Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston heard from an insider source Saturday that the Red Sox will not give more than a four-year deal to right-handed starter Josh Beckett.
It’s not shocking news. The Red Sox dolled out a five-year, $82.5 million contract to John Lackey this offseason and a six-year, $52 million deal to Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006. Boston GM Theo Epstein is smart enough to know that locking up multiple aging starting pitchers is a bad idea and will avoid that path with the soon-to-be 30-year-old Beckett. If Edes’ source is correct, it’s fair to wonder whether the right-hander will be moving on to another club once winter hits.
Beckett, who went 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 199 strikeouts last year, is entering the final season of a three-year, $30 million extension. There are some concerns about the durability of his right shoulder.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.