Cherington: Working hard to settle deals

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Now that the Boston Red Sox have come to terms with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, general manager Ben Cherington still has some work to do with other arbitration-eligible players.

The Sox have a total of eight players still eligible, including outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and pitchers Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan. Cherington said he’s working hard to settle all deals in order to avoid a hearing.

Friday is the deadline for the sides to exchange numbers. If the team doesn't come to terms with any player, the two sides will go in front of an arbitrator, who will pick either the player's number of the team's.

“We’re working,” Cherington said. “Obviously we’ve got a bunch left and we’ve been working. We’ve been working all week. We’ll work tonight and tomorrow and see if we can settle some more before the exchange date, and if not, we’ll keep talking after that. We’ve had guys get past exchange and still settle after, so we’ll see. We’ll work as hard as we can tonight and tomorrow morning and see what we can do.”

The Red Sox have a solid track record of avoiding arbitration hearings, and Cherington hopes that remains the same, but he’s prepared either way.

"You can never rule that out. We haven’t been to a hearing in a while, but we’ve gotten close a couple of times. I guess the more cases you have, the better chance that one of them goes. As every year, we’re focused on trying to settle and trying to find a fair number. We have to be prepared for [a hearing] but right now we’re focused on trying to see what we can do before tomorrow, and then if we have cases remaining after tomorrow we’ll kind of shift our focus towards that.”