Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts signs six-year extension with Red Sox reportedly worth $120M

usatsi_11496356_133468180_lowres.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Xander Bogaerts signs six-year extension with Red Sox reportedly worth $120M

UPDATE (April 1,  1:06 p.m. ET): The Boston Red Sox announced Monday they've officially signed Xander Bogaerts to a six-year contract extension through 2025 with a vesting option for 2026.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Boston Red Sox recently locked up a cornerstone player when they signed starting pitcher Chris Sale to a five-year contract extension, and they now have done the same with shortstop Xander Bogaerts .

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Sunday night that Boston and Bogaerts are finalizing a huge contract extension.

The extension is worth $120 million and begins in 2020. So, including his 2019 salary of $12 million, Bogaerts is signed for the next seven years at $132 million. 

Extending Bogaerts makes a lot of sense for the Red Sox. He's one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball, his defense is very good and he's proven to be durable. The 26-year-old led all AL shortstops in RBIs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and doubles last season. He also ranked third in batting average and third in walks among all AL shortstops in 2018.

Bogaerts is 3-for-16 with two walks and two runs scored through the first four games of 2019.

Locking up Bogaerts long-term gives the Red Sox a clearer picture of their financial future. Bogaerts was able to hit unrestricted free agency after this season and would have been one of the top non-pitchers available.

Getting him signed might allow the Red Sox to focus more time and effort on keeping superstar outfielder Mookie Betts in Boston for the foreseeable future. The reigning AL MVP can hit free agency after the 2020 season and likely will receive a gargantuan contract from whichever teams signs him.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Alex Cora sees Chris Sale as a man 'on a mission' after resuming throwing program

Alex Cora sees Chris Sale as a man 'on a mission' after resuming throwing program

SAN DIEGO -- Chris Sale recently cleared a major hurdle and resumed throwing. Manager Alex Cora can already see the noted competitor's fire burning bright as he looks to make amends for a shockingly mediocre 2019.

"I hate to say he's on a mission, but obviously he wasn't happy with the way the season went last year," Cora said. "He was trending up when he got hurt at the end. So hopefully he can bounce back, be ready for spring training, and be ready for the opening series."

Sale went just 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in what was easily the worst season of his career before shutting it down in late August with a sore elbow. Dr. James Andrews prescribed rest and said he'd reevaluate Sale in six weeks, an aggressive timetable that was abandoned when it became clear the Red Sox would not make the playoffs.

Until Sale had his follow-up and started throwing again, however, concerns would linger that perhaps he'd still require a surgical procedure or be unready to start the season with the team. The start of throwing, however, has him back on track.

Sale is working out at the team's spring training facility in Fort Myers, where Sale makes his home. He and his wife recently donated $1 million to his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University.

"I texted him the other day," Cora said. "What he did to his university, that was amazing, not forgetting where you come from. That was great. Physically, he's in a good spot. He's in a good place. He's been very consistent with his rehab. Obviously, not sleeping that much because of the birth of the baby. We've got a few guys like that, but physically he's in a good spot. Mentally he's in a good spot."

Soon enough we'll find out if he's putting himself in a position to say mission accomplished.

***

Sale isn't the only pitcher who recently started throwing again. David Price, a couple of months removed from a procedure to remove a cyst on his wrist, is playing catch.

"The feeling is different," Cora said. "Obviously, he's been dealing with this for a while, and it's been a grind for David to go out there and perform. He feels a little bit looser with the wrist. The feel of the ball is different, and there haven't been setbacks. As of now, everything is trending the right way. The goal is for him to be ready for the opening series."

Tomase: Sox offseason plans could come into focus this week>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

How future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre quietly helped turn around Rafael Devers' season

How future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre quietly helped turn around Rafael Devers' season

SAN DIEGO -- It was easily one of the low points of Rafael Devers' otherwise breakout 2019, but it led to a phone call that changed his season.

On May 2 in Chicago, Devers booted a ground with one out in the ninth and the Red Sox holding a 4-3 lead over the White Sox. Two batters later, Nick Delmonico launched a walkoff three-run homer, and a disconsolate Devers admitted that he "played a significant role in the loss."

Teammate Mitch Moreland, however, saw an opportunity. He put Devers in touch with a former Rangers teammate who knows a thing or two about manning the hot corner -- five-time Gold Glover and future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre.

The two spoke a couple of times a month for the rest of the season, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora is excited to see what impact Beltre's wisdom will have on Devers in 20202.

"He took it personally," Cora said of the Chicago error. "And I'll say it now, after that, Mitch actually, he made a phone call to the Dominican Republic and talked to Adrian, and Adrian talked to Raffy, and from there on, the communication was on an every-other-week basis, and there's a few things that Adrian told him to do in the offseason and what he should do in spring training, and looking forward for him to work that way and see where it takes him."

After making nine errors in his first 31 games, Devers made just 13 the rest of the way, and the Red Sox expect he'll continue making strides next season.

"As far as like moving and decisions and what he did last year compared to where he was in my first year, it's night and day," Cora said. "The confidence, too."

Tomase: Sox offseason plans could come into focus this week>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.