Red Sox

Source: Rangers, Braves, Dodgers in hunt for Beckett

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Source: Rangers, Braves, Dodgers in hunt for Beckett

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are willing to listen when it comes to dealing pitcher Josh Beckett, a baseball source said, but they're not aggressively seeking to move him before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver deadline.

In addition to the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers -- who continue to talk about a deal with the Chicago Cubs for starter Ryan Dempster -- have called to inquire about Beckett.

The source said the Sox are not aggressively shopping Beckett and won't take back much of the approximately 37 million remaining on his contract. But in a thin pitching market, if a team is willing to make it worth the Red Sox' while, the Sox are not opposed to listening to what teams have to offer.

Another source, while not ruling out the possibility of a deal, put the odds of the Sox moving Beckett at less than 50-50.

Beckett, of course, has 10-5 rights -- 10 years in the big leagues, the last five with the same team -- and as such, has the right to veto any deal.

The Sox haven't been anywhere close to the point where they've approached Beckett about getting his permission for a deal. The Red Sox would have to most of the parameters of a deal in place before going to Beckett, who is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers.

The Rangers' invovlement is noteworthy because, only last week, some officials expressed open concern about his impact on the Texas clubhouse.

"Obviously,'' said a baseball executive with one club, "his reputation from a national standpoint isn't very good right now (following the chicken-and-beer scandal last fall and Beckett's involvement in a golf outing in May after he was scratched from his next start).''

But in recent days, after a number of available starting pitchers were dealt elsewhere -- including Anibal Sanchez, Francisco Liriano, and especially Zach Greinke -- the Rangers are said to have softened their chance, especially since Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Rangers' biggest threat in the A.L. West.

The Dodgers, suddenly flush with cash from new ownership, have been aggressive on the trade front, obtaining shortstop Hanley Ramirez -- ironically, the top prospect in the deal that brought Beckett to Boston in December of 2005 -- from the Miami Marlins last week, while agreeing to absorb all of his remaining 38 million in salary obligations.

The Braves, who no longer spend as they once did, would seem to the least likely of the three interested teams to take on most of Beckett's money. But they have shortage of young pitching prospects to make a deal if the money could be worked out.

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.