Red Sox sign Outfielder Kevin Pillar

The Boston Red Sox recently signed outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $4.25 million deal. This Pillar signing comes following the loss of Red Sox superstar, Mookie Betts, in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

While this acquisition definitely helps lessen the damage resulting from the Dodgers trade, it does cause a problem in the outfield.Kevin Pillar
In the Betts trade, the Red Sox acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo, who had a very impressive rookie campaign with the Dodgers. This deal now leaves the Red Sox with five outfielders. (Martinez, Benintendi, Bradley, Pillar, Verdugo) Assuming Martinez is the designated hitter, where does that leave everyone else?

Managing Playing Time

Last season, Kevin Pillar had arguably his best offensive year, hitting .259 with 21 home runs. Where Pillar really shines, however, is defensively. He has been a finalist for Gold Glove in center field every year he has played in the majors. His defensive ability is arguably at the same caliber of Jackie Bradley Jr. For that reason, the Red Sox can balance playing time in center between the two. Pillar can start on days a left-handed pitcher is starting against them, and Bradley can start against right-handed pitchers. This same scenario could work with Verdugo instead of Bradley, as long a Pillar is comfortable in Fenway’s right field. Pillar is also a step above Bradley offensively, which makes him a good option to use as a pinch-hitter. However, I believe that, while this option is a good one, making a trade to free-up room for Pillar to play full time is a better option.

Trading Bradley now that we have Kevin Pillar

Trade rumors involving Jackie Bradley Jr. have been circulating this off-season. I believe that now, more than ever, Jackie Bradley Jr. should be traded. Bradley is still young, has loads of talent, and would be a good piece for any team that is looking to make a playoff push this season and needs help defensively. This move would create room for Pillar, who I believe is slightly better all-around than Bradley to become a full-time player. Verdugo would also become a full-time player, which is crucial for him in this stage of his career, as he is likely yet to reach his full potential in the big leagues. Not only that, but the Sox can finally try to get some decent pitching in return for Bradley. After getting nothing in terms of pitching in the Betts deal, it is crucial that the Sox pick-up at least one or two decent arms to strengthen our subpar pitching staff.

The signing of Kevin Pillar is something that Red Sox fans should be happy about during these dark days without Mookie Betts. However, if the organization doesn’t manage the outfield situation correctly, the team will not improve as much as it should.

The Blockbuster Trade Has Finally Happened

Last night, the Red Sox officially traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers. This blockbuster trade also included the Minnesota Twins, which is quite interesting. Even though Red Sox Nation knew it was a matter of time before Betts left, however, this blockbuster trade was still shocking.

With Spring Training a little over a week away, the Red Sox have a lot of work to do. Weblockbuster trade still don’t have a manager, we’re down a started in the rotation, and there are still players in free agency. Plus, this trade will be lingering in everyone’s mind over the next few weeks. When the Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom this past October, he had big shoes to fill, and a mess to clean up that was left behind by Dave Dombrowski.

The Breakdown of the Blockbuster Trade

The day after truck day, the Red Sox finally pulled off the trade, sending Betts and Price to the Dodgers, and receiving Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers. The Minnesota Twins were also in on this deal, trading Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox, and receiving Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. While reports last week said that the third team was the Padres, the Twins came out of nowhere in this deal. They sent one of their top prospects to Boston, and got a reliever from Los Angeles.

Maeda wasn’t the only Dodger traded yesterday, however. The Dodgers pulled off another deal, trading outfielder Joc Pederson to the LA Angels for second baseman Luis Rengifo. This trade was a strange one. You would think that Pederson would have been traded to Boston for Betts. However, that wasn’t the case.

The Newest Members of the Red Sox

The Red Sox received Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol in the trade that sent Betts and Price to the Dodgers. For Red Sox fans, these names might not be familiar, however, they soon will be.

Verdugo played in 106 games for the Dodgers in 2019. The 23 year old outfielder hit .294 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI’s. He was drafted by the Dodgers in 2014 and made is MLB debut on September 1st 2017. He split time between AAA and the Dodgers in 2017 and 2018. In total, Verdugo has played in 158 MLB games, batting .282 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI’s.

Graterol, who is coming to Boston from Minnesota, is a 21 year old pitching prospect. He made his MLB debut with the Twins on September 1st 2019 against the Detroit Tigers. Graterol signed with the Twins in August 2014 as an international free agent. The right-handed relief pitcher from Venezuela pitched in 10 games in 2019, going 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA.

David Price Tribute

After pitching in Boston for four seasons, Price is heading to the Dodgers. The 34 year old starter is 150-80 with a 3.31 ERA. He will be playing for his fifth team this upcoming season. Price made his MLB debut with the Tampa Bay Rays and then was traded to the Tigers and Blue Jays. In the offseason prior to the 2016 season, he signed a seven year $217 million contract with the Red Sox. In his four seasons with Boston, Price was 46-24 with a 3.84.

Price was the Comeback Player of the Year in 2018. He won the Cy Young Award in 2012, was elected to five All Star Games, and won his first World Series in 2018. Price had his struggles throughout his career, particularly in the postseason. The way he pitched in 2018, especially in game 5 of the World Series was amazing. He pitched seven innings in game 5, earning the win. Now, he will be a member of the Dodgers following this blockbuster trade.

Thank You Mookie Betts

On June 29th 2014 against the New York Yankees, a young ballplayer made his MLB debut for the Boston Red Sox. For the past six seasons, Red Sox fans have seen Mookie Betts patrolling right field at Fenway Park. Betts has been a Red Sox favorite since he came to the big leagues. He has a career .301 batting average, with 139 home runs, and 470 RBI’s. He’s a four time All Star, has four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards. Mookie was the AL MVP back in 2018, where he not only had a great season, but led the Red Sox to their ninth World Series title. In 2019, he was selected to the All MLB Second Team.

Mookie will always be apart of Red Sox Nation. He will always be the four time All Star who patrolled Fenway’s outfield with excellence during his six years in Boston. Mookie did a lot during the 2018 season, including hitting for the cycle against Toronto at Rogers Centre. He also hit his 100th career home run before turning 26, becoming just the fourth Red Sox player to do it. The others – Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice and Ted Williams.

After months of rumors regarding Mookie Betts’ future in Boston, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that he was traded. The past few weeks, teams like the Dodgers and Padres were mentioned to be landing spots for the All Star right fielder. Now, he is almost officially a member of the LA Dodgers. It’s going to be hard to see him wear Dodger blue.

From the crack of the bat, to the flash of the glove, Red Sox Nation will always remember Markus Lynn Betts in a Red Sox uniform. One can only hope that he will one day come back to Boston. Thank you, Mookie.

The Weekly Wrap Up And Truck Day

Another week has gone by in Red Sox Nation, and the pot is slowly turning. Also, the day Red Sox Nation looks forward to is almost here. Truck Day, Fenway Park’s yearly event kicks off tomorrow, as they get ready for Spring Training. The Red Sox brought back Mitch Moreland for his fourth season in Boston this past week, while Brock Holt still is a free agent. The Red Sox are also still looking for a new manager following the Alex Cora resignation.

The rumors of Mookie Betts being traded intensified this past week. Teams like the Padrestruck day and Dodgers were mentioned on more than one occasion, but so far, Mookie is still in Boston. It was reported that the Red Sox offered him a ten year contract, whereas Betts wants a twelve year one. With Betts hitting free agency after this season, only time can tell what will happen. But first, Truck Day.

Truck Day 2020 Is One Day Away

Like every year since 2003, the Red Sox will be celebrating Truck Day. The day in which the truck is loaded up with equipment to head to Fort Myers for Spring Training. The Red Sox stated on Friday that the Truck Day festivities will begin around 7am, and end around 12pm. While many may not understand Truck Day, for Red Sox fans, it’s the unofficial start to the baseball season.

Like in years past, Wally and Tessie will be around to take pictures with fans, and be accompanied by the Fenway Ambassadors. Fans also will most likely be able to sign the truck, which will provide great reading material to those who will drive alongside it. The truck, which will contain 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 20 cases of gum, and other equipment, will be making a stop at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket on Monday afternoon after departing Fenway.

Red Sox Bring Back Moreland

A Red Sox reunion occurred this past week. First baseman Mitch Moreland will be back with the Red Sox for his fourth season. Moreland agreed to a one year deal worth $3 million, and it comes with a club option for 2021. The veteran stated in an interview that Boston feels like home. One thing that the Red Sox look forward to is seeing him become a mentor to Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec.

The 34 year old will be entering his 11th MLB Season in 2020. His first seven were with the Texas Rangers before he signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2017 season. This past season, he was only limited to 91 games, in which he batted .252 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI’s.

Where Will Mookie Land?

Or will he stay? That’s been the ongoing conversation that will never end. The Red Sox and Betts agreed to a one year $27 million deal to avoid arbitration a few weeks ago. However, the notion that he will test free agency after the 2021 season. Many speculate that he is going to want a contract similar to Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado, who both signed huge contract extensions last offseason to stay with the Angels and Rockies respectively.

It was reported that the Red Sox offered Betts a 10 year $300 million contract after last season. However, Betts stated that he was looking for a 12 year $420 million dollar contract. Since then, neither side has spoken about contract extensions. This week, it was also reported that the San Diego Padres were looking to make a deal for Betts, as were the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those rumors, including one that involves all three teams, are just rumors at the moment. Going into the 2020 season, Mookie Betts is still Boston’s right fielder.

Book Review of Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up

Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, Jackie Bradley Jr. Ask any Red Sox fan who these guys are and they’ll tell you about some of the best ballplayers who ever donned a Red Sox uniform. But where did the Red Sox find these players? How long were they in the Red Sox farm system? The answers to those questions and more are found in Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up by Boston Globe sportswriter Alex Speier. Speier’s book tells the story of how the Red Sox rebuilt themselves to win in 2018. It was a task that involved Dave Dombrowski’s guidance, Alex Cora’s managing skills, and Mookie Betts’ talent.

It was only a matter of time until someone wrote a book about the Boston Red Sox’sred sox built historic 2018 season. After amassing 108 regular season victories, the Red Sox went on to defeat the Houston Astros and New York Yankees in the post season. They then vanquished the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in five games. But how did the Red Sox capture another World Series title just three years after finishing at the bottom of the standings two years in a row (2014-2015)? Careful planning, and thorough scouting, among other reasons.

The Red Sox Built a Championship Despite Individual and Team Setbacks

Speier discusses how the Red Sox front office took it one step at a time to groom who they thought would become future stars. The book discusses how some prospects didn’t work out, like Rusney Castillo. Castillo has lingered in the minors for years despite singing a $72.5 million contract in 2014. Then there were others like Yoan Moncada and Michael Kolpech. Despite promising performances, both were traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of a deal to obtain Chris Sale. There’s Mookie Betts. The 2018 MVP almost quit his baseball career after an initial poor start to his professional season. One of the best parts of the book is how Speier discusses Jackie Bradley Jr.’s progression through the Red Sox organization. Anyone who has paid attention to the centerfielder knows JBJ doesn’t have the strongest bat in the American League. Sometimes he’s on fire at the plate but those times are few and far in between. Speier’s discussion of JBJ’s ups and downs throughout his career answered many questions I, and may other Sox fans, have about why the Red Sox have kept him around for so long. It is these stories that Speier successfully weaves together to tell the story of the 2018 season.

The Red Sox Built a Team By Meeting the Challenges of Picking Promising Prospects

Readers will notice how Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up doesn’t flow the way books written by more established baseball writers do. That detail, however, doesn’t mean it’s not good. Speier takes a direct and clear approach to his writing where the reader is provided with complex information. This information involves how baseball drafts work, what goes into offering a big league contract, and how and why that prospect doesn’t always work out. Speier succeeds in clarifying these details in a readable way. He also discusses why teams like the Red Sox make risky moves when offering big money to teenage prospects with the hope they’ll pay off. At face value, those moves may seem reckless and impulsive. Speier, however, explains the thought process behind such moves with concise information that makes it easy for anyone to understand and appreciate the challenges that come with trying to build a winning team.

Homegrown is One of the Better Baseball Books of the Year

Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up has received strong reviews from baseball writers and reviewers alike. In fact, it was recently listed as a Top Ten Finalist for the 2020 Casey Award. This award is ranked among the highest for the best baseball book of the year. While making the list is quite the honor, it’s unfortunate that the list also didn’t include a book about the 1969 New York Mets, whose own victory in the World Series was nothing short of a miracle. I mention this because listing Homegrown alongside a book about the 1969 Mets would have only enhanced the Red Sox’s story. Readers familiar with Mets history would appreciate the efforts that the Red Sox undertook. The 1969 Mets and 2018 Red Sox were quite different teams. They also share many similarities though that would make readers and baseball fans better appreciate the lengths to which the Red Sox went to for a World Championship. I suggest reading After the Miracle by Art Shamsky and Erik Sherman if you want a comparable book to read about successful baseball seasons that involve long term grooming of promising talent.

Looking Ahead With 2020 Vision

After Mookie Betts slid into home at Fenway Park last Sunday night, the Red Sox season was over in walk off fashion. After losing two games to the Orioles, the Red Sox walked it off on Sunday in what might have been the final game for many of its players. Now, the Red Sox looking ahead to the 2020 season. After this year’s World Series, the Red Sox have a lot of work to do. First, they need to find a replacement for Dave Dombrowski. Then, they need to figure out who’s staying, coming, going, and coming back.

Many fans know how an offseason like this begins and ends. We’ve seen it in the past. Bylooking ahead the time 2020 rolls around, the Red Sox will be ready to go. The question is though, what will the roster look like? Will players like Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland resign with the Red Sox? Will they trade Mookie Betts? And what does the future hold for J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox will be looking ahead to next season, and will try and build for the future at the same time this offseason.

Looking Ahead With 2020 In Sight

After making it to the postseason for the past three seasons, the Red Sox fell short in 2019. Now, they are looking ahead to 2020. The first thing that needs to be done is getting a replacement for Dave Dombrowski. During the loss to the Yankees on September 8th, the Red Sox fired Dombrowski in a move that shocked fans. It was only a matter of time, but the timing was, and still is, questionable.

Many Red Sox players may have played their final games last week. Rick Porcello, Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland are all free agents this offseason. Steve Pearce is a free agent as well, but is contemplating retirement. Another name to look out for is J.D. Martinez. When he signed his five year contract prior to the 2018 season, there were opt-out clauses placed in there. One of those is for this offseason.

Looking ahead, the Red Sox would probably like to keep all those guys mentioned above. They also need to work on rebuilding their farm system as well. Sadly, this may come in the form of a trade. There are many big name free agents that’ll be on the market this offseason as well, such as Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, and Cole Hamels. Only time will tell how the Red Sox will look in 2020, however, the madness begins once the final out of the World Series is made.

Key Games in 2020

The Red Sox will be opening the 2020 season on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays from March 26th to March 29th. From there, they head to Baltimore to play the Orioles from March 30th to April 1st. The Red Sox’s home opener will be on April 2nd against the Chicago White Sox. So far, this schedule is better than the 2019 one, where they played in Seattle, Oakland, and Arizona to start off the season.

Looking ahead, the Red Sox have seven interleague series this year. They play the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Saint Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds at home. They also play away games against the Braves, Reds, and the Chicago Cubs. Unlike in previous seasons, they will not be playing the Philadelphia Phillies.

In May, the Red Sox will be playing a three game series at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. They will also be playing the Yankees in New York in the second weekend of May. This year’s All Star Game, which will be held at Dodgers Stadium, is scheduled for July 14th. Just like in 2019, the Red Sox will be closing out the season at home against the Orioles.

How To Be Successful in 2020

With the postseason in full swing, one can only wonder if the Red Sox have what it takes to make it in 2020. Looking ahead, they need help in the bullpen, and the rotation, that was obvious this season. They also need to figure out how to stay under the luxury tax, and not overpay players like they have in the past. Examples of this include Pablo Sandoval, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez.

This past week, many organizations are reworking the clubhouse. Teams like the Mets and Angels have let go of their managers. Others, like the Red Sox, have let go of coaches. The Red Sox announced earlier this week that assistant hitting coach, Andy Barkett, will not be back in 2020. Over the course of the next few days, we may see even more changes happening in Boston.

For now, Red Sox Nation is on pause until after the World Series. Then, and only then, will we know what the 2020 Red Sox will look like. It’s going to be a long waiting game until the end of October and a new champion is crowned. However, before we know it, Spring Training will be here.

Final Interleague Showdown at Fenway

The Red Sox will host the San Francisco Giants in the final interleague showdown at Fenway Park. The last time the Red Sox played the Giants was back in 2016, in which the Red Sox won both games at Fenway Park. Now, the Giants are back, and are looking to take the series in Boston.

After taking both games from Philly, the Red Sox look to continue that momentum startingfinal interleague showdown Tuesday night. Game one ended with a 2-1 victory for Boston, while game two had some offensive power with a 6-3 win. With Mookie Betts out of the line up, Christan Vazquez showed some power, hitting a grand slam and a solo home run in the second game.

This Series Will Be One to Remember

For some of the Giants, this will be a series to remember. Lexington, MA native and former Boston College player, Chris Shaw, will probably be in the line up at some point in the series. The left fielder made his MLB debut in August 2018. Another name to remember is Tyler Beede. The starting pitcher isn’t scheduled to start, but the Worcester, MA native will definitely have butterflies as he comes out of the visitors dugout. Like Shaw, Beede made his debut in 2018.

Two former Red Sox prospects are also members of the Giants. Mauricio Dubon and Shaun Anderson will be getting some playing time as well against the Red Sox. Both Dubon and Anderson made their MLB debuts this season.

Many Red Sox fans will remember this reliever. Fernando Abad will be returning to Fenway Park as a member of the Giants. Abad pitched for Boston in 2016 and 2017, going 2-3 in 66 games.

Final Interleague Showdown Matchup

In the final interleague showdown of the 2019 season, the Red Sox will be sending Nathan Eovaldi to face Logan Webb. Last time out for Eovaldi was against Toronto on September 10th. He went 4.1 innings, allowing three runs off of six hits. In twenty games this season, he is 1-0 with a 5.81 ERA through 52.2 innings. Webb will be making his sixth MLB start on Tuesday night. He made his MLB debut on August 17th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Webb is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts.

Jhoulys Chacin will have the ball in game two against Jeff Samardzija. Last time Chacin pitched against the Giants was back on July 14th when he was with the Brewers. He went five innings, allowing one earned run off of four hits, while strikig out five. He is looking to earn his fourth win of 2019. Samardzjia is looking for his eleventh win of 2019. Last time out for him was on September 12th against the Pirates. He took the loss, going 6.1 innings, allowing four runs off of eight hits.

The afternoon game of the final interleague showdown features two aces. Eduardo Rodriguez will be going up against Madison Bumgarner. Eduardo Rodriguez is lookign for win number eighteen. Last time out resulted in a no decision against the Phillies. He went 6.2 innings, allowing four hits and one run, while striking out twelve batters. Bumgarner is looking for his tenth win of the season against the Red Sox. Last time out against the Marlins, he went seven innings, allowing two runs off of four hits in the no decision.

Tribute to Bruce Bochy

At the end of the 2019 season, Giants manager Bruce Bochy will retire. the 64 year old from France has managed the Giants since 2007, winning three World Series Championships. He was also named Manager of the Year in 1996 with the Padres. Prior to the Giants, he was the manager of the San Diego Padres from 1995 – 2006. He played at the Major League level from 1978-1987 for the Houston Astros, New York Mets, and the San Diego Padres. Lifetime, he has a batting average of .239, with 26 home runs and 93 RBI’s in his career. As a manager, he is 1,997-2,022 going into Tuesday’s game.

Born on a U.S. military base in France, Bochy moved a lot as a child, eventually graduating high school in Melbourne, Florida. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1975, but chose to attend Brevard Community College. In the 1975 Supplemental draft, Bochy was drafted in the first round by the Houston Astros. From there, the legacy of Bruce Bochy began.

In May 2011, Bochy was honored with the Ronald L Jensen Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was also honored by his former Community College, who named their baseball field after him in 2011. The final interleague showdown will be the last one for Bochy, and like the other teams the Giants faced in 2019, I’m sure the Red Sox have something planned for him.

Another Yaz in the Outfield

Saving the best for last. Yes, the name Yastrzemski will be heard at Fenway this coming series. No, Carl didn’t decide to come out of retirement to play some ball. His grandson, rookie outfielder Mike Yastrzemski will be in town with the Giants. The 29 year old rookie was traded to the Giants prior to the start of the season by the Baltimore Orioles. He made his MLB debut on May 25th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since then, Yaz is having a great season.

In 96 games, Mike has 87 hits, 19 home runs, with 51 RBI’s so far. He has a batting average of .265 in 328 at-bats. Now, he is set to face his childhood baseball team. Unlike his grandfather, he wears the number 5. Bruce Bochy revealed in a press conference that Yaz will be starting in all three games for the Giants, which will allow Red Sox fans to see the younger Yaz play the same position his Hall of Fame grandfather played at Fenway Park.

Will Carl be at Fenway to see his grandson play at the big league level? Yes, but Carl told the Boston Globe in an interview that he will be there for the game on Wednesday night. In the interview, he stated that he wants Mike to have his own career, and he tries not to get too involved, since the game has changed a lot since he played. Either way, it’ll be a great series for both Carl and Mike. Who knows, maybe the younger Yaz will play in Boston one day.