Red Sox

Valentine considers Iglesias for shortstop

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Valentine considers Iglesias for shortstop

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox enter spring training with questions at several roster spots, including shortstop. Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, and Jose Iglesias are all candidates for the position.

On Wednesday morning, manager Bobby Valentine spent some time hitting groundballs to a group of infielders that included Iglesias.

Iglesias, the much heralded Cuban defector who turned 22 in January, is considered a defensive whiz, with limited offense, drawing comparisons to Rey Ordonez, whom Valentine managed for parts of seven seasons with the Mets. Ordonez won three Gold Gloves, but hit just .246 in his nine-season career with the Mets, (Devil) Rays, and Cubs.

"My first impression of Iglesias, Valentine said. is that he can catch it. I bet you he can throw it after he catches it, too."

I did see similarities with Rey Ordonez in ball-glove action. Initially, it looked like he had more range than Rey."

Iglesias made his big league debut last season, going 2-for-6 in 10 games. He was limited in 2010, his first season in the United States, to 57 games for Double-A Portland by a thumb injury, but was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket last year, where he hit just .235 with one home run and 31 RBI in 101 games. In two minor league seasons, he has hit a combined .261 with one home run and 51 RBI in 171 games.

Asked if his team could afford little to no production at any position, especially shortstop, Valentine replied:

"Probably not. My fast brain says probably not."

Valentine acknowledged he could perhaps learn from his time with Ordonez.

"I didnt do a very good job of developing Rey into an offensive player, Valentine said. Maybe I can learn from what I didnt do. That was a challenge to get offensive production out of Rey Ordonez. Rey wasnt a very receptive person. Rey didnt adapt or receive well. It seems that Jose would be a little different than that."

Valentine said he kept Ordonez in the lineup because he didnt have a lot of alternatives. Would he do the same with Iglesias?

Its a different world, he said. A different situation."

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.