Red Sox

Red Sox trade for A's Conor Jackson

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Red Sox trade for A's Conor Jackson

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

Though it hardly qualified as a blockbuster, the Red Sox were active on the trade market late Wednesday night, obtaining outfielder Conor Jackson from the Oakland A's in exchange for minor-league pitcher Jason Rice.

Jackson, 29, will be added to the Red Sox' expanded roster and is expected to join the club Thursday. Jackson is making 3.2 million this season and Oakland agreed to include an unspecified amount of money to help defray the approximate 500,000 remaining on his deal this season.

"It's awesome," Jackson told reporters in Cleveland, where the A's were playing, upon hearing of the trade. "I don't think a guy in my position couldask for anything better - a big-market team with probably the best fansin baseball."
As is often the case, at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st, this deal, too, came minutes before the deadline to obtain players who will be eligible for postseason play.

Dating back to July, the Red Sox had been in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder, a role Jackson fills. The Sox have had poor production from their right-fielders, notably J.D. Drew, who struggled for the first three-and-a-half months before being sidelined in July by a left shoulder impingement. Josh Reddick has filled in for Drew in right but has plateaued sharply in recent weeks while showing some deficiencies in right field.

Until Jackson's acquisition, Darnell McDonald was the team's lone right-handed outfielder. He, too, has been subpar offensively and though he has shown better power in the second half, his average remains under .200.

Jackson began his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being dealt to Oakland in 2010. A first baseman to start his career, he's played more outfield -- and is considered an average defender -- in recent seasons.

Jackson is a career .272 hitter with an on-base percentage of .352. He's also hit 51 homers to go along with 290 RBI and 289 runs. With Oakland this season, Jackson is hitting .249 (.315 OBP) in 102 games, with 4 homers and 38 RBI. Against lefties this season, Jackson is hitting .254 (.333 OBP) in 122 at-bats including ten doubles and 10 RBI.

Rice, 25, was obtained from the Chicago White Sox organization through the minor league Rule 5 Draft in December of 2008. This year, he had appeared in 44 games -- all but one in relief -- at Pawtucket, posting a 4-5 record with four saves and an ERA of 3.69. Rice fanned 89 batters in 85.1 innings and batters hit just .238 against him but command was an issue with 42 walks.

The deal comes exactly a month to the day since the Red Sox and A's originally consummated then cancelled a deal that would have sent starting pitcher Rich Harden to Boston in exchange for Lars Anderson and a player to be named later. The Red Sox knew Harden's shoulder was problematic but a review of his medical records, provided to finalize the deal, proved more worrisome than even they had believed, causing the Red Sox to pull out of the deal and angering Oakland's general manager Billy Beane.

Bobby Jenks, currently suffering from an illness, was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Jackson.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

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.