Red Sox

Saltalamacchia doesn't mind the crowd at catcher

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Saltalamacchia doesn't mind the crowd at catcher

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox currently have five catchers on their 40-man roster, and that doesnt even include Mike Napoli, who joined the team as a free agent to play first base, but who has spent that vast majority of his big league career behind the plate.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not worried about the crowd, which also includes David Ross, Ryan Lavarnway, Dan Butler, and Christian Vazquez. And, hes looking forward to working with Ross, who is entering his 12th big league season.

Its a huge help any time you get an older guy around to help you out, to be with you, Saltalamacchia said. The guys has been through so much. Hes not an ego guy. Hes a real nice, bright person. To be able to work with him, Im excited. Im trying to get to know. Keep my mouth shut and learn as much as I can. Its still a learning process regardless, no matter what year youre in. Just like hes going to talk to me about some of these pitchers hes never caught. Its a good atmosphere you can have when you have two guys like that who can help each other out.

Its one thing I wish I had when I was younger coming up. I wish I had a veteran guy around to help me out. Because when you got two younger guys youre trying to compete all the time and it becomes a competition rather than trying to actually help each other out and get better. So its always a great situation.

Saltalamacchia will also have his third manager in as many seasons. Saltalamacchia joined the Sox at the trading deadline in 2010, Farrells fourth and final season as pitching coach before leaving to manage the Blue Jays for two seasons. The right manager can make a big impact on a team, he said.

A big difference, Saltalamacchia explained. When you got personality like we got and the guys on this team, you got to have a leader that you can kind of trust and lean on. Terry Francona did a great job of that and I think Farrell, he was obviously with him, so theyre in the same cut. So its going to be a good thing.

Asked how much different it will be from Bobby Valentines one season with the Sox last year, Saltalamacchia replied:

Its tough. we havent gotten into it. I just know Farrell from being the pitching coach. I know him decently well. Hes a great guy. He made phone calls in the offseason, we talked. Bobby came to my house. The effort was there. Just, it was a bad situation. We had just got off a terrible September in 2011 and next year all eyes were on us. So it was kind of a bad situation. But I think were ready to move on and look forward.

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.