Tagged in: red sox

Rafael Devers joins Red Sox for summer camp

Rafael Devers didn’t work out with his teammates at Fenway Park for the first week of summer camp because the Red Sox feared he had been exposed to COVID-19.

After three tests came up negative, however, Devers was cleared to return and joined his teammates at Fenway Park on Wednesday afternoon for live batting practice.

He had been working out at Boston College with other possible positive cases, manager Ron Roenicke said, out of an abundance of caution.

“We had some guys that were possibly exposed to somebody with coronavirus,” Roenicke said via Zoom on Wednesday.

“This group has tested negative three times. We will continue to test them, just because we’re being overly cautious. That’s kind of why we’ve separated some of the guys from the later workouts.”

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Devers hopes to bat in Thursday’s intrasquad scrimmage, Roenicke said, because he’s eager to lock in his timing at the plate versus big league pitching.

If all goes well, he’d likely play third base in Friday’s scrimmage.

“He’s concerned about seeing velocity,” Roenicke stated. “We were able to do that over there with him with the pitching machine in the cage. He’ll do that again and see live BP today, which is helpful, and then if he’s ready for a couple of at-bats, we’ll have him in the intrasquad tomorrow.”

Added Roenicke: “I know with him, he’s a little concerned, because he’s trying to catch up and make sure he’s getting all the work in that he needs.”

There’s no overstating Devers’ significance to the lineup after a breakout 2019 in which he hit .311 with 32 homers, 115 RBIs, and a league-leading 54 doubles and 359 total bases. With Mookie Betts in Los Angeles, Devers is expected to be one of the driving forces in the lineup, alongside Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez.

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Red Sox remove interim tag from manager Ron Roenicke’s title

Ron Roenicke is no longer the “interim” manager of the Boston Red Sox. He’s now Mr. Manager — or as they call it in MLB, just the manager.

The team lifted the interim tag from Roenicke’s title Wednesday after MLB released its report on the 2018 Red Sox sign-stealing scandal. Roenicke was elevated to interim manager when Alex Cora and the team parted ways after Cora was outed as the mastermind of the 2017 Houston Astros cheating scandal, and Boston chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained the temporary interim tag on a conference call on Wednesday night.

“At the time that we named Ron interim manager, we explained the interim tag was necessary in order for us to respect that there was an ongoing investigation,” said Bloom. “Obviously, with that investigation complete and given the results of the investigation, that interim tag is removed and Ron is now our manager.”

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That investigation did not find any Red Sox coaches of players responsible, outing Boston’s replay operator J.T. Watkins was the main culprit. He has been banned through the 2020 season, and cannot return to his role as Boston’s replay room operator until after the 2021 season.

Roenicke is now the 48th manager in Red Sox history.

He is working on a one-year contract that expires after the 2020 season, Bloom said Wednesday night.

While there are theories that Cora may return to the Boston bench after serving his one-year suspension — which was handed down Wednesday for his action with the Astros in 2017 — Bloom said Roenick will get a chance to earn an extension this season.

Roenicke is a well-respected baseball man and well-liked in the Boston clubhouse. He served as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011-15, posting a 342-331 record over that span.

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Red Sox talk Mookie Betts trade with Dodgers

The Red Sox and Dodgers are “deep into talks” about a deal involving 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Olney reports that the two sides have talked about possible trade options for Betts with and without also including former Cy Young Award winner David Price.

The 27-year-old Betts will be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season and the Red Sox have yet to sign their star outfielder to a long-term deal. 

On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reported the difficulty some teams are having in evaluating the long term value of Betts, “whose historical uniqueness is astonishing.”

“At least one team recently undertook just such an internal study of Betts,” Verducci reported. “Nothing relevant came back. Betts is a terrific baserunner, a defensive wizard and a rock of dependability… At this age, Betts is the greatest small power hitter since Mel Ott, who was born in 1909.”

Betts’ projected performance at his $27 million salary for 2020 is one of the primary reasons why teams would be willing to part ways with prospects in exchange for just one year of Betts, according to Verducci.

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“Mookie Betts is one of the five best players in the game,” an assistant GM told Verducci . “When you have an opportunity to add a star player for one year, any team could use that kind of player… This is the kind of player you rarely get to acquire. He’s why you consider trading prospects.”

The Dodgers feature an attractive range of young players, including outfielder Alex Verdugo, infielder Gavin Lux and pitcher Dustin May.

Los Angeles, however, isn’t the only NL West team that seems interested in acquiring Betts.

Earlier this week, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres are “willing to send two young major leaguers and at least one prospect” to Boston with outfielder Wil Myers in exchange for Betts.

In order for the Friars to take on Betts’ $27 million salary for a one-year rental, the club wants the Red Sox to “come up significantly in the portion of Myers’ contract they are willing to pay.”

Multiple people within the Padres organization told the Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee that getting Betts is “only marginally possible” due to the Dodgers’ interest in the outfielder and the struggles over Myers’s contract with the Red Sox.

While Betts could walk away after one season, he would drastically improve the Padres’ options of making their first postseason since 2006. The Dodgers, however, seem as if they in a better position to take on Betts’s salary and have a deep farm system of high-level prospects to possibly trade.

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Mookie Betts agree deal with Red Sox

In his final year of arbitration, Mookie Betts reportedly has received a record-breaking one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the 2018 American League MVP will earn $27 million in 2020. 

Betts’ deal breaks the previous arbitration record of $26 million signed by Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado last January, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. 

The Red Sox entered this offseason in a state of insecurity with Chaim Bloom taking over as team president after Dave Dombrowski was fired in September and Brian O’Halloran being hired as general manager. 

Team owner John Henry told reporters in September they needed to cut payroll to get under the luxury-tax threshold. 

“This year we need to be under the CBT and that was something we’ve known for more than a year now,” he said. “If you don’t reset there are penalties so we’ve known for some time now we needed to reset as other clubs have done.”

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Betts and J.D. Martinez were the two most obvious trade candidates since they are the Red Sox two most expensive position players and could net a strong return given their consistent year to year performances. 

It’s still possible for the Red Sox to move Betts before the start of the campaign. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported on Jan. 2 the Los Angeles Dodgers have had discussions with Boston about the four-time All-Star. 

At the very least, Betts got his deal for 2020 done and can get ready for spring training next month. The 27-year-old hit .295/.391/.524 with 29 homers and 16 stolen bases in 150 games last campaign.

Acquired by Boston in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, Betts is a career .301 hitter with an .893 OPS. Since making his major league debut in June 2014, Betts has led the major leagues in runs scored (613) and is second in extra-base hits (394) and fourth in hits (965).

He also has led the Red Sox in home runs (139) and is second in RBIs (470) during that span. Three times, Betts has hit three home runs in a game — more than any other MLB player since 2014.

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Ex Reds Jose Peraza agrees to join Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox bolstered their infield depth Thursday by agreeing to sign Jose Peraza to a one-year contract worth about $3 million plus incentives, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Peraza made his Major League debut in 2015 with the Los Angeles Dodgers but spent the last four years with the Cincinnati Reds. He batted .239 with six home runs, 33 RBI and a .285 on-base percentage in 141 games during the 2019 season.

His best season came in 2018 when he batted .288 with 14 homers, 58 RBI and a .326 on-base percentage in 157 matches for the Reds. All things considered, Peraza is a good buy-low candidate for the Red Sox, who also could help Boston replace Brock Holt if he departs in free agency.

The 25-year-old infielder brings plenty of positional versatility to the Red Sox. Peraza mostly played second base for Cincinnati this past season, but he also saw time at third base, left field and center field.

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Brock Holt seems unlikely to return as the Sox have piled up options for the position.

Candidates include Peraza, Marco Hernandez, Michael Chavis, Jonathan Arauz, who they picked in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. Dustin Pedroia is also still trying to make a comeback.

At just $3 million, Peraza seems like a low-risk, high-reward option given his potential. He was once ranked the Braves’ top prospect and was named the Braves’ minor league player of the year in 2014.

They traded him to the DOdgers in 2015, when he played in just seven matches before being traded to the Reds. Peraza showed flashes of potential over four years with the Reds, batting .288 with 14 homers, 31 doubles and 58 RBI in 2018. But he regressed offensively in 2019, and he’s still improving defensively.

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