Red Sox

Did David Price hint that he'll opt out of his Red Sox contract?

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Did David Price hint that he'll opt out of his Red Sox contract?

No one can ever say David Price can't pitch in the postseason anymore. Not after his performance in the 2018 World Series in general and Game 5 in particular.

And, when questioned about after the Red Sox' Series-clinching 5-1 win Sunday night, he got a little emotional when discussing the criticism he's faced for past postseason failures.

No one followed up on the "I can't tell you how good it feels to hold that trump card" statement, which left some ambiguity as to what it might actually mean. But soon afterwards, on Twitter, he repeated it:

And that one at least raised the question: Could his Game 5 victory be David Price's last game in a Red Sox uniform? He can opt out of his contract now, and the press-conference statement combined with the Tweet would seem to indicate he's at least thinking about it.

But leaving the Red Sox would mean leaving teammates who also draw strong emotions from him . . . but in a different way:

It was all the multiple sides of David Price: Satisfaction at this year's playoff success, gratefulness to those who stuck with him, and vindication over his critics. They were all on display after a Game 5 -- and overall World Series -- performance that, with one less home run by Steve Pearce, probably would have earned him MVP honors.

"My confidence was never altered through however many seasons I've been to the playoffs, however many times I've failed in October, however many times I failed in the regular season or against the Yankees," he said. "My confidence was never altered. I always had belief in myself and my abilities. To be able to come through on this stage and in October for myself and for my teammates, I know I can do it now. And it's always a good feeling to have. It's just good to know."

The fans have been just as hard on Price as the media at times, but his postseason run has gotten them back in his corner. And when asked if he had a message for them, he responded:

"We're World Series champs. That's special. This is a very special team. We rallied together all year long, starting in spring training.

"So we'll see them all at that duck boat."

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This photo of Mookie Betts, Brock Holt will look so strange to Red Sox fans

This photo of Mookie Betts, Brock Holt will look so strange to Red Sox fans

The Boston Red Sox lost two of their fan favorites over the offseason with the departures of Mookie Betts and Brock Holt.

Betts was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a multi-player blockbuster deal earlier this month, and Holt left as a free agent to sign with the Milwaukee Brewers. Betts and Holt spent six years as teammates in Boston and helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2018. 

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They were reunited Friday for the first time since leaving Boston when the Dodgers and Brewers squared off in a spring training game in Phoenix. They even posed for a photo, which is sure to bring some sadness to Red Sox fans everywhere.

Check it out in the tweet below:

It's going to take some time for Red Sox fans to get used to seeing Betts and Holt on different teams (and in the National League). Making matters worse is the Red Sox apparently put Betts on some of their season tickets sent out to fans.

It's going to be a long year for Red Sox fans, and it could get even worse in October if Betts and/or Holt enjoy postseason success.

Ron Roenicke explains why he's hidden radar gun readings at JetBlue Park

Ron Roenicke explains why he's hidden radar gun readings at JetBlue Park

Ron Roenicke dislikes baseball's current obsession with velocity, so he has removed the tool that feeds his pitchers' counterproductive cycle of gratification and mortification — the radar gun.

Attend a game at JetBlue Park this spring, and you'll notice the familiar scoreboard velocity readings are missing. That's by design, Roenicke explained to reporters in Fort Myers on Friday morning, because at this point in camp, no good can come of overextending.

"You guys all see what pitchers do," Roenicke said. "They throw a pitch, then it's rub here and the eye is right on the radar. Right now, that's not a good thing. So I think as much as we can stay, and I realize the fans want that radar up there, we'll get it up there when Bushy feels like, OK, they're beyond the point, we can start putting it up there."

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Bushy is pitching coach Dave Bush, and he brings an analytical bent to the job, but also experience as a veteran of nine seasons, including a pair of 12-win campaigns with the Brewers in the mid-2000s.

The Red Sox have struggled to keep their pitchers from overthrowing early in the spring over the years, with ace Chris Sale memorably hitting 99 mph in his very first Grapefruit League appearance in 2017.

"It's there. It's real," Roenicke said. "You see it in every big league game. A pitcher comes into the game, he throws that first pitch, and those eyes are right up on the radar. When they don't see what they are used to seeing, maybe if a guy is 95 and all of a sudden he looks up there and sees 92, he's like, 'Whoa.' Whether he's going to throw harder on that next pitch or what, it makes a difference."

Roenicke played during an era when craftiness and guile were as valued as velocity, with pitchers like Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine living on the black and winning with pinpoint command. It may help explain why Roenicke is so impressed with right-hander Ryan Weber, a longshot fifth starter candidate who rarely breaks 90 mph, but throws a curveball and sinker with considerable movement.

With teams prioritizing big arms above all else in the draft, Roenicke worries about a generation of kids obsessing over throwing rather than pitching.

"When I was young, I didn't even know what a radar gun was," he said. "I just tried to pitch to get guys out, pitch to the corners where guys didn't seem to hit the baseball. Now they're pitching to velocity. You're seeing it in Little League. You're seeing it in radar guns all the way through." 

A kid, if in his mind he's thinking about playing professionally, it's max. It's max effort to throw the baseball. Max effort doesn't last if you do this all the way up through. You just can't last. It scares me.

Roenicke hopes teams don't shy away from the Webers of the world, pitchers with unconventional repertoires who nonetheless show some potential. He'd like to see soft, cerebral throwers win games so the pendulum swings back.

"If we see pitchers come up and they are successful and being able to hit spots again, I think if that happens, yeah," he said. "I hope they continue to give those guys chances. So if you're in college and your record is whatever, 15-3 but you only throw 88, I hope we still continue to give those guys a chance."

So don't go look for radar gun readings in Fort Myers this spring, because for now, they're nowhere to be seen.