The Red Sox announced that they’ve avoided arbitration with right-hander Carson Smith by agreeing to a one-year contract. The team did not announce financial terms, though Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that Smith will earn $850K for the coming season (Twitter link). Boston also announced its previously reported one-year, $1.1MM deal with fellow arbitration-eligible righty Steven Wright.
The deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures is this Friday, so it stands to reason that there’ll be a number of players agreeing to deals over the course of the next five days. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently tweeted that all 30 teams are believed to be adopting a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning they’ll no longer negotiate one-year contracts beyond this Friday’s deadline (though multi-year extensions are typically still negotiated by file-and-trial organizations).
Smith, 28, was acquired in the 2015-16 offseason in a trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners. He pitched just 2 2/3 innings for the ’16 Red Sox before requiring Tommy John surgery, however, and he was able to make it back to the mound for just 6 2/3 frames in Boston last year. His $850K figure falls shy of the $1.1MM projected arbitration salary from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
Now healthy, Smith should play a considerably larger role in the Boston bullpen in 2018 and beyond. Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery, he had a somewhat under-the-radar rookie breakout in 2015, tossing 70 innings of 2.31 ERA ball on the strength of 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 64.8 percent ground-ball rate in the Mariners’ bullpen.
This is the first of three trips through the arbitration process for Smith, who is controlled by the Red Sox through the 2020 season. The Sox still have a whopping 11 arb cases to resolve, including high-profile cases for Mookie Betts and Drew Pomeranz, both of whom project to earn more than $8MM. Other Red Sox that are up for arbitration include Jackie Bradley Jr., Joe Kelly, Tyler Thornburg, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Brandon Workman, Christian Vazquez and Eduardo Rodriguez.