FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox and J.D. Martinez remained in negotiation on Monday, sources said.
There was no indication a deal was nearing as of early Monday afternoon, but the sides continue to talk. The industry belief has long been that the Sox are Martinez's most logical landing spot, but a source said there are alternatives.
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The Red Sox braintrust was together Monday morning and midday at JetBlue Park, with both principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner on hand.
Werner in January confirmed the Sox were in active negotiations with Martinez. On Monday, he deferred questions to Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
“I think you should talk to Dave about that,” Werner said. “Obviously there’s no news, but I think you should ask Dave that question."
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Werner and Henry both said they were bullish on the Sox if they do not sign Martinez. Werner was asked whether the Sox have an obligation to improve last year’s team with outside help. Right now, the team is virtually identical.
“We have an obligation to try to win the World Series every year,” Werner said. “Sometimes you go in one direction, sometimes you go in another direction. We’re not ceding first place to anybody. Obviously, we have to be better in the playoffs. As John said, we think our approach is better this year and we think we’re going to have if not the highest payroll in baseball, one of the two or three highest payrolls in baseball. We have a great general manager and a great team to figure out how to deploy it and we certainly feel like we’re moving forward.”
New Red Sox manager Alex Cora has announced that, as expected, left-hander Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter when the Red Sox begin their season nine days from now against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. David Price will pitch the second game and Rick Porcello the third.
Cora told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that Eduardo Rodriguez would be in the fourth starter's spot if he's ready as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery and left-hander Brian Johnson is preparing to be the fifth starter for now.
In Price's second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out four in the Red Sox' 12-6 victory over the Pirates. Third baseman Rafael Devers, hitting .349 this spring, hit his third home run of the spring. Andrew Benintendi (.405) had a double and two RBI and first baseman Sam Travis drove in three.
Sale had a much rougher outing Monday, giving up four runs on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Phillies.
Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.
Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.
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“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.
Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.
MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.