Saturday, July 21, 2018

J.D. Martinez Out Of Saturday's Lineup, May Have Been Injured In OF

This is why J.D. Martinez should never play the outfield. Sure, he made a "nice" catch yesterday to help preserve the team's 1-0 victory—but if he injured himself on the play and he's out for 10 days, was it worth it? We say a resounding NO! Despite yesterday's catch—we all know that Martinez is a marginal defender at best—maybe even borderline lousy. Why risk bad defense and injury when he can be safely ensconced in the cocoon of the DH? Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.

Rafael Devers Returns From The 10-Day Disabled List, Poyner Back To AAA

The Red Sox activated third-baseman Rafael Devers from the 10-day disabled list (left shoulder inflammation), where he was placed retroactive to July 11th. To make room for the 21-year-old, the sent LHP Bobby Poyner back to AAA Pawtucket. In his first full MLB season, Devers is hitting .241, with 14 HRs and 48 RBIs. He may be in tonight's starting lineup in Detroit in the second game of the series.

David Price Gem Vaults Red Sox To 5.5 Game Division Edge, Beat Tabbys, 1-0

(Getty Images)
David Price delivered a gem to start the second half of the 2018 season—going 6.1 innings, while giving up just four hits and no runs in Boston's eventual 1-0 victory. He got caught in a few jams (so it was probably more accurately a "flawed" gem), but it was enough to push the Red Sox to a 5.5 game lead in the American League East—as The Bronx Embalmers fell at home, 7-5. The Boston "offense" (such as it was) was led by Steve Pearce—whose first-inning RBI double was all she wrote. Only Andrew Benintendi (2-3, BB, R) and Pearce (2-4, RBI) had multiple-hit games. Red Sox batters struck out 10 tines and left 9 men on. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth to get his 31st save of the year. By the way, for perspective, from 2012-2018 only two American League pitchers have compiled 97 wins—Price and Chris Sale.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Orioles Sending Scouts To AA Portland In Advance Of Possbile Britton Trade

(Getty Images)
While we think they should be looking for starting pitching, it appears the Red Sox are still in the market for relievers as well. One of them at the top of their list is Orioles closer Zach Britton. According to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, the Birds have scouts at AA Portland to see how the 'pickings' are in the Sox farm system. We would guess that ex-Maryland Terp Mike Shawaryn (RHP) and Josh Ockimey (1B) would be among the players of interest—as well as Michael Chavis (3B). Unfortunately, Chavis is coming off an 80-game PED suspension and hasn't played since July 14th. So far this season, the 30-year-old Britton is 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA and four saves since coming back from injury earlier this season. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

POLL: Mookie Moves Ahead Of J.D. In First-Half Red Sox MVP Balloting

The latest results of our most recent FenwayNation Poll show that readers now view Mookie Betts as the top choice for first-half Red Sox MVP. As the chart shows, the Boston All-Star right-fielder now garners 46% of the vote, followed by J.D. Martinez at 40%. Distantly trailing these two is Chris Sale (6%), followed by Andrew Benintendi (4%), Xander Bogaerts (2%) and Craig Kimbrel (2%). No voters have yet selected Mitch Moreland, or any other write-in choices. You can still vote in this poll HERE.

Commissioner Manfred Lists Six Potential Expansion Cities For 32-Team MLB

Portland Beavers?
Commissioner Rob Manfred is apparently as intent as ever to expand Major League Baseball from 30 to 32 teams. So much so, that he recently felt it necessary to float a list of six potential expansion cities to the media. Those cities are: Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, and Nashville in the U.S.—along with Montreal and Vancouver in Canada. While expansion seems inevitable, moving to 32 teams would require some nimble realignment gymnastics—some of which result in completely ludicrous situations (like placing the Red Sox and Yankees in different divisions). This expansion thing might actually happen sooner than most fans expect, so get ready for a fulsome debate on the best options moving forward in this new environment.

MannyWood Being (New) MannyWood As Machado Dons LA Dodger Blue

(MannyWood II)
As we passed along to you yesterday, the Manny Machado trade did in fact come down five Dodger prospects going east to Camden Yards (although, to be honest, we didn't get all the prospects right). There will now be a new MannyWood on the Left Coast to replace the one named for former Red Sox icon Manny Ramirez. More importantly, the serious upgrade Machado brings to The Sons Of Dave Roberts suggests that we might be meeting up with the former Baltimore superstar again in late October. Whatever "bad blood" still exits between the Red Sox and Macahdo (for the Dustin Pedroia spiking and other issues) could be played out on a much larger stage in the 2018 Fall Classic. The Dodgers came frustratingly close to a ring last year and are clearly making a push to win it all this season. Can you image the drama of a Sox-Dodgers confrontation? Bring it on!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

POLL: Deadlock! Readers Are Divided On Who Is First-Half Red Sox MVP

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that readers are exactly divided on who should be considered the first-half MVP for the Red Sox. As the chart shows, 50% say Mookie Betts should be the MVP at the break, while the other 50% think the honor should go to J.D. Martinez. None of the other five candidates got any votes—including Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Craig Kimbrel, Mitch Moreland and Chris Sale. You can still cast your vote in the "First-Half MVP" poll HERE.

Last Minute "Snag" In Machado Trade Is Medicals On Prospects Going To O's

A last minute hitch has apparently developed in the seemingly "done" deal sending Manny Machado from the Orioles to the Dodgers. Multiple reports suggest that the "snag" is with regard to possible physical problems with one or more of the 3-5 prospects being sent from Chavez Ravine to Orioles Park At Camden Yards. This may open back up the trade talks with teams like the Phillies and Brewers and (heaven forfend!) The Evil Ones.

POLL: Who Is This Year's First-Half Red Sox MVP?

Who is this year's first-half Red Sox MVP?
 
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National Hot Dog Day Again Dawns Across America, Celebrate Appropriately

Few national "mini" holidays resonate so completely with Americans as National Hot Dog Day—which happens today, July 18th. Deals abound, like the $1 'Big Bite' dogs at 7Eleven. Unfortunately, there are no MLB games played today, so one of the nation's most popular wiener venues is unavailable to us. We suggest a delayed celebration. The next time you visit Fenway Park, have two Fenway Franks—one for tomorrow, one just for today (with apologies to Jim Morrison). By the way, the hot dogs featured at Fenway are served the way franks are supposed to be served—boiled in water and placed gently on a non-toasted bun. For comparative purposes, what you get at The Concrete Bunker On 161st Street in the Bronx is foil-wrapped, grilled dreck that might as well have been cooked a week before. It's dry, shriveled, burnt and literally inedible. But, hey, it's New York, what do you expect? In any event, observe National Hot Dog Day in your own special way, America! Enjoy!

Dodgers Will Send Five Minor-Leaguers To The Orioles For Manny Machado

(Getty Images)
It's pretty much a 100% done deal—one that will likely be announced at some point today. Multiple reports point to the Orioles trading away All-Star shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for five minor-league prospects. The group of five is likely to include: Yusniel Diaz, Dustin May, and Errol Robinson. Reportedly, even with the close to $6.5 million still owed to Machado, the deal will not put the Dodgers over the luxury tax threshold. Hey, this news creates two good results for the Red Sox—1.) Machado is out of the American League and 2.) he's out of the Bronx (for now, anyway). Stay tuned for further details.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

REPORT: L.A. Dodgers Are Now Most Likely To Get Manny Machado Rental

UPDATE: Machado To Dodgers is 'happening'.
It's probably only for a two-month rental, but it appears that the Los Angeles Dodgers are about to consummate a deal for Orioles shortstop Manny Machado. According to USATodaySports, the deal in not final, but barring a last-minute snafu, it will happen on Wednesday. There is no indication yet of who will be heading to Baltimore in return. The report does state that the Phillies and Brewers are still technically in the mix for the All-Star, but it looks as if Magic Johnson and company are making a big extra push to win the World Series that eluded them just last year. Due to season-ending surgery for Dodger shortstop Corey Seager, Machado will be able to ply his desired position for the balance of 2018. Stay tuned.

At The Break: The Red Sox Are Poised For Historic Achievements In 2018

The Red Sox at the All-Star Break are enjoying some historic records. Here are a few examples:

• The most wins (68) by any team ever before the break;
• For the first time in Red Sox history, the team has four starters with at least 10 wins.
• The Red Sox have three separate streaks of eight or more wins.
• The Sox are on pace for 112 wins. Only three teams in MLB history have ever won over 112;

Of course, we all remember the 2011 Red Sox—that "juggernaut" that was dubbed The Greatest Red Sox Team Ever. Adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford the previous off-season, people were actually comparing them to the 1927 Yankees. At the end of July, the 2011 team had 66 wins. Then, they went 17-12 in August and an abysmal 7-20 in September to gag away a playoff spot. That kind of collapse will likely never happen again—but, hey, who knows? The Red Sox have a favorable schedule in the second half—with more games at home than on the road. But, the teams they have to play at the end are some of the other elites in the American League (three more with Houston and six more with The Evil Ones). Plus, our Interleague matchups feature two of the most surprising teams in the National League—two with the Phillies and three with the Braves. Still, the make-up of this team seems to suggest that they can weather those kinds of storms and make a legitimate run at their third straight AL East division title. We expect thatand a long play-off run.

Baltimore's Manny Machado Likely Traded Somewhere By Tomorrow Night

(Getty Images)
UPDATE: Olney—deal in place, destination unknown. Multiple reports indicate that Orioles shortstop Manny Machado will likely be dealt to another team before the end of the MLB All-Star Break. The All-Star Game itself takes place tonight, with regular season play resuming on Thursday. Thus, if these reports are true, Machado could be a member of the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers or Brewers by Wednesday night. While the Phillies and Brewers are the current favorites to land the 26-year-old superstar, things can change by the hour. Also, there is always the danger of The Evil Ones lurking in the weeds until the very last moment to make the prototypical big deal. The Red Sox and Dodgers are probably the least likely landing spots—with Boston in particular having a paucity of prospects to offer the O's. Stay tuned.

REPORT: J.D. Martinez "Open" To Restructuring Deal Long-Term With Red Sox

(Getty Images)
As reported by Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, J.D. Martinez is "open" to re-structuring his deal with the Red Sox—which currently has opt-outs after next season, and the two seasons that follow that. When asked about whether he's considering canceling the opt-outs, Martinez said, "Absolutely. It obviously would have to be discussed later. I've liked my time there. It's been fun so far, so I don't see why not. I like the front office. I like the manager. I like everything, the way it's run. I think it's trending in a really good way. I wouldn't mind staying there." This, of course, is music to the ears of Red Sox fans everywhere—As J.D. pretty much leads the world in every offensive category at the break. Gaining a more defined commitment from the 30-year-old slugger would solidify the Red Sox as a credible force for years to come. Apparently, Martinez does not mind the "environment" in Boston that has made other superstars wither. He went on, "[It's] the fans, the passion, the environment you get to play every day in. They love their baseball and love their team. They'll die with them and they'll live with them." Sounds like he gets it.