Friday, February 17, 2017

Former Red Sox IF Aaron Hill To Ink Pact With Giants

(Getty Images)
His stay in Boston was brief, but Aaron Hill did a pretty decent job as a fill-in infielder for the 2016 Carmine Hose. In 47 games, he only hit .218, but was a steady force in the field when called upon. Multiple reports indicate that the soon-to-be 35-year-old Hill will sign a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants. Over his 12-year MLB career, Hill is a .267 hitter—with an OPS of .743. We wish Aaron all the best at AT&T Park.

POLL: Fate Of Panda/Moreland Still Deadlocks Nation

Apparently, the issue of whether or not Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland survive 2017 is as divisive as anything on the national political scene. Continued voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows our readership is still exactly divided on the issue. As the chart shows, a combined 50% think it's likely that Panda and Mitch retain their starting jobs on October 1st. However, the other 50% think it's likely they will not be starting when the post-season rolls around. Even though we promised no more updates—we can't help ourselves! You can still vote in this poll (and potentially break the deadlock) HERE.

John Henry: "We're Really Focused On A Fourth Ring"

Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner held a press conference at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers this morning—covering a wide range of issues. Henry initially stated that his view of success is "playing meaningful games in September and October", but later clarified his view as follows: "We're really focused on a fourth ring. Anything else is really limited success." Since buying the team in late 2001, the so-called "New Ownership Group" (NOG) has won three World Series Championships—including the "curse-breaking" win in 2004 and the post-Marathon bombing victory in 2013. In other somewhat surprising news, Werner alluded to a "plan" to move Red Sox executive offices out of cramped Fenway Park to another location. The rationale—aside from giving Henry and Werner more "leg-room"—would be to utilize the space for more 'fan-oriented' activities. Both owners also quashed the seemingly annual rumor that the NOG will be selling the team.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Red Sox-Yankee Battle Moves On To The College Gridiron

They have been at each other's throats since the American League was formed in 1901—that's 116 years of feuding. However, most of the time they have 'squared off' on the diamond. Now, the battlefield has moved to college football. Reportedly, both the Red Sox and Yankees have submitted bids to host the annual Army-Navy football classic at their respective stadiums. Both franchises have a recent history of hosting college football games—so the track record of success is there for both. Historically, the 117 Army-Navy tilts have been in either Pennsylvania or Maryland—so shifting to Fenway Park or The Concrete Bunker On 161st Street would be a big move. Interestingly, Gillette Stadium and the New England Patriots are also in the mix. Stay tuned!

Would Pining For Hanley Bring Ortiz Out Of Retirement?

(Getty Images)
UPDATE: Fuggedaboutit!
Leave it to Hanley Ramriez to stoke up a controversy on his first day in camp. Reportedly, David Ortiz told his former teammate that one reason he "might" come out of retirement is because he misses Hanley. Huh? Would a 'man crush' on Ramirez really coax Big Papi away from his family and friends—and a lucrative post-playing career? Not blood likely. Initially, Hanley said to reporters, "David, I'm sorry man, but I've got to do it, man. If he tries to come back, I'm one of the reasons he might come back because we miss each other so much. That's not going to happen but he told me that." Later, after much back and forth, he clarified things, "David's not coming back. He's home with his family. All right? You got that?" Yeah, we got that. But, let a thousand conspiracy theories bloom!

Mookie Betts Is Poised To Repeat His Stellar 2016 Season

(Boston Red Sox Team Photo—Michael Ivins)
OK, the Patriots Duckboat Parade is fading from our memories. Boston weather forecasters are screwing up by the numbers on their prognostications. And Red Sox Spring Training is in full swing! As you may recall, one member of The 2016 Carmine Hose had a pretty decent year—Markus Lynn Betts. Mookie finished second in the AL MVP balloting and led the league in total bases (359). He hit .318 with 31 HRs and 113 RBIs. Somewhat under the radar were his 26 steals. At this point nobody remembers that he came up as a second-base prospect—supposedly blocked by Dustin Pedroia. The athletic Betts simply morphed into one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. He is the total package. He is ours. And he is likely to have another mammoth year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

POLL: Readers Really Divided On Panda And Moreland

The more we keep this latest FenwayNation Poll up, the more divided our readers become. First, more people thought Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland would survive at their positions until October 1st. Then, things flipped and more thought the duo would be history by playoff season. Now, the polling shows a literal dead heat—a combined 50% taking one position and a combined 50% taking the other position. Holy Gridlock! Hey, guys, this isn't politics! You can still vote in the poll HERE (for the last time, we promise!).

Farrell: Hanley To Get All DH At-Bats Against Righties

Red Sox manager John Farrell said today that Hanley Ramirez will get all the team's Designated Hitter at-bats against right-handed pitching. This will likely mean that Hanley would move to first base against lefties (displacing Mitch Moreland)—also giving Chris Young at-bats in the DH spot.

Tyler Thornburg Could Be A Huge Lift To Bullpen

With most of the off-season focus on the Chris Sale trade, it's easy to forget about another significant pitching acquisition made by Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. On December 6th, Boston sent prospects Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington—along with Travis Shaw—to The Brew Crew for 28-year-old relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg. In his five seasons with Milwaukee, Thornburg has gone 14-9 with a 2.87 ERA. Part of last season he took on the closer's role and ended up 2016 going 8-5 with a 2.15 ERA—and 13 saves. He gave up just 38 hits in 67 innings pitched—and had a WHIP of 0.940. He also struck out 90 batters on the year. So, along with the returning Carson Smith (targeting mid-March for his first bullpen), Thornburg will offer some formidable set-up for closer Craig Kimbrel.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

POLL: Slim Majority Now See Panda And Moreland Gone

The latest results to our current FenwayNation Poll indicate that a slim majority (54%) now think that Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland will not be Red Sox starters on October 1st. As the chart shows, 22% say it's "not likely at all" the two will be around at that point, with another 32% saying it's "not very likely". On the flip side, a total of 47% think the two infielders will be starting at the end of the regular season. Three in ten (30%) say this eventuality is "somewhat likely", while another 17% think it's "very likely". You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Moncada & Kopech Are Top And Third ChiSox Prospects

When the Red Sox dealt for lefty ace Chris Sale, they had to part with two very talented prospects. Second-baseman Yoan Moncada and pitcher Michael Kopech were two glittering gems of the Boston organization—and now they hold those spots in Chicago. Moncada—universally regarded as the best overall prospect in all of baseball—is obviously number one on The Pale Hose list. But, in third spot is Kopech—he of the reputed 110-MPH fastball. Of course, Kopech also tested positive for amphetamines in 2015—and was a bit of a behavioral problem in the Boston organization. Nonetheless, the White Sox have secured themselves two pretty much "can't miss" players in the deal.

Clay Buchholz Looks To Re-Boot His Career In Philly

(Philly.Com Photo)
A simplified delivery and some re-tooled mechanics converted Clay Buchholz from a Red Sox after-thought to a major contributor in the second half of 2016. Over almost sixty innings, he re-bounded with a 3.22 ERA—and 40 strikeouts. He even started Game Three of the ill-fated AL Division Series. All of this second-half success raised his stock among rival GMs. After getting Chris Sale, Buchholz became an un-needed (and some would say un-wanted) extravagance at $13.5 million. So, he was dealt to the Phillies for the immortal Josh Tobias. Now, Clay is looking to re-charge his career in The City Of Brotherly Love—with the same simple mechanics that brought success at the end of last year. Said Buchholz, "It energizes anybody. There are expectations that are brought back to you. That sense of complacency, being in one spot for an extended period of time, that's gone." Who knows? Maybe that kid who pitched a 'no-no' in his second MLB start will re-emerge.