Category Archives: Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Report: First Half Struggles Have Sox In Unfamiliar Position

Last season at this time the Red Sox were 19 games over .500 and heading into the All Star break with a division lead. Fast forward to this year and the Sox are on the opposite end of the spectrum with not many highlights this season. The offense has been a major problem, not coming up with key hits with runners in scoring position, which last year’s team did so well time and time again.

Jon Lester Boston Sports Then & Now

Jon Lester could command a hefty contract if he reaches free agency.

The topic at the forefront of Sox right now is Jon Lester and will the team extend him in season? Lester, has had arguable is best season with the Sox this year, a season in which is ERA is under 3.00 for the first time at 2.65. Max Scherzer last offseason turned down a deal for 6 years and $144 million, Lester will be pitching tonight in the All Star game figuring to get in the second inning, Scherzer is also on the American League roster. Cole Hamels is comparable to Lester as they are both lefties, and both have lead their respective teams to World Series titles. Hamels signed an extension with the Phillies two years ago with the exact figures Scherzer got offered. If Jon Lester’s starting point in negotiations is that figure who could blame him?

Lester has long said he would love to stay in Boston, but the longer the Red Sox the wait to make him an adequate offer, the closer he gets to free agency. Teams need pitching and free agent pitchers like Lester rarely hit the open market. Would Lester walk to the first team that threw big money at him, or would he come back to the Sox giving them a chance to match? Ben Cherington has a job to do by the end of this season and that is to make sure Lester does not reach free agency.

Clay Buchholz has looked strong since his return for the disabled list. This past Sunday he pitched a complete game shutout against the Astros in Houston, allowing only three hits. Buchholz, can hardly be counted on when it comes to the top of the rotation, as every year he seems to be really on at points, and really off at others. The Sox would like to see some consistency from him in the second half of this season, and hope to build off that into next season. If Lester does not return Buchhloz or John Lackey would be elevated to the number one starter, which I feel neither are at that level this point in their respective careers.

If the Sox want to get back in contention this season, it should be by letting their young players lead the charge. 9.5 games behind the first place Orioles seems like a stretch at this point in the season with this offense, they are 8 games back for the second wild card which Seattle would claim if the season ended today. No one in the division has really jumped out and taken charge while each team has been hit by the injury bug. Most recently the Blue Jays saw home run leader Edwin Encarnacion go down with a quad injury and the Yankees only consistent starter, Masahiro Tanaka came down with the ever popular elbow soreness.

A.J. Pierzynski's stint with the Red Sox was short and unsuccessful.

A.J. Pierzynski’s stint with the Red Sox was short and unsuccessful.

Last week the Sox cut off one of their veterans in A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski was designated for assignment and thrown under the bus upon his exit. He was only a one year stop gap player, but he seemed to wear out his welcome, while not having a good command of the pitching staff and swinging at too many first pitches. The next veteran figuring to be on his way out could be pitcher Jake Peavy who has been involved in trade rumors with both the Cardinals and Braves. Peavy, who is only three years older than Lester is also a free agent at the end of the season, and his spot in the rotation could easily be filled by Brandon Workman.

Will the Red Sox sell off any of their other veterans who figure not to be a part of next year’s team? Only time will tell. The trade deadline is only two weeks from Thursday and thinking two weeks of good play against the Royals, Blue Jays and Rays can turn things around and make them buyers is way too naïve. Teams have come back from large division deficits at the All Star break before, but this Red Sox team has not proven they canscore runs on a consistent basis all season. The Sox are 25th in runs scored, 26th in home runs, and 22nd in batting average as a team. When was the last time the Red Sox offense was this bad? Not many can remember.

The Sox are not mathematically eliminated, but they do have the 3rd worst record in the American League. Ben Cherington has not given a definitive answer on whether the team will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, but it would be irresponsible trading high potential prospects for veterans, in hopes of just making noise in the postseason race. It is time to start focusing on 2015, and hopefully that is with Jon Lester still anchoring the staff.

Red Sox Bullpen For Sale

We have now come to the undeniable truth that the Red Sox are a team in transition, with a bunch of moving pieces potentially in play on the trade market. With the team looking to liquidate some of its assets in the next month or so, there is some curiosity over which players will still be wearing white in Fenway Park come August. While not a certainty, there is a good argument to be made that the bullpen is the area of most use to the Red Sox on the trade market. The bullpen has been the most consistent and productive area of the Red Sox in 2014, and most of the current relievers have relatively little (if any) team control left following the 2014 season. Relievers are always in demand at the trade deadline, and there could be some very useful pieces available to the Red Sox if they were to make their relievers available.

Koji is wondering where he will be pitching for the stretch run

Koji is wondering where he will be pitching for the stretch run

All-Star Koji Uehara leads the list of Red Sox relievers who could be on the move this month. He has a very affordable contract, and he has been absolutely incredible this season, as supported by his 1.65 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 11.75 K/9 and 1.24 BB/9. Koji has pitched in multiple roles since coming over from Japan, so he could be a potential fit even for clubs that already have established closers. Since he would undoubtedly be the top reliever available should he hit the market, Koji would also command a good return. Teams like the Tigers and Angels that are desperate for bullpen help would likely pay a pretty penny to add a pitcher of Koji’s caliber to their playoff run.

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Change Finally Coming For Red Sox

It has taken until just before the All-Star break, but thankfully change is finally coming for the Red Sox. And no, cutting ties with Grady Sizemore last month does not count. We are talking about substantial, impactful change; the kind of change that might not lead to the playoffs in 2014, but will lead to a sustained period of success. While Ben Cherington and the front office have known for some time that the current group would not be enough to get the job done, the time has finally come to act on that knowledge and start moving the pieces.


Vasquez gives the Sox some life behind the plate

Vasquez gives the Sox some life behind the plate

The first domino to fall was with the catching corp. After a season of aggravation and underperformance, A.J. Pierzynski was designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the major league roster for Christian Vasquez, who immediately found his way into the starting lineup. The writing seemed to be on the wall for Pierzynski, and it was really only a matter of time before he found his way out of Boston one way or another. The Red Sox figure to be a better team with Vasquez behind the plate, a sentiment with which fellow catcher David Ross seems to agree. All reports on Vasquez praise his defense behind the plate, with good hands and a laser arm, even though he might not be a massive threat at the plate. However at this point no one on the Red Sox is providing much offensive production so they might as well incorporate some superior defense into the lineup.

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Examining Red Sox All-Stars

Predicting The 2014 Red Sox All-Stars

Unfortunately this season’s All-Star game will not be an enjoyable experience for Red Sox fans, as the team’s performance (or lack thereof) has left very few players deserving a spot on the American League squad. However, Major League rules dictate that every single team must be represented by at least one player at the Midsummer Classic, so there will at least be a lone representative for the Red Sox in Minnesota. In addition, Red Sox manager John Farrell is also the skipper of this years AL team and therefore has the final say on who makes the roster and who does not, which could lead to a few extra Red Sox being added at the last minute. The following three players are the most deserving to represent Boston at the All-Star Game.

Jon Lester:

Lester has has proven himself as one of the best starters in the AL

Lester has has proven himself as one of the best starters in the AL

Lester has been a model of consistency at the top of the Red Sox rotation in 2014. He is also putting up the best numbers of his career in his walk year, setting himself up for a huge score on the free agent market in the fall. His 9-7 record is a poor reflection of Lester’s dominance this season. Lester has posted 9 K/9 and a .239 average against to go along with career-bests in BB/9 (2.14), HR/Fly Ball (6.5%), ERA (2.73), and FIP (2.75). Lester has taken his role as the staff ace and run with it, proving himself to once again be one of the premier left-handers in the game. Lester has also been very close with Farrell for quite some time, so it would be surprising to not see Lester pitching for the American League in Minnesota.

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It’s Time For The Red Sox Fire Sale

Red Sox

It’s Been A Long Season For The Red Sox

The time has finally come. After months of keeping up hope, defending the reigning world champs despite public ridicule, the time has finally come to blow up the whole thing and scrap the roster. While this may seem like jumping to conclusions, it is now July and the Red Sox currently sit 8.5 games back in the AL East, and a full 9 games out in the Wild Card race. Getting swept at home by the Chicago Cubs (the CUBS!!!!!) is all we need to see to know that this team needs to be broken up. This roster has not come together in the same way as it did last season, and there has been nothing to suggest that things are about to change anytime soon. Ben Cherington recently revealed that the team is currently “trying to figure out the next right move;” that right move is to start working the phones and hit the trade market with full force.

The good news, if it really is good, is that the Red Sox are in a good position to hit the trade market as one of the very few teams fully willing to sell. The extra Wild Card and the parity around baseball leaves many teams looking for upgrades, with few teams willing to provide those potential additions. This greatly favors the Red Sox, because if they act quickly they will be able to command a slightly better return than they could right before the non-waiver deadline. Fringe players who will likely provide marginal value (which the Red Sox seem to have plenty of) might be able to bring back a decent prospect in the right deal. There is a chance here to make the best of an undesirable situation by turning underperformance into potential future production.

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Red Sox Should Explore All Options With Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Buchholz faces an uncertain future in Boston

Red Sox Should Try To Part Ways With Clay Buccholz

The 2014 season has provided a good deal of shock and awe for the Red Sox, with multiple veteran players failing to produce to their expected levels and therefore dragging the team down. One of these has been Clay Buchholz, though he has missed a chunk of time with a “hyper-extended knee.” While there are those who believe that the knee injury was concocted by the Red Sox in order to get Buchholz onto the Disabled List while he was figuring himself out, the fact of the matter is that Buchholz has been ineffective in 2014, and the Red Sox should be open to doing whatever they can to get value out of him going forward.

One of the best moves Ben Cherington can make before the trade deadline is to ship Buchholz out of town. There is always a market for starting pitching, particularly during the heat of the playoff race. Furthermore, with the extra Wild Card and increased parity around the sport that has more teams thinking of themselves as contenders, there could be a real market for Buchholz if he were made available. His track record of success in the Major Leagues could turn into a solid prospect for the Red Sox, especially if the acquiring team thinks they can fix whatever demons have been haunting Buchholz over the last three months. As has been said about Jake Peavy, trading Buchholz would have the added benefit of opening up a rotation spot that could go towards ensuring that a deserving young arm like Brandon Workman, Ruby De La Rosa, or maybe even Anthony Ranaudo gets a chance to prove they belong in the big leagues. Utilizing their prospect depth is the best chance the Red Sox have of quickly returning to respectability.

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