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Boston Red Sox

Farrell Dreams of 2013

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Red Sox Talk: Farrell Dreams of 2013

Last year, John Farrell brazenly declared that the 2016 Red Sox team reminded him of the 2013 Red Sox that he had managed to a World Series win. He made this highly uneducated statement during Spring Training. Despite his serious inaccuracy at the time, it now appears that Farrell was onto something. Redeeming his statement, the 2017 Red Sox are extremely comparable to the 2013 team that we all hold so dearly in our hearts.

Okay, so the offense isn’t quite there, however promising this recent uptick in production may be. But what about the pitching staff? There lies the one common element between the two Sox teams: the indomitable strength of their bullpens.

Pitching wins World Series. Every baseball fan has heard this ever-deteriorating cliche. Your father told you this time after time. But hey Pops, the Cubbies won it last year! Times have changed. Pitching alone cannot vouchsafe your titles, but bullpens certainly win or lose games.

Let us reminisce. The 2013 Red Sox bullpen exemplified the subtle sandman that a talented pen can be. This dirty-water crew was lead by the beloved Koji Uehara, who was pitching at the pinnacle of his career. Koji was accompanied by the oft-forgotten, but critically formidable: Craig Breslow. He was an effective lefty specialist, with a goofy near-submarine delivery that many a hitter fell prey to. Augmented by the ever-so sturdy Junichi Tazawa, this ragtag bunch made for a frustrating last 3 innings for opponents.

When you ruminate on the numbers and the roles of the 2013 bullpen, you can clearly see the resemblance that the 2017 bullpen bears.

Requiem for Arms

Our lights-out closer back then was Koji Uehara. In 2013 he had an astounding 1.09 ERA in 74 ⅓ innings pitched with 101 K’s. (Barring the 10 MPH fastball disparity) Koji was our Craig Kimbrel in 2013. Junichi Tazawa humbly served as Koji’s sidekick, just as Matt Barnes serves as the setup man in 2017. Tazawa posted a 3.16 ERA coupled with a WHIP of 1.200, in the 2013 regular season. In the postseason, he was an even more dominating arm. He had a 1.29 ERA with a 0.985 WHIP. The only 2013 pitcher who goes without a 2017 doppelganger would be the lefty specialist: Craig Breslow.

Who really pays homage to Craig Breslow? He was a hard-nosed pitcher, who always found himself in an unglamorous role. Breslow was kind of like a less talented Dennis Eckersley. But, his 2013 contribution should not go unremembered. Almost inaudibly, Breslow had himself a year. With a 1.81 ERA and a 1.123 WHIP in the regular season, he was the dependable lefty in that 2013 bullpen. Pitching in 10 games in the postseason, he gave the Sox some quality innings. During that World Series winning run, he had an ERA of 2.45. Numbers speak resoundingly for themselves. These easily overlooked and seemingly ancillary lefties in the pen can be very valuable.

A Striking Resemblance

As the Red Sox late-inning bunch is constituted today, they’re great. From the 7th inning on, the 2017 bullpen has only given up 1.04 runs to opponents. That’s 2nd best in the majors. Imagine how a solid lefty could amplify the potency of this pen!

With the addition of a shutdown southpaw, we would arguably have one of the greatest bullpens we’ve ever assembled. The Sox could acquire a left-handed pitcher through the tedious labyrinth of the waiver-wire. They could alternatively promote within.

Dispatching Eduardo Rodriguez to the pen wouldn’t be a bad idea, Drew Pomeranz is also a more controvertible option. Regardless of future moves, the Boston fan-base should be greatly encouraged by the performance of the 2017 bullpen thus far. These guys are looking ready for a more serious October run than the one they made in 2016.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Rumor: Jackie Bradley Jr. Being Shopped For Trade

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Red Sox

With the Boston Red Sox looking to acquire a power bat this offseason to keep up with the Yankees they are reportedly shopping a core member of their current team.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today the player Boston is shopping is center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. One potential destination for Bradley is the Chicago Cubs. Chicago has been connected to Boston with slugger Kyle Schwarber potentially being available.

Schwarber has mashing power but has had issues at the plate having a .211 average last season that caused the Cubs to send the home run hitter back to the minors last June.

Bradley who hit 26 home runs two seasons ago fell back to 17 home runs this past season with a .245 batting average. His fielding ability though makes up for any shortcomings he has at the plate and his contract status could be very appealing in the trade market. Bradley Jr. has three years of arbitration remaining on his contract.

If Boston moves on from Bradley the likely scenario of outfield positioning would be moving Andrew Benintendi over to center field keeping Mookie Betts out in right field.

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Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Stanton in Pinstripes Edition

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MLB Home Run Derby

The snow is now cascading down upon us with indifferent wrath. Today, Boston saw the first real Winter Storm of the impending season. And while you were outside futilely efforting to resist nature, with your shovels and snowblowers, the World of Baseball fractured entirely.

If you haven’t heard by now, you live under the most obscure rock in existence. The New York Yankees have purportedly acquired Giancarlo Stanton from Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. 

Stanton is currently going through the formality of physicals and medical checkups – as if there’s going to be anything physically wrong with this inhuman behemoth.

The Winter Meetings commence tomorrow. It is expected that the trade will be officially announced soon after.

Reports suggest that the Yankees have agreed to eat $265 million of Stanton’s contract, while sending Starlin Castro to Miami along with a couple of low-level pitching prospects.

This was our White Whale, Boston – this one got away and we still ended up dying in the end.

Dave Dombrowski looks like an absolute fool for having let this chiseled new-school Bambino slip through his hands. He immolated the entire pitching crop, down on the farm. So it’s inconceivable that Dombrowski didn’t offer the kitchen sink, in his pursuit of Stanton.

Conversely, underneath the surface, Giancarlo’s mind might have been irrevocably made up, before talks even started. He’s a city-slicker. Miami nightlife translates better to Big Apple nightlife than it does to the half-revelry of the Boston Commonwealth.

The Yankees obtain Giancarlo Stanton, presupposing the implications for the Red Sox and fans alike. It’s with a heavy heart that I unfortunately welcome you to a familiar and antique era of Red Sox Baseball. It’s the late 90’s all over again…

But, you know what? Let’s try to make light of this nonplussing news! Yeah, we don’t need Giancarlo Stanton and those Damn Yankees still won’t win the World Series! It’s time for another installment of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Do Not Need To Get A Big Bat

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Red Sox

Many have stated their wishes that the Boston Red Sox will go out and get a big-time bat for the heart of their order. A bat that they seemingly need to help protect the likes of Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez in the lineup. One of the bigger names connected to the team is Giancarlo Stanton, but reports show that idea as a longshot with Stanton not looking at Boston as a possibility.

Another name, Jose Abreu, is also reportedly out of the running with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the White Sox will not trade their slugger before the start of the season. With the potential list shortening with JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer leading the running, maybe Boston should sit still this offseason.

That is sort of a controversial take, but the notion of Hosmer or Martinez doesn’t get the juices flowing, and ultimately will cost the Red Sox more then they are worth.

So what is the answer, Boston still needs a first basemen for next season. A position that could be filled with Sam Travis and Hanley Ramirez given the idea that Dustin Pedroia will find some time at the DH spot next season with Eduardo Nunez getting some quality time at second base. Another possibility is Rafael Devers not panning out at third base and needing to move to first base or DH at times.

Also in the cards is prospect Michael Chavis who should find himself in AAA Pawtucket at some point next season and maybe in Boston at third base or first. Then comes the possibility of Blake Swihart or my favorite, Bryce Brentz. Both were getting trained at first base with Pawtucket last season and could see reps at first base if Dave Dombrowski opts to not sign a big-time bat.

Of course, these solutions are not as flashy and will not present an immediate threat for Boston in the heart of their order. But betting on the current roster to bounce back at the plate and see an emergence of another young player might be a route to take.

Worse case scenario they get the same amount of production and end up right around 90 wins like they were this past season. But the upside of keeping the financial flexibility going forward while trying out prospects might be the best thing for Boston to do instead of overreacting to fan pressure.

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