Red Sox Sam Kennedy
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Sam Kennedy: ‘Very hard’ to see Mookie Betts sign long-term with Dodgers

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Red Sox president Sam Kennedy expressed disappointment after former Red Sox outfielder and current Dodger Mookie Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million contract extension on Wednesday. Per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, Kennedy said, “I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say a sense of disappointment and maybe closure and finality to it.” He added, “It’s obviously very hard to see Mookie Betts sign a long-term deal somewhere else.”

With just a season separating Betts from free agency, the Red Sox traded him to Los Angeles along with starter David Price in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong. The Red Sox were laser-focused on getting their payroll below the $208 million competitive balance tax threshold, as they had been in the penalty for two consecutive seasons. A third consecutive season would have exacerbated those penalties. Offloading Betts and his $27 million salary, as well as Price’s $31 million annually, got them well below the CBT threshold.

Betts, 27, helped the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series and won the 2018 AL MVP Award. Over parts of six seasons, he has hit .301/.374/.519 with 139 home runs, 470 RBI, 613 runs scored, and 126 stolen bases across 3,629 plate appearances. He has been worth 41.8 Wins Above Replacement over his career, an average of nearly 7 WAR each season, per Baseball Reference.

The Red Sox made their decision on Betts pretty much right after the 2018 World Series. They never really attempted to engage Betts in contract extension talks. Kennedy repeatedly tried to soften the blow of losing Betts, saying last September that it would be “difficult” for the team to retain both J.D. Martinez and Betts.

It would be one thing to have made a serious effort to keep Betts in Boston, only to see him turn the Red Sox down and force the club’s hand in trading him. But the ball was always in Boston’s court. The Dodgers paid to retain elite talent; the Red Sox chose not to.

Cards’ Yadier Molina says he tested positive for COVID-19

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St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina says he’s one of the players on the team who tested positive for COVID-19.

The nine-time All-Star revealed his results Tuesday in a Spanish-language Instagram post. Soon afterward, the Cardinals issued a release naming six of the players who have tested positive.

The others are infielders Paul DeJong, Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo along with pitchers Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley.

“I am saddened to have tested positive for COVID-19, even after adhering to safety guidelines that were put in place,” Molina said in a release issued by the team. “I will do everything within my power to return as soon as possible for Cardinals fans, the city of St. Louis and my teammates.”

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Monday that seven players and six staff members had tested positive. At the time, Mozeliak said the people to test positive hadn’t been identified publicly because they had declined to have their names released.

The Cardinals said Tuesday that six players had decided to grant permission to have their names revealed.

“I will approach my healing as I do all other things in my life – with education, commitment, and persistence. I look forward to re-joining the team soon and ask that you respect my privacy at this time,” DeJong said in a statement released by the team.

The outbreak resulted in the postponement of the Cardinals’ scheduled three-game weekend series at Milwaukee as well as a four-game series with Detroit that was supposed to run Monday through Thursday. The Cardinals have played just five games this season and are hoping to return to action Friday hosting the Chicago Cubs.

As of now, the Cardinals who have tested positive have returned home while the rest of the team remains isolated in Milwaukee hotel rooms. Their last game was July 29 at Minnesota.

Mozeliak said Monday that five of the 13 overall members of the Cardinals’ traveling party to test positive were asymptomatic. The other eight had minor symptoms including headaches, coughs, sniffles and low-grade fevers. Mozeliak said none of the eight had required hospitalization.

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