NEW YORK — The Red Sox announced Sunday they have signed pitcher Garrett Whitlock to a four-year contract extension that spans the 2023-26 seasons, with two additional club options.
Per a major league source, the deal breakdown is as follows: an upfront signing bonus of $1 million; 2023: $1 million; 2024: $3.25 million; 2025: $5.25 million; 2026: $7.25 million; 2027 (club option) $8.25 million with $1 million buyout; 2028 (club option) $10.5 million with $500k buyout.
The total guarantee, not including Whitlock’s $720,000 salary in 2022, comes to $18.75 million. Option salaries can escalate by up to $2.5 million each for significant innings pitched in previous years (some cumulative over 2023-26, some in immediate prior year) and for award recognition. The maximum total escalation is $4 million per year.
Whitlock, 25, was a Rule 5 draft choice by the Red Sox in December 2020 after the Yankees left him exposed.
“It’s still so surreal,” Whitlock said hours before the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 4-3. “I mean, it’s, it’s crazy. Two years ago, I was working two jobs, you know, and trying to survive the COVID season and everything like that. And so now to just be sitting here doing this, it’s just, it’s all very surreal.”
The righthander became the Red Sox best reliever in 2021, taking on multiple roles in the bullpen. He posted a 1.96 ERA in 73⅓ regular-season innings last year, and worked 2⅓ innings Friday against the Yankees in his season debut, allowing a run.
Whitlock remains a key piece to the present and future. He can pitch in multiple roles, be it a starter, closer, or multi-inning reliever — his role for now.
Whatever Whitlock becomes, the Sox are confident he still has untapped potential.
“We hope we’re just scratching the surface of what he can accomplish,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. “He’s said it a few times, you give him the ball and he’ll get people out until you take it from him. That’s perfect. And where that takes him, where that takes us, we’ll see. But it’s good having him in our foxhole.”
Whitlock said signing the extension was the perfect fit.
“I love the city of Boston,” he said. “I love the fans and everything, love the organization and everything we’re trying to do with winning.”
It’ll be Christian Arroyo at short
When Xander Bogaerts is unavailable, Trevor Story won’t shift over from second base. Christian Arroyo will play shortstop instead.
“We talked a little bit and [Story] was like, ‘You know what, I want to be locked in at second. I want to be the best I can there,’ ” manager Alex Cora said. “So Christian will play short. We feel very comfortable with him there.”
Arroyo played shortstop a couple of times during spring training and proved to be a solid option, flashing his range and sure-handedness. He also plays right field when a lefty is on the mound, making his first start there Sunday, instead of Jackie Bradley Jr.
“One thing we know about Christian is that he’s a good athlete,” Cora said. “[Bench coach] Will Venable has done an amazing job with him.”
Speaking of Story, he didn’t play Sunday due to flu-like symptoms. The Sox said Story tested negative for COVID-19 and is expected to be back in the lineup Monday against the Tigers.
Story is 1 for 8 in two games.
Michael Wacha takes the ball in Monday’s series opener against the Tigers. It will be his first start in a Sox uniform. “I’m really looking forward to getting out there and getting this season started,” Wacha said. “I’m just looking forward to competing against those guys.” Wacha spent much of his tenure in the National League. He made his only career start against the Tigers last season while a member of the Rays. He went five innings, and allowed three hits and a run. He’ll oppose Matt Manning, with Rich Hill scheduled to go Tuesday against Tyler Alexander and Nate Eovaldi on Wednesday against Eduardo Rodríguez . . . Matt Barnes (back tightness) threw Sunday and should be available to pitch Monday after he missed the entire Yankees series . . . Righthander Eduard Bazardo, recently designated for assignment, made it through waivers and was outrighted to Triple A Worcester . . . The Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team was honored at Yankee Stadium for its Elite Eight appearance. Senior forward KC Ndefo threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
(Alex Speier of the Globe staff contributed to this report.)