The Yankees will go to an arbitration hearing with right-hander Dellin Betances, general manager Brian Cashman tells MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link). Betances filed for a $5MM salary in arbitration, while the Yankees countered at $3MM, so there’s a sizable gap between the two sides. In addition to the immediate $2MM that’s at stake, a $5MM salary in 2017 would give Betances a considerably larger platform for future salaries in the arbitration process. Betances is one of 23 unresolved arbitration cases left in baseball — all of which can be monitored using MLBTR’s 2017 Arbitration Tracker.
A bit more from the American League East…
- Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins spoke to reporters, including Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith (Twitter link), following his team’s re-signing of Jose Bautista to a one-year, $18.5MM deal (with a 2018 mutual option and a 2019 vesting option). Atkins acknowledged that the Jays have “clear” needs in the bullpen and at backup catcher. That suggests that the Jays won’t simply stick with in-house options at either position, and the Toronto GM noted that both the trade market and free-agent market are under current consideration to fill those needs. A number of backup catching options have come off the board recently, though names like Kurt Suzuki, Hank Conger, Brayan Pena and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are all still out there.
- Red Sox skipper John Farrell met with the Boston media today and addressed a number of roster issues, including the team’s outlook at third base and in the rotation (Twitter links via Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal). Per Farrell, there’s still a “note of competition” at the hot corner between Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt and Rule 5 pick Josh Rutledge. Sandoval’s contract, presumably, makes him the favorite, but I’d wager that he’ll be on a short leash and will have to show semblance of rebound potential in Spring Training and/or early in the year. Also, it sounds as if only Chris Sale, David Price an Rick Porcello are assured rotation spots, as Farrell said the final two spots will be a competition between Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.
- MacPherson’s colleague, Tim Britton, adds that Farrell also discussed the Red Sox’ catching situation (all Twitter links). Farrell said that as it stands, Sandy Leon is heading to camp as the No. 1 catcher, but Blake Swihart will be able to challenge him for that role. Britton notes that Farrell didn’t mention Christian Vazquez. However, Vazquez is out of minor league options, and the team isn’t sure how Swihart’s ankle will be able to hold up for regular work behind the dish, so Britton’s interpretation of the situation is that Leon and Vazquez will open the year as Boston’s catching tandem.
- Looking at the bigger picture for the Red Sox, the team has yet to sit down with star outfielder Mookie Betts about an extension, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The 24-year-old said there haven’t been talks, and hinted that he’s not particularly interested in pursuing a long-term arrangement. Betts said that his preference is to focus on his play while going “one year at a time” for his salaries. Meanwhile, shortstop Xander Bogaerts largely demurred when asked whether he had engaged in any long-term contract talks.