Boston Red Sox – MLB Trade Rumors Fri, 23 Mar 2018 01:54:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Red Sox, Yankees Likely To Play 2019 Series In London Thu, 22 Mar 2018 04:51:35 +0000
  • The Yankees and Red Sox are nearing a deal to play a two-game series in London during the 2019 regular season, according to Janet Paskin and Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg. The series would take place at London Stadium, which hosted the 2012 Olympics, in what would be the first-ever Major League Baseball action in Europe.
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    Drew Pomeranz Likely To Begin Season On DL Wed, 21 Mar 2018 22:07:42 +0000
  • While Red Sox southpaw Drew Pomeranz has recently made progress in his recovery from a mild flexor strain, odds are that he’ll start the season on the disabled list, Ian Browne of writes. Meanwhile, Browne relays that there’s more hope for Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez and righty Steven Wright, each of whom underwent knee surgery last year. If they’re both ready to open the season on time, they’ll follow Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello in Boston’s rotation. Otherwise, the Red Sox’s top fallback choices are lefty Brian Johnson and righty Hector Velazquez.
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    Red Sox Exploring Trade Interest In Deven Marrero, Brock Holt Wed, 21 Mar 2018 03:28:17 +0000
  • The Red Sox seem to be inclined to carry the out-of-options Blake Swihart on the active roster to open the season, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports.  While the club obviously feels it doesn’t want to lose out on his upside, that decision would also create some constraints elsewhere — perhaps forcing the Sox to make a move instead with one of their utility infielders.  Indeed, as Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal writes (subscription link), the Sox have begun putting out feelers with other organizations regarding Deven Marrero (who is also out of option) and Brock Holt. While it’s not clear that either has drawn significant interest, it seems the team is preparing to move one of them or another similar player as part of its roster-maintenance efforts at the tail end of camp.
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    Latest On Drew Pomeranz Sun, 18 Mar 2018 23:33:17 +0000
  • I felt great. I felt normal,” Drew Pomeranz told media (including the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman) after a 33-pitch simulated throwing session today.  The Red Sox southpaw has missed time with a mild flexor strain and his status for the start of the season is still in question, though today’s result was a good step for Pomeranz.  Between this outing and the positive updates on Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez yesterday, there is a chance Boston could begin the year without having to turn to minor league depth starters Hector Velazquez or Brian Johnson.
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    Deven Marrero Drawing Interest Sun, 18 Mar 2018 21:57:51 +0000
  • Red Sox infielder Deven Marrero is drawing interest from other clubs, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Marrero’s out of options, meaning the Red Sox will have to roster him, deal him or risk losing him for nothing in the coming week-plus. The 27-year-old saw action across the infield with the Red Sox from 2015-17, but he produced a meager .208/.259/.309 batting line over that 258-plate appearance sample size.
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    Red Sox Notes: Poyner, Kimbrel Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:07:25 +0000
  • Red Sox reliever Bobby Poyner is “a legitimate candidate” to earn a roster spot, Ian Browne of writes. The 25-year-old left-hander entered camp as a non-roster invitee, but he has since thrown 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball during spring action, which has put him “in the mix” for a big league role, according to manager Alex Cora. Poyner, whom the Red Sox selected in the 14th round of the 2015 draft, hasn’t even garnered any Triple-A experience to this point. He divided last season between High-A and Double-A, combining for a 1.49 ERA with 12.5 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 over 60 1/3 innings.
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    Latest On Injured Red Sox Starters Sat, 17 Mar 2018 23:01:14 +0000
  • Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright may open the season in the team’s rotation, Ian Browne of writes. Wright, who has been working back from the season-ending left knee surgery he underwent last May, threw three innings of live batting practice Saturday and called it “a huge, huge step in the right direction.” There’s also optimism about left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who had knee surgery last October. Of Rodriguez, manager Alex Cora said, “It seems like Eddie, he’s in a sprint right now, which is great.” Meanwhile, lefty Drew Pomeranz yet another injured Red Sox starter – will throw a minor league game Sunday as he attempts to bounce back from a mild flexor strain. Cora noted that “you can’t rule out” Pomeranz or either of the other banged-up starters from beginning the year in Boston’s rotation.
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    AL Notes: Morrison, White Sox, Yankees Sat, 17 Mar 2018 18:30:15 +0000 First baseman Logan Morrison ended up with the Twins, but many expected the Red Sox to pursue him more aggressively than they did. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe has some interesting quotes from LoMo, who smacked 38 homers for the Rays last season but ultimately settled for a meager $6.5MM guarantee with performance escalators and a vesting option. Morrison says he himself didn’t have any conversations with Boston. His agent spoke with the club during the winter meetings, but apparently “that was it,” and clearly that discussion didn’t culminate in any serious offers. “Am I surprised? I guess. I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know if it was the most shocking thing I saw [in the market].” The Sox ended up re-signing Mitch Moreland to play first base for them on a two-year, $13MM contract.

    Some other American League-related items…

    • James Fegan of The Athletic has an insightful rundown of some young White Sox arms. Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning have all had their ups and downs this spring, and Fegan was able to get quotes from all of them on some recent performances in camp. For instance, Giolito spoke about his latest outing during which he allowed two runs in the first inning. “It’s one of those days where like, if one pitching isn’t working you can go to the other ones and I was able to do that for the most part after the first inning,” he said. Kopech offered some confidence in his performance. Threw a lot of changeups, changeups were good,” Kopech said. “My main two focuses were fastball command and changeup command. Both were really good. Got a lot of swings and misses on the changeup.” Anyone looking for more quotes from these young pitchers should give the article a full read.
    • The Yankees have officially tabbed right-hander Luis Severino to be the club’s Opening Day starter. Bryan Hoch of has some notable quotes from manager Aaron Boone on the subject. “”We feel like it’s his time for it,” Boone said. “With what he was able to do last year, we feel like he’s in a really good place now. We just felt like now is the time for him to take on that role and we think he’s ready for it.” While it’s hardly surprising to hear that the third-place finisher in 2017’s Cy Young voting will throw his club’s first game of the season, the announcement also comes with the news that lefty Jordan Montgomery will officially be given the club’s fifth rotation spot and start the Yankees’ home opener.
    Addison Reed On Time With Red Sox, Free Agency Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:54:39 +0000
  • Addison Reed tells Alex Speier of the Boston Globe that playing for the Red Sox and pitching at the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park exceeded his expectations in 2017, adding: “…and I expected it to be pretty damn good.” However, Reed openly admits that a return to Boston wasn’t high on his list as he headed into free agency this winter. While he had nothing against the Red Sox and spoke glowingly of the organization, his preference was to end up with a Midwest team. (Speier notes that his wife is from Ohio.) Reed achieved that feat by landing a two-year deal with the Twins, and while he took a shorter deal than most predicted, it seems possible that that outcome was in part due to his self-imposed geographic limitations.
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    Offseason In Review: Boston Red Sox Wed, 14 Mar 2018 20:33:20 +0000 With the big exception of a prominent new slugger, the Red Sox will head into 2018 with largely the same roster that won them the AL East last season.

    Major League Signings

    • J.D. Martinez, OF/DH: Five years, $110MM (deal contains player opt-out clauses after the second, third, and fourth seasons; Red Sox can potentially convert fourth and fifth seasons into mutual options)
    • Mitch Moreland, 1B: Two years, $13MM
    • Eduardo Nunez, IF: Two years, $8MM (Nunez can exercise $2MM buyout and opt out of contract after 2018)
    • Total spend: $131MM

    Trades And Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    Red Sox 25-Man Roster & Minor League Depth Chart; Red Sox Payroll Overview

    Needs Addressed

    It isn’t a stretch to say that Boston’s entire offseason revolved around a single player.  While the Red Sox did their due diligence by checking in on some other big free agent bats (such as Carlos Santana, Eric Hosmer, and Logan Morrison), J.D. Martinez had long seemed like a natural fit, particularly given his past association with Dave Dombrowski.  As well, Martinez’s numbers over the last four seasons — .300/.362/.574 with 128 homers — set him apart as the consistent, elite bat that the Sox were lacking last season in the wake of David Ortiz’s retirement.

    It did take a while for the deal to be struck, both because agent Scott Boras was surely trying to find at least one more big-money suitor for his client and because the Red Sox saw no reason to offer anything close to Boras’s initial $200MM asking price for Martinez given the lack of competition.  The Diamondbacks were the only other team that seemed like a serious consideration for Martinez, but even they were a longshot due to a lack of payroll flexibility.

    Even once a deal was struck, it still took another week for contractual terms to be fully worked out, resulting in quite a bit of flexibility for both sides.  Martinez can opt out of the deal after the 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons, while the Red Sox can turn the contract’s final two years into mutual options should Martinez spend significant time on the DL due to injuries related to the Lisfranc foot problem that sidelined him for part of the 2017 campaign.  These terms reflect some extra caution for a franchise that has been burned on several expensive free agent signings in recent years, and if Martinez plays well enough to opt out at the first opportunity, the Red Sox would have to feel pretty satisfied at getting elite production on what would become a two-year, $50MM commitment without having to worry about a decline on the contract’s back end.

    Martinez will spend most of his time as a designated hitter, occasionally stepping into some corner outfield duty to spell Andrew Benintendi or Jackie Bradley Jr. against left-handed pitching.  Bradley was himself the subject of some trade speculation this winter, though the Sox never seemed particularly keen on the idea of moving a controllable player who offers outstanding baserunning and defense, plus some above-average hitting numbers in the past.  With Martinez willing to accept a role as the primary DH (but also eager to improve upon his recent poor showing as a defender), the Red Sox were able to both upgrade their lineup while also keeping their elite defensive outfield formation of Benintendi/Bradley/Mookie Betts intact.

    While Boston had been linked to several first base names earlier in the offseason, the team made the somewhat surprising move (two months before signing Martinez) of bringing Mitch Moreland back into the fold on a two-year deal.  Moreland provides solid numbers against right-handed pitching and a very good glove at first base, but his contract landed a fair sight higher than other, similarly productive first basemen. In any event, he’ll now participate in some sort of timeshare with Hanley Ramirez at first, with Ramirez also seeing time at DH when Martinez is in the field.

    Also returning to the infield mix is Eduardo Nunez, who will eventually settle into a utilityman role but will suit up as Boston’s starting second baseman for at least the first few weeks of the regular season.  Dustin Pedroia is hopeful that his recovery from knee surgery will allow him to return a bit earlier than the originally-projected seven-month timeframe, but if not, the Sox now have a very solid replacement at the keystone in Nunez.  With Marco Hernandez out until May due to shoulder surgery, Nunez will provide the Sox with some valuable infield depth, including at third base should Rafael Devers have a sophomore slump.

    Questions Remaining

    Dombrowski has spoken in the past about how Boston’s established pitching staff makes it hard for the club to attract notable veterans as minor league depth, as those pitchers prefer to join teams that provide clearer opportunities to win big league jobs.  This particular issue could become an early problem for the Sox given that two members of their projected starting five could now begin the season on the disabled list.  Drew Pomeranz’s spring work was delayed by a mild flexor strain, and it isn’t known if he’ll be ready by Opening Day.  Meanwhile Eduardo Rodriguez and sixth starter Steven Wright were already expected to start the year on the DL as they continue to recover from knee and shoulder surgeries, respectively.

    While none of these seem like terribly long-term problems, it isn’t a good sign given that Pomeranz and Rodriguez have both dealt with multiple injury concerns in the past.  David Price is also looking to return to health (and effectiveness) after a 2017 season marred by elbow problems.  With Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez currently representing Boston’s top starting pitching depth options, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Sox make a signing later this spring or even into April — especially should Pomeranz, Rodriguez or even Wright experience a setback.  Some pretty significant names still remain in the free agent pitching market at this late stage. It’s also possible that starting pitching could be targeted as needed at the trade deadline.

    Turning to the relief corps, Robby Scott is the only left-hander currently projected as a member of Boston’s Opening Day bullpen, with Roenis Elias and rookie Williams Jerez also representing southpaw options on the 40-man roster.   Beyond that pair, 25-year-old Bobby Poyner has opened some eyes in camp, per’s Ian Browne (via Twitter).  The Sox didn’t make a particular push to add any relief help this winter given that they already have several pen options on hand, and while Elias could re-emerge after an injury-plagued 2017, left-handed relief could be another area to watch come the July trade deadline.

    Between Moreland at first base and Martinez at DH, it remains to be seen how big a factor Ramirez will be this season, and the playing-time arrangement could make it difficult for Ramirez to reach the 497 plate appearances he requires for his $22MM option for 2019 to vest.  Ramirez’s three years in Boston have seen him sandwich an excellent 2016 season in between disappointing performances in 2015 and 2017, so it’s hard to know what to really expect from the veteran slugger this season.  New manager Alex Cora still sees Ramirez as a major part of the team’s lineup, and since Ramirez underwent shoulder surgery last October, it could be that his bat will reawaken now that he’s healthy. The odds are good, though, that the organization will not allow his option to vest even if he’s healthy and productive.

    While many big-market teams looked to get under the $197MM luxury tax threshold this offseason, as the Red Sox did last year, Boston will once more sail over the tax line with just over $237MM in projected salary for 2018.  Quite a bit of money will come off the books after the season (Ramirez if his option doesn’t vest, plus Pomeranz and Craig Kimbrel will be free agents), though several key players on the roster will absorb a lot of that freed-up money in the form of arbitration raises.  While the Sox clearly have an internal budget, they haven’t shown much hesitation in spending heavily to remain competitive. Having recently re-set their tax rate, the Red Sox likely won’t weigh CBT considerations too heavily, though they are close to pushing their payroll high enough to trigger some additional penalties.


    It was a pretty quiet winter overall for the Red Sox, as they didn’t really have too many glaring needs to fill on an already-deep roster.  Cora’s hiring, a renewed focus on analytics, and better luck avoiding the injury bug could be all Boston needs to revive a lineup that had trouble hitting the ball out of the park last year, though obviously Martinez’s addition will greatly help in the thunder department.  The other question is if the Sox did enough to keep pace in the division, as the back-to-back AL East champs now find themselves as underdogs against a Yankees team that became even more fearsome this winter.

    What’s your take on Boston’s offseason moves?  (Link for app users)

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Red Sox Eyeing Rotation Depth On Minor League Deals Wed, 14 Mar 2018 03:58:55 +0000
  • The Red Sox would like to stash some MLB rotation depth at Triple-A but are having a tough time getting deals done, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes. Remaining hurlers are understandably interested in joining teams where they’ll have a reasonably achievable path to the Majors. Boston entered the winter with a rather full set of starters, though as Drellich notes, there’s increasingly more opportunity to offer with a variety of (hopefully) minor injuries cropping up. The Sox faced a similar struggle in attracting veterans on minor league deals last winter, Drellich notes.
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    Roenis Elias Working As Reliever Sun, 11 Mar 2018 14:33:01 +0000
  • Former Mariners starter Roenis Elias has become somewhat of an afterthought since the Red Sox acquired him prior to 2016, but the left-hander could reemerge this year out of the bullpen. Elias is now working as a reliever, owing in part to a newfound commitment to using a sidearm delivery against same-sided hitters, per Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald. The only lefty reliever on Boston’s projected roster is Robby Scott, which could help give Elias a path back to the majors. After appearing in 51 games and making 49 starts from 2014-15 in Seattle, with which he pitched to a 3.97 ERA across 279 innings, Elias has only thrown eight frames in two years with the Red Sox. The 29-year-old spent nearly all of 2016-17 with Triple-A Pawtucket.
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    East Notes: Pomeranz, Glover, Freicer Sat, 10 Mar 2018 20:29:13 +0000 Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz could attempt to throw two innings of live batting practice next week, writes Scott Lauber of ESPN. That would be a notable progression in his rehab back from a flexor strain, though it’s not yet clear whether he’ll be ready to take the mound for his first start of the season (Lauber notes that this would be either April 1st or April 2nd). Pomeranz is set to become a free agent following this season, and he’ll certainly want to avoid any injury-related question marks as he hits free agency amidst a  free agent pitching class that could potentially include Clayton Kershaw and fellow Red Sox left-hander David Price.

    Elsewhere along the Atlantic shoreline…

    • There’s no timetable for Koda Glover to begin throwing again, Jamal Collier writes in his latest inbox column for Collier adds that all signs point to Glover being out of the bullpen mix to start the 2018 season. The 24-year-old right-hander was expected by many to emerge as a closer option for the Nationals last season, but injuries cut his season short, and his 5.12 ERA across 19 1/3 innings doesn’t look pretty. However, his 4.25 K/BB ratio stands out as excellent; the Nats are surely hoping he can return soon to deliver on his potential.
    • Frecier Perez, the Yankees’ No. 9 prospect, is now represented by The Legacy Agency, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports tweets. The towering 6’8″ right-hander has risen rapidly across the Bombers’ prospect list thanks to his projectable frame and ability to consistently throw 100 MPH. Perez is 21 years old and was signed in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic for just $10K. Current Yankees scout Dan Giese spoke highly of Perez earlier this winter, citing his ability to throw strikes and feel for his change-up as reasons for optimism. He spent most of last season at Low-A Charleston.
    Pomeranz Cleared To Resume Throwing Program Thu, 08 Mar 2018 16:08:06 +0000
  • The Red Sox were able to breathe a sigh of relief this week as Drew Pomeranz was cleared to restart a throwing program after a brief scare with a mild flexor strain, writes the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. Manager Alex Cora didn’t want to proclaim that Pomeranz would be ready to go for the beginning of the season just yet, though Abraham notes that his current schedule should allow him to be healthy enough to take the ball for Boston’s fourth or fifth game of the year, barring any setbacks.
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    Martinez Discusses Defensive Metrics Mon, 05 Mar 2018 18:55:51 +0000
  • Red Sox designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez chats with Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald about his perceived defensive shortcomings in the outfield, explaining that his reputation as a defensive liability is frustrating. Martinez acknowledges that his glovework wasn’t at its best in 2016, when he admits to having become a bit timid around the outfield wall after breaking his elbow when crashing into the wall partway through the year. “…I got scared of running into walls because I didn’t want to get hurt again,” Martinez candidly admits. “… So balls off the wall, I just let it go and I got penalized for it.” The slugger adds that his foot injury significantly hampered his range in 2017, but he rejoined the Tigers as soon as possible as a means of getting his bat back into the lineup. Martinez, to his credit, had average to above-average ratings from both DRS and UZR from 2014-15, and he’s anxious to prove that he can still play an adequate outfield corner with better health.
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    Red Sox Revamp Analytics Department Sun, 04 Mar 2018 22:54:50 +0000
  • The hiring of new manager Alex Cora as gave the Red Sox some insight into how the Astros (Cora’s former team) used analytics to help with in-game strategy, and it made the Sox realize that they were falling behind in the advanced statistics arms race,’s Rob Bradford reports.  Boston’s analytics department is now up to 10 full-time employees (plus interns) after some offseason hirings, and the team has drastically overhauled its advance scouting and data-gathering methodology to better get information to Cora and the coaching staff.
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    J.D. Martinez Will Alternate Between Outfield Corners Sun, 04 Mar 2018 05:04:44 +0000 Newly signed Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez figures to spend most of his time at designated hitter, though the team is planning how to set up its outfield when he does factor in as a defender. “At home he’ll play left field and if somehow he plays somewhere on the road here, he’ll play right field,” manager Alex Cora told Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald and other reporters Saturday. Cora went on to reveal that right fielder Mookie Betts could move to center during road games in which Martinez plays the field. Of course, it’s unclear how often this will come up for Boston, which already has an excellent outfield trio of Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. (center) and Andrew Benintendi (left). Unlike those three, Martinez has struggled of late in the field, where he has posted minus-27 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-24.9 Ultimate Zone Rating since 2016.

    AL East Notes: Pomeranz, Davis, Valencia, Arroyo Sat, 03 Mar 2018 22:14:53 +0000 The results of Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz’ recent MRI showed a flexor strain, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports on Twitter. Jen McCaffrey of says that Pomeranz describes the strain as “mild” and isn’t too worried about it. Mastrodonato later tweeted that every player who had a flexor strain last season missed at least six weeks, with one exception – Pomeranz. Last year’s injury caused him to spend 10 days on the DL. It should be strongly noted that all of this is simply one year’s worth of statistics, and we’ve yet to hear any announcement on Boston’s plans for their starter. Pomeranz pitched to a 3.32 ERA across 30 starts last season for the Red Sox, striking out just over a batter per inning while posting a 43.2% ground ball rate. He’s slated to become a free agent following the 2018 season.

    Elsewhere in the American League’s Eastern Division…

    • Speaking of injuries, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had an MRI on his right forearm, but it turns out that there’s no structural damage. Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun was first with the news on Twitter. Manager Buck Showalter had previously described the concern with Davis as a “flexor mass” issue (via Dan Connolly of The Orioles will be hoping that Davis can stay healthy and bounce back this year after a rough 2017 season during which he homered 26 times but struck out in a whopping 37.2% of his plate appearances en route to a more pedestrian performance overall. He’ll enter the 2018 season at the age of 32; it’s the third year of a seven-year contract with Baltimore that guarantees him a total of $161MM.
    • In other Orioles news, the recently-signed Danny Valencia has no plans to go to the minors if the team opts not to add him to the major league roster, according to a piece by Rich Dubroff of “I have nothing to prove down there,” Valencia said. “I’ve been a productive big leaguer… Obviously, you want to be in the big leagues and I think it’ll all work out.” Valencia had been reasonably productive for the Blue Jays and A’s across the 2015-2016 seasons, posting 3.2 fWAR while hammering 35 homers during that span. It’s tough to peg the value of his performance as a Mariner last year, however, as formulas like bWAR, fWAR and WARP varied greatly in their outputs.
    • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times details the story of how new Rays infielder Christian Arroyo was raised by a single mother. Kim Arroyo worked ten-hour shifts on the casino floor at Hard Rock in order to support her son. But as he grew up, she still managed to find the time to play catch with him and throw batting practice. Kim says she had lots of help from family and friends, but Christian made clear the wealth of credit his mother deserves for what she did for him, and the values she instilled in him while she was raising him. “She did everything she could to make sure we never were struggling, and I never knew we were,” he said.
    Injury Notes: Pomeranz, Frazier, Ellsbury, Parra, Norris, Koehler Fri, 02 Mar 2018 23:18:54 +0000 Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz exited today’s Grapefruit League start with tightness in his left forearm, though he told reporters after the game that he’s not concerned about the possibility of a serious injury (link via’s Jen McCaffrey). Obviously, caution is called for all the more at this stage of spring, so it’d be wise not to leap to any conclusions — particularly given Pomeranz’s comments. The 29-year-old, who is coming off of back-to-back seasons in which he posted a 3.32 ERA in over 170 frames, is a key piece of the Boston rotation. He’ll be further evaluated on Saturday.

    Here’s the latest on the health front from around the game …

    • The division-rival Yankees are also facing some injury issues, as’s Bryan Hoch was among those to report (Twitter links). Of particular concern is prospect Clint Frazier, who required an MRI because he is still not recovering as hoped from a concussion. Surely the organization will exercise quite a lot of caution with the talented young player. Meanwhile, fellow outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been diagnosed with a mild oblique strain. There’s no indication of just how limiting the injury will be — and for good reason, as oblique problems rarely seem to progress in a predictable manner. Fortunately for the Bronx Bombers, there are still four quality players ahead of this duo on the outfield depth chart.
    • Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra, who is recovering from hamate surgery on his right hand, took batting practice on Friday, tweets Nick Groke of the Denver Post. He’s slated to face live pitching for the first time since the operation on Monday, and manager Bud Black estimated that Parra could be in a game in eight to nine days, which should still give him ample time to ramp up for the regular season. It remains to be seen just how the Rox will distribute playing time in the outfield, though Parra seems to be slated for rather extensive action so long as he remains on an upward trajectory.
    • An injury forced newly signed Cardinals right-hander Bud Norris out of today’s spot start, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Norris, filling in for Carlos Martinez (who had a personal matter to attend to, per the report), exited due to hamstring spasms after allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. At this point, it’s not clear whether this issue is simply an early-spring blip or something that will cause some problems for the hurler, who recently inked a one-year, $3MM deal to join the St. Louis organization.
    • If there’s a hurler whose injury sparks some immediate cause for concern, it may be Dodgers righty Tom Koehler. It was announced he’d require an MRI on his shoulder not long after he was pulled in the middle of an inning, as’s Ken Gurnick was among those to tweet. Shoulder bursitis caused problems for Koehler last year, when he struggled to a 6.69 ERA in 72 2/3 innings. The Dodgers have planned to move the long-time starter into a full-time relief role after promising him $2MM for the 2018 season.
    Red Sox Could Use More Aggressive Approach At Plate In 2018 Thu, 01 Mar 2018 15:00:56 +0000
  • The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier runs through some troubling numbers for the Red Sox’ offense from 2017, observing that the team’s lineup was startlingly ineffective in hitters’ counts. Boston took an abnormally passive approach at the plate last season, per Speier, and while they were among the game’s more productive clubs in 0-2, 1-2 and 2-2 counts, they ranked in the bottom third of baseball in 3-1, 2-0, 2-1, 1-0, 0-0, 1-1 and 0-1 counts (by measure of OPS). The Red Sox ranked last in the American League in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in 0-0 counts, he adds. Speier spoke at length with principal owner John Henry about the trends, which did not go unnoticed by ownership or the front office and may have played a notable role in the organization’s coaching overhaul. Notably, Speier adds that new skipper Alex Cora saw his Astros pounce on the first pitch with regularity and with great success in 2017.
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    AL East Notes: Rays, Pedroia, JDM, Lee Wed, 28 Feb 2018 21:05:48 +0000 Rays owner Stuart Sternberg weighed in on the MLBPA’s grievance against the Rays and three other clubs regarding concerns over the reallocation of revenue-sharing funds, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Rays, according to Sternberg, are “beyond” compliant with the rules. “We’re very judicious in how we spend our money, but it’s spent in a lot of forms, and payroll is one of them,” said Sternberg, going on to point out that the Rays’ Opening Day payroll in 2018 will be higher than it was in 2017. Of course, the Rays still rank near the bottom of the league in that regard, as they do every year. Chris Archer, the Rays’ union representative, also spoke with Topkin on the matter. “I have no clue what it costs to run the Dominican academy,” said Archer. “I know just from my perspective, not a whole lot has changed with the spring training facility, not a whole lot has changed at the Trop, and our payroll has not increased significantly.”

    • Veteran Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia had a bit more done to his knee than had previous been known, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. In addition to cartilage restoration work, Pedroia underwent a microfracture procedure to his tibia. Regardless, it seems that the hard-nosed veteran is progressing well given that he has now advanced to taking batting practice. Meanwhile, fellow infielder Marco Hernandez is still six weeks away from resuming baseball activities, Rob Bradford of tweets. Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery last May and only just had screws removed, but at least he now seems to be in sight of returning to the field.
    • In other Red Sox coverage, Bradford discusses new signee J.D. Martinez’s unique relationship with his personal hitting coach. As it turns out, new Boston hitting coach Tim Hyers is well acquainted with Martinez’s guru Robert Van Scoyoc, who’ll be allowed to continue consulting with Martinez even though he has been hired by the Diamondbacks. It’s a deep and interesting look at how Martinez’s unique approach will fit with the organization.
    • Orioles hurler Chris Lee will miss at least a month with an oblique injury, Roch Kubatko of was among those to tweet. The southpaw had been viewed as one of a variety of hurlers competing for one rotation spot, a long-relief role in the pen, and/or a place in the organizational depth chart. Instead, he’ll have to work back to health before he’s able to begin pressing for his first MLB opportunity. The 25-year-old reached Triple-A for the first time last year, pitching to a 5.11 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 over 116 1/3 innings.
    Injury Notes: Gurriel, Frazier, Gausman, Stroman, Thornburg, Eaton Tue, 27 Feb 2018 19:13:14 +0000 The Astros have shipped first baseman Yuli Gurriel to Houston so his injured hand can be evaluated, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). At this point, the situation is more or less a mystery, with no real indication how the issue arose or just what the club is concerned about. Clearly, though, the team’s training staff has found cause to get a closer look from a specialist.

    Here’s more on some injury situations from around the game:

    • Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier has been diagnosed with a concussion, tweets’s Bryan Hoch. Frazier made a leaping catch in yesterday’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates and stumbled a bit before falling backwards and hitting his head against the base of the left-field wall (video link). Manager Aaron Boone said Frazier will be down for “a few days” and acknowledged the seemingly optimistic nature of that timeline. Frazier is far from a lock to make the Opening Day roster in New York with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Jacoby Ellsbury all on the roster, but he remains a key potential long-term piece for the Yanks.
    • It seems that Orioles righty Kevin Gausman has largely shaken off a home-plate collision yesterday, Roch Kubatko of writes. The young starter, who is a key factor in the team’s hopes for the coming season, says he “feel[s] pretty good” on the whole despite slamming into Tigers youngster Jeimer Candelario. For the time being, at least, Gausman is expected to take the ball for his next scheduled spring outing.
    • The outlook is at least a bit more worrisome for Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman. Per’s Gregor Chisholm, shoulder inflammation is holding Stroman back. Though he has already been cleared by an MRI of structural concerns, Stroman will rest up in hopes of moving past a problem that has evidently been going on for a few weeks. The key Jays hurler says he’s hoping to be fully ramped up for “the very beginning of the start of the season,” even if it’s not Opening Day, though surely the organization will proceed with caution.
    • The Red Sox will welcome reliever Tyler Thornburg back to the hill for the first time since he underwent surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. A bullpen session is just one of many steps back, of course, and Thornburg still has some hurdles to clear. He has yet to pitch competitively for the Boston organization (excepting brief spring action last year) since coming over in a trade in advance of the 2017 season.
    • Indications are that Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton is largely progressing well after a long layoff for a torn ACL. As Mark Zuckerman of writes, though, Eaton has yet to appear in game action. That appears to be less a reflection of Eaton’s surgically repaired joint than it is a planned effort to build him up deliberately. “We’re going to take it and be methodical and do it right for the first time and make sure I’m overcooked, so to speak, before I go out there.” While it’s surely tempting to max out Eaton’s reps after a lost season, skipper Davey Martinez emphasized the primary goal is to have Eaton at full speed come Opening Day.
    • The rival Mets are reporting shoulder and back soreness for Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom, respectively, but those don’t seem to be real concerns at this point, as’s Anthony DiComo reports. However, the New York organization is likely to hold back first baseman Dominic Smith for a while after he was diagnosed with a strained quad. He already seemed to face a difficult task of cracking the Opening Day roster, so this setback is not likely to help the cause. (New reliever Anthony Swarzak just left his relief appearance with an apparent calf injury, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to tweet, though details are sparse at this time.)
    J.D. Martinez Contract Includes Medical Protection For Red Sox, Third Opt-Out For Martinez Mon, 26 Feb 2018 19:46:17 +0000 After a week of medical reviews and some reported alterations to the language in his five-year, $110MM contract, J.D. Martinez was introduced by the Red Sox at a press conference this morning (video link via Seemingly, the Lisfranc foot injury that hampered Martinez early in the 2017 season served as enough of a red flag for the Sox that further work needed to be done to sort the matter out.

    J.D. Martinez | Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Agent Scott Boras met with reporters following Martinez’s introduction today, revealing that the new contract language includes the addition of a third player opt-out (after the fourth season of the contract) in exchange for some medical protection for the Red Sox (Twitter links via Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston and Mark Feinsand of Specifically, Drellich further reports, the Red Sox can convert both years four and five of the contract into mutual options, pursuant to the newly drawn-up language. In essence, then, the Sox have negotiated their own means of walking away from the final two years of the contract in the event that Martinez’s foot proves to be a chronic condition.

    Per Drellich, should Martinez spend 60 consecutive days on the DL in year three of the contract (2020) with an injury related to his prior Lisfranc injury, the fourth year can be converted into a mutual option. Boston could also convert the fourth year to a mutual option should an injury pertaining to the prior Lisfranc issue prompt Martinez miss a combined 120 days between the second and third years of the deal (2019-20), with at least 10 of those days coming in year three. (The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo first tweeted that the team could render the fourth year a mutual option.)

    Boston is similarly protected in the fifth season of the contract. If an injury pertaining to his previous Lisfranc issue causes Martinez to miss 60 consecutive days in the fourth year of the deal (2021) or a combined 120 days in 2020-21 (with at least 10 in year four), then the 2022 season can be converted to a mutual option. All determinations about whether a new Lisfranc injury for Martinez is related to the 2017 injury would be made by a panel of three doctors.

    In the end, the week of back-and-forth does little to change the immediate bottom line for the Sox or Martinez. Red Sox evaluators were satisfied enough with Martinez’s health that they didn’t see fit to alter the length of the contract or the total guarantee. By all accounts, the involved parties all expect Martinez to be healthy in 2018 and serve as a potent weapon in the middle of the Boston lineup. Viewed through that lens, the medical hoops through which both sides have been jumping over the past week could all be rendered moot. If Martinez’s offense in his first two seasons with Boston mirrors his productivity over the past four seasons, he’s quite likely to exercise the first of three contractual opt-out clauses.

    At that point, in order to come out ahead, Martinez would need only to top the three-year, $60MM contract which Edwin Encarnacion received last offseason when he was two years older than Martinez will be in that 2019-20 offseason. Boston would be able to make Martinez a qualifying offer, should he decide to opt out of the remaining three years of the deal. He did not receive one this offseason by virtue of being traded from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks in July.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

    Red Sox Sign J.D. Martinez Mon, 26 Feb 2018 16:30:34 +0000  

    After months of negotiations, and another weak of final tweaking, the Red Sox have officially signed slugger J.D. Martinez.’s Pedro Gomez first tweeted that a deal was in place; Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports had tweeted that the sides were close. Martinez is represented by the Boras Corporation.

    J.D. Martinez

    The contract is for five years and $110MM, per reports. Notably, it includes three opt-out opportunities — after the second, third, and fourth seasons of the deal. As Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, Martinez will receive $23.75MM annual salaries for the first two years and is promised a $2.5MM buyout if he opts out of the remainder of the deal. He’ll also earn $23.75MM for the third season of the contract. At that point, he’ll choose between a return to the open market (with no buyout) and $19.35MM salaries for 2021 and 2022.

    But that’s not all. The original deal only included two opt-outs and did not protect the Red Sox in the event of injury. After a physical and ensuing additional negotiations, the pact now contains not only a third opt-out but also some language allowing Boston to avoid certain obligations if Martinez’s prior Lisfranc injury recurs, as we detailed here. There’ll also be some limited no-trade protection, as Heyman tweeted originally. Martnez can designate a “small” number of teams to which he cannot be moved without his consent.

    Boston has been the primary suitor connected to Martinez for virtually all of the offseason — especially since their decision to re-sign Mitch Moreland effectively took them out of the Eric Hosmer sweepstakes. Martinez figures to slot in as the primary DH for the Sox but should see some occasional time in the outfield when any of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley or Mookie Betts needs a breather. His addition calls the role of Hanley Ramirez with the Red Sox into question, as Ramirez now appears to be, at best, a backup DH and a part-time first baseman that is on the short side of the platoon.

    [RELATED: Updated Red Sox Depth Chart]

    Though the Sox have a substantial commitment to Ramirez already in place, that didn’t stop them from making a sizable offer to bring Martinez into the fold, and it’s not difficult to see why they felt he was a key piece to pushing into World Series contention. Martinez slashed a Herculean .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 26 doubles in just 489 plate appearances last offseason. In all, an out-of-the-blue breakout with the 2014 Tigers, Martinez has been one of the game’s most feared hitters — as evidenced by the .300/.362/.574 batting line he’s logged in that four-year period.

    Context-neutral metrics like OPS+ (149) and wRC+ (148) feel that the 30-year-old Martinez has been nearly 50 percent better than the league-average hitter in that time, when adjusting for park and league. That 148 wRC+ ties him with Bryce Harper and now-former teammate Paul Goldschmidt for fourth in all of baseball over the past four years; only Mike Trout, Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton have posted better wRC+ marks in that time.

    The Red Sox ranked 10th in the Majors in runs scored last season as it was, though their combined .258/.329/.407 batting line was below-average on a rate basis, and they ranked 27th in the Majors with 168 homers. Martinez will serve as a particularly potent upgrade in the DH department, as Boston designated hitters combined to hit just .244/.327/.419 last year.

    Clearly, the contract isn’t quite as massive as many had anticipated coming into the season. Martinez’s camp was said to be seeking over $200MM at the outset of free agency; MLBTR predicted that Martinez could reach $150MM in guaranteed money. As things developed, there just wasn’t sufficient demand around the game to drive a real bidding war. The Diamondbacks reportedly made a real run to keep Martinez, but never figured to have a war chest large enough to really push Boston’s offer up.

    Martinez’s new deal also reflects a broad devaluation of one-dimensional sluggers. For instance, Edwin Encarnacion — an equally gifted hitter who became a free agent last year at a more advanced age — did not earn as large or long a deal as had been expected.

    To be fair, Martinez offers more function on defense than does Encarnacion, as he’s still capable of lining up in the corner outfield. But metrics have soured on his glovework. Though both UZR and DRS viewed Martinez as an above-average presence in 2015, they graded him as one of the game’s worst fielders in the ensuing campaign. He bounced back last year, but still drew below-average marks in right field. Fangraphs’ BsR measure also values Martinez as an exceedingly poor baserunner.

    Those aspects of Martinez’s game created some drag on his market value. But the Sox surely aren’t that concerned with how good Martinez will be in the outfield. Presumably, he’ll stay fresh by limiting his exposure to the grass, which may boost his output when he is asked to take the field. Regardless, the contract values Martinez for his anticipated contributions with the bat.

    Contract details were reported by Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (contract length; Twitter link),’s Pedro Gomez (opt-out clause, on Twitter), Jon Morosi of MLB Network (total guarantee, via Twitter), Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (salary in first two years & second opt-out, via Twitter), Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald (second opt-out details), and Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston (second opt-out details; Twitter link).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Latest on J.D. Martinez, Red Sox Sun, 25 Feb 2018 22:29:35 +0000 SUNDAY, 4:29pm: There is indeed a Martinez press conference scheduled for Monday, Drellich tweets. It’s “very fair” to say a deal is near, Boras told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).

    4:14pm: There could be a press conference announcing the Martinez signing as early as Monday, per both Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports and Ian Browne of The Red Sox and Boras “had a productive weekend adjusting contract language,” according to Browne.

    10:50am: The two sides “have continued to work though contract language,” tweets Heyman, who notes that there’s a “high probability” they’ll complete the agreement.

    SATURDAY, 1:28pm: Both sides are being cautious, but the Red Sox and Martinez’ camp still expect to finalize the deal, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reassures. He adds that the delay mainly stems from “a desire to make sure the exact language of the contract is right in light of these potential red flags.”

    10:01am: The Red Sox and slugger J.D. Martinez recently agreed to terms on a five-year, $110MM pact, but an official announcement has yet to come from the team, even though a press conference was expected as far back as Thursday. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston shed some light on the situation today, reporting that the two sides are sorting through a “medical matter” following Martinez’ physical.

    There’s a belief that the matter will not have any effect on the outfielder’s ability to take the field in the immediate future. At this time, there’s no further clarity as to what the issue is, but Drellich writes that “a better understanding between the parties” could come at some point today. There are apparently some additional medical experts involved, including a few consultants referred by agent Scott Boras.

    It doesn’t seem as though the contract itself is in any real jeopardy. The process of ironing out the issue is reportedly “thorough and cooperative”. Yesterday, in a more speculative piece on the subject, Drellich suggested that a collapse of the contract at this point would be a “wildly unexpected scenario”. It’s entirely possible that the agreement will proceed untouched or be revised in only a slight way. Nevertheless, whatever snag the two camps have hit regarding Martinez’ physical only serves to delay the slugger’s spring training debut.

    There are more questions than answers surrounding the situation at the moment, but we’ll be sure to provide updates as they come.

    Red Sox Notes: JDM, E-Rod, Wright Sun, 25 Feb 2018 20:50:04 +0000 A “medical matter” has prevented the Red Sox from finalizing the five-year, $110MM agreement they reached with free agent J.D. Martinez on Monday. Former big leaguer J.D. Drew can relate, having agreed to a five-year, $70MM deal with the BoSox in 2007 that took seven weeks to become official because they had concerns with his right shoulder. Drew – who, like Martinez, had agent Scott Boras as representation – looked back on the experience with Rob Bradford of WEEI. “My first words were, ’There’s nothing wrong with my shoulder.’ I was like you can put whatever you want in there,” Drew recalled. “But [Boras] said, ’I have to protect you.’ From that point on I gave him complete freedom to do whatever he needed to do.” Eleven years later, Drew remains a believer in Boras’ tactics, and he expects the agent’s expertise to benefit Martinez. “I guarantee Scott and J.D. are on a page where they know what’s happening, he’s completely assured by Scott that they know what they have to do,” he said. “He’s going to fight, he’s going to fight, he’s going to fight and get the best he can and make sure it’s fine with him.”

    • The Red Sox expect to begin the year without either left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez or righty Steven Wright, manager Alex Cora told reporters, including Jen McCaffrey of, on Sunday (Twitter link). Rodriguez is working back from the right knee surgery he underwent in October, and Wright had a season-ending procedure on his left knee last May. With those two on the shelf, the Red Sox will choose among Hector Velazquez, Roenis Elias and the out-of-options Brian Johnson to serve as their season-opening fifth starter.
    Indians Claim Ben Taylor Sun, 25 Feb 2018 18:52:25 +0000 The Indians have claimed right-hander Ben Taylor off waivers from the Red Sox, Christopher Smith of tweets. Taylor had been in limbo since Boston designated him for assignment last weekend. To make room for Taylor, the Indians placed righty Cody Anderson on the 60-day disabled list, per a team announcement. Anderson is still recovering from a March 2017 Tommy John procedure.

    The 26-year-old Taylor is the second reliever the Indians have added on Sunday, joining minor league free agent signing Matt Belisle. Taylor, who had been with the Red Sox since they selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, got his first taste of major league action last season. Over a 17 1/3-inning span, Taylor logged a 5.19 ERA with 9.35 K/9, 4.67 BB/9 and a paltry 26.4 percent groundball rate. He was more successful in his first Triple-A experience, albeit over just 13 1/3 frames, with a 2.70 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.38 BB/9 and a 45.5 percent grounder mark.

    Taylor has a pair of minor league options remaining, which means he could serve as Triple-A depth for the Indians if he doesn’t make their season-opening bullpen.

    Robby Scott Changes Agents Sun, 25 Feb 2018 00:29:57 +0000
  • Red Sox reliever Robby Scott has changed representation and is now a client of Meister Sports Management, Rob Bradford of WEEI tweets. The 28-year-old, who’s currently vying to open the season as Boston’s top left-handed bullpen option, tossed 35 innings of 3.79 ERA ball and notched 7.82 K/9, 3.28 BB/9 and a 42.6 percent groundball rate in 2017. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2019 campaign.
  • ]]>
    Minor MLB Transactions: 2/24/18 Sat, 24 Feb 2018 21:52:29 +0000 Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

    • The Red Sox have signed left-hander Tommy Layne to a minors pact; he’d been playing in the MLBPA camp. Brian MacPherson (formerly of the Providence Journal) was first with the news; Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal has since confirmed the report. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets that the deal does not include an invite to spring training. This’ll be the 33-year-old’s second stint with the Red Sox, for whom he pitched 95 1/3 innings and earned 20 holds from 2014-2016. He put up a 3.30 ERA during that span, but with an unsettling walk rate (4.63 BB/9). Originally a late-round pick by the Diamondbacks, Layne has also spent time with the Padres, Yankees and Dodgers organizations. He’ll compete for a spot on a Boston roster that has plenty of high-end lefty starters but little in the way of lefty relief options.
    Red Sox Notes: Hernandez, Swihart Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:08:08 +0000 The Red Sox told reporters today that infielder Marco Hernandez will miss the remainder of Spring Training after incurring a setback in his rehab from last year’s shoulder surgery (via’s Jen McCaffrey). Hernandez, who initially went under the knife late last May, went back to Boston for a second procedure this week after doctors determined that he needed to have the pins that were inserted into his shoulder during that initial operation removed. Manager Alex Cora said that Hernandez’s shoulder was feeling abnormally weak and sore following his spring workouts, which prompted the followup exam. There’s no timetable on his return at present.

    • Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston argues that while the Red Sox could benefit from a year of carrying the out-of-options Blake Swihart as a utility player, they may not ever get a higher return for him in a trade than they would this spring. Other clubs still view Swihart as a viable catching option, he notes, whereas a year of scarce opportunities behind the plate thanks to the presence of Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon could change that. The Sox seem to have three players for two bench spots — Brock Holt, Deven Marrero and Swihart, with the latter each being out of minor league options. On the flip side of the coin, one could also argue that a full year of production at the big league level, even in a part-time role. It also seems feasible that Sandy Leon could see his role diminish if his 2017 struggles at the plate carry over into the 2018 season.
    Opt-Outs Swayed Martinez Into Signing With Sox Thu, 22 Feb 2018 16:18:01 +0000
  • While J.D. Martinez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary designated hitter, the team did tell him during negotiations that he’ll see some time in the outfield, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley and Mookie Betts will obviously still shoulder the bulk of that workload, but Drellich notes that first-year manager Alex Cora wants to keep that group as fresh as possible. Drellich also reports that the Red Sox were not initially willing to give Martinez an opt-out provision after both the second and third year of the contract. The year-two opt-out was a particularly crucial tipping point in negotiations, he adds, and seemingly one that may have pushed the deal across the finish line.
  • ]]>
    Red Sox Notes: Marrero, Swihart, Holt, Bradley Wed, 21 Feb 2018 03:11:58 +0000 With J.D. Martinez heading to Boston, the Red Sox are facing somewhat of a roster crunch, writes Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. It is not, however, at first base as many have suggested. Manager Alex Cora suggested Tuesday that he views Hanley Ramirez as his No. 3 hitter and primary first baseman, even though the team re-upped Mitch Moreland on a two-year deal this winter. As Drellich points out, though, each of Moreland, Ramirez and Martinez have dealt with injury issues in recent years, so Moreland still figures to get his share of at-bats.

    • The Red Sox are unlikely to trade Jackie Bradley after signing J.D. Martinez this week, tweets’s Jon Morosi. That’s not much of a surprise, as Bradley’s name hasn’t come up on the rumor circuit much in recent months, and the trio of Bradley, Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts should be among the best defensive outfield units in all of baseball.
    Pirates Acquire Bryce Brentz Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:47:29 +0000 The Pirates have acquired outfielder Bryce Brentz from the Red Sox, according to an announcement from the Boston organization. Cash considerations will make up the return.

    Brentz, 29, is a former first-round pick who has seen only minimal MLB action in his professional career. He seemed unlikely to hold down a roster spot through camp with the Red Sox working to finalize a deal with free agent J.D. Martinez. In all likelihood, Brentz’s 40-man spot will go to Martinez.

    As a right-handed-hitting corner outfielder, Brentz will have to hit quite a bit to stick in the majors. He did manage just that feat last year at Triple-A, posting a .271/.334/.529 slash with 31 long balls over 494 plate appearances at Pawtucket, and showed well again in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.

    Brentz, who is out of options, will presumably now get a shot at impressing the Pittsburgh brass in camp. He’ll join a group of candidates trying to claim a share of the corner outfield mix, including Daniel Nava, Jordan LuplowJason Martin, and Todd Cunningham as well as top Bucs’ prospect Austin Meadows.

    Red Sox, J.D. Martinez Nearing Deal Mon, 19 Feb 2018 21:39:36 +0000 The free-agent dam is slowly beginning to break, as Eric Hosmer, Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas and Tony Watson have all agreed to multi-year deals in the past five days, while Eduardo Nunez, Jaime Garcia and Chris Tillman have all come off the board on one-year pacts. J.D. Martinez, though, remains available as the top bat on the market despite a lack of obvious suitors for his services outside of the Red Sox and D-backs. Here’s the latest chatter on the slugger…

    • Drellich tweets that he, too, hears a deal between the Sox and Martinez is near, adding that Dombrowski would not comment on the matter.. Piecoro tweets that the D-backs are also under the impression that Martinez is going to the Red Sox, and they’ll need to find a replacement for him.
    • The Red Sox and Martinez are now “moving close to a deal,” tweets Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. There’s nothing finalized yet, he adds, noting that details on the pact remain unclear at this time.

    Earlier Updates

    • Martinez and the Red Sox are still negotiating as of this afternoon, reports Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Chairman Tom Werner deferred questions on the matter to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Drellich writes, noting only that, “Obviously, there’s no news,” at this time. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, meanwhile, tweets that the door for a deal between Boston and Martinez remains open but adds that the team’s interest isn’t going to be indefinite. The Red Sox, according to Abraham, are “prepared to move on entirely or to another player” if they reach the point where they feel there’s no compromise possible with Martinez. Logan Morrison has been reported to be a possible fallback option for the Red Sox if they move on or if Martinez signs elsewhere.
    • “I don’t think we’re done by any means right now,” D-backs CEO Derrick Hall told reporters on Monday (via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic). Hall said he’d be “surprised” if his team’s roster didn’t change before Opening Day, noting that GM Mike Hazen is looking both at free agency and the trade market. Hall said he entered the offseason hopeful of having an “outside chance” at retaining Martinez — a nod to an expected level of demand for his bat that never seems to have fully materialized. The D-backs’ new television deal, increased revenue from a playoff season and the $50MM BAMTech payout are all cited by Hall as reasons that ownership has taken the 2018 payroll to new heights. It’s not clear based on his comments, though, how strongly he believes Martinez can be fit into the mix. Hall did cite a history of getting “creative” when it comes to retaining/acquiring players about whom they feel strongly. “It’s time to finalize that roster one way or the other, if we are going to improve, which I believe we are,” said Hall.
    Red Sox Re-Sign Eduardo Nunez, Designate Ben Taylor Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:55:47 +0000 Veteran infielder Eduardo Nunez is headed back to the Red Sox, the team announced Sunday. Nunez has agreed to a one-year deal with a player option — essentially, then, a two-year guaranteed contract with opt-out — and will reportedly be guaranteed $8MM on the deal. Right-hander Ben Taylor was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, per the team.

    Eduardo Nunez

    The 30-year-old Nunez will be guaranteed $4MM in each season of the deal and can reportedly boost his 2019 base salary by $250K for each of his 250th, 300th, 350th and 400th plate appearance in 2018. He can further boost his 2019 salary by $250K by reaching each of those plate-appearance-based incentives again in the 2019 campaign. The 2019 player option comes with a $2MM buyout, so Nunez can earn up to $6MM this season if he re-enters the market next winter.

    Nunez has long been mentioned as a target for the Sox, who could use the depth in the infield and are especially interested in finding a fill-in for the still-recovering Dustin Pedroia. While there’s some optimism that the team’s long-time second baseman won’t miss an extended period to open the year, he has been banged up a fair amount in recent seasons. Plus, the organization is also preparing to rely on the relatively unproven (but plenty talented) Rafael Devers at third.

    Though Nunez has spent most of his career elsewhere, he made an impression during his stint in Boston after arriving in a trade deadline swap from the Giants. Nunez posted a robust .321/.353/.539 batting line with eight home runs in 173 plate appearances after the deal.

    Unfortunately, Nunez was limited by a knee injury that ended up requiring a lengthy rehab period. Indications are, though, that he’s back to full strength as Spring Training gets underway.

    Clearly, nobody will expect Nunez to continue producing like a middle-of-the-order slugger. But he has unquestionably raised expectations for the offensive side of his game after a tepid showing to start his career. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Nunez owns a strong .296/.332/.443 slash.

    The other elements of Nunez’s game are worth noting, too. He has also swiped 72 bags over the past three seasons and generally grades as a quality baserunner. And while he has never graded as a particularly good defender, he is capable of palatable handling of any infield position and has also spent some time in the corner outfield.

    In his new deal with the Sox, then, Nunez can reliably be asked to handle second base early in the season while Pedroia is on the shelf before then returning to a utility role. That’s of additional importance given the yet-unproven presence of Devers at the hot corner; while the former top prospect impressed in his half-season debut in 2017, he’s yet to log a full season in the Majors and did cool after a hot start to his career. Nunez gives the Sox a plenty serviceable option at third base, should the need ever present itself.

    The 26-year-old Taylor, meanwhile, was a seventh-round pick of the Red Sox in 2015. He saw his first major league action last season and tossed 17 1/3 innings of 5.19 ERA, notching 9.35 K/9, 4.67 BB/9 and a paltry 26.4 percent ground-ball rate along the way. Taylor was more successful in his Triple-A debut in 2017, albeit over an even smaller sample (13 1/3 frames), as he worked to a 2.70 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.38 BB/9 and a 45.5 percent grounder mark.

     An earlier version of this post mistakenly suggested that Nunez had undergone surgery on his knee.’s Ian Browne first reported that there was momentum toward a deal (via Twitter). Robert Murray of Fan Rag reported the agreement (also via Twitter). Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported the structure of the deal and the incentives breakdown (Twitter links). FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported the specifics on his yearly salaries and opt out (Twitter link).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mookie Betts Not Interested In Discussing Extension This Spring Sat, 17 Feb 2018 04:42:24 +0000
  • The feeling is a bit different for Red Sox star Mookie Betts. Per Rob Bradford of, via Twitter, Betts says he does not intend to discuss a contract between now and the end of the season. There’s no lingering discord over his own arbitration hearing, in which he came away with $3MM more than the team wanted to pay him. Still, Betts says he won’t consider a lengthier deal until 2018 is in the books — though indications are he might be willing to talk at that time. Of course, a big season could leave the 25-year-old with ample leverage. He’s already slated to earn $10.5MM for the coming season, setting him up for massive potential total arbitration earnings.
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    Andrew Benintendi Hires Excel Sports Management Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:26:49 +0000 Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi has hired Excel Sports Management to represent him, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). Benintendi had been represented by Jason Wood before troubling allegations arose recently as to the agent’s conduct.

    Benintendi, 23, was taken seventh overall in the 2015 draft and has handsomely rewarded the Sox to this point in his career. After an impressive debut effort late in 2016, he opened the 2017 campaign on the Opening Day roster and held down a regular job all season long.

    After turning in 658 plate appearances of .271/.352/.424 hitting, with an even twenty long balls, Benintendi earned a second-place finish in the American League Rookie of the Year vote. He also grades as a quality defender — he’s considered capable of handling center, though he has mostly played in left thus far in Boston — and swiped twenty bags in 2017.

    Benintendi remains two full seasons removed from his first potential trip through arbitration eligibility. Of course, it’s also conceivable that he could be approached at some point about the possibility of a longer-term arrangement, though it has been quite some time since the Red Sox have reached an extension with a pre-arb player. As MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows, the last such deal was struck with Clay Buchholz back in 2011. For a position player, you have to go back to the team’s 2008 pact with Dustin Pedroia.

    As always, you can keep up with the latest representation information with MLBTR’s Agency Database.

    Dombrowski On Outfielders Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:05 +0000
  • The Red Sox are continuing to monitor the market for outfielders, as Dave Dombrowski told reporters (including’s Ian Browne and’s Evan Drellich), and they haven’t given any type of deadline to J.D. Martinez or other free agents for signing with the team.  Dombrowski admitted that the team intended to have more lineup options in place by this point (“From a positional player perspective, no, that wasn’t, per se, our plan“) but noted that even a normal offseason is hard to predict, and this winter’s free agent freeze has made things particularly unusual.  The lack of free agent activity has led to more trade talks, Dombrowski said, as teams are trying to prepare themselves if and when any of these free agents eventually come off the board.
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    Red Sox Will Reportedly Attend Lincecum Showcase Wed, 14 Feb 2018 04:55:29 +0000
  • More than 10 teams are set to attend Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, it seems. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Rhett Bollinger of and Roch Kubatko of respectively report that the Tigers, Twins and Orioles will have scouts in attendance (all Twitter links). Heyman adds another handful of clubs, listing the Rangers, Phillies, Dodgers, YankeesRed Sox, Brewers, Padres and Braves as attendees (links to Twitter for the last three), in addition to the previously reported Giants. If anything, it’s perhaps more notable which clubs have elected not to attend the showcase, as there’s no real downside to at least taking a look and the showcase is shaping up to be reasonably well-attended. To that end, the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan wrote over the weekend that the Mets aren’t planning to have a scout in attendance.
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    J.D. Martinez Rumors: Tuesday Tue, 13 Feb 2018 19:46:44 +0000 As spring camps begin to open around the league, J.D. Martinez is among the prominent free agents who is still trying to work out his next contract. It has long been supposed that he and the Red Sox have been engaged in a staredown, with the team sitting on a five-year, $125MM offer and Martinez’s camp searching for more.

    The latest reports indicate that is not quite an accurate picture …

    • The Red Sox current top offer to Martinez is “in the vicinity” of only $100MM, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. That’s quite a lot less than has generally been stated, and certainly paints a different picture of the present state of affairs for the market’s top slugger. While the Sox are still smitten with Martinez, Speier writes, the organization is also not particularly interested in running up its bid when demand from other teams is questionable. The article discusses the broader opportunity that Boston may have on a still-dragging market, given its willingness to move past the luxury tax line in a winter where others are declining to do so.
    • Of course, demand can have a way of forming to fill vacuums, and Martinez and his reps at the Boras Corporation are no doubt hoping that’ll occur over the coming weeks. The Diamondbacks are, notably, still working on creative means of bringing Martinez back into the fold, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. That could mean broaching the idea of a shorter deal with a big annual salary and opt-out opportunities, Heyman suggests, though the details of any offers to this point remain hazy. Such a pact might ameliorate concerns with locking into another massive, long-term entanglement, though it’d cut down on the upside for the team and would no doubt still require a big jump in payroll (or further creativity in the form of shedding other contracts). Whatever the details, though, Heyman says there’s some added optimism on the Arizona side that the team could have a real shot at pulling off a surprise deal.
    Giants Negotiating With Tony Watson; Phillies & Red Sox Also In Mix Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:33:52 +0000 11:33am: San Francisco isn’t the only team in the mix, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, who tweets that the Phillies, Red Sox, and unstated other teams are also still involved.

    10:20am: The Giants are engaged in “serious contract talks” with southpaw reliever Tony Watson, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (via Twitter). It is not clear at this time what sort of contractual terms the sides are contemplating, but Watson is clearly the best lefty pen piece still unsigned at this stage.

    This is certainly an interesting bit of news, due largely to San Francisco’s closely watched effort to improve while staying shy of the competitive balance tax line. Recent tabulations have suggested the team is only $2MM or so beneath the $197MM threshold at present, leaving little room for a player of Watson’s anticipated price.

    If the Giants were to accept the luxury tax for the 2018 season, it’s at least fair to wonder whether they’d plan to go further over the line to add other players. On the other hand, part of the team’s strategy could be to engineer a mid-season sell-off to get back below the line if things don’t go quite as hoped.

    As things stand, the Giants’ depth chart features Steven Okert as the top southpaw on hand. Josh Osich and D.J. Snelten also represent 40-man options, with recent minor-league signee Derek Holland perhaps also factoring in the mix if he cannot earn a rotation slot. San Francisco will ultimately hope for a bounce back from Will Smith, who is looking to return from a Tommy John procedure that was performed just before the start of the 2017 season, but clearly there’s some room for improvement.

    Entering the winter, Watson was tabbed as the 44th-best free agent in MLBTR’s ranking of the top 50 open-market players. We guessed the 32-year-old could command $12MM in total guaranteed money over two years. While he has plenty of general late-inning experience, our assessment was that he’d be pursued (and paid) more as a quality lefty specialist. Watson, after all, has long been much more effective against opposing lefties.

    Red Sox Have Interest In Logan Morrison Sat, 10 Feb 2018 03:07:35 +0000 Logan Morrison remains one of quite a few players still waiting for a new contract after a strong 2017 season. Just where he’ll fit remains unclear. The Red Sox have had contact with Morrison’s reps, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston (via Twitter), though he seems mostly to be a backup plan as Boston continues to try to work things out with J.D. Martinez. It probably doesn’t help that the Sox already added a lefty-hitting first baseman this winter in Mitch Moreland, but both players could surely coexist on the roster with a DH slot still open and the right-handed-hitting Hanley Ramirez available to share time at both spots.

    Logan Morrison Could Be Fallback Option For Red Sox Fri, 09 Feb 2018 05:23:24 +0000
  • Logan Morrison is on the Red Sox’ radar as a potential backup option should they not sign Martinez, per Heyman. The 30-year-old would be a considerably more affordable source of power to slot into the DH spot in the lineup (presumably with some occasional time at first base to give Mitch Moreland a break, or in the event of a Moreland injury). It’s been fairly quiet on Morrison for much of the offseason despite the fact that he’s run up a 130 wRC+ over his past 900 big league plate appearances. MLBTR’s Connor Byrne recently took a lengthier look at Morrison’s merits.

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    Latest On Eduardo Nunez Fri, 09 Feb 2018 00:44:15 +0000 Feb. 8: Jesse Sanchez of tweets that the Braves can be counted among the teams that have “serious” interest in Nunez. Atlanta has something of an opening at third base, where Johan Camargo is presently projected to serve as a bridge to prospect Austin Riley.

    However, there have also been multiple reports that the Braves aren’t likely to make a big splash at the hot corner; David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution recently characterized any such addition as unlikely, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported earlier today that the Braves would primarily be open to a one-year deal with any third base target. Given the fairly robust level of interest in the versatile Nunez, it seems unlikely that he’d command only a one-year pact.

    Feb. 6: Veteran infielder Eduardo Nunez has long seemed likely to command fairly broad interest, though his market got underway only recently since he spent the early part of the offseason recovering from a knee injury (though he was able to avoid surgery). It still seems that there’s some room for development in his market, as interest continues to percolate.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, via Twitter, the Rays have joined the division-rival Red Sox and Yankees with interest. Tampa Bay, according to Rosenthal, is generally gauging the market for right-handed bats while simultaneously fielding interest in some of its presently more expensive assets, including Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome. In theory, either or both could be traded for younger, more controllable assets while clearing some salary for a free-agent addition such as Nunez.

    Nunez has been tied most closely in recent weeks to Boston (see here and here), and Rosenthal wrote again tonight that the Red Sox have shown interest in re-signing him. But he has also been connected to both New York organizations and a host of other possible destinations given his experience at third base, shortstop, second base and in left field. While Nunez doesn’t thrive at any one position and grades out below average at several, the ability to place him at multiple spots on a short-term basis holds plenty of appeal all the same. He’s also taken his offensive game to a new level in recent seasons, slashing .296/.332/.443 in 1290 plate appearances for the Twins, Giants and Red Sox dating back to the 2015 campaign.

    Of course, the Mets are no longer a reasonable possibility; per John Harper of the New York Daily News, the club believed it could’ve signed Nunez for approximately the same price it paid Todd Frazier (two years and $17MM). After some internal debate, though, the club opted for Frazier’s power and glovework at the hot corner over Nunez’s superior batting average and baserunning prowess but weaker contact profile and glovework.

    Pomeranz Discusses Contract Year, 2018 Goals Thu, 08 Feb 2018 05:45:39 +0000 Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz is a year from the open market — a reality that comes with added concern when viewed against the backdrop of the current free-agent landscape — but he tells Rob Bradford of that he’s more focused on the upcoming season than anything else. “Obviously, I know I’m a free agent at the end of the year and I want to have a good year,” says Pomeranz. “…I’m just worried about picking up where I left off and kind of continuing to get better every year like I have every year of my career.” Pomeranz is no stranger to the business of baseball, having been traded four times in his young career as he struggled to establish himself as a quality big leaguer. Since coming to Boston, though, he’s pitched to a 3.68 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 in 242 1/3 innings. Pomeranz says his biggest goal in 2018 is to get quicker outs so that he can work deeper into games. Doing so would almost certainly allow him to establish a new career-high in innings pitched; Pomeranz tossed 170 innings in 2016 and a career-best 173 1/3 frames in 2017.