Red Sox

Sox need a break and so do we

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Sox need a break and so do we

The All-Star Break is upon us, and the Red Sox are at .500.

Isn't that just perfect? That after 86 games and three long, conflicted months, the Sox finished the first "half" in the same place they were before this insanity started. No better. No worse. All the more frustrating.

Of course, that's just on paper. In reality, the Sox are much worse off today than they were on April 5. Since Opening Day, Carl Crawford has picked up two new injuries without setting foot on Fenway's field. Jacoby Ellsbury messed up his shoulder and we still don't know if he'll make anything of this season. On top of that, there are no guarantees that Dustin Pedroia's thumb or Josh Beckett's shoulder will make it through the year. Youk's gone, and his replacement's already hurt. David Ortiz gets pissier by the day and Jon Lester isn't far behind. Meanwhile, these days Adrian Gonzalez is a singles hitter who's at risk to miss Yankees games with a head cold.

Every fear we had about this team before the season has come to fruition, and then some. Of course, the year hasn't been without a few high points the general success of the bullpen, Jarrod Saltalamacchia's emergence, the guy with the paper bag over his head but for the most part it's been a miserable experience. Everyone from the owners to the front office to the manager to the players to the media to the fans just seems so fed up with everything having to do with this team.

And really, this whole business of constantly lingering around .500 makes it worse. At this point, I think we're ready for this team to just turn the corner or keel over and die. If they're good, fine they're good! If they suck, fine they suck! Figure out a way to make it better.

Instead, they're just inconsistent. They have stretches where you truly believe that the best case-scenario is possible . . . followed by weeks of the most disgusting brand of baseball you've seen since last September. Rinse and repeat. Then wash your eyes out with acid.

It's enough already. At least for now. I don't know about you, but I could use a break. Maybe more than the players could. So with that, enjoy your few days off from the maddening Sox soap opera.

I know I will.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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.