Red Sox

L.A. City Council set to ask MLB to strip Red Sox of 2018 World Series title

L.A. City Council set to ask MLB to strip Red Sox of 2018 World Series title

The city of Los Angeles is committed to the bit.

The L.A. City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution requesting that Major League Baseball strip the 2017 Houston Astros and 2018 Boston Red Sox of their World Series titles and reward both championships to the Dodgers.

The resolution was first proposed last Friday, days after MLB implicated the 2017 Astros in a massive sign-stealing scandal that led to the departures of Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch along with Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran.

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The Red Sox are currently under MLB investigation for allegedly using a video room to illegally steal signs in 2018.

The Dodgers lost the World Series to Houston in 2017 and Boston in 2018, so one could argue L.A. deserves both championships, even though it's highly unlikely MLB would re-assign a World Series title to another team.

In a press conference Tuesday, the resolution's co-sponsors, Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz, admitted the resolution is more of a symbolic way to highlight how the Dodgers were wronged.

"We know they were cheated at a real shot at a championship,” Koretz said, via the Los Angeles Times. “We have to send a message. If we don’t stand up for baseball, then the tradition of the national pastime may become flawed."

MLB had no comment on the resolution Tuesday, according to the L.A. Times, and likely won't do take any action if the L.A. City Council follows through on its resolution, just like the U.S. Congress didn't do anything with Sen. Bill Cassidy's outrage over a missed pass interference call in the 2018 NFC Championship Game.

But Cedillo and Koretz likely earned some political points in L.A. for defending their hometown team -- and massive eye rolls from the cities of Boston and Houston.

Could Red Sox add another starter to fill out rotation? Here are their options

Could Red Sox add another starter to fill out rotation? Here are their options

As it stands now, the Boston Red Sox will enter the 2020 season with three starting pitchers.

That's not ideal, but it's the current reality after Thursday's news that Chris Sale will begin the year on the injured list.

So, how will the Red Sox fill out their rotation around Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and newcomer Martin Perez?

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Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said earlier this month the team will look to add more pitching depth, and the Sale development obviously hasn't changed that stance.

Sale only is expected to miss about two weeks, so the Red Sox don't seem ready to make a reactionary signing. But considering they don't have a fifth starter anyway, adding another arm makes sense.

Which begs the question: Who's still out there?

Here's a list of starting pitchers who remain unsigned, sorted by age (via MLB.com).

Aaron Sanchez (27)
Danny Salazar (30)
Matt Harvey (31)
Andrew Cashner (33)
Clay Buchholz (35)
Marco Estrada (36)
Clayton Richard (36)
Jason Vargas (37)

Doesn't inspire much confidence, does it?

The good news is that these pitchers could be signed for relative bargains. The bad news is that only two are 30 years old or younger and none posted very inspiring stat lines in 2019.

In fact, Buchholz isn't a terrible option compared to the rest of the list: The former Red Sox hurler struggled with the Toronto Blue Jays last season but sported a 2.01 ERA over 16 starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018.

Given the dry free agent market, though, it's possible Boston could look to the trade market -- the club reportedly covets Cal Quantrill in trade talks with the San Diego Padres, although that deal seems unlikely -- or an internal solution.

Ryan Weber, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez are candidates for the fifth starter slot, and Darwinzon Hernandez could be a potential option down the road, although the Red Sox don't view him as a starter at the moment.

Long story short: Unless the Sox want to part with more assets in a trade, they won't be slotting a quality pitcher into their rotation anytime soon.

MLB odds: Rafael Devers among favorites to lead league in hits

MLB odds: Rafael Devers among favorites to lead league in hits

The Boston Red Sox lost some important offensive production this offseason when they traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. But they should still have plenty of offense firepower in the upcoming year.

Between Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Andrew Benintendi, the team should be able to field a productive, high-scoring unit.

And it's no surprise that one of the Sox' young stars is among the favorites to lead MLB in hits this season. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Devers (+1300) has the fourth-best odds and trails only Jose Altuve, Nolan Arenado, and Whit Merrifield (all at +1200).

Devers ranked second in the league in hits last season. His mark of 201 base knocks trailed only Merriweather (206). Devers started the season rather slowly, too, so the it's well within the realm of possibility that he could generate more base knocks if he doesn't start with a slump.

This is especially possible given that Devers, 23, is so young yet already has two-and-a-half seasons of MLB experience. He may continue to improve ahead of his third full major league season. David Ortiz and Derek Jeter are among the stars that have voiced their confidence in Devers' abilities, so that would seemingly be a good sign for his upward trajectory.

Devers, 23, posted a .311 average, 32 homers, and 115 RBI for the Red Sox last season. He also played in 156 games, so he'll likely have to stay on the field often if he wants a chance to be the hits leader in 2020.