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March 3, 2017

Rumor Roundup

Busy in Boston

by Demetrius Bell


Price visiting Dr. Andrews

Thursday got off to a very ominous start for the Red Sox when ESPN’s Jim Bowden broke the news that David Price had an MRI exam on his elbow. The news got even more foreboding when Boston beat writer Jason Mastrodonato reported that Price would be getting a second opinion soon from Dr. James Andrews. That’s not a name that you want associated with any of your players, much less a normally durable pitcher who’s going into the second year of a seven-year, $217 million contract.

Although there’s still hope that whatever’s ailing Price’s arm won’t be a season-ender for the 31-year-old lefty, those around the Red Sox seem prepared for the worst. As Grant Brisbee notes in this piece that examines the many cases of players who visited Dr. Andrews, the second opinion doesn’t normally bring good news. With that said, the Red Sox are remaining cautiously optimistic that this won’t end up costing Price all of the 2017 season.

If Boston does end up getting the worst news when it comes to Price, then losing him would be a big blow to their championship chances. Granted, they’d still have a good rotation that was recently bolstered with the addition of Chris Sale, but Price produced 6.2 WARP in 2016 and PECOTA currently has the Red Sox winning the division by ... six games.

Betts gets substantial raise

Thursday ended up being a very busy day for Boston. The Red Sox signed 18 of their non-arbitration-eligible players to one-year deals, including star outfielder Mookie Betts. The process itself isn’t unusual, but the result as far as Betts was concerned was a bit of an outlier—one that invoked memories of Mike Trout in a good way for Betts, at least.

The Red Sox and Betts couldn’t come to a mutual agreement on his pay for the upcoming season, so the team decided to renew Betts at a cost of $950,000. There’s only one player who has received a bigger contract than Betts under these circumstances, and that was none other than Trout. The reigning American League MVP received a one-year, $1 million contract from the Angels ahead of the 2014 season, and that came after an 8.5 WARP season in 2012 that was followed by 9.8 WARP in 2013.

While Betts didn’t quite reach those lofty heights in contract money or WARP—he finished his second full season in the bigs with “just” 7.3 WARP after hitting .318/.363/.534 with a .296 TAv and 31 home runs—it seems like this could be a sign of things to come. The Angels wasted no time signing Trout to a big-money contract extension after he got his million-dollar deal, and while the Red Sox (according to NESN) seemed to express a bit of shock that they didn’t come to an agreement this time around, things could change when they start talking about a much larger contract extension in the future.

Nationals deem Norris as surplus

When the Nationals signed Matt Wieters last week, the move could’ve been seen as putting icing on what was already a loaded cake for Washington's roster. The move also gave the Nationals a bit of a surplus on their 40-man roster when it came to catchers, and now they’re beginning to address that. They’ve designated minor leaguer Spencer Kieboom for assignment, and there are rumors that the Nationals are now trying to trade veteran Derek Norris.

However, Jon Heyman is indicating that a release could be more likely. Citing an executive from a rival team, Heyman noted that other teams would be very reluctant to trade for Norris and his $4.2 million salary this season, so the Nationals may have to bite a bullet and just release him instead. With Wieters in town, Jose Lobaton as a potential backup, and Pedro Severino serving as a hot prospect, Norris simply doesn't have much of a role.

Demetrius Bell is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Demetrius's other articles. You can contact Demetrius by clicking here

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