While arbitration hearings can often be a contentious process, Red Sox president of baseball operations told reporters that the team’s relationship with Mookie Betts didn’t suffer as a result of this week’s hearing (link via MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffrey). “I called him and texted him back and forth,” said Dombrowski. “(Assistant general manager) Brian O’Halloran spoke to him. Mookie’s fine, he understands the process so we have a good relationship.” Dombrowski went on to say call Betts a player that the organization “loves” and hopes to keep for “years to come.” Betts was awarded a $10.5MM salary by an arbitration panel — the second-largest salary ever for a first-time arbitration player. (Kris Bryant set the record at $10.85MM last month.)
More from the AL East…
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com looks at Darren O’Day’s quietly dominant finish to the 2017 season for the Orioles, noting that his excellence over the final two months flew under the radar after injuries had plagued him for much of 2016-17. Indeed, O’Day logged a pristine 1.14 ERA with a 29-to-7 K/BB ratio and just two home runs allowed over his final 23 2/3 innings of the 2017 season, and the sidearmer tells Kubatko he’s healthy headed into 2018. ““Last year was encouraging in a lot of aspects,” said the 35-year-old O’Day. “I think previous seasons I had some issues that just fighting through and there’s times where you doubt yourself, there’s times where you wonder if you’re still good, so last year some of the months were very encouraging for me and I felt like I got back to myself.” O’Day will play a critical role to an Orioles bullpen that will be without closer Zach Britton for much of the season; Britton suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in December and figures to miss at least the first couple months of the season.
- With the Blue Jays seeking a starting pitcher and likely not having the funds to land a top free agent, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com lists potential options for the club. Given that the Jays have in the neighborhood of $10MM to spend, Chisholm explores Jason Vargas, Chris Tillman, Andrew Cashner and Jaime Garcia as possible fits. Other choices could include Brett Anderson (in whom the Jays do have interest), Jeremy Hellickson, Clay Buchholz and old friend Francisco Liriano.
- The Rays and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria will have their arbitration hearing Friday in Arizona, and an announcement on his 2018 salary will come Saturday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The slick-fielding, offensively limited Hechavarria is seeking $5.9MM, while the Rays have offered a $5.35MM salary, as MLBTR’s Arb Tracker shows.