Crawford was batting just .185 this season. PHOTO:  Luis Sinco (Los Angeles Times)

Carl Crawford. Four time All-Star, Gold Glove winner, and a very rich man. Once one of the most dynamic players in Major League Baseball during his tenure in Tampa Bay, he was ripe for the taking in 2011. Naturally, a team with deep pockets signed him to a huge contract: 7 years, $142 million.

That team that signed him was the Boston Red Sox. Crawford hardly lived up to his money, with a slash line of .260/.292/.419 during his time in the Northeast. These are the numbers of a less than mediocre player, not a superstar. We all remember what happened next: the Red Sox found a team to dump the salaries of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Crawford, which was worth $262.5 million.

The Red Sox acquired five players from the Dodgers in the trade, and none became everyday players. However, with all the freed cash, the Red Sox signed clubhouse leaders such as Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli.

So what has become of those three huge names to leave Boston in 2010? Josh Beckett has since retired, Adrian Gonzalez is a fan favorite/very productive player, and Carl Crawford was designated for assignment two days ago. Unless a team signs Crawford in the next week or so, the Dodgers are prepared to eat the $35 million remaining in his contract.

Who got the better end of the deal? Most would argue that Boston did, as this decision was largely financial, and Gonzalez could not handle playing in Boston. The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series in 2013, and the players they signed with the money saved with this trade were a large part of the reason why. Los Angeles is still a team wallowing in mediocrity, and have not advanced past the NLCS since 1989.

So, best of luck to Carl Crawford as he moves into a life without major league baseball, and best of luck to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office the next time someone offers to dump salaries onto them.

 

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AT&T Park (photo courtesy of bleachernation.com)

The Red Sox look to rebound from a tough series against the Blue Jays when they face-off against the San Francisco Giants for a quick two game series at AT&T Park. The Sox, (33-24, T-1st in A.L East), will head back to the Bay Area for the first time since 2013, and will go up against a loaded Giants squad, (35-24, 1st in N.L West), who are one of the top teams in all of Major League Baseball.

Tuesday 6/7 @ Giants:

Rick Porcello (7-2 4.00 ERA) vs Albert Suarez (1-1 3.18 ERA)

Players to Watch: David Ortiz and Hunter Pence

Ortiz continues to torch opposing pitchers in his final season with his offensive stats near or at the top of almost every category in the MLB. He is currently batting .340 AVG (4th), with 54 RBIs (1st), and 16 homeruns (T-4th). Pence is having another solid season with the Giants, batting .298 with 36 RBIs and seven homeruns.

Wednesday 6/8 @ Giants:

David Price (7-2 4.88 ERA) vs Madison Bumgarner (7-2 1.91 ERA)

Players to Watch: Xander Bogaerts and Brandon Crawford

Each teams left-handed ace will take the mound for the final game of the series, so expect an all out duel on the rubber for this one. On the offensive side, look for shortstops Bogaerts and Crawford to pace the scoring for their respective clubs. Bogaerts is right behind Ortiz in batting average sporting a .345 AVG, good for third best in the MLB, with 33 RBIs and six homeruns as well. Crawford boasts a .247 AVG with 30 RBIs and six homeruns.

First pitch for both games is scheduled for 10:15pm ET.

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Mad Ortiz

The Boston Red Sox have lost 4 of their last 5, and they have all been pretty ugly.  The pitching staff has been terrible, the hitting hasn’t been what it was a few weeks ago and the team looks a little flat.  Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw offense has been slipping, Jackie Bradley hasn’t been the same since his hitting streak ended.  Eduardo Rodriguez has been decent at best in his first two starts back from injury.  Blake Swihart has a severe ankle sprain, and any given week The Sox could have different 5th starter.  Did anyone see David Ortiz in the dugout today during the rally in the ninth?  He was so excited and wanted to pull out today’s win very bad.  This tells me that Ortiz feels that this team could go through a little downfall in the upcoming weeks, as a veteran Ortiz can sense this stuff.

On a positive note David Price and Stephen Wright have been good of late.  Yes Price lost his last start, but it was really the offense and bullpen that lost that game.  He Pitched 7 innings and gave up 3 runs in which only 2 of them were earned.  Stephen Wright has been magnificent of late, he has pitched 3 complete games this season, to put that into perspective Clayton Kershaw has pitched 3 complete games also.  The Sox need to get another starter at the deadline and need these two to continue to pitch well.

It’s not all bad for The Sox, they do have one thing going for them.  They are very very relentless.  With the bullpen and starting pitching giving up home runs which seems like once an inning, the offense has done their part to keep the team in the game.  Today’s game was a perfect example, being no hit into the 8th inning they had that never quit attitude and almost tied the game in the bottom of the ninth.  This Red Sox offense give them a chance to win every single game.

The starting pitching has to get better for them to make serious run.  With Baltimore and Toronto on their heels it’s time for pitching to turn this around.

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Remember when the Red Sox traded Andrew Miller for E-Rod? Yikes, Baltimore. PHOTO: Nick Wass (AP)

In a four game set with the Orioles, the Red Sox never scored more than ten runs in a game. This is surprising, since the sheer amount of firepower displayed by the Red Sox may have led one to believe that they put up 15 runs per game.

Bogaerts did run his hit streak to 26 games, and the Red Sox did win the first two games to walk away with a split, but there is an air of disappointment after they dropped the final two games. The pitching staff gave up 25 runs over the final 18 innings, which is no recipe for success. Joe Kelly was largely to blame, giving up 7 ERs in 2.1 innings, but Porcello did nothing to assuage the bleeding, giving up 5 ERs in 6 full and allowing three long home runs.

The Red Sox will remain up a game on the Orioles in the AL East, as they look to widen the gap over the Toronto Blue Jays, who are suddenly only 3.5 games behind.

Tonight, David Price (7-1, 5.11) will look to get the Red Sox back to their winning ways. Price faced Toronto on May 29th and pitched well, giving the Red Sox enough support to propel them to a 5-3 victory. He will face his former team for a third time at 7:10 in Boston, and will be facing R.A. Dickey (2-6, 4.64) who cannot beat the Red Sox. In three starts against them, Dickey has led the Blue Jays to a loss each time. Price’s 94 mph fastball should be able to take down Dickey once more. Expect the knuckleball to be close to ineffective. Final score: BOS 8, TOR 3

Continue reading Sox Split Series With Orioles; Look Onwards to Toronto »

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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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Photo: Rob Carr (Getty Images) Betts hit 3 HRs in Baltimore yesterday.

Anyone watching the Red Sox take on the Orioles last night knew that they were watching an impressive Mookie Betts show-and that was only after the second inning. On the second pitch of the game, Betts sent a 1-0 fastball over the center field wall in Camden Yards. Pedroia added a home run for the back-to-back, but this night belonged to Betts.

The last time the Red Sox had a player hit three home runs in a game was when Will Middlebrooks went yard thrice in 2013. Trot Nixon was the last Red Sox outfielder to accomplish the feat (all the way back in 1999). Betts is the first player in franchise history to hit three home runs out of the leadoff spot (Elias Sports Bureau), and now has twelve on the season, second behind David Ortiz (14).

With two outs in the second inning, after two straight walks by Baltimore pitcher Kevin Gausman, Mookie socked a 95 mph fastball to left. The ball barely cleared the 333′ marker, and the shot put the Red Sox up for good. Betts would add a solo shot to right in the 7th that served as an insurance run, and the Red Sox would go on to win, 6-2.

Betts attributed his power to his quick hands, and Ortiz agreed, saying “He’s got great hands. He knows about the strike zone really well. He knows the minute that he gets out of it, like we always talk, he can get in trouble. He’s so young, man. It’s so impressive how he handles his business.” (ESPN)

Betts and the Red Sox will go for three straight wins in Baltimore tonight at 7:05.

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Red Sox Trade Targets

May 29, 2016 at 9:19pm in Featured, Red Sox
BOSTON - AUGUST 19: The Boston Red Sox introduced Dave Dombrowski as their new President of Baseball Operations during a press conference held in the State Street Pavilion at Fenway Park. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Dave Dombrowski is going to make a move before the trade deadline, the only question is will it be a big splash or a minor improvement?  With what is ranked the 4th best farm system in baseball, and with 5 players in the top 100 for prospects, Dombrowski has resources he can use to acquire pieces to help compete for a World Series.  The Red Sox could use some help in a few different areas.

Starting PItching

The Red Sox can obviously use some help in the starting rotation.  With Eduardo Rodriguez scheduled to make his first start this tuesday, he’s not the guy you want to pencil in as the number 2 in this rotation.  Here’s a few guys The Sox should go after.

Justin Verlander:

Verlander is 4-4 on the season with an era of 4.02.  He has been there before in the playoffs, and is a guy that can be trusted.  However he is 33 years old and his contract is ridiculous.  He is making 28 million dollars this season and the following 3 seasons, then in 2020 he will be making 22 million.  This is a lot of money to be dishing out for a 33-year-old.  However, don’t forget that Dombrowski is the guy that gave him this money.  Plus the Red Sox have their own bad contract in Pablo Sandoval, if the two teams can work something out we’re both sides eat money on their respective guys then this trade is completely possible.

Sonny Gray:

Gray is 3-5 on the season with an era of 6.19, however he is a much better than his stats show.  He is only 26 years old and would likely be a rental.  His contract this year is only for 512k and is available for arbitration for the next 3 seasons.

Julio Teheran:

Teheran is 1-4 on the season, however his era is 2.45.  Pitching for Atlanta Teheran doesn’t get any run support.  Teheran is known as one of the best young pitchers in baseball and will be a trade target for multiple teams at the trade deadline.

The Sox are also in need for end of the bullpen help, tho relief pitchers are difficult to foresee who will be available at the deadline.  All and all it is a definite that Dombrowski will make a move at the deadline, and I’m sure it will be a big move.

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