#RedSox Reportedly Seeking Rotation Depth in Catcher Trade Talks as Spring Training Begins.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam reported that the Boston Red Sox are in search of some starting rotation depth. In order to do this, McAdam reports, the club is making any three of their big league catchers available via trade.

Now, this should not come as that large of a surprise, especially since president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi said in January that Boston would like to carry only two catchers on their Opening Day roster this season.

What may be surprising here is that Dombrowksi may be looking to shore up the back-end of the Red Sox starting rotation while the bullpen remains the biggest question mark for this club.

As things stand currently, the Red Sox’ starting five will more than likely consist of Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez in 2019. That’s already one of the better rotations in the American League if everyone stays healthy.

Even without the addition of a trade piece, hurlers such as Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, and Steven Wright, when healthy, are more than capable of both pitching out of the bullpen and filling in for a spot start when needed.

So, these rumors are certainly not coming out of nowhere, but when the time comes and one of Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, or Sandy Leon is dealt, I, for one, would be surprised if the Red Sox receive a back-end starting pitcher instead of a reliever in return for one of their backstops.

One Burning Question for Each #RedSox Position Group Headed into Spring Training.

The Red Sox are set to kick off their spring workouts this coming week beginning with pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Fenway South in Fort Myers on Tuesday.

The blueprint for attempting to repeat as World Series champions will be created over the next month and a half before the club hits the road for an 11-game west coast road trip to kick off their 2019 campaign.

There are obviously many components involved in this process, so I went ahead and composed a handful of questions pertaining to each Red Sox position group.

Starting pitchers – Will Chris Sale be able to stay healthy for a full season?

Chris Sale dealt with numerous throwing shoulder issues in 2018, limiting him to 27 starts in the regular season and just 15.1 innings pitched in the postseason. Still, the left-hander posted a 2.11 ERA, averaged 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings, and finished top five in American League Cy Young voting for the sixth consecutive year. Not to mention he recorded the final out of the World Series as well.

So, heading into the final year of his contract before hitting free agency, the spotlight will be on Sale to see if he can sustain his typical success over the course of a full season’s workload. Without a doubt, it’s going to be an important season for the Florida native. How he holds up may just dictate who comes out on top in a competitive American League East.

Relief pitchers – Who will serve as the Red Sox’ closer in 2019?

Speaking of pitching, it seems as though Dave Dombrowski is comfortable with the idea of either Matt Barnes or Ryan Brasier serving as the Red Sox’ closer to at least begin the 2019 season.

That in mind, the best relief pitcher on the market who just so happens to have spent the last three seasons in a Red Sox uniform is still available.

Given how this winter’s free agency has panned out, I’ve grown more and more content with the thought of the Red Sox offering Craig Kimbrel a one-year deal for the 2019 season with a value similar to that of the qualifying offer the flame-throwing closer declined in November.

I have a feeling the soon to be 31-year-old Kimbrel would prefer a multi-year deal, but whether it be Barnes, Brasier, or Kimbrel manning the ninth inning for Boston in 2019, the bullpen is surely far from perfect and will more than likely be the club’s weakest link.

Catchers – Which Red Sox catcher, if any, will get traded before Opening Day?

It’s been reported this winter that the Red Sox would prefer not to carry three catchers on their 25-man roster like they did for parts of the 2018 season heading into the 2019 campaign.

Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, and Sandy Leon may all be available via trade as Opening Day looms, but who has the best case to be moved?

Swihart, for starters, is the most appealing option in this scenario.

Turning 27 in April, the former top prospect’s big league career has not exactly panned out the way many envisioned it would when he made his debut with Boston in 2015.

This past season, Swihart was limited to just 207 plate appearances in an extremely limted role with the club, slashing .229/.285/.328 with three home runs and 18 RBI over that span.

Still, the Texas native is viewed by many as Boston’s most appealing backstop. Red Sox manager Alex Cora even said, “I want to see Blake catching more. I’ll give him a chance to,” back at the Baseball Winter Meetings in December.

With Leon and Vazquez in the mix as well, the Red Sox’ catching competition will definitely be something worth paying attention to over the course of the spring.

Infielders – Is Rafael Devers poised for a breakout in 2019?

The second year third baseman blew everyone away with his consistently clutch play this past October as he collected nine RBI in all three postseason series combined, with three of those coming on a game-sealing three-run home run off of Justin Verlander in Game 5 of the ALCS.

But in his first full regular season with Boston, the 22-year-old posted a below average 94 OPS+, committed 24 errors manning the hot corner, and even struggled to find playing time at different points throughout the year.

So, heading into the 2019 season, what should be expected of Devers? The pressure will certainly be on with Eduardo Nunez proving to be a capable third baseman when healthy, and the Red Sox have prospects such as Michael Chavis Bobby Dalbec looming in the minor leagues as well.

If this picture is evident of anything…

…then I fully expect the Dominican Republic native to get to somewhere close to 30-35 home runs this year to go along with a slugging percentage north of .490. One of the more interesting breakout candidates to watch for on this club.

Outfielders – Can Jackie Bradley Jr. put together a consistently solid season at the plate?

Finally, Red Sox fans all know Jackie Bradley Jr. is arguably the best defensive center fielder in the American League, that much has proven thanks to his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2018.

What people want to see are consistent at bats from the 28-year-old outfielder.

In the second half of last season, Bradley Jr. slashed .269/.340/.487 with seven home runs and 27 runs driven in. Pretty solid numbers over a span of 58 games.

If the South Carolina native could put those type of numbers together for the length of a full season in 2019, then I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox will have the best outfield in baseball.

All pictures courtesy of Billie Weiss.

This Baseball Offseason Has Been so Slow I Decided to Write About the #Patriots Winning the Super Bowl.

For the third time in the last five years, the New England Patriots are once again on top of the football world following a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53.

The Patriots picked up their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, also marking the 17 year anniversary of the team’s first Super Bowl win over the then-St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36.

Julian Edelman was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, becoming just the seventh wide receiver in Super Bowl history to earn MVP honors.

In his last contest before being introduced as the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores did a tremendous job of conducting his unit to a marvelous performance, as the Rams’ rampant offense was limited to just three points on 260 total yards.

Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff, in his first career Super Bowl start, finished the night 19/38 passing with 229 yards in the air and one interception.

All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, perhaps injured, was limited to 35 yards on the ground on 10 carries while former Patriots pass catcher Brandin Cooks led all Rams receivers with 120 receiving yards on eight receptions.

The Rams did not reach the red zone once and held the ball for 26:50 of the 60 minutes played in Atlanta on Sunday.

Two defensive plays for the Patriots that stick out come from the secondary, with the first coming from safety Jason McCourty.

With the clock running and the Rams driving, Jared Goff appeared to have a wide open Brandin Cooks for an easy touchdown on a broken down coverage that would have seen Los Angeles take their first lead of the night. (Picture via @ftbeard_17)

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Instead, McCourty sprinted approximately 18.9 MPH to reach Cooks and break up what could have been a crucial score.

The Rams would have to settle for a Greg Zuerlein field goal on that drive which would pull Los Angeles even with New England at three points a piece.

The second play I previously mentioned came late in the fourth quarter.

With just a little under four and a half minutes remaining in the period, the Rams were driving once again, looking to make it a one possession game following a Patriots touchdown.

On second and 10, Goff was searching for Cooks once more but could not put together an adequate throw, which resulted in a game-sealing interception from Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

A bad throw, yes, but credit to Gilmore for coming through with the pick and not giving the Rams any more chances.

Los Angeles would get the ball back following a Patriots field goal, but could not capitalize on a Zuerlein field goal attempt that would have cut their deficit to seven.

New England would finish the night with a Tom Brady kneel down and that was that.

On the other side of things, the Patriots offense was powered by the ground game.

Rookie running back and University of Georgia alum Sony Michel led the way for New England, finishing his first Super Bowl with 94 yards on 18 carries to go along with the game’s lone touchdown, a clutch go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter at that.

Tom Brady went 21/35 with 262 yards and one interception through the air. Sunday marked the first time in nine tries that the future Hall of Famer finished a Super Bowl with no touchdown passes.

Still, Brady came through when it matters, consistently feeding Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski for sizable chunks of yards.

Gronkowski, playing in his fourth Super Bowl, caught six passes for 87 yards, including this 29 yard reception to set up that Michel TD.

Julian Edelman led all receivers with 10 catches and 141 receiving yards, consistently coming through on third down plays when it was needed most. That’s why he was named the game’s MVP.

And that’s that. I can understand how this game did not get a great reception on a national stage, but it was hard not to find this one exciting.

The lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, in a game where both teams were projected to have their way with the opposing defenses.

I failed to mention this earlier, but Dont’a Hightower was great as well with two sacks on the night.

The New England Patriots are champions of the NFL yet again. It does not get old. Bill Belichick is a genius.

David Price Changes #RedSox Uniform Number from No. 24 to No. 10.

On yet another slow day in the baseball offseason, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham came through with an interesting tweet Thursday afternoon regarding Red Sox uniform numbers for 2019, with the most significant number change coming from David Price.

That’s right, after spending his first three seasons in Boston rocking No. 24, the left-hander has apparently made the switch to the No. 10 for the 2019 season.

Neither Price or the Red Sox have provided a reason for the uniform number change, but Abraham also tweets that, “there is nothing going on with No. 24. Price just wanted to switch to No. 10.”

Some speculated that perhaps the club was preparing to retire the number in honor of Dwight Evans or Manny Ramirez this upcoming season, but as Abraham states above, this move was based strictly off of Price’s own preference.

In order for this uniform number change to happen, Red Sox bench coach had to give the No. 10 up. Perhaps Price will have to pay for a team dinner or something of the sorts like Eduardo Rodriguez had to do last year to obtain the No. 57 from third base coach Carlos Febles. Roenicke will wear the No. 30 in 2019.

Tzu-Wei Lin also reclaimed the No. 5, which had been briefly taken over by Ian Kinsler, who is now with the San Diego Padres.

Bryce Brentz, who the Red Sox re-signed to a minor-league contract earlier this month, will wear the No. 54.

Here are some other uniform numbers for Red Sox big league camp in Fort Myers.

The No. 46, which was worn by Red Sox and current free agent closer Craig Kimbrel for the last three seasons, has yet to be assigned. That’s something to keep an eye on as February 13th looms near.

#RedSox Agree to Minor League Deal with Once Banned from Baseball RHP Jenrry Mejia.

The Boston Red Sox have reached an agreement on a minor league contract with former New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia. Fancred’s Jon Heyman was first with the report.

Mejia, 29, has not appeared in a big league game since 2015 and has quite the chequered past.

Once an important member of the Mets pitching staff, the Dominican Republic native has since fallen off the map following three violation of Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy, which subsequently led to a since-lifted lifetime ban from baseball in 2016.

Before that, Mejia posted a 3.68 ERA over 113 appearances (18 starts) and 183.1 innings pitched with New York from 2010 to 2015. He also recorded 28 saves as the team’s closer in 2014.

Reinstated by commissioner Rob Manfred this past August with eligibility to play in 2019, Mejia was ultimately released by the Mets on November 20th after appearing in two minor league rehab games in the Dominican Summer League.

With his new deal with the Red Sox, the right-hander did not receive an invite to major league spring training, but he will earn $625,000 if he cracks Boston’s 25-man roster at any point this season.

This move comes just days after president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested on ESPN’s Buster Olney’s podcast that the club would be pursuing, “more big league roster invites and see if they could make the club. ”

The addition of Mejia certainly comes with a fair amount of risk. I mean, we are talking about the only player to be banned for life because of multiple PED offenses. But at the same time, it’s a minor league contract. The Red Sox do not have a lot invested in this particular pitcher. If either side feels as if things are not working out, there won’t be too many complications in working out a feasible solution.

Regardless of what happens there, it should be interesting to watch, read, and listen to what sort of reputation Mejia builds once spring training starts in Fort Myers in just a few weeks.

Image result for jenrry mejia gif

Former #RedSox LHP Drew Pomeranz Inks One-Year Deal with San Francisco Giants.

The San Francisco Giants have signed LHP Drew Pomeranz to a one-year deal for the 2019 season. The club announced the signing on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

Pomeranz, 30, will earn a base salary of $1.5 million in 2019 plus up to $3.5 million worth of incentives, reports the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

The left-hander had spent the past two-plus seasons with the Red Sox following a trade with the San Diego Padres for pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza in July of 2016.

In his injury-riddled tenure with Boston, Pomeranz posted a 4.24 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over 316.1 total innings pitched as both a starter and a reliever.

Despite his negative perception among fans, Pomeranz was actually solid in his only full healthy season with the Red Sox in 2017, where he dazzled with a 17-6 record and 3.32 ERA over a span of 32 consecutive starts. With David Price dealing with injury issues himself that year, Pomeranz was essentially the best starting pitcher on the Red Sox’ roster not named Chris Sale.

2018 was a different story for the Tennessee native though, as he dealt with a left forearm flexor strain and left biceps tendinitis and could never really find his rhythm as a starter or out of the bullpen.

Still, Pomeranz made his way to the Red Sox’ World Series roster, and although he never appeared in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was available in case he was needed.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said in a conference call Wednesday that Pomeranz will be in the team’s starting rotation, meaning he’ll join the likes of fellow southpaws Madison Bumgarner and Derek Holland out in the Bay Area.

As MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo notes, Pomeranz joins Joe Kelly (Dodgers) and Ian Kinsler (Padres) as the only members of the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox to sign elsewhere at the moment. All three have signed deals with National League West clubs.

The Red Sox are scheduled to play the Giants at Fenway Park September 17-19th.

 

#RedSox React to Patriots Clinching yet Another Super Bowl Berth.

The New England Patriots are heading to their third straight Super Bowl following a 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 AFC Championship Game.

That’s a tremendous accomplishment within itself as the club, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, will look for their sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history against the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta on February 3rd.

Following an eventful Winter Weekend at Foxwoods Resort Casino, it seemed as though a good number of Red Sox players and coaches had their eyes on this particular contest, and they sent their congratulations with a familiar theme to the Patriots following the exciting Championship Game win.

The Red Sox already know something about beating a team from Los Angeles on the biggest stage in their sport, and now it’s the Patriots’ turn. What a time to be alive as a sports fan in New England.

STILL HERE.