April 24, 2024


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Red Sox, Brian Bellew in 'advanced talks' on extension

Red Sox, Brian Bellew in 'advanced talks' on extension

Red Sox right-handers Brian Bellew They have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $55 million extension that will start this season and give the team two additional years of control over the 24-year-old. Bellew was previously under control through the 2028 season, but the Sox have taken one year as a free agent and also picked up a club option for a second season that is said to be worth $21 million.

Bello, 25, was signed out of the Dominican Republic for a modest reward of $28,000. But he continued to find success as he moved up the minor league ladder, climbing prospect lists in the process. BBaseball America It put him in the 15-20 range of their list of the top 30 Red Sox prospects in 2020 and 2021, then jumped him to fifth through 2022. That was based on a 2021 season in which Bellew threw 95 1/3 innings on the farm with an earned run average 3.87, a 32.8% strikeout rate, and a 7.7% walk rate while also keeping about half of the balls in play on the ground.

He was added to the club's 40-man roster in late 2021 to keep him out of that year's Rule 5 draft. In 2022, he posted a 2.76 ERA at the Triple-A level and also had a brief major league debut, throwing 57 1/3 innings. His 4.71 ERA at the time wasn't particularly strong, but his 55.7% ground ball rate and .404 BABIP suggest at least some of that was bad luck.

Last year got off to a shaky start, as he began the year on the injured list due to some elbow inflammation. He returned in mid-April and had a few shaky starts before the Sox decided to option him to the minors. Injury to Garrett Whitlock This led to a quick return for Bello, and at that point he put together a solid effort that established him as a solid player in the league.

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From his call-up on April 28 through the end of August, he made 21 starts for the Sox with a 3.20 ERA. His 19% strikeout rate was below average, but his 6.4% walk rate and 55% ground ball rate were very solid. He seemed to run out of gas at that point, as he allowed 22 earned runs in 26 innings in September. Between the bad finish and the rough start, Bellew finished with a 4.24 ERA on the year overall, but the middle part of the season clearly opened some eyes.

Obviously it helps some for Bellew to discount his worst results, but he was a bit upset at the start of the year and the stroke can ultimately be traced back to last year being his most innings to date. The Sox clearly believe he can take a step forward if they are willing to invest in him. He's already shown he can keep the ball on the ground and the hits can come last, as his 11% swinging strike rate in his career so far is close to the league average and he's struck out 28.9% of the batters he's faced in the minors.

The Sox have very little certainty moving forward. Lucas Giolito He was signed on a two-year deal this offseason but now appears to face a significant absence due to a partial tear of his hamstring and a flexor tendon strain. Nick Pivetta They are scheduled to hit free agency after 2024. This leaves their long-term rotation mix consisting of Bellew, Cotter Crawford, Tanner Hawk And Garrett Whitlock. These are talented arms, but Crawford, Whitlock, and Houck are all still somewhat unestablished, as none of them have thrown 130 innings in a major league season yet. on List of the current Library of Alexandria Of the top 30 prospects in the system, only two of the top 10 are pitchers, with Wickelman Gonzalez In No. 7 and Luis Perales At 9. The latter has yet to reach Double-A and the former has fewer than 50 innings at that level.

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Given these options, it's understandable why the Sox would want to build around Bellew. From the player's point of view, his small bonus means that he has not yet earned meaningful earnings, unlike a top pick or an international player who may already have millions stashed away. Bellew's term of office currently stands at one year and 82 days, meaning he wouldn't have reached arbitration until after the 2025 season.

An agreement has looked like a strong possibility for some time now. Back in January last year, the young right-winger expressed his openness to such an arrangement and reports in July suggested the club would likely broach the subject at some stage. A few weeks ago, other reports indicated that the two sides were discussing a new deal and they now appear to be making some progress.

As shown in MLBTR's contract trackerBellew is the fifth pitcher with an MLB tenure of between one and two years to sign an extension in the past eight years. The two most recent examples – Cincinnati Hunter Green And Atlanta Spencer Strider – Signing six-year deals worth $53 million and $75 million, respectively. Strider's contract is a record for this class of service and one that Bello was never likely to match. But the Boston right-hander will settle north of the Green deal, which has certainly been a point of emphasis for Bellew and his camp.

Extras typically feature salaries that rise as the years progress, almost mirroring the arbitration process. The Sox currently have only a few on the books that might coincide with the most expensive years of this potential extension. Rafael Devers Under contract until 2033, but no one else is guaranteed a contract after 2027. Trevor's story And Masataka Yoshida They are the only players guaranteed a salary after 2026. Adding Bellew to the mix would add another salary to the payroll and a modest addition to the team's luxury ledger, but an extension is nonetheless an affordable way to maintain some stability while giving the team some upside if Bellew raised his game to a new level.

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Alex Speer of the Boston Globe Reported for the first time The two sides are holding “advanced” talks about reaching an agreement. ESPN Kelly McDaniel I reported the news The two parties agreed to a six-year deal worth $55 million.