The Red Sox have plenty of holes to fill on their roster this winter, but they hope to make some time to keep one of their cornerstone players in the fold for the long haul.
Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston was told by several league sources that the Red Sox plan to discuss a possible contract extension with Dustin Pedroia this offseason. Pedroia’s current deal runs through 2014 and includes a club option for 2015, so there are more pressing matters on Ben Cherington’s plate at the moment, but McDonald writes that the Red Sox “have already decided it would be in their best interest” to talk to Pedroia this winter.
One possible motivation here is that Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano will be a free agent next offseason and is expected to command north of $200 million. If the Red Sox wait, Cano’s contract will almost certainly have a direct impact on Pedroia’s asking price.
Pedroia batted .290/.347/.449 with 15 home runs, 65 RBI and a .797 OPS in 141 games this season. The 29-year-old had surgery in October to repair a torn ligament in his right pinkie finger, but he’s expected to be ready for spring training.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.