Red Sox

Bradley, Red Sox avoid arbitration with 1-year, $6.1M deal

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Bradley, Red Sox avoid arbitration with 1-year, $6.1M deal

Jackie Bradley Jr. avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.1 million deal with the Red Sox. 

In all, the Red Sox avoided arbitration with nine players Friday. Right fielder Mookie Betts, 25, who made $950,000 last season (.264, 24 homers, 102 RBI, 25 stolen bases, .803 OPS), was the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox player who didn't come to an agreement. 

NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reports that a source tells him Bogaerts agreed to a one-year, $7.05 million deal. Bogaerts, 25, eligible for free agency in 2020, hit .273 with 10 homers, 62 RBI and a .746 OPS last season.

Bradley, the Red Sox center fielder, who turns 28 in April, made $3.6 million last season when he hit .245 with 17 homers and 63 RBI and played superior defense. Bradley has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason as the Red Sox search for a power bat and woo free agent J.D. Martinez, an outfielder, as well as a DH candidate. 

Another arbitration-eligible player, right-handed reliever Joe Kelly, agreed to a one-year, $3.85 million contract with the Red Sox, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Kelly (4-1, 2.79 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched in 2017) made $2.8 million last season. 

Also, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports that Red Sox utility man Brock Holt avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.225 million deal. He made $1.95 million last season when he was limited to only 64 games (.200, no homers, seven RBI) by concussion symptoms. 

 

Don't forget about Blake Swihart, who says he's fully healthy

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Don't forget about Blake Swihart, who says he's fully healthy

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — No one really thinks of Blake Swihart, the 26th overall draft pick in 2011, as part of the Red Sox farm system anymore. Prospect lists move quickly, even if most careers don’t follow a straight-line trajectory.

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Swihart’s health has been the complicating factor for years. He was on the Opening Day roster in 2016 but was sent to the minors quickly before returning in a utility role. A June collision with the wall while playing the outfield led to surgery on his left ankle in August 2016. 

That ankle wasn’t fully healed in 2017 when he hit just .187 across the minors (mostly at Triple-A).

“I have a lot to prove and I have a lot to show people who Blake really is, who I really am,” Swihart said Saturday morning at Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “And I can’t wait to show everybody that I’m back.

“I think when I went and played in the Dominican [this winter is when I felt fully healed]. I was playing in my second straight game at catcher. Usually, when I played back-to-back days, I could feel something. I wasn’t supposed to play back-to-back days in the Dominican and I went there and I caught the next day and I was like you know what I actually feel pretty good today, what’s going on? … I’m ready.”

The ankle definitely affected his ability to hit.

“I couldn’t sit on my backside very well hitting left-handed so I was coming out of my swing and you guys saw last year, I struggled,” Swihart said. “I was trying to play through it and I think I’m taking this offseason to get healthy, it’s going to be a big difference.”

Swihart will be 26 in early April. Spring training will be Swihart’s chance to prove his health, and the Sox will have a decision to make by the end of spring with Swihart out of options for the first time in his career. Carry him on the 25-man roster, which appears most likely, or trade him. 

He would never get through waivers to be able to be sent to the minor leagues after teams pursued him this winter. Swihart said he knew the trade rumors were out there, but he’s dealt with them plenty of times before.

Swihart wants to catch and said so Saturday. Still, he indicated he doesn’t see a conflict between his career goals and the potential for the Red Sox to use him as a utility man.

“I look at it as a win,” Swihart said. “I mean, I’m athletic enough to play other positions. I’m a switch-hitting catcher that can play nine other positions. You know? I can get on the mound if you need me to. So, I mean, I’ve always played every position. Growing up my dad had me play everywhere. That’s just something I’ve always done. So it’s kind of normal to me.”

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Werner: Red Sox feel pressure to keep up with Yankees, Astros

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Werner: Red Sox feel pressure to keep up with Yankees, Astros

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski may not be looking closely at the Yankees' and Astros' rosters, but chairman Tom Werner appears to have peeked.

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“Sure there’s pressure,” Werner said at Winter Weekend when asked about the Yankees’ pick-up of Giancarlo Stanton and the Astros’ addition of Gerrit Cole.  “Houston was formidable last year. I thought we played them competitively in Fenway Park. They’ve obviously improved. But if we have the kind of performances I expect from some of our players this year — obviously we’re looking for some more improvement from certain players. Hopefully, a healthy David Price will be very important to that. 

"I think we have an excellent team, but anything can happen in a short series. The Yankees have improved, there’s no question about it. They have a deep bullpen and a great offense. But I like our chances.”

At the Boston baseball writers awards dinner on Thursday, Sox president Sam Kennedy cracked a joke about Dombrowski presenting Yankees general manager Brian Cashman with an Apple Watch as a gift. The rivalry perked up in 2017.

“I’m sure that when Judge and Stanton come to Fenway Park this year, it’ll be electric,” Werner said.

It’s not exactly an offseason punch-for-punch dynamic with the Sox and Yankees, though, as it was circa 2003-04.

“Not specifically,” Werner said of countering Stanton. “It’s important for us to be competitive with them, but we’re not trying to play chess with them.”

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