March 19, 2019

Pedroia Will Start Season On Injured List; Sale To Start G1; Trout Signs 10/360 Extension

Manager Alex Cora hoped to have Dustin Pedroia at the top of the Red Sox's Opening Day lineup, but the 35-year-old second baseman will begin the regular season on the injured list. While Pedroia believes he would be ready by March 28, he understands the team's caution regarding his left knee.
No one has ever come back from something like this. They want me to make sure I follow the right steps to do that and make sure everyone is 100 percent confident that when I come back, I come back and stay back and not have any issues. ... If it's being smart for a week and we make sure I respond great to everything thrown at me, then it's a good decision. ... [I]t's probably a good thing. If this wasn't me and it was one of my teammates going through this, I'd be like, hey man, relax, take the extra week.
Manager Alex Cora announced that (no spoiler alert needed) Chris Sale will start on Opening Day in Seattle, giving him the honour of throwing Boston's final pitch of 2018 and the team's first pitch of 2019.

There are only six games remaining before Opening Day and the team's top three starters have each made only one spring start: Sale (4 IP), Rick Porcello (3 IP), and David Price (3 IP).

A slimmer Rafael Devers is batting .395 (with a .974 OPS) in 14 spring games. Cora challenged Devers to be in better shape this spring:
He made a commitment. He got a strength-and-conditioning coach in the Dominican, a nutritionist in the Dominican. He's doing the same thing here in Fort Myers, so he understands. You see the guys around him, how they go about their business, J.D., Mookie, Jackie, and you learn from them. He's only 22. Sometimes we take him for granted. He's still a kid, and he's still learning.
Mike Petriello ( takes a look at the Red Sox's outfield trio of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts and compares them to the best outfields in baseball history. In Wins Above Replacement, the 2018 outfield ranked 15th all-time. The last outfield to have a higher WAR than the 2018 Red Sox was the 1990 Athletics - almost 30 years ago.

Also: Mike Trout has signed a 10-year, $360 million contract extension with the Angels. Coupled with the $66.5 million due over the next two seasons, Trout will make roughly $426.5 million by the end of the 2030 season. His average annual salary of $36 million will be the highest in professional sports. If anyone deserves the cash, it's Trout. He has more Wins Above Replacement through his age-26 season (64.3) than anyone in baseball history. Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby, and Alex Rodriguez round out the Top Five. Trout's career fWAR (64.7) is higher than the combined totals of Bryce Harper (30.7) and Manny Machado (30.2). Trout - in only eight seasons - is already among the Top 100 players in career WAR. He's an obvious Hall of Famer if he retired today. And he turned 27 last August.

I'm going to try extremely hard to not think about "free agent Mookie Betts" until I absolutely have to.


SoSock said...

Question - I was just catching up on this week's posts. You mentioned the few starts for the starting pitchers in this one. I noticed that earlier this week myself and wondered about it. Is this normal? It seems like there would have been a little more live action pitching for them by now, even if they were very short stints.

allan said...

This post is now buried, but I hope you see it. I posed your question to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic during a Q&A she did on Opening Day.

Chris Sale finished the spring having pitched 9 innings over 2 games. As of Tuesday morning, Nathan Eovaldi had 7 innings pitched in 2 games and David Price (who has been ill) had pitched only once (3 innings). I understand the Red Sox want these guys to keep their spring innings down, but they saw far less action than (looking at the Yankees and Astros) James Paxton (17.1 IP), Masahiro Tanaka (17 IP), Justin Verlander (17.1 IP), Gerrit Cole (16 IP), who all started 5 times. Trevor Bauer and Max Scherzer have each pitched more than 26 innings! That is a huge difference. Any thoughts? Thanks.

Yup, that was all part of their plan for the buildup. Each of the Red Sox starters pitched several more innings in minor league games, which still provide the same basic setting of a game, but allow guys to work on their pitches and get their reps in away from the big crowds and in less intense atmosphere (not that spring training games are intense by any means). But it's all part of the physical and mental build toward the season. The Red Sox have talked at length about reducing pitchers' work sessions in ST and the pitchers have agreed it's been helpful in keeping their arms fresher. You also have to consider how much deeper into October the Red Sox pitched and how stressful those innings were. They had several weeks less of rest this winter compared to last. It's all part of the preventative maintenance they're hoping will help in the long run. They had a similar set up last year and it seemed to work well for them.