Red Sox

Benintendi sits again - 'doesn't feel as hitter-ish,' says Cora

Benintendi sits again - 'doesn't feel as hitter-ish,' says Cora

Andrew Benintendi didn't play in three of the Red Sox previous four games coming into the Toronto series and now in an 0-for-12 slide, he found himself benched again Thursday night against the Blue Jays.

Alex Cora said it was more than just another day off.

“We need him to feel hitter-ish again,” the Red Sox manager told reporters in Toronto. “I think his swing is not where he wants to be. I don’t want to say he’s frustrated, but kind of like one of those where I feel like unplug him today, show up early, work with [hitting coach] Timmy [Hyers] and hopefully, he can see the results right away.”

Benintendi is hitting .266 with seven homers and 36 RBI. His numbers are down overall from a year ago (.290, 16 homers, 87 RBI) and since the All-Star break last season, he's hit only two homers. He's struck out 81 times this season after striking out 106 times all of last season.

After starting the season as the leadoff hitter, he was moved to second in the order and has now been supplanted in that spot by red-hot Rafael Devers. When he has played the past few games, he's hit fifth. Cora said he doesn't think last year's second-half slump is related to this season's issues.

“I don’t think so,” Cora said. “I think it’s more about this year. Even in spring training, he found his rhythm a little bit there, but he doesn’t feel as hitter-ish. His hands are not firing the way they usually do. If you look at videos of Andrew in college [at Arkansas, where he was a Golden Spikes Award winner in 2015 before being selected seventh overall by Boston in that June's draft] all the way to last year, it’s the same swing. Now, it’s a lot of swings and misses, a lot of chasing pitches up in the zone. Early in the season, it was breaking balls down and in.”

When he sat in three of four games (including Sunday in London) before playing Tuesday against the Blue Jays, Cora said Benintendi's legs were "feeling heavy", but this slump appears unrelated to any kind of injury. J.D. Martinez started in left field, Christian Vazquez was the DH and Sandy Leon started behind the plate Thursday night. 

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MLB Rumors: Red Sox' Mookie Betts trade talks 'evolving' with Dodgers, Padres

MLB Rumors: Red Sox' Mookie Betts trade talks 'evolving' with Dodgers, Padres

It appears the Boston Red Sox are moving closer to parting ways with the face of their franchise.

On Thursday, it was reported the Red Sox and San Diego Padres were discussing a potential blockbuster trade involving Mookie Betts. Now, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports those trade talks have "evolved" with both the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have been rumored to be a suitor for Betts throughout the offseason.

Speier writes:

According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox continue to discuss the possibility of a Mookie Betts trade with multiple suitors. The team is weighing potential combinations of big leaguers and prospects offered by the Padres as well as the Dodgers, and remains engaged with both teams about the possibility of a deal involving their superstar right fielder.

The fact that discussions are ongoing with multiple teams is not a guarantee that Betts will be dealt. It’s possible that the Red Sox will enter the 2020 regular season with their superstar — with the possibility of exploring his trade value at the deadline if the team is not clearly in contention. But the team’s willingness to consider dealing the four-time All-Star and 2018 A.L. MVP appears serious.

That's certainly a change of tune from Thursday's report, which referred to a potential Betts deal as "unlikely."

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Both San Diego and L.A. make sense as possible trade partners for the Red Sox. The Padres have the top prospects to make a deal worthwhile, and the Dodgers have the financial flexibility to take on the $96 million remaining on David Price's contract to help Boston get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold.

Betts, 27, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.

Tomase: Pros & cons of trading Betts to Padres

Report: Former Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez to join Mets as non-roster invite to spring training

Report: Former Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez to join Mets as non-roster invite to spring training

Midway through the 2019 MLB season, the struggling Boston Red Sox made an attempt to shake things up on their bench and get them back into the playoff race. That decision involved designating Eduardo Nunez for assignment.

Nunez spent parts of three seasons with the Red Sox after he was acquired at the 2017 MLB trade deadline. Nunez quickly endeared himself to Boston fans by batting .321 and smashing eight homers in 38 games with the team.

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But after his first season, Nunez's production tailed off. He was still productive during the team's 2018 World Series run, though he was hampered by a knee injury, before things bottomed out in 2019. He was hitting just .228 at the time of his release and his defensive range was declining because of his balky knee.

Now, after remaining out of MLB work for almost half a year, it looks like Nunez is getting one more shot at sticking around in the MLB.

According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, the New York Mets have invited Nunez to join them as a non-roster invite at spring training in 2020. 

It may be tough for Nunez to ultimately win a spot with the Mets, who also have former Red Sox shortstop/third baseman Jed Lowrie on the team. But he is going to be on a minor league deal as a result of this signing.

And if injuries strike and Nunez proves himself, perhaps he could eventually earn a roster spot.

We'll soon see what happens with Nunez, but it is nice to see the 32-year-old get another chance to play at the MLB level, even if it is just a spring training invite.