A Week Away From Opening Day 2020

Yes, we are officially one week from Opening Day 2020. While the Red Sox won’t be starting on July 23rd, they will be starting on July 24th at home against the Baltimore Orioles. Unlike in previous seasons, this one is a bit unusual for the average baseball fan. For one thing, the Red Sox will be playing against the American League and the National League East. Also, it’s July, who had Opening Day in July on their COVID-19 Bingo board?

Back in March when the season was put on hold, we never thought that this day wouldopening day 2020 come. Well, here we are a week away from Opening Day 2020. Pitchers in the zone looking for that strikeout, hitters looking for that game winning hit. Fans, well, fans won’t be apart of the 2020 season in the stadiums. While COVID is still here, MLB won’t be allowing fans inside of any of the stadiums during games. I know, it’s not normal. However, it’s 2020.

Opening Day 2020 for the Red Sox

The Red Sox will be starting the season at home, with three games against the Baltimore Orioles and two games against the New York Mets. This Opening Day won’t have a 2pm start time. The games for most MLB teams will either start at 7:30pm or 1:30pm. This is mainly due to the fact that MLB wants more fans to watch at home. Also, Opening Day is on a Thursday and a Friday this year, which is also a first. Thursday’s Opening Day lineup will consist of the Yankees vs the Nationals, and the Giants vs the Dodgers. The rest of Major League Baseball will begin on Friday.

While the Red Sox don’t have a clear vision of what their rotation will look like, it is looking as though Nathan Eovaldi is going to be named the Opening Day 2020 starter vs Baltimore’s John Means. Eovaldi, who will be entering his second full season with the Red Sox, was 2-1 last season in 23 games, 12 of which were starts. Between Spring Training and the Summer Camp at Fenway, Eovaldi looks like a clear cut candidate to have the ball on opening day. Also, with the Red Sox placing Eduardo Rodriguez on the ten day injured list, it’s a no brainer.

 The Rest of 2020

When Major League baseball came out with the improved 2020 schedule, it was known that teams will be playing within their division and their areas. For the Red Sox, they will be playing 20 interleague games, first against the Mets at Fenway Park, then against the Phillies in August. The Red Sox will finish off the season with a three-game series in Atlanta against the Braves.

This is going to be a challenging season for the Red Sox. With the loss of Rick Porcello to the Mets, and with Mookie Betts and David Price being traded to the Dodgers, the Red Sox will look a bit different this season. One thing that the Red Sox need to do though is find a way to beat the Yankees. Right now, the Yankees are on a revenge tour of sorts. After losing the American League Championship Series to the Houston Astros last October, the Bronx Bombers are looking to get back into the postseason, and win their 28th World Series Championship.

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.

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.