Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pride Of Andover High School Back Home Again

Andover High School
Ryan Hanigan graduated from Andover High School in 1999 (where he was an Eastern Mass. All-Star). After college, his MLB career took him to far-flung locations like Cincinnati and Tampa Bay. Now, he's coming home to play for the team he rooted for as a kid. Said Hanigan, "...I grew up watching the Red Sox so you can't not do that around here. It's the team. We were diehard growing up. All my nieces and nephews were a little bid jaded throughout the years, when I was wearing a Cincinnati and Tampa Bay uniform. Now they're pumped they can rock the Red Sox stuff with pride." We hear 'ya Ryan, we hear 'ya. Welcome back!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Are Red Sox 'Punting' On Free Agent Starters?

As time moves on, it appears that the Red Sox may actually be planning to go into the 2015 season with their current starting rotation. ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes reports today that Ben Cherington has—in fact—admitted that the team is not "actively engaged" with any of the elite free agent pitchers still available. This is highly distressing on many levels. It indicates that the Red Sox are not pursuing the safest route to improve the rotation—through free agency (without sacrificing prospects).

Craig Breslow Returns To Sox On 1-YR Deal

(FenwayNation Photo)
At least the Red Sox clubhouse will be a little smarter now. Yale grad Craig Breslow re-signed with Boston yesterday on a one-year, $2 million deal. Breslow helps fill the left-handed void in the bullpen—and, hopefully, will revert to his pre-2014 form. While the all-Yale battery is no longer possible with the departure of Ryan Lavarnway (who has bounced all over MLB in the last week), signing Breslow is a good move by Ben Cherington.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Evil Empire Swaps Prado For Nathan Eovaldi

The Bronx Embalmers have been almost too quiet this off-season. Today, they pulled off a five-player trade with the Miami Marlins—which netted them a young starting pitcher in Nathan Eovaldi. The Pinstriped Posers sent Martin Prado to South Beach—along with pitcher David Phelps. In addition to Eovaldi, the Marlins sent journeyman first-baseman Garrett Jones and a minor leaguer to the Bronx. Eovladi is only 24 and—despite a disappointing career so far—still has a big upside and a scary fastball. This is probably a smart move by The Evil Ones, since their starting rotation made ours look good.

Will Middlebrooks Could Have Been A Mainstay

Baseball is a crazy business. In 2012, Will Middlebrooks looked like one the emerging young stars of the sport. After filling in at third base for an injured Kevin Youkilis, Middlebrooks had a half-season full of promise. In just 75 games, he hit .288 with 15 HRs and 54 RBIs. We all thought we had a kid who could clout 30 bombs and 100 RBIs for years. Then, injuries intervened. And bad luck. And the emergence of other prospects. Then, finally, a 'Panda' put an end to it all. We will always wonder what might have been. We wish Will the best of luck in San Diego.

Other Shoe Drops—Padres Sign David Ross

UPDATE: Ross To Cubs
Literally minutes after a reported trade of catcher (and Andover High School alum) Ryan Hanigan to Boston, the San Diego Padres scooped up former Red Sox backstop David Ross. In 2014—until the late-season emergence of Christan Vazquez—Ross was part of one of the worst Boston catching tandems in history with A.J. Pierzynski. However, Ross will always be remembered as catching the final strike as the Red Sox clinched their first World Series at Fenway Park in 95 years in 2013.

Andover's Hanigan To Sox For Middlebrooks?

UPDATE: Physical to come
Reports are surfacing that Andover's Ryan Hanigan will be traded by the Padres to the Red Sox in exchange for Will Middlebrooks. Hanigan graduated from Andover (MA) High School back in 1999. He was a three-year varsity starter at Andover and was an Eastern Massachusetts All-Star in his senior year. Hanigan would be a perfect compliment to Christian Vazquez in the Boston backstop brigade. Middlebrooks—still with potent power potential—would help fill a void at the hot corner for San Diego. Hanigan was just traded from the Rays two days ago in the big 11-player Wil Myers deal. Stay tuned.

Will City Council Vote Send The Rays Packing?

The St. Petersburg City Council voted down a proposal to let the Tampa Bay Rays scout around Hillsborough County for a new ballpark site. The likely effect of the vote is the sale of the team by current owner Stu Sternberg and a move to another city. This is probably the best news possible for the franchise—stuck in a Rube Goldberg-like joke of a stadium with equally dumb fans. There are several worthy options for the Rays, all of which would do a much better job of supporting what is a solid baseball organization.

Peavy Signs Two-Year, $24M Deal With Giants

Jake Peavy (Exclusive FenwayNation Photo)
Former Red Sox hurler (and Duck Boat owner) Jake Peavy re-upped with the World Champion Giants on a two-year, $24 million contract. Peavy was a force for the Giants in the pennant drive—but faltered some in the post-season and World Series. The 34-year old righty will also get a full no-trade clause as part of the new deal.

Lester: I Would Have Signed Bigger Spring Deal

(Exclusive FenwayNation Photo)
Jon Lester—the new ace of the Chicago Cubs—says he probably would have signed a deal with he Red Sox last spring had it been in the $120 million range. Appearing on WEEI radio's Hot Stove Show on Thursday night, Lester said, "That is one of those deals where hindsight is 20/20. You go back in time and you look at it and you go, 'probably yes'. I mean you don't know. I mean it is one of those deals where when it is sitting in front of you that is a lot of money to turn down. That would have made it very difficult to turn it down." We have felt for a long time that the low-ball $70 million offer by Boston last spring was the death knell for Lester's stay in town. Looks like we might have been right. What a shame.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fenway Park Elevator Incident Now A Lawsuit

(WPXI Photo)
The woman who fell down a Fenway Park elevator shaft last May is suing the team and the elevator company. Elisabeth Scotland—a 22-year old New Jersey woman—fell two stories down a Fenway elevator shaft after allegedly brushing against the closed elevator door. She suffered multiple injuries—including a traumatic brain injury. The suit names the Fenway Sports Group (owner of the Red Sox) and The Otis Elevator Company (manufacturer of the elevator in question). The monetary value of the action was not available.

Order Your 2015 FenwayNation Calendar Now!

It's just out and just in time for Holiday giving! The new 2015 FenwayNation Calendar. It's chock-full of brand new, exclusive photos (one each month) from the 2014 Season. You'll see America's Most Beloved Ballpark like you never have before. You cannot get these photos anywhere else! Be absorbed by baseball during every month of 2015. Order your copy today of the 2015 FenwayNation Calendar—CLICK HERE.

Red Sox In "Active" Trade Talks Regarding Craig

(AP Photo)
According to FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi, the Red Sox are engaged in "active" trade discussions regarding Allen Craig. Morosi does not identify the team involved, but recent speculation has centered on the San Diego Padres as a logical trade partner. Craig had a miserable 2014—mostly due to lingering injuries. He is generally regarded as a prime comeback-player-of-the-year type for 2015. Stay tuned for further developments.

FanGraphs Projects Sox Winning AL East In '15

Add another credible source projecting success for the 2015 Red Sox. According to the authoritative FanGraphs website, The Carmine Hose will win the 2015 AL East flag by three games over the Toronto Blue Jays. Perhaps the most interesting element of the projection is the Boston win total is just 87. In fact, the tightly-packed division has the fourth-place Evil Ones just four games out. Of course, this is all sound and fury signifying nothing. We still believe that this team is going nowhere without the addition of a true #1 starter. But, hey, we're nowhere near as credible as FanGraphs.

Alex Cora Is Loving Rusney Castillo's Play

(AP Photo)
According to a report by ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes, former Red Sox player Alex Cora thinks Rusney Castillo will do just fine in Boston. Cora manages Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League—where Castillo has already played seven games after recovering from an earlier thumb injury. So far, Rusney is hitting .320 with a HR and a stolen base. But, aside from the obvious physical talents, it's Castillo's make-up that really impressed Cora. Said the former Sox infielder, "He's not a prima donna. He's just like the other guys. He shows up on time, he works out, and off the field, I'm very impressed with the way he acts and who he is." We're looking forward to a full season of Rusney at Fenway.

Ex-Sox Reliever Okajima Signs With Yokohama

For five seasons, Hideki Okajima was a solid option out of the Red Sox bullpen. The now-38-year old posted a 3.11 ERA for Boston in 246.1 innings of work. Despite one World Series hiccup, he was pretty effective in the post-season—giving up no earned runs in 12.1 innings of ALCS play. He was a huge fan favorite—rousing the Fenway crowd when his entry song boomed over the loudspeakers. Word comes that 'Oki' has signed a new deal to pitch for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of the Japanese Central League. We wish him the best.

Ex-Sox OF Ryan Kalish Signs With Blue Jays

Kalish With A Young Fan
He made it to the big leagues with the Red Sox in 2010—and was considered one of the bright stars on the Fenway horizon. Then, injuries piled up on Ryan Kalish and pushed his career development into a Twilight Zone of frustration. Then, last year, his former GM Theo Epstein gave him a shot with the Cubbies. In 57 games, Kalish hit just .248. Now, he's being given another chance. The Toronto Blue Jays have signed Kalish to a minor-league deal—with an invitation to major league Spring Training. Here's hoping Ryan puts it together in Florida and wins a spot on the Blue Jay's roster.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

David Ross Picking Among Sox And Two Others

(USAToday Sports)
According to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, catcher David Ross is deciding whether to return to the Red Sox or move on to the Chicago Cubs or San Diego Padres. Since Ross was essentially Jon Lester's personal catcher in his time here, our guess is he goes to The Windy City to join the lefty. If Ross does depart, it will open the possibility of Boston committing the backstop position to two youngsters—Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.

Red Flag Raised On Wade Miley's Work Ethic?

New Red Sox Starter Wade Miley
Ready for a nice Holiday gift? It's being reported that the reason the Arizona Diamondbacks traded lefty Wade Miley was because of concerns with his "work habits and/or preparation". Apparently, it wasn't just a desire to get younger by dealing for Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, but also displeasure with diet and conditioning issues with the 220-pound hurler. For his part, Miley denies the allegations, saying conditioning concerns early in his career have been dealt with and resolved. He claims the team was over-restrictive on dietary issues—hinting at an insistence on a gluten-free diet. I guess we'll find out who's telling the truth around the All-Star Break. Or, sooner.

Red Sox Make A Trade! (Don't Get Too Excited)

(Photo By Chris Roughgarden)
The Red Sox made a minor transaction today—and we do mean minor. Boston acquired right-handed middle reliever Anthony Varvaro from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league pitcher Aaron Kurcz. Vavaro might make it onto the 2015 roster—but if I were him, I wouldn't sign any leases in the Greater Boston area. The 30-year old Vavaro went 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 54.2 innings with the Braves last year. He also put up a decent 1.079 WHIP in 2014. Depending on how Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman look in Spring Training, Vavaro could stick.