Rafael Devers Promoted to Red Sox

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

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

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

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

Rafael Devers Promoted With Big Expectations

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

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

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

Downfall of Pablo Sandoval in Boston

Downfall of Pablo Sandoval…sounds like a movie screenplay debuting at the Loews Boston Common doesn’t it? Well, it’s not unfortunately. The tumultuous career of the Panda in a Sox uniform took another turn on Tuesday afternoon with the news of the Panda being placed on the disabled list retroactive from April 11th with what manager John Farrell is calling a left shoulder strain. A little surprising seeing as I wasn’t aware you could strain a shoulder while riding the pine on the bench, but hey, that’s the Panda for you.

Taking his place on the 25-man roster will be INF Josh Rutledge. Downfall of Pablo SandovalRutledge appeared in 39 games for the big club last season and hit .284 with 1 HR and 10 RBI.

For Pablo, who hit .245 with 10 homers and a .658 OPS, this trip to the disabled list could actually pay dividends for the third basemen. It will not only give him a chance work on his conditioning and weight, but it will also take him out of the media spotlight for the time being.

The Downfall of Pablo Sandoval is Weighty

With all the talk centered around his weight as well as the 95 million dollar price tag associated with that, Sandoval has become a lightning rod for criticism. It’s hard to envision him returning in a few weeks a changed man, but you never know. Best case scenario Pablo loses a few pounds, gets some regular at-bats on a rehab assignment and comes back ready to contribute. Worst case scenario he comes back and contributes jack, but let’s be honest are we really expecting him to come back and wow us? If you truly believe that well, that’s a conversation for another time.

I think the main things for him to focus on his getting his health and weight in check, finding a rhythm at the plate with some regular at-bats once he begins a rehab assignment, and a chance to clear his mind from all the scrutiny he has faced since spring training. The downfall of Pablo Sandoval has been tough to watch but it’s looking more and more like his time in Boston is coming to an end.

No One Should Poke at Sandoval’s Weight

When the Red Sox arrived in Fort Myers last week to begin spring training one thing that almost everyone immediately focused on was Pablo Sandoval’s weight. A less-than-flattering photo showing Sandoval’s gut hanging over his shorts in mid throw flooded social media, making Red Sox fans scowl with concern that Panda’s weight could lead to another poor season. Not only is it unfair to body shame Sandoval, it also contributes absolutely nothing positive to the Red Sox as they prepare for the 2016 season. Red Sox nation should instead throw its own weight behind Panda and the rest of the team in order to avoid a third straight disastrous season and bring another World Series Championship back to Boston.

Sandoval's weight

Sandoval claims that his body weight is now at 17%, down from 23% last season, putting him in the “good” category and above most acceptable levels. If these numbers are true, then the last thing anyone should focus on is ridiculing Sandoval’s weight, especially going into a season where morale is going to be essential for the team. While Sandoval will probably always be on the stockier side, history shows us that weight gain doesn’t always mean it’s all over for a player. Take Babe Ruth for instance.

Ruth faced a similar, yet much more dangerous, scenario in 1925 when his weight ballooned to 260 lbs in the off-season. After supposedly binging on too many sodas and hot dogs before a pre-season game (some suggest alcohol was involved) Ruth was hospitalized for weeks in what became known as “the bellyache heard ’round the world.” Fortunately, the following season Ruth worked hard to shed the weight, after which he would go on to lead the American League in runs, walks, and home runs for the next three seasons. A key factor to keep in mind here is that Ruth was 30 years old at the time he turned it around and lost the excess weight, the same age that Sandoval will turn this year. If history is any indication of what is to come, since Panda is already working hard to stay fit, then the 2016 season could definitely shape up to be one of his best. Early reports from spring training suggest that Sandoval is prepping well for what could become a strong season for him with Red Sox manager John Farrrell stating this week, “His righthanded swing is much more consistent than what we saw at any time last year.”

Sandoval doesn’t need put-downs over his weight. Instead, Sandoval needs encouragement. When he starts to play well then fans need to let him know with cheers. Sandoval needs to know that we have confidence in him (I do). A little encouragement can go a very long way and in Sandoval’s case, he’ll need all he can get. Cheers, not finger pointing, is what will help Panda and the Sox capture another World Series title.

Sandoval, Ramirez Agree to Terms with Red Sox

hanley ramirezAfter nine long years of being Hanley-free, the Boston Red Sox will be re-united with their former top prospect if all goes according to plan. Joining him will be third baseman Pablo Sandoval who has been a member of the San Francisco Giants his entire career.
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The 30-year-old Ramirez agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. A four year deal worth $88 million is the contract according to multiple reports.

Ramirez’ tenor with the Boston Red Sox big league club was brief to say the least. He had two at-bats in two games late in the year back in 2005 — he struck out in both at-bats. Before the season, he was rated the tenth best prospect in all of baseball.
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That off-season, he was dealt to the then Florida Marlins along with Anibal Sanchez and two other prospects in exchange for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota. Beckett and Lowell were key pieces of the Red Sox 2007 World Series championship, but some people still regretted the traded given Hanley’s success in the big leagues.

A career .300/.373/.500 hitter in ten big league season, Ramirez, who primarily plays shortstop, also has experience at third and has expressed a willingness to play left field if necessary. He is versatile, but a career -4.0 WAR makes him a liability in the field — not a help.
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Right now, it appears as though he would start in left field for the Red Sox as the team also agreed to terms with Pablo Sandoval which seems like overkill. If the Red Sox do indeed sign both him and Pablo Sandoval, Ramirez would end up moving positions. Getting both Sandoval and Ramirez to sign contracts would be nice for the Red Sox, but don’t forget Xander Bogaerts still exists.

For Boston, it appears as though they are getting the better end of the Ramirez deal. $18 million a year for a guy who finished second in the MVP voting back in 2009 seems like a bargain.

Hopefully, Hanley Ramirez does better in Boston than former Tampa Bay Rays superstar Carl Crawford.
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As for Sandoval, it seems certain he will man the hot corner— for now. He lacks the athleticism of Ramirez to roam the outfield making a corner infield spot the right fit.

Sandoval is set to earn more than Ramirez as he agreed to a five year deal worth $100 million after hitting .279 with a .324 OBP in 157 games for the Giants while clubbing 16 home runs. Known for his bat versus right-handed pitching, the switch-hitter should stick to the left side of the plate where he shines.
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After these deals are finalized, the Red Sox need to focus on pitching. They need two starting pitchers to help anchor their rotation after a sub-par performance in 2014.

You’re next Jon Lester, watch out!

Could The Boston Red Sox Use A Backup First Baseman?

mike napoliIt is no secret — when Mike Napoli gets hot, he is one of the most feared hitters in the game. Some of the time however, he is not a major threat.

He finished the year respectably hitting .248/.370/.419 in 415 at-bats while clipping 17 homeruns. Although his .370 OBP is great and his power is not too shabby either, the Boston Red Sox may want to consider getting a backup first baseman once again.
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In 2013, and for most of 2014, Boston had Mike Carp as their backup first baseman. Carp was effective in 2013 hitting .300/.367/.537 in 190 at-bats against right-handed pitching. In 2014, he proved ineffective against everyone.

There are a few simple reasons as to why Boston may want to get Mike Napoli a backup.

First of all, he is inconsistent. Looking at his batting average by month, he hit .301 .186 .311 .257 .175 .212 in each month respectively. He hit just .216 after the All-Star break despite still managing to slug seven homers.
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Second of all, he has an injury history. Dealing with a number of injuries including ones on his finger, toe and back, it seems certain he will not be able to play 162 games next season. Not to mention he is dealing with sleep apnea on top of that. Injuries explain his late season struggles, but it was clear Boston would not be prepared to lose him in regular season action next season.

Finally, there are his splits. Napoli destroys left-handed pitching and hit .300/.450/.473 off southpaws and just .230/.339/.400 off northpaws which is not too bad, but Boston could do better — especially when he is slumping.

On the other hand, a player who Boston may potentially sign who plays first base as his secondary position crushes right-handed pitching. Slashing .317/.363/.461 off northpaws, perhaps he sees some reps at first if he puts on a Red Sox uniform.
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Regardless of whether or not Boston does sign Sandoval, they will need another first baseman. Mike Napoli is no Iron Man meaning the team will need someone else to fill in every once in a while.

Even if it is the second coming of Jeff Bailey who they keep in their AAA stockpile, Boston needs that depth at their disposal.