The Boston Red Sox were an absolute car in 2018, so it is understandable that they did not undergo a staff review this winter.
Shortly after the season ended, World Series MVP Steve Pearce re-signed, and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi returned with a four-year contract. Joe Kelly ran to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Ian Kinsler, the San Diego Padres, although it seems unlikely that Craig Kimbrel will return unless his sale price drops.
But with all the talent the Red Sox have (both young and old), they will eventually have to start planning for the future. And with much of the team in southeast Connecticut this weekend for the Red Sox winter weekend, some of the Red Sox free agents were asked about the possibility of an extension of the contract to keep them in Boston.
Most players did not commit to their answers, which should not be too surprising, but this is what they had to say.
"My phone is on if they call me," said ace Chris Sale, through MLB.com. "Obviously nothing has happened up to this point, if they call me, I'll answer you."
Another starting pitcher who will be a free agent after 2019 will be Rick Porcello, and he expressed his willingness to discuss the revival with the Red Sox.
Also hit free agency after the next season is shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He is also open to the idea of an extension with the club with which he has spent his entire career.
Xander Bogaerts in extension talks: "If both parties can reach an agreement, to some extent, I do not see any problem with that, if the price is right for both parties …"
– Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) January 19, 2019
And then, of course, there's Mookie Betts. The 2018 MVP supposedly got a huge $ 20 million in its second round of arbitration, and will be a free agent after the 2020 campaign. Members of the Red Sox have been sincere about wanting to keep Betts in Boston for a long time, and although Betts expressed his appreciation, he (understandably) did not bow his hand too much.
"Yes, it means a lot," Betts said. "I've done something right, obviously, and I have the greatest respect for those guys, they're great people, just being able to wear the overall uniform is a blessing, and when it says Red Sox, it's much better.
"Contractual things are a little difficult to achieve, especially with both sides and the way the economy works and all those things," Betts added. "I love Boston, I love my teammates, I love fans and all that kind of stuff, so we'll continue to see what happens."
The Red Sox had to go to an arbitration hearing with Betts in the offseason, but this time he avoided it. For now, with the commercial side of things handled, Betts has its focus in 2019.
"I mean, those things are a bit difficult, I'm happy with the result," Betts said of this year's arbitration. "Now is the time to play baseball."
The pitchers and catcher officially report to spring training on February 13, and the rest of the squad will join them on February 18. They are scheduled to visit the White House on February 15 to celebrate their victory in the 2018 World Series, but that could change if the government's shutdown continues.
Photo in miniature through Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Images of sports