Alex Cora Named Manager of the Year Finalist, Mookie Betts Named American League MVP Finalist.

One night after Ian Kinsler, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. won Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for their defensive prowess at their respective positions, the Red Sox were back it again on Monday in the thick of award season.

This time, two of the best at what they do were named finalists for some decently important awards.

First, first-year manager Alex Cora, fresh off leading his team to their ninth World Series title just over a week ago, was named one of the four finalists for Manager of the Year.

In a field that also consists of Athletics manager Bob Melvin, Rockies manager Bud Black, and Brewers manager Craig Counsell, Cora sticks out as the only rookie manager on this impressive lost of baseball minds.

Taking over a team that had won back-to-back American League East titles for the first time in its franchise’s history, the native of Puerto Rico went ahead and set the club’s all-time record in regular season wins (108).

Cora’s Red Sox didn’t bat an eye in October either, as they went a stunning 11-3 run to clinch another World Series title, making their mark as one of the more dominant baseball teams ever assembled.

On the player side of the award announcements, neither Chris Sale nor JD Martinez were named finalists in AL Cy Young and AL MVP consideration, but as was expected by many, Mookie Betts was named as one of the three finalists in the junior circuit for the second time in three seasons.

In his age 25 season, the three-time All-Star led the American League in batting average (.346), slugging percentage (.640), and runs scored (129), as well as setting a new career high in home runs with 32 of them in 2018.

Along with Betts, Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez were named as MVP finalists.

I was a tad bit flustered that JD Martinez was not named given how much he meant to the Red Sox this season, but all will be forgiven if Betts claims his first ever MVP crown on November 11th.

Next up in the award season circuit is the Silver Slugger Award, whose winners are set to be announced on November 8th.

Advertisements

Three #RedSox Capture Gold Glove Awards, Including Jackie Bradley Jr.’s First.

On Sunday night, Major League Baseball announced its 2018 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners for both leagues on ESPN, and the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox came away with three award winners.

Tied with the Atlanta Braves for the most recipients, Ian Kinsler, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts took home the honor for the American League at second base, center field, and right field, respectively.

For Kinsler, this is the second time he has been awarded with a Gold Glove in his 13-year career.

According to FanGraphs, the 36-year-old, who played in 37 games with Boston this season, led all American League second baseman in Ultimate Zone Rating (9.7).

For Jackie Bradley Jr., this is the first time he has been named a Gold Glove winner, and it finally solidifies the 28-year-old as one of, if not the best defensive center fielder in the American League. Here are some highlights from this season to drive that point home:

And finally, to no one’s surprise, Mookie Betts took home his third consecutive Gold Glove Award patrolling right field. He, like Kinsler, led all American League right fielders in UZR by a wide margin (15.3).

Betts will be looking to add to his impressive award collection in the coming days, as Silver Slugger Award winners will be announced on November 8th. JD Martinez should be in that conversation as well.

#RedSox Extend Qualifying Offer of $17.9 Million to Craig Kimbrel.

On Friday, NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich reported that the Red Sox had extended a qualifying offer to Craig Kimbrel.

The qualifying offer, which has a value of $17.9 million, also has an expiration date, as the right-handed Kimbrel now has 10 days or either accept or decline it.

Regardless of the decision the flame throwing closer makes, this moves seems to be a win-win for the Red Sox. Either they get their All-Star reliever back for another season on a rather expensive deal, or, if Kimbrel declines the QO and chooses to sign elsewhere, the Red Sox will receive a compensatory pick in next year’s MLB draft from that club.

According to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, “only five of the 73 players who have been extended qualifying offers since this system began in 2012 have accepted the offers.”

With that statistic in mind, I’m going to go ahead and Say Kimbrel will turn down the QO and opt for a long-term deal with a team willing to splurge on a closer.

Whether or not the Red Sox are willing to spend that much on a ninth-inning man has yet to be determined. But, from what I have gathered recently, and sound more and more likely that the club likes their internal options to take over that spot, such as Matt Barnes or Ryan Brasier.

In his third and potential final season with Boston, Kimbrel notched 42 saves to go along with a 2.74 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 62.1 innings pitched. He also made his third consecutive All-Star team and became a World Series champion for the first time in his career.

MLB free agency is set to begin this weekend. Stay tuned.

The Carson Smith Era Appears to Be over for the #RedSox.

On December 3rd 2015, the Boston Red Sox acquired RHP Carson Smith and LHP Roenis Elias from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Jonathan Aro and LHP Wade Miley in a move that was supposed to help solidify the club’s bullpen ahead of the newly acquired Craig Kimbrel.

Less than three years later, the headliner of that deal, Smith, now finds himself without a team following a roster move on Thursday that saw the right-hander outrighted from Boston’s major league roster and granted free agency.

At just 29 years old, Smith is sure to bounce back with another big league club sometime soon, but when looking back at his brief tenure with the Red Sox, I think it’s fair to say it was nothing short of a moderately sized disappointment.

Appearing in just 29 total games in three different seasons with Boston, the Texas native posted a 2.66 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over only 23.2 innings pitched.

Those numbers may not look too shabby, but what was truly frustrating about Smith’s time in Boston was how much time he spent off the field and on the disabled list.

In 2016, right elbow issues throughout spring training and parts of the regular season would eventually lead to the former Mariner undergoing Tommy John Surgery, where he would not return to the active roster until late in the 2017 season.

There, he pitched in eight September games, only allowed one run over 6.2 innings pitched, and appeared in two games against the Astros in the ALDS.

Fast forward to the 2018 season, and although were some struggles mixed in there, Smith owned a solid 3.77 ERA heading into the month of May.

Despite those positive signs, May 14th marked the beginning of the end for the 2011 eighth round pick, as an eighth inning solo home run served up to the Oakland A’s Khris Davis that night would inconsequently end his 2018 campaign.

After ending the frame, Smith let out his frustration in the Red Sox dugout by slamming his glove to the ground, something he claimed he does regularly.

This time, though, the reliever, “felt [his] shoulder pop in and out real quick,” and was promptly placed on the disabled list the day after.

Instead of taking responsibility for this self-inflicted injury, Smith appeared to throw his manager, Alex Cora, under the bus a bit when speaking with media

“I think fatigue played a factor. My shoulder just couldn’t handle it,” he said. “I think my shoulder is tired in general just from pitching. I’ve thrown a lot lately and I think my arm was just tired.”

As it turns out, that little outburst would end up marking Smith’s final chapter of a wild time with the Red Sox, and he is now free to sign elsewhere.

So, if you want to look back at that deal made with Seattle in 2015, it’s not like President of Baseball Operations was giving up much, but what he and the Red Sox got in return certainly did not live up to expectations either.

Quotes via The Boston Globe.

 

 

How Much Money Will Nathan Eovaldi Make This Winter?

When the Red Sox acquired the services of Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 25th, it was not all that clear what they were getting.

Many expected President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowksi to pursue a frontline reliever, such as Zach Britton or even Brad Hand, to stabilize his club’s then shaky bullpen, but that was not the case, or was it?

Over a two-month span with Boston, Eovaldi posted a 3.33 ERA and .266 BAA in 12 games (11 starts) and exactly 54 innings pitched.

There were some ups and downs mixed in with some dominant outings, but the right-hander provided the Red Sox with a high velocity arm capable of getting big outs, and that’s what he did in the postseason.

Making his first career appearance on a playoff roster, Eovaldi went on to be a crucial piece of the puzzle for Boston, both as a starter and reliever.

In the six October contests he appeared in, the Red Sox went 5-1, with that one loss coming in that 18 inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the World Series, a game where the Houston native tossed six-plus innings of one-run baseball on just one day of rest.

He would not appear in a game for the remainder of the series, but that effort alone appeared to have inspired the team to bounce back the way they did following that ugly loss en route to a World Series title.

Behind Steve Pearce and David Price, I would go ahead and say Eovaldi finished third in World Series MVP voting.

So now, the ex-Ray is set to hit free agency for the second time in his career. With a base salary of around $2 million this season, Eovaldi will no doubt be highly sought out after being a bargain this year.

With that in mind, I thought I would pose the following question: How much money should the Red Sox pay Nathan Eovaldi?

After the heroic month of October he had, I don’t believe I would be the first to say that the Red Sox need to do anything possible to retain his services.

Eovaldi is 28, has had two Tommy John surgeries, and has one of the more electric and durable fastballs in baseball.

Drew Pomeranz is also set to hit free agency, so ignoring the price for a second, Eovaldi would be able to fill in that spot if he were to stay.

We could be looking at a 2019 starting rotation, that, when healthy, consists of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello. Eduardo Rodriguez, and then Eovaldi.

That is pretty good, but it would also be pretty expensive.

Last winter, the two highest contracts awarded to starting pitchers were Yu Darvish’s six-year/$126 million deal with the Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta’s three-year/$75 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Both of those AAV’s come out to $21+ million per season and both Darvish and Arrieta were respectively 31 and 32 when those contracts were signed.

They were also both regarded as aces when with the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs, while Eovaldi has never been given that role in his seven-year career.

So, to cut to the chase, given what he did in the postseason and specifically against the New York Yankees, I would predict the Red Sox and Eovaldi agree to a four-year deal somewhere in the $70-$75 million range.

Let’s get it done.

David Price Proved His Doubters Wrong in a Tremendous Way This October.

Entering the month of October fresh off having his best regular season in a Red Sox uniform, there was still plenty of skepticism surrounding David Price when performance matters most, in the postseason.

Up until this year, the numbers in the playoffs simply had not been there for the left-hander, as he had yet to win a postseason game he started in nine tries.

With his club owning the best record in baseball in the 2018 regular season, eyes began to turn to Price right after Chris Sale led the way for Boston in a Game One win over the New York Yankees in the ALDS.

On a cool Saturday night at Fenway Park, the Tennessee native surrendered three earned runs on two home runs in less than two innings pitched. He would eventually get hit with another loss and did not appear in the series again.

Fast forward to Game Two of the ALCS, another contest against a 100+ plus win team in the Houston Astros at Fenway, and Price made some strides towards exercising his postseason demons.

Although he was far from great (four earned runs in 4.2 innings), Price kept his team in the game and gave them a chance to win, which they would eventually do to pull even with Houston.

Four days after that, after the Red Sox had taken the first two games at Minute Maid Park, the former first round pick was presented with the opportunity to pitch his team to the World Series.

With Chris Sale unavailable to start, not only did Price nearly come in as reliever the night before, but he dominated the Astros lineup in Game Five.

Three hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts over six scoreless frames was more than enough, and it eventually earned Price his first ever winning decision as a starter in the postseason.

Watching the post game festivities, you could tel it meant a lot for the 33-year-old to finally have one truly go his way in October, and he carried that over into the Fall Classic.

Making two starts as well as one relief appearance, Price posted a 1.98 ERA and .156 BAA over 13.2 innings total pitched in his second World Series

The Red Sox came away with a 4-2 win at Fenway Park in Game Two last Wednesday, and they won for the final time this year in his last outing on Sunday.

Coming off just one full day of rest from a relief appearance in Game Three, the southpaw held Los Angeles to one run in seven-plus quality innings, as the Red Sox took care of business with a 5-1 victory to win their ninth World Series title.

When asked about overcoming his own struggles in the postseason, Price responded, “To answer that question in Spring Training day and day and day and day, and over and over and over and over, anytime it got to September, playoffs, I hold all the cards now, and that feels so good,” Price said. “That feels so good. I can’t tell you how good it feels to hold that trump card. And you guys have had it for a long time. You’ve played that card extremely well. But you don’t have it anymore, none of you do, and that feels really good.”

So, here’s to David Price. He came, he saw, and now, he’s a World Series champion. And that can never be taken away from him.

RECAP: David Price Hurls Seven-Plus Masterful Innings and Steve Pearce Homers Twice as #RedSox Clinch 2018 World Series Title.

The Boston Red Sox are once again on top of the baseball world following a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday to clinch their fourth World Series title since 2004.

David Price got the start for this series-clinching Game Five on just one day of rest, and he was superb.

Making his third appearance of this 2018 Fall Classic, the left-hander limited the Dodgers to one lone run on three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over seven-plus quality innings of work.

That one run came right away in the bottom of the first, where before Price could even settle into his outing, David Freese led things off for Los Angeles by ripping a 402 home run on the very first pitch he saw.

Other than that little blip, the Dodgers threatened again in the third when JD Martinez could not locate a fly ball off the bat of Freese that resulted in a one out triple.

From that point, Price buckled down, ended the third without allowing the runner to score from third, and proceeded to retire the next 12 hitters he faced going into the eighth inning.

The Tennessee native would come back on for the eighth, but his superb night would ultimately come to an end after walking Chris Taylor on six pitches.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (58 strikes) in his final start of 2018, Price, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his four-seam fastball 37% of the time he was on the mound Sunday. He also topped out at 95.3 MPH with his two-seamer in the second inning.

In relief of Price, Joe Kelly came in with a runner on and three outs to get in the eight, and he capped off his terrific October by striking out all three Dodger hitters he faced.

And finally, in a game he was originally slated to start, Chris Sale came on to close this thing out in the ninth, and he did just that by also fanning all three hitters he faced, including a four pitch strikeout of Manny Machado to seal this World Series run in historic fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, whose back was against the wall in this one.

Fresh off collecting four RBI in Game Four of Saturday, Steve Pearce immediately made his presence felt in the first inning on Sunday by blasting a one out, two-run home run to give his team an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Mookie Betts broke out of an 0-for-13 slump by mashing his first and only homer of this World Series on a 2-2 89 MPH slider from Kershaw. 3-1.

An inning later, JD Martinez also came through with his first big fly of this series that put the Red Sox ahead by three runs.

And in the eighth, Steve Pearce, who would later be named the MVP of this World Series, mashed his second home run of the night to all but guarantee a Game Five and series win for Boston’s team.

Some notes from this World Series-clinching win:

From @MLBStatoftheDay: Steve Pearce joins Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski as the only players 35 or older to have a multi-homer World Series game.

The Boston Red Sox have won four World Series titles in the last 15 years.

Alex Cora is the first Puerto Rican manager to win a World Series.

From @SoxNotes: David Price’s last 3 starts:
ALCS Game 5 at HOU – 6.0 IP, 0 R, 3-for-21
WS Game 2 vs. LAD – 6.0 IP, 2 R, 3-for-20
WS Game 5 at LAD – 7.0 IP, 1 R, 3-for-23
Totals: 1.42 ERA, .141 opponent AVG

From @BusterOlney: ELIAS: If the Red Sox win, David Price will have clinched two consecutive series against Cy Young winners – Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw – in the same postseason. That’s never been done before.

What a year, and what a way to cap it off.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox are one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. There is no doubt about that.

World. Series. Champions.

Steve Pearce is your MVP of the series.