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Red Sox' Sam Kennedy: 'You may have a mad dash for mad signings'

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Red Sox' Sam Kennedy: 'You may have a mad dash for mad signings'

BOSTON -- Even when accounting for the shadow inherently cast by a Patriots Super Bowl, the Red Sox appear to be a non-factor, an afterthought. 

That can change quickly, despite how long they’ve appeared dormant.

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The Sox have generated virtually no buzz this winter, unless mere talk of signing J.D. Martinez counts. Many teams have been quiet, but improvements to the Yankees (Giancarlo Stanton) and Astros (Gerrit Cole) don’t help the Sox look any better, even if they’re operating more as the norm than the exception.

The Sox have brought nothing to fruition aside from re-signing Mitch Moreland. The bullpen is weaker with Addison Reed’s departure.

Are you still snoring? Probably. As the team sees it, there’s time yet to wake you up.

“You never win anything by winning the offseason, other than maybe a short-term bump [in ticket sales] that makes you feel good,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said Tuesday before going to Puerto Rico with Alex Cora. “You look at the numbers and things improve when you make a splash. But in the end, what matters if what you do in that offseason, how does it translate into September, October, November? So it is important to keep fans engaged and this is -- sometimes there are one-off years where it’s quiet in a certain market. This has obviously been different, where it’s been quiet around the league and slow to develop. Now, we’re starting to see moves, and there have been offers made and there’s conversations out there.

"I think it was Rich Hill who said, it won’t be a hot stove, it’ll be a spring inferno. I think that might be what happens here in the next couple weeks. Which will be really interesting. You know, we turn the page on football and then all of a sudden you may have a mad dash for mad signings. Which also could be really good for baseball. But having a slow offseason is hard for those of us who work in baseball because we want to get going, we want to make moves. So it’s been unprecedented.”

The Red Sox have the market to themselves come summer. But the Patriots only make the market more demanding, now or then.

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“This whole era started in ’01, right,” Kennedy said. “It’s definitely put the pressure on each sports team’s ownership group to try and take it up a notch . . . We love to turn the torch to the Patriots and the Celtics and the Bruins, but it absolutely raises expectations. I mean, we just won 93 games two years in a row, the American League East, and our fans are understandably expecting much more than that. So that’s the difference, I think.”

Kennedy declined to comment on the state of negotiations with Martinez.

“I’ll leave that to ownership to talk about and Dave [Dombrowski],” Kennedy said. “I will say that there’s been active, there’s been activity coming out of baseball ops obviously since the end of the year to try and improve, but I’ll leave the rest of that to those guys.”

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Mooke Betts to hit lead off for AL All Stars, JD Martinez batting fourth

Mooke Betts to hit lead off for AL All Stars, JD Martinez batting fourth

Chris Sale was announced to be the starting pitcher for the American League All Stars Monday, making it three straight years (two with Boston) he will start the All Star Game. 

The starting lineups and battting orders were also announced for the game. Red Sox MVP candidates Mookie Betts and JD Martinez were placed in premier spots in the AL lineup. 

Betts leads the majors in hitting with a .359 batting average, and it tied for eighth in home runs with 23. 

Martinez is third in in batting average, hitting .328 while leading the league in home runs (29) and RBI's (82). 

Mitch Moreland and Craig Kimbrel join Betts, Martinez and Sale on the AL All Star team as reserves appropriately giving the Red Sox five representatives to this year's Mid-Summer Classic. 

The MLB All Star Game is scheduled for July 17th at 8 p.m. EST in Washington, DC. 

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Chris Sale named A.L. All-Star starting pitcher for third straight year

Chris Sale named A.L. All-Star starting pitcher for third straight year

WASHINGTON -- The Ferrari is revved up.

For a third straight year, Chris Sale is the American League starting pitcher in the All-Star Game. On Monday, the Red Sox ace got the nod for Tuesday night’s game from manager A.J. Hinch of the Astros.

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Sale, 29, leads the AL with both a 2.17 ERA and 188 strikeouts. Luis Severino of the Yankees was a strong candidate as well, but Sale’s been otherworldly of late. The lefty has fanned at least 11 while walking one or none in each of his last five starts, the longest such streak in major league history.

He also hasn’t allowed a home run in seven starts and his last 51 innings.

Sale in June was regularly touching 100 mph, something he did when he was a rookie but rarely since then. The Sox had Sale build up his pitch count and arm strength slowly this year, but eventually, Sale ripped the governor right off. He told pitching coach Dana LeVangie he was upgrading his car to a Ferrari, and the results have been clear.

The All-Star break is coming after an unusually high number of games played for all teams because of changes to baseball’s schedule, skewing some numbers. Nonetheless, Sale’s 188 K's are tied for the 11th-most by any pitcher to prior to the All-Star break, and are the most since Randy Johnson had 202 in 2001. They're the most by an A.L. pitcher since Nolan Ryan set a league record with 234 in 1977.

When Sale was named the 2017 All-Star Game starting pitcher, he became the first to start the game in consecutive years as a member of different teams. 

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In many ways, Sox fans will be curious to see how well Sale comes out of the All-Star break more than anything. The second half has not always brought results that are quite as overwhelming. After looking like the favorite for much of the year, Sale finished second in Cy Young voting last season to Corey Kluber.

Sale threw two scoreless innings in last year’s All-Star Game start. 

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