Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez Says He Wants to Stay in Boston

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez wants to stay in Boston. He said that much to MLB.com’s Nathalie Alonso at the 12th annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic in Miami on Sunday.

“I would love to stay with Boston,” said Rodríguez, in Spanish. “If they offer me an extension, and we come to an agreement, I would love that.”

Rodriguez, who turns 27 in April, still has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining, hence the talks of a possible extension. He is projected to earn $9.5 million in 2020.

Coming off a 2019 campaign in which he finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award Voting thanks to posting a career-best 3.81 ERA and 213 strikeouts over 34 starts and 203 1/3 innings of work, Rodriguez has found himself in an intriguing spot this winter.

“It was a very important step for me, because for the first time I was able to pitch an entire season,” the Venezuela native said of his 2019 season Sunday. “That was my goal when the season started, 30 starts and throw more than 200 innings, and I was able to do it. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Rodriguez, then a 21-year-old prospect, from the Baltimore Orioles in July 2014 in exchange for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, who went on to sign a four-year, $36 million deal with the New York Yankees that offseason.

Because of the fact he started his professional career in the Orioles organization, I was quite surprised when I read that Rodriguez said that Boston is where he began his career and that he, “would love to finish it there.”

Perhaps Rodriguez is speaking in regard to just his major-league career, but an interesting, and perhaps heartfelt, comment nonetheless.

As we all know, the Red Sox want to cut payroll while still remaining competitive in 2020, so it might be in new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s best interest to try and buy out Rodriguez’s last two years of arbitration while also locking down the lefty for a number of years at a decent rate after that.

A similar situation took place in Chicago last March, when the Cubs and right-hander Kyle Hendricks agreed to terms on a four-year, $55 million extension that does not take effect until 2020 and has a team option for 2023 attached to it.

Granted, Hendricks had one, not two years of arbitration remaining, but an extension for Rodriguez with an average annual value in the range of $13-$15 million does not seem too far-fetched.

With the Winter Meetings set to take place in San Diego next month, that may be a good time to see whether talks between the Red Sox and Rodriguez’s camp ramp up at all. If not then, perhaps spring training in February or March.

Brock Holt Comes Through with Game-Winning Homer in Ninth Inning as Red Sox Take Series from Padres with 5-4 Victory

After blowing the doors off the San Diego Padres to open up a three-game weekend series on Friday, the Red Sox needed some late-inning magic to win their second straight on Saturday, as they topped the Pads by a final score of 5-4 to improve to 70-61 on the season.

Making his sixth start of the season for Boston and second since returning from the injured list on July 20th was Nathan Eovaldi, who came into the weekend having yielded five runs in just two innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles this past Sunday.

Working into the fourth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Padres runs charged to Eovaldi came in the bottom half of the fourth, when after retiring eight of the first 11 hitters he faced, Manny Machado led things off with single back up the middle to put a runner on for Eric Hosmer.

On the fourth pitch of his second at-bat against the Sox starter, Hosmer unloaded on a 2-1, 94 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate and sent it 409 feet into the right field seats to cut his side’s deficit in half at 4-2.

With his velocity dwindling as that Padres rally was formulating, Eovaldi’s evening came to a quick close following that two-run homer from Hosmer.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (36 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 53% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 100.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the year down to 6.64, “Nitro” will be expected to pitch deeper into his next outing, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, Marcus Walden entered the bottom of the fourth with the bases empty and still three outs to get.

The right-hander did eventually get those three outs, but not before allowing the third run of the inning for San Diego to score on a Hunter Renfroe double and run-scoring groundout off the bat of Luis Urias.

From there, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out one in a scoreless fifth, Ryan Brasier fanned two in a scoreless sixth before allowing two of the first three Padres he faced in the seventh to reach on a leadoff walk and one-out HBP.

Those signs of struggle led to another Boston pitching change, and in came left-hander Josh Taylor with the tying run in scoring position at second.

A one-out RBI single from the first man who greeted him in Ty France did knot things up at four runs a piece as the Red Sox blew their 24th save of the year, but Taylor did come through in a huge spot with two outs and the bases loaded by striking out Hosmer on four pitches to extenguish the threat.

Matt Barnes maneuvered his way around a two-out single in the eighth to eventually earn his fourth winning decision.

And after his side took the lead in their half of the ninth, Brandon Workman wrapped things up, stranded the tying run at second, and notched his eighth save of 2019 on a three-out punchout of Hosmer to lock down the 5-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet, someone they had never seen before going into the weekend.

Kicking off the scoring in the top half of the third, a Mitch Moreland leadoff single and Brock Holt HBP, followed by a Nathan Eovaldi forceout at third on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, put runners at first and second for Mookie Betts as the lineup turned over for the first time.

Perhaps taking into account what he learned in his first trip to the plate Saturday, Betts laced an RBI single through the right side of the infield to plate Holt from second and give his side their first lead of the evening.

An inning later, with J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi leading off the fourth by both reaching base, back-to-back run-scoring knocks from Christian Vazquez and Mitch Moreland off of Lamet upped the Sox’ advantage to four runs, as Vazquez drove in two and Moreland one.

The Padres responded with a three-run rally of their own in their half of the fourth though, and eventually tied things up at four in their half of the seventh as well.

At 4-4, the stalemate led to San Diego turning to their All-Star closer Kirby Yates in the ninth.

Leading off the final frame for Boston was Brock Holt, who was 0-for-2 headed on the night headed into his first career at-bat against Yates.

That unfamiliarity may have played in Holt’s favor though, as the 31-year-old took the first pitch he saw from Yates, a 93 MPH four-seamer down and in, and belted a 372-foot, go-ahead solo shot just over the wall in right field.

“BH’s” third big fly of the season put the Red Sox up 5-4 late, and that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi departed from this game in the sixth inning due to tightness in his left side, per Sox manager Alex Cora. He will not play on Sunday.

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: .360/.385/.440 with four runs scored and four runs driven in.

Before Saturday, Kirby Yates had served up one home run to the first 201 hitters he faced this season.

With the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics both falling on Saturday, the Red Sox move to six games behind Tampa Bay for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the Players’ Weekend series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson gets the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Joey Lucchesi will do the same for San Diego.

Since being activated off the injured list earlier in the month, Johnson has posted a 6.75 ERA and .358 batting average against over his last four starts and 12 innings pitched.

In eight career interleague appearances (five starts), the 28-year-old owns a lifetime 5.40 ERA and .306 batting average against over 30 total innings of work. He has never faced the Padres nor pitched at Petco Park before in his career.

Johnson is also a lifetime .167 (1-for-6) hitter with two runs scored.

Lucchesi, meanwhile, owns an ERA of 4.86 in seven starts and 37 innings since the All-Star break. The Padres are 1-6 in those games.

The 26-year-old has never faced the Red Sox before in his two-year career, but he does own an ERA of 4.24 and batting average against of .227 in seven career interleague starts spanning over 34 innings of work.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 4:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the three-game sweep before heading off to Denver.

J.D. Martinez Batting Cleanup, Starting in Right Field for Red Sox in Players’ Weekend Opener Against Padres

After walking off the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, the Red Sox open up an eight-game, three-city west coast trip on Friday night, beginning with the first of three against the 59-67 San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

So far this season, the Sox are an underwhelming 3-7 in interleague play, with two of those losses coming this past week at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Since these three games will be played at a National League ballpark, Boston loses the designated hitter, meaning J.D. Martinez will slide over to right field and bat out of the cleanup spot for the series opener against the Pads on Friday.

In 17 games as a right fielder so far this year, the recently turned 32-year-old slugger is slashing .319/.397/.638 with six home runs and 12 RBI over 78 plate appearances.

With that move to the outfield for Martinez, Mookie Betts slides over to center and Andrew Benintendi remains in left, while Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the night off.

As the above tweet indicates, Friday is also the opening night of Players’ Weekend 2019, a weekend where the Red Sox have yet to win a single game since its inception in 2017.

Yup, they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles at home in 2017, and swept on the road by the Tampa Bay Rays last year, which marked the only time they were swept over the course of a dominant 2018 campaign.

The Red Sox are 4-2 all-time against the Padres at Petco Park, winning series’ there in both 2007 and 2016.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Eduardo Rodriguez going against Chris Paddack.

Also, here are some of the cleats different Red Sox will be sporting this weekend.

Red Sox Unveil 2019 Players’ Weekend Nicknames, Uniforms

Major League Baseball unveiled all uniforms and nicknames more than two weeks ahead of the third installment of Players’ Weekend, which will take place from August 23rd through the 25th.

All 30 clubs will be wearing all-black or all-white uniforms, per Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net.

The Red Sox will be spending Players’ Weekend in Sunny southern California, taking on the San Diego Padres at Petco Park for the first time since late in the 2016 season.

As indicated by Creamer, the Sox will be the team wearing all-black, while the Padres will be wearing all-white.

Given how a white cap might affect how a hitter picks up the ball from the pitcher’s hand, “pitchers on Team White will be wearing a black cap with their uniform to avoid any issues with hitters seeing the ball,” per Creamer.

Despite being the road team for this series, the Red Sox will not be wearing uniforms that sport the word ‘BOSTON’ across the chest and will instead wear uniforms that resemble the ones they wear at Fenway Park.

As for the nicknames on the back of the uniforms, MLB.com lists 27 different Red Sox players with their nicknames. Here they are in alphabetical order, courtesy of MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Notables on this list include rookie Michael Chavis going with “Chief” instead of “Ice Horse”, Nathan Eovaldi going with “Nitro” instead of “Evo”, Brock Holt going with “BH” instead of “Brock Star”, David Price going with “X’, presumably for his son, Xavier, Chris Sale going with “The Conductor”, and Sam Travis going with “Dr. Chill.”

Since its inception in 2017, the Red Sox are 0-6 all-time in Players’ Weekend games. They were swept in three games at home by the Baltimore Orioles two years ago and were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays on the road last August, which turned out to be the only time they got swept in 2018.

Mookie Betts was named as the Sox’ ambassador for Players’ Weekend 2019. He will be going with “Mookie” as his nickname once again.

 

 

Red Sox Reportedly ‘Showing Active Interest’ in Blue Jays’ Ken Giles and Padres’ Kirby Yates

The Red Sox are ‘showing active interest’ in San Diego Padres closer Kirby Yates and Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Giles, 28, has posted a 1.64 ERA and .205 batting average against over 33 appearances and 33 innings pitched for Toronto this season. He has converted 14 out of a possible 15 save opportunities.

Set to become a free agent at the end of the 2020 season, Giles’ asking price could be quite high. In fact, it’s already been reported by TSN’s Scott Mitchell that other clubs such as the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees have reached out to the Blue Jays about a potential package deal including both Giles and All-Star right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Yates, on the other hand, also does not become a free agent until the winter of 2020/2021.

The 32-year-old All-Star owns a minuscule ERA of 1.07 and a nice batting average against of .169 over 40 appearances and 42 innings of work to go along with a National League-leading 31 saves in 33 opportunities so far in 2019.

Originally drafted by the Sox out of Kauai High School in Lihue, Hawaii back in 2005, Yates has experienced a career renaissance while with the Padres after bouncing around between the Tampa Bay Rays, Yankees, and Los Angeles Angels.

Similar to Giles, Yates is likely to come with a hefty asking price, and given the lack of quality prospects Boston has to offer, it’s not hard to imagine that other teams may be able to put together a better proposal.

According to MLB.com, the Red Sox have one top-100 prospect in the form of 19-year-old first baseman Triston Casas, who the club selected with their first pitck in last year’s amateur draft.

When Boston acquired right-hander Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles on July 13th, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that, “We’re trying to win. We have a chance to win. We know we have to play better. But also we’re trying to rebuild our system. And I think we’re getting to the point where we’re starting to get to that.”

With that, if Dombrowski has the chance to acquire either of these aforementioned relievers without Boston’s farm system taking a major hit, expect a move to be made.

Manny Machado and San Diego Padres Reportedly Agree to 10-Year, $300 Million Contract

The San Diego Padres have reportedly agreed to a record-breaking 10-year, $300 million contract with free agent infielder Manny Machado. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first with the report of the signing while MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was the first with the figures.

Additionally, per Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, Machado’s new contract with San Diego comes with an opt-out after the fifth year. Exactly halfway through what looks to be a historic deal for baseball.

Machado, who will turn 27 in July, slashed .297/.367/.538 with 37 home runs and a career-high 107 RBI in 162 games between the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers this past season.

A client of Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, the Miami-area resident is set to earn an AAV of approximately $30 million per season before taxes and what not.

Although teams in a better position to compete now such as the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies appeared to show some level of interest in Machado, the third baseman turned shortstop ultimately decided to remain out on the west coast and in the National League West as well.

This news comes days after Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts told media that he would not mind staying with Boston for the forseeable future, as his contract is set to expire following the 2019 season. But, given the circumstances of what has reportedly gone down Tuesday, the likelihood of the two sides coming to an extension now probably shrinks. Remember, Bogaerts is represented by super agent Scott Boras.

Since the start of the 2015 season, Machado and Bogaerts have been the second and third most valuable shortstops in all of baseball according to FanGraphs, with Machado worth a total of 21.7 fWAR and Bogaerts worth 17.4 fWAR over the last four seasons.

It’s a significant difference, but one would have to expect that Bogaerts will be demanding a contract with an AAV north of $20 million now that Machado’s deal is set.

Retaining the native of Aruba will be no simple task for the Red Sox front office and that’s probably why the two sides are engaged in extension talks as we speak, possibly.

If Bogaerts is willing to take a more team-friendly deal now, great. If not, well, that’s tough to say.