Nine Teams, Including the #RedSox, Are Reportedly Interested in Free Agent RHP Nathan Eovaldi.

On Sunday, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported that up to eight teams not named the Boston Red Sox are interested in acquiring the services of free agent RHP Nathan Eovaldi.

Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, free agent — The early suitors are the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Angels, Red Sox, White Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, and Gianrts. There’s likely to be more. Eovaldi would love to stay in Boston and the Red Sox will take their best shot.”

Given that Eovaldi will only be 29 next season and no compensatory draft pick will have to be given up to sign him, it makes sense that the right-hander has a high volume of suitors this early in the offseason.

Out of the clubs listed above, I would venture to say that about five are intending to contend for a World Series title in 2019.

The Brewers, Braves, and defending champion Red Sox are all coming off postseason appearances this October, while teams like the Phillies and Angels may have come up short this year, but have the resources to bounce back in 2019.

On the other side of this spectrum, the White Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, and Giants all finished with losing records this past season, but seem keen on at least making things interesting next year.

Take for instance the reports that the White Sox appear to be in on a number of big-money free agents this winter, such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, or the reports that the Padres have been interesting in adding a high-end starter, such as Noah Syndergaard, for some time now.

As for the Blue Jays and Giants, well, neither club seems to be in the best position to compete in 2019, but both were in the postseason as recently as 2016, so there’s that.

In terms of what the Red Sox should do, that depends on how much they truly value Eovaldi.

Like Cafardo reports above, the Texas native has made it clear that he would like to remain in a Red Sox uniform for the forseeable future, but that will obviously come at a decently hefty price.

There are other starting pitching options, internal and on the free agency market, but Eovaldi has already proven that he can do what others can’t, pitch on the biggest stage in the biggest market with the spotlight on him. A 1.61 postseason ERA is quite evident of that.

If retaining Eovaldi equates to moving on from free agent reliever Joe Kelly, then I believe that is a move Dave Dombrowksi has to be willing to make in order to round out what should be one of the best starting rotations in the American League.

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#RedSox Sign 2018 World Series MVP Steve Pearce to One-Year Deal.

The Red Sox announced Friday evening that they had come to an agreement with first baseman Steve Pearce on a one-year, $6.25 million contract through the 2019 season.

Pearce, 35, was acquired by Boston from the Toronto Blue Jays back on June 26th in a two-player deal.

A soon to be free agent, the journeyman infielder made his presence felt immediately with his new club, as he finished the 2018 campaign with a solid .279/.394/.507 slash line to go along with seven home runs and 26 RBI over 50 games in a Red Sox uniform.

More importantly, Pearce came through with multiple clutch performances in October, including a two-homer night in the fifth and deciding game of the 2018 World Series, which ultimately led him to being named the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

“We’re thrilled to have Steve back with us for another year as we think he’s a great fit for our club,” said President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. “Obviously, we all saw what kind of impact he can have on the field, especially with the Postseason that he had. He also provides good depth and balance from the right side for us.”

Entering his 13th year in the big leagues in 2019, the Florida native will more than likely take on the same platoon role he had at first base with Mitch Moreland over the latter half of the 2018 season.

On the business side of things, the $6.25 million Pearce will earn in 2019 is the same amount he earned in both of the last two seasons with the Blue Jays and Red Sox.

With Pearce now taken care of, here’s a list of the remaining free agents who ended their year with Boston:

RHP Craig Kimbrel
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
RHP Joe Kelly
LHP Drew Pomeranz
INF Brandon Phillips
2B Ian Kinsler

 

 

Mookie Betts Is Named 2018 American League MVP.

For the first time in his career, Mookie Betts is an MVP, as announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Thursday evening.

He finished second in voting in 2016, sixth in voting in 2017, but now, the 26-year-old can finally add a Most Valuable Player trophy to his impressive collection.

Coming into the 2018 season as one of the more established outfielders in all of baseball alongside Angels center fielder Mike Trout, the three-time All-Star got his MVP campaign off to a scorching start that he would not have to look back from.

Ending his fourth full year in the bigs with a gaudy .346/.438/.640 slash line to go along with a career-high 32 home runs, 80 RBI and a league-leading 129 runs scored over 136 games, Betts officially received 28 of the 30 first place votes.

Already the recipient of his second Silver Slugger and third Gold Glove Award earlier in the month, the Tennessee native has had himself quite the offseason.

A World Series champion for the first time…

A father for the first time…

And now, an MVP for the first time…

So, congratulations to Mookie Betts, someone who worked his way from a fifth round pick out of high school in the 2011 amateur draft all the way to one of the best all-around players in the American League. Perhaps a hefty contract extension is in order sometime in the coming months?

Betts’ teammate, JD Martinez, who was not listed as one of the three finalists on the American League ballot, officially finished fourth in AL MVP voting.

 

 

#RedSox, Alex Cora Agree to Contract Extension.

One night after finishing as the runner-up in 2018 American League Manager of the Year voting, the Boston Red Sox announced on Wednesday evening that they had come to an agreement with Alex Cora to remain the club’s manager through 2021 with a club option for 2022.

Cora, who formally took over as the 47th manager in Red Sox history last November, initially signed a three-year deal that ran through 2020, but because of a more than impressive debut, the 43-year-old was rewarded with an extension that essentially adds an additional year to that original contract.

In his rookie season as manager, Cora, who played in Boston from 2005 to 2008, led the club to a franchise record 108 regular seasons wins as well as their ninth World Series title following an 11-3 run in the postseason.

A native of Puerto Rico, Cora began the offseason by taking the Commissioner’s Trophy to his hometown of Caguas to celebrate.

A three-time World Series champion, once as a player, once as a coach, and now once as a manager, Cora had the following to say regarding his extension:

“For me, 2018 was not only historic, but it was special as well, both on and off the field. We have a great appreciation for our accomplishments this past year, but now our focus moves forward to the season ahead and defending our World Series title.”

President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski also had this to say as part of the official announcement:

“Alex did a tremendous job for our club all year long and we wanted to reward him for his efforts after an amazing season. We are extremely happy that he will be with us and leading our club on the field.”

Although the numbers have yet to be released, one would have to assume that Cora’s salary got a bump up as part of this extension.

Quotes via MLB.com

Craig Kimbrel Rejects $17.9 Million Qualifying Offer from #RedSox.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski announced on Monday that Craig Kimbrel has officially rejected his qualifying offer, making him a free agent.

This news may not come as a surprise to some, but it does leave the World Series champions without a closer, for now.

If Kimbrel does choose to sign elsewhere this winter, such as with the Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies, that particular club will owe Boston a compensatory pick in next year’s draft, which is set to land somewhere after the fourth round.

The Red Sox extended the QO with a value of $17.9 million to Kimbrel on November 2nd, giving the seven-time All-Star 10 days to either accept or reject.

With this rejection, Kimbrel will more than likely become one of the highest paid relievers in all of baseball, joining the likes of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and Yankees ninth-inning man Aroldis Chapman, whose current deals have a combined worth of $166 million over 10 total years, per Spotrac.

Over the course of the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. this past week, Kimbrel’s agent, David Meter, pitched his client as, “the best closer of all-time,” so you can expect the Alabama native to seek out a hefty pay-day in the coming weeks.

Given the very real possibility the Red Sox decide to not commit that much to their closer for the past three seasons, we could be looking at Matt Barnes, or even Ryan Brasier as ninth inning options in 2019.

Dombrowski made clear on Nov. 1st that if Kimbrel were to leave, “We do think that we do have a situation where internally we have a couple of candidates to do that – Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are the top candidates.”

That remains to be seen, as there is still a slight possibility that the Red Sox retain the services of Kimbrel to remain their closer. But, given the way relief pitching appears to be trending, it would not be surprising if Dombrowski and/or Alex Cora would prefer a closer who could come on and pitch multiple innings in order to lock up wins.

In his three-year tenure with Boston, the 30-year-old Kimbrel seemed to struggle with this task regularly, as well as securing saves in tight, late-game situations at times.

If this is it for Kimbrel in a Red Sox uniform, it was certainly a memorable run. Three seasons, three All-Star team selections, an elite 2017, and a World Series championship in 2018.

Mookie Betts and JD Martinez Collect Three Silver Slugger Awards as Award Season Rolls on for #RedSox.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball continued its award circuit by announcing the 18 recipients of the 2018 Silver Slugger Award presented by Louisville Slugger.

Voted on by managers and coaches throughout baseball, the Red Sox led the way for the American League with three winners, although there is a catch to that.

Mookie Betts and JD Martinez finished with the first and second best batting average in the AL over the course of the 2018 regular season, and that paid off with three total Silver Sluggers being awarded to them on Thursday evening.

For Betts, this is the second time he has received the honor in his career, with the first one coming in 2016.

Among qualified American League outfielders, the 26-year-old finished fifth in home runs (32), first in AVG (.346), first in SLG (.640), first in runs scored (129), and second in wRC+ (185), per FanGraphs.

Along with Betts, fellow Red Sox teammate JD Martinez made some history on Thursday by becoming the first player ever to win multiple Silver Sluggers at different positions in the same season.

Claiming awards at both DH and in the outfield, Martinez finished his first year in Boston as one of the most dangerous bats in the American League, yet was not named an MVP finalist.

In 93 games at DH, the Florida native posted a .297/.373/.597 slash line to go along with 27 home runs and 79 RBI.

As an outfielder, Martinez was surprisingly better at the plate, as he hit his way to a 1.130 OPS as well as 16 homers and 51 RBI over 57 games played.

Also the recipient of the Hank Aaron Award for his offensive production in 2018, this is the second time Martinez has been awarded a Silver Slugger Award, with the first coming in 2015 when he was a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Next up in the award season circuit, Alex Cora, fresh off a World Series title and all, will look to become the third American League Manager of the Year to represent the Red Sox since the awards inception in 1983.

The winner for that is set to be announced on Tuesday, November 13th.

Mookie Betts Named Wilson Defensive Player of the Year for Right Fielders.

Just three days after receiving his second straight Gold Glove Award on Sunday night, Mookie Betts’ defense was in the spotlight once again, as he was named Wilson Defensive Player of the Year for his work in right field this season.

Among qualified American League right fielders, the 26-year-old finshed first in multiple defensive categories, such as Defensive Runs Saved (20), Ultimate Zone Rating (15.3), and Defense (10.1), per FanGraphs.

This is the first time Betts has received this particular award since he was named the overall defensive player of the year in 2016, a season in which he finished second in American League Most Valuable Player voting.

This year, the Tennessee native seems poised to change his luck after having his best regular season in terms of Wins Above Replacement (10.9) and being named a finalist in the MVP race on Monday.

Before that though, Betts will have to settle for his second career Silver Slugger Award, which he is set to win on Thursday after leading all of baseball in hitting in 2018 (.346 batting average).