Notes: Cherington discusses Red Sox roster moves

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Notes: Cherington discusses Red Sox roster moves

BOSTON -- Shortstop is a position of depth for the Red Sox, with veterans Mike Aviles and Jed Lowrie under the club's control and prospect Jose Iglesias waiting at Triple A.

Still, the Red Sox liked Marco Scutato enough to exercise the team's option for 6 million last weekend.

"He finished the year as the starter," said GM Ben Cherington, "so I would see him going into spring training as the starter."

Scutaro's contract included a 4 million player option which he could have exercised had they passed on the team option. But the Sox decided not to chance losing him.

"We see him as an above-average major league shortstop," said Cherington. "He certainly performed that way this year. We felt like a one-year deal at 6 million was very fair value for him.

"He was a guy who we knew was going to be coveted this off-season if he became a free agent. We knew allowing him to get into free agency, there was a risk that he could get a better deal than that. We wanted to keep him."

Scutaro hit .299 with seven homers and 54 RBI in 113 games with a .354 on-base percentage. In contrast to many of his teammates, he also finished the season strong with a .387 batting average in September and an OPS of 1.019.

The Sox can presumably now deal either Aviles or Lowrie and still have adequate depth at the position.

On Monday, the team declined the options on two veteran relievers-- Scott Atchison and Dan Wheeler -- though it's possible that both could return to the team in 2012.

The team had an option for Atchison for next season that would have paid him 200,000 over the the minimum major league salary, but elected not to pick it up. The team controls him, however, and could tender him a contract at a lesser number before the deadline date in December.

"It was just a matter of whether we locked in that rate or not," explained Cherington.

The option for Wheeler was more expensive at 3 milion and, according to Cherington, "we just didn't feel like we could commit to that money at this point in the off-season. We have a lot of respect for Dan and he's a pro. He pitched really well after coming off the DL (in May). We'll keep the door open and continue dialogue with him. We just weren't ready to commit to that salary this early on."

Wheeler finished the year at 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA in 47 games. He got off to a miserable start, but after returning from a calf injury, was far more effective, with a 2.54 ERA May 21 on.

Cherington and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein continue to negotiate compensation for Epstein leaving the Red Sox to become president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, with seemingly little progress made.

The two clubs have until Tuesday to arrive at an agreement before commissioner Bud Selig steps in as a third-party arbiter.

"We're still talking," said Cherington. "It's a difficult deal to work out. It's hard to quantify the value of Theo Epstein. I have an idea of it and Theo doesn't think he's worth as much as I do. We haven't been to bridge that gap yet."

Cherington said having Selig intervene "was always a possibility . . . I think both sides are comfortable with that outcome if it happens that way."

There have been no discussions about how the process would work if Selig must rule on compensation, but Cherington's belief is that each team would present its side to the commissioner and a ruling would follow.

Sandoval raps out two hits, lifts average to .333, in Red Sox' 5-4 loss to Yankees

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Sandoval raps out two hits, lifts average to .333, in Red Sox' 5-4 loss to Yankees

With each passing day, Pablo Sandoval's winning over more and more skeptics.

The slimmed-down third baseman rapped out two hits, including a double, and drove in a run as he lifted his spring average to .333 in the Red Sox' 5-4 loss to a split squad of Yankees Tuesday at JetBlue Park. Sandoval went 2-for-3 overall -- his one out was a fly to the warning track -- and looked almost speedy as he raced home from second on an RBI single by Deven Marrero.

BOX SCORE: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

It was a day for comeback players on both teams. Sam Travis, whose 2016 was cut short by a knee injury suffered at Triple-A Pawtucket, hit a solo home run for the Sox, who fell to 1-4 with the loss.  Greg Bird, who missed all of last year because of a shoulder injury, hit a pair of home runs and drove in three runs for the Yankees.

Marrero, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, Matt Dominguez and Dan Butler each had one hit for the Red Sox. Starter Kyle Kendrick allowed three hits and two runs over three innings, retiring eight of the last nine batters he faced. Only one of the subsequent six relievers -- Robbie Ross Jr. -- figures to be in Boston in the regular season, and he pitched a hitless, scoreless fourth with one walk.

Vegas projects Red Sox, Indians for most wins in AL

Vegas projects Red Sox, Indians for most wins in AL

Wanna bet the Red Sox will have the most wins in the American League this season? 

Per Bovada, the Sox are projected for 92.5 wins in 2017, which is tied with the Indians for the highest total in the AL. Boston and Cleveland both sit behind the defending World Series champion Cubs (95.5) and Dodgers (93.5) in Bovada’s win projections. 

Here is the full list: 

Chicago Cubs: 95.5
Los Angeles Dodgers: 93.5
Boston Red Sox: 92.5
Cleveland Indians: 92.5
Washington Nationals: 90.5
Houston Astros: 89.5
New York Mets: 88.5
San Francisco Giants: 87.5
Seattle Mariners: 85.5
St. Louis Cardinals: 84.5
Texas Rangers: 84.5
Toronto Blue Jays: 84.5
Detroit Tigers: 82.5
New York Yankees: 82.5
Pittsburgh Pirates: 82.5
Baltimore Orioles: 80.5
Colorado Rockies: 80.5
Los Angeles Angels: 79.5
Arizona Diamondbacks: 77.5
Tampa Bay Rays: 77.5
Kansas City Royals: 76.5
Miami Marlins: 765
Minnesota Twins: 74.5
Atlanta Braves: 73.5
Oakland Athletics: 73.5
Philadelphia Phillies: 73.5
Cincinnati Reds: 70.5
Chicago White Sox: 69.5
Milwaukee Brewers: 69.5
San Diego Padres: 66.5