The Boston Red Sox were an absolute wagon in 2018, so it’s understandable they didn’t undergo a roster overhaul this winter.
Shortly after the season ended, World Series MVP Steve Pearce re-signed, and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi came back on a four-year deal. Joe Kelly bolted for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Ian Kinsler the San Diego Padres, while it seems unlikely Craig Kimbrel will return unless his asking price goes down.
But with all the talent the Red Sox have (both young and veteran), they’ll eventually have to start planning for the future. And with much of the team in southeastern Connecticut this weekend for Red Sox Winter Weekend, some of the Sox’s looming free agents were asked about the potential for a contract extension to keep them in Boston.
Most players were noncommittal with their answers, which shouldn’t be too surprising, but here’s what they had to say.
“My phone is on if they call me,” said ace Chris Sale, via MLB.com. “Obviously nothing has happened up until this point. If they call, I’d answer.”
Another starting pitcher who will be a free agent after 2019 will be Rick Porcello, and he expressed a willingness to discuss re-upping with the Red Sox.
Also hitting free agency after the upcoming season is shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He too is open to the idea of an extension with the club he’s spent his whole career with.
And then, of course, there’s Mookie Betts. The 2018 MVP reportedly got a massive, $20 million haul in his second round of arbitration, and he’ll be a free agent after the 2020 campaign. Red Sox brass have been candid about the desire to keep Betts in Boston for a long time, and while Betts expressed appreciation, he (understandably) didn’t tip his hand too much.
“Yeah, it means a lot,” Betts said. “I’ve done something well, obviously, and I have the utmost respect for those guys. They’re great people. Just to be able to put on the uniform in general is a blessing, and when it says Red Sox on it, it makes it that much better.
“Contract things are kind of tough to come up with, especially with both sides and kind of how the economics and all those things work,” Betts added. “I love Boston, love my teammates, love the fans and all those types of things, so we’ll just continue to see what happens.”
The Red Sox had to go to an arbitration hearing with Betts last offseason, but avoided it this time around. With the business side of things handled for now, Betts has his focus on 2019.
“I mean, those things are kind of tough. I’m happy with the result,” Betts said of this year’s arbitration. “Now, it’s just time to play baseball.”
Pitchers and catcher officially report to spring training Feb. 13, and the rest of the squad will join them by Feb. 18. They are scheduled to visit the White House on Feb. 15 to celebrate their 2018 World Series victory, but that could change if the government shutdown continues.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images