December 29, 2014

Strange Things Happened In 2014

Some strange and unusual things happened on major league baseball diamonds in 2014. Jayson Stark tells you about them - as only he can. Here are two:
There were 37 players who scored four runs (or more) in a game at least once in 2014. Our man Jose Molina, on the other hand, scored four runs all year. In 80 games. And in 247 trips to the plate. Do you even have to ask how many other players in history got that much playing time and scored that few runs in a season? That would be none. Of course. ...

We guarantee Boston's Mike Carp will never forget his first and only trip to the pitcher's mound (April 24, against the Yankees). He faced seven hitters -- and walked five of them, making him the only man in the past 90 years to walk five hitters in one inning. Amazingly, he only gave up one run, thanks to the miracle of a Brian McCann double-play ball in the middle of all that.
Xander Bogaerts is one of Christina Kahrl's 11 "picks to click" in 2015:
No more distractions, he's a shortstop and gets to settle in. ... [I]t's going to be fun to watch as Bogaerts quietly clouts 50 extra-base hits ... Skip any disappointment, his stardom begins now.
Rusney Castillo batted .405 in 10 Puerto Rico Winter League games. Alex Cora, manager of Criollos de Caguas, said:
He's ready to play in the big leagues. Mentally, we were very impressed with his approach. He didn't try and pull too much. Most of his hits were back up the middle, right-center. Defensively was the part that caught our eye. He did a really good job in center field. He has a feel of where to play guys after that first at-bat. We liked what we saw.
Also: Building the bullpen.

December 24, 2014


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sharing some holiday music while I wish for the return to the true tradition of Christmas.

December 19, 2014

Red Sox Trade Middlebrooks To Padres

It's a trade that comes as no surprise. The Red Sox have sent third baseman Will Middlebrooks to the Padres for catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Hanigan, 34, will likely be the backup catcher to Christian Vazquez in 2015

After a strong showing after his call-up in 2012, Middlebrooks slumped badly in the next two seasons, managing only a .265 on-base percentage in the last two seasons.

December 18, 2014

Fangraphs: Red Sox Best Team In AL East

Worst to first to worst ... to first?

ESPN's David Schoenfield explains why:
Boston's busy offseason has been much discussed. Many believe the Red Sox still need to pick up another starter to anchor the rotation, but FanGraphs already projects them as the best team in the division [87-75].

That may be surprising after this past season's last-place finish, but general manager Ben Cherington has done a nice job reconstructing his starting rotation. Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson aren't flashy but should be a durable and reliable trio (especially if Masterson's knee, which bothered him in 2014, is healthy).

Plus, the Red Sox can dream on these possibilities:

1. Mookie Betts, All-Star. Yes, he's that good.

2. Xander Bogaerts, All-Star. His rookie season was a disappointment. He also just turned 22. It all comes together this year.

3. Rusney Castillo does the job in center field with a solid all-around season (that 87-win projection actually includes Castillo being only a replacement-level player).

4. David Ortiz has one more big season. ...

December 13, 2014

Red Sox's Rotation Will Cause A Lot Of Ground Balls

Do The Red Sox Have A Ground Ball Fetish?
Paul Swydan, Fangraphs, December 12, 2014
The Red Sox have tried to erase the painful feelings of their botched Jon Lester negotiations by completing a flurry of pitcher transactions. While that's unlikely to fool people who still just want Lester back, the pitchers acquired (or reportedly acquired) — Wade Miley, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson — all have one thing in common in that they generate a lot of ground balls. Before that, they acquired Joe Kelly, who also generates a great deal of ground balls. Are ground balls the hip new thing on Yawkey Way?
Also: The Ground Game: Searching For Market Inefficiencies (SoSH, December 12, 2014)

December 11, 2014

Red Sox Sign Justin Masterson

The Boston Red Sox reached an agreement Thursday with free-agent pitcher Justin Masterson, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.

The 28-year-old right-hander had a difficult 2014 campaign, struggling with a knee injury that landed him on the disabled list with the Cleveland Indians and later in the season was relegated to the bullpen by the St. Louis Cardinals, who acquired him in a trade-deadline move.
And somewhere Joe Castiglione is smiling and thinking to himself, "Cookies!"

Red Sox Trade Cespedes To Tigers For Rick Porcello

The Red Sox have acquired Rick Porcello from the Tigers in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier.

Porcello, who turns 26 two days after Christmas, had his best season last year, with a 3.43 ERA in 31 starts.

Current rotation: Porcello, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, and ???.

Also, check out Joon Lee's comprehensive look at Miley.

December 10, 2014

Red Sox Acquire LHP Wade Miley From Arizona

The Red Sox have agreed in principle to a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for left-handed starter Wade Miley, with Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and a minor leaguer going to Arizona.

In four seasons, Miley has compiled a 103 ERA+. He has pitched over 200 innings in each of the last two seasons, with 194.2 innings in 2012.

Jon Lester Signs With Cubs

Ian Browne,
The Red Sox were in the Jon Lester sweepstakes until the very end, but they finished second to the Cubs.

The lefty agreed to a six-year, $155 million contract Tuesday that will reunite him with Theo Epstein in Chicago, has confirmed.

Boston's last offer to Lester was for six years at $135 million, according to a source. ...

With Lester now off the table, the Red Sox could pursue one of the other two premier pitching free agents on the market -- right-handers Max Scherzer and James Shields.

However, Scherzer's final price tag could wind up higher than Lester's. ...

Red Sox owner John Henry had flown to Lester's Atlanta home twice in recent weeks to meet with him.
Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
General manager Ben Cherington's pledge to rebuild the starting rotation just became exponentially more difficult as the Red Sox were outbid by former Larry Lucchino protege Theo Epstein for the services of Lester, whom they had clearly and repeatedly identified as their top pitching target this winter. ...

Shadowing whatever moves Cherington makes will be the perception that the Sox badly mishandled negotiations with Lester, an integral part of two World Series champions and a homegrown talent who ranked very high among the team's all-time best left-handers. ...

No Sox officials responded to requests for comment Tuesday night, but soon enough they will be called into account. They will be hard-pressed to prove that they can build a pitching staff without Lester that will be as good as one they could have had with him.

December 8, 2014

Lester Expected To Make Decision Tonight Or Tomorrow

Buster Olney, ESPN:
The Jon Lester talks have entered the final turn, with an expectation that a choice will be made no earlier than Monday night and no later than Tuesday, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

Lester has drawn interest from the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
It was reported that the Red Sox made Lester an offer of 6/130.