Tuesday, December 18, 2018

John Henry, Distracted Again, Reportedly Looking To Buy A Piece Of NASCAR

If you were hoping that the proceeds from John Henry selling-off his $25 million Florida mansion would go toward—oh, say signing Mookie Betts long-term—fuhgettaboutit. Multiple reports are suggesting that the Red Sox principal owner is considering buying a piece of NASCAR. Yeah, you know, the mindless "sport" within which he already owns a racing team? The legendary Eddie Andelman once succinctly described auto racing as (and we paraphrase here) "turning left for several hundred miles". Indeed. Anyway, Henry is apparently interested in buying part of the moribund NASCAR sanctioning body—which has (understandably) suffered big losses in both attendance and TV ratings. So, this is sort of similar to Henry buying soybean futures in the old days when he made his billions. Oh well, too bad he doesn't focus more on—you know—baseball.

Sox Signing Of Right-Handed RP Erasmo Ramirez Is A Real Head-Scratcher

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For some unknown reason, the Red Sox are "on the verge" of signing right-handed relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez to a minor league contract—with an invite to the major-league camp. If you look up "mediocre pitcher" in the dictionary, this guy's picture shows up. Over seven MLB seasons, Ramierz has delivered an uninspiring 4.36 ERA—which ballooned to a 6.50 ERA last year in Seattle. He strikes out about seven batters per nine innings and walks about three. What exactly is the attraction here? He does have a history of both starting and relieving—but do we really need that flexibility with five solid starters on-board—and Steven Wright in the wings? Sure, injuries always happen to rotations—but why is Ramirez seen as a good option? This move just does not make any sense—especially since the Red Sox need quality arms in the bullpen right now, mediocre arms we've got plenty of already.

POLL: Most Want Jed Lowrie As A Back-Up/Platoon At 2B With Dustin Pedroia

Early results to our latest FenwayNation Poll show that a plurality of readers (46%) want the Red Sox to acquire old friend Jed Lowrie to serve as a "back-up/platoon" option with Dustin Pedroia at 2B in 2019. As the chart shows, the next highest choice (34%) cites a preference to use existing roster options to back-up Pedroia. Some of those would be: Brock Holt, Marco Hernandez, Tony Renda, Eduardo Nunez and Tzu-Wei Lin. The survey also found that 12% would rather go after Daniel Murphy for the back-up 2B role on the team. Just 4% would opt to pursue free-agent 2B D. J. LeMahieu to back-up The Muddy Chicken—with the same percentage (4%) looking for another free agent/trade option beyond those listed in the poll. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

FenwayNation POLL: Which 2019 2B Option Should The Red Sox Pursue?

Which ONE of the following should the Red Sox do regarding 2B in 2019?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Dunkin' Donuts Cements Its Boston Legacy With Ad Trolling New Yorkers

Dunkin' Donuts was founded in Quincy, Massachusetts. Believe it or not, there was a time when you'd go there to actually buy donuts—and they were pretty darned good donuts at that (especially the jelly ones). Those of us who are old enough can remember the pre-bagel and pre-coffee days when your family would bring a few dozen Dunkin' Donuts back to the house after a wake or funeral. Nothing like a few thousand empty calories to burn off some serious grief. Amazingly, the primary TV spots for Dunks back in the day featured a creepy store owner bellowing out: "Time to make the donuts!". Anyway, the locally-founded, worldwide mega-franchise is going out if its way to cement its Boston roots. Thanks to the sharp eye of WBZ-TV (Channel 4) sports producer Joe Giza, a great new advertising sign has been located in downtown Boston. The Dunkin' Donuts ad reads: "Boston runs on Dunkin', hard work, the sweat from 37 championships #titletown!, and the tears of New Yorkers." That is trolling to the highest degree possible. Now, this discovery might actually excuse the company from dropping the "donuts" portion of their name—wait, nah, that's inexcusable no matter what good stuff they do. Anyway, nice ad, guys.

Sox Owner John Henry Lists Boca Raton Waterfront Mansion For $25 Million

The next time you find your self troubled by John Henry having to pay almost $12 million in luxury tax penalties—remember this story. The Red Sox principal owner has just put up for sale his waterfront mansion in Boca Raton, Floridafor a $25 million asking price. The former soybean futures magnate bought the property many moons ago—before he got involved in baseball. The house is 41,000 square feet—with seven bedrooms and nineteen baths. Perhaps the best feature is an indoor-outdoor pizza room—that alone makes us like Henry a little better. Maybe, if you're in the vicinity, you can drop-by next Sunday—there might be an Open House. I'm sure he'll have cookies and milk out in the cherry-paneled library. If you're keeping track, in addition to the Red Sox, Henry's empire now also includes The Boston Globe newspaper, NESN, the Liverpool soccer club and some dumb auto racing enterprise. Like we said—don't feel too sorry for him.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Ex-Sox Announcer Tim Neverett Joins Los Angeles Dodgers Broadcast Team

After three years broadcasting Red Sox games on the WEEI Sports Radio Network, Tim Neverett has signed on to broadcast games for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Letting his contract at WEEI lapse due to a "contentious atmosphere" at the station, Neverett returns to the National League—where the New England native spent six years broadcasting games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Said Neverett: "I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to join such an established and talented group of radio and television broadcasters, as well as the gifted production personnel with the Dodgers. My family and I are thrilled to be able to be part of the Dodger family and be back in the National League. I am very much looking forward to getting started, renewing old acquaintances and making new ones." Reportedly, the 52-year-old Neverett will work a select number of games on both the radio and television side of Dodger broadcasts—subbing for both Charley Steiner (radio) and Joe Davis (television). He will be going from doing play-by-play for the reigning World Series Champions to doing the same thing for the guys they beat. Still, not a bad lateral move. We wish Tim the best in his new gig!

With 50 HOF Ballots Public, Sox Legend Curt Schilling Hanging In At 74%

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Everyone was assuming that Red Sox legend Curt Schilling would start losing ground as more and more Hall Of Fame ballots became publicly-revealed. Well, with 50 ballots now either openly public (49) or anonymous (1), Schilling has actually increased his percentage since the last time we checked. While only 12.1% of the total votes (412) are revealed—it's still noteworthy that Schilling has been in the "induction range" at every milestone so far. At this point, Schilling has been on 37 of the 50 public/anonymous ballots—resulting in 74.0%. All he needs to get to is 75% to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Functionally, that means he has to be on 309 of the 412 ballots when it's all said and done. You can keep track of the latest public HOF count HERE.

Former Red Sox Reliever Craig Breslow Is Very Close To Calling It A Career

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New England native (and Yale University grad) Craig Breslow spent five of his twelve MLB seasons in a Boston uniform. As a Red Sox reliever (during two different stints), the lefty posted a 3.80 ERA across 202 games. Breslow was a solid situational lefty out of the bullpen—who was often paired with a fellow Yalie battery-mate (catcher Ryan Lavarnway). Over his full MLB career, he went 22-30 with a 3.45 ERA—giving up fewer hits than innings pitched (the mark of a good reliever). Other than Boston, he also played for the Twins, A's, Indians, Diamondbacks, Padres and Marlins. At age 38, it looks as if Breslow will be hanging up his spikes and looking for some off-the-field employment with an MLB club. He tried a comeback last season in the Blue Jays organization, but could not make things work. His experience and intelligence would make him a solid fit in any front office. We wish Craig the best of luck in the next phase of his baseball career!

Manny Machado Is Scheduled To Meet With The Yankee Brass On Wednesday

Voldemort (L); Nosferatu (R)
Think Voldemort setting up a lunch date with Nosferatu. That's kind of like what will take place this Wednesday when the despicable Manny Machado meets with Yankee ownership—presumably Hal Steinbrenner (the Tweedle-Dumb to his brother's Tweedle-Dumber). The bottom line is that these two parties were made for each other. What other MLB player is so perfectly-attuned to a team than Machado is to The Evil Ones—what with his dirty play, lack of hustle and general all-around loathsomeness? They are a match made in baseball Hell. The spiking of Dustin Pedroia, the further obstruction on the base-paths in the recent playoffs and his general snarky attitude make him the perfect Bronx Embalmer. Plus, he already knows how to pathetically strike out to end a playoff series—a role the Yankees will need to fill often down the road.

Four Years And $70 Million Might Land Craig Kimbrel Back As Boston Closer

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Multiple reports are now indicating that Craig Kimbrel's ludicrous "opening bid" parameters for a new free-agent contract (six years, $100 million) are being laughed out of the marketplace. As other quality relievers start falling to teams, his luster is beginning to fade. There is no doubt that Kimbrel is on-pace to enter Cooperstown as one of the two or three greatest closers of all time. Still, he was not well-served by his agents to 'shoot for the moon' as he did early on this off-season. In any event, all of this has conspired to make Kimbrel somewhat more likely to land back in Boston. Most respected trade-related sites estimate that Kimbrel's real value—all things considered—is four years and $70 million. So, that's a reduction in term (by two years), but an increase in average annual value (from $16.7M to $17.5M). Oddly, that latter figure is just about what the Red Sox offered the closer in arbitration. So, stay tuned, we might just have the end of our bullpen back for a repeat run in 2019.

Reports Of Mets Interest In Red Sox Catchers Greatly Exaggerated—Obviously

With the news that the New York Metropolitans have signed free-agent Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal, it's pretty clear that rumored trade talks with the Red Sox involving their catchers were pretty much baseless. This is the season when rampant rumors of trades and signings need to be treated with a huge grain of salt—in fact, an entire box of Diamond Crystal Salt (or perhaps even a case). Earlier reports suggested that the Mets were interested in one of the three backstops on the Red Sox roster—Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon, or Blake Swihart. Of course, now that The Fiends Of Flushing have moved on, other clubs might still have an interest in one of these guys—which would also clear some salary for Boston to pursue needed bullpen arms. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Red Sox Owe MLB $11,951,091 In Luxury Tax Penalties For Biggest Payroll

Hey, do you really care? We won the World Series, remember? So, big deal, John Henry has to fork over $11,951,091 to the other MLB owners for having the biggest player payroll in the sport—way over the luxury tax threshold (actually $40 million over the tax line of $197 million). The only other MLB team that has to pay up is the Washington Nationals—who owe a relatively measly $2,386,097. The other big penalty for Boston is a 10-position drop in next year's draft—probably all the way down to the mid-40s. With some kind of blue smoke and mirrors, The Bronx Embalmers had only the sixth biggest payroll at a paltry $192.98 million. Again, we don't really care that Henry has to pay this—better on this than some foreign soccer team.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Briefly A Red Sox IF, Ian Kinsler Is Now Off To San Diego To Become A Padre

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Multiple reports indicate that former Red Sox infielder Ian Kinsler has signed an $8 million, two-year-contract with the San Diego Padres. The deal is reportedly contingent upon Kinsler passing a physical. Last season, as a member of the Red Sox, Kinsler won the first World Series ring of his 13-year MLB career. The 36-year-old is a four-time All-Star and came to Boston in a mid-season trade with the Angels that sent former Red Sox prospects Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez to Anaheim. In the 2018 ALDS against The Evil Ones, Kinsler hit .308 in the four game series. During the regular season for Boston, Kinsler played in 37 games—hitting .242 with a HR and 16 RBIs. He is a .271 hitter over his full MLB career. Kinsler played eight years in Texas, four in Detroit, splitting 2018 between Anaheim and Boston. He will play some second base and some third base for San Diego—helping mentor young infield players like Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Luis Urias. We wish Ian the best of luck with his new team!

A's Stephen Piscotty Wins Tony Conigliaro Award For Overcoming Adversity

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Oakland A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty is the recipient of the 2018 Tony Conigliaro Award. The award has been given out annually since 1990 to the MLB player who "has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C." Winners are selected by an 18-person committee, made up of media members, MLB executives, Red Sox officials, fan representatives, and Tony's brothers, Richie and Billy Conigliaro. The award will be formally presented to Piscotty at the 80th annual Boston Baseball Writers' Dinner on January 17, 2019. Piscotty's mother was diagnosed with ALS in 2017. He was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Oakland A's to be near his mother's home in northern California during her battle against the disease. Gretchen Piscotty passed away on May 6th of this year. In his first game back after her death—at Fenway Park—Piscotty hit a home run over the Green Monster in his first at-bat.

Red Sox And Evil Ones Will Square-Off In A Night Game In London June 29th

Major League Baseball has announced that the first of two games in London between the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees will take place at night local time on June 29th. The second contest will be an afternoon tilt local time on Sunday June 30th. Both games will be televised back to the United States—on Saturday by FOX (6:10 PM local time; 1:10 PM Eastern) and on Sunday by ESPN (3:10 PM local time; 10:10 AM Eastern). Both contests are treated as "home games" for Boston—cheating many Red Sox season-ticket holders out of two games at Fenway Park. The two games will be played at London's Olympic Stadium—the home venue of the West Ham United soccer team of the English Premier League (EPL). Red Sox owner John Henry also owns EPL's Liverpool franchise. Both Jackie Bradley, Jr. and CC Sabathia are in London this week promoting the games for MLB. These will be the first MLB games ever played in Europe, and are an effort to help globalize the appeal of America's "pastime".

Prospects1500: Sox Have Just One Prospect In Top 100—3B Michael Chavis

According to a December ranking by the website Prospects1500, the Red Sox have just one player in the Top 100—3B Michael Chavis. It's analyses like these that bring home the reality of how bad the Boston farm system has become. Even if Dave Dombrowski wanted to land a big name player in a trade—there's nothing below the major-league roster to tempt anyone. Sure we got quality players in return on most deals—like Chris Sale—but our scouting and development operation had better re-stock the farm pretty quickly before the current championship window begins to close in a few years. The 23-year-old Chavis is projected to become a 25-HR hitter—with a plus arm at the Hot Corner. However, his overall defense is iffy—so he might eventually translate to a corner outfielder or a first-baseman. In any event, he's pretty much the only elite prospect we've got—and he's ranked at #74 on this Top 100 list. Yikes!

The Sox Would Not Go To A Third Year On Joe Kelly, And The Dodgers Did

The reason that Joe Kelly (AKA Jim Buchanan) will be pitching at Chavez Ravine instead of Fenway Park next year comes down to: one year. According to multiple reports, the Red Sox were unwilling to go to a third year on their 2-year offer to Kelly—and, of course, the Dodgers did go there. Kelly will get $25 million over the course of the deal—a significant raise over the $2.6 million he earned from Boston in 2018. Despite his brilliant performance in the 2018 post-season, Kelly's regular-season numbers last year were pedestrian at best. While he achieved "folk hero" status after the "Joe Kelly Fight Club" brawl against The Evil Ones, it probably did not make sense to extend him to that third year. Hopefully, the money saved on Kelly will be spent on either Adam Ottavino or David Robertsonor both. Stay tuned!