Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported earlier this month that the world champion Red Sox had been discussing a contract extension with an unnamed player. It turns out that player was shortstop Xander Bogaerts, according to Drellich, though he adds that the two sides never came close to an agreement during their talks. The 26-year-old Bogaerts is now slated to make $12MM in 2019, potentially his last season with the Red Sox. Meanwhile, outfielder Andrew Benintendi – who, according to industry speculation, was an extension target for the Red Sox earlier this offseason – said Saturday he and the team haven’t talked about a new pact, Drellich relays. The 24-year-old Benintendi still has another pre-arbitration season remaining, meaning the Red Sox aren’t in danger of losing him for a while.
- As with Bogaerts, the Red Sox are at risk of losing outfielder and reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts in the near future. Betts, 26, is entering his penultimate year of arbitration control, in which he’ll earn $20MM (a record for a player in Year 2 of arb eligibility). Unsurprisingly, though, the Red Sox want to keep Betts in the fold for the long haul. CEO Sam Kennedy stated Saturday (via Drellich) that “we’ve made it crystal clear that we want him a part of the Red Sox organization long term.” Betts, for his part, said: “Contract things are kind of tough to come up with, especially with both sides and kind of how the economics and all those things work. I love Boston, love my teammates, love the fans and all those types of things, so we’ll just continue to see what happens.” While Betts does appear open to signing an extension with the Red Sox, he doesn’t seem averse to testing the open market, per Drellich.
- Two key members of Boston’s starting staff, left-hander Chris Sale and righty Rick Porcello, could each hit free agency a year from now. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Sale suggested Saturday that he’s willing to discuss an extension, but the Red Sox haven’t broached the subject yet. “My phone is on if they call me,” he said (via Ian Browne of MLB.com). “Obviously nothing has happened up until this point. If they call, I’d answer.” Sale also indicated that his left shoulder – which was a problem at times late last season, when he dealt with a massive drop in velocity – is no longer an issue. As for Porcello, 30, he also revealed that no extension talks have taken place, though he’d “love to” discuss a new contract with the club, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com tweets. For now, Porcello’s on track to wrap up the four-year, $82.5MM pact he signed with the Red Sox in April 2015.
- Having lost Joe Kelly to the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel to the open market, Boston’s “actively engaged with multiple free-agent relievers,” Cotillo writes. While Cotillo doesn’t rule out a Kimbrel re-signing, he notes an addition could come in the $2MM to $3MM neighborhood. Kimbrel will certainly earn far more than that, though there are several other free agents who could be possibilities for the Red Sox in that price range.
- Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday he doesn’t expect that all three of the team’s catchers – Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart – will be on its Opening Day roster, Sean McAdam of BostonSportsJournal.com reports (subscription required). Because all of those players are out of options, a trade is likely coming. Dombrowski noted that “there’s interest, but we still haven’t made a deal we feel comfortable making.” All three catchers had abysmal offensive seasons over 200-plus plate appearances in 2018, but if defense is Boston’s main concern, the odd man out may be Swihart. After all, the former high-end prospect has accrued little playing time as a backstop over the past few years.