There Will Be Baseball in 2020

Baseball fans rejoice, there will be baseball in 2020! After about three months of no baseball, the MLB and the MLBPA have reached an agreement to play in 2020. I know, I didn’t think this day would come, but here we are. Many players are making their way to their respective cities right now in anticipation of the season. July 1st is the official date to start training camp, and from there, we have Opening Day at the end of July. It’s been a crazy year so far, so let the games begin – On July 23rd.

The bad news for fans, however, is that they will not be in the stands at any of the Majorbaseball in 2020 League ballparks in 2020. Yes, that includes Fenway Park. For fans who were looking forward to seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway or at an away game, you’re going to have to either watch it on NESN, or listen to the radio. Due to COVID-19, MLB and other professional sports aren’t allowing spectators at games until further notice.

Baseball in 2020

It’s hard to believe that baseball in 2020 is going to happen, but it is. After what seemed to be a lifetime of negotiations, there will be a season. MLB announced this week that Opening Day will be on July 23rd, with training camps starting July 1st. To make things easy for teams, MLB is setting up the schedule geographically. For the Red Sox, they will be playing against both the American League East, and the National League East. The same will go for teams in the Central Divisions and in the Western Divisions.

MLB proposed this idea to limit team travel in hopes that the season will be completed without interruptions. Teams will start off with thirty players, then go down to 28 players after fifteen days. Two weeks later, teams will be set at their normal roster number, 26. Baseball in 2020 will not have an All Star game, sorry Los Angeles. However, the trade deadline will be on August 31st. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out, especially with teams playing within their own divisions, and a designated hitter in both the National and American Leagues.

How Will The Red Sox Do in 2020

That’s the big question many Red Sox fans are asking. After a crazy offseason, the Red Sox have a lot to prove to their fan base. There will be some new faces coming to town, like pitcher Martin Perez and outfielder Kevin Pillar. There will also be some familiar faces coming back to town, like Mitch Moreland, who resigned with the Red Sox this past offseason.

General Manager Chaim Bloom stated that both Alex Verdugo and Collin McHugh are expected to play this season. Verdugo, who was part of the Mookie Betts trade, is recovering from a stress fracture in his back. McHugh, who the Red Sox signed as a free agent in March, is recovering from a flexor tendon strain that he sustained in 2019.

As for Chris Sale, he will not be pitching this season. Shortly after the season was halted to to COVID-19, it was announced that Sale was getting Tommy John surgery, and will not be pitching again until at least 2021. Lucky for the Red Sox, they have some pitchers who are looking to make a name for themselves in Boston, and a few who are looking to improve upon their 2019 season.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 2019, is looking to improve in 2020. Manager Ron Roenicke has yet to name his Opening Day starter, but odds are that Rodriguez will get the call. Catchers Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy, who came to Boston via free agency, will be competing for the backup role at catcher behind Christian Vazquez. Both veteran catchers signed one year deals with the Red Sox this past offseason.

Around The MLB

A lot has happened since Spring Training was stopped due to COVID-19. Many fans didn’t think that baseball in 2020 would happen. However, here we are. Fans are used to a 162 game season, however, due to negotiations, the fans, players, and MLB are at a 60 game season instead. A lot can happen in 60 games. For the Red Sox, they were 31-29 in their first 60 games in 2019. In order to get to the postseason this year, they’re going to have to do way better than that.

Both the American League East and the National League East will be a challenge for the Red Sox. Not only are they facing their usual rivals like the Yankees, but the’re facing the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Going into the 2019 season, the Nationals were not the favorite to win the World Series. Their first 60 games had them at a record of 27-33. They finished with a 93-69 record, and were second in their division.

Each team, and each division is going to have their set of struggles and triumphs this season. Each team in each division is going to have their ups and downs. For some, it’s getting used to the universal designated hitter rule, while for others, it’s figuring out the best lineup to have for each game. While fans won’t have to worry about 10pm games, many will wonder how this season will affect the 2021 season and beyond. Only time can tell that. For now, we have baseball in 2020, which is pretty remarkable.

Brock Holt Left a Lasting Impact in Boston

Over a week ago, fan-favorite Brock Holt traded in his red socks for the navy blue attire of the Milwaukee Brewers. Holt signed a 1-year deal worth $3.25 million to join the brew crew, as Sox management never really made an attempt to bring Holt back to the team. Nevertheless, Brock Holt left a lasting impact on Boston. One that will not be filled for a long time.

Fans all over New England were irate over the deal, as one of the most beloved players on the Sox was

brock holt left

now out of town for a contract that Boston could have easily offered. Regardless of what colors he wears this season, Brock Holt’s impact on the Red Sox and the city of Boston will never be forgotten by Sox fans. Brock Holt left his mark.

“The Utility Guy”

When Holt first came to Boston, no one really batted an eye at the guy. Of course, the Red Sox were in the middle of a championship season, and Brock seemed like just another ordinary guy. A player that would probably flip flop from the MLB and the minors and never find a real gig full time in the league. But after 2013, Holt’s game emerged onto the scene. Boston might have been playing poor baseball in those years, but it gave Holt a chance to shine. He stayed with the big league club for the whole season and even made the All-Star Game in 2015. What was appealing about Brock’s game is his versatility. He could play anywhere on the diamond and swung a pretty solid bat to go along with it. Suddenly, this utility guy from Pittsburgh looked to be a key piece of the rebuilding Red Sox.

Brock Holt Left an Impact Off the Field Too

As Holt’s impact started to become evident on the field, his impact off the field was just as strong. Brock was one of the regulars when it came to helping the community. Whether it was visiting kids in the hospital or helping out with charities like the Jimmy Fund, Holt quickly became immersed in the Boston community. Brock was also a clubhouse favorite, as it seemed there wasn’t even one player that he didn’t get along with. From being a new face in 2013 to a 2018 World Champion, he hadn’t let his success get to his head.

Iconic Moments

As Holt’s success began during the Sox down years, he finally got a chance to shine on the bigger stage with the Sox championship run in 2018. While the Sox lineup was stacked with talent, Brock still got a lot of at-bats and he made them count. Plenty of moments come to mind, but everyone knows which one is #1. Holt’s cycle against the Yankees in the ALDS made history as he completed the first cycle in playoff history. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for the Sox as that dominant Game 3 win propelled them to a series victory. His cycle, along with his clutch hits in the World Series, will be Red Sox moments that fans today won’t forget.

The situation of why Boston didn’t make an effort to bring Brock back will remain questioned. However, it will not take away from Holt’s time in a Sox uniform.

Thank you Brock, and good luck in Milwaukee.

Astros Cheating Scandal Exposes Conflicting American Values

It’s been weeks since news of the Houston Astros cheating scandal broke in the news. Since then, few people in baseball have hesitated to express their outrage over what the Astros did. If anything, it seems to be intensifying, with few coming out of it any wiser. In fact, it’s bringing the worst out in people.

According to a Yahoo Sports article, Astros’ outfielder Josh Reddick, a member of theastros cheating scandal 2017 World Series championship team at the center of the sign-stealing controversy, recently received messages from angry baseball fans telling him, “I will kill your family…I will kill your kids.” The same article quotes Reddick as saying, “And it’s really depressing to read because it’s over a game of baseball.”

Reddick is right, but only to a certain degree.

Yes, it is over a game of baseball. American baseball fans are threatening to kill a player’s family all because he was on a team that went to great lengths to steal signs from opposing teams. But baseball’s involvement ends there. Telling someone that they want to kill their kids not only shows a truly revolting side of someone’s personality, but that they think their opinions, no matter how threatening, are justified. Ironically, while this psycho thinks he’s lashing out at the Astros for cheating, it’s the cheating that enables such unstable behavior in the first place.

Threats Against Reddick Expose a Larger American Problem.

If you ask Americans today if we’re a country that embraces hard work, honesty, and integrity, you’ll probably get more people saying no rather than yes. It’s an attitude that’s exemplified in every day life. When people don’t get their way they threaten to sue. They make up a false story about their employer rather than accept responsibility. When a fan’s team doesn’t win, they look for any excuse they can find to criticize the victor. This idea includes threatening a player’s family. They think their anger equates to the offense, and therefore justifies their response. Fans make threats. Cheaters feel emboldened by the lack of accountability. Those who are disgusted with both lose respect for the game and everyone associated with it. Is this a true reflection of the MLB though?

Players Criticizing the Astros Cheating Scandal Aren’t Exactly Innocent.

There’s no shortage of current players criticizing the Astros. But according to a bleacherreport.com article, former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Logan Morrison stated, “I know from first hand accounts that the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Red Sox all have used film to pick signs.” So why have the Astros become the whipping boy for Major League Baseball if other teams are involved too?

Are these players angry that their efforts to play an honest game were disrespected? Or are they angry that they were outsmarted? It’s understandable that teams like the Yankees would be angry over what the Astros did in 2017. Why didn’t it stop then though? Did teams like the Yankees actually steal signs using the same kind of technology too? If so, would the villain/victim roles be reversed if the Yankees had won and the Astros hadn’t? Would those same Yankee fans call out their own team for cheating? Most definitely not.

It seems like other teams and their fan base aren’t angry about sign stealing. They’re angry that their own tactics didn’t net them a World Series victory. Instead of self-reflecting and saying “Our approach didn’t work that well,” they look to accuse other teams of cheating. It reflects this “I’m the best, and if someone beats me they must have done it by cheating.” I’m not trying to excuse the Astros. If anything, I wonder why they, and other teams, are getting away with it.

Is Everyone Guilty? No.

Players who claim they shouldn’t be held accountable because “other teams do it too,” are in effect committing the additional offense of being complicit and abetting in the acts of other team’s offenses by turning a blind eye and not calling them out. In other words, if everyone is committing an offense like sign stealing, they are all at fault. By joining in, they become guilty too. Furthermore, they encourage horrible people to threaten people like Josh Reddick. When psychos like those who make such threats see teams like the Astros get away with cheating, they think they have a right to fly off the rails themselves. That’s the ripple effect that scandals like this can have on American society. The Astros may not be directly responsible for the unfair things that happen in American society. They are, however, responsible for how people perceive their actions.

Honest Players and Fans Are the Victims Here.

Of course, I’m not saying that all MLB players were in on this Astros cheating scandal or knew about it. As I’ve insinuated, it’s tremendously unfair to those who didn’t know about the cheating. Players like L.A. Angels’ Mike Trout, who commands great respect in baseball, said as much. “It’s sad for baseball,” Trout was quoted as saying in a Yahoo Sports article. “It’s tough. They cheated.”

The Astros cheating scandal hurt players like Trout badly. Trout represent those in American society who put in an honest day’s work and have true grievances, but no one takes them seriously because of those who’ve exploited the system; they become indistinguishable. It’s players like Mike Trout that Major League Baseball should promote and make more visible to baseball fans. Right now, people are looking at baseball and thinking that cheating is acceptable in baseball because no one’s really doing anything about it (Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to be working harder to avoid the issue than I’m working to avoid the gym). Mike Trout would do what Babe Ruth did for baseball following the Black Sox scandal of 1919–restore its integrity. Players like Trout are the ones who baseball needs to see more of to show that not everyone in the sport is corruptible.

Despite the Astros Cheating Scandal, Integrity Is Still Salvageable.

I’m a teacher by day, so this issue of cheating is something with which I’m familiar. So I’ll tell Major League Baseball the same thing I tell my students when it comes to cheating. Don’t cheat and you’ll have less to worry about in the long run. You cheat, and you’re guilty. Of course, there’s always the argument that it makes no difference if no one cares and lets it happen. Our current system of government certainly seems to be exemplifying that idea. That doesn’t mean those who strive for honesty should give up though. If anything, it’s a chance for them to step up and become an example of integrity.

Corrupt people hold onto power, but not forever. When they fall, society looks to someone who never gave in to that corruption. It’s in that instance that those who resisted corruption not only find validation, but are called upon to lead.

Sox add veteran experience with Lucroy signing

On Wednesday, Boston added some veteran experience behind the plate by signing catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a minor league deal for the 2020 season. Lucroy, a former all-star who has been on the decline, found himself without a squad as spring training began. Jonathan started 2019 with the LA Angels, before eventually being released after 75 games into the season and was quickly picked up by the Chicago Cubs for a brief stint to end the year. Sox manager Ron Roenicke is familiar with Lucroy’s play, as he coached him in Milwaukee for the first half of his career.

Although Lucroy was a solid name on the market, many were confused about why thelucroy signing club was adding another catcher to the organization. But with still plenty of time left remaining in spring training, this move might have a positive outcome for the Red Sox.

Added Experience

After 10 years in MLB, Lucroy has a lot of reps under his belt. His knowledge from his time in the league won’t just be helpful to catchers Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki, who have a combined 10 years of experience, but also the younger players on the Sox. With more holes in the 2020 roster than years past, Boston will have a lot of new faces in the lineup and a veteran presence could help these new or younger players in the clubhouse.

Consistency behind the plate

Besides his decrease in numbers at the plate, Lucroy has always been one of the better catchers defensively. He has already been seen down in Fort Myers catching a session for Chris Sale. Sale previously preferred Sandy Leon behind the dish over the rest of the Sox catchers. With Sandy Leon now out of town, maybe Lucroy can step in for the role as pitcher’s best friend.

Reviving the bat?

Christian Vazquez, who broke out in 2019 with a .279 BA and a career-high 23 HRs, has the starting position locked up. Due to this, there is no huge risk in the Lucroy signing as they aren’t looking for him to be the #1 guy. While Lucroy might be no competition to Vazquez, he has a huge opportunity to get a roster spot over Kevin Plawecki. Jonathan’s problem isn’t his defense but his struggling offense, as he has gone from hitting .280-.300 a year to .220-.240. He has shown his offensive potential in the past, as he could use his time on the Sox to get back to his former self.

After an offseason of losing key pieces, the Red Sox will look to mold the future of this organization and it may take some veterans to help the process. It should be interesting to see if Lucroy will make the opening day roster.

Alex Cora Out As Manager of the Red Sox

I never thought that I would see the day that Alex Cora was not at the helm of the Red Sox. The now former manager of the Red Sox is joining A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow in the unemployment line. Following MLB’s report on the cheating scandal, the commissioner suspended Hinch and Luhnow for one season, and took away draft picks for the Astros for 2020 and 2021. The Commissioner’s office is now focusing on the Red Sox. With Alex Cora out now, it’s only a matter of time to see what will happen to Boston.

Just one day after the Astros fired Hinch and Luhnow, the Red Sox mutually parted waysalex cora out with Alex Cora. The Red Sox are now without a manager to begin 2020. Plus, the Red Sox are waiting to see the commissioner’s report regarding the sign stealing that occurred during the 2018 season.

All Signs Pointed to Cora

Not too long ago, former Astros and current ‘s pitcher, Mike Fiers, sat for an interview and claimed the 2017 Houston Astros were stealing signs. From there, the baseball world learned about the banging of trash cans and the real use for the centerfield camera. It was only a matter of time before names were named. One name was Alex Cora. Not long after the Astros won the World Series, their first in franchise history, the Red Sox named Cora their new manager. He went onto lead the team to 108 regular season wins, and won the 2018 World Series.

When the report came out handing down the punishment for the Astros, it mentioned that the bench coach knew what was going on, and assisted in the sign stealing. The report mentioned that the team used the video review room, and alerted batters to pitches by banging on a trash can. The report mentioned that Alex Cora was the mastermind behind it, and many players followed suite.

As far as the Red Sox side of things, it looks like they used the replay room to steal signs during the 2018 season. No trash cans, no baseball bats, and no centerfield camera. Just a replay video room, and only three players admitted it. As far as the mastermind behind that, nobody knows. All we know is that MLB is doing an investigation into it, and it’s only a matter of time before a punishment is handed out.

The Reality of Sign Stealing

This isn’t the first time that teams have stolen signs. People accused the Yankees back in 2015. Back in 2001, members of the New York Giants stated that they stole signs during the 1951 season, most notably against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the famous Game Three when Bobby Thomson homered off Ralph Branca to push the Giants into the World Series. Unless teams or players get caught, there is no way of knowing who knows what.

Sign stealing evolved over time. Technology helped teams steal signs and get ahead in the game. It’s not just a Red Sox or an Astros problem, it’s a Major League Baseball problem. Now with this report out, only time will tell what will happen going forward. The Red Sox will know their fate soon enough.

With Alex Cora Out, Who Will Be the Next Manager of the Red Sox?

With Cora out, and spring training around the corner, the big question is, who will be the next manager of the Red Sox? Many names have been floating around, from Jason Varitek, to Buck Showalter. For Chaim Bloom, this is going to be a tough decision, and one that everyone is going to be watching.

One name that keeps popping up is Ron Roenicke. For the past two seasons, he has been the Red Sox bench coach, and has experience managing a ballclub. Prior to Boston, he was a coach for the Angels and Dodgers. He was also the manager for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011 to 2015. Roenicke has a record of 342 wins and 331 losses in 673 managerial games.

Mookie Betts on the Trade Block?

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I find it weird that this even a question, but here we are! Multiple reports have come out over the last few days about the Red Sox entertaining the idea about trading one of the game’s premier players, Mookie Betts. When I first heard this, I thought the notion of the Red Sox even considering putting Betts on the trade block was absolutely bananas. Why would you trade the face of the franchise, who is just about to hit his prime and is already one of the best players in baseball?

Well, you have to ask yourself, how the heck did we get here?trade block

Earlier this year Mookie Betts turned down an 8 year $200 million contract to stay in Boston. If you’re Mookie it makes sense considering you saw Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado get huge pay increases with their new contracts. Mookie isn’t stupid. He knows he’s better than Machado and Harper and is nipping at the heels of Mike Trout in terms of production. I’m sure if the Red Sox offered something north of $300 million Mookie might have considered giving in and agreeing to that sort of deal.

 

However, that is where the next issue lies, payroll. The Red Sox have the highest payroll in baseball and, if you haven’t noticed, are a bit strapped for cash. I guess making upgrades to the bullpen in the offseason is tough when you’re allocating almost $19 million to Pablo Sandoval for literally just existing at this point. It also doesn’t help that they owe Dustin Pedroia (who only has one functioning knee) almost $30 million over the next two years. David Price isn’t getting any younger either and is owed roughly $90 million over the next three years. In addition to these poorly managed and dead money contracts, the Red Sox used some additional payroll flexibility to sign Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts to long term deals.

I know I’m playing captain hindsight right now, but the less frivolous spending would have given the Red Sox a bit more flexibility to lock in one of the best players in baseball. Now, by trading Betts, I can only imagine they could use the assets to bolster a depleted farm system and maybe add some depth to their pitching staff.

Keeping Mookie Long Term? Or Is The Trade Block In His Future?

If the Red Sox somehow sign Betts to a massive contract, I don’t know where else they will be able to improve the rest of the team? The Red Sox can print money all they want, but being at the top of the payroll in baseball means you are subject to a high luxury tax. Now, if you want to pay that type of luxury tax, fine, but make sure you actually stay competitive and not pretend like everything’s okay (I’m looking at you, Dombrowski).

Let’s just hope both sides figure things out and are able to come to a common ground to benefit the team and the player. I want Mookie Betts to retire in a Red Sox uniform and have number 50 retired with the likes of Ortiz, Martinez, Williams, Fisk, Yaz, Boggs, etc. However, I also want this team to be competitive in the future.