MLB Trade Rumors » » Boston Red Sox 2018-01-16T23:32:59Z Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Gammons: Red Sox Won't Trade Jackie Bradley Jr.]]> 2018-01-15T05:55:48Z 2018-01-15T05:55:48Z
  • While Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has been popular in trade rumors this offseason, they’re not going to deal him, Peter Gammons of The Athletic writes (subscription required/highly recommended). Boston’s front office regards Bradley as one of the team’s most important players, as it places great value on his “elite” defense and leadership, Gammons details.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases]]> 2018-01-13T03:05:53Z 2018-01-13T00:02:01Z We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

    Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> 2018-01-13T05:52:28Z 2018-01-12T21:00:23Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie

    American League West

    • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
    • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
    • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
    • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
    • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal,’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

    American League Central

    • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
    • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile,’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
    • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar,’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
    • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
    • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility.’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection),’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On J.D. Martinez]]> 2018-01-11T16:31:02Z 2018-01-11T16:31:02Z It has been known for some time that the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez have ongoing interest, with Boston reportedly dangling a five-year offer. In the latest update, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag writes that “acquaintances” of the open market’s top slugger believe Martinez is willing to wait to get a six-year deal — even if it means allowing camp to open without a contract in place.

    Dollars remain uncertain, but Heyman provides some round numbers worth noting. Martinez is believed not only to be in search of six years, but at a premium rate of $30MM or more annually. To this point, the level of interest from teams is said to be “somewhere in the $120 million to $150 million range.”

    Entering the offseason, MLBTR predicted that Martinez — who ranks second on the MLBTR list of the top 50 free agents — could land that sixth year, but at a $150MM total guarantee. We tabbed the Red Sox as the likeliest landing spot, with a variety of other teams standing as plausible alternatives.

    The 30-year-old Martinez has unquestionably established himself as a top-flight hitter, with a .300/.362/.574 output at the plate since the start of 2014. That said, he lags somewhat in his glovework and baserunning. Poor grades from defensive metrics improved somewhat in 2017, though UZR and DRS both pegged Martinez as below-average in right. And Fangraphs has graded him as a notably sub-par presence on the basepaths in each of the past two seasons.

    Despite his limitations, Martinez is understandably viewed as a top target. That status leaves significant leverage to work with for his agent, Scott Boras, who has frequently found big money late in the offseason. To date, Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce have each landed at or above MLBTR’s expectations with strong three-year deals, though neither broke through to earn the extra season they were seeking. Martinez and Boras evidently feel there’s still a possibility that they can convince a club to increase the commitment for a higher grade bat.

    Heyman’s report indicates that organizations beyond the Red Sox are still in the hunt, which may help explain why Martinez has not been willing to move off his bargaining position. As he has suggested previously, Heyman says at least one other team has put five years on the table. Whether or not that’s the incumbent Diamondbacks is not known, but the report suggests Arizona is a serious suitor.

    Still, all indications are that Boston is the most plausible fit. Reporters including Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston and’s Rob Bradford have examined things recently from the Sox’ perspective. The organization is obviously willing to plunk down some big cash for Martinez, but to this point has not been willing (or perhaps has not felt compelled) to promise another season. It also may still be factor that the Red Sox would plan to utilize Martinez primarily as a DH, while he’d prefer to play in the outfield.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Ownership Not Heavily Involved In Martinez Pursuit]]> 2018-01-10T03:05:49Z 2018-01-10T02:59:36Z
  • Red Sox ownership has given president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski more autonomy than his predecessors received, writes Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, and it’s been Dombrowski who has primarily driven the Red Sox’ pursuit of J.D. Martinez. Drellich wonders if now is the time for Dombrowski and owner John Henry to begin showing this type of restraint — Boston has reportedly offered Martinez five years but drawn a line there — as New York and Los Angeles both loom as potential big spenders again next offseason. Drellich also takes a look at Dombrowski’s history of splashy moves (some of his own volition and some driven by late Tigers owner Mike Ilitch during Dombrowski’s days in Detroit) as well as his reputation as an executive that is, at times, willing to overpay on the free-agent and trade markets.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox, Oscar Hernandez Agree To Minors Deal]]> 2018-01-09T22:25:40Z 2018-01-09T22:19:28Z
  • The Red Sox have an agreement in place with catcher Oscar Hernandez, per Alex Kolodziej of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Hernandez, 24, has spent the past few seasons in the Diamondbacks organization after landing there — and ultimately sticking — as a Rule 5 pick back in December of 2014. A well-regarded defender, Hernandez hasn’t shown enough bat yet in the minors to receive a shot at a steady job at the game’s highest level. (That also cost him his 40-man spot in Arizona.) Last year, he compiled a .197/.257/.348 slash in 255 plate appearances at Double-A. Whether Hernandez will ever get things going at the plate remains to be seen, but he should at least represent a defensively viable depth option for the Boston organization.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox, Carson Smith Avoid Arbitration]]> 2018-01-08T16:54:08Z 2018-01-08T16:54:08Z 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.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[The Case For Giving J.D. Martinez More Than A Five-Year Deal]]> 2018-01-07T22:48:12Z 2018-01-07T22:48:12Z
  • The Red Sox are reportedly wary of giving J.D. Martinez more than five guaranteed years, which is a justifiable stance given how often longer-term contracts have backfired on teams (including the Sox themselves).’s Rob Bradford, however, presents the counterpoint, noting that an elite hitter like Martinez is a safer investment for a six- or seven-year deal since clubs like the Red Sox can eventually move him to a DH role.  Boston has a clear need for a middle-of-the-order bat now, which Bradford feels Martinez can certainly fill in the short term given that the slugger (despite some recent injuries) has shown no signs of slowing down at the plate.  MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents list predicted that Martinez would indeed land a contract beyond the five-year threshold, pegging him for six years and $150MM.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Not Looking To Trade Blake Swihart]]> 2018-01-07T19:08:20Z 2018-01-07T19:08:20Z
  • Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the Sox “are not looking to moveBlake Swihart, despite trade interest from other teams.  The last two seasons were essentially a writeoff for Swihart, due to defensive issues behind the plate and ankle injuries that limited him to just 91 minor league games and 25 MLB games in 2016-17.  Still, the Sox haven’t given up on the former top prospect, with Dombrowski noting that Swihart’s positional versatility has helped add to his value for the team.  While Dombrowski noted that “you could never say you would not move him or anyone else,” Swihart is “still part of our plans….Sometimes you get stuck with players who are out of options. In this case, because of his flexibility, I think we’ve got a little better chance of getting through it.”

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Would Reportedly Use J.D. Martinez At DH]]> 2018-01-07T02:07:36Z 2018-01-07T02:06:12Z
  • Unlike Pillar and Cain, free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez is not a defensive asset. As such, the Red Sox will mostly use Martinez as a designated hitter if they sign him, Cafardo relays. With three better defensive outfielders in the fold in Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, deploying the big-hitting Martinez at DH would be logical. There are a couple potential complications, however, with Martinez reportedly preferring to remain an outfielder and the presence of DH Hanley Ramirez in Boston. The Sox may attempt to trade Ramirez if they add Martinez, though it could be difficult to find a taker; after all, Ramirez is expensive ($22MM in 2018 and, if he reaches 497 plate appearances this year and then passes a physical, another $22MM in 2019), aging (34) and coming off a poor season.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[East Notes: Nationals, Red Sox, Starlin]]> 2018-01-06T17:54:17Z 2018-01-06T17:54:17Z Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post wonders if the Nationals will end up paying up for a Scott Boras client, as they often do late in the offseason. In recent winters, owner Ted Lerner approved deals for players like Rafael Soriano, Max Scherzer and Matt Wieters after the calendar flipped to the new year, and there’s certainly a possibility it could happen again. Janes lists reliever Greg Holland, outfielder J.D. Martinez and starter Jake Arrieta as Boras clients who make sense for the club’s roster as it’s currently constructed. The Nationals have a history of doing business with Boras late in the year, or as Janes puts it, “When big-name Boras clients linger into the new year, the Nationals linger, too, as potential suitors, regardless of whether they have an obvious need.”

    Elsewhere along the East Coast…

    • Unlike the Nats, the Red Sox rarely make late splashes in the free agent market. Jen McCaffrey of posits that this year might be different. Boston is still in need of an upgrade to their offense, and J.D. Martinez remains on the market. Though the only significant late-winter deals the club made in the past decade were one-year pacts with Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre, the Red Sox are probably facing pressure from their fan base to improve an offense that finished dead last in the American League with 168 home runs and third to last with a 92 wRC+. Other big hitters still on the market include the likes of Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, though neither seem like particularly good fits for Boston.
    • Though new Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro is generating some trade interest, Joe Frisaro of believes he’s likely to stay put. Gary Denbo, the Marlins’ VP of player development and scouting, says that  Castro “has the ability to hit for average, and for a second baseman, he does provide power for that position.” Denbo also says he hopes that the second baseman can be a steady defender in the middle of the field. Since coming to Miami in the blockbuster Giancarlo Stanton trade, speculation has swirled around Castro as a potential trade candidate. I recently noted that the 27-year-old perhaps has some surplus value in his contract, which has two years and $22MM in guarantees remaining. His .300/.338/.454 battling line with the Yankees last year is solid, but his defense up the middle detracts a bit from his value.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Red Sox, J.D. Martinez]]> 2018-01-06T07:31:58Z 2018-01-06T04:23:21Z
  • Years are also at issue for J.D. Martinez, Heyman explains. Red Sox president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski is not interested in offering more than five years, but Heyman suggests that agent Scott Boras could yet try to make his case at the ownership level. The “word is there are other five-year offers,” Heyman adds, though it remains hard to imagine which other reportedly interested club would be able to compete financially with the Sox for Martinez.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/5/18]]> 2018-01-06T05:53:20Z 2018-01-06T02:53:11Z Here are Friday’s minor moves from around the game…

    • The Rangers have inked a minor-league pact with right-hander Brandon Cumpton, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning news (Twitter link). Arm troubles have limited the 29-year-old of late, but he did return to professional action in 2017 after a two-year hiatus. Over 37 1/3 innings, Cumpton pitched to a 3.86 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
    • As Cumpton leaves the Pirates organization, two other right-handers are on their way in, according to John Dreker of Pirates Prospects. Tyler Jones and Bo Schultz have each joined the Bucs on minor-league arrangements, per the report. The former will be looking to crack the majors for the first time. He has often produced quality strikeout rates in the upper minors but only managed a 4.38 ERA in 63 2/3 innings at Triple-A last year with the Yankees organization. As for Schultz, the former Blue Jays reliever will be looking to return from Tommy John surgery. Schultz turned in a useful 2015 season but faltered in the ensuing season — he worked to a 5.51 ERA in his 16 1/3 MLB innings — before going under the knife.
    • Righty William Cuevas will join the Red Sox organization on a minor-league pact, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The 27-year-old has spent the bulk of his career in the Boston organization but played elsewhere in 2017. He worked to a 4.85 ERA in 104 Triple-A frames in 2017, with 7.0 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9. Cuevas has twice cracked the majors, but only briefly.
    • Yet another right-handed hurler, Preston Guilmet, is heading to the Cardinals on a minors deal, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. He’ll get a spring invite and can earn at a $600K rate in the majors. The 30-year-old Guilmet has seen parts of three seasons in the majors but only has 23 career innings at the game’s highest level. He has put up some interesting results of late, though, posting a 2.77 ERA with 10.8 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 in 68 1/3 Triple-A frames in 2016 before heading to Japan and running a 3.62 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in his 54 2/3 innings for the Yakult Swallows (over four starts and 28 relief appearances).

    Earlier Updates

    • The Tigers have agreed to a minor league deal with former Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (on Twitter). Kozma, 30 in April, split the 2017 season between the Rangers and Yankees organizations and logged 51 plate appearances in the Majors, though he batted just .111/.200/.178 in that small sample. Long considered an excellent defender with a light bat, Kozma is a career .215/.282/.285 hitter in parts of six MLB seasons but also comes with a career +11 Defensive Runs Saved mark and +9 Ultimate Zone Rating in 1450 innings at shortstop.
    • The Braves announced yesterday that right-handed reliever Luke Jackson cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Gwinnett. Once a well-regarded prospect in the Rangers system, the now-26-year-old Jackson posted an ERA north of 6.00 and walked 16 batters in 24 1/3 innings with Gwinnett last season. He actually performed better in the Majors, logging a 4.62 ERA in 50 1/3 frames, albeit with pedestrian averages of 5.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 with a 45.2 percent grounder rate. Jackson does have a history of missing bats in the upper minors and did average 94.7 mph on his heater last year while running up a 10.2 percent swinging-strike rate, so there’s some hope that he could yet figure things out.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Avoid Arbitration With Steven Wright]]> 2018-01-06T01:07:58Z 2018-01-06T01:07:58Z The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with right-hander Steven Wright, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Wright is slated to earn a $1.1MM salary in his first season of eligibility.

    That payday slots in just below the $1.2MM that MLBTR had projected Wright to earn. The knuckler seems to be the odds-on favorite to earn the fifth starter’s role for the Red Sox, barring a surprise outside acquisition.

    First, though, he’ll have to show he’s healthy and back in form. Wright’s 2017 season was cut short by knee issues that ultimately required surgery. He ended up taking the ball only five times on the year.

    Quite different concerns arose earlier in the offseason when Wright was arrested following a domestic dispute (though there’s no indication it ever became physical). While the league is still investigating the incident, the legal matter has been “retired.”

    Boston will hope that Wright can return to something approach the quality he showed in 2016, when a breakout first half earned him an All-Star bid. In 156 2/3 innings over 24 starts that year, Wright worked to a 3.33 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Sox Showed No Interest In Dodgers' Proposed Puig/Bradley Swap]]> 2018-01-05T18:45:54Z 2018-01-05T18:33:42Z The Dodgers approached the Red Sox earlier this offseason about a trade that would’ve sent Yasiel Puig to Boston in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr., reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. The Sox, valuing Bradley’s elite glove and extra year of control (three years to Puig’s two), “quickly” declined the offer, and talks between the two sides never went beyond that stage. As Speier points out, however, the scenario is instructive when gauging the Red Sox’ valuation of Bradley, who is coming off a relatively disappointing season at the plate. Puig’s .263/.346/.487 slash and 28 homers dwarfed Bradley’s .245/.323/.402 output and 17 homers, but the Sox (who’ve been searching all offseason for an offensive upgrade), seemingly gave little consideration to the notion. Bradley’s name has been oft-speculated upon in various trade scenarios by fans and pundits alike, but it doesn’t seem as though the Boston brass views him in that light; president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski has said at multiple points this winter that he’s in no rush to deal Bradley, Speier adds.

    Matt Swartz <![CDATA[Arbitration Breakdown: Mookie Betts]]> 2018-01-05T15:44:09Z 2018-01-05T15:42:28Z Over the next few days, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong. Last night, we kicked off the series with Manny Machado’s arbitration breakdown. Full 2018 projected arbitration salaries for every player are also available here at MLBTR.

    Mookie Betts brings a rare combination of speed and power to his first year of arbitration eligibility, making his case a tricky one to project. The model places him at $8.2 million, which seems likely to be too high. The model tends to notice that having solid numbers in multiple statistical categories can aggregate up to a larger effect than the sum of its parts, but this can also lead to overly aggressive projections in some cases. With Betts entering arbitration with the rare combination of 78 career home runs and 80 stolen bases thus far in his young career, the arbitration model may exaggerate that combined effect.

    Mookie Betts | Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

    The last time a player entered arbitration with both 60 homers and 60 steals in his career was 2010, when Matt Kemp did it. Hanley Ramirez also did in 2009. However, both signed multi-year deals without exchanging arbitration figures, so they may not be relevant comparables when examining Betts. For what it’s worth, they got $4MM and $5.55MM, respectively, in their first years as part of their multi-year deals. However, this is of limited value, especially given how stale these salaries are.

    No one in the past five years with 70 career home runs going into arbitration has had more than 32 stolen bases, and no one in the past five years with 70 career stolen bases going into arbitration has had more than 59 home runs. The latter player was Drew Stubbs, but his .213 platform average and .241 career average, along with just 14 of those home runs coming in his platform season, combine to make him a poor comparable. His $2.83MM salary is well short of where Betts will end up.

    If we want to look only at platform year stats, when Betts had 24 home runs and 26 stolen bases, Manny Machado seems like a plausible comparable. He had 35 homers and swiped 20 bases when entering arbitration for the first time two years ago, leading to a $5MM salary. However, he only had 10 stolen bases in his career prior to his platform season, so Betts could argue that he should top this. He also has 10 more career home runs than Machado had at the time and a higher career average (.292 versus .281). Of course, his platform year average of .264 is well short of Machado’s .286. I could see the Red Sox pushing down on his Betts’ salary by suggesting Machado as a comparable.

    To get anywhere near the $8.2MM projection, Betts’ agents will need to hit on the fact that Betts’ 2016 performance nearly won him an MVP Award. Players with that type of hardware, such as Buster Posey ($8MM in 2013) and Ryan Howard ($10MM in 2008) stand atop the list of highest first year arbitration salaries. Betts did get 9 of 28 first place votes, with the other 19 and the award itself going to Mike Trout. Admittedly, however, I think such an argument would be a tough sell.

    In all likelihood, Betts end up closer to Machado’s $5MM, but somewhat extra for the stronger career totals. I would guess the model falls a couple million short in this instance, as Betts ends up with a first-time arbitration salary around $6MM.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Add Ivan De Jesus Jr. On Minors Deal]]> 2018-01-03T05:02:50Z 2018-01-03T05:02:17Z
  • Infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. is joining the Red Sox on a minor league deal, per Cotillo (Twitter link). De Jesus, 30, has past experience with the Boston organization, having been a member of it in 2012 and ’14. More recently, he spent last season with the Brewers’ Triple-A club and batted a robust .345/.407/.488 in 466 trips to the plate. He hasn’t been nearly as successful across 545 major league PAs with the Dodgers, Red Sox and Reds, having slashed .242/.303/.327.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Machado, Bogaerts, JBJ]]> 2018-01-02T22:36:37Z 2018-01-02T22:36:37Z
  • With the Red Sox still interested in acquiring Orioles third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, Ian Browne of weighs in on a potential trade between the AL East rivals. Browne senses that the Red Sox don’t want to trade either shortstop Xander Bogaerts or center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. this offseason, but he concedes that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former head to Baltimore as part of a Machado deal. The Red Sox would be losing two years of Bogaerts for a single season of control over Machado. As such, if Boston acquires Machado, it would make an aggressive push to re-up the superstar in order to prevent him from leaving as a free agent next winter, Browne adds.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Red Sox, J.D. Martinez]]> 2018-01-03T13:24:34Z 2018-01-02T19:29:31Z In his column today on the molasses-slow free agent market, Bob Nightengale of USA Today drops a few nuggets of information. The Padres’ offer to free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer would promise him seven years, says Nightengale. Meanwhile, top open-market slugger J.D. Martinez is sitting on a five-year offer from the Red Sox. In other chatter, Nightengale suggests the Cubs could be willing to go as high as $110MM over four years to bring back Jake Arrieta. Of course, the teams and players just cited have likely known one another’s positions for some time now, and these stalemates have yet to be resolved. These details also fall in line with what has been reported previously about the respective situations, though they are surely interesting data points as we seek to divine when and how the free agent dam will finally break.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Would Craig Kimbrel Earn $100MM?]]> 2017-12-31T17:50:31Z 2017-12-31T17:50:31Z
  • Could Craig Kimbrel earn a $100MM free agent contract next offseason?’s Rob Bradford thinks it could happen, especially after Wade Davis’ three-year, $52MM deal with the Rockies established a new average annual value standard for a closer.  Kimbrel turns 30 in May and is coming off one of his greatest seasons — a 1.43 ERA, 16.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 over 69 innings out of the Red Sox bullpen.  Aroldis Chapman’s five-year, $86MM deal with the Yankees from last winter is the largest contract ever given to a relief pitcher, though Chapman signed that deal entering his age-29 season, whereas Kimbrel turns 30 in May.  Kimbrel still stands a decent shot at topping Chapman’s mark, though cracking the $100MM threshold seems like a tall order.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Machado, Bullpen]]> 2017-12-30T20:45:53Z 2017-12-30T20:45:53Z
  • Rob Bradford of WEEI explains why the Red Sox’s interest in Orioles infielder Manny Machado is unlikely to lead to a deal, contending that the two sides don’t match up well in a trade. The Red Sox already have a quality shortstop in Xander Bogaerts, whom they could theoretically package with a pitcher(s) to land Machado, but that would perhaps be too risky on the team’s part. Machado is only under control for another season, while Bogaerts has two more years left. What’s more, the Red Sox don’t seem to have the high-level pitching to entice the Orioles, as Bradford notes that top prospects Jason Groome. Tanner Houck and Bryan Mata haven’t gotten past the Single-A level yet.
  • The Red Sox haven’t participated in the robust relief market this winter, and it’s likely to stay that way until they have an answer on free agent slugger J.D. Martinez’s future, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes. If Martinez signs elsewhere, the Red Sox could use some of the money they were going to give him on relief help, observes Mastrodonato, who points out that their righty-heavy bullpen could use some balance. Tony Watson and Brian Duensing are among the top southpaw setup men currently without teams.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Showing Interest In Manny Machado]]> 2017-12-30T06:31:51Z 2017-12-30T06:10:04Z The Red Sox are “showing continued trade interest” in star Orioles infielder Manny Machado, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter). That said, it’s unclear just how strong a connection there may be between the division rivals. While not specifically referencing Morosi’s report, Rob Bradford of tweets that interest from Boston has been “overstated.” Overall, it’s hard to assess the current state of the Machado market; while a variety of organizations are no doubt still intrigued at the idea of a deal, there’s no real indication that there have been changes in the offers or the asking price.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/27/17]]> 2017-12-27T17:55:03Z 2017-12-27T17:55:03Z The baseball world is in the midst of a holiday lull right now, but there are at least a few things happening. We’ll keep track of the minor moves in this post…

    • The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a minor league deal with Mike Olt, says Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. A former top prospect, Olt was once part of a package sent from the Rangers to the Cubs in exchange for Matt Garza prior to the 2013 trade deadline. The third baseman has never able to make an impression in the major leagues, however. In all of his MLB stints, Olt has played at half a win below replacement level or worse. He owns a lifetime .168/.250/.330 batting line across 400 career plate appearances with the Cubs, Rangers and White Sox, and has whiffed in an astonishing 37% of his plate appearances. He does carry some pedigree, however, and Boston will hope he can show some of the defensive skills and power ability that prompted Baseball America to rank him within their top 50 prospects in both 2011 and 2012.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Abraham On Red Sox' DH Options]]> 2017-12-27T14:51:57Z 2017-12-27T14:51:28Z
  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe looks at the possibilities for the Red Sox as they seek to fill their DH spot. While president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has stated he’s content with the team’s offense as constructed, Abraham calls any such notion a mere “bargaining tactic.” Boston could conceivably add J.D. Martinez and relegate Hanley Ramirez to an overpriced platoon first baseman/bench bat, Abraham notes, and simply releasing him remains a possibility. While forgoing a splashy acquisition for the DH spot would leave more room for Dustin Pedroia to rest his knee and could create some at-bats for out-of-options outfielder Bryce Brentz, Boston has yet to augment a lineup that finished the 2017 season ranked 22nd in the Majors with a 92 wRC+, making the need for some form of upgrade fairly obvious.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Weighing The Hosmer/Moreland Value Gap]]> 2017-12-25T02:01:28Z 2017-12-25T02:01:28Z
  • While there is a gap in ability between Eric Hosmer and Mitch Moreland, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes that the Red Sox may have found value in re-signing Moreland to a two-year, $13MM deal than in spending over $100MM more to sign Hosmer on what would have been a six- or seven-year contract.  As Speier observes, Hosmer is the better hitter overall, though Moreland offers more power and he had a higher xwOBA in 2017.  Hosmer could hit more home runs playing in Fenway Park, though Speier argues that the Sox would’ve been risking a lot on Hosmer successfully adjusting his swing from his current grounder-heavy offensive approach.  Moreland is also clearly the better defender of the two first basemen, at least per the Defensive Runs Saved and UZR/150 metrics.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[State Of Boston's Farm System Makes Trading Difficult]]> 2017-12-24T17:11:31Z 2017-12-24T17:11:31Z
  • The Red Sox’s farm system has declined in recent years and currently lacks upper-level talent, making it more likely a high-profile addition(s) will come through free agency, Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald posits. The Red Sox could meaningfully upgrade their roster by trading one of their top pitching prospects, Jay Groome or Tanner Houck, but Jennings argues that they’re not in position to move either because current rotation members Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz and Rick Porcello could depart in free agency in the next couple years. While Boston’s prospect pool isn’t in great shape at the moment, it’s worth mentioning that some of its recent farmhands (including Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers, as Jennings points out) have turned into more-than-capable majors leaguers, thus improving the Red Sox but weakening their farm. And last winter’s system-hurting trade that saw the Red Sox send big-time prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to the White Sox for Sale hasn’t exactly led to regret from Boston. Sale continued to serve as one of the best pitchers in the game in 2017, after all, and he’s eminently affordable for two more years.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Not In Any Hurry With J.D. Martinez]]> 2017-12-24T14:39:57Z 2017-12-24T14:39:57Z
  • The Red Sox continue to have interest in the best hitter available in free agency, outfielder J.D. Martinez. But an agreement doesn’t seem imminent, as Olney relays they’re willing to wait out agent Scott Boras if necessary. There aren’t many clear suitors for Martinez outside of Boston, thanks in part to some teams trying to avoid the luxury-tax threshold and others rebuilding, which could make it difficult for Boras to drive up the price for Martinez.

  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Machado, Santana]]> 2017-12-24T00:46:12Z 2017-12-24T00:46:12Z
  • The Red Sox and Yankees remain interested in Orioles third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though neither team has “moved the needle” in talks with the O’s, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Baltimore is reportedly done actively shopping Machado, as it doesn’t believe any other club has put forth a suitable offer for the superstar as he prepares for a contract year. Given that both the Red Sox and Yankees are in the Orioles’ division, it figures to be especially difficult for either to persuade the Orioles to move Machado. The left side of Boston’s infield looks to be in fine shape anyway with Rafael Devers at third and Xander Bogaerts at short. The Yankees, on the other hand, don’t have an obvious third base solution to place next to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
  • While Boston had interest in first baseman Carlos Santana before he joined the Phillies, the Red Sox never actually made him an offer, per Cafardo. Santana secured a three-year, $60MM guarantee, easily outdoing the two-year, $13MM pact the Sox handed newly re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland this week.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Steven Wright Domestic Violence Case "Retired"]]> 2017-12-23T08:55:02Z 2017-12-23T00:44:03Z The domestic assault case against Red Sox righty Steven Wright has been “retired,” as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported yesterday. That puts him on track to resolution of the possible legal trouble that arose out of a domestic incident earlier this month. That does not mean that Major League Baseball cannot continue to investigate the matter and decide for itself whether to issue discipline under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. Indeed, the commissioner’s office says  it is continuing to look into the incident, though of course there’s no indication at this point whether there will be any punishment forthcoming.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Notes: Red Sox, Hosmer, Royals, Cards, Donaldson, Mets, Kipnis, A-Gon]]> 2017-12-19T04:26:17Z 2017-12-19T04:26:17Z Signing Mitch Moreland doesn’t take the Red Sox out of the market for hitting, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told reporters including Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. And adding another stick wouldn’t necessarily mean trading away from the current roster to create space, the club’s top baseball decisionmaker added. But it surely does not seem that Boston will sign another first baseman; rather, a DH/corner outfield bat seems the likeliest possibility.

    • Boston’s decision seems to take it out of the market for Eric Hosmer, which has raised some eyebrows in Royals country. As Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes, there are still many barriers remaining to a return to Kansas City for Hosmer, including the possibility that agent Scott Boras will find a way to bring some new suitors into the picture. But keeping Hosmer in Royals blue for the future now seems more plausible than might have been expected when the organization began giving indication it would rebuild. Of course, even if that comes to pass, the general rebuilding plan will remain, the Star’s Rustin Dodd notes on Twitter.
    • The Cardinals appear to be showing more interest in veteran Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson than in Manny Machado of the Orioles, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Nightengale posits that the club may believe it’s better situated to pursue a long-term deal with Donaldson — who’s much older than Machado, though both will hit the open market at the same time — which would increase his appeal. Of course, it’s important to bear in mind there’s still no real indication that Toronto will move Donaldson and the St. Louis front office has suggested recently that it’s not all that keen on giving up significant assets for a rental.
    • While there has been some chatter recently connecting the Mets to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post says that possibility is not as likely as it has come to seem. Especially with Carlos Santana moving on, says Davidoff, the Indians are not particularly inclined to part with Kipnis’s contract for a marginal return. New York is trying to thread the needle in finding an upgrade at the position, with the organization concerned with giving up too much in salary or prospect value to make a deal. As the Post’s Joel Sherman writes, the Mets’ lack of top-end, marketable pre-MLB talent has posed an under-appreciated barrier to its winter activity.
    • The Mets, of course, are also eyeing the addition of another option at the first base position. New York had some interest in Moreland, per the above-cited Cafardo piece. And as James Wagner of the New York Times tweets, the Mets intend at least to take a look at the newest entrant onto the open market: Adrian Gonzalez. The veteran will be looking to bounce back after a rough, injury-plagued 2017 season, though he could conceivably bring some upside at a very appealing price.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Re-Sign Mitch Moreland]]> 2017-12-18T21:37:36Z 2017-12-18T21:05:45Z The Red Sox announced today that they’ve re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland to a two-year deal that runs through the 2019 season. Moreland, a client of BASH Baseball, will receive a guaranteed $13MM, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets that Moreland will earn $6.5MM in each of the next two seasons. He can earn another $1MM worth of incentives, per Crasnick.

    Mitch Moreland | Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s a surprising move for a Red Sox team that has been linked to Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez thus far on the free-agent market. The return of Moreland now makes a Hosmer signing decidedly unlikely, while a match with Martinez would now require an additional move elsewhere in the starting lineup (though that has long seemed likely to be the case). With Moreland back in the fold, he and his excellent defensive reputation figure to be at first base on a regular basis. The Sox will likely turn to Hanley Ramirez as their primary designated hitter once again in 2018.

    While Moreland isn’t the big bat for which many Sox fans were pining, he’s coming off a decent season at the plate and another strong year with the glove. In 576 trips to the dish, Moreland slashed .246/.326/.443 with 22 homers and 34 doubles. He also turned in a stellar +10 mark in Defensive Runs Saved and drew a +4 rating from Ultimate Zone Rating for his efforts in 1170 innings at first base this past season. As always, Moreland was heavily shielded from lefties, though he held his own against them in 2017, hitting .247 with a .341 OBP against them in a small sample of 73 plate appearances.

    Fitting Martinez or another slugger into the equation in Boston would now likely mean either trading an outfielder or cutting bait on the final season of Ramirez’s four-year, $88MM contract. Ramirez’s initial experiment as a left fielder in Boston was a flop, and the team quickly shifted him from the outfield to first base and DH, where he’s spent the past couple of seasons. Shoulder troubles limited Ramirez almost exclusively to DH duties in 2017, when he hit .242/.320/.429 in 553 plate appearances. The Sox have suggested that he’s healthy enough to play first base again in 2017, though his diminished offensive output suggests that there’s clearly room for an upgrade if the Sox are willing to eat the $22MM he’s owed this year.

    If the Sox do ultimately stick with Ramirez, then the encouraging reports on his health likely mean that he could play first base on days when the Sox face a left-handed starter, shielding Moreland from those matchups once again. That’d create room for a right-handed bench bat to slot in at DH those days. Currently, Bryce Brentz would probably be in line to fill that role, though presumably that’s another area Boston will look to upgrade, whether with a dramatic splash (e.g. Martinez) or a more complementary approach (as they took two years ago when signing Chris Young).

    From a payroll perspective, Moreland will push the Sox north of the $207MM mark (including arbitration projections and pre-arb players). The Sox, clearly, are in line to pay the luxury tax, though president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski has previously stated that he didn’t consider staying under the threshold to be a priority this winter. How much they’re comfortable blowing past that $197MM barrier remains to be seen, though Boston doesn’t figure to simply bring back the same club it trotted out in 2017, so it stands to reason that they’ll continue to push past that point between now and Opening Day.

    As for Hosmer, the move eliminates one of his primary landing spots, leaving the Padres now as the primary team that’s been connected to him this winter. Kansas City reportedly still hopes to retain Hosmer even as it embarks on a rebuild, so it would seem that there are at least two clubs yet vying for his services.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Had Interest In Carlos Santana]]> 2017-12-17T01:21:29Z 2017-12-17T01:18:02Z
  • Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told Jen McCaffrey of and other reporters Saturday that the club had interest in Carlos Santana before he agreed to to a pact with Philadelphia on Friday. However, the Red Sox “weren’t necessarily prepared to go to the dollar amount that was there” for the first baseman, who landed a three-year, $60MM guarantee. And after suggesting at the Winter Meetings that offense-needy Boston would only add one big bat, Dombrowski doubled down on that Saturday, saying the team’s “focused on getting one person.”
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Reportedly Prefers To Sign As Outfielder]]> 2017-12-16T04:01:36Z 2017-12-16T02:00:06Z Free agent slugger J.D. Martinez is informing potential suitors that he would prefer to sign as an outfielder, according to a report from Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Just how that will impact the ongoing recruitment process is not yet clear, but the report suggests it could mean the oft-linked Red Sox will need to boost their offer or clear outfield space to make a deal.

    Of course, as Silverman also acknowledges, there are some potential bargaining advantages to be pursued from taking this particular stance. And the Boston organization is wary of being drawn into a one-team bidding war.

    Agent Scott Boras suggested at the Winter Meetings that Martinez was amenable to serving as a designated hitter, even indicating that his client had “never said to me anything about” the matter. But it seems a somewhat different tone has been struck in talks with teams.

    Ample uncertainty remains in Martinez’s free-agent outlook. At this point, the Red Sox are perhaps the only clear suitor that can afford Martinez. His former team, the Diamondbacks, has also been directly connected but seemingly lacks the current financial capacity to fit the kind of salary that’ll be needed to lure the slugger. Likewise the Giants are attempting a financial tightrope walk that makes it somewhat difficult to imagine Martinez fitting (at least, at the rate of pay he’d prefer). A few other teams are rumored to be looking at the market’s best hitter, though it’s not really evident which are serious participants.

    At the very least, the report suggests that, while Martinez might be willing to sign on as a DH, he’d require a sweetener to do so — at this stage of the proceedings, at least. (Indeed, Martinez has indicated he’d sign as a DH/outfielder for Boston, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets.) Boras has never been afraid to wait out the market for his clients, with notable power hitters such as Prince Fielder and Chris Davis scoring huge contracts in late January.

    No doubt the Red Sox are interested in landing Martinez — Silverman calls him the organization’s “first choice” — but at a palatable price. The team could line up a trade of Jackie Bradley Jr. to make way for Martinez in the outfield while perhaps also making a move for Eric Hosmer or another option at first base, though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski threw cold water on the idea of a Bradley trade. If Boston’s preference is to utilize Martinez as a DH while holding onto Bradley, it seems the sides will wait to see who blinks first.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[The Red Sox/Scott Boras "Staring Contest" For J.D. Martinez]]> 2017-12-15T01:48:37Z 2017-12-15T01:46:38Z Jacoby Ellsbury’s name was mentioned in trade talks between the Yankees and Diamondbacks, NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty reports, and though “nothing is believed to be off the table,” Arizona didn’t have much interest in the veteran outfielder due to his big price tag.  Ellsbury is owed over $63.3MM through the 2020 season, plus a $5MM of $21MM club option for 2021.  He no longer has a starting job in the crowded New York outfield due to his underwhelming .261/.331/.372 slash line over the last three seasons, and it seems like the Yankees would surely have to eat some money to facilitate a trade, particularly with the D’Backs.  Ellsbury can also block any deal due to his no-trade clause, though he does own a home in Arizona and he has a past relationship with D’Backs GM Mike Hazen from their time in the Red Sox organization.

    • There is considerable interest in how many years J.D. Martinez will land in his next contract, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes.  Many in the industry feel Martinez will easily net a five-year deal, though going beyond that for a player who just turned 30 last August could test the comfort zone of several teams, including the Red Sox.  (MLBTR, for the record, predicted Martinez for a six-year, $150MM deal.)  Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent, set an early asking price of seven years and $210MM for his client, which seems like a very optimistic number now but Boras has a penchant for waiting under deeper in the offseason until he can find his clients an acceptable deal.  This has made Boston’s pursuit of Martinez feel like “a staring contest” between Boras and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski,’s Scott Lauber writes, as Dombrowski is traditionally more aggressive in quickly landing his desired targets.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Player Rumblings: Red Sox, Machado, White Sox, Cards/Donaldson, Jays/Cain, Mets]]> 2017-12-14T17:45:32Z 2017-12-14T17:43:19Z The Red Sox have designs on adding the two top position players on the free agent market, according to the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman, with ongoing pursuit of both J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer. Interestingly, Silverman notes that Boston would likely look to shed some of its obligations to Hanley Ramirez by dealing him away in the event it can acquire both players.

    That scenario seems to be one of several possibilities still remaining for the Red Sox, who are one of the many teams with plenty of work yet to do in settling their regular lineups. Here’s a look in at the latest notes on bats from around the game:

    • Orioles VP of baseball ops Dan Duquette made clear today that he does not foresee striking a deal involving third baseman Manny Machado that is contingent upon extension negotiations, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post was among those to report on Twitter. In other words, it seems any acquiring team would be gaining just one year of control over over Machado. Sherman also hears that the odds are in favor of a deal at this point, tweeting that the White Sox and Cardinals are the “most aggressive” teams in pursuit of the young superstar.
    • For the White Sox, the interest in Machado does not include an intention to flip him in a later swap, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). While Chicago has made an “impressive” bid for Machado, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Nightengale also says that the belief on the South Side is that others have offered more. Meanwhile, GM Rick Hahn said that the team’s “focus remains on the long term” and says he won’t “make any sort of move that’s aimed at jumping up” into immediate contention. Despite that cold water, he did say the organization is willing to “take some calculated risks along the way.” Just what the team has in mind with this reported pursuit remains a bit of a mystery, but we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out.
    • While evidently maintaining interest in Machado and pursuing other fronts, the Cardinals are also still “pushing” the Blue Jays to offer up their own star third baseman, Josh Donaldson, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). At this point, though, there’s no reason to believe that Toronto will budge from its stance on Donaldson — namely, that it’s not interested in moving him for anything approaching a reasonable return.
    • Far from dangling Donaldson, it seems the Blue Jays are at least weighing a major addition. The club has interest in free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). In theory, Cain could coexist with current center fielder Kevin Pillar, though Cain is also most valuable up the middle. The Jays are interested in committing up to four years, says Heyman, but it seems there are indications Cain will have an opportunity to secure a better deal elsewhere. MLBTR predicted that Cain would land four years in free agency; to this point, we haven’t heard much public discussion of his market, but he’s rather clearly the top available center fielder.
    • While the Mets were able to come away from the Winter Meetings with a relief arm, they have yet to fill their opening at second base. Per Marc Carig of Newsday, Ian Kinsler was not willing to waive his no-trade rights to go to New York. (All links to Twitter.) The club has a variety of other options still in play, Carig explains, adding that the organization was discussing righty Rafael Montero in talks regarding Kinsler.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Padres “Clear-Cut Favorites” For Eric Hosmer]]> 2017-12-14T17:36:31Z 2017-12-14T13:04:46Z Following two face-to-face meetings, the Padres seem to be the clear-cut favorites to sign free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nightengale also notes that the Red Sox are still “lurking”.

    The Padres have been frequently linked to Hosmer this offseason, but multiple face-to-face meetings could mean that talks have reached a more advanced stage. Indeed, Nightengale’s use of the phrase “clear-cut” seems to imply that teams have at least made someone detailed pitches by now, and that the Padres are far ahead of their competition.

    Hosmer is coming fresh off a career year and is just 28 years of age. He hit .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers in 671 plate appearances. The durable Hosmer played in all 162 games and added a Gold Glove to his list of accomplishments for the 2017 season. Hosmer ranked third among free agents in terms of earning potential on MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions piece.

    The Royals free agent rejected a qualifying offer, so if the Padres were to sign him, they’d have to give up their third-highest pick in the 2018 draft (in the case of the Padres, who have a pick in Competitive Balance Round A, that’d be a second-round selection). Since Hosmer will almost certainly sign a deal for more than $50MM, the Royals would stand to gain a compensatory draft pick after the first round.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils]]> 2017-12-14T03:45:12Z 2017-12-14T03:44:39Z Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

    More on the trade front:

    • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
    • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
    • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
    • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
    • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of writes.
    • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
    • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Rumors: Nunez, Reynolds]]> 2017-12-14T01:46:20Z 2017-12-14T01:46:20Z
  • A variety of organizations are still looking at versatile infielder Eduardo Nunez. Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets that the Red SoxBlue Jays, and “possibly” the Yankees are among the suitors. Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski acknowledged the interest, as Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was among those to tweet. The Giants have some ongoing involvement, too, but Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that San Francisco is “a longshot” to make a deal.
  • The Rangers and Red Sox each have some degree of interest in free agent first baseman Mark Reynolds, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. They join a few other clubs with interest, as we covered recently.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Called O's About Machado, Also Considering Frazier]]> 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z
  • The Red Sox called the Orioles about Manny Machado yesterday, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link), and they’re also considering Todd Frazier as an option according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (also via Twitter). Frazier is willing to play first base, according to Silverman, though an acquisition of Machado would presumably slide Rafael Devers across the diamond to first base or necessitate a more extreme move on the left side of the infield. Whether the O’s actually move Machado remains to be seen, but they’re reportedly shopping him and asking interested parties to make offers.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Rumors: Wednesday]]> 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z We haven’t heard an immense amount of chatter to this point on J.D. Martinez, the top free agent slugger, but that could well change today. The power-hitting outfielder is set to appear at the Winter Meetings to sit down with a few possible suitors, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported (via Twitter) yesterday. Here’s the latest chatter:

    • We learned yesterday that the Red Sox will get face-to-face time with Martinez and agent Scott Boras, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted. Indeed, it seems that Martinez is a top priority for Boston, though adding him would presumably mean finding a deal for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
    • The Diamondbacks are also slated to meet with Martinez, who starred there after a midseason trade, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Whether the Arizona organization can find the cash to make that happen remains to be seen, but it does seem the club’s discussion of Zack Greinke in trades is likely related.
    • While the Giants are also a rumored suitor, though GM Bobby Evans would say only that the team will “maybe” be among those meeting with Martinez, as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweeted yesterday. As Baggarly further explains, though, in a subscription piece, there are ongoing concerns internally that blowing past the luxury line would not be wise. Certainly, there’s no clear path to adding Martinez (or any other high-priced free agents) without doing so.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Heavily Focused On J.D. Martinez]]> 2017-12-13T03:56:54Z 2017-12-13T03:56:54Z
  • The Red Sox are focusing 90 percent of their offseason attention on J.D. Martinez, a source tells NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich.  Martinez has been heavily rumored as a top Sox target, given his past ties to Dave Dombrowski, the lack of qualifying offer compensation tied to his signing, and the simple fact that he is the best power hitter on the market this winter.  Dombrowski told reporters (including the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo) today that he had a specific name in mind to bolster the middle of Boston’s lineup, though no hints were given.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Athletics’ Pursuit Of Outfielders]]> 2017-12-12T01:23:30Z 2017-12-12T01:23:11Z 8:15pm: More on the A’s outfield from Slusser, who reports that they’re also interested in one of Piscotty’s teammates, Grichuk, as well as the Reds’ Adam Duvall and the Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. As 30-home run hitters in 2017, Duvall and Souza would provide right-handed punch to the A’s lineup if acquired. They’re also controllable for the next few seasons – Duvall’s under wraps through 2021, including one pre-arbitration year, while Souza’s set to play his first of three arb-eligible campaigns in 2018. He’s projected to earn a very affordable $3.6MM. Grichuk’s another powerful righty entering his first of three arb years, though he didn’t fare as well as Duvall or Souza in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the A’s seem uninterested in moving one of their top offensive players, left fielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, per Slusser. They’ve spurned the Red Sox and other teams that have inquired about Davis this winter.

    1:04am: The Athletics continue to have interest in the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported and’s Jane Lee discusses in a video link. Oakland has been on the hunt this winter for right-handed hitting outfield help.

    A previous connection between Piscotty and the A’s surfaced in the aftermath of the trade deadline, as the Cardinals reportedly floated an offer of Piscotty and either Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty to Oakland in exchange for Sonny Gray.  Those talks never really got off the ground, however, and the A’s subsequently dealt Gray to the Yankees.

    As Lee mentions in the video, “the A’s have interest in a ton of outfielders right now,” with the team particularly focused on right-handed bats who are controllable, so the A’s aren’t only looking at veteran options.  The Athletics are clearly willing to shop near the top of the trade market, however, as such names as Avisail Garcia of the White Sox and Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (a left-handed hitter) have already been reported as landing on Oakland’s radar in talks.

    Piscotty wouldn’t cost as much in a deal as those aforementioned names, given how he struggled in 2017.  After signing a six-year, $33.5MM extension with the Cardinals in April, Piscotty went from building block to potentially expendable piece by hitting just .235/.342/.367 with nine homers over  401 plate appearances.  Groin and hamstring injuries didn’t help his cause, and Piscotty was even demoted to Triple-A in August for a brief spell.

    Still, Piscotty posted strong numbers in his first two big league seasons, he doesn’t turn 27 until January, and the Cards are less than a year removed from locking him up on what could still be a team-friendly extension.  Under normal circumstances, St. Louis wouldn’t be looking to deal a player like Piscotty (especially when his trade value has been lowered), though the club must create room within a crowded outfield picture.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham locked into everyday outfield spots next year, leaving just one corner spot for Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, and prospects Magneuris Sierra, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader.  The Cards may also add another everyday outfielder — they’ve also been linked to Ozuna and Yelich in trade speculation, and J.D. Martinez is a possibility for a Cardinals lineup looking for a big bat after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton.

    This surplus makes St. Louis a logical trade partner for an Oakland team that is short on established outfielders.  Boog Powell and top prospect Dustin Fowler are the top candidates for center field, while Matt Joyce, Jake Smolinski, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha will be in the mix for playing time in the corners.  Piscotty would step into one of those corner spots for everyday duty right away, and the $30.5MM owed to him over the next five years (counting a $1MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2023) is a palatable price tag even for a smaller-market team like the A’s.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Stanton, JBJ, Offense, Bullpen]]> 2017-12-12T01:33:30Z 2017-12-12T00:34:35Z President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters Monday that the Red Sox “did all our homework” on Giancarlo Stanton before the Marlins traded him to the Yankees. In the end, though, the club wasn’t on the list of teams to which Stanton would have accepted a trade. Even if the Red Sox were on that list, which consisted of the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers and Cubs, they weren’t keen on acquiring his contract, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston suggests. Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, revealed that the Red Sox “never tried to make a deal with the Marlins.” That didn’t come as a surprise to Wolfe, who noted Boston has “a tremendous outfield” with three “studs” in Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi. Wolfe added that Boston’s focus as of last month’s GM meetings was on “pitching and other areas.” Specifically, they’re seeking relief help and a power bat, Drellich reports.

    More on the Red Sox:

    • A report Monday morning indicated that the Red Sox had put Bradley on the block, but that’s not the case, according to Dombrowski. “Not accurate,” he said (Twitter link via Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe).
    • While famed agent Scott Boras has encouraged Boston to sign both free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder J.D. Martinez, Dombrowski suggested that adding a pair of hitters isn’t likely. “I don’t know where we’d play the two bats,” he stated (via Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, on Twitter). Dombrowski didn’t specify whether the Sox would prefer to pick up a hitter via the open market or trade, Drellich tweets, though Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that they’re telling teams they’d rather go the latter route right now than wait out free agency (Twitter link).
    • Dombrowski also touched on his team’s bullpen, saying that “getting a right-handed reliever is not our driving force.” He pointed to Carson Smith as one of the most effective righty-on-righty relievers in the game (Twitter link via Speier). Smith returned from 2016 Tommy John surgery this past September and thrived over 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven while giving up one run on six hits and two walks.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Red Sox' Possible Corner Options]]> 2017-12-11T17:26:06Z 2017-12-11T17:02:25Z
  • Hosmer and Martinez are conceivably also targets for the Red Sox, as are Santana and others. As Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes, the organization has engaged agent Scott Boras on both players; perhaps unsurprisingly, he also suggests that Boras is pitching Boston on signing the pair in a bold move to revamp its lineup. Interestingly, Cafardo also says that Hosmer’s former club, the Royals, once reached an internal assessment that Hosmer could swat forty long balls annually at Fenway. Of course, the notoriously heavy groundball hitter has never launched more than 25 in a given season (that’s a mark he reached in each of the last two campaigns).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Make Jackie Bradley Jr. Available In Trade Talks]]> 2017-12-11T14:41:06Z 2017-12-11T14:32:46Z The Red Sox are advising rival organizations that they’ll consider dealing away center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). That stance, he notes, is tied to the team’s efforts to add a power bat — presumably, one that would occupy a corner outfield spot and bump Andrew Benintendi into center.

    Several teams have been circling Bradley early in the offseason, though there had been no clear indication that Boston would offer him up. A move involving Bradley — whether or not directly tied to the acquisition of a new bat — has always seemed connected to any effort to add pop to the Boston outfield. Of course, there’s also room to add at first base, so there were and likely still are scenarios where Bradley stays right where he is.

    Certainly, retaining the quality all-around performer would hardly be a poor option for the Red Sox. The 27-year-old took a step back at the plate last year, but still hit 17 home runs and landed within range of overall league-average production with the bat. Plus, he’s a highly regarded performer on the bases and in the field, so he graded out as a quality regular even despite falling well shy of his 2016 offensive output — a .267/.349/.486 breakout that leaves traces of a tantalizing ceiling.

    For the Red Sox to part with Bradley, they’d surely need to be zeroing in on a major addition. And they’d likely also need to receive some real value in return. Bradley is still controllable for three more seasons via arbitration and is projected by MLBTR to earn a manageable $5.9MM for 2018. While his Super Two status gave him a high floor to build off of, he’s still a potential bargain given his track record of overall performance in recent seasons.