Red Sox

What's next for Red Sox after Chris Sale's pending contract extension?

What's next for Red Sox after Chris Sale's pending contract extension?

Dave Dombrowski couldn't resist getting involved in Extension Season.

To cap a busy week of franchise cornerstones signing long-term contract extensions -- Mike Trout, Alex Bregman and Paul Goldschmidt, to name a few -- reports surfaced Friday that the Boston Red Sox have agreed to an extension with ace Chris Sale worth $145 million over five years.

That's a lot of cash to commit to a player who turns 30 in eight days. But Sale has earned his price tag, posting a 2.56 ERA over his two seasons in Boston while finishing in the top five in American League Cy Young voting in both years.

Locking up their ace also allows the Red Sox to check the top item off their lengthy to-do list for next winter. And it's lengthy; here's a list of pending free agents after the 2019 season:

-- OF/DH J.D. Martinez (opt-out clause)
-- SS Xander Bogaerts
-- SP Rick Porcello
-- 1B Mitch Moreland
-- 2B Eduardo Nunez
-- UTIL Brock Holt
-- 1B Steve Pearce
-- RP Tyler Thornburg

Dombrowski admitted Thursday that Boston likely won't be able to re-sign one of Sale, Porcello, Martinez and Bogaerts. So, with Sale extended, which of that trio would be the odd man out?

Considering Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez all reportedly are under contract through next season for a combined $86 million, you could make a case it's Porcello.

Porcello has a 50-28 record in Boston over a three-year tenure that includes a Cy Young award. He's also an established leader in the clubhouse. His ERA has been north of 4.00 in each of the last two seasons, though, so it just might not make sense for Boston to pay him what he wants in free agency when it could pursue a back-end starter at a lower cost, especially if that gives the club flexibility to retain Martinez and re-sign Bogaerts.

There's another factor looming, of course: Mookie Betts' expected mega-payday. The Red Sox outfielder is set to hit free agency in 2020 and could command a contract in the $35 million-per-year range. If that deal is with Boston, the Sox would have three players under contract for north of $60 million combined from 2020 to at least 2022.

Dombrowski has been willing to spend big on pitching in Boston, and last year's World Series title certainly validates that strategy. But extending Sale may force the Red Sox's front office to make some tough decisions elsewhere on the pitching staff.

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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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