Red Sox

Ortiz calls negotiations with Sox 'humiliating' and says he's 'open to anything' next year

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Ortiz calls negotiations with Sox 'humiliating' and says he's 'open to anything' next year

In the clearest indication yet that his days with the Red Sox may be nearing an end, David Ortiz gave a Spanish-language interview to USA Today in which he said money -- and nothing else -- will be the determining factor in whether or not he re-signs with Boston after he becomes a free agent next offseason.

Calling last year's arbitration process "humiliating" and "embarrassing", Ortiz said that once he hits free agency, he'll be "open to anything".

"If you go crazy and give contracts to whoever comes along despite not knowing how they're going to do, then you don't give me my due consideration, even though I do my thing every year, expletive that," he said. "I'm going to be open to anything. My mentality is not going to be, 'I like it here.' It's going to be, 'Bring it to the table, and we'll see what happens.' "

Ortiz was seeking a two-year deal from the Red Sox last offseaon at the same salary he'd received in 2011 (12.5 million), but Boston -- noting that no other full-time designated hitter earns anywhere close to 12.5 million -- would only offer a multiyear contract if Ortiz accepted less money. The sides went to arbitration and Ortiz was awarded 14.25 million.

"It was humiliating," Ortiz said. "There's no reason a guy like me should go through that. All I was looking for was two years, at the same salary."They ended up giving me 2.025 million more than that, and look at my numbers this year. Tell me if they wouldn't have been better off. "And yet they don't hesitate to sign other guys. It was embarrassing."USA Today received an e-mail response from general manager Ben Cherington: "We have enormous respect for David, and one of our offseason priorities was keeping him with the Red Sox. We talked about a number of ways to do that, but ultimately David's acceptance of arbitration focused our efforts on a one-year deal. We were glad to reach a settlement with David prior to a hearing."David is having a terrific season and has been a leader on and off the field for us. We remain hopeful that David will finish his career with the Red Sox."USA Today said Cherington also noted the Sox "would not look to start negotiations on an extension during the season".

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.