The Future Corner Outfielders

I have been in the back woods of Maine hiking, canoeing, and reading books since the last time I posted, so I have been completely out of the loop. As I’m driving home Sunday afternoon I tuned in to the second half of the Red Sox game in Detroit. I’m listening to Joe Castiglione when I realize I have no idea who is playing where defensively for the Red Sox. Then I find out Jackie Bradley is in centerfield with Castillo and de Aza in the corner outfield slots, and the infield consists of Holt at third, Bogaerts at short, Josh Rutledge at second, and Travis Shaw at first.

Initially I was slightly taken back by some of the names out there, but when I thought about it a little more I realized it’s not a bad thing at all that these guys are getting reps. Continue reading PawSox Storm Fenway Park, Red Sox Nation Gets Sneak Peek of Future OF »

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Rusney Castillo (Elsa/Getty Images)

Since the Red Sox have been unofficially eliminated from 2015 playoff contention, they have admitted to using the balance of the season to evaluate the roster’s potential for 2016 and better inform the team’s offseason strategy. One of the most interesting roster auditions is in Right Field, where the team hopes Rusney Castillo can play well down the stretch and eliminate a potential hole in the 2016 outfield. Jackie Bradley Jr. is in a similar situation, however he faces a much more uphill battle since he is competing with Mookie Betts for playing time. Conversely, Castillo has a golden opportunity to cement a starting role on the 2016 Red Sox.

Continue reading Rusney Castillo’s Open Audition »

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1. Red Sox:

* From MLB Network – Red Sox pitching has given up at least 7 runs in a game 32 times

* Ortiz is hot and hitting the ball long – things that make me go hmmmm

* I saw Hanley Ramirez run hard down to first Friday night and that noteworthy because it’s the exception

* Speaking of running down to first – I timed Ortiz down to first in his last two at bats: 7.31 and 7.28 (Mickey Mantle once did it in 3.10)

* I saw Bogaerts stand in the box on line drive to left, which turned out to be a double

* Red Sox have to drill Ingesias after he spiked first baseman Shaw on purpose

* Another slick move by Ben Cherrington – he not only traded Mike Napoli but he gave them cash to take him

* Brock Holt is hitting .209 since his visit to the All Star game

* Jackie Bradley first 57 at bats – 4 RBI / next four – 5 RBI

* Haven’t seen one tool from Blake Swihart that is exceptional Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Red Sox Pitching, Bonnie and Clyde, Frank Gifford »

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Photo Courtesy of Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers recently let go of President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Dombrowski had been with the Tigers for nearly 14 seasons.

Dombrowski built the Tigers from the ground up. In his first full season in Detroit, the Tigers had an American League worst record of 119 losses. However, he did not let this be a detriment to his overall plan. Dombrowski was known for not being afraid to pull the trigger on a big time move. Some examples include trading for Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer. Continue reading Dave Dombrowski Should Be on Red Sox Radar »

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1. Red Sox:

* I don’ think I have ever seen Craig Breslow have a clean outing

* Wait to next year when infielders have to throw to Hanley at first (they will need netting behind first base)

* People wonder what David Ortiz would do in Yankee Stadium with the short right field porch – surprisingly only 28 home runs in 401 at bats at the Stadiums (one every 14.32 at bats)

* Red Sox have 3 combined triples from the #3 / #4 / #5 / #6 hitters this year

* Not quite pushing the right buttons – Pinch hitters for the Red Sox this year: 8-44 (.182) / 0 HR

* Average against Red Sox pitching by month (I guess it wasn’t pitching coach Juan Nieves fault): April – .259 / May – .263 / June – .265 / July – .275 / August – .278

2. Patriots Roster:

* Players over age of 30 – 4 (gotta be youngest team in league) Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Someone Get Felger a Towel »

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2015-512x512_flowers_trey_headshot

When New England selected Trey Flowers in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, the early thinking was that he could be a pass rusher with power and contribute on passing downs. The 6’2, 266 pound defensive end is not as large as some of the prototypical pass rushers in the NFL, but he uses his length as well as anyone and makes plays with his strength.

The Patriots have quite a bit of depth in terms of pass rushers with Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Dominique Easley all ahead of Flowers on the depth chart. When asked what he felt his role could be in such a crowded group, Flowers said he was eager to contribute any way he could.

“I’m just coming out here and working hard. I want to be that guy who can get his reps when he can, who is attentive, who listens to all the coaches, and contribute wherever I need to be,” Flowers said.

One of the best ways for Flowers to get on the field early is to be as versatile as possible. He had opportunities both inside and outside along the defensive line in practice.  The rookie felt that being able to do both was important for him and for his teammates.

“It’s definitely a way that I can help the team the fastest that I can. Being able to go out to in and things like that…like I said, I’m just trying to establish a role and if that’s what the coach wants me to do, go inside sometimes and outside I’m all for it.”

Flowers is making the most of his opportunities in camp thus far. He has looked explosive in several drills and has been around the football in full team work. At this point, he has had most of his chances with backups and will likely see extensive time in the preseason as he tries to climb his way up the depth chart. Playing at Arkansas in the SEC, Flowers is no stranger to big games or strong competition. In one week he will have his first taste of NFL action as the Patriots host the Packers in the team’s first preseason game. Flowers is looking forward to the chance.

“I’m just looking forward to going against someone other than my teammates. Camp can be long, going against the same people each and every day, but I’m looking forward to going against someone else. I wouldn’t say there are any nerves, it’s all football. I’m just trying to go out there and do it as best I can.”

If Flowers can produce in the preseason as well as he as at times during camp, he will continue that climb up the depth chart.

 

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Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images North America

The Patriots set themselves up for a bright future with Rob Gronkowski by allotting the big tight end a preseason $4 million of his $10 million dollar contract option. The contract option is due to Gronkowski by the end of February 2016, and exercising said option keeps him from becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

By New England giving a little less than half of the money early, they show Growkowski their intention to keep him with the organization and honor his current contract, a six-year extension to his rookie deal which will pay him $54 million through the year 2019. Continue reading Pats Pay Gronk, Plan to Lockdown for the Future »

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