Monday, December 30, 2019

Reliever And Cape Cod Native Steve Cishek Wants To Sign With The Red Sox

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Don't break out the bubbly too quickly, Sox fans. While Falmouth, Massachusetts native Steve Cishek wants to sign with his hometown team, the Red Sox cost-cutting mandate may prevent Chaim Bloom from snaring the veteran reliever. The free-agent made $7.1 million last year—which is apparently too rich for John Henry's blood these days. While it's understandable that the team wants to avoid the crushing penalties of again being over the luxury tax threshold, this is starting to get ridiculous. Boston has made no significant moves this off-season—to a team that had a losing record at Fenway Park last year. Fans notice things like that, and if the team fails to address a critical need like the bullpen, they will quickly see the handwriting on the wall for 2020.

Red Sox Whiff On Travis Shaw, 'Ding Dong' Mayor Headed To America Lite

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You could make the case that former Red Sox infielder Travis Shaw would have made an ideal signing for 2020—with his ability to play first base (and other infield positions) at a cheap price. But, instead, Shaw (who did have a really bad down year in 2019), signed with the Blue Jays for a paltry $4 million. Reportedly, the Red Sox passed because they wanted to first "move salary" before making him an offer. Shaw, you'll recall, was involved in one of the worst Boston trades of the last 20 years—going to the Brew Crew for the forgettable Tyler Thornburg. Shaw has hit 70 HRs since leaving The Carmine Hose. Maybe Michael Chavis can play first and second—kind of a "King And His Court" deal. Yikes!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Will David Price Head To The Halos As Nothing More Than A Salary Dump?

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As Chaim Bloom tries to fit his owner's 'square peg' salary cap mandate into the 'round hole' of his very expensive roster, talk of trading David Price is gaining steam. The latest suitor is the Los Angeles, Anaheim, Orange County, California, United States, North America, Earth, Milky Way Angels. After acquiring super-star third-baseman Anthony Rendon, the Halos whiffed on multiple free-agent starting pitchers. So, despite his hefty remaining contract and iffy health issues, Price is now an 'attractive' trade target. The key is how much salary the Red Sox will eat of the remaining $96 million of salary Price is owed over the next three years. Given Bloom's dilemma, he will probably opt for eating less salary and getting some stumble-bum crappy prospects in return. This would, essentially, be a pure salary dump and would buy Boston one more year of Mookie Betts—but, frankly, Sox fans, he's likely outta here after that. Get used to it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Trolley Dodgers Still Lurking In Possible Trades For Either Lindor Or Betts

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According to multiple reports, the Los Angeles Dodgers are still looking to upgrade their "close-but-no-cigar" roster with mega-deals for one of two upcoming free-agent superstars. Reportedly, their top target is Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor, but they are also in on our own Mookie Betts. In either case, the top trade chip coming back would be Dodger shortstop Corey Seager—which makes zero sense for the Red Sox, who just re-upped their own shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a long-term deal. The Dodgers seem desperate to make that final step to actually win a World Series—a goal that has eluded them twice in the last three years. Betts will be a free-agent next season, Lindor not until 2022. Also, Lindor will only make about $16 million this coming year—compared to about $30 million for Mookie. So, chances are Mookie will not be heading for Chavez Ravine. Of course, that still leaves Chaim Bloom facing an almost impossible mandate from owner John Henry—to get the franchise under the luxury tax threshold. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 9, 2019

REPORT: Red Sox Are Actively Looking To Trade Jackie Bradley, Jr.

The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham is reporting that the Red Sox are "actively" trying to trade star center-fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Moreover, he also reports that the team is not involved with any of their free agents (read: Brock Holt and Rick Porcello). JBJ—a fan favorite and one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball—has been "up and down" over the last couple of years at the plate. With the cost-cutting mandate on Yawkey Way, shedding his 2020 salary would be a help in getting below the luxury tax threshold. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Chaim Bloom On Mookie Betts: Red Sox Need To "Explore All Options"

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On a chilly post-snowstorm morning in Boston, there can be no more chilling Mookie Betts-related words than "exploring all options". And yet, those are the words used by Boston's Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom when asked about the situation with the 2018 AL MVP. Mookie will be paid around $28 million in 2020—the final year of his current contract. The Red Sox have tried to re-sign Mookie long-term, but he has resisted—eyeing a lucrative plunge into the free-agent market next Fall. Bloom can still get a long-term deal done—but it would likely have to be in the Bryce Harper-type stratosphere (or even higher). Think $30-35 million a year over 10-12 years. For a team facing a John Henry mandate to slash payroll (already the largest in MLB) that's a tall task. One route is to deal away expensive players like David Price or Nathan Eovaldi—along with (perhaps) a Jackie Bradley, Jr. But, still, even the possibility of losing a player of Mookie's calibre is chilling at best. Particularly on a cold Winter morning.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Lowering The "Bloom"—New Red Sox Honcho Begins Cost-Cutting Frenzy

New Red Sox head of baseball operations Chaim Bloom has a clear mandate from owner John Henry—get under the luxury tax threshold (or at least don't land at the most punishing levels of the MLB penalty). The first cost-cutting shot heard across the the bow of the good ship Carmine Hose was the trade of Sandy Leon to the Tribe. Leon was due almost $3 million in 2020 and just wasn't productive enough to justify that price-tag as a back-up. Also gone is IF Marco Hernandez—a curious move given the shaky status of Dustin Pedroia for the upcoming season (although the Sox may bring Hernandez back at a lower pay grade). Rumors are flying about Boston latching on to a bevy of mediocre free-agents to hold to Henry's pocketbook demands. Do you really want these guys on the 2020 roster, though: (catchers) Josh Phlegly, Kevin Plawecki or Luke Maile; (2B) Jose Peraza; (pitchers) Aaron Sanchez, Tajuan Walker, Blake Treinen? Yikes! Stay tuned—it's going to be a bumpy Winter Meetings.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Red Sox Triple-A Affiliate Will Now Officially Be The Worcester 'Woo Sox'

You knew it was coming. There really was no other choice for the nick-name of the Red Sox AAA affiliate—once it announced its imminent move from Pawtucket, Rhode Island to Worcester, Massachusetts. It will be (ta-da) the "Woo Sox". When they open the 2021 season at the brand new Polar Park, it will be with their new logo as well—Smiley Ball (with apologies to Drew). The logo is a little goofy—but it includes the original "smiley face" (yes, that one) that garnered world-wide fame. It was invented in Worcester as a promotion themes for a local insurance company. The official announcement came on Monday night—after a year-long campaign that reached out to fans for the new nick-name. So, all the local color is in place for the Renaissance of a minor-league franchise. Unfortunately, there is also a chance that another of the team's great minor-league franchises—the Lowell Spinner—might be contracted from MLB's lineup.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

FenwayNation POLL: Six In Ten Would Favor Trade Of Mookie To Dodgers

It probably speaks to the sense of resignation among most Red Sox fans—many of whom see it as almost inevitable that Mookie Betts will be dealt somewhere this off-season. Reflective of this sentiment is seen in the results to our latest FenwayNation Poll. As the chart shows, six int ten readers (60%) favor a deal that would send the 2018 AL MVP to Chavez Ravine in exchange for OF Joc Pederson, catching prospect Keibert Ruiz and one the Dodgers' top two prospects—either 2B Gavin Lux or RHP Dustin May. On the flip side, four in ten (40%) oppose the hypothetical deal (floated on You can still vote in this poll HERE.

FenwayNation POLL: Favor Or Oppose A Mookie Betts Trade To The Dodgers?

Would you favor or oppose the following trade: Mookie Betts to the Dodgers for OF Joc Pederson, ONE of LAD's top prospects—either Gavin Lux (2B) OR Dustin May (RHP)—and catching prospect Keibert Ruiz? free polls

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wednesday Could Be "BloomsDay" As Sox Deal With Looming Rule 5 Draft

By 8PM today, all MLB teams must protect players on their 40-man roster for 2020—in advance of December's Rule Five Draft. New Red Sox honcho Chaim Bloom faces some interesting choices today—and has a chance to put his imprint on the franchise. Look for him to focus on long-term "sustainability" rather than filling short-term needs through this process. Boston already has six open roster spots—plus more than a few more players who are clearly expendable. So, Bloom has maximum flexibility to deal with teams (like his old Rays) who are in a much tighter roster bind. All of these factors conspire to make it very likely that Bloom makes few moves today before the deadline. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Internet Baseball Writers Select Mike Trout And Cody Bellinger As MVPs

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced their election results for the 2019 Most Valuable Player awards in the American League and National League. The winners were Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Trout received 101 of 127 first-place votes (79.53%). Others receiving first-place votes include Alex Bregman, with 17 (13.39%), D.J. LeMahieu (6, 4.72%), Marcus Semien (1, 0.79%) and Gerrit Cole (0.79).  Bellinger received 69 first-place votes (55.65%). Others receiving first-place votes include Christian Yelich, with 41 (33.06%), Anthony Rendon (11, 8.87%) and Ronald Acuna, Jr, (3, 2.42%). Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates, using the Borda Method. The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). FenwayNation's Editor-In-Chief Ernest Paicopolos and International Editor Mark Lawrence as voting members of IBWAA.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

FenwayNation Announces Its Red Sox Awards For The 2019 Season

As we do at the end of every Red Sox season, we are today announcing our choices for the following 2019 team awards: Player of The Year, Rookie Of The Year, Under-The-Radar Player and Most Disappointing Player. Here they are:

Player Of The Year: (tie) Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. While 2019 was a brutally disappointing year, these two players were both consistently contributing to the still-powerful Red Sox offense. It was extremely difficult to select one of the two as the top player on the team, so we gave both of them the honor. Bogie hit .309 with 33 HRs and 117 RBIs; Raffy was almost identical at .311, 32 HRs and 115 RBIs. It was a pleasure to watch both of them play every day (Bogaerts 155 games, Devers 156)—and also watch them jointly contribute to the solid left-side of the infield defense. Congratulations Bogie and Raffy!

Rookie Of The Year: Michael Chavis. Chavis was a welcome addition to the 2019 offense—showing an exuberance and enthusiasm all-too-rare among today's players. In just 347 at-bats, he clouted 18 HRs and knocked in 58.

Under-The-Radar Player: Marcus Walden. Walden appeared in 70 games for the Red Sox in 2019—posting a 3.81 ERA. In 78 innings pitched, he yielded only 61 hits and held opposing batters to an astounding .213 average.

Most-Disappointing PlayerHector Velázquez. After a stellar 2018 campaign—in which he contributed mightily to the World Series championship squad—Velázquez suffered a serious drop-off in 2019. He appeared in just 34 games—posting a less-than-stellar 5.43 ERA. He also gave up more hits than innings pitched, and opposing batters hit .275 against him.

The Other 'Elephant In The Room' As The Red Sox Get Under The Luxury Tax

We're all well aware of the obvious danger of Red Sox ownership getting under the $208 million luxury tax threshold: trading away a franchise player like Mookie Betts. But there is another looming negative after they jump through MLB's financial hoops and drop below the salary equivalent of the 'Mendoza Line'. Once they get under $208, they're not adding anything of value to the roster. No top-level acquisitions of any kind can afford to be made—so no real upgrade to the bullpen, no bolstering of the bench (assuming they let Brock Holt and the other free agents walk), no addition to the starting rotation (which was the biggest disappointment of 2019). Now, some of these roster holes would likely be filled by players to be returned to Boston in any big trade—but do you really get the sense that ownership cares about anything else but the luxury tax issue? Now, to be fair, getting below $208 million is the prudent thing to do—re-setting the tax level they've struggled with the last three years (and an even worse burden going forward). But, come on, this is the Red Sox—and John Henry has plenty of dough. Ownership may be mis-reading the fan base—they will not tolerate a "Bridge Year 2.0". Hopefully Chaim Bloom is creative enough to shed the payroll and still field a truly competitive team in 2020. Otherwise, the natives will quickly get restless. Be warned!

Monday, November 4, 2019

BREAKING: J.D. Martinez Does Not 'Opt-Out', Is Staying With The Red Sox

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Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez will not opt-out of his 5-year contract, and will remain in Boston for the 2020 season—at a cost of $23.75 million. This is good news and bad news: good, in the sense of keeping an offensive force in the middle of the line-up; bad, in the sense of putting more pressure on Red Sox ownership as they strive to get under the MLB luxury tax threshold ($208 million). What we're really saying is this decision makes it even less likely that Mookie Betts returns to the team—since he now may be dealt in the off-season. In his two seasons in Boston thus far, Martinez has hit .317, with 79 HRs and 235 RBIs. He has also delivered a .985 OPS.

Mookie Betts Garners Lone Red Sox Gold Glove Award For 2019 Season

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Mookie Betts—who may be gone from Boston by Opening Day 2020—was the only Red Sox Gold Glove recipient for the 2019 season. Betts copped his fourth straight Rawlings award—and yet he may be dealt away by Red Sox ownership to stay under the 2020 MLB salary cap. Betts was 10th among all MLB outfielders with a "defensive runs saved" score of 15. Since the start of the 2016 season, Mookie leads all MLB players (at any position) with a total of 98 defensive runs saved. The loss of Betts would be a severe body blow to the Red Sox franchise—giving away a five-tool player in the prime of his career (age 27). It would be kind of like the San Francisco Giants trading away Wille Mays in 1958—with 17 more All-Star calibre seasons left in his career.  Boston did have three runners-up in the Gold Glove race—Andrew Benintendi in LF, Jackie Bradley, Jr. in CF and Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Tampa's Chaim Bloom Is The Likely Choice As New Red Sox General Manager

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The Red Sox franchise faces a transitional moment rivaled only by the 'revolution' of 2002—when Theo Epstein came aboard. So, the word that Tampa's Chaim Bloom is about to be named as Boston's new General Manager says a lot about the direction that John Henry wants his club to take. Bloom's strengths are: farm system development, roster/payroll flexibility and grooming starting pitching—all of which Boston desperately needs. As Henry slashes the Boston payroll to $208 million—likely parting with both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, he needs another Ivy League-trained wunderkind to keep fan anger at bay. We need to know that there is a plan—not the short-term spasms of Dave Dombrowski—to keep us all engaged and hopeful. Bloom has led a Tampa organization that continually defies the odds—turning minuscule payrolls into 96-win seasons. His magic elixir should be even more effective with one of the top salaries in Major League Baseball at his disposal (even after Henry's Luxury Tax slash and burn). Bloom is the right guy at the right time. It is an excellent move.