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Mastrodonato: Rafael Devers contract extension unlikely, if Red Sox’ recent history is any indication



Mastrodonato: Rafael Devers contract extension unlikely, if Red Sox’ recent history is any indication

Eduardo Rodriguez’s comments on Monday aligned with the words Mookie Betts once spoke and many Red Sox players before them never said, but surely wanted to.

It boils down to this: the Red Sox didn’t want to pay them a fair market wage, so they took their services elsewhere.

It’s as simple as that, and the story will likely continue as Xander Bogaerts is expected to opt out of his contract after 2022 and Rafael Devers is set to reach free agency after 2023.

“What would you rather have, 77 or 18?” Rodriguez asked a reporter who wondered if he’d considered the Sox’ $18.4 million qualifying offer before taking the Tigers’ $77-million offer. “Just being honest.”

Surely, Devers is listening. And after the Rays signed 20-year-old wonderkid Wander Franco to an 11-year, $182-million extension despite having just a half-season in the big leagues, Devers has to be wondering if he’ll ever make the money he’s worth in Boston or if he too will hit the road.

During his time in Boston, Betts made it clear he wasn’t going to sign for anything less than what he was worth.

Jon Lester didn’t want to play in Boston for a fraction of his value, either.

The list goes on as players who were once beloved Red Sox icons choose to pursue their actual worth instead of signing at a hometown discount.

Under the current ownership group, signing players at a hometown discount is just about the only extensions that get signed. It’s a topic that comes up often, especially as the team continues to develop star players but fails to lock them up.

That Bogaerts is still in a Red Sox uniform is a testament to his own desire to play here, even at a discount. He signed an extension for $20 million a year when he was clearly worth more, as we’ll soon see when similar players, Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, likely score $300-million deals in free agency this winter.

Bogaerts can’t cry poor with his $120 million extension, and he can, and likely will, opt out of the final three years after 2022 to get a bigger contract going forward. But the fact remains: he left a lot of money on the table to stay in Boston.

The story goes back to Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, too.

Pedroia never made more than $16 million in a season and averaged about $13 million per year to stay in Boston his whole career, despite his contemporary, Robinson Cano, turning down a chance to stay with the Yankees and instead signing with the Mariners to make $24 million a year through 2023.

And Ortiz, one of the greatest hitters of his generation, continued to sign short-term deals to stay in Boston until he retired. In 2018, two years after Ortiz made $16 million, his highest career salary, while leading the majors with a 1.021 OPS on his way to retirement, the Red Sox signed a similar replacement, J.D. Martinez, and paid him $24 million a year.

The Sox have given out fair market contracts before, but rarely with their own guys. They signed big deals with Manny Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, David Price and Martinez, among others who established themselves with other franchises first.

How does this happen? Why is that one of the richest franchises in professional sports has a history of forcing its best developed players to sign at a discount or hit the road?

It’s just business, as Betts always said. No hard feelings.

And that’s why nobody should fault Devers if he stands his ground and refuses to sign a bargain deal.

He’s one of just 14 players this millennium to hit 100 homers with an OPS-plus of at least 120 before his age 25 season. The list is impressive: Devers, Ronaldo Acuna Jr., Cody Bellinger, Carlos Correa, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, Eric Chavez, Troy Glaus and Alex Rodriguez.

Harper and Trout are on Hall of Fame tracks. Cabrera and Pujols are first-ballot Hall of Famers. Rodriguez would be if not for admitted steroid use. Stanton, Fielder, Glaus and Chavez aren’t Hall of Famers but are in that next level of very good players. Dunn is the lone good-not-great player in the group.

If the Red Sox want to retain a player on a list this accomplished, they’re going to have to pay. And recent history under this ownership group indicates that isn’t likely to happen.

It’s not that the Sox are cheap. Until 2021, they had a payroll that ranked amongst the six highest in MLB every year. Their $180-million opening day payroll in 2021 ranked eighth.

But under Chaim Bloom, who learned the ropes in the Rays front office, the Sox have often been compared to their rivals from Tampa.

If the Sox really are using the Rays as a model, then they’re more likely to sign Triston Casas to a contract extension than Devers.

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Brian Laundrie took responsibility for Gabby Petito’s death in notebook, FBI says



Brian Laundrie took responsibility for Gabby Petito's death in notebook, FBI says

(Nomadic Statik YouTube/Gabrielle Petito via NewsNation)

You can find the latest on the investigation involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie here. Download the WFLA app for breaking news push alerts and sign up for breaking news email alerts.

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Brian Laundrie was the only person involved in the death of Gabby Petito and claimed responsibility for her death in his notebook, the FBI said Friday as the agency gets ready to close the investigation into the disappearance and death of the 22-year-old North Port woman.

The FBI has been the lead agency investigating the Petito case for several months now. Petito was found dead in Wyoming about a week after she was reported missing by concerned family members who had not heard from her since the end of August. Petito and Laundrie were on a road trip out west at the time.

“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider with the FBI in Denver said in a statement. “The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito. The FBI’s primary focus throughout the investigation was to bring justice to Gabby and her family.”

Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11 by family members who said they lost communication with her and were not getting answers from Laundrie’s family. The FBI said it started investigating on Sept. 12 and launched a search for Petito. One week later, they said a search team found her remains at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area.

A coroner later said Petito died of “blunt-force injuries to the head and neck with manual strangulation.”

“While law enforcement investigated all logical leads, the investigation quickly focused on the last person believed to see her alive — Mr. Laundrie,” the FBI said Friday.

Laundrie returned home to North Port without Petito on Sept. 1, according to police. According to the FBI, he used Petito’s debit card while he was driving back to Florida from Wyoming. A federal arrest warrant was later issued for Laundrie in connection with the use of her card.

The FBI also revealed Friday that they found several texts sent between Laundrie and Petito’s phones after Petito’s death. The agency said Laundrie was trying to “deceive law enforcement by giving the impression that Ms. Petito was still alive.”

Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance before her body was found, but was reported missing himself several days later.

After more than a month of searching, the FBI said Laundrie’s remains were found in a Sarasota County nature reserve in October along with a backpack, revolver and notebook. The FBI revealed Friday that Laundrie had written statements in the notebook claiming responsibility for Petito’s death.

A medical examiner later determined Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Family members of Petito, who met with the FBI in Tampa on Thursday, released a statement through their attorney shortly before the FBI announced its findings. The family said they had “no doubt” that Laundrie murdered her.

“We truly appreciate the FBI’s diligent and painstaking efforts in this extremely complicated case. The quality and quantity of the facts and information collected by the FBI leave no doubt [that] Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby,” the statement released by Rick Stafford said.

The Laundrie family’s attorney also released a statement Friday after the FBI findings came out.

“Gabby and Brian are no longer with their families and this tragedy has caused enormous emotional pain and suffering to all who loved either or both of them,” Steve Bertolino said. “We can only hope that with today’s closure of the case each family can begin to heal and move forward and find peace in and with the memories of their children. May Gabby and Brian both rest in peace.”

The families of Petito and Laundrie reached an agreement earlier this week to split the couple’s belongings once they’re released by the FBI.

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Three charged, in custody in St. Clair Square shooting case



St. Clair Square shooting: 1 person wounded, 2 in custody

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Thousands of Missourians were overpaid unemployment benefits during the pandemic and now they are stuck paying some of them back. 

In the first three months of the pandemic around 600,000 Missourians filed for unemployment. The Department of Labor said it’s communicating to those who were overpaid, but the people on the other side say they spend hours on hold or never get through. 

“The way this has been handled since March of 2020 has been a disaster,” Sen. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis, said. 

Since the start of the pandemic, 46,000 Missourians have been overpaid unemployment benefits, which totals about $150,000. Over the summer, Gov. Mike Parson’s administration allowed the state’s department of labor to waive the federal portion. 

“We sent out mailings to folks who had overpayments on the federal portion,” legislative liaison for the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Benjamin Terrell told the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday. “We sent letters to all of them and communicated with them and sent a form that they could fill out. If they filled it out and returned it to us, and they were eligible, then the collections on the federal portion were waived.”

He told the committee members; the state portion couldn’t be waived because there is no state statute which is where the legislation sponsored by Beck and Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, comes in. 

“It’s been frustrating for everybody and now what we are seeing is garnishments are happening still, we’re seeing that you don’t get the same person to deal with your case,” Beck said, “They go from person to person, and they get different answers.”

Hough said both his and Beck’s office fields dozens of calls about the overpayments, which is why their legislation would waive the requirement for Missourians to pay the state portion and to streamline the waiver process. 

Tom Chessman, a retired bus driver in the St. Louis area, told senators he paid back the state the overpayment, and then filled out the form. 

“About a month or so ago, they sent me a check covering all the money,” Chessman said, 

Chessman said back in October 2021, he received a letter from the department telling him what he owed back since he was overpaid. In December, he was given the money back. But he was lucky. 

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Allegedly armed man who was shot by Colorado Springs officer is identified



Four officers connected to fatal shooting in Colorado Springs are identified

A man who was shot by a Colorado Springs officer after allegedly pointing a gun at police has been identified.

Austin Hood, 33, has been booked into the El Paso County Jail on suspicion of first degree assault of a peace officer, felony menacing, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, and a parole violation, according to an El Paso County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Hood was shot by an officer overnight Wednesday. He was taken to a local hospital and treated for his injuries.

Police were investigating a possible shot, or shots, fired at a patrol vehicle in the 4700 block of Harrier Ridge Drive when an officer encountered Hood after a car chase.

Police said Hood pointed a gun at the officer and the officer fired at Hood. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave per department policy. An investigation is ongoing.


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