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Brayan Bello and the Red Sox agree to contract extension

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox have made a commitment in recent weeks to building around their young core. They took an important step in that process on Thursday by signing emerging ace Brayan Bello to a six-year contract extension.

The deal, first reported by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, is expected to be worth $55 million and includes a seventh-year club option for $21 million, according to Mark Feinsand of

This will give the 24-year-old the opportunity to celebrate his long-term deal in person with his closest family members and friends.

“Yeah, I can’t comment on that,” Bello said when asked about the news regarding his new contract. “But I can tell you that we might have some good news over the weekend in the Dominican Republic. It’ll be great. I will be able to spend time with my family and with my fans in the Dominican Republic and I am sure we will have a good time.

For a long time, the Red Sox struggled to develop local starting pitchers.

The Red Sox signed Bello at age 18 as an international free agent on July 2, 2017. At that time, Bello was not considered a significant prospect, as evidenced by his modest $28,000 signing bonus.

In fact, Bello endured some early scraps, posting a 5.43 ERA in 2019, his first full season in Low-A. At that point, the idea of ​​a six-year contract with a club option seemed distant.

“At that time, I was just thinking about making the team and trying to become a major player,” Bello said. “But obviously things have changed and I continue to work hard to continue to improve and be the best I can be.”

For Bello, the milestone was reached in 2022, when he posted a 1.69 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Portland, then went 6-2 in 11 outings at Triple-A Worcester.

Their rotation depleted by injuries, the Sox called Bello up for his Major League debut ahead of schedule in July 22 of that season, and he needed time to adjust, going 2-8 with an ERA of 4 .71.

In ’23, Bello’s first full Major League season, he pitched like an ace at times, making 28 starts and going 12-11 with a 4.24 ERA.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Thursday morning that Bello was competing with Nick Pivetta to start Opening Day. If Bello doesn’t win the season opener in Seattle on March 28, he will start the next day.

“Of course, I’m happy to be a part of this conversation,” Bello said. “Obviously, I worked really hard and got to camp early this spring because that’s one of my goals every year. And if that happens, I’ll be ready to take the ball that day.

“He’s in a great position,” Cora said. “He’s got a lot of fans in this clubhouse, obviously around Red Sox Nation and hopefully before that first pitch on Saturday we can get this (contract extension) completed and we can celebrate.”

In his surge to start the season, Bello threw three innings and 50 pitches in the minor leagues out of a backfield. It seemed fitting on a day when his contract was about to be finalized, because it wasn’t long ago that Bello was one of those prospects who spent his entire spring training on that type of field.

“When you look back, it’s always nice to reflect on the journey you’ve had to take so far,” Bello said. “For example, today I had the opportunity to compete against young people and I have the opportunity to give feedback and also learn from them. So yeah, it’s really nice.

Bello continued to evolve with his powerful sinker and turned his changeup and four-seamer into important weapons. This season, Bello incorporates a new grip on his slider that Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez helped him master during the offseason.

As Bello attempts to become one of Boston’s best homegrown starters over the past decade, he has continually enlisted the help of Martinez.

“He basically said, ‘Don’t be afraid out there,’” Bello said. “Just throw whatever you’re going to throw with conviction. »

Look for Bello to display that belief for years to come while wearing a Boston uniform.