Saturday, November 18, 2017

Red Sox Prospect Chavis Shines In AFL Championship

RBI Triple By Michael Chavis
Three top Red Sox prospects (along with four others in the Boston organization) won an Arizona Fall League Championship today with the Peoria Javelinas. 1B/3B Michael Chavis (#2), SS/2B Chad De La Guerra (# 23) and 2B Josh Tobias (#26) won the Cactus Circuit ring with an 8-2 victory. Other Sox on the Peoria squad were: P Ty Buttery, P Kevin McAvoy, P Henry Owens and P Bobby Poyner. Chavis—who started at first base—went 2-5 with an RBI triple and a run scored in the win.

Protective Netting To Be Extended Further At Fenway

The Red Sox announced that they will further extend protective netting at Fenway Park next season. Currently, the netting extends to the "inner edge" of each dugout. It will now be extended about 140 feet down each baseline. Specifically, a team spokesperson said, netting will now go "from Field Box 79 on the third base side to the Canvas Alley area on the first base side, around Field Box 9". Generally, fans seem to have accepted the netting—trading off any new obstructions for the dramatically increased safety.

#2, #23, #26 Sox Prospects In AFL Championship Game

Three high-level Red Sox prospects are on national display today. Third baseman Michael Chavis (#2), SS/2B Chad De La Guerra (# 23) and 2B Josh Tobias (#26) will all compete at 3PM Eastern for the Peoria Javelinas in the Championship Game of the Arizona Fall League. Chavis in particular has been tearing up the Catcus Circuit on the way to a possible ring today. You can catch the game on MLB Network.

Friday, November 17, 2017

David Ortiz May Open Restaurant In Springfield, Mass.

(Shawn Costa Photo)
During his appearance at a Springfield Thunderbirds hockey game, former Red Sox hero David Ortiz strongly hinted that he might be back in the Pioneer Valley a lot in the future. The three-time World Series Champion stated that he might just open up an eatery in Springfield. Said Papi, "They're building a new casino here, so we're talking about building a restaurant here. We're going to catch up and see how it goes down. But you might get to see (me) more often around here if that goes down." Needless to say the sell-out crowd went wild at the possibility.

Sox AAA Team Could Be Named The "Att"-Sox Someday

(Boston Globe Photo)
The very crafty Larry Lucchino seems to be playing off a number of new stadium sites for his AAA franchise (currently known as the Pawtucket Red Sox). Yet another potential home has cropped up—just as new stadium proposals percolate in Pawtucket and Worcester, Massachusetts. The brand new stalking horse is a razed manufacturing site in—ta-da—Attleboro, Massachusetts. Say what? The post-industrial twin city to Pawtucket? Yup, just over the Massachusetts border lies the plush, but not overly ostentatious, town of Attleboro—not the be confused with the tonier suburb of North Attleborough—you know, where Aaron Hernandez had his mini-mansion. Anyway, this new site is likely meant to put more pressure on Rhode Island legislators—who are being asked to underwrite part of Larry's new Pawtucket stadium to the tune of $38 million taxpayer dollars. And, guess what? Another denizen from Larry's olden days was at a stadium presentation the other day—none other than Janet Marie Smith—the 'brains' behind Camden Yards and the "renovation" of 105-year old Fenway Park. Suffice it to say that Larry will get his little stadium—most likely in Pawtucket on the banks of the lovely Blackstone River. Or, you might just be attending AttSox games in Attleboro.

Fish Not Close To Stanton Deal, But Giants Are Closest

According to a report by USAToday's Bob Nightengale, the Miami Marlins are not close to trading superstar Giancarlo Stantonbut, the San Francisco Giants have been the "most aggressive" in that pursuit. This begs the question of whether the Red Sox are even seriously in on the Stanton Sweepstakes. While rumors have been flying all week about whether or not Boston is in play, it now appears that they are not. Stay tuned—this could all change in a matter of hours!

Sox Target Santana Turns Down Tribe Qualifying Offer

(Getty Images)
As expected, Cleveland 1B Carlos Santana turned down the Tribe's $17.4 million qualifying offer—clearing the path for the Red Sox (and other teams) to pursue the free agent. If Santana gets a contract worth more than $50 million (an absolute certainty), then the Indians get a compensatory draft pick from the signing team (after the first round). As the off-season moves on, Santana appears to be the most appealing first-base option for The Carmine Hose—a middle-of-the-order, switch-hitting power bat who gets on base and is also an elite defender (he won the 2017 Wilson Defensive Player Of The Year Award for 1B). Of course, there are even cheaper options (e.g., Logan Morrison, Yonder Alsonso), but Santana seems to make the most sense.

MLB To Add 'Pace-Of-Play' Rules Even If Union Opposes

(AP Photo)
Major League Baseball seems to be taking the whole pace-of-play issue seriously. While management is attempting to reach an accord on some of the new rules with the players' union—those rules will happen with or without union agreement. The potential new rules for 2018 include:

• a 20-second pitch clock; 
• one catcher trip to the mound per pitcher each inning;
• raising the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to the top of the kneecap.

Said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, "My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other." Damn straight, Commish! 

Yankee Shill Kay's 'Inside Source': Judge Will Win MVP

The 'Well-Sourced' Michael Kay
If it wasn't for the the buffoonish John Sterling and the traitorous Suzyn Waldman, YES Network's Michael Kay would be the most annoying member of the Yankee broadcast crew. Kay may have inched ahead of the aforementioned Dyspeptic Duo with his embarrassing claim yesterday—according to his 'very credible' source—that Aaron Judge would win the American League MVP Award. Not only did Judge lose to the much more deserving Jose AltuveThe Jurist got crushed. The Houston Astros superstar got 27 out of a possible 30 first-place votes—on his way to a landslide 405-279 victory on total points. Maybe Kay's was a prank source from that other annoying New Yorker—Howard Stern.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Internet Baseball Writers Name Altuve & Stanton MVPs

(Getty Images)
The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) this afternoon announced the winners in its Most Valuable Player category, with the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve winning the group’s American League award, and Giancarlo Stanton, of the Miami Marlins, being selected in the National League. Altuve received 107 first-place votes (72.79%) and 1838 points while being named on 146 of 147 ballots (99.32%). Stanton received 58 first-place votes (40%) and 1492 points while being named on 144 of 145 (97.96%) ballots. Both FenwayNation Editor-In-Chief Ernie Paicopolos and International Editor Mark Lawrence are voting members of the IBWAA.

Christian Vazquez Aiming For Number One Backstop Job

(Getty Images)
According to MLB.com's Ian Browne, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez is shooting for the #1 backstop gig in 2018. After sharing catching duties last season with Sandy Leon, Vazquez wants to ramp up his games caught from 85 to over 100. Everyone knows his elite defensive skills—but, last year, he really emerged as a solid offensive weapon. He hit .290 and knocked in 32 runs on the season. The final skill-set he wants to improve is game-calling, "I'm always trying to get better at that. You never stop learning. Every game you learn from the pitchers and the pitching coach. That never stops." With his canon arm and solid hitting, he should be an integral part of the 2018 squad.

Where In The Wide Red Sox World Is Rusney Castillo?

(Boston Globe Photo)
With all the names bandied about this off-season, there hasn't been much mention of a player who once carried so much promise: Rusney Castillo. To refresh your memory, on August 23, 2014, the Red Sox signed the Cuban native to a seven year, $72.5 million contract. That pact isn't up until after the 2020 season. Last off-season, Boston did not place Castillo on the 40-man roster—exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft. Not surprisingly, no other team scooped him up—not at that salary and with his level of performance. Although, in 2017, he did fare pretty well at AAA Pawtucket—hitting .314 in 87 games and clouting 15 HRs. Still, since he will turn 31 next July, it's likely Boston will leave him off the 40-man roster again this year. And, again, no team will pick him up. So, the $72.5 million albatross will still hang around the organization's neck—probably until 2020. Bad contract. No biscuit. 

Players' Union Throws Monkey Wrench Into Ohtani Deal

The Major League Baseball Players Association—the players' union to the rest of us—is throwing up a significant roadblock to any resolution of the posting process between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball. The upshot of the obstruction is that two-way mega-star Shohei Ohtani probably won't be coming to America in 2018. Previously, MLB had projected a resolution of the process by early December. Wrong, Jimmy Hoffa Breath! The union is challenging the "future" terms of the proposed agreement—something they should have done a long time ago during negotiations for the overall Collective Bargaining Agreement. But, unions will be unions—even ones with "rank-and-file members" who could buy and sell small countries several times over.

REPORT: Stanton 'Advisers' Pushing Trade To Red Sox

(sabreshockey3.deviantart.com)
He's baaaack! WJAR-TV (Providence, Rhode Island) sports guy Joe Kayata has a new twist on the Giancarlo Stanton Sweepstakes. He reports that while Stanton would prefer a move to the LA Dodgers, his "advisers" are pushing him to accept a deal to Boston. Why? Supposedly, the juicy marketing lure of 19 Stanton VS. Judge match-ups per year are too much to pass up. Honestly, we're skeptical about whether this report has any foundation. But it is fun to speculate that—behind the scenes—Stanton might be being urged to ignore his aversion to cold weather and head to Fenway.

Evil Ones Had Preliminary Talks With Marlins On Stanton

(C.M. Guerrero)
Well, you knew it would happen sooner or later. Of the eight teams in on a possible trade for Giancarlo Stanton, The Bronx Embalmers are now identified as one of them. The Pinstriped Posers have already held preliminary talks with their old buddy Derek Jeter about pairing Stanton with AL Rookie of The Year Aaron Judge. Clearly, this sends shivers up and down the collective AL East spine. It's also reminiscent of what occurred on February 15, 2004, when the Rangers traded A-Fraud to the Yankees—after an all-but-certain deal to the Red Sox was torpedoed at the last minute by the MLB Players Union. Could a similar thing happen again with Stanton? Heaven forfend!