Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Forgotten Get: Hitting Coach Chili Davis

Davis With Arnie Beyeler At Pawtucket In 2011 (PawSox Photo)
You've heard a lot this off-season about marquee Red Sox offensive acquisitions. And, inserting solid hitters like Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval into the lineup is bound to improve on last year's anemic run production. But a not-so-discussed addition could be almost as important: new hitting coach Chili Davis. The 54-year old Davis comes to The Carmine Hose with a solid reputation of getting results. For the past three years, Davis has been working his magic with the Oakland A's. After a five-year playoff drought before Davis, the A's made the tournament three straight times during his tenure. Davis got a three-year contract from Boston—which helped him choose the Red Sox over The Evil Ones. In addition, he served as the AAA Pawtucket hitting coach in 2011 before joining Oakland. While this move didn't get a lot of ink back in October, it could prove to be very important next October.

Koji Uehara Likes Sox Moves This Off-Season

Koji And Fan (FenwayNation Photo)
In an interview with The Japan Times, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara stated that he likes the moves his team has made this off-season. Said Koji, "I think it’s going to be a really good team." The 40-year old Uehara said of his new two-year contract, "I’m grateful. I believe I am indebted to the team and I want to do my best to repay that." Despite the fact that Manager John Farrell has named Koji as the team's closer, Uehara takes a different view:"Although I’m getting a good salary, regular jobs aren’t etched in stone. I want to compete consistently. My intent is to win the (closer) role." Gotta love it!

Gammons: No Mookie Or Blake In Hamels Deal

Swihart (L); Betts (R)
According to Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, the Red Sox have told the Phillies that any trade for left-handed ace Cole Hamels will not involve either OF/IF Mookie Betts or C Blake Swihart. In his column last Friday, Gammons also suggested that while Phillies "senior advisor" Charlie Manuel likes several other Boston players (e.g., Garin Cecchini), he does not have the ear of GM Ruben Amaro. So, the likelihood of Boston sending lower-tier prospects to The City of Brotherly Love for Hamels is pretty low. This might push GM Ben Cherington to re-visit the idea of signing free-agent Max Scherzer—although that could force John Henry to cut back on paper towels in The Boston Globe washrooms.

Stephen Drew Is Seeking A $10 Million Contract

On June 9, 1954, Boston attorney Joseph Welch asked Senator Joe McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" The same could now be applied to Stephen Drew's reckless agent Scott Boras—who has the gall to ask GMs to give his client a $10 million contract for 2015. By holding Drew out until June last year, Boras allowed for the poorest season of the shortstop's career. Between Boston and The Evil Ones, Drew hit a mind-boggling .162 with a .237 on-base percentage. So how does Boras justify asking for 10 big ones? He mentions the lefty's career .764 OPS (not making reference to the .536 OPS he delivered in 300 2014 plate appearances). Drew will be 32 years old next March and would be lucky to get half of what Boras is asking—very lucky. Mr. Boras, have you no decency?

Red Sox Bid "Good Riddance" To Dismal 2014

(Photo By FN International Editor Mark Lawrence)
Baseball seasons don't get much more forgettable that 2014—with the possible exception of 2012. As the Red Sox put their embarrassing 71-win season in the rearview mirror, we can only hope that the "even-odd" year mojo continues. Last-To First-To Last-To First Again? Let's look on the bright side. Our International Editor Mark Lawrence has sent us photos from Sydney that prove it's already 2015. So, pop some leftover bubbly from 2013 and look to Opening Day 2015just 95 days away. Gone are all the sordid memories of the year past: the Grady Sizemore tease; the "return" of Stephen Drew; the Raiders Of The Lost Offense; the disappointing play of Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley, Jr.; two-thirds of Dustin Pedroia; the departure of Jon Letserall of it gone forever into the dustbin of Red Sox history. Good riddance, 2014—and don't let the cosmic door hit you in the butt on the way out.

POLL: Hanley & Panda Signings Are Top Story

Early voting in our "End O' The Year Poll" shows that a plurality of readers (28%) think that the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval rate as the top Red Sox story of 2014. As the chart shows, equal shares of readers (22%) consider the 71-win season and the signing of Jon Lester by the Cubbies to be the number one story. About one voter in five (19%) chose the inspiring performance of Brock Holt as the top story, while just 7% picked the poor performances of young players. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

FN POLL: Top Red Sox Story Of 2014?

Top Red Sox Story Of 2014

What was the TOP Red Sox story of 2014?

  Current Results

FanGraphs: Red Sox Lead MLB In "Total WAR"

First of all, we don't mean "Total WAR" as in Dr. Strangelove-type total WAR. This is simply geek-talk for the statistical construct known as "Wins Above Replacement". If we're reading the table correctly (which is by no means a certainty), the FanGraphs website is projecting your 2015 Red Sox as the MLB leader in 'Total WAR'. With a pitching WAR of 13.6 and a batting WAR of 29.7, Boston leads the majors with a total WAR of 43.3. Finishing second are the Dodgers at 41.8, followed by the Nationals at 41.0, and the Cardinals at 39.7. Rounding out the Top Five are the surprising Mariners at 39.5. It's the offensive WAR numbers that put the Red Sox over the top—as their pitching WAR is only the fifth best on the list. It's no surprise, then, that none of the current Boston starters are projected to do better than a 3.98 ERA (Rick Porcello). In addition, none of the five is seen as going 200 innings—although Porcello does get a projected WAR of 3.0. Leading the way in giving Boston the #1 batting ranking is Dustin Pedroia—who projects a whopping 4.4 WAR at second base. Pablo Sandoval also projects well—clocking in with a 3.7 WAR at third. By the way, The Bronx Embalmers rank 10th on the total WAR list with a 36.4.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Red Sox 'Back-Channel' Denial On Max Scherzer

A "major league source" has told's Rob Bradford that—contrary to an earlier report by CBSSports.comthe Red Sox are not serious contenders for free-agent Max Scherzer. The source who is "familiar with the Red Sox' thinking" (there's a scary thought!) claims that Boston is simply being used as a stalking horse to pump up Scherzer's value for more serious pursuers. Of course this "source" might just be a shill for the NOG—allowing them to, in fact, be a real player on Scherzer at a better price. As far as we're concerned, Scherzer is the best solution to the ace-free Red Sox rotation—since he wouldn't cost any prospects or draft picks. All he will cost is some of John Henry's loose cash. And we're always in favor of that proposition.

Rusney Hits .405 In Puerto Rican Winter League

(Getty Images)
Rusney Fever—Catch It! Rusney Castillo—the likely starting center-fielder for your 2015 Boston Red Sox—just ended his stint in the Puerto Rican Winter League hitting .405! In 37 at-bats hitting lead-off for Alex Cora's Criollos de Caguas team, Castillo had one home run and two stolen bases. Of his hitting, Cora commented, "He didn't try and pull too much. Most of his hits were back up the middle, right-center." The 27-year old Cuban got in just ten games with the Red Sox at the end of last season—hitting .333 with a .400 OBP. He collected two HRs and 6 stolen bases for The Carmine Hose. If things continue this well, he may prove worthy of his seven-year, $72.5 million contract.

Theo Cornering Market On 2014 Red Sox Players

(Getty Images)
In his continuing quest to collect as many players as possible from the 2014 Red Sox roster, Cubs President Theo Epstein is now after Stephen Drew. Having already garnered Jon Lester and David Ross (and briefly even Ryan Lavarnway), Epstein is looking at Drew as a possible back-up at second base and shortstop for the Cubbies. Drew—after losing $4 million during his extended 2014 holdout—had a pathetic year between Boston and the Bronx.

MLB Network To Provide Live HOF Coverage

Johnson (L), Martinez (R)—(Getty Images)
MLB Network will provide a live telecast of the results of the 2015 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot on Tuesday, January 6 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Red Sox great Pedro Martinez is expected to be enshrined on the first ballot in his first year of eligibility. Said Hall of Fame broadcaster Peter Gammons of Martinez: "[Hall of Famer] Bobby Cox once made the observation that he’s the only pitcher [he’s] ever seen that the home crowd never goes to concession [stands] when the opposing team is at the plate because they don’t want to miss anything." Also likely to be elected are Randy Johnson and John Smoltz—who played briefly for The Carmine Hose in 2009.

REPORT: Sox Are Favorites To Sign Scherzer

Max Scherzer
According to's Jon Heyman, the Red Sox are the favorites (among nine possible teams) to sign free-agent starter Max Scherzer. As Heyman points out, while Boston is averse to long-term contracts, they still need and ace. Moreover, signing Scherzer will allow them to hold onto prized prospects and avoid sacrificing a number one draft pick (thanks to their crappy 2014 finish). Of course, it also means they'll have to exceed the $144M offer that Scherzer turned down last year. Scherzer has clearly excelled in the American League (unlike trade target Cole Hamels) and has performed well in the post-season. Stay tuned!

No Number 21 For Porcello—Because Of Roger?

Clemens And Boggs
For some unknown reason, the Red Sox have not retired Wade Boggs' uniform number 26. And yet, it appears that they are protecting the uniform number 21 of Roger Clemens—since no one has worn it since his departure in 1996. Now, reportedly, Rick Porcello was denied number 21 when he joined the club. So, a guy who is almost universally scorned for suspected PED use is respected more than a guy who bled Red Sox red and already resides in the Hall Of Fame with a Boston cap. The NOG (New Ownership Group) does a lot of questionable things, but this one is indefensible.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hiroki Kuroda Says "Sayonara" To Evil Empire

Hiroki Kuroda is escaping the Bronx and heading home to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Carp. The nearly forty-year old starter could have pitched another year for The Bronx Embalmers, but decided to take a better deal in his home country. This leaves The Pinstriped Posers in a pickle in their rotation—although they did recently sign Nathan Eovaldi. While they were not counting on Kuroda's return, he would have been a welcome bulwark among a group of other aged, ailing pitching options. This news is sweet music to our ears, as Yankee fortunes drop further and further in the AL East.

Another Bridge Year Looming On Yawkey Way

Say what they will, the Red Sox brass are gearing up for yet another infamous "bridge year" in 2015. Sure, they beefed up the worst team offense in a generation. Sure, they added three number three starting pitchers. Sure, the American League "Least" is weaker than it's been in a while. But, still, there's that pit in the bottom of your stomach—and you haven't had a Fenway Frank in over three months. Why? Four words: No Number One Starter. Nobody to anchor and mentor a young staff. Nobody to take the ball in a one-game play-in or a Game Seven in the post-season. The team's rationale is that—next yearJohn Henry and his billions could have their pick of David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman and Zack Grienke. That's all well and good. But, it won't satisfy you when you're watching this team 15 games out next August.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

From The Babe To The Beards-Great Sox Read

There's still time to run out and buy one of the most entertaining Red Sox books published this year: 'From The Babe To The Beards—The Boston Red Sox In the World Series' by Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime. This is a big book that any Red Sox fan will be proud to display on their Holiday coffee table. Filled with richly-detailed photos from the twelve Red Sox World Series, the book is a journey back through the team's storied post-season history. In a novel twist, each of the 73 games carries a profile of a key Red Sox player. Nowlin and Prime—authors of almost twenty Red Sox-related books between them—do a fantastic job of shining a light on the glory of The Carmine Hose. You can also order the book online HERE.

Yes Pepper, Yes Fungo, On Gonner, On Blitzem!

Hanley Ramirez knows how to endear himself to his once and future fan base. The newly-minted prodigal son posted a positive holiday message on TWITTER that evoked all things Fenway. Accompanied by pictures of him working out and hitting in the cage, he declared himself "ready to play pepper with the Green Monstah". Beautiful. Eddie Popowski could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Is Former Sox IF Marco Scutaro's Career Over?

The Red Sox signed Marco Scutaro as a free agent in 2009—and he went on to have two decent seasons in Boston. He hit .284 in his time here and played a solid shortstop. Now, at age 39, his career may be over due to extensive spinal fusion surgery performed on Sunday. The L2 and L3 vertebrae in Scutaro's back were fused—resulting in a four- to six-month recovery period. At his advanced age, it is highly unlikely that the 2012 NLCS MVP will return to baseball. We wish Marco a speedy and full recovery.

Pedro Wins Boston Baseball Writers Award

(FenwayNation Photo)
Pedro Martinez has been named the 2014 winner of the Judge Emil Fuchs Award by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The award is given for "long and meritorious service" to baseball and is named after the former owner of the Boston Braves. Presentation of the award will be on January 22nd at the chapter's annual dinner held at B.U.'s Agganis Arena. In seven seasons with the Red Sox, Martinez went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA. His 1999 and 2000 seasons are among the most dominant in baseball history. He is a lock to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY this Summer.

What Can Sox Expect From Hanley Ramirez?

Hanley Back In the Day
I can still remember the game—a St. Patrick's Day tilt at City Of Palms Park in March of 2005. A raw young kid named Hanley Ramirez was in the lineup for the Red Sox—resplendent in the team's holiday green uniform. Little did we know that we were watching a soon-to-be Rookie Of The Year (2006), perennial MVP candidate and three-time All-Star. Today, that "kid" turns 31 years of age and is re-united with The Carmine Hose. What should we expect from this more mature HanRam? Are his petulant, self-serving days behind him? Can he stay healthy? Can he re-gain MVP-like form? The answers to these questions will go a long way toward determining whether the Red Sox contend for the AL East title. Let's look at the numbers. Last year, he was on the field for 128 games (79% of the Dodger schedule)—not bad, but not that great, either. In 512 plate appearances, he hit a respectable .283—with a .369 OBP. He hit just 13 HRs, but knocked in 71 (which projects to about 90 RBIs had he played the whole campaign). At the end of the year, he finished eighth in MVP voting. In the three previous years (2013, 2012, 2011), he averaged only 81 games. And yet, while playing only 86 games in 2013 he hit 20 HRs and drove in 57, while hitting .345. If Boston's new medical staff can keep Ramirez on the Fenway green and in the middle of the lineup, there's no reason why he can't put up .300/30/100 numbers in 2015. He is still that good a hitter.

Get Used To Five Number Threes In Rotation

Evidence is mounting that the 2015 Red Sox will feature a beefed-up offense—backed up by five number three starting pitchers. Ben Cherington is sending clearer and clearer signals that the team can be 'patient' on the remaining elite starters—and if their price drops before Spring Training, Boston might go after one. Then again, they may open the year with a rotation of Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly and Justin Masterson. If anyone gets hurt (or simply stinks), Cherington is content with dipping into the minors for the likes of Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, or Matt Barnes. That's certainly a talented group to choose from—but none of them can today be counted on to perform at the major league level. This is a dangerous path the Sox are treading—made all the more frustrating because adding one premier starter could put them over the top in a weakened AL East.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christian Vazquez Tearing It Up In Winter Ball

(USAToday Sports)
Christian Vazquez—the likely starting catcher for the 2015 Red Sox—has been doing some serious offensive damage in the Puerto Rican Winter League. So far, the backstop is hitting .294—with a .371 OBP. The 24-year old is known for his defensive skills (particularly his 'gun' of an arm), so if he starts to hit consistently, it's offensive gravy. Boston signed Andover native Ryan Hanigan to complement Vazquez this year—and Blake Swihart is sitting in waiting at AAA Pawtucket. So, the Red Sox catching future continues to be very bright.

Empire Moving In On Troy Tulowitzki Talks

As trade discussions between the New York Mets and Colorado Rockies have cooled, a new suitor may be lurking for Troy Tulowitzki. According to's Jon Heyman, the Yankees have "checked in" on Tulo—who is well-known to be a Derek Jeter fanboy. Tulowitzki, who took some flak for attending a Yankee game on an off-day in New York, is eager to don pinstripes. It's unclear whether the Yankees have anywhere near the talent the Rockies would demand in exchange for their All-Star shortstop. Didi Gregorius could not be reached for comment.

Yankees Will Support Slain NYPD Officer's Sons

Clearly, we are not the biggest fans of the New York Yankees. However, when the team does noble things, they must be saluted. The Steinbrenner family's Silver Shield Foundation is stepping up to support the families of the NYPD officers slain over the weekend. The foundation will pay for the college expenses of two sons of officer Rafael Ramos—one, a 13-year old and another currently attending Maine's Bowdoin College. Wenjian Liu—the other officer murdered on Saturday—has no children. The Yankees have been caring for the families of slain New York City police, fire and Port Authority members for the last 32 years. They deserve the highest praise for their efforts.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sox And Giants Tussling Over James Shields

According to's Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox and Giants are both still in on free-agent James Shields. According to Cafardo, The Evil Empire is also lurking. Shields is likely to get a 5-year offer in the range of $110. The addition of the 33-year old righty would significantly upgrade the Boston rotation—currently comprising a bevy of #3 starters. Stay tuned.

Pride Of Andover High School Back Home Again

Andover High School
Ryan Hanigan graduated from Andover High School in 1999 (where he was an Eastern Mass. All-Star). After college, his MLB career took him to far-flung locations like Cincinnati and Tampa Bay. Now, he's coming home to play for the team he rooted for as a kid. Said Hanigan, "...I grew up watching the Red Sox so you can't not do that around here. It's the team. We were diehard growing up. All my nieces and nephews were a little bid jaded throughout the years, when I was wearing a Cincinnati and Tampa Bay uniform. Now they're pumped they can rock the Red Sox stuff with pride." We hear 'ya Ryan, we hear 'ya. Welcome back!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Are Red Sox 'Punting' On Free Agent Starters?

As time moves on, it appears that the Red Sox may actually be planning to go into the 2015 season with their current starting rotation.'s Gordon Edes reports today that Ben Cherington has—in fact—admitted that the team is not "actively engaged" with any of the elite free agent pitchers still available. This is highly distressing on many levels. It indicates that the Red Sox are not pursuing the safest route to improve the rotation—through free agency (without sacrificing prospects).

Craig Breslow Returns To Sox On 1-YR Deal

(FenwayNation Photo)
At least the Red Sox clubhouse will be a little smarter now. Yale grad Craig Breslow re-signed with Boston yesterday on a one-year, $2 million deal. Breslow helps fill the left-handed void in the bullpen—and, hopefully, will revert to his pre-2014 form. While the all-Yale battery is no longer possible with the departure of Ryan Lavarnway (who has bounced all over MLB in the last week), signing Breslow is a good move by Ben Cherington.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Evil Empire Swaps Prado For Nathan Eovaldi

The Bronx Embalmers have been almost too quiet this off-season. Today, they pulled off a five-player trade with the Miami Marlins—which netted them a young starting pitcher in Nathan Eovaldi. The Pinstriped Posers sent Martin Prado to South Beach—along with pitcher David Phelps. In addition to Eovaldi, the Marlins sent journeyman first-baseman Garrett Jones and a minor leaguer to the Bronx. Eovladi is only 24 and—despite a disappointing career so far—still has a big upside and a scary fastball. This is probably a smart move by The Evil Ones, since their starting rotation made ours look good.

Will Middlebrooks Could Have Been A Mainstay

Baseball is a crazy business. In 2012, Will Middlebrooks looked like one the emerging young stars of the sport. After filling in at third base for an injured Kevin Youkilis, Middlebrooks had a half-season full of promise. In just 75 games, he hit .288 with 15 HRs and 54 RBIs. We all thought we had a kid who could clout 30 bombs and 100 RBIs for years. Then, injuries intervened. And bad luck. And the emergence of other prospects. Then, finally, a 'Panda' put an end to it all. We will always wonder what might have been. We wish Will the best of luck in San Diego.

Other Shoe Drops—Padres Sign David Ross

UPDATE: Ross To Cubs
Literally minutes after a reported trade of catcher (and Andover High School alum) Ryan Hanigan to Boston, the San Diego Padres scooped up former Red Sox backstop David Ross. In 2014—until the late-season emergence of Christan Vazquez—Ross was part of one of the worst Boston catching tandems in history with A.J. Pierzynski. However, Ross will always be remembered as catching the final strike as the Red Sox clinched their first World Series at Fenway Park in 95 years in 2013.

Andover's Hanigan To Sox For Middlebrooks?

UPDATE: Physical to come
Reports are surfacing that Andover's Ryan Hanigan will be traded by the Padres to the Red Sox in exchange for Will Middlebrooks. Hanigan graduated from Andover (MA) High School back in 1999. He was a three-year varsity starter at Andover and was an Eastern Massachusetts All-Star in his senior year. Hanigan would be a perfect compliment to Christian Vazquez in the Boston backstop brigade. Middlebrooks—still with potent power potential—would help fill a void at the hot corner for San Diego. Hanigan was just traded from the Rays two days ago in the big 11-player Wil Myers deal. Stay tuned.

Will City Council Vote Send The Rays Packing?

The St. Petersburg City Council voted down a proposal to let the Tampa Bay Rays scout around Hillsborough County for a new ballpark site. The likely effect of the vote is the sale of the team by current owner Stu Sternberg and a move to another city. This is probably the best news possible for the franchise—stuck in a Rube Goldberg-like joke of a stadium with equally dumb fans. There are several worthy options for the Rays, all of which would do a much better job of supporting what is a solid baseball organization.

Peavy Signs Two-Year, $24M Deal With Giants

Jake Peavy (Exclusive FenwayNation Photo)
Former Red Sox hurler (and Duck Boat owner) Jake Peavy re-upped with the World Champion Giants on a two-year, $24 million contract. Peavy was a force for the Giants in the pennant drive—but faltered some in the post-season and World Series. The 34-year old righty will also get a full no-trade clause as part of the new deal.

Lester: I Would Have Signed Bigger Spring Deal

(Exclusive FenwayNation Photo)
Jon Lester—the new ace of the Chicago Cubs—says he probably would have signed a deal with he Red Sox last spring had it been in the $120 million range. Appearing on WEEI radio's Hot Stove Show on Thursday night, Lester said, "That is one of those deals where hindsight is 20/20. You go back in time and you look at it and you go, 'probably yes'. I mean you don't know. I mean it is one of those deals where when it is sitting in front of you that is a lot of money to turn down. That would have made it very difficult to turn it down." We have felt for a long time that the low-ball $70 million offer by Boston last spring was the death knell for Lester's stay in town. Looks like we might have been right. What a shame.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fenway Park Elevator Incident Now A Lawsuit

(WPXI Photo)
The woman who fell down a Fenway Park elevator shaft last May is suing the team and the elevator company. Elisabeth Scotland—a 22-year old New Jersey woman—fell two stories down a Fenway elevator shaft after allegedly brushing against the closed elevator door. She suffered multiple injuries—including a traumatic brain injury. The suit names the Fenway Sports Group (owner of the Red Sox) and The Otis Elevator Company (manufacturer of the elevator in question). The monetary value of the action was not available.

Order Your 2015 FenwayNation Calendar Now!

It's just out and just in time for Holiday giving! The new 2015 FenwayNation Calendar. It's chock-full of brand new, exclusive photos (one each month) from the 2014 Season. You'll see America's Most Beloved Ballpark like you never have before. You cannot get these photos anywhere else! Be absorbed by baseball during every month of 2015. Order your copy today of the 2015 FenwayNation Calendar—CLICK HERE.

Red Sox In "Active" Trade Talks Regarding Craig

(AP Photo)
According to's Jon Morosi, the Red Sox are engaged in "active" trade discussions regarding Allen Craig. Morosi does not identify the team involved, but recent speculation has centered on the San Diego Padres as a logical trade partner. Craig had a miserable 2014—mostly due to lingering injuries. He is generally regarded as a prime comeback-player-of-the-year type for 2015. Stay tuned for further developments.

FanGraphs Projects Sox Winning AL East In '15

Add another credible source projecting success for the 2015 Red Sox. According to the authoritative FanGraphs website, The Carmine Hose will win the 2015 AL East flag by three games over the Toronto Blue Jays. Perhaps the most interesting element of the projection is the Boston win total is just 87. In fact, the tightly-packed division has the fourth-place Evil Ones just four games out. Of course, this is all sound and fury signifying nothing. We still believe that this team is going nowhere without the addition of a true #1 starter. But, hey, we're nowhere near as credible as FanGraphs.

Alex Cora Is Loving Rusney Castillo's Play

(AP Photo)
According to a report by's Gordon Edes, former Red Sox player Alex Cora thinks Rusney Castillo will do just fine in Boston. Cora manages Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League—where Castillo has already played seven games after recovering from an earlier thumb injury. So far, Rusney is hitting .320 with a HR and a stolen base. But, aside from the obvious physical talents, it's Castillo's make-up that really impressed Cora. Said the former Sox infielder, "He's not a prima donna. He's just like the other guys. He shows up on time, he works out, and off the field, I'm very impressed with the way he acts and who he is." We're looking forward to a full season of Rusney at Fenway.

Ex-Sox Reliever Okajima Signs With Yokohama

For five seasons, Hideki Okajima was a solid option out of the Red Sox bullpen. The now-38-year old posted a 3.11 ERA for Boston in 246.1 innings of work. Despite one World Series hiccup, he was pretty effective in the post-season—giving up no earned runs in 12.1 innings of ALCS play. He was a huge fan favorite—rousing the Fenway crowd when his entry song boomed over the loudspeakers. Word comes that 'Oki' has signed a new deal to pitch for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of the Japanese Central League. We wish him the best.

Ex-Sox OF Ryan Kalish Signs With Blue Jays

Kalish With A Young Fan
He made it to the big leagues with the Red Sox in 2010—and was considered one of the bright stars on the Fenway horizon. Then, injuries piled up on Ryan Kalish and pushed his career development into a Twilight Zone of frustration. Then, last year, his former GM Theo Epstein gave him a shot with the Cubbies. In 57 games, Kalish hit just .248. Now, he's being given another chance. The Toronto Blue Jays have signed Kalish to a minor-league deal—with an invitation to major league Spring Training. Here's hoping Ryan puts it together in Florida and wins a spot on the Blue Jay's roster.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

David Ross Picking Among Sox And Two Others

(USAToday Sports)
According to's Rob Bradford, catcher David Ross is deciding whether to return to the Red Sox or move on to the Chicago Cubs or San Diego Padres. Since Ross was essentially Jon Lester's personal catcher in his time here, our guess is he goes to The Windy City to join the lefty. If Ross does depart, it will open the possibility of Boston committing the backstop position to two youngsters—Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.

Red Flag Raised On Wade Miley's Work Ethic?

New Red Sox Starter Wade Miley
Ready for a nice Holiday gift? It's being reported that the reason the Arizona Diamondbacks traded lefty Wade Miley was because of concerns with his "work habits and/or preparation". Apparently, it wasn't just a desire to get younger by dealing for Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, but also displeasure with diet and conditioning issues with the 220-pound hurler. For his part, Miley denies the allegations, saying conditioning concerns early in his career have been dealt with and resolved. He claims the team was over-restrictive on dietary issues—hinting at an insistence on a gluten-free diet. I guess we'll find out who's telling the truth around the All-Star Break. Or, sooner.

Red Sox Make A Trade! (Don't Get Too Excited)

(Photo By Chris Roughgarden)
The Red Sox made a minor transaction today—and we do mean minor. Boston acquired right-handed middle reliever Anthony Varvaro from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league pitcher Aaron Kurcz. Vavaro might make it onto the 2015 roster—but if I were him, I wouldn't sign any leases in the Greater Boston area. The 30-year old Vavaro went 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 54.2 innings with the Braves last year. He also put up a decent 1.079 WHIP in 2014. Depending on how Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman look in Spring Training, Vavaro could stick.

John Henry's Soccer Player To Re-Hab With Sox

OK, now John Henry has gone too far. Word from across the pond indicates that one of Henry's foreign soccer players will be re-habbing with the Red Sox during Christmas. What? That's right,  Daniel Sturridge of the Liverpool "side" will come to Boston soon to meet with Red Sox medical specialists (a term we use advisedly—ask Jacoby Ellsbury). Apparently, the Liverpool brass don't trust the quality of care from their National Health Service. So the 25-year old "striker" will try to heal his thigh injury (which, oddly, isn't faked) here in Beantown. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers stated that using the Red Sox medical team was part of a plan to get Sturridge "on the pitch consistently". Pitch? Do you think he has a fastball? Dear NOG, can we concentrate on baseball, please?

Tampa's Wil Myers May Be Out Of AL East Soon

(Associated Press)
UPDATE: 2-team?
Rumors are percolating that a three-team trade involving former Rookie Of The Year Wil Myers may be in the works. The latest scenario has Myers going to Seattle, pitching phenom Taijuan Walker going from the Mariners to the Padres and catching prospect Austin Hedges heading to the Rays. This would move Myers out of the ALEast and—seemingly—make the Rays an even weaker foe for The Carmine Hose. You may remember Myers for his non-catch of a very catch-able fly ball in Fenway's RF during the 2013 AL Division Series.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Somebody Paid $24K For Jeter's Last Out Ball

The NOG (New Ownership Group) is nothing if not opportunistic. If there's a buck to be made, you can be assured that John Henry and crew will make it. So, when the opportunity came to auction off the ball from Derek Jeter's final MLB out (September 28, 2014), off went the NOG to the official MLB auction site. And, sure enough, some fool bid $24,025.00 for the spheroid. It's not clear where the proceeds will go—hopefully it will be to the Jimmy Fund.