Red Sox

Alex Rodriguez explains why he wanted to join Red Sox (not Yankees) in 2003

Alex Rodriguez explains why he wanted to join Red Sox (not Yankees) in 2003

You've heard about the famous Deal That Never Was.

In the winter of 2003, Alex Rodriguez agreed to be traded from the Texas Rangers to the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster that was vetoed at the last second by the MLB Players' Association, which ruled against A-Rod taking a voluntary pay cut.

But why did Rodriguez -- who signed with the rival Yankees later that offseason -- want to play in Boston instead of New York, which had just beaten the Sox in the 2003 American League Championship Series?

A-Rod broke it down Tuesday during an appearance on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast.

"I thought the rivalry of Yankees-Red Sox was ripe," Rodriguez said. " '03 was the year that (Boston) almost beat the Yankees. They couldn't. They lost that crazy Game 7 when Aaron Boone walks off in extra innings off (Tim) Wakefield."

"I thought they were just one step short. And I knew once I met with (then-Red Sox general manager) Theo (Epstein) and (assistant to the general manager) Jed (Hoyer) -- we met here at the Four Seasons, kind of underground, we kind of snuck in the hotel -- ... and I saw the way these guys thought and the way these guys architect a house and put it all together, and I go, 'Holy shit, these guys are really, really smart.' "

"I knew that they were going to win and win big. So I kind of wanted to be a part of it."

Turns out A-Rod's hunch was accurate: Boston won two of the next World Series championships in 2004 and 2007 (at the expense of his Yankees in '04, no less).

Rodriguez also admitted he wasn't even considering the Bronx Bombers early in the 2003 offseason -- because they had his position filled.

"At the time the Yankees weren't even part of the equation," he said. "They had a great shortstop in (Derek) Jeter; they had won four championships over the last eight years or so.

"So I was like, this is perfect. This creates kind of a Magic (Johnson) - (Larry) Bird scenario: Great for baseball, great for us, both shortstops, pretty good."

Instead, in one of the rivalry's great "sliding door" moments, Rodriguez went on to become the perfect Yankee villain instead of a Red Sox hero. And A-Rod initially didn't take the failed trade very well.

"It was like this f---ing big buzzkill," he said. "I think the game felt it, I know I felt it. I was saddened by it. I went out one night, there’s this place called Life, and I just got toasted drunk that night. I threw up, I was so bummed.

"Anyways, I went back home and just dusted off and said let’s go, gotta go play ball. And of course the Yankee thing happened."

We'd say it worked out OK for both sides.

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Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Whether he’s playing various positions, boosting morale in the clubhouse, or hitting for the cycle in the playoffs, Brock Holt is a jack of all trades.

Holt has carved out an invaluable role with the Red Sox since joining Boston in 2013. A role he still embraces six years later.

“I love it here,” Holt told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “You know, this has become home to me. I’ve said many times that I would like to play every day if possible, but if that were the case I wouldn’t be a part of this. This team calls for me to move around and play different positions. That’s what’s gotten me to be in the big leagues, stay in the big leagues and be a part of this team, and I’m very thankful for that.”

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While Holt would love the opportunity to contribute on the field day in and day out, the 30-year-old remains willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

“I feel like everyone in this clubhouse is here to win, and that’s all we want to do and that’s all I want to do,” he said. “So whatever we have to do to make that happen, that’s what we’re going to do. I think that’s kind of why I fit the way I do. We have a lot of really good players in here, but I feel like I’m a really good player as well and I can back those guys up when they need a day off, or an injury or something like that.”

Holt’s plentiful contributions to the team both on and off the field haven’t gone unnoticed. Red Sox manager Alex Cora praised his utility man on Sunday.

“He’s great in the clubhouse, he’s one of the leaders, he’s always willing to do whatever,” Cora said.

“He’s a good a player. A productive player. The last two months of the season and the playoffs he was driving the ball out of the ballpark. He was slugging and he played good defense at second. So I’m very happy to have him back. Him around us makes us better, and he’s a guy that’s gonna be important for us all through the season. We’ll find at-bats for him, he’ll play different positions, and he’s going to be productive.”

After talking about teammate Mookie Betts winning the 2018 American League MVP award, Holt was asked if he believes he’d have a shot at the award if he were an everyday player in another city.

“Chances would probably be a little better. More at-bats, obviously,” said Holt. “But no, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but right here doing what I’m doing. Getting to put on this uniform every day and play for this organization is something you can only dream about and I’m getting to live it every day. So I’m very thankful.”

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J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Many were surprised last year when J.D. Martinez finished outside of the top three in MVP voting, but Martinez saw it coming.

Martinez’s numbers jumped off the page in 2018. In his first season with the Red Sox, the 31-year-old mashed his way to a .330 batting average, 43 home runs and 130 RBI. Still, he finished fourth behind teammate Mookie Betts, Angels superstar Mike Trout, and Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

While his teammates were stunned to see him fail to crack the top three after being arguably the best pure hitter in baseball, Martinez knew all along that being a designated hitter would cost him votes.

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“I was like, ‘Guys, there’s no way the analytic guys are going to ever let that happen,’” Martinez told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “For a DH to win MVP they’re going to have to walk on water.”

He might be right. Red Sox great David Ortiz finished in the top five in MVP voting five times, but never won the award. Another one of the best designated hitters of all time, Edgar Martinez, placed in the top five only once.

“It became the talk in the clubhouse last year,” Martinez said. “Everybody’s like, ‘The only way you’re going to win it is to win the Triple Crown.’ I was like, ’100 percent. That’s the only chance.' So when it came out, I kind of expected it.”

Martinez’s production at the plate spoke for itself, but it was his presence off the field that likely earned him more MVP votes than he otherwise would have gotten. Betts, manager Alex Cora, and many more of Martinez’s Red Sox teammates have spoken at length about his invaluable contributions in the clubhouse.

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