Congratulations to NESN host and former Red Sox sideline reporter Jenny Dell on her engagement to current Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. The pair’s relationship became public knowledge early in the year and they have been capturing Red Sox Nation’s collective attention ever since. While she no longer works on the field during live Red Sox broadcasts, Dell remains a fan favorite throughout Red Sox Nation due to her light-hearted, fun, and open personality. Middlebrooks has been through a roller coaster season, with injury after injury completely derailing his chance for a breakout year. He is currently rehabbing in Pawtucket with the hope of a quick recovery and a successful return to Fenway Park. Red Sox Nation wishes them nothing but health and happiness in the years to come.
These UGLY Boston Bruins sweaters are probably the best thing to happen to the fans of the Black & Gold since the B’s hoisted the Cup back in 2011. Can you already picture yourself wearing this slice of hockey heaven on the beach or on the slopes?
If you are reading this article, you’ve probably taken a break from one of the most thrilling Boston Bruins’ off seasons in recent memory. Just kidding, it’s been brutal. Not only did they lose one of their best forwards in Jarome Iginla, but they’ve also yet to sign their two biggest free agents in Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
The sting of losing Iggy is more palpable given the fact that his contract is the primary reason the B’s are in the cap hell they are in. He left town after a President’s Trophy winning season to sign an outrageous contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He has already come out and said that he believes he can win a Cup with the Avs (spoiler alert: He won’t.)
They will miss his character, leadership, and goal scoring ability, but they had to know that it wasn’t going to work out long term given his ridiculous amount of bonuses.
Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins’ brass have also signed two of their own free agents in Matt Bartkowski (1 year, $1.25 million), and Jordan Caron (1 year, $600,000). These are two guys that a lot of fans did not want back for next season, but players that are signed are easier to move via trade.
It has been stated multiple times throughout the off season that the Bruins’ are carrying a ton of NHL ready defensemen and need to deal a few for some assets, cap space, or a right hand on the right wing. It was surprising to see the team re-up Bart and Caron, but I have to believe that they did so for the sake of moving them to another team.
The Boston Celtics will be Evan Turner’s third team in five months.
The Boston Celtics bolstered their roster with the addition of veteran swingman Evan Turner on Monday. Turner’s deal will be for a portion of the midlevel exception.
The 25-year-old Turner has played in the NBA for four seasons. He spent three and a half years with the Philadelphia 76ers where he was taken with the 2nd overall pick in 2010. Turner was shipped to the Indiana Pacers in February. He has averaged 11.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. While the 6-foot-7-inch Turner is talented, but mercurial. He got into a fistfight with fellow Pacers teammate Lance Stephenson (he has his own demons) before Game 1 of the Pacers’ first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.
This summer, the Pacers refused to give Turner an $8.7 million qualifying offer, thus making Turner a free agent. Turner is looking to reinvent his career after a tough few months with the Pacers. The guard played limited minutes with the Pacers in their run to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics have a crowded back court since they drafted Marcus Smart and James Young in June. They also resigned Avery Bradley and traded for Marcus Thornton. Rajon Rondo is entering the final season of his contract. Also, the Celtics have 18 players committed to $80 million, which is over the luxury tax threshold. The Celtics have three non-guaranteed contracts that could push them below the threshold. They also could be using Turner or one of their other guards to acquire future assets like they did with MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford last year.
Five Providence Guys You Can Expect to See In Boston This Season
By this far in the offseason, Bruins fans are pretty informed when it comes to the financial situation the team has found itself in. It’s the middle of July, and GM Peter Chiarelli has found himself with just under $400k in cap space and only 19 roster players. In an article examining the “cap crunch” Boston has found itself in, it was pointed out that of those 19 players, none are right wingers- and eight of them are defensemen.
It’s likely that, with this kind of financial situation, Boston is going to have to let go of a current roster player to free up the funds to fill in the team’s right offense. While it’s likely that at least one addition to the team’s wing will be an acquisition from another team, though, we have to assume that the majority of next year’s lineup will be pulled straight from Providence.
1. Anthony Camara
When I saw that Shawn Thornton wouldn’t be returning to Boston, I immediately assumed that 20-year-old Camara’s time had come. During last year’s preseason, the enforcer skated with the team in a number of games- but ultimately, Chiarelli and Julien decided that he needed another year of development before earning a full-time roster position in Boston.
That year is up, though, and it seems that Camara has worked on his game. The 2011 3rd-round pick racked up nine goals and thirteen assists for a total of twenty-two points with the P-Bruins last year, and spent a total of fifty minutes in the penalty box for showing his physical presence. For a player who won’t turn 21 until September, it was the right move for Chiarelli to keep him in Providence for a year- particularly if the GM had plans to let Camara fill in the role of enforcer once Thornton was gone. Expect to see Camara make an appearance on the fourth line next year.
2. Linus Arnesson
I know, I know: Boston has too many defensemen on the roster already. What am I thinking, putting a prospective blue-liner on my list?
Before you begin to protest too much, though, consider this- Arnesson has been looking incredibly sharp at development camp, and it’s likely that at least one of the team’s current defensive roster players will be gone come September. In addition, Chara isn’t able to carry the team the way he has in the past- for more on that, read what Matthew had to say on the matter. Should Boychuk stay in the stead of a trade involving Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski, it’s likely that Arnesson will get moved up to fill in the holes they leave behind.
3. Matt Fraser
Boston is in short supply on the right wing, and I would be incredibly shocked if Fraser didn’t move up from the get-go. This 24-year-old forward has proven to be the diamond in the rough of the Seguin trade with Dallas. Coming off of two thirty-plus goal seasons with the Texas Stars, Fraser spent the majority of last season in Providence; of his 44 AHL appearances last year, he scored twenty goals and had ten assists.
It’s what he did during the games he suited up in Boston, though, that makes me really believe he’s going to be a front-runner for a third line spot this coming season. Of his fourteen regular season games with the Bruins, he managed to fire off two goals- and in the playoffs, he got another goal. Which, by the way, was the OT winner against Montreal in Game Four. Oh, and did I mention that it was also his playoff debut? Looking forward to seeing him skate out next season, potentially in a line with Soderberg and Kelly.
4. Ryan Spooner
While the team’s roster has more than its fair share of centermen already on the roster- according to CapGeek, Boston has $20 million tied up in this particular position alone- Spooner is one of two P-Bruins who looks NHL-ready, and could fit on the fourth line nicely with Camara and potentially Campbell. According to CBS Boston, Chiarelli has suggested that Campbell would be willing to move to the wing if need be- which would make a fourth line of Camara-Spooner-Soupy.
In the past few seasons with Providence, Spooner has proven to be a great two-way forward who has a strong sense of how to hold on to the puck. In the last season alone, he walked away with eleven goals and thirty-nine assists; but more importantly, he walked away from the season having never dropped below a positive +/- rating. This suggests that he could be the defensive force on the fourth line that Jordan Caron never managed to be.
5. Alexander Khokhlachev
I know, another center. This one is okay with moving to the wing, though- which might need to be done if Chiarelli moves Eriksson up to the first line. Khokhlachev doesn’t have the magic overtime winner for Boston that Fraser does, but he does have a twenty-one goal season under his belt. Of the sixty-five games he played with Providence this past season, he supplemented those twenty-one goals with thirty-five assists, racking in a total of fifty-seven points. Expect to see him playing at the very least in a supplemental role in Boston next year, if not the entire season.
I’m leaving David Pastrnak off this list for right now, but Chiarelli has offered him an entry-level contract and announced in a press release on Tuesday that Pastrnak will be skating in at least a few pre-season games come September.
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 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.
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.