Red Sox

Mookie Betts, Red Sox avoid arbitration with $20M contract for 2019

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USA TODAY Sports

Mookie Betts, Red Sox avoid arbitration with $20M contract for 2019

Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox have found common ground.

The Red Sox and Betts avoided arbitration ahead of Friday's 1 p.m. ET deadline by agreeing to a $20 million contract for 2019, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Boston's Evan Drellich.

FanCred's Jon Heyman was the first to report the deal.

Betts' deal includes $400,000 in added incentives, according to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale.

The 26-year-old outfielder is nearly doubling the $10.5 million he earned last season in his second arbitration-eligible year. As MLB.com's Ian Browne notes, this is the first year Betts and the Red Sox have avoided an arbitration hearing.

The three-time All-Star certainly proved his worth in 2018, though, posting a .346 batting average with 32 home runs and 80 RBIs to win the American League MVP award and help Boston capture its ninth World Series title.

Betts is in his second year of arbitration and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2021, where he should be in line for a hefty payday.

Betts is the fifth of 12 arbitration-eligible Red Sox players to agree to terms before the 1 p.m. ET deadline.

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Add David Price to list of Red Sox players who won't visit White House

Add David Price to list of Red Sox players who won't visit White House

And then there were five.

David Price on Thursday became the fifth Boston Red Sox player to announce he won't join the team for its upcoming White House visit, succinctly relaying his reasoning to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

The Red Sox are scheduled to meet President Donald Trump on May 9 after their series with the Baltimore Orioles to commemorate their 2018 World Series victory. Sox president Sam Kennedy has insisted the trip is voluntary, and outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., third baseman Rafael Devers and pitcher Hector Velazquez all have said they won't attend, citing various reasons. (Manager Alex Cora is still undecided.)

Price didn't elaborate much on his own reasoning, but the veteran pitcher has been very vocal about other topics this week. After criticizing Major League Baseball on Wednesday for its handling of Jackie Robinson Day, Price boldly suggested Boston could trade Betts and J.D. Martinez if the team doesn't improve on its slow start.

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Red Sox sign former Yankees first-round pick to minor-league contract

Red Sox sign former Yankees first-round pick to minor-league contract

The Boston Red Sox have no intentions of blowing up their roster, but they did make one transaction during their off day.

The Red Sox have signed left-handed reliever Jeremy Bleich to a minor league contract, the team confirmed Thursday to MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo.

Bleich, who turns 32 in June, pitched with the Philadelphia Phillies in spring training this year but was released on March 21.

Bleich entered Major League Baseball with lofty expectations after the New York Yankees took him 44th overall in the 2008 MLB Draft. But the Stanford product underwent shoulder surgery in 2010 while pitching for Double-A Trenton that caused him to miss the entire 2011 season and limited his potential.

The veteran left-hander finally broke into the big leagues last season with the Oakland Athletics, allowing two runs in 0.2 innings pitched over two appearances.

Bleich will report to Boston's extended spring training and likely join the team's Double-A Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket club, per Cotillo.

Considering the Red Sox currently have no left-handed relievers on their big-league roster, they could call Bleich up for some situational appearances at some point this season.

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