Red Sox

Nation STATion: State of Sox (almost) 50 games in

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Nation STATion: State of Sox (almost) 50 games in

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Nice for the Red Sox to close out a series in Cleveland with a couple of touchdowns. Slowly but surely, the ugly start of the season becomes a distant memory. As the Sox head to Detroit for a four-game set, Thursday afternoons game is a milestone as it's game number 50 of the season.

With a 27-22 record after Wednesday afternoon's win, the Sox could either equal the records of 2001 and 2009, or match their worst records of this century through 50 games. Take a look at where the Sox stood at the 50 game mark each year since 2000:

2000 29-21
2001 28-22
2002 35-15
2003 31-19
2004 31-19
2005 27-23
2006 30-20
2007 35-15
2008 31-19
2009 28-22
2010 27-23

The 50 game mark is a milestone for a team and for players. It really gives you an initial sense as to what the rest of the season is going to look like.

Heres your Nine to Know: 50-game Red Sox player edition

1. Josh Beckett went on the DL after game 40 last season and at that point was 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA. This year Josh is 4-1, with a league leading 1.69 ERA and is arguably the best pitcher in the AL.

2. At game 50 of last season with Padres, Adrian Gonzalez was hitting .261 with 9 homers and 28 RBI. He had also drawn 11 intentional walks in the offensively challenged San Diego lineup. A-Gon has been huge this year for Boston, hitting .340 with nine homers and 43 RBI. He even has four intentional passes. Right now, he is a leading candidate for AL MVP with Torontos Jose Bautista.

3. Through game 50 last year, Kevin Youkilis was hitting .305 with 10 homers and 29 RBI, 42 walks and 27 whiffs. This year Youk is down offensively hitting .275 with 8 homers and 32 RBI, 31 walks and 43 strikeouts.

4. Through 50 games last year with Tampa, Carl Crawford was hitting .305 with four homers, 23 RBI and 15 stolen bases. As my father used to say, You cant steal first base, which accounts for the mere seven steals that Crawford has this year. With Crawfords 4-for-4 yesterday he is up to .229 with three homers and 16 RBI. Hes also grounded into two double plays this year and while that doesnt sound like much, it equals his total for all last season.

5. Dustin Pedroia had a good day Wednesday hitting his third homer of the season, driving home three to boost his total to 14, and picked up two hits to up his average to .249. All these numbers are down compared to last season when he was hitting .259 with eight homers and 25 RBI. A larger level of concern is that Pedey after 50 games in 2009 was hitting .328, and in 2008, he was hitting .301.

6. Jonathan Papelbon was 1-3 with a 3.00 ERA, 11 saves, and a 1.190 WHIP last year at this time. This year, Pap is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA, 9 saves, and a 1.065 WHIP. The biggest difference is that last year at this time Papelbon had already walked 11 batters, this year he has only walked three.

7. Jon Lester is going for his first Cy Young Award this season and is off to good start. Lester, with his six shutout innings yesterday, is now 7-1 with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Last year, Lester was 5-2, 3.15 ERA, also with a 1.29 WHIP. He had 72 whiffs in 65.2 innings last year and this year 70 Ks in 69.2 innings.

8. Last year at this time the enigma known as Daniel Bard had recorded nine holds and had a 2.16 ERA to go with his 1-1 record. He had struck out 28 in 25 innings. This season, Bard also has nine holds, but has a 3.65 ERA and a poor 1-4 record. He has struck out 24 in 24.2 innings.

9. If there is any player who has enjoyed the first 50 games this season a lot more compared to the 50 games last year, it is David Ortiz. With one game to go to the 50 mark, Big Papi is up 38 points, hitting .303 compared to .265 last season. His 10 homers are the same as last season and he is down in RBI this year, 28 to 23. His OPS last season was .886 and this year its a robust .917 with no one questioning his role as DH.

It feels like we have had a whirlwind of baseball already this season, but were only 50 games in. Theres about 70 percent of the season remaining, and thats a lifetime.

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.