Red Sox

Mike from Attleboro: For Pedroia, it's time to shape up or ship out

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Mike from Attleboro: For Pedroia, it's time to shape up or ship out

This Red Sox season is over. The trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers was the Major League Baseball equivalent of Dr. Kavorkian hooking the Mercitron onto the remainder of this seasons schedule. Even the sellout streak, on artificial life support since the season began, may finally be put to rest as well. When this type of news amounts to progress, you know you are close to rock bottom.

The 2012 Red Sox were a sinking ship. This was painfully obvious to rationally minded fans and could be seen coming for a nautical mile. After reading the Boston Globes Dan Shaughnessys most recent interview with Dustin Pedroia, it was clear the rats also knew the water levels were rising and were looking for dry land.

This whole charade that Pedroia and Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine get along swell is really laughable and I would have preferred if he just told the press to go do something anatomically impossible with themselves instead. But Dusty No Sack has now proven that in addition to not being able to ride a rollercoaster without an adult, he cant ever be considered a stand-up guy, let alone a team leader. Remember when Pedrioa was thought of as the next captain when Jason Varitek retired? Those were the days.

Dustin Pedroia, Tito Franconas cribbage partner and clubhouse teachers pet, has been at the forefront of Bobby Valentine bashing this season, and yet in not one but two exclusives with Shaughnessy, has tried to explain away the obvious rift with Bobby V.

The most blatant and early SNAFU in the Pedroia, Valentine relationship was Pedroias public response to Bobby V calling out the emotionally brittle Kevin Youkillis.

I dont really understand what Bobbys trying to do, but thats not the way we go about our stuff around here, he said back then.

I want to give Dustin some credit here. Unlike his rumored photo mocking a slumbering Bobby V, this shot publicly cut the legs out from the manager under the guise of being a good teammate and was at least on the record.

But now Dusty wants you to know that he and Bobby get along great!

In Chicago, Pedroia wasnt snubbing Valentine when Bobby V. went to the mound. He just swallowed his dip!

In the now famous New York insurrection Pedroia was reportedly one of the most vocal of the mutineers, but it wasnt about Bobby according to The Muddy Chicken (now simply The Chicken) . I wasnt vocal in any way toward Bobby. That was the part that bothered me.

If Dusty No Sack isnt in full PR retreat about his manager, its about why he wasnt at Sox Legend Johnny Peskys funeral. Only David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Clay Bucholz and Vincente Padilla were present, and I am pretty sure Padilla just went to pretend Mark Teixeira was in the casket. This attendance was a terrible reflection on almost the entire roster but a guy who should be a team leader, the Laser Show, had an excuse ready to go: His wife is nine months pregnant and ready to give birth at any time, and he made sure he spent his off day with her. Except for that night when he went to the Beckett Bowl...

All of the above is both aggravating and disappointing coming from a player that used to be unconditionally loved by the fans of this team. But it still isnt enough for me to want him gone in the next roster purge. However, when you couple it with the declining on-field performance and increasing fragility, its time to let the Pedro Ciriaco era begin!

Lets face facts. Dustin Pedroia will never again be the same player that won the AL MVP in 2008. The Laser Show is well on his way to becoming Flashlight Tag as struggles through a season that looks to be his worst since his rookie year. Its also the second of the last three seasons where hes missed significant time due to injury. Pedroia is the type of player that absolutely needs to play balls to the wall with one hundred percent effort all game, every game. Its part of what made him so beloved with fans. Its also what will increase his declining production as time goes on. As he ages, his already slight frame will succumb more and more frequently to this type of playabuse.

If this team is really one hundred percent committed to an organizational reboot then anyone with value who isnt part of the immediate or long term rebuilding plans needs to be used as capital to bring in building blocks for the future. Its clear to me that an entitled, disingenuous veteran declining in both performance and durability would be a perfect candidate for a For Sale sign.

And based on his recent damage control efforts with Shaughnessy, Pedroia himself may now know that even his job security is now in question. His attempts to remind fans that he was a big part of the good old days did not go unnoticed.

"Its been difficult. But our fans are smart. Im sure they understand. They know what kind of guy I am. They should."

Fans allowing marginally effective players with clubhouse crippling character flaws to hang around for nostalgias sake? Sorry Dustin, thats not the way we go about our stuff around here.

Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

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Why the Red Sox should sign not one but two relievers

BOSTON — There is a world outside of Giancarlo Stanton. 

Stanton, at this point, simply doesn’t appear likely to end up in Boston. That should feel obvious to those following along, and so should this: it can change. 

But there are other pursuits. Besides their search for a bat or two, the Red Sox have been actively pursuing left-handed relief options. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is a fast mover, but this year’s market has not been.

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Robbie Ross Jr. and Fernando Abad are both free agents, leaving Robby Scott as the lone incumbent southpaw from last season's primary group. Brian Johnson is bound for the pen, with Roenis Elias as a depth option too.  Still, even if Johnson’s transition pans out, the Sox still have an opening for a late-inning reliever with the departure of free agent Addison Reed. 

Reed is a righty, but between Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Carson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel, the Sox have more right-handed choices than left. Coming back from surgery, Tyler Thornburg, should be in the mix eventually too, but it's difficult to expect too much from him.

What the Red Sox should do: sign one of each for the bullpen, one righty, and one lefty. And then trade a righty or two. Turn some of that mishmash into an addition elsewhere. Be creative. 

Because inevitably, come midseason, the Sox will want to add another bullpen arm if they sign just one now. Why wait until you have to give up prospect capital when you can just add the piece you want now?

Go get a near-sure thing such as Pat Neshek, a veteran who walks no one and still strikeouts a bunch. At 37 with an outgoing personality, Neshek also brings leadership to a team that is looking for some. He walked just six guys in 62 innings last season. Entering his 12th season in the majors, he’s looking for his first ring.

All these top of the market relievers may be handsomely paid. But relievers are still something of a bargain compared to position players and starting pitchers. One of the key words for this winter should be creativity. If there’s value to be had in the reliever market, capitalize on it. 

Comeback kid Mike Minor, Jake McGee and Tony Watson headline the crop of free agent lefties available. Brad Hand of the Padres could also be had by trade but his market isn’t moving too quickly (and he won’t come cheaply).

Minor, 29, who posted a 2.55 ERA in 2017 after health issues kept him out of the majors in 2015-16, is expected to be paid handsomely. He is also open to the idea of potentially starting if a team is interested in him doing so. The Royals reportedly could give him that shot.

McGee’s American League East experience could be appealing.

He's 31 and had a 3.61 ERA with the Rockies in 2017 and has a 3.15 ERA lifetime. He’s not quite the strikeout pitcher he was earlier in his career — he had an 11.6 K/9 in 2015 — but a 9.1 K/9 is still very strong, particularly when coupled with just 0.6 homers allowed per nine.

For what it’s worth: McGee has also dominated the Red Sox, who have a .125 average, .190 on-base percentage and .192 slugging against him in 117 regular-season plate appearances. 

McGee throws a mid-90s fastball with a low-80s slider. He can operate up in the zone, and he actually has been even more effective against righties than lefties in his career, including in 2017. McGee’s been a closer, too, with 44 career saves.

The Sox had the second-best bullpen in the majors by ERA in 2017, at 3.07. Yet, come the postseason, there wasn’t a sense of great confidence or even a clear shape to the pecking order behind one of the absolute best relievers in the game, Kimbrel. 

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press