Red Sox

Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez finalists to start in 2019 All-Star Game

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez finalists to start in 2019 All-Star Game

The "Primary" phase of the new All-Star Game voting format ended on Friday, which means the field has been narrowed down to three finalists to start at each position (nine total in the outfield).

Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are the only two Red Sox players to be voted in as finalists. Betts will be up against fellow outfielders Michael Brantley, Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, Austin Meadows, Josh Reddick, Eddie Rosario, George Springer, and of course Mike Trout. Joining Martinez as designated-hitter finalists are veterans Nelson Cruz and Hunter Pence.

Betts was named a finalist despite having a down season by his lofty standards. The 2018 American League MVP currently has a slash line of .266/.387/.464 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI.

Martinez isn't quite raking at his 2018 pace, but still boasts solid numbers all around. He's slashing .291/.368/.540 with 16 homers and 41 RBI.

Though both shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers have enjoyed standout seasons thus far, they were snubbed from the top three at their respective positions. Bogaerts and Red Sox manager Alex Cora both expressed their disappointment with the lack of support.

Fans can vote for who they'd like to see start at each position beginning at noon on June 26. Voting will be open until 4 p.m. ET on June 27.

All-Star pitchers and reserves will be named on June 30. The game is July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. 

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Andrew Friedman announces he's staying with Dodgers, taking biggest name off board for Red Sox

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Andrew Friedman announces he's staying with Dodgers, taking biggest name off board for Red Sox

The Red Sox can cross the biggest name off their GM search before he was ever even an option.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman announced on Monday that he will finalize a deal to stay in L.A. "in the next couple of days." Friedman had technically become a free agent after the Dodgers' season ending in shocking fashion against the Nationals last week.

His five-year, $35 million contract expired, but the Dodgers moved quickly to lock up the 43-year-old, who has built consistent winners in both Tampa and Los Angeles and was considered the most intriguing candidate for the job of running the Red Sox, which opened up when the team parted ways with Dave Dombrowski in September.

With Friedman off the board and the Twins reportedly nearing a deal to extend Lynn native Derek Falvey as their chief baseball officer, the Red Sox have seen the candidate pool for their opening diminish before their search even starts. Before the season ended, the Diamondbacks took another name out of play by extending GM Mike Hazen, a Massachusetts native and former Red Sox executive. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein also declared his commitment to Chicago, though his contractual status hasn't changed.

One name that hasn't been taken off the board is Chaim Bloom, Tampa's VP of baseball operations. The 36-year-old Yale graduate oversees Tampa's baseball operations alongside Erik Neander, and the two guided the Rays to a wild card before taking the Astros to Game 5 of the ALDS.

Widely considered one of the most innovative franchises in the game, the Rays have reached 90 wins in two straight seasons despite fielding one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.

This team makes sense for J.D. Martinez in 2020>>>

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MLB Free Agents 2019-20: Top 5 designated hitters

MLB Free Agents 2019-20: Top 5 designated hitters

One of the biggest question marks of the Red Sox' offseason is the future of J.D. Martinez. Will he or won't he opt out of his contract and test the free-agent waters yet again?

If he does, Boston is put into a tough position. There aren't a whole lot of guys out there -- if any -- who can step right into Martinez's DH slot and put up numbers anything close to the 2018 World Series champion's level of production.

If Martinez indeed decides to sign elsewhere (the White Sox, perhaps?), the Sox could be left scrambling for a cheap short-term replacement off the open market. Here's a look at the top options this winter: