Red Sox prepare for Tuesday's arbitration deadline

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Red Sox prepare for Tuesday's arbitration deadline

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

Even before the Red Sox make any free-agent signings, or, for that matter, potentially lose any of their own free agents to other teams, they have some decisions to make by Tuesday midnight.

One decision was made for them Tuesday, when one of their free agents -- catcher Victor Martinez -- agreed to a four-year contract with the Tigers. Now they have until midnight to decide whether or not to offer salary arbitration to the other three: third baseman Adrian Beltre; catcher Jason Varitek; and infielder Felipe Lopez.

There are three different scenarios in play:

If the Sox offer arbitration to a player, and the player accepts -- the deadline for that is Nov. 28 -- that player is bound to the Red Sox for at least the 2011 season.

If the Sox offer arbitration to a player, and the player declines, the Red Sox will get draft picks as compenstion if the player signs elsewhere.

Finally, if the Red Sox don't offer arbitration to a player, they stand to receive no compensation if the player signs elsewhere.

For one, the answer is obvious: the Sox will offer arbitration to Beltre, assuring themselves of two draft picks -- a team's first or second round pick, depending on other variables, along with a sandwich pick. They've already received that from Detroit for Martinez.

There's little risk for the Red Sox in offering arbitration to Beltre, who is in high demand on the free agent market and almost certainly will not accept the offer of arbitration.

In the incredibly unlikely choice that he did, the Sox would gladly retain him -- either on a one-year deal, or through a negotiated long-term deal.

Otherwise, the Sox will reap a harvest of additional draft picks next June, which features one of the deepest talent pools in several years.

Using the same measuring stick, it's hard to see the Sox offering arbitration to Varitek, who, at 37, no longer is viewed as a No. 1 catcher by most teams.

Though the Sox have had internal discussions about bringing back Varitek as a backup to Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- an option that became more attractive now that Martinez is gone -- offering him arbitration would bind them to a more costly process.

Varitek made 5 million in 2010 as part of a two-year deal negotiated by the catcher and the club after the 2008 season and that base salary would be a factor in determining Varitek's 2011 salary through arbitration.

On the other hand, if the Sox don't offer arbitration, they could still negotiate a one-year deal without being bound by the arbitration guidelines. That way, the Sox could bring Varitek back at, say 1.5-2 million rather than a far higher figure determined by an arbitrator.

Quite simply, the reward of a sandwich pick -- Varitek and Lopez are Class B free agents -- is too high when measured against the risk of having to pay Varitek 3 million or more in an arbitration process.

Finally, there's Lopez, who joined the Red Sox in the final week of the season in a strangely-timed acquisition. When Lopez joined the Sox, the supposition was that the Sox were obtaining for the express purpose of getting compensation for him over the winter.

That, of course, would require the Sox to offer his arbitration first. Lopez made 1 million with St. Louis last year and had a poor year, losing his regular spot in the lineup.

The guess here is that the Sox will end up offering Lopez arbitration. In a worst-case scenario, even if he accept the offer and they lose an arbitration hearing, or arrive at a settled salary figure, the Sox could always release him in spring training and owe him only a portion of his salary.

Should the Sox offer arbitration and Lopez signs elsewhere, the Sox will gain a sandwich-round pick as compensation.

Beyond their own free agents, the Sox will be interested to see which other free agents are offered arbitration by other teams. Outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, both of whom interest the Sox, are guaranteed to be offered arbitration by their present teams for the same reason the Sox are sure to offer arbitration to Beltre and Martinez -- the risk is almost negligible and the payoff considerable in the form of draft picks.

The Red Sox will also be especially interested to see if some of the set-up relievers are offered arbitration, since that could impact their degree of interest in signing one or more.

It seems certain, for example, that Toronto will offer arbitration to Scott Downs, one of the better relievers on the market. Last July, when the Red Sox -- and a handful of other teams -- were interested in dealing for Downs, the Blue Jays set the asking price high: two top prospects.

They did so knowing that, if Downs reached free agency and didn't re-sign with the Jays, as a Type A free agent, he would fetch them both a first-round and sandwich pick.

If some set-up relievers cost compensation and others don't, the Sox might be more willing to go with those who don't require forfeiting a pick.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox activate reliever Carson Smith off disbled list

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Red Sox activate reliever Carson Smith off disbled list

The Red Sox get a much needed boost to their bullpen as they begin their road trip through Chicago and New York. They have activated right-handed pitcher Carson Smith off the disabled list.

Smith was placed on the 15-day DL on April 3 (retroactive to March 25) with a right flexor strain suffered in spring training. He made two rehab appearances with the Portland Sea Dogs, retiring all five batters over 1.2 innings of work, striking out two in the process.

This is Smith’s first season with the Red Sox after being acquired in a traded with the Seattle Mariners in December.

In 79 major league games from 2014-15, the right-hander went 3-5 with 13 saves, a 2.07 ERA (18 ER), and 102 strikeouts in 78.1 innings pitched (11.7 SO/9.0 IP). Smith set Mariners reliever records for the most scoreless appearances (20) and most scoreless innings (19.1) to begin a major league career.

To make room on the 25-man roster, infielder Marco Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following Sunday night’s game against the New York Yankees.

Tuesday’s lineups: Red Sox vs. White Sox

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Tuesday’s lineups: Red Sox vs. White Sox

Right-handed hitting Chris Young gets the start in left field against left-hander Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA) and Ryan Hanigan catchers knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37) as the Red Sox open a three-game series against the White Sox tonight in Chicago. 

The White Sox have the best record in the American League at 18-8. The Red Sox (15-10) have moved into first-place in the A.L. East after a three-game sweep of the Yankees.

The full lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Steven Wright RHP

WHITE SOX
Adam Eaton RF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Jose Abreau 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Melky Cabrera LF
Brett Lawrie 2B
Jerry Sands DH
Dioner Navarro C
Austin Jackson CF

Jose Quintana

Sandoval surgery ‘complicated’ and he'll miss rest of season

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Sandoval surgery ‘complicated’ and he'll miss rest of season

As expected. the left shoulder surgery that Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval had Tuesday will keep him out for the rest of the season and Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports it was “complicated.” 


 

Here's the official announcement from the Red Sox:

The Boston Red Sox announced that third baseman Pablo Sandoval underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder today. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery this morning in Pensacola, FL.

Sandoval is expected to miss the remainder of the 2016 season, and it is anticipated that he will make a full recovery in advance of the 2017 season.

It remains to be seen if we’ve seen the last of Sandoval in a Red Sox uniform, but even after his recovery, as he collects a $17 million salary for this season, there’s still the matter of the final three years of his deal (2017, 2018, 2019) with $54.6 million remaining. Could be hard to find takers for that.