Friday, October 24, 2014

Red Sox Scouting Yet Another Japanese Pitcher

(Photo by KYODO)
It's pretty obvious that the Red Sox are scouring every available starting pitching option for 2015—be it via trade, free agency or the international posting process. With their current options limited to "Kelly And Clay, And Look Skyward To Pray", they need all the warm bodies they can get. So it's not surprising that reports out of Japan have The Carmine Hose scouting soon-to-be 31-year old right-hander Chihiro Kaneko of the Orix Buffaloes. The 5'11", 170-pound Kaneko posted a 1.91 ERA this past season for Orix, and has a career mark of 2.69 over nine years. He is reportedly in the United States during the World Series to get a feel for MLB action. The Red Sox have also been mentioned in connection with another star pitcher from the Nippon Professional Baseball League—Kenta Maeda.

Rays Manager Joe Maddon Is Leaving Tampa

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, Rays Manager Joe Maddon has opted out of his contract and will immediately leave the Tampa organization. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said the club "tried diligently and aggressively to sign [Maddon] to a third contract extension prior to his decision.". This news comes on the heels of Tampa GM Andrew Friedman leaving for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It remains to be seen whether the Dodgers remove current manager Don Mattingly in favor of Maddon.

REPORT: Red Sox May Trade For Bryce Harper

Coming To Fenway?
According to a report quoting "major league sources" on BaseballHotCorner.com, the Red Sox will try to acquire Bryce Harper this Winter in a trade with the Washington Nationals. Reportedly, Mookie Betts would be the centerpiece of any package to get the 22-year old Harper, along with one or two of Boston's top pitching prospects, and/or Allen Craig and Blake Swihart. The theory behind this deal is that the Red Sox need left-handed power and Harper has had "immaturity issues" while with the Nationals—which the team (and primarily its manager Matt Williams) is fed up with. Clearly, this would be a blockbuster move—one the ownership in Boston might need after the debacle that was 2014.

Grady Sizemore Re-Signs With Phillies For 1-YR

(Boston Herald Photo By Matt Stone)
Former Red Sox outfielder Grady Sizemore re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a one-year, $2 million contract. Sizemore had a great Spring Training with the Red Sox—winning the starting CF job on Opening Day. After faltering, he was released by Boston and signed with Philadelphia. He hit .253 with 3 HRs in The City Of Brotherly Love.

FN POLL: Solid Support For MLB Pitch Clock

The early results to our latest FenwayNation Poll indicate that almost four in five readers (78%) support the idea of a 20-second pitch clock for Major League Baseball. As the chart shows, just under one-quarter (22%) take the the opposite view—opposing the clock idea. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Breslow Is Realistic About His Return To Sox

(FenwayNation Photo)
Craig Breslow is a wicked smart guy. After all, he went to Yale, you know. So, it's not really surprising that he's showing some dispassionate realism regarding a possible return to The Carmine Hose. The Red Sox will have five days after the World Series ends to pick up Breslow's $4 million option for 2015. In the words of Cosmo Kramer: "Not bloody likely". The 34-year old port-sider is philosophical about all of this, "If they were to decline it I would be a bargain for somebody and I'll pitch to the value of the contract." Probably true. Despite his disappointing 2014, we can't forget that he was a huge contributor to the team in his time here—particularly in the 2013 championship season.

Pedey, Yoenis And JBJ Are Gold Glove Finalists

Three Red Sox players are finalists in 2014 Gold Glove voting. Dustin Pedroia (2B), Yoenis Cespedes (LF) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (CF) are among the three finalists at their respective positions. Pedroia will be up against Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler. Cespedes will contend with Alex Gordon and Michael Brantley. Bradley will vie with Adam Jones and Adam Eaton. The winners will be announced on November 4th—which also happens to be Election Day in the real world.

FN POLL: 20-Second Pitch Clock for MLB?

MLB Pitch Clock?

Would you favor or oppose a 20-second pitch clock?

  Current Results

Players Not Thrilled With New 'Pace-Of-Play'

Major League Baseball is testing out a range of new "pace-of-play" rules in this year's Arizona Fall League. It's safe to say that many of the young players in that league are not too thrilled with the new initiatives. The three basic rules being tested are:

• a 20-second pitch clock;
• a 2:05 break between innings;
• a limit of three mound visits per nine innings.

Said one young player, "It was a little rushed, getting on and off the field, getting your stuff done in the dugout and in the box mainly because you only have 20 seconds between pitches. You swing and then get right back in—it’s a little weird." Yeah, "weird", as is in—appropriate. Hopefully, the kinks will be worked out in settings like the AFL before being instituted in the big leagues. But, eventually, something has to be done to speed things up and keep the sport alive with younger fans. Of course, starting week-end World Series games before 8PM Eastern might help, too. Earth to Bud!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FN Is Proud To Promote Non-Tobacco Chew

As you all know, we have a lot of advertisers on FenwayNation—and we are proud of them all. But we are particularly proud of our newest advertiser—Jake's Mint Chew. This non-tobacco product is all natural, USDA Certified Organic and has no nicotine. And, on top of everything, it's made right in our own backyard—in Danvers, Massachusetts. Recently—most notably with the tobacco-related illness of Curt Schilling—the dangers of chewing tobacco have been spotlighted. We hope that the availability of products like Jakes's will encourage all current and future baseball players to avoid chewing tobacco. You can learn more about this great product HERE.

Time To Retire Jimmie Foxx's Red Sox Number 3

Jimmie Foxx
Today is the 107th anniversary of Jimmie Foxx's birth. "Double X" played seven amazing seasons for the Red Sox—winning the AL MVP once and ending up in the Hall of Fame. Yet, for some reason, his uniform #3 is not retired and on the facade in right field at Fenway. Can anyone please tell us why? In his time here, Foxx hit .320 with 222 HRs and 788 RBIs. In 1938 (when he won the MVP) he hit .349 with 50 HRs. He was an All-Star in six of his seven Boston years. Yesterday, we recounted the five worst Red Sox trades, but the trade that brought Foxx from the Philadelphia Athletics was one of the best. Boston sent George Savino (minors), Gordon Rhodes and $150,000 south. Not bad. So, come on, let's get old Double X's #3 up there! It's way overdue.

Is Shields Taking Himself Out Of Sox Picture?

(USAToday Sports)
"Big Game" James Shields has been anything but this postseason. He has hurled a total of 19.0 innings over four starts—and posted a very unlucky ERA of 7.11. He's also given up four HRs over that span—including last night's first inning, two-run shot to Hunter Pence. Overall this postseason, batters are hitting .337 against him. So, does this mean Ben Cherington and the Yawkey Way 'brain trust' are re-assessing their reported desire to give Shields a four- or five-year contract? One would hope so! After all, some guy named Jon Lester is younger than Shields and wants to come back.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rusney Castillo Injured In Arizona Fall League

This is not what we want to hear! Multiple sources are reporting that Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo was injured Monday in Arizona Fall League action. Word is that Castillo has a bruised hand or thumb after batting yesterday for the Surprise Saguaros of the AFL. Castillo—who signed a $72.5 million contract with Boston—had been hitting .278 in the Fall League.

Top Five Worst Red Sox Trades Ever Made

As we sit on the playoff sidelines—and contemplate a flurry of Winter trades—it might be instructive to look back at the five worst Red Sox trades ever. Keep in mind that Babe Ruth to the Yankees was not a trade, so that doesn't count. OK, here goes:

5. Dave 'Hendu' Henderson to the Giants for Randy Kutcher. Yikes! This 1987 trade—one year after Hendu's thrilling HR against the Angels—was a real loser. Henderson later went on to the A's and made it to the World Series three straight years (1988-1990). Kutcher batted .224 in three forgettable seasons with The Carmine Hose;

4. Sparky Lyle to the Yankees for Danny Cater and Mario Guerrero. This 1972 deal brought a 32-year old Cater to Boston. He had three "vanilla" seasons for the Red Sox. The 26-year old Lyle, meantime, had 35 saves in his first year in pinstripes—and eventually collected 141 in the Bronx. Bad trade, no biscuit!;

3. Fred Lynn to the Angels for Jim Dorsey, Joe Rudi and Frank Tanana. Lynn had four solid years in Anaheim and another three-plus in Baltimore. Dorsey, Rudi and Tanana all had short, non-impactful Red Sox careers;

2. Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson to the Orioles for Mike Boddicker. This 1988 deal did bring back a productive Boddicker (39-22 over two-plus seasons), but both Schilling and Anderson eventually became pretty big stars. Then again, we did get that Schilling guy back;

1. Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson. This horrendous 1990 deal sent a little-known minor league infielder to Houston for the one-year rental of an OK relief pitcher. Anderson was good (1.23 ERA in 15 games), but Bagwell became a force in Houston. He played 15 years there, hitting .297 with 449 HRs and 1529 RBIs. He was Rookie Of The Year in 1991, the 1994 NL MVP and a four-time All-Star. He may yet make the Hall of Fame. Worst. Sox. Trade. Ever.

Chili Davis And The Yankee-Red Sox Connection

Chili Just Before Going Yard Off Pedro
New Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis reportedly turned down the Yankee hitting coach job to sign with The Carmine Hose. Score one for the ChiliMan! Moreover, Davis has another solid Red Sox connection—he was formerly the hitting coach of AAA Pawtucket. However, an even more obscure connection might not sit too well with the Fenway Faithful. On September 10, 1999, Davis collected the only hit (a solo HR) off Pedro Martinez in the pitcher's legendary complete-game, 17-strikeout win at the old Yankee Stadium. The pinstriped Davis will always be held accountable for the only blemish that spelled the difference between a perfect game and a just amazing game. We might forgive him. If he asks nicely.

Reluctantly, We Say Giants Over Royals In Seven

Honestly, we really want the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series. If the Giants win, it will be three rings in five years—overshadowing the Red Sox achievement of three in ten years. But, if we look at the series with our heads and not our hearts, we have to conclude that San Francisco will prevail in seven games. There are many reasons for this: the vast experience advantage of the Giants; the incredible hot-streak of Madison Bumgarner; the 'clutchness' of players like Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and (perhaps future Carmine-Hoser) Pablo Sandoval. All of this will outweigh the Royals' karma, defense and bullpen—barely. In the grand tradition of non-entities getting World Series MVPs (with some obvious exceptions—like 2013), we pick Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. He will augment his manifold defensive skills with an offensive explosion.

Red Sox Fail To Make Any News For 15 Minutes

In an unprecedented circumstance, the Boston Red Sox failed to make any news in a 15-minute period between 10:15 AM ET and 10:30 AM ET this morning. While the team is out of the post-season and thus might be expected to have some slow news days, this quarter-hour news blackout is the first ever in franchise history. Attempts to reach officials on Yawkey Way have so far been unsuccessful. There are unconfirmed reports that PR Guru Dr. Charles "The Mad Dentist" Steinberg is scrambling to put together a news release—perhaps even about former catcher John Flaherty's 47th birthday. While Flaherty caught only 48 games for the Red Sox, he was drafted by Boston in the 25th round of the 1988 draft. Beggars can't be choosers. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lou Lusier, Oldest Red Sox Alum, Dies At 96

Lou Lusier (1918-2014)
He was a pitcher for the Red Sox during the World Ward II years. He was a local kid from Northbridge, Mass. He pitched 79.1 innings for Boston over a two-year span—going 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA. Until he passed away on Saturday at age 96, Lou Lusier was the oldest living Red Sox alum. His passing moves the legendary Bobby Doerr into that spot. Lou stayed active—even attending the 100th Anniversary Celebration at Fenway Park. He will be missed.

Yoenis Switches Agents, Now Has Shawn Carter

Shawn Corey Carter
If you were thinking that the Boston stay of Yoenis Cespedes might be short—you now have more reason to feel that way. Cespedes announced on Monday that he is switching agents from Adam Katz of WMG to Shawn Corey Carter (otherwise known as 'Jay-Z') of Roc Nation Sports. The highly-annoying Carter got Robinson Cano his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners. Considering Carter's hatred of the Red Sox, you can pretty much assume Ben Cherington will unload the 29-year old outfielder this off-season (rather than face him and 'Jay-Z' in free agency next year). Unfortunately—even if that does happen—we'd still have to deal with Carter since he represents Rusney Castillo as well.