Red Sox in contract talks with Cody Ross

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Two months ago there were reports that the Red Sox were “very interested” in re-signing impending free agent Cody Ross and then reports that the two sides were on the verge of a deal, so I’m not quite sure what to make of today’s news.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that “contract talks between the Red Sox and Ross have gained some momentum,” citing an unnamed source.

Boston has until five days after the World Series to keep Ross from hitting the open market as a 31-year-old free agent coming off a season in which he hit .267 with 22 homers and an .807 OPS in 130 games.

Ross had a very solid year, but it’s interesting that he’s suddenly in demand after having to settle for a one-year, $3 million deal from the Red Sox as a free agent last offseason. Back then he was coming off a sub par season, but Ross’ career numbers (.262 batting average, .783 OPS) are basically identical to his 2012 production with the Red Sox and he’ll be 32 years old in December.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

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The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.