Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Lackey turns in solid outing


Red Sox notes: Lackey turns in solid outing

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It didn't begin well certainly, but by the time it was over, John Lackey turned in a pretty good start Saturday.

After giving up three runs despite no hard-hit balls against him in the first, Lackey settled down and gave up just one more runs the rest of the way before being lifted
with two outs in the sixth.

"It felt like I made some good pitches in that inning,'' said Lackey, who improved to 7-8. "I had a lot of balls on the ground and kind of ran into a little bad luck, but the guys came back swinging the bats and we ended up winning the game.''

Marco Scutaro was charged with a throwing error in the first, then couldn't come up with two other infield grounders as the Rays got out in front.

As he often does, Lackey showed his displeasure with his body language, throwing his arms up in the air when plays weren't made. But eventually, he settled down and turned back the Rays.

The win was the second straight strong outing, but Lackey wasn't willing to say this was the start of a good run for him.

"I'm not getting into predicting the future,'' he said. "(But) I feel pretty good.''

Later, when Francona came out to get him with two on and two out in the sixth, an emotional Lackey pleaded his case to no avail.

"I felt like I could have gotten (Casey Kotchman) out,'' said Lackey. "But looking back on it, we had a two-run lead. Tito probably protected me a little, so I can respect that as well.

"I couldn't do much about it. I had already had a visit (to the mound), so it's not like you can argue your way out of that one.''

Listed at the top of the Red Sox batting order, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia aren't necessarily known for their power.

But in the last two weeks, the two are on home run binges. Ellsbury homered in the fourth, giving him four in the last seven games and a career-high 13 for the season.

Ellsbury has three homers in seven games against Tampa Bay this year.

Pedroia added a solo homer of his own in the seventh, making it 7 in his last 14 games and six in his last eight. He, too, has 13 homers, just five shy of his career high of 18, set during his MVP season.

"I've felt good for a while,'' said Pedroia. "I kind of had (one of these homer binges) at the beginning of the year than I didn't hit another for, like, 300 at-bats. When they come, I guess you've kind of just got to ride it out.

"I'm not a home run hitter by any means. When I hit them, it's nice but it's extra. I'm not trying to hit home runs at all. It might look like it, but trust me, I'm not.''

Randy Williams got word shortly before midnight Friday that he was being called up by the Red Sox, replacing Bobby Jenks on the roster.

He arrived in the Tampa area late yesterday morning, and didn't have to wait long to make his debut.

Francona called upon Williams with two on and two out in the sixth after Lackey had reached 107 with his pitch count.

Williams quickly made a contribution, getting lefty Casey Kotchman to ground out to second for the third out, ending Tampa's threat.

He then came back out for the seventh inning, too, and retired the only two hitters he faced: Evan Longoria on an infield popup and Matt Joyce with a strikeout.

"To get into that situation was outstanding,'' said Williams, "and to get through it unscathed was a great way to start here.''

"That was a big part of the game,'' said Francona. "That's why we got him here. He's going to be interesting.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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.