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Red Sox, Carson Smith avoid arbitration

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Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Red Sox and reliever Carson Smith have agreed to a $850,000 salary for 2018, avoiding arbitration.

Smith only pitched in eight games in 2017 following recovery from Tommy John surgery he underwent in early 2016. Before going under the knife, Smith was an effective relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners in 2015, appearing in 70 games. Following that season, the Red Sox traded for him and Roenis Elias in exchange for Jonathan Aro and Wade Miley.

Smith should enter spring training at 100%, ready to serve in seventh or eighth inning role ahead of Craig Kimbrel.

Manny Machado, batting second, playing shortstop in his Dodgers debut

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The biggest news of the All-Star break — even bigger than the All-Star Game itself — was the trade of Manny Machado to the Dodgers. We talked about it for days, but now the talking is done: Machado is playing shortstop and is batting second in his Dodgers debut this evening against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Machado is expected to play a little third base for the Dodgers, too, but with Justin Turner still out with a bum hop, Machado will play his preferred position. It’s not the one he plays as well, but that’s another topic altogether and is, eventually, going to be Dave Roberts’ problem.

Machado is hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBI on the year. Those numbers all get set back to zero now that he’s in the National League, however. Tonight he begins compiling new numbers.