Red Sox

Spring training notes: Napoli taking it easy


Spring training notes: Napoli taking it easy

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Other than Clay Buchholzs right hamstring strain, Red Sox manager John Farrell was pleased with the first official workout for his pitchers and catchers.

We got our work in, Farrell said. The guys that threw off the mound today did what we anticipated. Thats just to begin to develop some rhythm, repeat their delivery. No ones certainly going to make the team today, but I thought overall a good work day.

The new manager, who was the Sox pitching coach from 2007-10 before leaving to manage the Blue Jays, believes his pitching staff has a lot of upside for 2013.

The potential of the staff when you look at the ability thats here, the talent that is here, the track record that many have had in recent years, to me this has got the ability to be a well-above-average pitching staff, he staff. Now we also know that there are individual needs along the way here that weve got to get guys back to what they've done well in the past, the consistency to which they execute. But this is a staff that I think is very talented. To start to put numbers on it, were not in that position to do that. But at the same time this is a staff thats got a lot of veterans on it that have had very successful careers to date.

First baseman Mike Napoli, who was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both hips this offseason, will be limited in his initial spring training workouts.

Hes still restricted from any kind of impact or pounding, Farrell said. So right now its a matter of him taking batting practice, keeping his arm in shape. Hell go through another MRI later this week for an update and a re-check. Provided everything goes as we anticipate at this point then well start to introduce more baseball activities including the defensive side. Just talking to him hes looking forward to the reps there to gain comfort at the position but everythings pointed toward later in the weekend or early next week that hed be at that position.

Asked how much calling of pitches he planned to do from the dugout, Farrell replied:

Hopefully none. We have the full trust of the guys that are going to be back behind the plate. Were confident that the system that well use as far as preparing a game plan will be carried out. But its very common to have constant conversation between innings whether thats with pitching coach Juan Nieves and Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Juan and David Ross or Ryan Lavarnway. Thats normal in-game dialogue that will be used. But if we prepare the right way that game plan will be starting point that well be able to adjust off of consistently. But the most imp thing is the work we do leading up to the beginning of that game.

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.