Andrew Benintendi
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Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi agree on two-year, $10 million deal

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MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa reported on Saturday that the Red Sox and outfielder Andrew Benintendi avoided arbitration, agreeing to a two-year, $10 million contract. The deal covers his first and second years of arbitration eligibility.

The two sides were initially unable to come to an agreement prior to last month’s filing deadline. Benintendi filed for a $4.15 million salary while the team countered at $3.4 million. The $5 million annual average value of the deal puts Benintendi a bit ahead for this year but likely provides the Red Sox a deal next year in what would have been his second year of arbitration eligibility.

Benintendi, 25, hit .266/.343/.431 with 40 doubles, 13 home runs, 68 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 615 plate appearances in 2019. With the Red Sox expected to complete their trade of Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, Benintendi will have a more vital role in Boston’s offensive approach.

Chris Sale to start the season in the injured list

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Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said this morning that Chris Sale won’t be ready for the start of the season. He’ll begin the year on the injured list.

The reason is not, Roenicke says, his rehabbed elbow directly. It’s that he’s been sidelined with pneumonia and is thus a couple of weeks behind in his preparation. Roenicke, as paraphrased by Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe, said that it was “unfair” to give sale “just four starts” this spring.

Which, as Rotoworld’s Matthew Pouliot observes, is kind of strange because Sale’s last four spring trainings have consisted of three, five, four and two starts, respectively, yet he has been deemed ready to go each year. Pouliot also notes that, if he was truly only a couple of weeks behind, as Roenicke says, he’d be ramped up to about four innings per outing or so by the time the bell rings as opposed to six, maybe, and that that’s not an unusual level of stamina for a starter in this day and age given the changes in bullpen usage. Ideal for Sale? Maybe not, but not the sort of thing one would expect to result in an IL stint to start the year.

An overabundance of caution informed by the fact that, well, the Red Sox aren’t intending to compete this year? A change in philosophy under the Red Sox’ interim new manager? Or is there something going on with Sale’s health at the moment?