Red Sox

Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino explains why talks with Red Sox 'never got off the ground'

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Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino explains why talks with Red Sox 'never got off the ground'

When Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly hit free agency, Adam Ottavino seemed like the perfect fit to fill the void in the Boston bullpen.

Evidently, the Red Sox had other plans. Instead of splurging for an elite reliever, they opted to roll with their internal options. That's when the rival Yankees came along and signed Ottavino to a three-year, $27 million deal.

So what exactly happened with the Red Sox and Ottavino during negotiations? Not much, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.

“They called and stuff but it never really got beyond that. It just never got off the ground,” Ottavino told Cotillo. “We kind of put the ball in their court and gave them a chance at the end to see what their level was. They just chose not to engage.”

By choosing not to engage on Ottavino, the Red Sox chose not to engage on a reliever who's proven capable of pitching in high-leverage situations. The 33-year-old right-hander had a 2.43 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 75 appearances with the Rockies in 2018. He's no Kimbrel, but his presence certainly would have helped the pessimism that currently surrounds Boston's bullpen situation.

Ottavino believes the Red Sox simply weren't willing to make a large expenditure, which is consistent with what Dave Dombrowski said throughout the offseason.

“I think initially, I did expect them to be in on relief pitching prior to the offseason,” Ottavino said. “Once it got going and you just saw their level of involvement, then I kind of felt like they were not trying to spend any money and stay where they were financially. As it kept going, I just started realizing that was more the case.”

With the 2019 season in full swing, the Red Sox still don't have a set closer. For now, they're expected to continue going with a combination of Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes in the late innings.

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Latest reports on MLB negotiations don't bode well for 2020 season

Latest reports on MLB negotiations don't bode well for 2020 season

While the NBA gears up for a reported return in late July, Major League Baseball is still stuck in neutral.

MLB has rejected the MLB Players Association's proposal for a 114-game season in 2020 and doesn't plan to make a counter-offer, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported Wednesday.

The sticking point appears to be around player pay: The players agreed to prorated 2020 salaries in March but called for no additional salary cuts in their latest proposal, per The Athletic. MLB's proposal to the union last month, meanwhile, called for a "50-50 revenue split" between owners and players in an 82-game season.

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According to The Athletic, MLB is considering a season with as few as 50 games in front of no fans as a potential option but has not proposed that scenario to the union.

Yet multiple players recently told ESPN's Jeff Passan they're opposed to a shorter season, with one telling Passan, "We want to play more games, and they want to play less. We want more baseball."

The New York Post's Joel Sherman summed up the current state of negotiations Wednesday in a rather depressing tweet.

All hope isn't completely lost for the 2020 MLB season to happen amid the coronavirus pandemic, however. SNY's Andy Martino suggested MLB declining to counter the players' proposal could just be a negotiating tactic as the sides attempt to find common ground.

Still, it doesn't appear the league and the players are close to finding that common ground. And considering the Boston Red Sox had already played 59 regular-season games by this point last year, time is running out.

UPDATE (4:23 p.m. ET): MLB Network's Jon Heyman is a bit more optimistic about the league and the players working things out:

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Part 3, Numbers 50-26

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Part 3, Numbers 50-26

With MLB players and owners struggling to come to terms on a return-to-play strategy for 2020, we're focusing on the actual players who will take the field when games eventually get back underway.

Over the next several weeks, NBC Sports Boston is counting down the Top 100 players for 2020. While our list won't include several aces who will definitely not play this season — Noah Syndergaard of the Mets, Luis Severino of the Yankees, and Chris Sale of the Red Sox — our countdown includes many other All-Stars.

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Red Sox closer Brandon Workman kicked off our list at No. 100, and our next group of 25 players included Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

As we continue our countdown and move into the Top 50, we find J.D. Martinez, who has broken out into a feared hitter after a slow start to his career. Released by the Astros before the 2014 season, he remade his approach, flourished with the Tigers and now has made back-to-back All-Star teams with the Sox. 

Now 32, he's an established veteran, but it's also possible the late bloomer is only early in his prime years. So where does he land on our Top 100?

Click here for Part 3 of our countdown of MLB's Top 100 players.