UPDATE: Beckett, Sox close to $68M extension

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beckett headshot.JPGUPDATE: The Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber hears from colleague Michael Silverman that Beckett’s deal will be worth $68 million over four years.

6:11pm: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Red Sox and right-hander Josh Beckett are close to agreement on a four-year contract extension worth around $70 million.

The Red Sox set out to keep the length of the 29-year-old’s new contract under five years.  It appears they have accomplished that goal, all the while agreeing to pay Beckett a handsome (and well-deserved) $17.5 million annual salary.  For reference, the Red Sox handed a five-year, $82.5 million ($16.5M per season) free agent contract to John Lackey this
offseason and a six-year, $52 million ($8.7M per season) deal to Daisuke Matsuzaka back in 2006.

Beckett, who turns 30 in May, went 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 199 strikeouts in 2009 and is
entering the final season of a three-year, $30 million extension.

Rockies acquire Zac Rosscup from Cubs

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The Rockies announced a minor swap of relief pitchers on Monday evening. The Cubs sent lefty Zac Rosscup to the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Matt Carasiti.

Rosscup, 29, was designated for assignment by the Cubs last Thursday. He spent only two-thirds of an inning in the majors this year and has a 5.32 career ERA across 47 1/3 innings. Rosscup has spent most of the season with Triple-A Iowa, posting a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

Carasiti, 25, spent 15 2/3 innings in the majors last year, putting up an ugly 9.19 ERA. With Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 43/13 K/BB ratio in 30 1/3 innings.

U.S. Court of Appeals affirms ruling that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law

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The Associated Press reported that on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court ruling which holds that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law, just like the major leagues.

In 2015, four minor leaguers sued Major League Baseball, alleging that MLB violated antitrust laws with its hiring and employment policies. They accused MLB of “restrain[ing] horizontal competition between and among” franchises and “artificially and illegally depressing” the salaries of minor league players.

The U.S. Court of Appeals said the players failed to state an antitrust claim, as the Curt Flood Act of 1998 exempted Minor League Baseball explicitly from antitrust laws.

This case is separate from the Aaron Senne case in which Major League Baseball is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. That case was recertified as a class action lawsuit in March. In December, Major League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC), which came months after two members of Congress sought to change language in the FLSA so that minor league players could continue to be paid substandard wages.