March 3, 2015

Baseball Today!

The Red Sox play their traditional spring college doubleheader today.

Clay Buchholz will start in the first game against Northeastern, with Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez following him. Wade Miley will start against Boston College at night; Steven Wright, Craig Breslow, and Brandon Workman are also expected to pitch.

Boston's Grapefruit League opener is Thursday against the Twins, with Joe Kelly getting the ball.
Example

March 2, 2015

And Then We Came To (Almost, Sort Of) The End

My relationship with the Red Sox has changed dramatically over the course of writing this blog. Back in mid-2003, I was obsessed with the team. Now, after three championships over a ten-year period, my attachment has decreased significantly.

These days, I glance at stories online (mostly ESPNBoston, WEEI, Over The Monster, and redsox.com), but I no longer feel the need to be in the know about everything every day. And because of that, I don't feel like I have anything worthwhile to say about the team.

This disengagement has been helped along by two last-place finishes in the past three seasons. (Of course, the Red Sox won the World Series in the middle year, but I was somewhat distracted during that time because of Don't Let Us Win Tonight.)

In 2012 and 2014, I lost interest in following the Red Sox in the second half of each season. The teams were horrible, and listening to Don and Jerry was like hearing nails on a blackboard. (I have my issues with the radio guys, as well.) I asked myself if I really wanted to devote three hours of every evening watching my favourite baseball team lose. The answer was a resounding No - a wise choice, I think, in the long run.

I don't know what will happen in this space once the season begins. Other things, such as researching a new book, feel more important to me. I've always said I'd keep writing The Joy of Sox until it felt like a job, and then I'd stop. But after all these years, it doesn't seem right to simply stop cold. So the blog will remain, but I truly don't know in what form. (Naturally, I reserve the right to completely change my mind and post 2-3 times a day.)

February 28, 2015

NYDN's Madden Whines About "Double Standard" With Red Sox

Bill Madden, Daily News:
It is really quite amazing how the Red Sox, after winning the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes for $63 million, are taking bows and being hailed for investing heavily in their farm system, even though they don't know what position the unproven 19-year-old Cuban prodigy is going to play any more than they know where their other $72.5 million Cuban import, Rusney Castillo, is going to play this season.

All told, the Red Sox spent $265 million this winter on Moncada, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez and the contract of Wade Miley, who they acquired in a trade, in contrast to the $438 million the Yankees spent last winter on Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. Only the Yankees, who were labeled as cheapskates in some quarters for bowing out of the Moncada bidding at $25 million, were chided for grossly overpaying for Beltran, Ellsbury and McCann, and said to be "insane" and "desperate" for giving $155 million to a pitcher, in Tanaka, who had never thrown a pitch in the major leagues.

So what's with the double standard? The Red Sox, who, incredibly, are still trying to convince people they are not like the Yankees, are instead proclaimed as geniuses for all their spending, while the Yankees, whenever they spend big, are gluttonous over-reachers — and then "cheapskates" by those same critics when they restrain themselves from spending $200 million on Max Scherzer, $75 million on James Shields or $60 million on Moncada.

February 25, 2015

Ortiz In Camp, Looking Fit

NESN's Don Orsillo snapped the above shot of David Ortiz arriving at camp yesterday.

Rick Weber, ESPNBoston:
Whatever he did in the offseason, it worked. He looked ripped, wearing a sleeveless black shirt that exposed massive, chiseled biceps on his 39-year-old body. And he felt good enough about himself to toss a little dig in the direction of Pablo Sandoval, chiming, "My belly hasn't grown like Panda."
Ben Cherington:
David knows he's going to be a Red Sox [player] as long as he wants to be a Red Sox [player].
Also, the Red Sox's signing of Yoan Moncada has Daily News columnist John Harper suggesting there is a new Evil Empire in MLB!

February 23, 2015

Red Sox Sign Cuban Infielder Yoan Moncada

Stupendous!

Jesse Sanchez, MLB.com:
Cuban top infield prospect Yoan Moncada has agreed to a record-setting bonus with the Red Sox, according to an industry source.

The agreement is pending a physical. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is worth $31.5 million -- a figure that smashes the $8.27 million bonus record for an international amateur under the current signing guidelines, which was given to right-hander Yoan Lopez by the D-backs in January.

It is believed Moncada [19 years old] considered offers from five teams before choosing Boston. He worked out privately for the Brewers, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Yankees during the past six weeks, according to industry sources. ...

It's been quite a journey for Moncada. The teenager -- who plays second base, shortstop and third base -- starred for Cuba's top team of 15- and 16-year-olds, and he made a name for himself at the U-16 IBAF World Baseball Championships in Mexico.

Moncada made his debut for Cienfuegos in Cuba's Serie Nacional at age 17 and hit .277 during parts of two seasons. He played alongside White Sox slugger Jose Abreu and Dodgers infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena. Moncada was also teammates with Abreu, Arruebarrena and other notable players like Yulieski Gourriel, Alfredo Despaigne and Jose Miguel Fernandez on Cuba's national team during the 2013 World Port Tournament in the Netherlands. Raisel Iglesias, who signed a seven-year, $27 million deal with the Reds last June, was also one of Moncada's teammates.
Moncada may join the Red Sox in Fort Myers as early as tomorrow.

Also:
"Moncada signing big for Red Sox now and later" (Richard Justice, MLB.com)

"Moncada gives Red Sox bona fide star in the making" (Jim Callis, MLB.com)

"Sox great Tiant helped recruit Moncada" (Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston)

February 21, 2015

Red Sox Extend Farrell's Contract Through 2017

The Red Sox have extended manager John Farrell's contract through the 2017 season, with a club option for 2018.

Dustin Pedroia likes the decision:
John's awesome. He's always that guy you can go to and talk (to about) any kind of problems. He's there for you. He wants you to be the best you can be as a player, and if you have something going on off the field you can always go to him.
Hanley Ramirez's nickname for Pedroia? Smurf.

Earlier this week, Farrell said that if Shane Victorino is healthy, he will be the team's right fielder. Mookie Betts doesn't have a problem with that.

Today is also the day for pitchers and catchers to report to camp, but most of the Red Sox team is already in Fort Myers.