Thursday, March 26, 2020

Surviving (No) Opening Day 2020 With Renowned Author Gary Morgenstein

As we all struggle with a baseball-free existence, FenwayNation is reaching out to different segments of the baseball community to get their thoughts on how to cope. Our first guest is renowned fiction author Gary Morgenstein. His terrific novel, "A Mound Over Hell", traces the fate of baseball in a post-World War III apocalyptic America. The sequel, "A Fastball for Freedom, Book Two", will be out next year from BHC Press—including a good number of scenes at the 22nd Century Fenway Park. Below is a link to Gary's author page and, a fun video of him trying out for the Yankees to promote his second novel. Yes, the Yankees! Hey, we are all in this together!

Author's page:
Tryout video:

Now, here are our questions for Gary and his answers:

FenwayNation: "Since you've written about baseball in the context of a dystopian world, how do you view the fate of baseball in the current COVID-19 crisis?"

Gary: "It’ll be interesting to see how much fans missed baseball as a barometer of the game’s place in a relieved country. In my novel, disgraced baseball, facing its final season ever in 2098, represents the once powerful America which lost World War Three. Increasingly fans view the sport as belonging to a past which no longer exists. There’s a reason why baseball is rarely portrayed in science fiction (excluding fantasy stories like Field of Dreams). Writers simply don’t think the game will make the cut into the future. Once we return to normal, does the country embrace its familiar pillars like baseball? I think in the short term they will, but let’s say attendance is down, which’d be understandable. There has to be lingering uneasiness about abandoning social distancing. Do we only allocate so many seats per section? Discounts on streaming services? Lower ticket and concession prices? How does baseball reach out, especially when the increasing bulk of its fan base are older? Do owners return to the halcyon days of colorful promotions a la the iconic Bill Veeck or the inventive minor leagues (if the owners don’t destroy them first) to make baseball a safe environment – emotionally  – that we all recall as kids to reassure everyone that America’s back? There can’t be appeals to patriotism like the aftermath of 9/11. The virus knows no borders. I wonder if post-crisis America, from waiting on lines, self-imposed isolation and not having texts answered inside eight seconds, might show more patience for baseball."

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Red Sox Introduce New "Socially Distant" Team Logo

We're not sure if we like or hate the idea—but you have to admit it's novel. The Red Sox announced on their official TWITTER feed a new "socially distant profile pic" that disentangles the "socks" of the old logo. Part of us wants to mock this as the NOG's typical political correctness (to go along with disgusting kale showing up in Fenway food). But another part of us wants to applaud the ownership for lightening up the current somber mood with an idea that actually does encourage smart behavior on the part of their fans. So, as we try to weather the vast empty desert that is Baseball 2020, even little reminders of what will come are more than welcome. It might only be a partial season, but it's looking more and more that it will be some form of season at least. Who knows, by May we might be actually talking about whether Andrew Benintendi can really lead-off all year or whether we have any starting pitching beyond Eduardo Rodriguez? We can only hope.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

FN Poll: Readers Deadlocked On Whether X-Man Or Raffy Should Be Protected

The early results to our latest FenwayNation Poll show that readers are just about evenly divided on whether to protect Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers in the event of a Red Sox "Re-Build". As the chart shows, 47% say Bogie should be kept "at all costs", while nearly as many (46%) opt for Devers as they guy we would have to keep. Just 5% name Andrew Benintendi as the player that has to be held onto, while 1% each choose Eduardo Rodriguez and Christian Vazquez. Another 1% chose another unspecified player. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

FN Poll: Which One Red Sox Player Would You Keep In A Team "Re-Build"?

If the Red Sox decide to "re-build", which ONE of the following players would you KEEP at all costs? free polls

Monday, March 2, 2020

Life After Mookie (And Price)—What Can We Expect From The 2020 Season?

Given the mandate from John Henry to shave payroll (and the decision of J.D. Martinez to stay in Boston), it was almost inevitable that new GM Chaim Bloom would have to trade away 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts. Well, it happened—Mookie will be patrolling right field in Chavez Ravine in 2020—not Fenway. Trading Betts along with David Price will get Boston under the luxury tax threshold for this year—but it is a sad day when your team deals way a legitimate five-tool player for any reason. Essentially, we unloaded our Willie Mays in exchange for financial flexibility and the chance that one of the three players coming back will someday come close to Mookie's value. Don't hold your breath. The 2020 season is likely to be an unmitigated disaster—with only three legitimate starters—Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi. And, of course, two of them (Sale and Eovaldi) have a recent history of quirky injuries. Forget about the #4 and #5 starters—we don't even know who they are with about three weeks left before Opening Day. Even without Mookie, the Boston offense is likely to be potent. Rafael Devers will be even more devastating at the plate with another year of maturity under his belt. Xander Bogaerts will be a leader on and off the field again. J.D. Martinez will be, well, J.D. Martinez. And, Christian Vazquez should build on his solid 2019 and be an even better player on both sides of the ball. Still, this is probably a .500 ballclub that will miss the playoffs for the second straight year.

Monday, December 30, 2019

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

(Getty Images)
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

(Getty Images)
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?

(Getty Images)
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

(Getty Images)
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"

(Getty Images)
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.