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Red Sox, 18 players agree to terms

Papelbon agrees to deal with Sox

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox announced Thursday the club has agreed to terms with 18 players on one-year contracts for the 2008 season.

Agreeing to terms were pitchers David Aardsma, Craig Breslow, Clay Buchholz, Bryan Corey, Manny Delcarmen, Devern Hansack, Kyle Jackson, Jon Lester, Edgar Martinez, Jonathan Papelbon and David Pauley; catchers Dusty Brown and George Kottaras; infielders Chris Carter, Argenis Diaz and Dustin Pedroia and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Brandon Moss.

With the agreements, the team was able to avoid unilaterally renewing any of the players, all of whom were ineligible for arbitration.

"I think it's a reflection that our structure for 'pre-arb' players is fair," said Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "Ultimately, I think the players felt the same way. So we tend to be generous within reason to our players, try to reward them for service time and performance and get these things done. We've only had, what, one renewal [Kevin Youkilis] last year and none this year. So it's good. Players, I think, are happy. I think they understand that when their time comes -- when they're eligible for arbitration and beyond."

Of the group, closer Jonathan Papelbon is the most high profile. He made $425,500 in 2007. Earlier this week, Papelbon said he believed he should be among the best-compensated relievers in the game.

While the team did not disclose terms of any of the contracts, The Associated Press reported that Papelbon signed a one-year contract for $755,000.

"I haven't talked to him since he agreed," Epstein said. "I talked to his agents. He seems happy. I think his sights might have been set a little higher, but the more information he got, the more he probably realized we were being really fair with him.

"He's going to be here a really long time. This isn't his last contract. The relationship between him and the club is a really strong one. I don't think something like this was going to get in the way."

It's in the best interests of a club and a player, Epstein said, to come to terms, rather than have renewals.

"It's always nice to reach an agreement rather than having to unilaterally assign a salary," said Epstein, who believes the team's approach matters.

"You treat the player fairly, I think you do get it done more often than not," said Epstein. "This year may be a bit of an exception in some cases. It's a good problem to have: talented pre-arbitration players."

With the agreements, all 40 players on Boston's Major League roster are under contract for the 2008 season.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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