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Boras: J.D. Martinez not 'fed up' with Red Sox

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Boras: J.D. Martinez not 'fed up' with Red Sox

A report of hurt feelings may have left some hurt feelings.

J.D. Martinez’s agent, Scott Boras, outright denied to NBC Sports Boston that Martinez has expressed feelings of being fed up with the Red Sox, as was reported on Tuesday.

“J.D. Martinez has never made any statement regarding the Red Sox,” Boras said Wednesday. "J.D. is involved in multiple negotiations and is pleased with the participants and the good-faith process. Suggestions otherwise are not accurate."

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Boras as well as Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski both acknowledged negotiations are ongoing between the Sox and Martinez. Boras said as much on Tuesday night as well. 

Per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Martinez has been telling people he’s fed up with the Red Sox. That sentiment would be understandable, given how late in free agency it is and how good a hitter Martinez is. 

“We continue to speak with Scott as well as other agents,” Dombrowski said. “Also, Ken called me about that [sentiment from Martinez] and I was surprised. However, even he indicated he did not know if that was true.”

Indeed, Rosenthal noted in the story that “it’s difficult to imagine why he would be upset with a team reportedly willing to give him a nine-figure deal.”


Drellich: Plenty of intrigue in assembling Red Sox postseason pitching staff

Drellich: Plenty of intrigue in assembling Red Sox postseason pitching staff

BOSTON — Eleven may be the focal point of the rest of the 2018 Red Sox regular-season. In this case, that’s only an indirect reference to the number of playoff victories needed to win the World Series for the presumptive American League East champs.

Eleven is also the number of pitchers the 2016 and 2017 Red Sox carried on their Division Series roster. It is also the number of pitchers Alex Cora’s 2017 Astros took into the Division Series — before switching to 12 for the ALCS and then the Fall Classic. It’s a solid bet, then, the Sox will look to 11 again for the first round in 2018.

Even if they go with a different number, the pitching staff is still the area of intrigue. 

The Yankees, despite their unsightly deficit of 10 1/2 games entering Friday, could still make the division interesting by mid-September. Merely interesting, as in, briefly worth paying attention to. The Sox and Yanks have six head-to-head games left with the Red Sox in the final four series of the season, so the Yanks would need to whittle down the Sox lead a few games from here to simply add a bit of intrigue. Not to precipitate a collapse or actually overtake the Sox — to just add a bit of drama. 

But, for the sake of probability and planning, let’s assume the Sox hold on to this thing with ease and that prepping for the postseason is now their primary focus. 

Maintaining health and setting up the rotation are relatively straightforward tasks. The road to 11 will take some tough decisions, however.

Assuming Eduardo Rodriguez returns healthy and that the pitchers who are currently healthy remain so, these eight pitchers should be locks: 

1. Chris Sale
2. David Price
3. Rick Porcello
4. Eduardo Rodriguez
5. Nate Eovaldi
6. Craig Kimbrel
7. Matt Barnes
8. Tyler Thornburg

From there is where it gets complicated and it's where Cora and Dave Dombrowski and all the other Sox decision-makers have a lot of thinking to do.

For the remaining three roster spots in the Division Series, there’s a presumed pool of six to nine pitchers choose from, depending on how generous you're feeling. (The Sox could always make a waiver trade and add an arm this month.) 

You can make decent cases for any of:

1. Joe Kelly
2. Heath Hembree
3. Ryan Brasier
4. Brandon Workman
5. Hector Velazquez
6. Brian Johnson 

Velazquez and Johnson have been instrumental to the 2018 Sox, although their stuff doesn’t wow you. 

The other three? Well, lefty Bobby Poyner was around early in the season but has spent most of the year at Triple-A, seemingly falling out of favor. There’s Steven Wright with the volatility and upside of his knuckleball, but also the unpredictability of his repaired right knee. Wright is a darkhorse. Drew Pomeranz is a lefty but his performance likely takes him out of the equation. 

Which of Eovaldi or Rodriguez winds up in the bullpen for the Division Series could have a trickle-down effect. If it is Eovaldi, who does not do as well against lefty hitters (.733 OPS this season, .781 OPS lifetime) perhaps the Sox would want a lefty arm in the 'pen, such as Johnson.

Then again, even if Rodriguez is in the 'pen, the vision likely would not be to use him as a lefty specialist, but rather as a high-leverage, multi-inning reliever. One of Thornburg’s strengths in his career is he’s a righty who can neutralize lefties. 

The Sox have been adamant all year that typical handedness considerations — throw a southpaw against a lefty hitter — do not matter. Nonetheless, it’s hard to believe the Sox won’t give any weight to a variety of looks.

How the Sox actually make these decisions is a whole matter unto itself. Do they give more credence to what they observe in the next month as they make choices, or a player's history? Cora talked earlier this season about throwing Kelly's history out the window as Kelly found great results for a time, yet, how much Kelly has really changed this season is debatable.

Brasier, the out-of-nowhere feel-good story, is to get more high-leverage looks in the immediate future. Barnes and Thornburg sat in Philadelphia as the Sox rested them. 

Dry runs for the postseason bullpen, and the different variants it could have are what to watch from here until October.


PawSox announce plans to move to Worcester in 2021

PawSox announce plans to move to Worcester in 2021

The Pawtucket Red Sox announced plans Friday to move to a new ballpark in Worcester in 2021, ending the Boston Red Sox' nearly 50-year minor-league affiliation with Rhode Island.

The Pawtucket franchise, now led by former Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, announced at a press conference that they've signed a letter of intent to move 42 miles north to the central Massachusetts city's downtown Canal District near I-290. 

According to a PawSox press release, the design and construction of the new park will be overseen by Lucchino and former Boston Red Sox executive Janet Marie Smith, who, with Lucchino, oversaw numerous improvements to Fenway Park the past 15 years. Smith also designed Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Smith is now senior vice president of planning and development for the Los Angeles Dodgers and will continue in that job while participating in the design of the 10,000-seat Worcester park. 

“We are eager to build an innovative, family-friendly ballpark that reflects the love and appreciation of baseball and that unifies Central Massachusetts and the Blackstone Valley Corridor,” Lucchino said in the team's release.

A city of Worcester press release says the proposed self-supported Canal District development is expected to cost up to $90 million and Massachusetts will commit $35 million to the project in the next two to three years. 

Under the plan, the PawSox would continue to play at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket until the end of the 2020 season. 

Lucchino signed the letter in a ceremony at Worcester’s City Hall with Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty on hand. The project is subject to the approval of the Worcester City Council, the International League, and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. 

The PawSox spent more than three years trying to build a new stadium in Rhode Island and obtain public financing for it. A deal for a park ballpark in Providence fell through and the team wasn't happy with the package for a downtown Pawtucket park approved in June.

A Red Sox' Double-A affiliate began playing in Rhode Island in 1970 and the Triple-A team began playing at 70-year-old McCoy Stadium in 1973.