was down. It was over the middle but it was down. Not too many guys can stay with that and hit it out. He did a great job.

Cook limited the Blue Jays to just two hits over the first five innings.

It was a combination of us coming to life and his sinker staying up a little, said Jays manager John Farrell. Cook was that good in the first five innings.

Cooks strikeout of Anthony Gose for the second out of the third inning snapped a steak of 19 innings without a strikeout. In that span he had an ERA of 1.29. In his last five starts since coming off the disabled list on June 24, he has an ERA of 2.16, with three or fewer earned runs in all five outings.

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.