Red Sox

Red Sox chairman: 'Our hope' is Mookie Betts remains in Boston for rest of career

Red Sox chairman: 'Our hope' is Mookie Betts remains in Boston for rest of career

Mookie Betts cannot hit MLB free agency until after the 2020 season, but that hasn't stopped people from talking about what his next contract will look like, and if the Boston Red Sox will be the team giving him that contract.

The Red Sox outfielder is coming off a 2018 season during which he won the American League MVP award and the World Series. Betts also must have been happy to see players such as Bryce Harper and Mike Trout recently sign $330 million and $430 million contracts, respectively, knowing he should be able to earn an extension in that range.

It would behoove the Red Sox to sign Betts as soon as possible, but it doesn't seem likely that a new deal for him will come during the 2019 season. Red Sox chairman Tom Werner talked about that subject Tuesday on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe."

“We’re hopeful (about signing Betts),” Werner said. “Of course, you know, he has two more years (left) with the Red Sox. It’s probably not going to happen now that the season has started. We’ll get another shot at it next year. Our hope is that he will also play out the rest of his career with the Red Sox."

Does Werner get the sense Betts wants to be in Boston long-term?

"I do," he said. "But when you wake up in the morning and read Mike Trout made $400 million, I think it's perfectly appropriate for him to look for the money he deserves. He was the MVP of the league last year. Hopefully, we'll come to some sort of understanding."

It makes sense for Betts to test free agency, even if he wants to return to the Red Sox. You might as well see what kind of offers are out there, and it's easy to imagine a long list of teams lining up for Betts' services if he did hit the open market.

Betts, in addition to his 2018 AL MVP, is a three-time AL Gold Glove winner, a three-time AL All-Star and a 2018 AL batting champion. He's also in the prime of his career, and his five-tool skill set makes him a favorite among fans across the league.

The Red Sox would be wise to make Betts the face of the franchise for a long time. But it takes two willing sides for that to happen, and time will tell if Betts wants to remain in Boston long-term.

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MLB Rumors: Could Red Sox be part of three-team Wil Myers trade?

MLB Rumors: Could Red Sox be part of three-team Wil Myers trade?

Could the Boston Red Sox participate in another blockbuster trade before the 2020 season?

We learned Tuesday that the Red Sox and Padres are still discussing a trade involving San Diego outfielder Wil Myers, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But it's possible a third team gets involved in a Red Sox-Padres trade, The Athletic's Dennis Lin reported Wednesday.

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From Lin:

As part of these considerations, the Padres have discussed a potential three-team trade that would ship Myers to the Red Sox and land Cincinnati Reds center fielder-second baseman Nick Senzel in San Diego, two sources told The Athletic

Lin added that no trade is imminent, but Acee also reported the Padres have interest in the 24-year-old Senzel, the Cincinnati Reds' No. 2 overall pick in 2016 who would become San Diego's center fielder.

Per Acee, a Padres-Red Sox trade would have Boston assume about half of the $61 million Myers is owed over the next three years while receiving some combination of pitcher Cal Quantrill and prospects Luis Campusano and Gabriel Arias.

It's unclear how the Reds' involvement would affect Boston's return for Myers, or if the Red Sox would have to send a player to Cincinnati in this deal.

But San Diego general manager A.J. Preller apparently is serious about making a move: The Padres also remain interested in Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Lin reports.

Is Chris Sale a serious Cy Young candidate? Sportsbooks bullish on Red Sox ace

Is Chris Sale a serious Cy Young candidate? Sportsbooks bullish on Red Sox ace

Perhaps Chris Sale's stock isn't as low as it appears.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander posted a 6-11 record with a 4.40 ERA in 2019 before elbow inflammation ended his season in August.

He hasn't thrown off a major-league mound since then and may not be ready for 2020 Opening Day after contracting pneumonia prior to spring training. He turns 31 at the end of March.

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And yet: DraftKings Sportsbook currently lists Sale at +600 odds to win the 2020 American League Cy Young Award, the second-shortest odds behind New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

Here's the top five:

Gerrit Cole +275
Chris Sale +600
Justin Verlander +700
Blake Snell +1000
Mike Clevinger +1000

Why are sportsbooks so bullish on Sale, who has better odds than reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander?

For one, the hard-throwing left-hander insists his arm is fully healthy. He also threw just 147.1 innings in 2019 -- his lowest output in a season since becoming a starter -- and should be well-rested for 2020.

Advanced metrics also suggest Sale's 2019 campaign wasn't as bad as it appeared: His 35.6 percent strikeout rate ranked second in baseball behind Cole, while his 3.39 FIP was the second-lowest in the majors among pitchers with an ERA above 4.00.

And lest we forget, Sale is just two seasons removed from posting a 2.11 ERA over 158 innings in 2018 and three seasons removed from leading MLB in strikeouts with 308.

The Red Sox need Sale to be at his peak if they want to have any success in 2020. As of right now, the odds are in his favor.