ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox signed one slugger before the draft signing deadline hit on Sunday, coming to an agreement with Notre Dame first baseman Niko Kavadas.
But second-round pick Jud Fabian returned to the University of Florida, spurning an offer of approximately $2 million. Fabian, the 40th overall pick, was seeking closer to $3 million.
The Sox will receive the 41st pick next year as compensation. That will give them a larger draft bonus pool.
Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said the Sox were aware Fabian might be tough to sign but took the risk knowing they’d pick in essentially the same spot next year.
Fabian is the highest draft pick to reject the Sox since Brockton High outfielder Greg McMurtry was taken 14th overall in 1986 and decided to play wide receiver at Michigan.
McMurtry played for three Big Ten champions and was a third-round pick of the Patriots in 1990. He played five seasons in the NFL.
Fabian belted 20 home runs last season but also struck out in 79 of his 235 at-bats last season and hit .249. He dropped into the second round as a result.
The outfielder, who turns 21 in September, will play a fourth season for the Gators hoping to improve his stock. But Fabian also is forfeiting much of his leverage with the next team that drafts him.
Division 1 athletes gained an extra season of eligibility because of the pandemic. But returning for a fifth season would serve only to further delay Fabian’s pro career.
The Sox used some of the money saved on Fabian to sign one of his Florida teammates, catcher Nathan Hickey, for $1 million, well over his slot value of $410,000.
Hickey hit .317 with a .957 OPS last season.
Kavadas, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound lefthanded hitter, agreed to a $250,000 bonus. The 11th-round pick hit .302 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs in 47 games as a senior.
Kavadas was an All-American and a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser awards.
The Sox signed 16 of their 20 picks.
Sale on Saturday
The Sox are giving Chris Sale two extra days of rest before his next start. He is now scheduled to start on Saturday night for Triple A Worcester in Moosic, Pa., against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Sale allowed one run over five innings for Worcester on Saturday and threw 81 pitches. He spoke to Alex Cora on Sunday and said he felt fine.
“He felt like it was a regular start, there were no limits,” Cora said.
The Sox have had head athletic trainer Brad Pearson with Sale for his four minor league starts.
No days off
The Sox have a day off in Detroit on Monday before starting a three-game series against the Tigers on Tuesday. But they have an optional workout at Comerica Park.
Marwin Gonzalez, out since July 13 with a strained right hamstring, will take part in anticipation of being activated on Tuesday. Kyle Schwarber is scheduled to take live batting practice and get some work at first base.
Schwarber is getting close to a minor league rehab assignment.
“We’ll sit down Tuesday or Wednesday and see where we’re at,” Cora said. “As far as [his progress], we’re excited.”
Matt Andriese, out with right hamstring tendinitis, threw live batting practice on Sunday in Worcester. Ryan Brasier, who has yet to appear in a game this season because of a series of injuries, has thrown several bullpen sessions.
Chavis bids farewell
Michael Chavis posted a message to his Instagram account on Sunday paying tribute to the Red Sox following his trade to the Pirates.
“I can’t put into words what wearing this uniform meant to me. Before every game I prayed and thanked God for allowing me to wear it. It was a privilege that was never taken for granted,” Chavis said.
“Similarly, being able to call Fenway Park my home was an honor that will not soon be forgotten . . . I am forever grateful to the Red Sox organization for taking a chance on an 18-year-old kid and allowing his dreams of becoming a major league player to come true.”
Chavis went on to thank the fans and said he was eager to play in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates assigned Chavis to Triple A Indianapolis after the trade. One of new teammates is Steven Wright, who is 4-5 with a 6.83 ERA in 15 games after missing the 2020 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The Indianapolis pitching coach is another former Red Sox player, Joel Hanrahan.
Workman leaves Sox
Brandon Workman, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Worcester. He decided instead to become a free agent. Workman, 32, appeared in 214 games for the Sox from 2013-21. He was 25-16 with a 3.83 ERA and 20 saves and was a member of two World Series champions . . . Worcester infielder Yairo Muñoz was 1 for 4 on Sunday to extend his hit streak to 24 games . . . Sunday marked the first time the Rays had hosted a Sunday night game on ESPN since 2011. The Rays had not played in the Sunday night game since 2014.