Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts Set to Make Spring Debut Against Tigers

For the first time this spring, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is set to make a Grapefruit League start.

Yes, after being sidelined with a sore left ankle since reporting to camp last month, the 27-year-old will serve as designated hitter and bat out of the three-hole for Boston against the Tigers at JetBlue Park on Wednesday.

Bogaerts initially suffered the injury while partaking in offseason workouts in his home country of Aruba back in early February, but he has progressed nicely over the past week or so.

“He’s pretty close to getting in a game,” interim manager Ron Roenicke said of Bogaerts Tuesday. “We’ll probably start him at DH. I guess he’s made a lot of progress over the last couple days.”

Lo and behold, Bogaerts is starting at DH for the Sox on Wednesday. He’ll probably get anywhere between two to three plate appearances.

And despite this setback, Bogaerts is still expected to be ready for Opening Day on March 26th.

Red Sox Nearly Traded Mookie Betts to Dodgers Before Last Year’s Trade Deadline

The Red Sox may have just traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers last week, but according to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the two sides had discussions regarding the starting outfielder going back to last July before the trading deadline.

At that point, under then-president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, the Sox found themselves at 54-46 entering the week of July 22rd having just dropped two out of three to the lowly Orioles on the road.

Falling back to 11 games off the pace for the American League East and 3 1/2 games back of the second wild card spot, it seemed as though Dombrowski at least entertained the idea of selling off some assets.

With 1 1/2 years of team control remaining, Betts, in the midst of a solid followup season to his American League MVP campaign in 2018, could have fetched a serious return on the trade market.

The Dodgers already owned the National League’s top record at that point, butting a bona fide star such as the 26-year-old Betts certainly would not have hurt their chances of going back to the World Series for a third consecutive year.

However in-depth conversations between Dombrowski and Friedman got during that penultimate week of July, the Red Sox began to rattle off some wins.

Yes, the club proceeded to win five of its next seven games against the Rays and Yankees to storm back to 1 1/2 games out of a wild card spot. That seemed to put a halt on all talks revolving around the idea of dealing Betts.

Alas, the trade deadline came and went, the Sox did not make any significant additions or subtractions, and they proceeded to drop their next seven contests in a row to all but fall out of contention for a wild card spot.

Knowing what we know, trading Betts to the Dodgers back in July might not have been the worst thing to do. But since it did not happen, at least we got this moment out of it later on during the final game of the 2019 season and perhaps Betts’ last in a Red Sox uniform.

 

 

Red Sox Officially Name Ron Roenicke Interim Manager

The Red Sox have officially named Ron Roenicke as their interim manager, per the club’s official Twitter account.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the ‘interim’ tag in Roenicke’s new title could be dropped as soon as Major League Baseball completes its investigation into the 2018 Red Sox. That all depends on the results, though.

Roenicke, 63, had spent the previous two years as bench coach under Alex Cora and was viewed as one of, if not the top internal candidate for the position upon Cora’s dismissal from the post last month.

The California native was the only internal candidate interviewed by the Sox who had previous big-league managing experience, as he manned the helm for the Milwaukee Brewers from November 2010 until May 2015.

Roenicke denied any wrongdoing during his tenure as bench coach last month, saying that, “It would be concerning if something happened — that I knew I wasn’t part of — that I was brought into as part of that. I know what I do. I always try to do things the right way.”

If the ‘interim tag’ is removed from his title, Roenicke would become the 48th manager in Red Sox history. And with his promotion, the Sox find themselves without a bench coach for the time being. Perhaps Jason Varitek could fill that void.

Chaim Bloom Says Red Sox Have ‘a Lot of Time’ to Find Replacement for David Price

Mookie Betts and David Price have officially been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Red Sox are getting a serviceable replacement for Betts in the form of 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo, they were unable to compensate for their pitching needs in this five-player deal.

As things stand right now, the Red Sox’ starting rotation is composed of Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and newcomer Martin Perez. That’s about it now that Price is out of the picture.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was asked at Monday’s press conference about who could replace the veteran left-hander this coming season.

“As strange as it is to say this right before pitchers and catchers report, obviously we have a lot of time to figure that out,” Bloom said. “We have spent a lot of the winter adding starting depth to our 40-man [roster]. We have some good options off-roster as well.”

Prior to shipping Betts and Price off to Los Angeles, Bloom and Co. kept plenty busy by making a number of smaller transactions. Some of the players who will serve as starting depth that are currently on the 40-man roster include Matt Hall, Kyle Hart, Chris Mazza, Mike Shawaryn, Hector Velazquez, and Ryan Weber.

In terms of pitchers that are not currently on the 40-man roster, Tanner Houck and Brian Johnson immediately come to mind as hurlers who could start in the majors this season if necessary.

“Because of the shoes David leaves behind, we’re going to continue to look outside the organization as well,” Bloom added.

Just because pitchers and catchers report to Fenway South on Tuesday does not mean that additional roster shakeups will be made. Players will be traded, waived, maybe even released.

With the six-plus weeks remaining until the start of the 2020 regular seasons, it would be foolish to think that the Red Sox’ roster won’t look different come March 25th.

David Price will be missed, both on the field and in the Sox’ clubhouse, but despite what you may be led to believe, there is time to implement an adequate replacement or replacements.

Red Sox Reach New Agreement With Dodgers to Send Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles

It took five days longer than expected, but the Red Sox and Dodgers have reportedly agreed to a trade that would send outfielder Mookie Betts and left-hander David Price to Los Angeles, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Going back to Tuesday night, the original deal that would have shipped Betts and Price to southern California involved a third team in the Twins. In this three-team swap, Los Angeles would have received Betts, Price, and cash considerations, Minnesota would have received right-hander Kenta Maeda, and Boston would have received outfielder Alex Verdugo and right-handed pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol.

Upon reviewing Graterol’s medical information though, the Sox became worried over how the 21-year-old flamethrower projected to be more of a reliever than a starter, and thus sought out additional compensation from the Twins.

Since parting ways with another top prospect really would not have been to their benefit, Minnesota ultimately decided to back out of the three-team trade on Saturday and now have their own deal in place with the Dodgers that would net them Maeda and cash considerations in exchange for Graterol and the 67th pick in this year’s amateur draft, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

So, with the Twins out of the picture, the Red Sox and Dodgers were able to work things out themselves without needing another third team to step in.

In this now-agreed-upon trade, Boston will be receiving Verdugo as initially anticipated, as well as 21-year-old infield prospect Jeter Downs and 23-year-old catching prospect Connor Wong from the Dodgers.

As already mentioned, Los Angeles will be receiving Betts, Price, and $48 million from the Sox, which were all part of the original agreement.

Betts, 27, is set to earn $27 million this coming season before becoming a free agent for the first time in the winter. Price, meanwhile, has three years and $96 million remaining on the seven-year, $217 million deal he signed with Boston back in December 2015. The Red Sox will be paying half of that remaining amount.

Turning to the return Chaim Bloom got in his first blockbuster trade as Boston’s chief baseball officer, Verdugo is a former top prospect in his own right.

The 23-year-old out of Arizona slashed .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI over 106 games for the Dodgers last year. He did not play a major-league game after August 4th due to a plethora of issues involving his lower back, core, and right oblique.

As for Downs, the 21-year-old was not part of the original deal but he will be heading to the Red Sox this time around.

Ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Downs, a former Competitive Balance Round A pick out of Miami, played in 119 games between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa last year.

In those contests, the native of Colombia slashed .276/.362/.526 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, and 24 stolen bases while primarily playing shortstop.

Downs was named after former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, and he is the younger brother of current Red Sox minor-league outfielder Jerry Downs.

Finally, Wong was ranked as Los Angeles’ No. 28 prospect by MLB.com and, like Downs, was drafted by the Dodgers in 2017.

Playing in 111 games between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2019, the Houston native posted a .281/.336/.541 slash line to go along with 24 home runs and 82 RBI.

This five-player trade is no longer pending medical reviews but nothing has been made official quite yet. All that is left is approval from Major League Baseball on the transfer of the $48 million going to the Dodgers, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

At the end of the day, it still stinks that the Red Sox are trading a player like Mookie Betts, a homegrown superstar who should spend his entire career wearing one uniform.

I understand that you can’t force Betts to sign a contract extension and you don’t want him to leave for nothing outside of a compensatory draft pick in the winter, but still, this stings.

It also stinks, although to a lesser extent, to lose David Price, because without him another hole opens in an already questionable Red Sox starting rotation.

Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Fenway South in Fort Myers on Tuesday. Looking forward to it!

Twins Reportedly Pull out of Three-Team Trade That Would Send Mookie Betts and David Price to Dodgers and Brusdar Graterol to Red Sox

UPDATE: Apparently the Twins have not pulled out and are willing to “renegotiate” with the Red Sox and Dodgers, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.

The Minnesota Twins are pulling out of the three-team trade that would send Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers, according to the Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III.

This means that Minnesota will be holding on to right-handed pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol, who was supposed to go to Boston in the original trade, and will not be getting right-hander Kenta Maeda from Los Angeles.

The original proposal that would have sent Betts, Price, and cash considerations to the Dodgers, Maeda to the Twins, and Graterol and outfielder Alex Verdugo to the Sox was reportedly agreed upon by all three clubs Tuesday night, but talks have since fallen off.

That is mainly the case because upon reviewing Graterol’s medical review, Boston felt that the 21-year-old flamethrower projected to be a reliever rather than a starter as originally thought, which led to the Sox seeking additional compensation in the form of another top-10 prospect from Minnesota.

If the Red Sox and Dodgers want to see this trade through, they will either have to find a different third team or work things out between themselves.

The Dodgers may be even more motivated to get this done, as they have another trade lined up where they would send outfielder Joc Pederson and right-hander Ross Stripling to the Angels in exchange for infielder Luis Rengifo.

It’s been a hellish last few days for all parties involved, and with pitchers and catchers due to report to Fenway South on Wednesday, there’s a real chance David Price and Mookie Betts are still members of the Red Sox by then.

MLBPA Calls for Red Sox, Dodgers, and Twins to Resolve Trade Issues ‘Without Further Delay’

In the midst of waiting for this reported three-team trade between the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Twins that would send Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles to become official, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark released a statement earlier Friday calling for all three clubs to resolve matters “without further delay.”

The reason for this delay that has lasted nearly three days is mainly due to the fact that the Sox have reportedly grown concerned over Twins right-handed pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol’s medical review, which has led them to project the 21-year-old as a future reliever, not a starter as initially anticipated.

Because of this, Boston is seeking additional compensation from Minnesota, hence the hold up of Betts and Price being shipped off to southern California.

Not only that, the Dodgers also have another deal in place where they would be sending outfielders Joc Pederson and Andy Pages and right-hander Ross Stripling in exchange for infielder Luis Rengifo among others.

So, at a minimum, at least eight players under contract for this season — Betts, Price, Pederson, Pages, Rengifo, Stripling, Graterol, and Alex Verdugo — are not entirely certain on where they will be playing with spring training set to begin next week.

“The events of this last week have unfairly put several Players’ lives in a state of limbo,” Clark said in the above statement. “The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often Players are treated as commodities by those running the game.”

That last line may be tough to swallow for some, but in today’s game, it’s not entirely too far away from the truth.

Yes, players are human beings, but with the way attributes such as years of team control are attached to them, it’s hard not to view them as commodities, especially for executives who are trying to put their team, their place of employment, in the best spot they deem possible.

As has already been mentioned on here, I still think this trade will get done. It may involve more moving pieces than originally thought, but Mookie Betts and David Price are still going to wind up with the Dodgers.

Also, Major League Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expires at the conclusion of the 2021 season, so that’s something to think about.