BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox say the turmoil in the manager’s office isn’t a reason to give up on this season and trade outfielder Mookie Betts.

“The goal remains to be competitive always,” Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said this week after Alex Cora was ousted, leaving the Red Sox without a manager with less than a month before spring training. “2020 is important. So are 2021, 2022 and beyond.”

The 2018 AL MVP, Betts has been the subject of trade rumors all winter because he is in the last year of team control before he is eligible to become a free agent. The two sides avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $27 million contract for this season.

Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis said he tried not to follow the rumors but knew there was a danger Betts would be traded. Those trade talks appear to have subsided.

“I’m very excited about that,” Chavis said on Thursday at a Fenway Park availability before the annual Boston Baseball Writers Awards Dinner “Mookie did a lot for me. I’m very thankful he’s back.”

Although the Red Sox are one of baseball’s biggest-spending clubs, owner John Henry has said he wants the team to get under the $208 million threshold for the collective bargaining tax. Going under the threshold for one year would lower the tax rate in future years.

Henry later clarified that resetting the team’s luxury tax penalties is a goal, not a mandate. But the only way to do that would be to trade a high-salary player; Betts would be the most valuable trade bait, but the team insists that nothing has changed just because Cora is gone.

“We have high expectations in 2020,” Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said. “We fell short last year, (but) … we’re better than an 84 win club. We think we have a team that’s built to compete in the American League East.”

ASTROS: George Springer, the World Series MVP of the tainted 2017 Houston Astros, and the team settled on a $21 million, one-year contract Thursday.

Springer had asked for $22.5 million in salary arbitration last week and the Astros offered $17.5 million, making the settlement $1 million over the midpoint. He made $12.15 million last year.

The 30-year-old outfielder set career highs last season, hitting 39 home runs with 96 RBI while batting .292. He was an All-Star for the third straight season.

Springer led Houston to its first World Series title in 2017, hitting five homers in the seven-game win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He connected in the final four games of the matchup.

Springer can earn additional bonus money this year, including $200,000 for regular-season MVP, $175,000 for second, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. He would get $100,000 for World Series MVP and $75,000 each for an All-Star selection, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and League Championship Series MVP.

DODGERS: Left-hander Alex Wood has agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wood spent last season with Cincinnati after the Dodgers traded him away in December 2018.

The contract is laden with performance incentives for the 29-year-old veteran. Wood gets a $4 million base salary, but he can earn up to $3.5 million more on a points system.

METS: Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza was at the New York Mets’ spring training complex for a street naming ceremony, two hours before the team let go new manager Carlos Beltran.

The Mets held a dedication ceremony for Piazza, renaming a street – 31 Piazza Drive– on the renovated spring complex that serves as the home of the Advanced Class A St. Lucie Mets and hub for New York’s rehabilitating players.

GIANTS: Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach on a major league staff in baseball history when she was named an assistant under new manager Gabe Kapler.

Nakken is a former softball standout at first base for Sacramento State who joined the club in 2014 as an intern in baseball operations. She and Mark Hallberg, who was also named as an assistant, will work to promote high performance along with a close-knit team atmosphere.

Kapler said during the winter meetings that he would hire some coaches for nontraditional roles.

The team said Nakken has been responsible for “developing, producing and directing a number of the organization’s health and wellness initiatives and events.”

MEDIA: ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza says pitcher Mike Fiers should have gone to Major League Baseball before he told a journalist about his allegation the Houston Astros had been using a camera to steal signs.

Mendoza, a New York Mets adviser in addition to her media job, said on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” that Fiers should have kept the information confined to teammates and the league. The right-hander spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Astros, including their 2017 championship season. He signed with Detroit in 2018 and was traded to Oakland – Houston’s AL West rival – later that season.


“Going public, yeah. I get it, if you’re with the Oakland A’s and you’re on another team, heck yeah you better be telling your teammates, `Heads up, if you hear some noises while you’re pitching, like, this is what’s going on.’ For sure. But to go public, yeah, it didn’t sit well with me,” Mendoza said on the broadcast. “Honestly, it made me sad for the sport that that’s how this all got found out.

“This wasn’t something MLB naturally investigated or that even other teams complained about because they naturally heard about it and investigations happened. But it came from within. It was a player that was a part of it, that benefited from it during the regular season when he was a part of that team. That, when I first heard about it, it hits you like any teammate would. It’s something that you don’t do. I totally get telling your future teammates, helping them win, letting people know, but to go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow.”

Fiers went public in a report last November by The Athletic. That prompted baseball’s investigation, leading to one-season suspensions for Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Manager AJ Hinch, who were fired Monday. Boston Manager Alex Cora and Mets Manager Carlos Beltran also lost their jobs – Cora was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 and Beltran a player. MLB’s investigation implicated both.

Mendoza tried to clarify her remarks in a statement posted to Twitter later, saying baseball will benefit from the sign stealing being uncovered and that appropriate action was taken.

“The point I should have been much more clear on was this: I believe it’s very critical that this news was made public; I simply disagree with the manner in which that was done,” Mendoza said in the statement. “I credit Mike Fiers for stepping forward, yet I feel that going directly through your team and/or MLB first could have been a better way to surface the information. Reasonable minds can disagree.”

Mendoza has been an ESPN analyst since 2015 and part of the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth since 2016. She has been an adviser to the Mets and GM Brodie Van Wagenen since last March.


“Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets when she made her comments,” Van Wagenen said during a conference call. He added that he did not have a chance to speak with her yet.

When asked last year about whether her dual roles would cause friction, Mendoza said during a conference call that she considers herself an analyst first.

“I hope they hired me because of my honesty and criticism, not just the good things,” she said. “On the air I would be the same even if I was in front of them.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers banned her from their clubhouse once during the season and once during the postseason because of her position with the Mets, ESPN said.

Mendoza’s comments about Fiers were less critical than remarks by others. Former Astros manager Phil Garner said on a Houston radio show that Fiers was considered “a rat” for his role.

“If it is a big deal, how come you didn’t do it while you were with the Astros? Why didn’t you step up and stop it,” Garner said. “You are going to enjoy the fruits while you were the Astros? That’s not a very good standard.”

MLB Network radio analyst CJ Nitkowski took an opposite view.

“Mike Fiers could have easily done this anonymously, then it only would have been a column and likely ended there because good reporters don’t give up sources. He put his name on it and the game is better today because of it. He’s not a target, he’s to be commended,” Nitkowski wrote on Twitter.

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