Price-Eckersley Confrontation Comes To The Light

The end of June seemed like ages ago for the Boston Red Sox. They had just come off a sweep and a demolition of the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the confrontation between David Price and Dennis Eckersley that set the Red Sox on a downward spiral they have yet to break free from. Details are coming out from the Price-Eckersley confrontation, and they’re scary.

The friction arose from Eckersley commenting on one of Eduardo Rodriguez’s rehab Price-Eckersley confrontation starts. On the NESN broadcast, the stat line was flashed of Rodriguez’s putrid start in Pawtucket, to which Eckersley said “yuck.” One word. A bit out of the ordinary but not harsh considering the stats. David Price, like he often does, took offense.

In a heroic, righteous act of sticking up for his teammate, Price took matters into his own hands. As Eckersley was boarding the team plane, he saw that Price was waiting for him. What ensued was something out of a John Hughes film. Price (hardened jock in his letterman jacket and backwards cap) went right for Eckersley (nerd type who’s really into computers and is just doing what he’s told). That’s how it goes, right? Not exactly.

Instead of a nerd, Eckersley is the retired jock. In fact, he was one of the best jocks, ten times better than Price. Price goes on to mock Eckersley, sarcastically calling him “the greatest pitcher who ever lived” and saying “the game is easy for him.” When Eckersley tried to get on to his seat, Price told him to “get the f*** out of here.”

It Was Not Easy For Eckersley

I don’t even know where to start with this. Just when you thought Price couldn’t act like more of a child, he pulls this. First, I suppose I’ll start with the “easy” part. Was the game easy for Dennis Eckersley? About as easy as learning an entire Cicero oration in a day. Let’s dive in on how “easy” Eck’s career was, shall we?

Does anyone remember why he was traded to the Red Sox in the first place? It was because his wife cheated on him with one of his teammates. Anyone remember why he hardly ever does road trips? Well, he’s a recovering alcoholic who tries to avoid the temptations of the road. He has dealt with it for decades. Alcoholism is supposedly also the reason why his brother got a 40 year prison sentence for attempted murder and kidnapping. Now on his third wife, Eck has a lot of time in retirement to reflect on his “easy” career.

That’s not even the end of it. When Price made these remarks, some of his teammates began to applaud. That is the scariest part. If David Price is the clubhouse leader of this team, they are going NOWHERE. He is a child. Not a leader. He is not David Ortiz. If he is the voice of the clubhouse, the Red Sox are going in a very bad direction. Not only is Eckersley faultless here, he’s also Dennis freaking Eckersley. Furthermore, he’s not some putz like Dan Shaughnessy or Pete Abraham or even me. He played the game. As a matter of fact, he dominated it. This is the wrong guy to go after.

Red Sox Aren’t Handling The Price-Eckersley Confrontation Right

After all this, Eckersley has reportedly not received an apology from Price or the Red Sox on the matter. I’ll tell you what, this organization is painting a bad picture for itself this month. With the lackluster play on the field, no apology for Eckersley and trashing WEEI and accusing their fan base of blanket racism, it hasn’t been a charming few weeks. I am beginning to wonder just what is going on with our baseball team. This can’t stem all from David Ortiz’s retirement, right? Right?

This should be alarming for you, Red Sox fans. Price has had a good year on the mound (save Saturday’s disaster in Anaheim), but his off-the-field antics are crossing the line. If you defend this guy’s attitude, you are the poster child of the new era Boston pink hats. Not that he has said anything, but I’m also pretty sure Eduardo Rodriguez can take this criticism. So how about these guys focus less on the NESN broadcast and a little more on winning baseball games. Let’s see if that works.

Rafael Devers Promoted to Red Sox

It has certainly been an odd, unsuccessful and grossly disappointing week plus for the Red Sox since the All-Star break. Now, Dave Dombrowski is getting bold, but not in the trade market. With top prospect Rafael Devers promoted to the big club, the Red Sox are looking for a spark plug.

On the field, Boston has yet to win a series since the Fourth of July. Off it, they lost out on Rafael Devers calleda deal that looked like it was already done. Sure, missing out on Todd Frazier is not monumental, but the organization is surely disappointed. They felt they could get a guy to plug in some of their holes at a very low price. That is no longer the case, so it is time to embrace what they already have.

Devers will be with the team Monday in Seattle and is already expected to make his first start Tuesday. This is a kid who, just last month, was playing in Portland. After a cup of coffee in Pawtucket, here he comes Red Sox fans. Much like Andrew Benintendi last year, he joins the team in Seattle to fill an immediate need. Benintendi skipped AAA and Devers might as well have, but can we expect similar results?

Devers didn’t become the top prospect in the Red Sox system by accident. This season in Portland, he mashed 18 homers and 56 RBI while hitting .300. In all, he racked up 40 extra base hits in 77 games before being promoted to AAA. In nine games with Pawtucket, he hit .324, including a night where he went 4-4 with a homer. Devers’ glove is still raw, but his offense has shown he is ready for the major leagues.

Rafael Devers Promoted With Big Expectations

Third base has been a glaring problem for the Red Sox all year. Starting with the dumpster fire that was Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have been reeling at that position. With the rest of the lineup being just horrendous on a good day, that spot becomes even more important. Without the league’s best offense, third base turns from a want to a need. Now, if the Red Sox can’t upgrade there, a deep playoff run can be compromised.

While third base is a major issue right now, it doesn’t look like Dombrowski will try to solve it at the trade deadline. If he can add a bullpen arm, Boston should be in really good shape. Their offense won’t be number one, but it sure can’t get much worse. With their starting pitching, this is a team built for the postseason. If they can bolster their bullpen, they could be a tremblingly dangerous team come October.

So, the kid is gonna get a shot, whether he likes it or not. And yes, he will be expected to produce. He’s not going to make this team Murderer’s Row, but he should make them better. Since Devers didn’t even play AA till this year, this could be a lot of pressure. The 20 year-old will be thrusted in like Xander Bogaerts was in 2013. We all remember how Bogaerts thrived and what the Red Sox did that year, don’t we? So stay up late Tuesday night, you just might see the birth of a new era and a new Red Sox team.

MLB Needs To Embrace The Star System

MLB and baseball as a whole are going through an identity crisis at the moment. It is a sport taking a big hit right now. It’s not dead, but it’s on life support. Even with an enthralling 2016 postseason and home run numbers sky-rocketing, baseball needs a change. The solution isn’t changing the game, but rather grasping what they already have. Take a page out of Hollywood’s book, MLB, and embrace the star system.

Baseball purists have never had to promote their stars to get people to watch. The sports star systemworld has changed. I’m not a huge fan of the NBA, but you have to recognize how massive that league has become worldwide. They’ve got major fan bases in China and Spain and Brazil. Their league spans the continents. The MLB does not.

It really is that simple for the NBA. They just promote their stars more than their teams. A game of Oklahoma City vs. Houston is not billed as “Thunder vs. Rockets.” Instead, it’s “Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden.” That can really make all the difference. Within the NBA, there are legions of fans who support players, not teams. While that would probably never catch on in a city like Boston, it has made the popularity of the NBA soar. That kind of exposure of players creates an entire universe of heroes and villains, bringing infinitely more passion and hatred and a rooting interest for the league.

You don’t need me to tell you the MLB has nothing close to that. This past weekend should’ve been hyped up like a heavyweight fight, a 15-round title match between Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge. Saturday’s game was a match-up between two All-Star pitchers. One of them was Chris Sale, the best pitcher in the league. That game was on Fox Sports 1. FREAKING FOX SPORTS 1. Women’s Golf was deemed the better product to watch on Fox. Women’s golf over Red Sox-Yankees with Chris Sale on the mound.

There is really no reason why the MLB can’t be a better league than the NBA. Baseball has always been a worldly sport. Basketball has just started to be in that discussion the last decade. There are no super teams in the MLB. Aaron Judge just went 0 for the series against the Red Sox. He isn’t coming to Boston next year. David Price did not ask to go to Cleveland after they handed him his lunch in last year’s playoffs. My point is, this is not the NBA. If you take the positives from what they have done, you will far surpass the NBA.

The Star System Doesn’t Even Need Personality

The stars don’t even need personality, they just need to be promoted like stars. James Harden, Steph Curry, even Kevin Durant, these guys are dry. They’re boring. They aren’t polarizing. Yet, people would think they are because their names are EVERYWHERE. So don’t tell me Mookie Betts can’t be marketed because he isn’t as funny as David Ortiz. It’s on the league, not the players, to make this sport more popular.

So I’m calling out Major League Baseball. I don’t want more Yankees and Angels fans, I want more Aaron Judge and Mike Trout fans. I want people to know what number Kris Bryant is. Give me people who know what team Bryce Harper plays for. I don’t want a World Series of Astros vs. Dodgers. I want a World Series of Carlos Correa vs. Cody Bellinger. Give me a reason to watch the game. The sport is dying, unfortunately, but the players are still the same. Give the game to the players, not the purists.

A Miguel Cabrera Trade Would Be Preposterous

With the calendar getting eerily close to July 31st, the trading block is getting hotter than the weather. Todd Frazier, Pat Neshek, and even Sonny Gray have been the big names linked to Boston. This weekend, however, a big (and I do mean big) name appeared. I’m telling you to not be fooled, Red Sox fans, a Miguel Cabrera trade isn’t happening.

Dealin’ Dave Dombrowski is definitely familiar with the Venezuelan slugger, having served as GM of the Tigers before coming to Boston. Even with that, this deal has no shot of happening. None whatsoever. Cabrera has had more than a down year and this sudden rumor of him coming to Boston is absolutely absurd. Cabrera is obviously a future Hall of Famer, but his best days are certainly behind him.

What I’m wondering through all of this is: why would the Red Sox even want him? This is a guy who is just another run-of-the-mill guy at this point. In fact, his numbers this year are comparable to Hanley Ramirez’s. He has just 12 homers and a putrid (by his standards) .804 OPS. Cabrera just can’t keep up anymore at age 34, and his contract is virtually un-tradeable. He is owed $84 million still over the next six years. The contract is just as bad as Albert Pujols’ and can go up to 2025, when he will be 42 years old.

A Miguel Cabrera Trade Makes No Sense

Cabrera also doesn’t fit a need on this team. The only position he can play in the field is first base. There, the Red Sox already have Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis. Cabrera had a short-lived debacle playing third base in Detroit and that’s the only real position of need. We’re all too used to seeing a guy with that body try to play third base in Boston and not produce. I think it’s safe to say we’re done with that.

So he can’t play the field in a position they need and he’s lost his power stroke almost completely. So, he doesn’t fill a need, will cost you prospects, and hurt your payroll significantly. If you like guys like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley or Chris Sale, this deal won’t work for you. With Cabrera on the payroll for the next six years, you can keep one of those aforementioned stars. This is NOT smart.

There’s a reason why Cabrera’s name was never linked to Boston before this. Alex Rodriguez reported this Saturday, sending shockwaves through the baseball world. This is nothing but A-Rod trying to be the alpha male of the baseball reporters. His ego was always filled playing baseball, now he needs it in the world of sports media. He’s the only one who has reported anything on a Miguel Cabrera trade so I’d take it all with a grain of salt. He’s not coming here, fans, and you can thank your lucky stars for that.

The Biggest Red Sox Disappointment in the First Half

The Red Sox went through an up-and-down first half of the 2017 season. Through it all, they went into the All-Star Break in first place in the AL East. Unfortunately, I was going to write a blog about the biggest pleasant surprise on this team, but the biggest Red Sox disappointment is waaaaaaay easier to figure out.

Baseball pundits outside of Boston were choking on their peanuts and cracker jacks last biggest Red Sox disappointmentNovember with the AL Cy Young announcement. Even though Justin Verlander had more first place votes, Rick Porcello took home the award. Porcello led the league with 22 wins but Kate Upton was the star of the night with her vexed tweets. With Porcello’s 2017 season to date, that seems like a long, long time ago.

Obviously, we didn’t expect Porcello to duplicate his 2016 season. He has never had a season like that in his career, it was clearly an anomaly. Most of us, however, expected better than this. Those who thought he had figured it out and was going to be a viable top-line pitcher were very wrong. He’s put together some good starts recently but the numbers can not be ignored.

Porcello’s Numbers Have Been Nothing But Disappointing

After leading the league in wins last year, Porcello has kept his trend of staying among the league leaders. Instead of wins, though, he leads the AL in losses (11), hits allowed (147) and batters faced (525). Nearly every time out, he’ll struggle out of the gate. That wasn’t uncommon last year, but instead of one or two runs allowed, it’s now three or four. Without the most run support in the league, that has translated to a 4-11 record.

Porcello’s biggest problem has been a glaring lack of control. Like we’ve seen from David Price this year, Porcello’s location has been dreadful. With a sinker that doesn’t sink, he’s been a hopeless, scared puppy on the mound. That explains why his K-BB ratio is the second best of his career but still leads the league in hits allowed. His WHIP has gone down to 1.43, still too high for the defending Cy Young winner.

Because of his recent uptrend, Porcello has gone from “sucked” to just “disappointment.” Fortunately for him, however, the Red Sox are still in first. With their success, the heat hasn’t really come down on Porcello. I’ve got news for you Pretty Ricky, your awful numbers aren’t sneaking past me. You’re the biggest Red Sox disappointment of the first half of 2017. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

Honorable mention: Hanley Ramirez. But you’ve already read my story on that and look what’s happened since.

Red Sox Poised for a Huge Yankees Series

Alas, they have come. The two most agonizing days of the baseball season are upon us. While we await baseball after the All-Star break, the Red Sox will start their second half with a bang. Yes, it’s a Yankees series that waits in the wings, and it’s a crucial one.

Mookie Betts, Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel can enjoy their final mimosas iYankees seriesn Miami, but Friday marks their return. The trip will take them home to Boston and the business is to prove they really are the best team in the AL East. After losing a series in Tampa, four games in three days against the Yankees is going to be a great measuring stick for this team.

Personally, I think the Yankees have seen their best days already in 2017. They scuffled mightily in June going 13-15 and rode that wave into a 2-6 July. The lack of pitching has caught up to them and the holes are beginning to sink New York’s ship. The Yankees have drowned in fortune this year (Aaron Judge, for one) and are still only tied for second place with the upstart Rays.

Even though they are in something of a rebuild, albeit ahead of schedule, don’t be surprised if the Yankees make waves on the trade deadline. A starter like Sonny Gray or Gerrit Cole could very well be in pinstripes come August 1st. That, however, shouldn’t carry them over the Red Sox if Boston can handle their business like they should this month. Again, it starts with this series.

Red Sox-Yankees Series Will Start With Pitching

A red hot Drew Pomeranz will get the start Friday. Even though there’s no excuse for Chris Sale not to start and get off on the right foot, it will be Pomeranz. Although he can be frustrating to watch, Pomeranz seems to have returned to his All-Star form he had in 2016. Nonetheless, Sale will go Saturday and if the Yankees have a daddy, he wears #41 for the Red Sox. He OWNS them.

Furthermore, the Red Sox will need to get the offense back and hitting consistently. They mustered just four runs in their three losses in Tampa. They looked like a completely different team than the one we saw in Toronto the week before. It’s been all or nothing for the Red Sox offense this year. As a result ,the starter’s with the lowest ERA in the league is in danger of losing first place. It has been rare for the Red Sox to get the offense and pitching going at the same time the last two years. Obviously, they’ll need to correct that sooner rather than later to extend their lead.

So get ready to dive back head first into baseball Friday night. After that, you won’t be able to rid the sport until October so just make it to Friday people. If both these teams can continue to stay at each other’s necks this year, we could have what we’ve been waiting years for. We could have a rivalry again.