Carson Smith (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

The Red Sox made headlines early in the offseason with their blockbuster acquisition of All-World closer Craig Kimbrel, who basically makes a ninth inning lead an automatic win. There is no question that Kimbrel immediately stabilized what was one of the worst relief corps in the Majors last season, but another trade for a reliever could be just as important for the Red Sox. Sending Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to Seattle for Carson Smith and Roenis Elias will likely be almost as beneficial to the Red Sox bullpen as acquiring Kimbrel in an effort to shorten games.

It might have been easy to miss Smith’s brilliance on the West Coast last season, but he dominated from wire to wire and ended up closing games for the Mariners. He only ended up saving 13 games, but every other statistic was outstanding for Smith: strikeout rate (11.83 K/9), walk rate (2.83 BB/9), homerun rate (0.26 HR/9), average against (.192), ground ball rate (64.8%), ERA (2.31), FIP (2.12), and xFIP (2.36). All of this success occurred without a blazing fastball (90.5 average fastball, 92.5 average sinker), which lessens his reliance on the strikeout to be effective. Further, those numbers were achieved without any help in luck-based stats like BABIP allowed (.292) or strand rate (78.5%). This suggests that Smith’s outstanding performance in 2015 is repeatable, and that he can be a versatile setup ace in front of Kimbrel and Koji Uehara.

Continue reading Carson Smith Reshapes Red Sox Bullpen »

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In Dave Dombrowski We Trust

December 9, 2015 at 7:49pm in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox, Top Story
dombrowski gammons daily

Too many cooks spoil the soup.

Dave Dombrowski is the only cook we need. He has proven he has the trust of the owners. He has the experience and the proven track record to boot. Most importantly, though, is the trust, something Ben Cherington most likely never really had.

As a Red Sox fan, I sat back and watched Cherington, time after time, not pull the trigger on a player. I ultimately came to the conclusion that a committee comprised of owners and front office staff made all trades and acquisitions.

More people mean more opinions. Too many cooks left us finishing dead last in back-to-back seasons. Continue reading In Dave Dombrowski We Trust »

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The blocked punt for a touchdown at the end of the first half gave the Eagles all the momentum they needed to upset the defending Super Bowl Champions. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Losing twice in a row is not something we are accustomed to as fans of the New England Patriots. Since Bill Belichick has been the coach of the team they’ve only lost two games in a row 11 times, including Sunday’s game. It’s a luxury most teams in the NFL have not been afforded. When it happens in New England it’s easy to expect doom and gloom from all the talk shows because something must be wrong, right? The good news about Sunday’s game is that it can easily be chalked up to an anomaly.

– Let’s start off with that absolutely stupid fake, drop kick that they made Nate Ebner attempt. I definitely understand trying to practice these trick plays in real game scenarios which is why I was 100% in agreement with the onside kick against the Redskins. Obviously it’s easy to look at the onside kick against Washington with positive eyes since the play worked. Even if that play failed they were firing with a loaded gun on offense with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, and Dion Lewis all healthy and playing. If the onside kick fails and the Redskins score, the Patriots still had their full offense to gain the points back. On Sunday they were playing without Lewis, Edelman, Gronk, and Amendola has been hobbled with a bum knee. What is the point to trying that play in that situation? The only thing it did was anger the Eagles for “disrespecting” them and it gave life to a team that was down 14-0, on the road, and has already shown a track record for giving up in the middle of games.  Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 13: Patriots Embarrass Themselves at Home, Lose to Eagles 35-28 »

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Boston Globe

Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox have been active this off season with the huge free agent move to land a dominant ace starter in David Price, possibly the games best closer in Craig Kimbrel, and outfielder Chris Young. Boston’s latest action came in the form of a trade with the Seattle Mariners. The Sox traded lefty starter Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro for reliever Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Miley was a fiery competitor who occasionally bumped heads with Red Sox manager John Farrell last season in his first and only season in Boston. The left hander was a solid middle of the rotation starter for Boston going 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA and leading the team in innings pitched with 193 plus in 32 starts. The quality that Boston may miss most about Miley is his durability. He is able to go out and pitch every fifth day for which the same cannot be said for the injury-prone Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly who are likely to sandwich Rick Porcello with the third and fifth starter spots to open to season. The reason for moving Miley is the need for an upgrade in the bullpen and financially his contract is very reasonable for the Mariners to manage. It is also known that Dombrowski wasn’t willing to deal the young, hard-throwing lefty Eduardo Rodriguez who pitched well for Boston in his first season in the majors going 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA. It also always seems like Red Sox fans and management alike start every season with the same sentence about Clay Buchholz, “If he can just stay healthy…” which he inevitably does not. However whether the Red Sox are unwilling to let go of the potential 1/3 of a season ace or other teams have lost interest in watching him get scratched night after night Buchholz is staying put in Boston, at least for now. As for the possibility of dealing Porcello, Boston pretty much hitched their wagon to him with a 4-year $82.5 million dollar contract last season and with the way he pitched no one is chomping at the bit there.

Now what did the Red Sox get in return? A 26-year old, right handed, side arm delivery reliever in Carson Smith. The young Smith is considered to have a power arm, hurling a fastball in the 93-95 MPH range with a killer, swing-and-miss slider, especially for righties, and the ability to mix in a changeup. In 70 innings pitched last season with Seattle he was able to produce 92 strikeouts, this exemplifies the kind of stuff he is bringing to the Red Sox bullpen. Smith went 2-5 with 22 holds, 13 saves and a 2.31 ERA in 2015. His roll in the much improved Boston bullpen will likely be a seventh inning set up man with Koji Uehara pitching the eighth and Craig Kimbrel now taking over as the closer. This kind of late inning fire power has been a successful model in recent years. The Royals had great success all season and will be handing out World Series rings with much thanks to their bullpen, the Yankees have also developed a one-two knockout punch in Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller coming out of the pen to finish games.

Sox manager John Farrell had this to say regarding the now weaponized Sox bullpen: “What’s clearly different with this group is that it’s deeper in talent, it’s deeper in performance, it’s deeper in the ability to get strikeouts in key spots. We’ve got the ability to now assign innings to individual guys where they can probably mentally prepare for that inning.”

An included advantage in the revamped bullpen is depth and flexibility. Smith has been a set up man and closer in the past and could be up to the task if Uehara needed a night off. Uehara has been the Sox closer for the past few seasons if rest for Kimbrel is necessary. Lets also not forget about the hard-throwing Junichi Tazawa who can rotate in for back end relief. It appears a weakness of lasts year’s Red Sox team may have been turned into a strength in just a few short months this off season.

Boston also acquired Cuban-born, 27-year old Roenis Elias who went 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA in 20 starts last season. The lefty also had two relief appearances. It is unclear at this time what Boston will do with him, it is thought that he could add depth to the starting rotation or compete for a spot in the bullpen. Elias’ ability to get a starting spot may hinge on whether the Red Sox go hard after another starter such as veteran Cliff Lee who stated he plans to pitch in 2016.

Dombrowski and the Red Sox have aggressively taken care of business early and put themselves in great position to sit back and listen to possible trades and opportunities as baseball’s winter meetings continue in Nashville Tennessee.

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Bringing Cliff Lee to Boston

December 6, 2015 at 11:32am in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox, Top Story
Cliff Lee (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

If it seems like everyone has been recently caught up in the Red Sox’ signing of David Price to a megadeal from the free agent market, it’s because they have been. Rightfully so, Price’s acquisition completely transforms the look of the Red Sox rotation, especially at the top. While they are at it, the Red Sox could have another opportunity to upgrade the top of the starting rotation, albeit at a much lower cost of acquisition. Reports have come out that former Phillies ace Cliff Lee is planning on taking the mound in 2016, giving many teams an opportunity to pick up a high quality starter for bargain rates, compared to what else is available on the free agent market.

Continue reading Bringing Cliff Lee to Boston »

Chris O'Meara

There is a new superstar and number one starter heading to Boston this off season. The Red Sox inked a deal with David Price reported by the Boston Globe as a 7-year, $217 million dollar contract. The 30 year old power-pitching left-hander was one of two sought after ace pitchers on the free agent market with the other being Zach Greinke.

Price has rocketed to stardom after being the number one overall pick out of Vanderbilt and flourishing with the Tampa Bay Rays over seven seasons to become one of the best number one starters in baseball. Most recently Price split last season between the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays who acquired him via trade in their efforts for a playoff push. Price was very effective going 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts with Toronto. Continue reading Red Sox Sign Ace Free Agent David Price »

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Hanley Ramirez (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Sometimes in sports there exists a gap between what fans or analysts might hope or want a team to do with its roster and what that team actually does. One example involves the Red Sox and Hanley Ramirez. About halfway through the 2015 season it became apparent that Hanley was/is not interested in making himself better, and is generally not worth a major league roster spot. Many fans (myself included) are hoping to find a Hanley trade under the tree this holiday season, which is why it was so exciting to see the reports that Dave Bombrowski is actively shopping Hanley to other teams around the league.

Unfortunately trading Hanley is much easier said than done; his attitude and salary make it more difficult to find a willing taker. The Red Sox will likely need to decide between straight dumping Hanley for the sake of getting rid of him, and including more cash and/or players to get something decent in return. It seems like including more money to offset his salary is the smart play here, but it remains to be seen if a trade partner would be willing to give up anything of value for Hanley. The report above cites the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Angels as speculative fits at the moment, so lets take a quick look at what a deal could look like with any of those clubs (disclaimer: Hanley is still owed $66 million over the next three seasons, plus a vesting option for the 2019 season).

Continue reading There’s Hope for a Hanley Trade »

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