With the impending free agency of Mitch Moreland, the Red Sox have a position both in the field and in the lineup that will need to be addressed before the start of the season. Moreland really didn't have that bad of a season, but foot injuries plagued him and really took away from a white-hot start to the season. Nevertheless, the Red Sox clearly need more power in their lineup and first base is a likely area where there can be positional improvement.
Before we dive in, can we just say not signing Edwin Encarnacion was a massive mistake for the Red Sox? You have a legitimate 30-100 guy that wants to play for the Red Sox and you let him walk because he cost just a little bit too much money. I get that the Red Sox wanted to stay under the luxury tax threshold so the penalty was negated, but you cannot let David Ortiz retire and replace him with Moreland. This was one of the only mistakes President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski made last offseason, but my gut tells me the option to not spend the money came from ownership. Lets talk about a few options that the Red Sox may have at the position in 2018....
Wouldn't a reunion with our old friend, Mike Napoli, be just dandy? Napoli played the 2017 season with the Texas Rangers, batting .193 (gross) with 29 home runs and 66 RBI. Now clearly at the age of 35 Napoli is not the long-term answer at the position. However, what if the Red Sox miss out on all of their potential targets at first base this season? It will ultimately come down to if the Red Sox want to re-sign Moreland or go outside of the organization for a little bit more character and leadership, which is obviously something this team desperately needs. Napoli could be a great option if the Red Sox miss out on everything and are tight for cash.
Ah. The prized free agent at first base this year. It seems as if the Red Sox are rumored to be interested in at least the top two free agents every offseason and this year is no different. JD Martinez is engrossed in Red Sox rumors and, while there is no tangible evidence that the Red Sox are interested in Hosmer, it is a slam-dunk. If you put two and two together, Hosmer is an absolutely perfect fit for the Red Sox. Hosmer is a career .284 hitter, while his 162-game average is 20 home runs and 87 RBI. Hosmer isn't going to be the big power bat the Red Sox desperately need, so a corresponding move is going to be necessary. Furthermore, because he is a free agent, the Red Sox will undoubtedly need to overpay for him. He would be a great clubhouse guy and sure-up their leadership issues, but at what cost?
Re-signing Moreland makes a lot of sense, depending on what the Red Sox decide to do with the rest of the offseason. If the Red Sox were to, say, go out and trade for Giancarlo Stanton, there is no reason to sign an Eric Hosmer. Moreland provides gold glove defense and has an underrated amount of pop. He played well at Fenway Park and people seemed to really embrace him in Boston. I don't think Moreland will get a ton of interest on the free agency market, so this option makes a lot of sense if you couple it with corresponding moves.
Now, in my opinion, this would be an absolutely terrible move. In parts of four seasons in the minors, Travis crushed 29 home runs in 327 games, while also batting .295. Not bad, right? This season he was promoted to the big league squad, playing 33 games and batting .263 with zero home runs and one RBI. Not great! Travis may turn into a serviceable player but, like many Boston prospects, he has been overhyped like crazy. He should not be the starting option at the position and if he is, the offseason was a complete and utter failure. If the Red Sox have World Series aspirations like they say, Travis will not be playing first base in 2018
This is a very intriguing option, depending on what the Red Sox want to do. Devers played a decent third base, but he made a lot of obvious errors. Scouts talked about Devers' defensive deficiencies and they were not wrong. He has a decent glove, but his arm is all over the place. In 149 chances this season, Devers made 14 errors. Offensively, Devers cannot be overlooked. He hits for power and does not look to be overwhelmed at 20 years old. Last season, in 58 games, Devers batted .284 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. Devers could be an option at first base, but the process to switch him over would have to start now. He should be playing Winter Ball and getting as much exposure at first base as he can. If all goes according to plan, the Red Sox could have Devers at first and go after Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado in the 2018 offseason.
According to multiple reports including a source exclusive to Biased Boston Sports, Alex Cora is "essentially a lock" to be the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. This has come on the heels of Ron Gardenhire, who many believed was the #2 guy on the Sox wishlist, signing on to be the new manager of the Detroit Tigers.
Cora, who was the first to interview for the position that was left vacant after Red Sox brass decided to part ways with John Farrell after five seasons, is currently the bench coach of the Houston Astros. According to multiple news outlets, the Red Sox and Cora are waiting to announce the hiring after the ALCS, which could be over as soon as tomorrow, as the Yankees currently have a 3-2 lead.
The 42-year-old of Puerto Rican descent played with the Red Sox for parts of four seasons and is thought to be the next star manager in baseball. He was also drawing interest from the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and Detroit Tigers.
However, like I have stated before, when a job like the Boston Red Sox becomes available, everyone should be jumping at the opportunity. While John Farrell was not as poor as many made him out to be, the Red Sox could and should do better if they have aspirations of winning a World Series. I believe there will be minor growing pains with Cora, but the Astros have been grooming him for parts of two seasons and I think he is truly ready to lead a team.
Continue to follow Biased Boston Sports for continuing coverage as these events unfold.
So, Rob Manfred has announced the MLB is looking into expanding. To Montreal and Portland, actually. This would be the first expansion of the MLB since 1998 when the Rays and Diamondbacks entered the league, and the first expansion of any major sport since the Las Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL, like, last week. But anyway, how could this realistically work? Some were good, and others I’m just gonna ignore. How should it be done? Fear not, because 13-year-old me figured out the whole damn thing years ago. And here it is:
AL East: BOS, NYY, BAL, TOR, CLE, DET, MIL, NSH
AL West: LAA, OAK, TEX, HOU, SEA, MIN, KC, CWS
NL East: WSH, NYM, FLA, ATL, PHI, PIT, CIN, MON
NL West: LAD, SF, SD, ARZ, COL, CHC, STL, POR
Playoffs: E1 vs W2, W1 vs E2
So there it is. Now there’s obviously gonna be some questions, namely, where are the Rays? Montreal. There’s your answer. Relocation for the Rays is not an if, it’s a when. The Rays have been last in MLB attendance every year since 2011, when they were #2. Or, #29 technically. It’s not a baseball town, and did I mention they can’t sell out the smallest park in the majors?
Now Montreal has an MLB-ready park, and had 43,000 turn out for an exhibition game earlier this year. So, the Rays get to move from no fanbase to a huge one. And they flip to the NL, because Expos, so the Brewers get to move back to the AL. The MLB then expands to Nashville, because between the Titans and Predators (and even the Memphis Grizzlies to an extent) make it a good sports town.
Portland as well, because Manfred said Portland, and I have no idea why. I personally would’ve went San Antonio. And that’s not even mentioning Omaha, the only other North American city (other than Montreal) with a MLB-ready park, but I don’t think the NCAA would like the home of the College World Series used for MLB play.
Hell, even Mexico could be a possibility, and Mexico loves baseball. But even then, there's the language barrier (though the same could be said for Montreal), no MLB-ready park, and while baseball is very popular in Mexico, soccer is far and away the country's #1 sport. Even if these weren't issues, as long as a certain special thing is built according to plan (you know what I mean) Mexico won’t be viable. But really, what do I know? I’m just a kid who gets in arguments on Twitter for clout, not the Commissioner of Baseball.
Before the Trade Deadline, the Red Sox and Yankees were vying for the top spot in the American League East. The Red Sox pretty much held strong for the entire season, but the Yankees were supposedly in a rebuild. They had sold off all of their expensive players and replenished a farm system that desperately needed some elite prospects. Now, the Yankees have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball and can pretty much go out this offseason and get whoever they want. Furthermore, the Yankees have bottomless pockets and should be big players in the 2018 offseason, as we saw Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, just to name two superstars, that will be free agents.
However, like I mentioned, this was not supposed to be the Yankees' year. They were supposed to be a decent team, perhaps a few games over .500, but no one expected them to make the playoffs, knock off the Cleveland Indians, make an ALCS, then be knocking on the door of a World Series appearance. If you look back at the Trade Deadline, the Yankees had some obvious flaws. Like the Red Sox, the Yankees desperately need a third baseman that had a little bit of pop. So, they went out and got Todd Frazier. They also had some issues with the bullpen, as Aroldis Chapman was burnt out by the Chicago Cubs last season in the playoffs and Dellin Betances simply hasn't been the same guy. So they went out and got Tommy Kahlne and David Robertson. Finally, the Yankees realized they needed another starter, as Masahiro Tanaka was great, but who did they truly have after that? CC Sabathia? Please. So they went out and got the best pitcher on the market, Sonny Gray.
If you look at these moves individually, none of them are great. Kahnle and Robertson are solid relievers, but neither of them are elite that will singlehandedly win you games, much less in the playoffs. Frazier is a fantastic home run threat, but he plays a below-average third base and hits .200 when he isn't mashing balls out of the ballpark. Gray is one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball, but he has not been healthy in awhile and his play has suffered because of it.
But if you look at these moves as a whole, the Yankees are a team that is built for the playoffs. A bullpen of Kahlne, Robertson, Betances and Chapman can win you a game if your starter goes five innings. A lineup of Frazier, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorious protect each other and offer no relief to opposing pitchers.
So, how does this impact the Red Sox?
Well it shows the team that they don't need to go out and spend tens of millions of dollars to compete with a team like the Yankees. Instead of going out onto the free agent market and throwing a ton of money at JD Martinez, Eric Hosmer, or Mike Moustakas, the Red Sox just need the right guys in their lineup, rotation, and bullpen. This is really where Dave Dombrowski comes in. Dombrowski has been known to be a big spender and do what is necessary to win a World Series, but it isn't about going out there and getting the best players available. It is about going out there and getting the right players for this team.
Now, that may be Martinez or Hosmer. The Red Sox really need a power bat, which Martinez is, and a clubhouse leader, which Hosmer is. To be perfectly honest, I don't trust Dombrowski to make these moves, but I am hoping he does not overreact to the Yankees' success or the Red Sox' quick exit in the playoffs.
Whether you like it or not, which I don’t think anybody really does, referee Tony Corrente got the call right. The rule is truly asinine, but for once, NFL refs got a call right, as the book states.
Everybody except some Patriots fans got their panties in a twist this past Sunday when Jets tight end Sefarian-Jenkins scored a would-have-been touchdown to bring New York within four midway through the fourth quarter. Both Duron Harmon and Malcolm Butler were on Sefarian-Jenkins and Butler was the one who eventually punched the ball out of his possession before he was able to cross the plane of the end zone. The ball was technically loose, by definition, when he went airborne and was contacted by multiple defenders.
The rule states that you must re-establish possession of the ball before you hit anything out of bounds. Sefarian-Jenkins did not do that. He did not have the ball when he came flying through the corner of the end zone. The rule also states that you must “survive the ground (this is also one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard)”, and Sefarian-Jenkins could not do that, either. He did regain possession of the ball again, but he wasn’t able to get any body parts down in the end zone before going out of bounds.
This wacky rule gives the defense the ball when the offense loses it out of the end zone and thus it’s ruled as a touchback. Patriots players expressed their personal fondness towards the rule, some even saying they “love” it, while Jets players expressed pure hatred for the rule, naturally.
I think the entire rule and situation as a whole was lame. That was such a good game from a neutral perspective and if New York had brought themselves within a few points late in the game, that would’ve made things that much better from a viewing standpoint. These two teams notoriously play close games and I think that streak should have continued.
On the other hand, the rules are the rules and at last, the refs followed them and made the right call. It’s an incredibly pathetic rule, but it’s the rule. The many, many people complaining about the call alone irritate me. It’s the rule you should be complaining about, not the call. The people who are saying “he never lost possession except for when he lost possession for a split second” are wild. Yes, it’s dumb that the ball visibly leaving one’s body for even one millisecond can do so much damage to a play or even an entire game, but you have to respect the rule. These overly-specific rules were enforced solely to keep referees from making games about themselves or at least attempting to decrease those scenarios, so it’s either the same referees screwing your team over time and time again just for shits and giggles or these nitty-gritty rules being properly enforced thanks to replay.
Not to mention, Jets fans saying that this call cost their team the game are so very wrong and simply searching for anything to complain about, let alone in a year when they’re literally supposed to be tanking. Aforementioned, this play came with about 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter when the score was 24-14. This touchdown was nowhere near game-determining, although it would have made things a bit interesting, which never hurt anybody. Plus, anybody saying that the league will do anything to hand things over to the Patriots are mentally unstable, for the record.
I so wish fans were more informed about these specific rules so they can be well-educated for times like these, though. Nothing irritates me more than the majority of fans collectively complaining about the wrong thing and twisting reality. It isn’t really a great look for the league, either. I’m all for these embarrassing NFL refs correctly calling a play, which never happens, so I’m personally cherishing this spotlighted moment while I can before things inevitably go back to shit probably this week.