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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Nunez The Second Coming

Every Friday (until I get fired from this job) I will be compiling a list of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the past week in Boston sports.

This will encompass all the Boston sports teams and news that occurred revolving the teams. In this first edition, you will find a Roger Goodell thought, Cyrus Jones and his future, and a look at what is powering the Boston Red Sox.

For those of you who don’t understand how this timeless and simple system of organization works:

Good=Best,

Bad=Worst 

Ugly=Downright Ugly.

Understood?

Good, now let’s get started.

Boston Red Sox

The Good

This week the Boston Red Sox easily steal the Good category. Title? Award? I don’t know. They did well this week!

Starting with a series against their fringe arch-nemesis the Cleveland Indians, the Sox have barreled their way to an 8-game winning streak. This team has seemingly turned their offensive frown upside down, with a little help from a gaggle of loveable no-name underdogs.

And come on Boston! Who better to turn our Sox around than a couple of highly fallible and unproven underdogs!?

Of course, I’m referring to none other than Rafael Devers (the more “under” of the underdogs) and Eduardo Nunez. In the past 10 games, the Baby-Faced Bambino and Eddy umm… Nunez has a combined .369 AVG and a behemoth .663 slugging percentage, along with 6 homers and 18 RBI’s. But here’s the best part: Hitting is contagious. Case in point: Andrew Benintendi. Benny had a horrendous July.

He had a terrible.222 AVG while slugging a disheartening .322. Yuck! This month he has turned it around million-fold.

In August, the kid’s got a .500 AVG and he’s slugging .773 of the balls he hits. It’s like divine intervention!

This team wasn’t struck by lightning (as far as I can see). No, it’s simply a potent injection of hot bats that is inspiring this batting order. We all know it’s mathematically inevitable that Devers and Nunez will cool off. To what extent, only time will tell.

The Sox will gladly ride out this wave for as long as possible. What cannot be overlooked is the reverberating power now echoing through the Boston clubhouse. When underdogs get as hot as Devers and Nunez have been, the rest of the team is like an antenna channeling that hotness.

This month, the boys are certainly feeling those good vibrations.

The Bad

One name: Cyrus Jones. This guy’s pros look like they will soon overmaster his cons. On Thursday night, in the Patriots preseason opener, the young corner only further demonstrated his downfalls. Jones got absolutely scorched on a couple of long post-routes that went for touchdowns. That’s right, 3rd-string JAGUARS had their way with this kid!

Cyrus Jones is a 2nd year player out of Alabama. When the Patriots drafted him, the consensus was that he could make a contribution as a CB in nickel packages. What redeems the long-ball ball liability that he is, is his formidability in the return game. He’s built like a fire hydrant: 5’ 10” 197 lbs.

Given his size, the kid obviously lacks man-to-man cover speed (ran a 4.49 40 in the combine). But he can make people miss laterally on punt returns (presuming he holds onto the ball).

When Jones is in the secondary, he’ll only make an impact when he stays home in the first-tier. On Thursday night, we saw exactly what happens when teams target his lack of downhill speed on the outside.

The question at this juncture: Where will Cyrus Jones fit on this Patriots team? Last year, when returning the ball, he had a total of 5 fumbles. Those are fundamental mistakes. Fundamentals are the foundation of Bill Belichick’s coaching. This kid is intelligent, but he’s inside his head way too much. His physical errors stem from a distracted mind.  

After the first preseason game, where the Pats lost 31-24, Cyrus Jones evaded the media. He refused to address the press and fans, after a game where he was responsible for half of the opponent’s touchdowns.

He left Gillette beating himself up, like a petulant Pop Warner youth. It’s becoming clear that his lack of speed is too great a vulnerability for the Pats on defense. But if Cyrus Jones cannot break the fetters of his own mind, he may find himself without a job come September.

The Ugly

There is a picture going around of 3 Patriots fans getting chummy with Roger Goodell. That’s right, Roger Goodell: He’s not Darth Vader, he’s the Emperor! Without a doubt, this is the ugliest thing we’ve seen in Boston sports this past week. It’s maybe the most repulsive sight ever.

If you haven’t seen this cursed image, don’t go searching for it.

Late Thursday night, the betrayal was leaked on Twitter. This tragic photo came on the frayed coattails of a Patriots preseason loss. It depicts a few, now expatriate, Pats fans with $10 beers in their hands, embracing the NFL Commish. 

Initially, it was rumored that the “fans” were agents implanted by the NFL. Who else would embrace a photo-op with such a despicable human? But to my surprise, I personally KNOW one of the guys in the picture!

The kid wearing the Jimmy Garoppolo jersey grew up in my small hometown of Goffstown, NH. He is certainly the most offensive perpetrator of the bunch, with his arm draped over Goodell’s shoulder. These are regular Joe Shmoe New Englanders, voluntarily smiling for a photo with the Roger Goodell.

Tell you what guys: Frame it. Hang it up in your living room. And never show your faces at Gillette Stadium again. I hope your new buddy paid for those $10 beers.

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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