Red Sox

Sox continue to struggle in extra-innings


Sox continue to struggle in extra-innings

BOSTON In this Red Sox season that has been defined by futility and failure, Saturday afternoon offered a microcosmic glimpse into the season, as the Sox lost, 9-6, in 12 innings to the Orioles at Fenway Park.

The Sox have now lost four in a row and fell to a season-worst 17 games under .500. They have lost the season series to the Orioles for the first time since 2004, and fell to 1-7 overall against the Orioles at Fenway this season. With a Baltimore win on Sunday, the Orioles will tie their team-high wins in a season at Fenway Park, with eight in 1960 and 1966.

Alfredo Aceves gave up three runs in the 12th, wasting stellar performances by Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Bailey, and Mark Melancon, who each pitched a perfect inning in relief of Aaron Cook, who gave up five runs in 5 13 innnigs.

It was hard to find a silver lining.

Yeah, said Melancon, who had two strikeouts in his inning of work. All year its been like that.

The Sox came back from three deficits to tie the game, only to lose once again in extra innings.

Its frustrating, said Cody Ross. But we battled and had some chances but couldnt come through and they did.

The Sox fell to 2-9 in extra-inning games this season, 0-7 in extra innings at Fenway, and 0-4 to the Orioles in extra innings at Fenway. Their record in extra innings is confounding.

Very, said Ross. At the end of the season the teams that you see go into the playoffs pull out the extra-inning games and win a lot of extra-inning games. We just havent been able to do that this year.

When you dont have that fire power, I guess, with the big hit, said manager Bobby Valentine. The guys are giving great at-bats, just coming up a little short at times. Wanting it real badly, I think, when they go up there and maybe trying too hard to get the walk off.

Meanwhile, it was the Orioles 18th extra-inning win this season, including a team-record 16 in a row the most since the 1949 Indians won 17 straight.

If I knew the secret to their success Id put it in a bottle, sell it on the street corners, Valentine said. But its a pretty good bullpen, Ill tell you that. Got a guy Tommy Hunter coming in in the 11th inning throwing 101 mph. Thats pretty tough to score against.

They got guys in their bullpen throwing 100 miles an hour, Ross said. Theyve got a good bullpen. They've got arm after arm after arm. And they put together good at-bats. Theyve done a good job at it this year.

For now, all the Sox can do is keep trying.

Thats the only thing we can do right now, Ross said. Stay positive and keep grinding, keep fighting and a pitch at a time as they say. So a pitch at a time, as they say.

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.