Brian Bello he’s performing well enough in his first full season that the Red Sox seem interested in signing him long-term, and the club’s assistant general manager Eddie Romero tells Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic.
“Everything is case by case, there is no guide for that, but I think that Brayan is a special case and we will make efforts to speak with him and his group,” Romero said. “He’s basically done what he’s got to do and what we’d want from a young starting pitcher in this organization and he’s done it the right way, he’s a great teammate and he’s improved the quality of his stuff, he’s a hard worker, and He’s earned the respect of everyone here, so he’s the type we obviously want to keep.”
Those talks are unlikely to escalate at this point, as Bello’s preference is to focus on his performance while the season is still in progress. “If (the Red Sox) talked to my representatives, I don’t know,” he says, “because I told them if there are extension talks I don’t want to hear about it in the season, because I want to focus on finishing my season well so they happen to me. good stuff.” But once the offseason rolls around, it sounds like he’s open to an extension. “I want to stay here for the long haul,” he said. “This is the organization that gave me a chance to be somebody, so I’d love to stay here.” Bello also expressed his openness to an extension with WEEI’s Rob Bradford A couple of weeks ago.
It’s not a surprise that the Sox are interested in having Bello put pen to paper, given his strong results and the club’s need for long-term pitching solutions. He debuted in July of last year and made 13 appearances in the second half of the season, including 11 starts, posting a 4.71 earned run average in 57 1/3 innings. His 20.5% strikeout rate and 10.1% walk rate were a bit below average, but he kept the ball on the ground at an excellent rate of 55.7%.
Here, in 2023, he made 15 more starts with his strikeout and ground ball rates essentially flat, but his walk rate dropped to 6.1%. That helped him lower his ERA over a full run to 3.14 on the season. He now has been in the majors for a little over a year and has a combined 3.77 ERA in 143 1/3 innings in that time and only celebrated his 24th birthday in May.
The rotation in Boston has a lot of question marks right now. james paxton he’s pitching well, but he’s an imminent free agent. chris sale He still has one more guaranteed season on his contract and an option for 2025, but he’s gotten hurt quite often in recent years. The last time he reached 60 innings in an individual season was 2019. corey kluber and Nick Pivetta they’ve been moved to the bullpen, and Pivetta is likely to stay there as he’s thriving and Kluber’s option is likely to be declined this fall. houck tanner and garrett whitlock both have plenty of club control left, but both have struggled to stay healthy to the point that neither has reached 80 innings in a major league season yet. kutter crawford he has a 3.74 ERA this year overall, but a 4.73 mark as a starter.
Looking further ahead, there doesn’t seem to be much immediate help coming from the farm. Bryan Mata he’s on the 40-man roster but has a 5.61 ERA at Triple-A this year. brandon walter he’s working out of the major league bullpen right now, but he has a 6.08 ERA in Triple-A this year. Some other non-roster depth pieces have also struggled, prompting the club to sign journeymen such as Dinelson Lamet and kyle barraclough to minor league deals.
Taking all those factors into account, it’s understandable why the club would want to keep Bello. There shouldn’t be any dire urgency, as he will end this season with one year and 82 days of service time. That means he won’t be scheduled for arbitration until after 2025 or free agency until after 2028. But like all players, he’ll only increase in buying power as he gets closer to those dates, as long as he stays healthy and cash. hunter green and the Reds recently agreed to a six-year, $53 million extension with five years remaining in control of the club, where Bello will be this winter. But players in their arbitration years can usually go further, like the $90MM guarantee secured by Logan Webb when he had between three and four years of service time or the $108MM he louis castle got when he was over four years old. That’s not to say that Bello has the same pitching caliber as those guys or that the Red Sox would have to pay that kind of money, but it does highlight how the prices will rise as potential free agency approaches.
The Sox already have some significant long-term contracts on the books, with Trevor’s Story, Masataka Yoshida and rafael devers each earns $18 million or more for each future season through 2027. But extensions for players before arbitration typically see salaries increase gradually, roughly mirroring the process of expanding the arbitration system. A notional extension of Bello would likely see him earn modest salary increases for the first few seasons with the most significant salaries being after Story and Yoshida are off the books. Devers’ contract runs through 2033, but he’s the only Boston player guaranteed a contract in 2028 and beyond.
Given the aforementioned rotation uncertainty, the Red Sox look like a candidate to pursue starting pitching in free agency this winter, but they may also look to use a few dollars to secure their best internal candidate.