Friday, November 16, 2018

Red Sox Re-Sign World Series MVP Steve Pearce To One-Year, $6.25M Deal

Multiple reports indicate that the Red Sox have re-signed World Series MVP Steve Pearce to a one-year, $6.25 million contract. Peace becomes the first free-agent signed this offseason. Among the big un-signed Carmine Hosers are: Craig Kimbrel, Nathan Eovaldi and Joe Kelly. It was unclear whether the Red Sox would be able to match likely multi-year deals that would be offered to Pearce—given his big-stage heroics in October. However, as Pearce told reporters at the Duck Boat parade in Boston, he "would love to come back" and play another year for the team he rooted for as a young boy in Florida. In eleven 2018 post-season games, Pearce hit four home runs—including a huge game-tying blast in Game Four of the World Series. Overall, he hit .333 in The Fall Classic with three long-balls.

VIDEO: Re-Live Mitch Moreland's Dramatic HR In World Series Game Four

Red Sox RF Mookie Betts Is Your 2018 American League Most Valuable Player

(Getty Images)
It came as a shock to exactly no one‚ not even Yankee fans. The historic season put up by Red Sox right-fielder Mookie Betts made him the American League MVP choice on 28 of 30 writers' ballots. Betts topped the majors in batting average (.346), slugging (.640) and runs scored (129)—and clouted 32 HRs from the lead-off spot. He became the first 30-30 (home runs/steals) player in MLB history to also win the batting title in the same year. Pretty impressive. But that's not all, Mookie committed just one error all season while patrolling the toughest right-field in all of baseball. What else can you say that hasn't already been said? It's simple: Your Boston Red Sox have the best player in the American League—and maybe in all of baseball. Rejoice! Congrats, Mookie—AL MVP, All-Star, Gold Glover, Silver Slugger! Not a bad year!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora Gets New Contract Extension Deal Until 2021

(Getty Images)
World Series Champion manager Alex Cora and the Red Sox agreed on the terms of a new contract—including a one-year extension that runs through the 2021 season. The ballclub also has an option for the 2022 season. Said Cora, "Since day one, John and Linda Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, Sam Kennedy, and Dave Dombrowski have been incredibly supportive of me and my family, and for that I am extremely grateful. For me, 2018 was not only historic, but it was special as well, both on and off the field. We have a great appreciation for our accomplishments this past year, but now our focus moves forward to the season ahead and defending our World Series title." Cora led the Red Sox to a franchise record 108 wins during the regular season—and the team blitzed to their ninth World Series Championship by going 11-3 in the post-season. Cora finished second in the balloting for American League Manager Of The Year.

Red Sox Will Raise 2019 Ticket Prices By 2.5% After Winning Championship

It's probably not a big shock to anyone, but the Red Sox will be raising their ticket prices an average of 2.5% in 2019. After winning their fourth World Series Championship in 15 years, the NOG (New Ownership Group) probably feels pretty comfortable with the hike. Regular season home game prices will range from $21.14 to $161.14—compared with a $19.81 to $155 range last season. The team is also introducing a new "Diamond" tier of six "desirable" games that will feature price hikes that average 10 percent. To be fair, these hikes are pretty much in-line with past increases—2014: 4.8%; 2015: Freeze; 2016: 1.4%; 2017: 2.9%; 2018: 2.5%. Still, the cost for a family of four to go to just one Red Sox game in 2019 could cost upwards of $1,000—when you include seats, food and drink, parking and souvenirs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Boston Commission Gives Landmark Status To Iconic CITGO Sign In Kenmore

(FenwayNation Photo)
The Boston Landmark Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday night to grant "landmark" status to Boston's iconic CITGO sign—which resides just outside Fenway Park. While we vigorously protest the parent company that owns the sign (the dictatorial regime that currently rules Venezuela), the classic neon display in Kenmore Square is undoubtedly one of Boston's cultural gems. The vote by the Landmark Commission is another step in the process to fully protect the sign from removal by developers. There had been concerns that the sign would be threatened by plans to redevelop the buildings beneath it in Kenmore Square. When the Commission had earlier recommended this landmark status designation, it stated that the sign had "become a cultural symbol to the people of Boston that goes far beyond gasoline." Indeed. And far beyond despots and developers as well. Good work, Boston Landmark Commission!

Internet Baseball Writers Pick Snell (AL) And deGrom (NL) Cy Young Winners

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Cy Young category Wednesday, with the Tampa Bay Rays’ Blake Snell winning the group’s American League prize, and Jacob deGrom, of the New York Mets, being selected in the National League vote. This is the tenth annual election for the IBWAA in the Cy category.

Election results are as follows:

AL Cy Young:
1st Place: Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays – 731 points
2nd Place: Justin Verlander, Houston Astros – 462 points
3rd Place: Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox – 336 points
4th Place: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians – 298 points
5th Place: Gerit Cole, Houston Astros – 150 points

NL Cy Young:
1st Place: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets – 828 points
2nd Place: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals – 564 points
3rd Place: Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies – 389 points
4th Place: Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies – 155 points
5th Place: Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks – 92 points

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). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January. FenwayNation Editor-In-Chief Ernie Paicopolos and International Editor Mark Lawrence are voting members of the IBWAA.

Are The Red Sox Considering Signing Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson?

(Getty Images)
Remember last August when the Red Sox (and Yankees) were upset at how the Indians acquired Josh Donaldson at the waiver trade deadline—when his health status was still in question? Well, now, the rumor mill is buzzing that the Red Sox may be interested in signing the former AL MVP as a free agent. In 2018, a calf injury allowed Donaldson to play in only 52 games (hitting a miserable .246). But, of course, his career stats are pretty impressive: .275 BA, 182 HRs, .367 OBP, .874 OPS over eight seasons. But, at 32, Donaldson is ten years older than incumbent Red Sox third-baseman Rafael Devers. Of course, one option is moving either Donaldson or Devers to first-base—and keeping Mitch Moreland and/or Steve Pearce as solid bench options. Donaldson is a better defender than Devers—but not by a big enough margin to justify this move (for example, Donaldson has never won a Gold Glove). Donaldson's MVP season was back when he was still in his twenties (29)—so the idea that Boston would gamble on his health holding up and therefore returning him to elite play seems a bit much. We say: stick with the kid at third.

Is C Juan Centeno Signing Insurance Against Parting Ways With Sandy Leon?

The Red Sox have signed catcher Juan Centeno to a minor-league contract—with a likely invite to major-league camp next Spring. While Centeno does have a reasonable amount of MLB experience (Mets, Brewers, Twins, Astros and Rangers—where he's actually hit pretty well), he's likely to mostly provide "depth" at the AAA level in the Red Sox organization. Unless, of course, Boston decides to let Sandy Leon walk (based on a very poor 2018 offensively). The plan might be to just go exclusively with the young duo of Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart in 2019. Or, The Carmine Hose might be in the market for another veteran backstop—in addition to Centeno—who can contribute more at the plate than Leon. Obviously, lots of options. Stay tuned!

Red Sox Skipper Alex Cora Loses Out In 2018 Manager Of The Year Balloting

(Getty Images)
Alex Cora got seven first-place votes for American League Manager of The Year—unfortunately Oakland's Bob Melvin got eighteen. Cora's first place votes cam from the following baseball wirthers: Jen McCaffrey, The Athletic; Rob Bradford, WEEI; David Skretta, The Associated Press; Bryan Hoch, MLB.com; Pete Caldera, Bergen Record; Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News; Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Interestingly, two of these seven are Yankee beat writers. Amazingly, however, Nobuhiro Saito of the Nikkan Sports News left Cora off his ballot entirely—listin Yankee manager Aaron Boone in the third spot!  You can see the full results of the balloting HERE.

Win Amazing World Series Champ DVDs In FenwayNation's New Contest!

Thanks to the fine folks at Shout! Factory/MLB, FenwayNation is pleased to offer its readers the chance to win one of two great DVDs celebrating the 9th World Series Championship of The Boston Red Sox.

2018 WORLD SERIES FILM—2 discs
This documentary is edited from a multitude of original hi-def and archival footage, delivering the Red Sox breathtaking World Series run in extraordinary fashion. The comprehensive bonus features include regular season highlights, clinching moments, postseason highlights, “How They Got There” featurette and scenic footage from the duck boats at the World Series parade.

2018 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION: BOSTON RED SOX—8 discs
This set includes all five complete games of the World Series, the pennant-clinching ALCS Game 5 and a bonus disc of the ALDS clinching Game 4 versus the Yankees. Red Sox fans and baseball aficionados alike will relish in the opportunity to revisit all the pulse-pounding action from the 2018 Fall Classic -- from Eduardo Nuñez crushing a three-run home run in Game 1 to set the tone for the series and Steve Pearce’s four RBI Game 4 to David Price’s stellar starts in Games 2 and 5.

Here's how you can win: 
1.) Send FenwayNation a written description of your most memorable moment of the Red Sox 2018 post-season—as brief or as long as you like;
2.) Send it off to us at: fenwaynation@comcast.net by November 30, 2018.
3.) On December 3rd, FenwayNation will announce one Grand Prize winner of the 'Collector's Edition' 8-disc set and three additional prize winners of the 2-disc 'World Series' set. Send in your entry today!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Internet Writers Choose Melvin (OAK) And Snitker (ATL) As Managers Of Year

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its manager category Tuesday, with the Oakland Athletics’ Bob Melvin winning the 2018 IBWAA American League Manager of the Year award, and Brian Snitker, of the Atlanta Braves, being selected as the 2018 IBWAA National League Manager of the Year winner. This is the tenth annual election for the IBWAA in the manager category. Election results are as follows:

AL Manager: 
1st Place: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics – 479 points
2nd Place: Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays – 297 points
3rd Place:  Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox – 285 points

NL Manager:
1st Place: Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves – 502 points
2nd Place: Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers – 311 points
3rd Place: Bud Black, Colorado Rockies – 153 points

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). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January. FenwayNation Editor-In-Chief Ernie Paicopolos and International Editor Mark Lawrence are voting members of the IBWAA.

Please Consider Donating To The Relief Fund For The Merrimack Valley

Back on September 13th—exactly two months ago today—a series of natural gas explosions and fires rocked the Merrimack Valley communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. FenwayNation is headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts and therefore we have a particular concern for the many families in the region that have suffered over the last two months. In fact, for far too many, that suffering continues to this day. The natural gas disaster damaged or destroyed 131 buildings in the area—and closed hundreds of small and large businesses (some of which have literally only re-opened in the last few days). Scores of families are still without heat, hot water or the ability to cook food. The date for full restoration of service has been pushed back many times—and is now closing in on the Holiday season (mid-December). It's getting very cold in this part of Massachusetts, so the problem will only get worse. Please consider donating to the Greater Lawrence Relief Fund—which has been set-up to directly assist families affected by this disaster in the Merrimack Valley. You can make your contribution HERE.

Give Jeter Credit, He's Ridding The World Of That Monstrous CF Sculpture

It's really hard for us to say anything nice about former Pinstriped Poser Derek Jeter. But, what's fair is fair. The new owner of the Miami Marlins is doing humanity a tremendous favor—by removing the hideous "sculpture" that once infested center field at Marlins Park. The team has announced that "The Thing That Ate South Beach" will be moved to a remote portion of a parking lot—and center field will be re-designed with a three-tier "social space" for fans to congregate in. Hallelujah! Or maybe we should say, Hialeah! Anyway, Miami is tacky enough without a signature part of their ballpark looking like it was vomited-up by a character in a bad 1986 episode of Miami Vice. In fact, they should invite Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas to ceremoniously bludgeon the sculpture to death with sledgehammers in the parking lot. Good riddance—and good move, Jeter.

Red Sox Closer Craig Kimbrel Turns Down Boston's $17.9M Qualifying Offer

(Getty Images)
As expected by most observers, current (and now perhaps former) Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel declined the team's $17.9 million qualifying offer and immediately became an unrestricted free agent. Overall, Kimbrel had a solid 2018 season (2.74 ERA and 42 saves)—although his postseason numbers (despite nailing down every save opportunity) were cardiac-worthy (5.81 ERA). He's only 30-years-of-age, so Kimbrel is likely to approach or surpass the record reliever contract snared by Evil One Aroldis Chapman—5 years, $86 million. Now that he is likely 'history', it's instructive to listen to what Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski recently said on the topic, "I don’t think we’ll go in with that idea of closer by committee. I can’t tell you what’s an established closer. I mean, Ryan Brasier has closed games for some established big league clubs. Is Matt Barnes? I don’t think we’d feel uncomfortable with either one of them. Could there be other alternatives? Sure." Yikes! Unfortunately, Kimbrel remains the best available option the Red Sox have on the closer market—it might just make sense to at least make him a juicier offer before letting him flee.