The Return of Eduardo Rodriguez

June 2, 2016 at 2:05pm in Boston, MLB, Red Sox

When Eduardo Rodriguez dislocated his knee cap in spring training it was a shocking disappointment for many fans. He was expected to settle into Boston’s rotation and this anticipation had cultivated an anxious hope that he could build on an impressive rookie campaign. That anxiety boiled for over three months after the injury. The Red Sox front office exercised caution with Rodriguez through his rehab program, and then kept him in Pawtucket for five starts before recalling him. On Tuesday night at Camden Yards,  Rodriguez was finally ready for his debut with the Red Sox and he handled the occasion in stride. He threw 89 pitches over the course of six full innings, allowing just two earned on six hits and no walks.

The offense opened the game with back-to-back solo home runs by Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, and by the bottom of the second inning the Red Sox had a five run advantage. Rodriguez did not relinquish that lead. He used his fastball early in counts and then worked in a sharp change-up to strike out three batters.

The essential aspect of Rodriguez outing was that it quieted worries about his velocity that had risen when he did not feature 95 mph heater during his starts in Pawtucket. Against the Orioles, he consistently sat around 92 mph with the fastball but touched 94 mph and as he continues to regain both arm and lower body strength the velocity should continue to return.

The addition of Eduardo Rodriguez to the roster adds a sense of insurance to a pitching staff that has some holes with neither Clay Buchholz nor Joe Kelly having proven himself capable of retiring MLB hitters. Buchholz was the man relegated to the bullpen in response to Rodriguez’s return and after Kelly’s disastrous outing last night he was optioned to Pawtucket. which leaves a void in the rotation. It remains to be seen how the Red Sox will fill this vacancy but Rodriguez’s presence should help take some pressure off of the pitching staff as a unit.

His return also presents a precarious situation for the front office. Rodriguez activation from the disabled list feels like the prize of a trade deadline deal. As the deadline approaches this acquisition will have to effect the front office’s decision making. While it remains to be seen how this process will unfold but there is no doubt that Rodriguez’s return addresses an important hole in the rotation.

Rodriguez is regarded as one of the more promising young pitchers in baseball and has plenty of time to develop. A role in the middle of the Red Sox rotation this season will serve to curb the lofty expectations of Red Sox fans as the lefty continues to mature, but few question he has the raw talent of a future ace. The camaraderie in the clubhouse should help Rodriguez hone his craft as he learns from the savvy veterans during the playoff push, and fans can expect him to make a solid contribution as the Red Sox strive to stay atop the competitive AL East.

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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: First Base

February 23, 2016 at 5:10pm in Fantasy, MLB

This analysis offers a tiered ranking system of first basemen for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. It assumes a 16 team mixed-league keeper format with a standard 5×5 scoring system and a 22 man roster with the following positional requirements: C (1), 1B (1), 2B (1), 3B (1), SS (1), CI (1), MI (1), OF (3), UT (3), SP (5), RP (4). All statistical information is referenced from


Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

Not much needs to be said here. Goldy is arguably the most valuable fantasy player and is only 28 years old. It will be fun to watch him lead a Diamondbacks team with World Series aspirations.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Jose Abreu (CWS)

The 26 year old Florida native is another stud. He is the cornerstone of what may become the Cubs team to break the Curse, and will hit in the middle of their lineup for the foreseeable future. Don’t expect the 17 stolen bases he had in 2015, but he is a high caliber talent worthy of your first round draft selection. 

Jose Abreu gets included in this tier because at 29 he is reaching his prime as a first baseman, and in his only two seasons has hit 30 home runs with 100 RBI. This production may not rise any more, but is an absolute asset to fantasy owners as he reaches his prime as a first-basemen.

Miguel Cabrera (DET), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

It’s hard to argue that Miggy is not the best hitter in baseball, but what separated him from the likes of Rizzo and Goldschmidt is the injury risk. Cabrera is 33 years old and has had trouble staying healthy in recent years. A luxury when he stays on the field but his ability to do so has become a concern.

Edwin Encarnacion is a similar case. Offers four category production when healthy but struggled with some wrist and hand injuries and is not getting any younger. 

Joey Votto (CIN), Eric Hosmer (KC)

Votto is a model of consistency. He is a pure line drive hitter that reaps the benefits of Great American Ballpark and it seems like he is always on-base thanks to his 21% walk rate. His value is degraded slightly by the lousy Cincinnati lineup this season but he is still a fantasy asset.

Hosmer is a player on the rise after his performance last season and is hitting the stride of his career. His steady contact and line drive rates have helped him maintain a good average and there remains some untapped power potential.

Miguel Sano (MIN), Freddie Freeman (ATL), David Ortiz (BOS)

Sano is oozing upside despite the fact that he has yet to manage MLB pitching enough to maintain a decent average, He has keeper value rooted in the elite raw power and young age, but he needs to find a position to play on the diamond so that he does not have assume a strictly DH role.

Freddie Freeman will have the unfortunate duty of hitting in the middle of the Braves lineup this year. Pitchers are likely to pitch around him and there no one behind him likely to produce on a consistent basis. He is  really good line drive hitter entering his prime but the problem is his supporting cast. A keeper, but he will not be able to do it all himself this season. 

Last here is Big Papi. I acknowledge this is a generous ranking in his last year before retirement, but a lock to hit 30 HR with 100 RBI in his send-off tour, he deserves nothing less.

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD), Prince Fielder (TEX), Kendrys Morales (KC)

Adrian Gonzalez is a pure line-drive hitter that stabilizes the middle of the Dodgers lineup. Unfortunately he is on the wrong side of 30 and although a proven fantasy asset he does not offer the same potential as other options. 

Prince Fielder is in a similar situation. He bounced back nicely at the start of last season from neck surgery but failed to maintain that performance in the second half of the season. He can hit when he stays healthy but, like Gonzalez, his best years are behind him. 

Morales is aging too. Now 33 he has seen his peak years in the rear-view mirror. He remains a is a solid utility option that can boost the HR, RBI categories while maintaining a respectable batting average.

Albert Pujols (LAA), Brandon Belt (SF), Carlos Santana (CLE)

Pujols will provide power and power. His line drive rate was its lowest in five years last season (16%) as he hit for an abysmal .244 batting average. He did hit 40 home runs last year, but at 36 years old he is no longer the machine he once was. 

Belt is the youngest of the group that is a contributor when on the field. But concussion problems are well-noted and make him a wild card at this point. This is confusing option for fantasy owners. A line drive hitter with some contact issues at timees, he offers surplus value if he falls in the draft because of health concerns. 

The last on the list is Carlos Santana. He fits a power profile with a lack of batting average but supports his value with very good OBP and the opportunity he will have to drive in runs from his spot in the Indians’ lineup. 

Mark Teixeira (NYY), Evan Gattis (HOU)

I am biased against anyone on the Yankees roster but Teixeira deserves a spot on here because he’s a proven veteran that benefits from playing in the new Yankee Stadium. If he can stay on the field he offers owners a nice value pick opportunity.

Evan Gattis’ fantasy value has dropped because of his status as a pure designated hitter with the Astros but his offensive output seemed to benefit from the change. One concern is a sports hernia that will delay his 2016 debut until after opening day. He will hurt a team’s OBP but make significant contributions in the home-run and RBI categories.

Ryan Zimmerman (WAS), Lucas Duda (NYM)

If Zimmerman can find a way to stay healthy he will serve as a run producer in the heart of the National’s lineup this season. The problem is his health; he hasn’t logged over 400 at-bats in either of the last two season so it’s hard to anticipate a valuable season from him.

Teixeria’s New York City counterpart, Luca Duda, is a pure power hitter. He won’t hit for an average but has shown promising improvement in his OBP over the last few years and is a mid-level fantasy option 

This class of first basemen offer owners a wide range of quality options depending on the roster you have put together. At the top are bonafide fantasy baseball studs that can anchor a team through the season, and are absolute keepers worthy of top draft picks. If you miss out on those guys and get your fantasy star at another position there are other first basemen that make solid contributions. As expected, most of these guys will produce for power categories like home runs, and RBI and can provide decent production in a utility role for almost any team.

Fishing for Prospects: A.J. Reed (HOU)

If you only take only one thing away from this entire series, let it be this name because A.J. Reed is poised for stardom. He was selected 42nd overall selection in the 2014 MLB draft after a stunning season at Kentucky that culminated in the Golden Spikes Award. That season he led the nations in home runs with 23 with a .336 batting average, and also contributed a 12-2 record on the mound with a 2.09 ERA and 71 strikeouts. The Astros player development staff decided to commit to Reed as a hitter and he thrived in the Class A Advanced California league before earning a promotion to Double-A in the second half of the season. Headed in to 2015 the Astros have other options ahead of him, but depending on how spring training unfolds Reed may get a shot to prove himself with the major league club as soon as this season.


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Doug Flutie confirmed Thursday, as reported by Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, that he will serve as color commentator for the Boston College vs. Notre Dame game to take place at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Continue reading Doug Flutie Commits to Broadcast Shamrock Series »

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Somebody made a big mistake! The Washington Nationals 2016 calendar features an image of Fenway Park instead of Nationals Park.

After much laughter and backlash on the internet, Major League Baseball issued a statement about the calendar which falls under their license. Continue reading Fenway Park Featured on Nationals 2016 Calendar »

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Alejandro De Aza

Yesterday the Red Sox traded Alejandro De Aza to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for minor league reliever Luis Ysla. According to a tweet from Jon Heyman of, the Red Sox will still have to pay $650K of De Aza’s remaining salary as part of the deal. This is the second time De Aza has been traded this year, after Boston acquired him earlier in the season from the Baltimore Orioles.

At the time the Red Sox were still in contention but needed outfield help and De Aza filled that void. During his time in Boston De Aza performed above expectations; in 161 at bats he hit .292 with 9 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs, and 25 RBI. He also played great defense in the outfield. Continue reading Red Sox Trade Alejandro De Aza to San Francisco Giants »

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In a stunning move, NESN has fired longtime Red Sox play by play announcer Don Orsillo. Orsillo will stay on for the remainder of the season and will be replaced in 2016 by Dave O’Brien. Orsillo, who has been with NESN since 2001, has become a fixture in New England and has been there to call some of the greatest moments in Red Sox history such as Manny Ramirez’s 500th home run and the the 2004 World Series Ring ceremony held on opening day of 2005.

Despite the Red Sox being bottom-feeders over the past two seasons, Orsillo has been a mainstay and one of the most enjoyable parts of NESN broadcasts. Orsillo has also been brilliant when faced with challenges, namely the revolving door he has had in the booth over the past several years. Color commentator Jerry Remy has been with Orsillo nearly all of this season, but has missed significant time over the last few seasons due to illness and to personal issues. Despite this, Orsillo was always at the top of his game, making his work with 26 different partners while Remy was out dealing with his son’s arrest look effortless.

When asked about Orsillo’s departure, Remy was visibly dejected. “I love him,” Remy said.

Orsillo will be missed from Spring through Fall on TVs across New England. His professionalism and broadcasting talent have brought the game to life for fans and his ability to switch from comedy to announcing skill will be sorely missed. In what might be the greatest testament of all to Orsillo’s time in Boston, no one that has come in to contact with him could have a negative word to say. Orsillo was, and remains, the class of broadcasting. His replacement, Dave O’Brien, has been calling Red Sox games for WEEI and will be able to handle the work. But even though  O’Brien is a qualified broadcaster, this move is a sad one for Red Sox Nation.


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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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