Red Sox

McAdam: Three thoughts on A.L. MVP vote

McAdam: Three thoughts on A.L. MVP vote

Three thoughts about the A.L. MVP voting:

1) Mike Trout may have had the best season, but that didn't -- in my mind -- mean he was the MVP.

As I wrote earlier Thursday, this is not an award for the "best'' player; it's for the most valuable.

I meant no disrespect to Trout when I placed him fifth on my ballot. Were I the GM of a team and had my pick of players in baseball, I might well select Trout above all others.

But that's not the issue here. It's value -- to his team.

Trout's Los Angeles Angels finished fourth, 21 games out of first in the A.L. West. They were never contenders for the wild card.

If Trout was so valuable, why didn't that get reflected in the team's performance?

McADAM: Why Mookie Betts? He puts the "V" in MVP

2) Voting for Mookie Betts was not an act of favoritism.

A certain amount of unavoidable bias may creep into the voting process, but that's unavoidable. When you cover a team over the course of a season, you see, firsthand, the impact a particular player has on his club.

You watch how he influences games on a daily basis, and you hear his teammates, manager and coaching staff cite his impact.

Obviously, I watched Betts far more than I did Trout, Jose Altuve, Josh Donaldson and others, and thus, had more of a feel for exactly how valuable he was.

There was nothing "strategic'' about voting Betts first and Trout fifth. I wasn't attempting to make it easier for Betts to win, or conversely, for Trout to lose.

I voted as instructed, to attempt to determine who was the Most Valuable Player -- nothing more, nothing less.

3) It should surprise no one if Betts is in contention for the award several more times before his career is over.

Betts just turned 24 last month. Conservatively speaking, he should play for another dozen or so years, and likely more.

It's incredible to think that, just over two years ago, Betts had never played the outfield as a professional. Or, for that matter, that he never played right field, at all, for an extended period until this season.

And this season, Betts wasn't just the best right fielder in the game. No, by some defensive metrics, he was the best defender, at any position, in the entire game.

He led all of baseball with 32 runs saved. He was also judged by some as the best baserunner -- beyond stolen bases, this takes into account the ability to take an extra base, how well a runner gets reads on balls, etc.

Considering that Betts does not yet have three full seasons in the big leagues, it's quite possible he'll improve across the board. He may supply more power, become more patient, and become a better overall hitter.

The only thing higher than his ceiling, in fact, may be his future earning potential.

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."