Edward Mujica to Serve as B Closer

edward mujica

Despite what some may say, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell seems confident that reliever Edward Mujica is still in the picture this season.
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A few weeks back, the possibility of him being traded was discussed, but Farrell said that he along with Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Alexi Ogando would make of the core of Boston’s bullpen.edward mujica

If anything were to happen to Koji Uehara, the skipper pointed out that Edward Mujica would close out games, or if the soon-to-be 40-year-old just needs a night off.
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Currently, Mujica is serving out his final year of a two year contract which may come as a surprise after how poorly he pitched early on last year.

For Mujica, the 2015 season truly was a tale of two cities, after surrendering ten earned runs in nine innings pitched back in April, he closed out the first half of the season with a 5.45 ERA in 35 outings.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Mujica stepped up his game and really turned things around late in the season, posting a 1.78 ERA in the second half last year. In his final 29 games of the year, he surrendered just five earned runs in 25.1 frames and notched six saves in just as many attempts.
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With the last two spots in the bullpen up for grabs, Robbie Ross Jr., Anthony Varvaro and Brandon Workman all look to make an impact in later innings, but do not count LOOGY Tommy Layne and knuckleballer Steven Wright out of the competition just yet.

While Ross and Varvaro have the advantage in terms of big league track record, Ross does have two options remaining and Varvaro can be dealt if it comes down to it.
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At this point, it would make sense that one of the remaining bullpen spots goes to a lefty and while Varvaro is not a lefty, southpaws are hitting .196 off of him in 270 at-bats, so he and Ross are likely fighting for one spot while Brandon Workman might just slide his way onto the team unopposed.

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.

Middlebrooks Gone, Red Sox Get Ryan Hanigan

ryan hanigan

In need of a backup catcher, the Boston Red Sox were able to kill two birds with one stone.
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First of all, Will Middlebrooks posed a bit of a problem for the club. He hit .254 in his first 169 big league games and smacked 32 home runs, making it clear that he was going to be one of the best power hitting third baseman in the game.

In 63 games in 2014, Middlebrooks hit just two home runs in 63 games with a dismal .256 OBP, putting his future with the Red Sox organization in peril.

Also, the Red Sox needed a backup catcher and were able to get one by trading Will Middlebrooks to the San Diego Padres. In return, the Boston Red Sox will obtain catcher Ryan Hanigan who the Padres will get in the Wil Myers deal when it is all said and done.ryan hanigan

Hanigan, who never has and most likely never will play in a big league game for the San Diego Padres, spent 2014 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and hit .218 with a .318 OBP in 84 games and clipped five home runs. It was a down year for Hanigan and the Red Sox will bank on him being better than he was this past season.
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Plate discipline has always been a big part of Hanigan’s game. He has walked 220 times and struck out on just 198 in his career, showing his knowledge of the strike zone. As a result, Hanigan puts a lot of balls in play and is good for a few sacrifice hits a season.

Defensively, Hanigan has thrown out 38% of attempted base stealers in his career and lead the league gunning down 48% in 2012 and 45% in 2013.
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Typically, Hanigan serves his team as a platoon catcher, playing more than a backup but less than a starter. Expect Red Sox rookie catcher Christian Vazquez to catch at around 60%-67% of the time next season while Hanigan will see around 33%-40% of the reps if all goes well.

Now that the Red Sox have Hanigan who is signed for the next two years, trading Blake Swihart is a definite possibility. Although many people may not want to trade him, the return would be rather large and could set the Red Sox up for a championship next season.
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The 34-year-old Hanigan is a graduate of Andover High School in Andover, Massachusetts. Welcome back Ryan Hanigan, welcome back.

Miami Marlins sign Michael Morse

michael morse

It looks like Allen Craig will not be taking his talents to South Beach anytime soon. The Miami Marlins were thought of as a team that might have been interested in Craig, but they got someone else for the job.
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In need of a versatile power bat, the Miami Marlins turned to free agent Michael Morse and agreed to terms with him on a two-year deal worth $16 million plus incentives.michael morse

Morse, who is set to turn 33 before opening day next season, plays both first base and left field and hit .279 with a .336 OBP in 131 games for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants this past season.
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What was really impressive about Morse last season was his power. Hitting 16 home runs in 131 games might not seem like a lot, but he also smacked 32 doubles and 3 triples, meaning that almost 42% of his hits were for extra bases.

With Christian Yelich projected to start in left field and Garret Jones projected to start at first base, expect Morse to see playing time at both positions (but primarily at first base) according to splits and performance.
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At first base especially, Garrett Jones does not face many left-handed pitchers because he struggles greatly against them.

In the outfield, it will be tougher for Morse to swing playing time, but he definitely will have his work cut out for him. In an outfield with Christian Yelich who posted a .361 OBP and swiped 21 bases this past season, Marcell Ozuna who smashed 23 home runs this past season and Giancarlo Stanton who might just be the best outfielder in all of baseball, Morse might just be the best fourth outfielder in all of baseball due to a lack of spots.
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Certainly Morse provides the Marlins with a great bat off the bench, and his signing shows that the Marlins plan to compete in the near future. He may not be serving a huge role until someone else is injured, but Morse is a big addition to the Marlins organization nonetheless.

Chicago Cubs Sign Jon Lester

JON LESTER SIGNS WITH CUBS

Well, the Jon Lester era is officially over in Boston. Early this morning, Lester agreed to terms with the Chicago Cubs according to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter.
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The Cubs won the war, but it was costly. Giving Lester $155 million for six years, Lester became the second highest paid pitcher annually in MLB history. Not only this, but he also sports the largest contract in Chicago Cubs history in terms of money.

Is Jon Lester the Answer the Cubs Have Been Looking For?

For the Cubs, it looks like they are trying to snap that World Series drought that has jon lesterhaunted them for so long. Perhaps he could help them try and turn around a 106 year long World Series drought that has plagued the team for most of its sported history.

Even though the Boston Red Sox lost out here, they did stick to their guns. With the recent failed contract of Carl Crawford, the club changed their philosophy and made a commitment against long-term deals. Here, there was a big test for the Red Sox but they still managed to refrain and stick to the plan.
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Since Lester is one of the top pitchers in the league (he went 16-11 with a 2.45 ERA in 2014), the Boston Red Sox took a big hit by not signing him back. They did save plenty of money, but now they must find two starting pitchers. With Lester and Jeff Samardzija, who was recently traded to the Chicago White Sox, off the market the Red Sox options are dwindling.
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Now, Cole Hamels may seem much more appealing for the Boston Red Sox in their search of an ace. Sure, the price tag may be high, but the Red Sox have pieces to move and Hamels may be the best pitcher they can get.

To compliment Hamels, the Boston Red Sox may go with a familiar face in Justin Masterson who they have shown interest in this offseason.
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Although Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may believe they won this round, they may not be thinking the same thing five years down the road.

Should the Boston Red Sox Trade for Steve Cishek

Steve CishekAlthough the state of Massachusetts is not known for athletics, it has produced some respectable professional athletes over time. Patrick Ewing, Doug Flutie and Tom Glavine highlight some of the top pro athletes from the Bay State, but there are many more. Among these top-tier athletes with local ties is Falmouth native and current Miami Marlins closer Steve Cishek.

Ten years ago, Cishek was competing in Atlantic Coast League competition, but now he is one of the better closers in Major League Baseball.
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In 67 games for the Miami Marlins this past season, the 28-year-old notched 39 saves 65.1 innings of work in which he posted a 3.17 ERA and struck out 84 men (11.57 per nine innings).

In order to bolster the bullpen, perhaps the Boston Red Sox could pursue Cishek as they have pieces to move and could certainly use a piece to bolster their bullpen.  Cishek along with Edward Mujica would be definite possibilities in the closer’s role if the team decides to let Koji Uehara walk but either way, both of them would serve valuable roles for the club.
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As a young closer on a rebuilding team, Cishek would not come cheap, but rarely is a closer coming into his best years cheap. Still though, some guys who are in the Boston Red Sox system who are not a part of the team’s future who are not highly regarded may be a top prospect for another team.

Take Deven Marrero for example. Marrero is a defensive-minded shortstop with a developing bat who has no place in the team’s future thanks to Xander Bogaerts. Two others who are in the same boat include pitcher Edwin Escobar who below other younger and more talented pitchers and Sean Coyle who is blocked at the big league level by former MVP Dustin Pedroia.
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If Boston could offer up Deven Marrero, Edwin Escobar and Sean Coyle for Steve Cishek and get him, then that is a deal they should take in a heartbeat.