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

Chaim Bloom (Getty Images)
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.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

FenwayNation POLL: Seven In Ten Now Favor A Trade of Mookie Betts

In what seems like a shocking result, seven in ten FenwayNation readers now support the Red Sox trading away Mookie Betts for four players from the San Diego Padres. Clearly, much of this sentiment is the result of the perception (likely true) that Mookie does not want to stay in Boston—and would prefer testing the free-agent waters after the 2020 season. So, as the chart shows, 70% approve of the hypothetical deal—sending a closer, OF, 1B and pitcher to Boston this off-season. Three in ten (30%) disapprove of the proposed deal. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

SHOCKER: Almost Two-Thirds Favor Trading Mookie Betts For Four Padres

Early results to our latest FenwayNation Poll show that nearly two-thirds of readers (65%) approve of trading Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts to the San Diego Padres for four players—including elite closer Kirby Yates. It should be noted that wording of the poll makes the assumption that "Mookie will not sign with the Red Sox"—apparently an increasing likelihood. As the chart shows, just 35% disapprove of the possible trade. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

FenwayNation POLL: Approve Or Disapprove Of Mookie Trade To Padres?

Assuming Mookie will not sign with the Red Sox, do you approve or disapprove of the following trade: Betts to the Padres for closer Kirby Yates; OF Hunter Renfroe; 1B Josh Naylor and P Luis Perdomo?
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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

FenwayNation POLL: Twinkies Are The Top Choice Of Readers To Win It All

Results to our latest FenwayNation Poll show that the Minnesota Twins are the top choice of our readers to win the World Series in 2019. With the 2018 champs golfing, their Fort Myers neighbors garner 21% of the vote, followed by the Astros at 17%. The Trolley Dodgers and Brew Crew (eliminated last night) were next tied at 13%, with the Wild Card victorious Washington Nationals next at 12%. Further down the list were the A's at 7%, the Rays and Braves at 6%, The Evil Empire at 4% and the Cardinals (somewhat surprisingly) in dead last at just 1%. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

MLB Postseason POLL: Which Team Do You Want to Win It All?

Now that the Red Sox are out of the postseason, which team do you want to win it all?
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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Red Sox Clinch A Winning Season With 82nd Victory, Beat Rangers, 12-10

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Call it a 'Pyrrhic Victory'—Boston's 12-10 win over the Rangers guaranteed a better than .500 result for the 2019 Carmine Hose. And yet, they are out of the playoffs and will not defend their 2018 World Series championship. Eduardo Rodriguez had an ugly win for his 19th of the season, and Rafael Devers had two hits on his way to a possible 200-hit season. Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi also had two-hit games. E-Rod gave up seven earned runs in exactly five innings—barely eking out the win. He has a shot at a 20-win campaign at Fenway on Sunday. The Red Sox have five games left in this dismal season.

Friday, September 20, 2019

ERod Shines, Sox Reach 80-Win Plateau, Devers Gets 110-RBIs In 5-4 Victory

It's hardly anything to cheer about—but your 2019 Carmine Hose are now three wins away from guaranteeing a winning campaign. Their 80th victory came yesterday at the hands of the San Francisco Giants—a 5-4 win thanks in part to their true pitching ace Eduardo Rodriguez. And their true baby-faced star—Rafael Devers—reached the 110-RBI level, after going 2-5. E-Rod gained his 18th victory—going six solid innings, giving up just two hits and no earned runs, along with 10 strikeouts. In addition to Devers, multi-hit games were turned in by Andrew Benintendi, Christian Vazquez and Xander Bogaerts.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Bogie Goes Yard, Gets Three Hits, Knocks In Three In Sox 4-3 Win Over Halos

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'One game at a time'. That is the mantra of the 2019 Red Sox as they enter the final month of their World Series championship defense. With Sunday's 4-3 win over the Angels, Boston moved to within five games of the second Wild Card spot in the American League. Getting to the post-season will not be easy—but their 6-2 West Coast road trip has allowed them to pick up two full games in the race. Xander Bogaerts took the team on his shoulders yesterday—clouting a two-run HR, collecting three total hits and knocking in three. In any other season, the X-Man would be a serious MVP contender—now with 31 HRs and 103 RBIs. J.D. Martinez continued his blazing hot streak—also homering (his team-leading #33). He is now hitting .317 with 93 RBIs. This was almost a pure bullpen game for manager Alex Cora—with starter David Price working just two innings in his return to the rotation. Ryan Weber got the win, while Brandon Workman collected his 10th save. The Carmine Hose get Labor Day off—and come home for seven tough games again the Twinkies (3) and The Evil Ones (4).

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Mookie GWHR Caps Marathon Red Sox Win In 15 Innings Over Halos, 7-6

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Last night/early morning Mookie Betts became the first player in MLB history to hit both a lead-off home run in the first inning and a game-winning home run in the 15th inning of the same game. That feat was a fitting capstone to a crazy, 7-6 win for Boston—that kept them 5.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card spot. J.D. Martinez stayed hot by driving in three runs—two on his team-leading 33rd home run of 2019. Nathan Eovaldi started the game and went four decent innings—giving up just one earned run on three hits while striking out eight Angels. While the bullpen was, overall, uneven (5 earned runs), Andrew Cashner pitched four spectacular innings of relief for the win. Darwinzon Hernandez also pitched two scoreless frames for The Carmine Hose.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Bogie And Raffy Lead The Way In 7-4 Win Over Rox, Sox 5 Out Of Wild Card

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On Wednesday night, Xander Bogaerts became the first Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra to have a 30 HR, 100 RBI season. In reaching that milestone, Bogie went 3-4, with 3 RBIs—including two home runs. The X-Man's mentee, Rafael Devers, went 3-5, with an RBI and three runs scored—including a home run of his own. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez got his 16th win of the year—despite going just five innings in the eventual 7-4 win. Also contributing to the 12-hit Boston attack were J. D. Martinez (2-5, 2-R HR) and Christian Vazquez (2-4, RBI). The sweep of the Rockies finally resulted in the Red Sox making up some ground in the AL Wild Card race. Boston is now just five games back of the second Wild Card spot—with 28 games left to play. Boston is now 4-1 on this road trip and ten games over .500 (72-62).

Sunday, August 25, 2019

BrockStar Homers In 9th, Red Sox Eke-Out 5-4 Win Over Hapless Friars

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After blowing a 4-0 lead, the Red Sox faced the possibility of losing to one of the worst teams in baseball—the lowly San Diego Padres. Then, Brock Holt came to the rescue. The BrockStar ambushed Padre closer All-Star Kirby Yates' first pitch—launching a down-and-in fastball over the Petco Park fence for a 5-4 Red Sox lead. That lead held up as Brandon Workman worked a scoreless (albeit cardiac) ninth in the eventual win—the 70th on the season for Boston. Nathan Eovaldi lasted just three innings in his second start back—giving up two earned runs. The Boston offense was keyed by Holt—along with Christian Vazquez (2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, R), Mookie Betts (2-5, RBI) and Mitch Moreland (2-4, RBI). The win moved The Carmine Hose marginally closer to the second AL Wild Card spot (6.0 games out).

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Seven & Seven: J.D. Drives In 7, ERod Hurls Strong 7, Sox Win Big, 11-0

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It was all "sevens" for the Red Sox on Friday night in San Diego. J.D. Martinez clouted two three-run HRs, driving in a total of seven runs and Eduardo Rodriguez tossed seven shutout innings in Boston's 11-0 rout of The Friars. ERod recorded his 15th win of the year (a career high), and Martinez and Rafael Devers each had three hits. Devers is now hitting .331 with 103 RBIs. Boston's 14-hit attack resulted in their sixth victory over San Diego in their last seven meetings. Despite the win, the Red Sox remain a distant 6.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card—with just 32 games left to play in the 2019 season.