Boston Red Sox – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-11-22T06:47:36Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brock Holt Discusses Free Agency]]> 2019-11-22T05:56:47Z 2019-11-22T05:56:47Z
  • The Red Sox reached out to free-agent utilityman Brock Holt about a new deal after the season, but there haven’t been discussions since they hired Chaim Bloom as their chief baseball officer Oct. 28, Holt told Barstool Sports’ Section 10 podcast (hat tip to Chris Cotillo of Although other teams have contacted Holt, he revealed there’s “nothing serious” brewing between him and any clubs. MLBTR predicts a two-year, $8MM contract for the versatile Holt, who’s coming off back-to-back solid seasons at the plate. The 31-year-old batted .297/.369/.402 in 295 PA in 2019, which is looking more and more like his last season as a member of the Red Sox.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Players Added To 40-Man Roster: American League]]> 2019-11-21T02:33:02Z 2019-11-21T00:34:52Z We’re going to see a whole lot of players added to 40-man rosters in advance of tonight’s deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft. We will use this post to track those contract selections from American League teams that are not otherwise covered on the site.

    AL West:

    • The Athletics made just one addition to the 40-man roster, righty Daulton Jefferies, which resulted in the DFA of righty Jharel Cotton (more on that move here).
    • The Rangers will add at least four players to their 40-man, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter). Infielder Sherten Apostel, outfielder Leody Taveras, and hurlers Demarcus Evans and Tyler Phillips are all reportedly set to get a slot. Taveras is the most exciting name of this bunch; by the reckoning of some observers, he’s one of the club’s best prospects. Apostel came over in the Keone Kela trade. The two pitchers are upper-minors arms who could contribute in 2020.
    • There’s 40-man movement elsewhere in Texas as well. Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets that the Astros have tacked on four players: Taylor Jones, Cristian Javier, Enoli Paredes, and Nivaldo Rodriguez. The last of those is the one that came from the farthest reaches of the prospect map (half a season of High-A ball); clearly, the ’Stros see him as an up-and-comer and were worried other teams would as well. Jones had a strong season at Triple-A and could fight for a bench spot. Javier and Paredes could be in the MLB bullpen mix after running up the farm ladder with high strikeout rates in 2019.
    • The Angels have selected second baseman/outfielder Jahmai Jones and lefty Hector Yan, according to the club. Both players (Jones – No. 6; Yan – No. 17) rank among the Angels’ top 20 prospects at The 22-year-old Jones is a 2015 second-rounder who spent the past two seasons at the Double-A level, where he hit .234/.308/.324 in 544 plate appearances in 2019. Yan, a 20-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, rose to Single-A ball this past season and notched a 3.39 ERA/3.17 FIP with a whopping 12.22 K/9 against 4.29 BB/9 over 109 innings.

    AL Central:

    AL East:

    • Infielder Santiago Espinal and righty Thomas Hatch were the Blue Jays’ pair of roster additions on Wednesday. Toronto jettisoned Tim Mayza and Justin Shafer from the 40-man roster in a pair of corresponding moves, as explored at greater length here.
    • The Orioles announced that they’ve selected the contracts of left-hander Keegan Akin, right-hander Dean Kremer, infielder/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle and outfielder Ryan McKenna. Mountcastle, a former first-rounder, has long been considered among the organization’s most promising minor leaguers. Akin posted a down year in Triple-A in 2019 but has generally been successful and is viewed as a near-MLB ready arm.
    • The Red Sox have added infielders C.J. Chatham and Bobby Dalbec, outfielder Marcus Wilson, and lefties Kyle Hart and Yoan Aybar to their 40-man, the team announced.The most hyped farmhand there is Dalbec, whom ranks as the Red Sox’s second-best prospect. The 24-year-old reached the Triple-A level for the first time in 2019 after obliterating Double-A pitching, and he posted a .257/.301/.478 line with seven home runs and 29 strikeouts against just five walks over 123 trips to the plate.
    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[JD Martinez Opt-In Decision Reportedly An Easy One]]> 2019-11-17T16:21:50Z 2019-11-17T15:40:14Z We’re coming up on the three-year anniversary of the White SoxRed Sox Chris Sale blockbuster. It’s tough to say either team regrets that deal at this point. Sale was instrumental in Boston’s 2018 World Series run and remains one’s of baseball’s best pitchers. Chicago, meanwhile, has reaped the benefits of a Yoán Moncada breakout season that saw him garner a down-ballot MVP vote. Michael Kopech, meanwhile, remains one of the sport’s most exciting young pitchers.

    • J.D. Martinez opted into his three-year, $62.5MM deal with the Red Sox earlier this month. Rob Bradford of WEEI hears that decision wasn’t an especially difficult one, “hardly coming down to the wire.” That seemingly reflects some tepidness among potential Martinez suitors as agent Scott Boras explored the star hitter’s market in advance of the decision. Speaking entirely speculatively, that could tamp down the likelihood of Martinez opting out after next season (at which point he’ll have to decide on a two-year, $38.7MM deal) or of the Sox finding a buyer if they look to shop Martinez this offseason as a means of cutting payroll. That said, Martinez remains an elite hitter, and other teams’ circumstances and interest can no doubt change in the coming months.
    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Red Sox Facing A Different Offseason]]> 2019-11-16T17:21:04Z 2019-11-16T17:21:04Z
  • The Red Sox are facing a different kind of offseason under the leadership of Chaim Bloom, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Scaling back the payroll is objective A, and the Red Sox are active in trade discussions around just about everyone on the roster. The media has Mookie Betts as the fulcrum of Boston’s trade activity, but he’s expensive on a one-year deal and unlikely to sign an extension, mitigating any trade return and making a deal unlikely. It’s more likely the Red Sox find their desired breathing room by trading from their rotation: David Price, Chris Sale, and/or Nathan Eovaldi. Meanwhile, discussions with free agents are largely on the backburner as they look for creative ways to free up space in the payroll.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Bloom: “Every Indication” Dustin Pedroia Will Try To Return In 2020]]> 2019-11-12T01:01:30Z 2019-11-12T01:01:30Z Veteran Red Sox second bagger Dustin Pedroia has given “every indication” that he intends to play in 2020, newly minted chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom tells reporters including Christopher Smith of Pedroia, 36, underwent a mid-season knee procedure that left his career in doubt.

    The issues in Pedroia’s left knee aren’t new, and they aren’t simple. At the time of his most recent surgery, it was far from clear whether he’d even try to resume playing. But Pedroia reported feeling good after going under the knife and is evidently still on an upward trajectory.

    It still isn’t fully clear whether Pedroia will end up making a full push back towards the field. Bloom said he hasn’t been fully briefed on the medical situation and has yet to sit down with Pedroia. The front office intends to meet with the long-time Boston star over the next few days, while in Arizona for the GM meetings.

    What is known, per Bloom, does seem promising. “Every indication I’ve gotten is he’s feeling good and intending on playing,” the incoming top baseball ops decisionmaker says of Pedroia. “I know he’s working really hard to make sure he’s in as good of shape as possible,” Bloom added.

    Pedroia is owed $13MM for the 2020 season and $12MM for the ensuing campaign under his long-term extension. He has appeared in only nine games over the past two seasons, and will be coming back from the most serious in a string of surgeries, so it’s more or less impossible to know what to expect. But the Red Sox can hope that Pedroia will be more than a budget write-off, even if he can’t be presumed to be available — let alone tasked with regular duties. With the organization hoping to shed salary and remain competitive, Pedroia could be a piece of what figures to be a shifting roster puzzle.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Three Teams Exceeded 2019 Luxury Tax Threshold]]> 2019-11-11T21:40:05Z 2019-11-11T21:40:05Z The Red Sox, Yankees, and Cubs were the three teams to exceed the luxury tax threshold in 2019, as Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times noted over the weekend. MLBTR has confirmed that is the complete and final list of organizations identified by Major League Baseball as owing competitive balance obligations.

    Each of those clubs exceeded $206MM in 2019 payroll, as calculated by Major League Baseball pursuant to the rules governing the competitive balance tax. Generally, the CBT calculation looks to the average annual value of player contracts while also accounting for bonuses and other payroll-related expenses. The CBT threshold rises to $208MM in 2020 and then to $210MM in 2021.

    Last year, the Red Sox and Nationals surpassed the spending threshold and paid taxes. The D.C. organization managed to duck under the line but could again be in that tax bracket if it spends to defend its World Series title. The Red Sox are expected to try to duck under the limbo bar in 2020. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have now gone two straight years without paying after a five-season streak of tax bills.

    Precise calculations aren’t yet available, but Cot’s on Contracts has estimates of the complicated CBT tabulations. Their figures show both the Nats and Dodgers over the line, though obviously those organizations were able to sneak in just below. The Astros and Phillies appear to have been the next-biggest spenders, though both were a fair sight shy of any tax bills.

    The Cot’s figures allow us to make some rough estimates of the actual amounts due. The Red Sox will pay the most, as they were the only team to incur tax liability for consecutive seasons, thus raising the rate. With an estimated payroll of just under $240MM, the Boston org will pay 30% on their first $20MM in overages and 42% on the rest, resulting in an estimated bill of just under $12MM.

    The Cubs also ran up a tab that came in just shy of the $240MM mark by Cot’s reckoning. They are not a repeat luxury level team and therefore pay the base rate of 20% for the first $20MM and 32% for the next $20MM in salary over the threshold. That would result in a liability of a little under $8.5MM. Cot’s credits the Yankees with $234MM of spending for CBT purposes. Since the Bronx Bombers spent a year shy of the luxury line, they also get first-time treatment and would stand to owe just over $6.5MM.

    None of the three teams came close to topping $246MM in payroll, at which point they’d not only have faced a bigger tax rate on further spending but also would’ve seen their top draft pick moved down the board ten spots. But the trio does still face some ongoing impact beyond the money owed. Inking a free agent who declined a qualifying offer will cost a bit more in compensation than it would have otherwise — specifically, $1MM in international amateur bonus pool spending capacity along with the team’s second and fifth-highest draft picks. The rules also suppress the level of compensation available to teams that lose QO’ed free agents after exceeding the luxury line, though none of these three clubs issued qualifying offers this offseason.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Chaim Bloom Discusses Red Sox]]> 2019-11-10T13:25:41Z 2019-11-10T13:25:41Z
  • Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the latest episode of the Bradfo Sho podcast. Bloom explained that he’s making progress in getting up to date on the Red Sox’s systems and getting to know key people in the organization, including Mookie Betts, who figures to dominate the rumors circuit until Boston makes a decision on his future. Bloom also addressed the difficulty for front office members in trading away players to whom they’ve developed personal connections, J.D. Martinez’s decision to opt-in to his contract, and the payroll discrepancy between his former employer, the Rays, and the Red Sox in a wide-ranging conversation.
  • ]]>
    George Miller <![CDATA[Red Sox Re-Sign Six Players To Minors Deals]]> 2019-11-09T22:46:29Z 2019-11-09T22:46:29Z The Red Sox have re-signed a host of minor-league free agents, with the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reporting that left-hander Dan McGrath; right-handers Austin Maddox, Domingo Tapia, and Andrew Schwaab; catcher Jhon Nunez; and infielder Jantzen Witte have all agreed to minor-league contracts to remain with the Boston organization.

    Maddox is the only one of that group who has seen Major League action, making a brief but impressive debut in 2017. He tossed 17 1/3 innings in his only career Major League stint, surrendering just one run while striking out 14 batters and walking two.

    McGrath, 25, reached Triple-A in 2019 after a solid performance at Double-A, where he struck out 113 batters in 112 1/3 innings. 2019 was Tapia’s first year in the Boston organization after he spent the first nine seasons of his professional career in the Mets’ and Reds’ minor league systems. Schwaab, 26, has five years of professional experience under his belt and has reached as high as Double-A. For his minor league career, he’s put up solid per-nine averages: 0.1 HR/9, 3.9 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9.

    Nunez, a 24-year-old switch-hitting catcher, also reached Double-A in 2019 and posted a nice .280/.333/.412 batting line. Witte was a 24th-round draft choice in 2013, and he’s spent parts of the last four seasons in Triple-A but has yet to break through to the Majors. In 1227 Triple-A plate appearances, Witte is batting .261/.333/.370 with 15 home runs.

    All of the above will be back in the Red Sox system in 2020, searching for a long-awaited trial at the big league level.

    George Miller <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Red Sox, Bloom, KBO, Kim, Reds]]> 2019-11-10T00:27:22Z 2019-11-09T22:04:20Z With the offseason now firmly underway, let’s survey the baseball landscape with a few brief Saturday notes…

    • For Red Sox fans eager to gain an inkling as to how their team’s front office might behave under new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, it might be worth reading Jen McCaffrey’s latest work for The Athletic, in which she uses Tampa Bay’s moves in 2019 as a blueprint for how Bloom might operate in Boston. The Rays, of course, overcame one of baseball’s smallest payrolls and took the Astros to five games in the ALDS, while the Red Sox missed out on the postseason entirely despite a comparatively astronomical payroll. Boston can expect Bloom to deploy many of the same strategies that brought success to Tampa, though he’ll of course have a greater bank of resources at his disposal. One might liken Bloom to the Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman, another former Rays exec who inherited a big-market budget when he was hired to spearhead the Dodgers’ baseball operations.
    • A flurry of teams sent scouts to watch Kwang-hyun Kim of the KBO’s SK Wyverns, according to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO. Scouts from more than ten teams—including the Padres, Twins, and Dodgers, among others—were recently spotted at one of Kim’s games. Though he hasn’t yet been posted, Kim has expressed his desire to play in the Majors in 2020, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who also reports that his club is “weighing its options” regarding Kim’s posting. A 31-year-old lefty, Kim logged a 2.51 ERA in 190 1/3 innings of work in the 2019 KBO season, striking out 180 batters while walking just 38. He’s had previous opportunities to play stateside, most notably in 2014 when he and the Padres failed to agree on a contract. He could slot in as a mid-tier free agent option for clubs unwilling to pony up the money necessary to pursue the top options on the market.
    • The Reds have hired a new assistant pitching coordinator, with Eric Jagers announcing on Twitter that he’ll join the Reds staff after a year in the Phillies organization. With the Phillies, Jagers worked in the minor league player development department, filling a new position in the organization as a pitch strategist. He broke into the MLB coaching scene after cutting his teeth as Driveline Baseball’s pitching coordinator. Notably, with the Reds he’ll work alongside another Driveline alum, Kyle Boddy, who founded the company and parlayed its success into a position as the Reds’ pitching coordinator. The addition of Jagers continues the organizational overhaul of its pitching infrastructure, which began with the team’s hiring of Derek Johnson, who coached the club to the National League’s fourth-lowest ERA in 2019.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: Boston Red Sox]]> 2019-11-07T22:47:33Z 2019-11-07T22:47:33Z MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams.  Click here to read the other entries in this series.

    Newly-hired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom faces an immediate challenge in getting the Red Sox back to the postseason while simultaneously navigating a difficult payroll situation.

    Guaranteed Contracts

    Arbitration-Eligible Players (projections via Matt Swartz)

    Free Agents

    After 15 seasons in the Rays’ front office, Bloom is no stranger to the difficulties of trying to manage a payroll while also trying to keep a competitive team on the field.  It’s just that now, Bloom will be dealing with a payroll more than three times as larger than anything he ever dealt with in Tampa Bay — not to mention exponentially more pressure from fans, media, and his own bosses.  As evidenced with predecessors Ben Cherington and Dave Dombrowski, not even a recent World Series victory can save the head of a Red Sox front office if team ownership isn’t satisfied with immediate results.

    As of late September, the organization’s plan was to get under the $208MM Competitive Balance Bax threshold, though Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy somewhat walked that back by stating that avoiding the luxury tax was a “goal but not a mandate.”  The Sox have exceeded the CBT threshold in each of the last two seasons, and thus as a three-time repeater would face a 50 percent tax on every dollar spent over the $208MM line in 2020, plus an added 12.5% surtax if their luxury payroll falls within the $228-$248MM range.

    As currently comprised, the Red Sox have a luxury tax number of just over $236.3MM (as per Roster Resource) for next season.  Ducking under the $228MM mark seems feasible.  However, it would take some judicious cutting and/or creative trades to slide under the $208MM threshold and reset Boston’s tax penalties entirely, given the number of needs on the roster.

    Obligatory reminder: the luxury tax is not an exorbitantly punitive sum.  Exceeding the top level of the luxury tax in 2018 cost the Red Sox roughly $11.95MM (and a ten-slot drop in their 2019 draft order), and their 2019 tax penalty will be in the neighborhood of $13.05MM, as per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, with no change to their draft position.  Every organization has a budget, and it’s understandable that Red Sox ownership is less willing to pay tax penalties for an 84-win team than it was for a World Series champion, but there isn’t any concrete reason why Boston (or any big-market team) should be treating the CBT as an actual salary cap.  There is surely no small amount of annoyance within the MLBPA and the player agent community that another large-market franchise is seemingly more focused on trimming payroll instead of spending.

    It’s also worth noting that Boston’s payroll situation would be a lot clearer if ownership hadn’t given Dombrowski the green light to re-sign Nathan Eovaldi in free agency last winter or to give Chris Sale a five-year extension that begins in 2020.  Those two contracts, plus the $96MM still owed to David Price, now all loom large as question marks after all three pitchers battled injuries last season.  Some level of a rebound is certainly possible, but it’s unlikely that all three will be healthy and pitch up to peak standards next year, leaving the Red Sox without much flexibility for rotation upgrades.  Eduardo Rodriguez has a checkered injury history of his own, but the southpaw was a bright spot last season, posting a 3.81 ERA over a career-high 203 1/3 innings.

    For the remaining rotation spot, the Sox could look to sign any number of low-cost veterans, and maybe even reunite with Rick Porcello.  Or, since the Red Sox already began using openers last season, the club could instead deploy a full-time opener/bulk pitcher combo in the fifth starter position rather than a proper starting pitcher.  Given that Bloom was one of the architects of the opener strategy in Tampa Bay, this might be a more likely (and cost-effective) route for the Sox to take rather than spend a few extra million on an innings-eating starter.  It might not even be out of the question for the team to explore putting an opener in front of Eovaldi, if injuries continue to be a factor.

    A deep bullpen is a necessity for a team using an opener, and the relief corps is another area of need.  Brandon Workman’s role will be of interest, as the veteran righty emerged as Boston’s closer down the stretch and posted an impressive 1.88 ERA and 13.1 K/9 over 71 2/3 innings.  There was some volatility in those numbers, as Workman (like virtually every Sox reliever in 2019) had control issues (5.7 BB/9).

    The Red Sox could prefer to use Workman in a setup role rather than as a closer, or at least acquire another arm who has ninth-inning experience as depth to work behind Workman.  Sergio Romo is a known quantity to Bloom from his time in Tampa, and Romo would also come at a much lower price than other top relievers on the market; a play for Will Smith seems out of the question, and Boston’s spending concerns could possibly even keep them out of the Will Harris/Drew Pomeranz tier.  Names like Chris Martin, Craig Stammen, or Daniel Hudson could all be considered, as could a pursuit of a bounce-back candidate Dellin Betances.

    Turning to position players, one of the team’s biggest offseason questions has already been answered, as J.D. Martinez decided not to opt out of the remaining three years of his contract.  An opt-out would’ve taken $22MM in average annual salary off of Boston’s books and given them more tax breathing room, though it would’ve come at the cost of one of the game’s best sluggers.

    Instead, Martinez will now rejoin Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers in one of the sport’s most fearsome lineup quartets.  Catcher Christian Vazquez enjoyed the best hitting season of his career, though the Sox will be looking for more from Andrew Benintendi in 2020 after the outfielder scuffled through a down year.

    With Mitch Moreland and Brock Holt headed for free agency, and Dustin Pedroia’s playing future still unclear, both first base and second base are up for grabs.  Michael Chavis had a solid rookie year and is a candidate for regular playing time at either position.  Top prospect Bobby Dalbec could work his way into the first base conversation as early as next season.  A left-handed bat would be the ideal complement to the right-handed hitting Chavis and Dalbec, and for both bat-sided and versatility reasons, re-signing Holt (or a Holt type like Eric Sogard) would make a lot of sense.  Bringing Moreland back is also possible if the Red Sox are comfortable with Chavis as a second baseman, but the team will have plenty of options to consider on the crowded first base/DH market.

    The Red Sox have already cut down on their projected arbitration costs by parting ways with Steven Wright, Gorkys Hernandez, and Chris Owings, while also adding lefty Josh Osich to the list after claiming him from the White Sox.  That results in a projected savings of $4.5MM, and a bit more money could be saved if the Sox non-tendered Sandy Leon or Marco Hernandez.  As much as the Sox prize Leon’s defense and game-calling abilities, they could see $2.8MM as a high price for a player with no offensive value.

    As generally strong as this position player mix looks, there has been a great deal of speculation about whether all of the key players will be back in 2020.  Injuries and contracts make Price, Sale, and Eovaldi difficult to trade — to varying extents.  Unless the Sox take another unfavorable contract back in return, pay down some of the remaining salary and/or attach young talent from their already-thin minor league system to entice a rival team to absorb one of these salaries, they’ll have a difficult time finding a taker.  Therefore, the easiest route to creating payroll space would be to trade a high-salaried position player.

    Bogaerts clearly isn’t going anywhere, and Martinez will be able to modify his three-team no-trade list later this month, per’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link).  Given the lack of win-now teams with a DH opening, that list can be tailored to the current market, thus making a Martinez trade difficult for Boston.  That leaves Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. as the likeliest candidates to be dealt.  Bradley is projected for an $11MM salary in his final year of arbitration eligibility — a hefty number for a player who has had below-average offensive production for the last three seasons and (of greater concern) also had a drop-off with the glove in 2019, according to the UZR/150 (-1.8) and Defensive Runs Saved (-1).

    The Red Sox don’t plan to non-tender Bradley, as they’ll explore trade possibilities in an offseason that doesn’t feature much in the way of interesting free-agent center fielders.  Moving Bradley for a starter, reliever, first baseman, or second baseman would be a canny way of addressing a need if not necessarily saving on payroll, though any number of multi-player arrangements could be explored.  In terms of replacing Bradley, Betts or Benintendi could be moved into center field, with the Sox then acquiring a lower-cost corner outfielder.

    And then there’s the possibility of a Betts trade, which would be much more of a game-changer.  Betts is only under contract for one more season, and he has been open about his interest in reaching the free agent market rather than signing an extension with the Red Sox (though he has said he enjoys playing in Boston).  With Martinez and his salary back in the fold, it could increase the chances of Betts being dealt, as painful as it would be to unload one of the game’s best players.

    To land Betts, a team would have to be willing to give up a noteworthy combination of big league-ready young talent and prospects for just one season of Betts’ services, and also be capable of absorbing his $27.7MM in projected salary.  In exploring the Betts trade market last month, I listed the Phillies, Reds, Mets, and Padres as perhaps the best candidates since all four teams are aggressively planning to contend in 2020, though it’s possible more clubs could enter the mix depending on how other offseason business plays out.

    The Rays swung several creative trades during Bloom’s tenure, so any number of multi-team possibilities could be explored to create a Betts deal that would most benefit the Sox from both a financial and player return standpoint.  One would imagine, however, that Bloom will look into myriad cost-cutting measures before getting around to the Plan C or Plan D that would be a Betts trade.  Kennedy’s comments suggest that the Red Sox could settle for just getting into the lowest tier (spending between $208MM-$228MM) of luxury tax penalties, if avoiding the tax entirely will severely hamper the team’s chances of competing in 2020.

    Ownership has made it clear that winning is still the priority, so the Red Sox will try to emulate the Dodgers (led by Andrew Friedman, Bloom’s old boss in Tampa Bay) in escaping luxury tax purgatory while still reaching the postseason on an annual basis.  It will be a tall order, though with all the talent already on the roster, the Sox could only be a few moves — albeit perhaps large moves — away from another playoff berth.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: JDM, Betts, Trades, Porcello]]> 2019-11-07T21:59:36Z 2019-11-07T21:59:36Z Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy felt J.D. Martinez’s opt-out decision “was a hard one to read” and “I honestly thought it could go either way,” though Kennedy is obviously pleased to have Martinez back in the fold,’s Chris Cotillo writes.  Martinez’s choice will naturally have a big impact on Boston’s financial situation, particularly since the team is looking to shed some payroll and possibly get under the luxury tax threshold, though Kennedy was only focused on what Martinez’s return will mean for the club on the field.

    You never want to lose a talented player.  Of course, there are hard decisions teams have to make in terms of parting ways with guys in every sport,” Kennedy said.  “What J.D. Martinez has done for the Red Sox and hopefully will continue to do, is not just a big bat in the middle of the lineup.  He also helps elevate other players on the team and that’s widely documented.  That’s helpful.  That’s a good thing.  Now we move on.”

    More from Fenway Park…

    • It isn’t yet known if Martinez staying will make it more likely that the Sox could trade Mookie Betts in order to solve their luxury tax issues, though Kennedy said (via Cotillo) the club is still hoping to enter into extension talks this winter.  “We love Mookie Betts….We’ve engaged in discussions with him and his representatives in the past and we’ll continue to engage with them,” Kennedy said.  No negotiations have taken place to date this offseason, which isn’t surprising given that most teams wait until closer to Spring Training to begin extension talks (plus, Chaim Bloom was only just hired as Boston’s new chief baseball officer).  While the Sox have been proactive in locking up in-house stars over the years, most recently inking Xander Bogaerts and Chris Sale to extensions last spring.  Betts, however, has been clear about his desire to test the free agency after the 2020 season, and with the open market now less than a year away, it remains to be seen if the Red Sox can get anywhere in convincing him to stay.
    • Whether Betts is part of a blockbuster deal or not, Bloom’s hiring would seem to indicate that the Sox will be much more active on the trade market under their new front office boss than they were under Dave Dombrowski.  Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes that since the start of November 2016, when Bloom and Rays GM Erik Neander took over Tampa’s front office, the Rays swung 65 different trades.  In that same timeframe, the Sox made only 21 deals.  While the two franchises are obviously in quite different places in terms of payroll and roster creation strategy, it does stand to reason that trades may be a much larger part of Boston’s efforts to reshape the team.
    • Could a reunion with Rick Porcello be in the cards?  The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato looks at the pros and cons, noting that Porcello perhaps could have a rebound year and, at worst, will eat innings within a rotation full of injury question marks.  That said, Bloom (who has no past history with Porcello) could prefer to acquire a starter with a higher potential ceiling, and who’d cost less than what Porcello is likely to find on the open market.  MLBTR projects Porcello for a one-year, $11MM contract — no small amount for a Red Sox team that is ideally trying to avoid the luxury tax.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[10 Players Receive Qualifying Offers]]> 2019-11-04T23:01:06Z 2019-11-04T23:01:56Z It appears that ten players have received qualifying offers this year. Bob Nightengale of USA Today rounds up the full slate of players on Twitter, some of whom were already reported and covered on this site.

    This year’s qualifying offer value is $17.8MM for a one-year term. Players issued the offer will have ten days to assess their options. Should a player reject the offer and fail to work out a deal with their existing team, he will enter the market carrying the requirement that a signing team sacrifice draft compensation. (While the former team would not stand to lose a pick, it would not gain a compensatory pick if it re-signs that player.) Click here for a full rundown of the QO rules.

    This represents a bounce back up in the number of players to receive a qualifying offer. Last year was a record-low of seven, with other offseasons ranging from nine (2012, 2017) all the way up to twenty offers (2015).

    Here are the ten players:

    There are a few notable players that were eligible for the QO but did not receive it. Those players will hit the open market free and clear of draft compensation. Didi Gregorius of the Yankees and Cole Hamels of the Cubs were perhaps the leading possibilities beyond those that received the offer. J.D. Martinez would surely have received one from the Red Sox had he opted out of his deal; Aroldis Chapman was also certain to get a QO had he not agreed to a new contract. Quite a few other prominent free agents were ineligible because they were traded during the 2019 season and/or had previously received a qualifying offer.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Will Not Opt Out Of Red Sox Contract]]> 2019-11-04T23:00:51Z 2019-11-04T23:00:49Z Outfielder J.D. Martinez will not opt out of his contract with the Red Sox, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). The 32-year-old Martinez had the option of collecting a $2.5MM buyout to forgo the remaining three years and $62.5MM on his contract but will instead once again serve as Boston’s primary designated hitter in 2020.

    Martinez, signed to a five-year, $110MM contract prior to the 2018 season, enjoyed a career-year with in the first season of that deal, hitting .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs. He followed that up with a terrific .304/.383/.557 slash through 657 trips to the plate.

    That excellence at least created the possibility of Martinez opting out, but the market was also a poor one for Martinez, given the lack of contending clubs (or hopeful contenders) with an opening at designated hitter. The Astros (Yordan Alvarez), Angels (Albert Pujols/Shohei Ohtani) and Twins (Nelson Cruz), for instance, all have solidified options there. The Yankees have a number of options to rotate through their DH slot (Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, Mike Ford and Greg Bird among them). Other clubs, including the Rays, Indians and incumbent Red Sox all face varying degrees of payroll issues. National League teams, surely, would be reluctant to issue a multi-year pact to a player with such defensive limitations.

    Beyond the clearly sub-optimal market factors, Martinez will have another bite at the free-agent apple next year via a second opt-out provision in the aforementioned five-year deal. He’ll now earn $23.75MM in 2020 before having the opportunity to test free agency again next winter when he’ll have two years and $38.75MM remaining on his contract.

    The decision has significant long-term ramifications for the team as well. Already, there have been rumors about the Red Sox shopping 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts this winter as he heads into his final season of club control. Some of that is tied to the fact that the Betts has, to this point, insisted upon testing the free-agent market rather than explore a potential extension, but Boston’s luxury tax situation is also a clear factor. The Red Sox are currently $28MM over the luxury tax threshold, placing them firmly into the second tier of penalties. Had Martinez opted out of his deal, they’d have seen $22MM subtracted from that luxury ledger, but they’ll now likely search for alternative means of reducing their levels of penalization.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Outright Juan Centeno]]> 2019-11-04T20:44:04Z 2019-11-04T20:20:32Z The Red Sox have announced that catcher Juan Centeno was outrighted from the 40-man roster. He elected free agency.

    Soon to reach his 30th birthday, Centeno will go out searching for the best possible opportunity this winter. He has appeared in the bigs in each of the past seven seasons, but still has only appeared in 118 games in total.

    Centeno offers a relatively rare left-handed bat from the catching position, but hasn’t hit much in his opportunities. In 371 plate appearances in the majors, he carries a .223/.278/.323 batting line. Centeno slashed .248/.321/.350 in his 301 Triple-A plate appearances this season.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Scouting Report On Chih-Jung Liu]]> 2019-11-04T04:47:51Z 2019-11-04T04:47:51Z
  • A brief scouting report on newly-signed Red Sox right-hander Chih-Jung Liu is provided by former big leaguer Chien-Ming Wang to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, as Wang has worked with the 20-year-old prospect.  Liu “needs to improve his slider and splitter to have a good out pitch” and “needs to build up his arm strength and pitch count,” Wang said.  These aren’t unusual criticisms for any young pitcher, especially for a case like Liu, who mostly played shortstop in high school and only recently got back into pitching.  Liu is also “bright” and “seems to be able to adapt to [a] new environment quickly,” Wang said, and he also noted that Liu asked him how to throw a sinkerball, Wang’s signature pitch.  Abraham reports that the Phillies and Diamondbacks were among the other teams who had interest in Liu before the Red Sox signed him for $750K.
  • ]]>