Sunday, March 24, 2019

Theo's Cubbies May Have Interest In Trading For Sandy Leon As Backup

Wilson Contreras is the incumbent backstop for Theo Epstein's Chicago Cubs. But after him, there are question marks. Mindful of the critical role Sandy Leon played on the 2018 World Series Champion Red Sox, Theo may have interest in trading for Boston's "third-man-out" among its catching corps. Multiple reports now suggest that Leon may be on his way to the Windy City. It's hard to say who would come back to Boston in the deal—but clearly the Red Sox are in dire need of someone in the bullpen who can actually get batters out. One who might be available is 32-year-old Steve Cishek—although recent injuries to both Pedro Strop and closer Brandon Morrow might make that transaction impossible. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Red Sox Sign Ace Chris Sale To Five-Year Contract Extension For $145 Million

The Red Sox took care of one of their potential free-agents this morning, signing ace Chris Sale to a five-year, $145 million contract extension—which will start in the 2020 season. Sale will get a $15 million club option for 2019—then average $29 million a year over the following five seasons. The deal does include an opt-out after the 2022 season, but if the contract runs full, it will go through the 2024 season. Also, some of the $145 million is deferred money. Said Red Sox Manager Alex Cora, "Everyone knows how good he is and what he brings to the table, not only on the field but off the field. He’s one of the best." Since joining Boston, the lanky lefty has collected a ridiculous 545 strikeouts in just 372 1/3 innings. And, of course, he will forever be remembered for making Manny Machado pathetically whiff to end the 2018 World Series. Now, the Red Sox now have three potential free agents who could leave after this season—Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello and (if he exercises his opt-out) J.D. Martinez.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Red Sox Are Actively In Discussions To Trade Away Catcher Sandy Leon

(Getty Images)
Maybe Dave 'Adage' Dombrowski is reading the results of our FenwayNation Polls—which show around 60% preferring to trade away Sandy Leon rather than either Blake Swihart or Christian Vazquez. In any event, the Red Sox are said to be engaged in "active discussions" about a trade that would send the 30-year-old Leon packing. He is due for a relatively hefty 2019 salary of $2.48 million—considering he hit a "robust" .177 last season. He is, however, an above-average defensive backstop—and is the preferred battery-mate of both Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. Stay tuned, this deal is likely to go down very soon—with just six days until Opening Day in Seattle.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

POLL: Nearly Six In Ten Now Favor Trading Away Sandy Leon Over Others

Continued voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll suggests that almost six readers in ten (59%) want to trade Sandy Leon—rather than either Blake Swihart or Christian Vazquez. As the chart shows, about equal shares of readers think Vazquez (16%) and Swihart (15%) should be traded instead. One reader in ten (10%) thinks that the team should abandon its desire to dump one of the three catchers—and go with the troika (as they did all of last year). You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Craig Kimbrel Talking To The Milwaukee Brewers, But No Deal Is Imminent

(Getty Images)
Dave "Adage" Dombrowski's big bullpen gamble continues—and now Craig Kimbrel is talking contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Multiple reports suggest that the talks are only exploratory—and the Brew Crew are already pretty solid at the back end of the 'pen (while also sporting the biggest payroll in franchise history). So, the best closer on the market remains out there—and Boston is going with a clown-car full of lesser talents to close out games. Is this really how a championship team goes for a repeat? Not bloody likely. Dombrowski's inaction is perilously close to hardball malpractice. The Red Sox should offer Kimbrel a one-year "pillow" deal—that will give us a real closer short-term and allow him to test the free-agent waters again next year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

POLL: Solid Majority Favor Trading Sandy Leon Over Swihart Or Vazquez

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll indicates that a solid majority of readers (56%) support the idea of trading Sandy Leon—rather than either Blake Swihart or Christian Vazquez. As the chart shows, one in five readers (20%) would favor trading Swihart, while 14% would prefer to deal away Vazquez. One reader in ten (10%) prefers that the team keep all three catchers—as they did throughout last year's championship season. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Mike Trout Gets $430 Million Extension Over 12 Years, Is Mookie Betts Next?

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Two-time AL MVP Mike Trout has agreed to a 12-year, $430 million contract extension—that will keep him in Anaheim until he is 41 years old. The record breaking contract (with no opt-out clause) will pay Trout $35.8 million a year—marking the highest single-season salary in MLB history. Just recently, Bryce Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies (a 'mere' $25.4 million a year). One can only wonder if Red Sox super-star Mookie Betts is next in line for a $400-million dollar plus extension as well. It would behoove John Henry to do it and do it fast. All the goodwill the NOG (New Ownership Group) has built up with their four World Series Championships would be shattered if Betts heads for greener pastures when he is eligible for free-agency. Lock him up now!

POLL: Which One Of Their Three Catchers Should The Red Sox Trade?

The Red Sox still plan to trade one of their three catchers soon. Which ONE do you think should be traded?
 
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Monday, March 18, 2019

Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia To Open The 2019 Season On The Disabled List

The suits at MLB may call it the "injured list" these days—but it's still the DL to us. And, now (not really surprisingly) we find that Dustin Pedroia will start the 2019 season on the dreaded disabled list. The news came down this morning and confirmed the fears of everyone in Red Sox Nation—that The Muddy Chicken would again be out of action and away from the team. Having played just three games in the 2018 championship season, the 35-year-old Pedroia had hoped that his re-structured knee would hold up to multiple games in a row in Spring Training. So much for that plan. The Red Sox continue the fiction that there was "no setback"—but most fans can see through the Yawkey Way smoke-and-mirror machine. Inexplicably, The Laser Show will continue to play through games in Spring Training—then return to Fort Myers once the Grapefruit League schedule ends. How weird is that? Stay tuned for further updates.

World Series MVP Pearce Goes Down With Leg Injury, Removed From Game

(Getty Images)
Red Sox Nation will be holding its collective breath over the next day or so, as 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce had to leave Sunday's split-squad exhibition game against Pittsburgh with a "lower leg injury". The 35-year-old first-baseman downplayed the significance of the injury thusly: "I’m not worried about it at all". The rest of us, on the other hand, are wary of weird injuries to older players (Pearce also said he "didn't like how it feels")—especially ones being counted on to be an effective first-base tandem with Mitch Moreland. With just ten days until Opening Day, this is not a good sign. And, of course, neither is the fact that the defending World Series Champions still have no closer—or anyone in contention who remotely qualifies as a legitimate closer. Paging Craig Kimbrel—one-year pillow contract, whaddaya say?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

REPORT: Red Sox Ready To Extend Chris Sale To 7-Year, $245 Million Deal

(Getty Images)
According to veteran sports journalist Mike Dowling (you may remember him from his Channel 5 days), the Red Sox are "on the verge" of signing Chris Sale to a seven-year, $245 million contract extension—translating to $35 million a year. The soon-to-be-30-year-old lefty has been plagued by nagging—albeit minor—injuries, but is undoubtedly among the best five pitchers in all of baseball. No Red Sox fan will ever forget his ninth-inning performance to close out the 2018 World Series (and make nemesis Manny Machado look silly). Apparently, Boston does not want to make the same mistake they did with Jon Lester—when he was about the same age. While this may sound a little exorbitant, it's the right move. A Sale-less rotation starting next season would be a disaster. Again, it's only billionaire John Henry's money—so, really, who cares? Sign him!

Friday, March 15, 2019

MLB Cuts Mound Visits And Post-July Trades For 2019, More Changes In 2020

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed on a wide array of rules changes—in 2019 and beyond. For this season, the number of allowed mound visits will be cut from 6 to 5 and no trades will be allowed after a "hard" July 31st trade deadline. For the 2020 season, there will be even more changes—most notably, a pre-September increase in roster size from 25 to 26 and a cap on September rosters of 28 players. This finally ends the incredibly dumb allowance of 40-man rosters in September. And, starting pitchers and relief pitchers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters or to the end of a half-inning. A pitch clock has been put off for discussion further down the road. The really good news is that both sides are actively talking to one another—making a work stoppage extremely unlikely.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

POLL: Nearly Six In Ten 'Very Concerned' With Lack Of Established Sox Closer

Results from our latest FenwayNation Poll show that nearly six in ten readers (59%) say they are 'very concerned' that the Red Sox have no established closer—with just sixteen days until their first regular season game. Another 28% say they are 'somewhat concerned' —meaning a total of 87% express some degree of concern. As the chart shows, just 10% say they are 'not really that concerned', and only 2% say they are 'not concerned at all'. Boston's bullpen seems woefully inadequate to mount a World Series defense—obviously making many fans antsy about the ability to close out wins. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel—one of the best closers in MLB history—remains un-signed. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

FN POLL: How Concerned That The Red Sox Have No Established Closer?

As the Red Sox get set to defend their World Series Championship, how concerned are you that they have no established closer?
 
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Saturday, March 9, 2019

HOF Great Tom Seaver, Briefly With The Red Sox, Diagnosed With Dementia

(Getty Images)
Very sad news from the baseball world. Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver—who pitched for the 1986 American League Champion Red Sox—has been diagnosed with dementia. Seaver won 311 games in his 20-year Hall of Fame career—striking out 3,640 batters. He was the face of the World Series Champion 1969 Mets and is still beloved by fans across baseball. In the summer of 1986, the Red Sox traded Steve Lyons to the White Sox for Seaver—who went 5-7 for Boston with a 3.80 ERA. Despite a 2.77 ERA in his post-season career, he was not on the Red Sox World Series roster against—ironically—the Mets. Seaver's family stated that his dementia may be linked to his long battle with Lyme disease. Recently, there has been serious talk of erecting a statue to "Tom Terrific" at Citi Field in New York. That would be the right thing to do.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Red Sox Knuckleballer Steven Wright Suspended 80 Games For PED Use

(Getty Images)
In an incredibly stupid misstep, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright was caught using a banned performance-enhancing drug by Major League Baseball. Wright tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2) in an off-season testing regimen. For violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program, Wright will be suspended for 80 games— effective at the start of the 2019 regular season. This will clearly have an impact on the depth of Boston's starting rotation and may necessitate the acquisition of another starting option from outside the organization. Said Wright of his suspension: "I was notified by MLB that I failed a test under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program during this past offseason. Although I do not dispute the validity of the test, I was shocked as I have never intentionally ingested anything for performance-enhancing purposes. I have fully cooperated with MLB and will continue to try and identify the source of the result." Wright has missed substantial time over the last two seasons with various injuries—mostly to his left knee.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Potential Sox Closer Ryan Brasier Injured: Why Isn't Kimbrel Here Yet!?!

(Getty Images)
Please, don't let us hear John Henry crying poor-mouth again! The 2019 Boston Red Sox are in serious need of a pitcher to close out games. Craig Kimbrel—even with his imperfections—is the best option on the market. And, as of this morning, he still sits out there. One of Boston's new closer candidates—Ryan Brasieris now injured and doubtful to make Opening Day (despite typically over-optimistic claims to the contrary). And, do you really want Matt Barnes closing out games, or (God forbid) Tyler Thornburg? So, if the Red Sox need to go deep into the luxury tax sinkhole—fine! Go already! It's not our money—it's billionaire Henry's money. Do the Red Sox really want to repeat as World Series Champions, or is Henry's foreign soccer toy now more important to him? Dave Dombrowski should immediately offer Kimbrel a one-or-two-year "pillow" deal and get some real pitchers slotted into the back end of the Red Sox bullpen.

Muddy Chicken Could Make 2019 Debut Next Weekend If All Goes Well

Dustin Pedroia, who missed all but three games in the 2018 Championship season, is slated to make his first Spring game appearance next weekend. That is, if all goes well with his balky knee at tomorrow's workout. According to manager Alex Cora, that workout will include "everything"—ground balls, hitting and running. In October of 2017, The Laser Show underwent left knee cartilage restoration surgery—which he now regrets doing. Said Cora, "We have to (mark) all the check points. Workload and moving around. Spring training gives you a lot of information. So we’re tracking that and comparing with other players. And there’s a lot of factors that go in. We feel like hopefully if everything goes well on Monday, we’ll set a date towards the end of the week." Stay tuned for further Muddy Chicken updates during the upcoming week.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Brock Holt Claims Craig Kimbrel Had No Free-Agent Offers As Of Last Month

(USAToday)
In a stunning revelation, Red Sox utility-man supreme Brock Holt revealed that free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel had not gotten any offers as of last month—when Holt spoke with him. You may recall that Kimbrel had begun his free-agent quest demanding 6 years and $100 million. Despite his stellar career numbers, that was clearly a bit of a reach. And as of the beginning of March, he's still out there. There were suggestions that the Phillies might nab Kimbrel—but that's unlikely now with that team's outlay of $330 million for Bryce Harper. In the 2018 championship season for Boston, Kimbrel posted 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA—but struggled some in the post-season. It may come down to two of Kimbrel's old clubs—the Braves and the Red Sox (both on short-term "pillow" deals). Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

FOCO's New Game of Thrones X MLB-Themes Bobblehead Are Here!

Well, it was inevitable, right? One of the biggest television events would pair up with one of the biggest sports. Our good friends at FOCO (Forever Collectibles) are releasing a new line of Game Of Thrones bobbleheads—with an MLB theme. We are privileged to among the first who will get to see the Red Sox version of the bobbleheads (stay tuned for our review!). In the meantime, the accompanying photo is a little teaser of how great these products will be. This brand-new cross licensed series features fan favorite MLB players and mascots as well as Game of Thrones characters and settings from the award-winning HBO series. All 30 MLB teams are represented in the first series which launches online today at FOCO.com for pre-order. The first series includes three distinct bobblehead styles merging the two worlds and features: The Iron Throne, the Ice Dragon and the Night King. The Iron Throne Bobbleheads depict MLB stars and mascots sitting upon a detailed recreation of the iconic Iron Throne. Each player or mascot holds a sword and sits beside a banner featuring Game of Thrones® imagery and MLB team logos.