David Price Needs To Stay Quiet Or Apologize

Most everyone in Red Sox Nation knows about the spat between Dennis Eckersley and David Price. Eckersley called Price out on his failure to backup first base. Then Eckersley referred to one of Eduardo Rodriguez’s rehab starts as “yuck.” Apparently Price didn’t appreciate it and confronted Eckersley about it. Everyone has a right to take issue with criticism. For now though, David Price needs to stop commenting on the incident and focus on pitching.

This incident has turned into one big mess. Price swore at a Hall of Famer in front of theDavid Price Needs team. The Red Sox sort of shrugged it off. Lacking a backbone, John Farrell did little to address the issue. In typical flip flop style, Dustin Pedrioa allegedly applauded Price while he swore at Eckersley. Then he said he didn’t and decided to be a leader by talking to Price about the incident. Some media sources say one thing. Other media sources say another. To be fair, this isn’t entirely Price’s fault. The Boston media shares some of this blame. They waited a while to drudge this up long after it was all over. That’s like disciplining your dog three days after it crapped on the carpet.

David Price Needs To Focus On The Game

Here’s what really burns me about this whole incident. Price is acting like a diva. His $217 million salary is going to his head, he’s can’t stay off the DL, and he’s going around talking smack. For a hot minute it looked like Price realized the error of his ways. According to ESPN, Price admitted he could have handled the incident “probably in a different way” but that’s not where it ended. Speaking to reporters for the first time since we went on the DL again, Price told reporters, “If Eck was around, he’d know who we are. He’s never in the clubhouse,” Price said. “He’s the one guy I’ve seen in my career that never shows his face in the clubhouse.”

Price messed up big here. He messed up big a month ago when he initially slammed Eckersley. But now he’s adding fuel to the fire. What’s even worse is that this incident is distracting him from the game. David Price needs to stop talking about how tough he is, and needs to focus on getting back into the game.

Price Is As Much Of A Diva As Pedrioa

The other issue I have with this entire incident is that both Price and Pedrioa are acting like self-centered and arrogant jerks. They’re not only making themselves look bad, but they’re setting a horrible example for the youth of America. In this day in age, people are less likely to take responsibility, and more likely to blame others. Instead of recognizing their faults, they own up to it in a pathetic way. They don’t think before they speak. As a teacher, I see this often, especially in student athletes. They’re popular and think they can get away with disrespecting others. Then they throw a fit when they’re confronted.

Prince thinks he can disrespect a Hall of Famer with more experience on the mound than Price will ever have. Pedrioa only encourages it because he likes Price and wants to look good sticking up for him. Pedrioa won’t do that for every teammate though. If he and Price really have an issue with Eckersley, they can seek him out instead of Price saying “Just show your face.”

Price started this. It’s up to him to finish it and retain some of his dignity.

Diva Pedroia Is Not The Red Sox Leader

I used to think that Dustin Pedroia was the heart and soul of the Red Sox. He hustles and he focuses on the game. He used to lead his team. His recent comments, however, have made me think twice about him. I’m seeing Pedroia less as a Red Sox leader and more of a diva.

Almost everyone in Red Sox Nation knows what transpired between David Price andred sox leader Dennis Eckersley. It’s old news now. But for those who don’t know, Price took issue with Eckersley’s constructive criticism. Price confronted the Hall of Famer and 1992 MVP on an airplane and, using expletives, tore into him. It’s bad enough that Price thought he could drop his composure and tear down a Hall of Famer. It’s even worse that Pedrioa reportedly applauded Price’s confrontation.

A real leader would have pulled Price aside, told him to bite his tongue, and wait for the right opportunity to confront his critic. A real leader wouldn’t have let someone like Price tear into a legend like Eckersley. Pedroia’s applauding of Price’s confrontation isn’t the characteristic of a good leader. It’s the characteristic of an arrogant and pompous diva.

A Red Sox Leader Keeps The Peace and The Team Focused

Unfortunately, the Red Sox are struggling right now. In fact, the team took a nose dive right around the time the drama between Price and Eckersley began. If that wasn’t bad enough, Pedroia took issue with the Boston media for their views on the incident and the idea that there is no Red Sox leader: “For whatever people say from the outside, ‘Oh, we don’t have a leader.’ I’m standing right here, been here for a long time,” Pedroia was quoted in the Boston Globe. “We’re in first place. So that’s it. Write what you guys want. Here I am. You don’t see anybody else standing up here do you? Nope.”

First of all, Pedroia is not a leader. He threw Matt Barnes under the bus last April when he tried to take Manny Macho’s head off. He didn’t stand up for Barnes, or anyone other than himself. Yes, Barnes shouldn’t have thrown at Machado, but instead of coming to Barnes’ defense, he separated himself from him. Now Pedroia wants to step up and look like a leader with the whole Price/Eckersley thing. It seems like Pedroia waits for others to act, and then uses those opportunities to look like a leader. He won’t pull the trigger, but he’ll take credit for the shot. He just doesn’t take credit when it’s not due, he acts like he earned it outright. He’s like a student who puts in little effort and still expects an A.

A Red Sox Leader Inspires

Son of Massachusetts and the 6th President of the US John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Pedroia’s actions aren’t inspiring. They’re self-centered, narcissistic, and void of any real meaning. I’m also not seeing the Red Sox doing more. What I am seeing are players who are failing to carry the team consistently. They’re making the rookies do all the heavy lifting, and they’re not carrying their own weight. As a result, the Red Sox relinquished first place to the Yankees over the weekend. It was theirs to lose.

Pedroia is an amazing player. He’s an MVP, an All-Star, and he is partly responsible for their last two World Series wins. That doesn’t mean he can pick and choose when to be a leader though. Either be a leader or shut up.

David Price’s Return Resembles A Mid-Season Acquisition

Attitude aside, if David Price can stay healthy and pitch well, the Red Sox are in good shape. He could add that vital power arm the Red Sox have been yearning for all year and we can finally see that Big Three we’ve wanted in the rotation. David Price’s return could be better than any mid-season trade the Red Sox could’ve made.

First and foremost, we still have to worry about Price’s health. The injury he sustainedDavid Price's return almost always leads to Tommy John surgery. The fact that it didn’t lead to that diagnosis is nothing short of a miracle. Also, he’s 31 years old. The older these guys get, the harder it is to come back from these kinds of injuries. Also, the weather in New England has been absolutely miserable this month. Arctic temperatures and poor weather never helps a guy whose arm isn’t 100%. It is no guarantee Price can finish out this season without any problems.

Price also still needs to bounce back from some disappointing stretches last year. As I’ve said before, he didn’t have a bad year necessarily. It was just underwhelming. Now, he is clearly not the ace of the staff like was asked to be last year. With Price having the mental toughness of a middle schooler, taking that pressure off him could be huge. With the dominance of Chris Sale thus far, Price can become a great complimentary pitcher. That’s what $217 million will get you these days.

Not to be lost in this, Price was good in his return. Good enough anyway. He went five innings and gave up three runs on just two hits. Not to sound like Clay Buchholz, but his one bad inning was very preventable. He laid a meatball over the plate to Melky Cabrera for a 3-run homer and that was it. He did have some issues with his control, however. The two guys on base there were both walked and Price was constantly losing hitters when ahead in the count.

Physically, he looked good. He couldn’t common his cutter but his fastball was hitting 95-96 MPH. We’ll see if that comes back to bite him, but he was efficient for a guy coming off an injury like that. He hit his 90 pitch limit in those five innings but wasn’t too stressed. Cabrera’s home run was the only time there was more than one White Sock on base against him.

Overall, Price was impressive. If he can hold up, even after back to back losses, this could be huge for Boston. Price gave them a chance to win yesterday before Matt Barnes blew it. This could prevent the Red Sox from making an ill-advised trade for a starter this summer. Again, David Price’s return could be a mid-season acquisition that can propel the Red Sox towards the playoffs again.

Is a Boston-Baltimore Rivalry Legit?

This week could bring plenty of fireworks to Fenway Park when the Baltimore Orioles strut into town. With all the drama caused by Manny Machado and Matt Barnes last series, suddenly this matchup is a heated one. Is it fair to say there is now a Boston-Baltimore rivalry, though?

Never in my life have I thought of the Baltimore Orioles as a rival. This reminds me a lot of Boston-Baltimore RivalryDuke vs. Maryland in basketball. Trust me, it’ll make sense. Duke’s major rival is North Carolina but they were always the biggest game on Maryland’s schedule, so they were treated as a rival. Orioles fans definitely get up for Red Sox series, but it isn’t Red Sox-Yankees.

When I heard Jerry Remy talk about how these teams had a mutual distaste, I was shocked. I mean, Manny Machado has had his disputes, but the Orioles don’t exactly have the villains. There’s no A-Rod or Johnny Damon or even someone like a Jorge Posada. But, apparently, there is hatred between the players.

Even though these two clubs have been in the same division for years, the lack of animosity is simple. First off, these teams have seldom been competitive at the same time. When one team is up, the other is usually down. Without high leverage games, it’s tough to keep an entertaining rivalry in baseball.

Why Isn’t There a Boston-Baltimore Rivalry?

Also, Baltimore is just a blip on the baseball map. We are used to Boston and New York as the epicenters of the game. That is not the case in Baltimore. They have a respectable fan base, a nice team and a nice ballpark. There’s nothing special about Baltimore in the world of baseball. Even with the run of success they had for nearly two decades between the 1960s and 1980s where they won five World Series titles, Baltimore doesn’t scream baseball history.

At the end of the day, Baltimore is a football town and the unequivocal hotbed of lacrosse. When you think of Baltimore, you don’t think baseball. Putting that against a titan of the sport like Boston and the Red Sox organization, it’s not a fair fight. Red Sox fans who remember a time before 2013 know it wasn’t long ago when Sox fans outnumbered Orioles supporters tenfold at Camden Yards.

A supposed AL East rivalry between the Orioles and the Red Sox leaves me with more questions than answers. Where’s the history? Who are the villains? Why isn’t Boston-Toronto a rivalry? Ok, that last one is a blog for another time. This series could certainly get the blood boiling again and could start a rivalry. For now, Red Sox fans can label the Orioles with the same moniker Duke has put on Maryland for years, the most disrespectful insult in sports: “not our rivals.”

Did Matt Barnes Have the Right to Throw at Machado’s Head?

Baseball fans have seen it happen plenty of times before. Teams in the Big Leagues haveMatt Barnes been exchanging plunks since the inception of the league. Retaliation is fine; make it clear that your team does not play games. On the other hand, don’t just let it rip and see what happens. Throwing at someone’s head is unacceptable in this age of baseball. Matt Barnes made a mistake, and he’s lucky that a four-game suspension is all he is facing.

Why What Matt Barnes Did Was Wrong

Manny Machado broke up a double play by spiking second baseman Dustin Pedroia on his slide into second-base during last Friday’s game. Some Red Sox fans saw it as a dirty play. Don’t forget that a runner’s job is to break hard for second base and do what it takes to break up a double play. Players are literally taught to do this at more competitive levels of baseball. Manny Machado is a player who has already been caught up in some instances during his young career that showcase his fiery emotions. Machado is not afraid to let the other team know how he feels, which I believe is good for the future of baseball.

Machado broke hard toward second base and spiked Pedroia, eventually forcing Pedroia to leave the game. During the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, Matt Barnes intentionally threw at Manny Machado. From a baseball player’s perspective, this is simply retaliation. Once your star gets intentionally hurt, it is important to stand up for your teammate. The problem here is that Barnes fired his fastball past the head of Machado, (ultimately hitting his bat and being called a foul ball). For those who do not know, Matt Barnes is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in the Red Sox’ bullpen. Barnes’ fastball is what got him to the big-leagues, as it sits in the mid-nineties. A pitch with that much velocity can cause serious damage to a batter’s head or face. God forbid Barnes’ pitch didn’t miss to the right, and strike Manny Machado up top.

Matt Barnes Isn’t Completely at Fault

Dustin Pedroia and Manny Machado were seen chirping at each other during Sunday’s game. Pedroia yelled out to Machado, “Not me, that’s them,” from the Red Sox dugout. The former MVP is right. He got taken out at second, and his teammates backed him up. Whatever may happen to Machado at the hands of Pedie’s teammates is fair game because Machado made the decision to slide with his cleats up. Matt Barnes was probably not the guy to come up with the idea to hit Machado initially. This decision could have been made by any player or group of Red Sox. Barnes could have even been instructed by a coach to hit Machado.

The fact of the matter is that fastballs around the head have no place in the game. Look at what happened to Tony Conigliaro. Conigliaro was on pace to become one of the best players in all of baseball when he got beaned. If Machado was hit up top, who knows what could have happened. Next time, just drill the guy in the thigh or find a different way to retaliate, and move on. It doesn’t make sense to potentially jeopardize the career of a promising star because he spiked a second-baseman.

Fernando Abad: What to Expect Moving Forward

News came at the end of February that Fernando Abad would be competing for his home country in the World Baseball Classic. Abad will miss time with the Red Sox this spring training to pitch for the Dominican Republic. Fans around Red Sox Nation are wondering what this means for the 31 year-old left-hander, as well as the future of the team’s bullpen.

Fernando Abad is set to make $2,000,000 this Fernando Abadseason, but that money is not guaranteed. He was traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Sox in 2016 at the non-waiver trade deadline, and was immediately thrown into the fire by Sox manager John Farrell. In 18 appearances with the team, Abad was simply a-bad pitcher. In 12 and 2/3 innings, he recorded a 6.39 ERA and a WHIP of 1.66. The Red Sox kept Fernando Abad off of the ALDS roster.

Fernando Abad Moving Forward

The Dominican team has had the pleasure of using Abad during the tournament, but the Sox have decisions to make. Abad is a guy who is still trying to win a spot in the Boston bullpen. He was unable to prove his worth last year, and isn’t doing himself any favors choosing to participate in the WBC. This event is a huge deal in other countries, but for Abad, is it really worth not having a big-league job this season?

The Red Sox bullpen has vastly improved this off-season. We traded for a legitimate set-up man in Tyler Thornburg. Also, Carson Smith will be back from his Tommy-John surgery. Joe Kelly emerged as a go-to guy out of the pen in the playoffs last year. The Matt Barnes/Robbie Ross duo is a solid right/lefty combo that John Farrell can go to late in the game. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel is still as effective as Craig Kimbrel will ever be. Where does this leave Abad?

Fernando Abad can enjoy his time in the World Baseball Classic, as I am sure he will. There simply isn’t enough room for Abad in our bullpen as long as everyone stays healthy. After a dismal performance last year and poor decision-making now, he has most likely outlasted his stay in Boston.