Mookie Betts tells WEEI’s Rob Bradford that nothing has changed on his end regarding a potential extension with the Red Sox, as the 25-year-old still has no intention of discussing a long-term deal during the season. Controlled for just two years beyond the current campaign, Betts’ increasing proximity to free agency and his continually elevated level of play have priced a theoretical extension out of bargain territory and into a massive financial undertaking, as Bradford examines. Certainly, that’s the case with any young star as he navigates through the arbitration process, but Betts already has one record arbitration payday in his back pocket, and he’s turning in the best season of his young career thus far. The $30MM annual rate that Jose Altuve secured on his recent extension with the Astros seems like an increasingly relevant comp, if not a baseline, Bradford posits in highlighting the difficulties that the Sox could face in locking up their brightest young star.
More from the game’s Eastern divisions…
- Adam Eaton’s ankle injury doesn’t appear to be healing as well as the Nationals’ might’ve hoped, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that Eaton is traveling to Wisconsin to be evaluated by a specialist. He’ll meet with orthopedic surgeon Robert Anderson, currently on the Green Bay Packers’ medical staff but also a renowned surgeon who has worked with high-profile athletes ranging from Steph Curry to Cam Newton to Derek Jeter. Eaton has been on the disabled list for nearly a month after suffering an ankle injury on a slide early in the 2018 season.
- The Phillies announced tonight that they’ve activated right-hander Ben Lively from the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 26-year-old Lively opened the season in Philadelphia’s rotation but struggled to a 6.85 ERA in 23 2/3 innings before landing on the disabled list with a back strain. In his absence, fellow righty Zach Eflin stepped into the rotation and has been outstanding in two starts, yielding a run on seven hits and three walks with 13 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. He’ll remain in the rotation over Lively for now, and as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki noted yesterday, a continued hot streak from Eflin could force the Phils to make some tough decisions. GM Matt Klentak has already stated that Jerad Eickhoff will be in the rotation when he returns from the DL later this month, thus pitting Eflin against righties Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta for the final two rotation spots behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. Of course, things can change quickly in the coming weeks, either with a downturn in Eflin’s performance or another injury elsewhere on the roster.
- With Roberto Osuna on administrative leave and under league investigation, the Blue Jays turned to Tyler Clippard with their first save opportunity. Jays manager John Gibbons deployed setup men Seung Hwan Oh, John Axford and Ryan Tepera in the middle innings on Wednesday evening with his team trailing before handing the ninth inning over to Clippard, who worked a scoreless inning with a pair of strikeouts. While Wednesday’s sequence of events doesn’t necessarily anoint Clippard the closer during Osuna’s absence, it does at least suggest that he’s the early favorite for the role. Signed to a minor league deal this March, Clippard has given the Jays 19 1/3 innings of 1.40 ERA ball with 10.2 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9. He’s running up a staggeringly low 18.6 percent ground-ball rate, however, which could well be a portent for further homer troubles down the line. As a reminder for fantasy players, you can track ninth-inning situations throughout the game by following MLBTR’s @CloserNews account on Twitter and by utilizing Jason Martinez’s closer depth chart over at Roster Resource.