Red Sox

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

The Boston Red Sox are facing a lot of unexpected uncertainty at this stage in the offseason. The team fired their manager Alex Cora amid a sign-stealing scandal from his time with the Houston Astros. And now, they're searching for a replacement.

At this point in the offseason, there aren't a lot of options available. And most of the best candidates may come internally.

That said, the Red Sox will want to make sure that none of those internal candidates, namely Ron Roenicke, were involved in any sort of sign stealing during Cora's Red Sox tenure.

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And just how would they do that? Lou Merloni offered up a potential solution on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition on Thursday night.

"What you do is you don't even name the manager," Merloni said. "You go into spring training if you have to, whenever this investigation is over. Roenicke runs the team. [Jason] Varitek has more responsibility in camp.

"And when the report comes out -- and if it's what they believe it is, that they're clean -- then Roenicke's the manager, 'Tek's the bench coach and you go from there with no promises of the future and you just say this is the way we go. I think that's the easiest transition for everyone in that locker room."

This definitely would be a sensible route for the team to take. Essentially, they can have Roenicke continue to serve as the manager without officially naming him the manager until they know the results of the investigation.

And according to Merloni, the team does believe that Roenicke and other members of their staff are clean and as a result, the team won't be punished.

"I'm hearing that they believe they are [going to get off scot-free]," Merloni said. "They believe that what they're told is true and that they didn't do anything. And if they didn't do anything, there's no reason for punishment."

It's unclear exactly when the MLB's investigation will be complete, but this will certainly be something to watch moving forward. For the time being though, the Red Sox seem content to stick with what they have provided that everything comes back clean.

MLB Rumors: Could Red Sox be part of three-team Wil Myers trade?

MLB Rumors: Could Red Sox be part of three-team Wil Myers trade?

Could the Boston Red Sox participate in another blockbuster trade before the 2020 season?

We learned Tuesday that the Red Sox and Padres are still discussing a trade involving San Diego outfielder Wil Myers, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But it's possible a third team gets involved in a Red Sox-Padres trade, The Athletic's Dennis Lin reported Wednesday.

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From Lin:

As part of these considerations, the Padres have discussed a potential three-team trade that would ship Myers to the Red Sox and land Cincinnati Reds center fielder-second baseman Nick Senzel in San Diego, two sources told The Athletic

Lin added that no trade is imminent, but Acee also reported the Padres have interest in the 24-year-old Senzel, the Cincinnati Reds' No. 2 overall pick in 2016 who would become San Diego's center fielder.

Per Acee, a Padres-Red Sox trade would have Boston assume about half of the $61 million Myers is owed over the next three years while receiving some combination of pitcher Cal Quantrill and prospects Luis Campusano and Gabriel Arias.

It's unclear how the Reds' involvement would affect Boston's return for Myers, or if the Red Sox would have to send a player to Cincinnati in this deal.

But San Diego general manager A.J. Preller apparently is serious about making a move: The Padres also remain interested in Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Lin reports.

Is Chris Sale a serious Cy Young candidate? Sportsbooks bullish on Red Sox ace

Is Chris Sale a serious Cy Young candidate? Sportsbooks bullish on Red Sox ace

Perhaps Chris Sale's stock isn't as low as it appears.

The Boston Red Sox left-hander posted a 6-11 record with a 4.40 ERA in 2019 before elbow inflammation ended his season in August.

He hasn't thrown off a major-league mound since then and may not be ready for 2020 Opening Day after contracting pneumonia prior to spring training. He turns 31 at the end of March.

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And yet: DraftKings Sportsbook currently lists Sale at +600 odds to win the 2020 American League Cy Young Award, the second-shortest odds behind New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

Here's the top five:

Gerrit Cole +275
Chris Sale +600
Justin Verlander +700
Blake Snell +1000
Mike Clevinger +1000

Why are sportsbooks so bullish on Sale, who has better odds than reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander?

For one, the hard-throwing left-hander insists his arm is fully healthy. He also threw just 147.1 innings in 2019 -- his lowest output in a season since becoming a starter -- and should be well-rested for 2020.

Advanced metrics also suggest Sale's 2019 campaign wasn't as bad as it appeared: His 35.6 percent strikeout rate ranked second in baseball behind Cole, while his 3.39 FIP was the second-lowest in the majors among pitchers with an ERA above 4.00.

And lest we forget, Sale is just two seasons removed from posting a 2.11 ERA over 158 innings in 2018 and three seasons removed from leading MLB in strikeouts with 308.

The Red Sox need Sale to be at his peak if they want to have any success in 2020. As of right now, the odds are in his favor.