Red Sox

Boras: Red Sox still in negotiation with J.D. Martinez

Boras: Red Sox still in negotiation with J.D. Martinez

More barbs are flying these days than dollars.

MLB engaged both top agent Scott Boras and union head Tony Clark in a war of words on Tuesday. Clark put out a statement accusing teams of tanking and hurting the integrity of the game. The league shot back with a statement that drew a response from Boras. Top league lawyer Dan Halem, via FanRag Sports, also joined the fray

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That's not all. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that free agent J.D. Martinez "is fed up with the Red Sox' inflexibility," per sources, and that Martinez would rather go elsewhere.

There's still dialogue, apparently, even if Martinez is unhappy.

Boras, who represents Martinez, told NBC Sports Boston on Tuesday night that the Red Sox remain in active negotiations with the slugger. Boras made clear too that he and Martinez are willing to begin spring training without a contract.

“The dialogue is ongoing, we have not reached any kind of agreement,” Boras said. “Particularly for position players, these guys are in great shape, they’re ready to go. I realize the traditional timetables are not relevant in today’s free agency, due to the fact that we have the disruption of major league franchises by tanking, and a sale to a [group in Miami] that is more interested in paying off their debt service rather than competing. You have major interruptions where you have … major stars flooded into the trade market.

“The market just began.”

Boras, famous for his metaphors and large contracts, described the offseason as a boat race.

“The offseason regatta, the offseason cup,” Boras said. “The boat took a grand detour to Japan [with Shohei Otani]. That took everybody three weeks, two to three weeks. And then it took another — then they got to Florida coming back from Japan and what did they find? A shipwrecked franchise."

The Marlins sold, well, everything, from Giancarlo Stanton to Christian Yelich. 

"One of the boats is down, its cargo’s in the ocean, go get it," Boras said. "You know how much investment teams put in trying to get all those players?

“And so then you go in, you’re near the free agent docks, more teams dump. Tampa, Pittsburgh, then finally they get to the docks and it’s what, two months late? So now they finally realize there’s no more trades and the free agents are starting to move a little bit because teams are done.”

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday told Rosenthal that he’ll “just continue to be patient and see where it takes us.”

If the Red Sox don’t land Martinez or an equivalent bat — and there isn’t an equivalent bat on the open market, that would have to come via trade — Dombrowski is taking a huge gamble. If the Sox can improve with essentially an identical team to last year minus reliever Addison Reed (who left via free agency), then Dombrowski will look great. But he’ll face deserved skepticism if the 2018 Red Sox look identical to the 2017 Red Sox on paper, and could only shed that skepticism if his gamble paid off.

The more top-shelf players that begin spring training or even the season without a contract, the more pressure mounts on both sides.

 “Our clubs are committed to putting a winning product on the field for their fans," MLB said in a statement on Tuesday. "Owners own teams for one reason: they want to win. In baseball, it has always been true that clubs go through cyclical, multi-year strategies directed at winning. 

“It is common at this point in the calendar to have large numbers of free agents unsigned. What is uncommon is to have some of the best free agents sitting unsigned even though they have substantial offers, some in nine figures. It is the responsibility of players’ agents to value their clients in a constantly changing free agent market based on factors such as positional demand, advanced analytics, and the impact of the new Basic Agreement.  To lay responsibility on the Clubs for the failure of some agents to accurately assess the market is unfair, unwarranted, and inflammatory.”

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Management, particularly in a city like Boston, would face a hard sell: how can it be that the best product is on the field if some of the best talent remains available and the team unchanged? 

Boras said the league's reference to "substantial offers, some in nine figures" was a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

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Michael Chavis on kid-PA announcer: 'That kid might be lucky. We need to bring him back'

Michael Chavis on kid-PA announcer: 'That kid might be lucky. We need to bring him back'

BOSTON -- The raw enthusiasm of the introduction caught Michael Chavis by surprise, so he responded with a wave. One pitch later, both Chavis and the 5-year-old guest PA announcer who had just shouted his name really had something worth celebrating.

The fan's name was Jackson, and he announced Chavis with some serious exuberance in the fifth, beaming broadly and sporting a Red Sox cap.

"NOW BATTING! … SECOND BASEMAN! … NO. 23! … MICHAEL CHAVIS!"

Chavis pointed to the booth and then promptly destroyed a first-pitch cutter from Wade Miley over everything in left field to start the Red Sox on the road back from a 3-1 deficit in Sunday's 4-3 victory vs. the Astros.

"Screaming," said manager Alex Cora. "That was fun. That was cool. We need more of that. We need more. The fans love that stuff. It was cool."

Chavis loved it, too. He not only pointed to young Jackson from the box, he did so again after he crossed home plate following his eighth home run of the season.

"I didn't get a warning that it was going to happen, so I just heard a kid's voice and I'm sure on video you can see me look up because I was so surprised," Chavis said. "And then he kept talking, and I was impressed at how confident he was, because when I was a little kid, I would've been so nervous, I don't think I even would've done it. I was kind of laughing to myself, like good for that kid. Right before I got into the box, I felt like I should say good job."

Chavis felt even better after blasting Miley's offering 420 feet. He thought of the fan as he rounded the bases, and so he pointed again after crossing the plate and clapping.

"Honestly, it was cool," he said. "I don't know if I'm ever going to meet him, but it was a cool moment for sure. I got to see a little bit of a video of it and how it played out. It's something I'm going to remember, and hopefully he does as well."

As for any future at-bats, Chavis wouldn't mind hearing that enthusiastic little voice again.

"That kid might be lucky," he said. "We need to bring him back."

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Remarkable stat about Chris Sale's record over recent stretch

Remarkable stat about Chris Sale's record over recent stretch

Chris Sale wasn't at his best down the stretch of the 2018 regular season, and he got off to a tough start in 2019. However, despite his relative struggles, his record over a recent stretch of games is still remarkable.

Per the Red Sox Stats Twitter account, Sale has only won one of his last 14 starts.

It's strange to see a pitcher like Sale post these kinds of numbers, especially given how dominant he had been throughout the early portion of the '18 season.

For context, this 14-game stretch dates back to Sale's final four starts of the 2018 regular season. Over the course of this 14-start stretch, Sale has posted a slightly below-average 4.21 ERA, but he still had 101 strikeouts over 68 1/3 innings. Yet he has only logged a 1-5 record with eight no-decisions in that span.

Over the course of his previous 14 starts, Sale posted a 9-3 record. During that time, he had a much better ERA (1.84) and a higher strikeout total, too (141). Though he was pitching better, it's still strange to see such a huge disparity in his record between the two separate stints.

Sale has been regaining his form after a rough start to his 2019 campaign, so perhaps his next 14 starts will start to see improvements in his record. He has totaled 27 strikeouts of the course of his last two starts, so that is a good sign for him moving forward.

Chavis compared to former MLB second baseman>>>

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