Will the Baltimore Orioles Keep Jason Garcia?

jason garcia

In the Rule V draft, teams tend to pursue potential platoon players and relievers who are at least dominant in AA or AAA. Rarely does a starting pitcher from low-A full season get selected in the Major League phase but then again, Jason Garcia is not most people.
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Coming off Tommy John surgery last year, Garcia, who touches 98 MPH with his fastball, was on rehab for most of the season and posted adequate result, but nothing special. Hejason garcia went 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA in 14 appearances (seven starts) for the short-season Lowell Spinners and low-A Greenville Drive, so it was kind of a surprise when he got picked. In the Red Sox organization, he likely would have started this season in high-A Salem, but now he has a shot at making a big league club.

Picked by the Houston Astros first overall in the Rule V draft this December, he was almost immediately traded to the Baltimore Orioles who wanted him all along. In a fall instructional league game, Garcia fanned 14 of the 18 Orioles hitters he faced, catching their attention with such a performance.
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So far this Spring, Garcia has taken the Orioles by storm, leaving the team with a tough choice to make at the end of Spring Training. In nine and a third innings, he has let up just one run while striking out 11—making a strong case for a spot in the bullpen.

As much as the Orioles would love to keep Garcia, they also have another Rule V draft pick they would like to keep in Logan Verrett. It would be tough for the team to keep both guys without a trade, so they might be forced to return one of the two. Verrett owns a 1.50 in 12 frames with 11 strikeouts this spring, so it really comes down to the team’s preference.
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Garcia can bring the heat and Verrett can go multiple frames, so whoever helps the team win more will stay.

It’s your move Baltimore, Boston is waiting.

Back to Baseball for Brandon Magee

brandon magee

Drafted by the Red Sox in the 2012 MLB draft, former Arizona State University two-sport athlete Brandon Magee is back on the baseball field after years away from the game.

Originally not thinking much of the Red Sox’ offer, Magee wanted to pursue a career in the NFL, but to this point he has not done much playing pro-football.brandon magee

Recently cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his third team in two years, he has recorded 12 tackles as an occasional Special Teams player who doubles as a backup or third string linebacker.
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In three seasons of college baseball Magee played in just 27 games, registering 29 at-bats. Hitting .103 with 22 strikeouts in that time frame, it was not his baseball playing skills that prompted the Red Sox to take him in the 23rd round three years ago as much as it was his athletic ability on the gridiron.

“Every day, I’m learning something new,” he told ESPN. “I’m getting adjusted to it. It’s a lot different than playing football. You’ve got a lot [of] flexibility things I’m working on—getting my arm ready, getting my swing right. I’m enjoying every minute.”

“It’s been 90 feet every day so far. I think starting tomorrow we’re going to ramp it up even more—taking four rounds of BP tomorrow. So I’m excited about that.”

It goes without saying that Magee is a little bit rusty at the plate, but he is working to get back into the swing of things. After all, his future in “the league” is a little murky.

“As of right now, I don’t even know what I’m going to do next week,” he said. “I’m just taking it day by day and see where it goes. ”
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While some players like Magee and Shaq Thompson tried to capitalize on the opportunity presented to them by the Boston Red Sox, others like Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel scoffed at the offer. Perhaps the way Driskel played last year, he will reconsider his options.

Heath Hembree: A Bullpen Possibility

heath hembree

For the most part, the Boston Red Sox have their Opening Day roster set in stone— with two minor exceptions.

The team’s bullpen has five of their seven spots secured and as a result, two spots are up for grabs. It might not sound like major news, but whoever fills these two positions will have an important role with the Boston Red Sox this season.
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Sure Koji Uehara, Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa, Alexi Ogando and Craig Breslow are Heath Hembreeall locks this season, but right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro looks to be a near lock. Allowing an earned run in four appearances this spring, the northpaw pitches like a southpaw, and boast excellent splits against lefties. From 2013-2014, Varvaro posted a 2.74 ERA in 123 games for the Atlanta Braves.

Looking to fill that last bullpen spot, it appears as though Boston would go with another righty since having both Breslow and Varvaro is like having two lefties. Sorry Robbie Ross Jr., but you’re out of luck.

From the looks of it, Heath Hembree could be an appealing option for the Red Sox. Closing out Wednesday’s win over the Minnesota Twins, the 26-year-old reliever owns a 2.55 ERA in 15 career big league outings with 18 strikeouts and profiles as a future MLB setup man and potentially even closer.

Gauging ability from Spring Training stats has little merit for position players but if a reliever is struggling in the spring, it tends to be a bad sign. In limited work, Hembree has tossed three scoreless— but it is his raw ability that Boston should find appealing.
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Topping out around 95-96 MPH with his fastball, he also throws a slider which scouts describe as plus. The only issue here is that he lacks a third pitch— Brooks Baseball had him throwing just four change-ups last season, but even those might have been sliders that did not break.

What About Bryce Brentz?

BRYCE BRENTZ

Going 9-for-25 in Spring Training and 8-for-26 in the big leagues last year as a September call-up, Bryce Brentz showed plenty of promise while he was up with the Boston Red Sox in 2014, but will be given little opportunity this season.
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Slated to start off 2015 in AAA Pawtucket, Brentz likely will not be given much of a shot to crack a spot on the Red Sox Opening Day Roster because the outfield is so crowded as it is. As of now, the team already needs to trade an outfielder before Opening Day (most likely Allen Craig) and send their starting center fielder for the bulk of last season down tobryce brentz the Minors (Jackie Bradley Jr.).

Away from all of the competition, Brentz will be able to prove why he deserves to play in the big leagues— if he is able to stay healthy this season. These past two years, he has been limited to just 145 Minor League games, including rehab, but he has shown off excellent power.
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Power is the reason why the Red Sox drafted Brentz in the first place and, given that he has smacked 29 home runs in his last 145 MiLB contests, his power is still a serious threat and could help the Red Sox out down the road this season.

Against lefties is where Bryce Brentz thrives. The former high school football linebacker dominates lefties and blasted eight home runs in 73 at-bats against southpaws for the Paw Sox last season. Historically speaking, he has always hit significantly better off of lefties, making him a viable option as a platoon player. After all, he did collect four hits in seven at-bats off of lefties in the big leagues last season.
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If Brentz is able to show off his power and stay healthy in a full season not only should he be able to blast 30 home runs for the Paw Sox next season, but he should find himself in consideration for a job as a platoon player. Since Boston is filled with talented outfielders, if he is not given a shot in Boston, there would be other teams interested in his services.

Had the Red Sox not signed Hanley Ramirez, his chances of cracking the roster would be better since Daniel Nava, who would have been the starting outfielder, struggles greatly against southpaws— he has hit just .159 off them last year.

Garin Cecchini Confident In His Ability

garin cecchini

Signing former San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval to five year deal worth $95 million, the Boston Red Sox locked up the hot corner for the next few years. Backing up Sandoval will be utility man Brock Holt, who has shown off all kinds of versatility by playing everywhere except for pitcher and catcher. Left out of the picture for now is prospect Garin Cecchini and although there is not a spot for him on the big league club, he is happy that Boston signed the Kung Fu Panda.
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garin cecchini“I take it as a positive for my career,” Cecchini told The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham last week in Fort Myers. “I get to hang out with a great player like Sandoval and work with him in spring training. That has to help me.”

“It’s easy to say, ‘Where is my spot?’ But I can’t worry about that. You have to create your own opportunity.”

Last year, Cecchini added to his versatility by taking reps in left field for the Paw Sox, impressing manager Kevin Boles. Making the most of his big league opportunity last season, Cheech went 8-for-31 in 11 games for Boston, drawing three walks with a homer in his tenure.
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“Now that I’ve had a little success in the big leagues, I have confidence in my ability and know what I can do. I know I can help the Red Sox win. I understand Pablo is in front of me, but I hope I can do something to help.”

Headed into the 2015 season, Cecchini will resume his role as the Paw Sox starting third baseman and likely will still be making an occasional appearance in the outfield. He got hot late last year, hitting .333 with a .413 OBP in August and is on the Red Sox 40-man roster. If he is able to carry some of that momentum over into this season, nothing but good things will happen.
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Former Red Sox Coach Wendell Kim Passes On

wendell kim

Sad news broke early this week when it was revealed that former Boston Red Sox third base coach Wendell Kim died on Sunday. He was 64 years old at the time and was battling Alzheimer’s disease.
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When he retired from coaching ten years ago, it was because he started experiencing wendell kim diesshort-term memory loss which of course is an early symptom of Alzheimer’s. It ended his tenure as the Chicago Cubs third base coach from 2003 to 2004. Originally he was slated to coach the Cubs again in 2005, but his memory problems made it clear he was better off in the hands of his wife Natasha.

From 1997 to 2000 Kim, who is part Hawaiian and part Korean, was the third base coach for the Boston Red Sox after leaving his job as the Giants third base coach, a position which he had held since 1989.
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Popular with fans, much like Brian Butterfield is today, Kim was different in the fact that he was a supporter of aggressive base running. Often sending runners home when other coaches would not have dared, he earned the nicknames  “Windmill Wendell” and “Wave ’em in Wendell.” for the motion he would make when runners home.

After leaving the Boston Red Sox, he took a job as the Indianapolis Indians (Milwaukee Brewers AAA afiliate at the time) manager in 2001 and had his biggest job in 2002— as the Montreal Expos bench coach under manager and big league Hall of Famer Frank Robinson.
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As a player, Kim spent seven of his eight years in the San Francisco Giants organization, but never made it to the big leagues. His best season came in 1978 while playing for the AAA Phoenix Giants. It was there that he hit .313 with a .364 OBP in 76 games for the Giants. Why they never called him up still remains a mystery. Defensively, he was versatile. A second baseman by trade, he also logged time at third base, shortstop and in the outfield.

Rest In Peace, Windmill Wendell.