Red Sox

Red Sox checked in on Dodgers Game 7 starter Darvish at deadline

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Red Sox checked in on Dodgers Game 7 starter Darvish at deadline

BOSTON — Dodgers' World Series Game 7 starter Yu Darvish was one of the pitchers the Red Sox asked about at the trade deadline as they tried to improve for the stretch run. 

The offense was the clearest area of need for the Sox by midseason. But, adding Darvish to improve a strength — and serve as insurance for David Price, who was injured as the deadline arrived — was another route they could have taken.

Sources said the Red Sox-Rangers discussion was not particularly in depth because of the Rangers’ price, and ultimately, because of what the Sox could even offer. The Sox didn’t want to move anyone off their major league team, and the Rangers weren’t enamored with the Sox’ prospects offerings.

Darvish, a free agent this winter, was sent from the Rangers to the Dodgers for three prospects: infielder Willie Calhoun, pitcher A.J. Alexy and infielder Brendon Davis. Boston acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez and reliever Addison Reed before August arrived instead.

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said three days before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline that he was “not going to go out and make a big trade for a starting pitcher." He noted Doug Fister's arrival as well as the expectation that Price would return.

After the deadline passed, Dombrowski said: “You dip your toes in everything. But we never got close or had any serious conversations about starting pitching.”
 

Eduardo Rodriguez hype is real, but one specific area of the southpaw's game needs improvement

Eduardo Rodriguez hype is real, but one specific area of the southpaw's game needs improvement

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Oftentimes, hype doesn’t translate into results. But there’s plenty of reason to believe the preseason hype surrounding Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez will.

Rodriguez has been the star of camp so far this spring. The hard-throwing southpaw has been working with ace Chris Sale on his slider, and it’s turned his live batting practice sessions into must-watch events.

"Eddie looks great, man,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Tuesday. "Eddie's working a slider now. He understands who he is a little more. The work he put in the offseason is paying off -- repeating his delivery. You ask any of those guys, and everybody was watching -- I think he's kind of like the favorite pitcher of the whole camp. When he throws live BPs everybody is out there watching.”

Cora also said at the beginning of camp that Rodriguez is “in the best shape of his life.” You hear that a lot about a number of players this time of year, but when you see E-Rod up close and personal, you’ll know it isn’t all talk.

Also raving about the 25-year-old is Red Sox great Pedro Martinez, who called Rodriguez’s live BP on Tuesday “one of the most impressive” he’s seen, and “beautiful to watch.”

⚾️ SPRING TRAINING 2019

The question with Rodriguez — once Boston’s top pitching prospect after being acquired from Baltimore — isn’t whether he has the “stuff” to be a frontline starter. His mid-90s fastball along with a changeup that bewilders left-handed batters speaks for itself. Combine those with a slider that looks to be improving this spring, and Rodriguez could be on track to set career highs in a handful of categories just as he did last season.

Where the problem lies for Rodriguez is his inability to consistently pitch deep into games. In 2018, he pitched six innings or more in only eight of his 23 starts. Not once did he pitch through the seventh. An ankle injury suffered in July likely played a factor during the second half of the season, but early exits have been an issue throughout the Venezuelan’s young career.

In fact, both Cora and Rodriguez acknowledged the lefty's struggles with early exits last June.

“I feel there’s more there,” Cora said after Rodriguez pitched 5 2/3 innings versus Baltimore. “There’s certain games we need our starters to go deeper, and today was one of them. He gave us what he gave, but I think the next step is for him to get through six, seven innings. And he can do that.”

“That’s not a really good feeling for a starting pitcher,” Rodriguez said after the start. “You just need to keep working. It’s going to come one day, but I’ve just got to keep working to try to get deep into games.”

⚾️ SPRING TRAINING 2019

There’s still plenty of untapped potential with Rodriguez. If what we’ve seen this spring is any indication of what’s to come, Red Sox fans are in for a treat. 

But as impressive he’s been during live BP, and as nasty as his reinvented slider has looked, Rodriguez needs to show it can not only be carried over to the regular season, but that it can be done for six or seven innings consistently.

If he can do that, look out. The hype exists for a reason.

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MLB Odds: Red Sox not even favored to win AL East as defending champs

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USA TODAY Sports Images

MLB Odds: Red Sox not even favored to win AL East as defending champs

The Boston Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, but oddsmakers aren't even picking them to win the American League East in 2019.

The New York Yankees are the current favorites to win the division on the MLB futures odds. The Yanks did make a few improvements to their roster over the offseason with the additions of starting pitcher James Paxton and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but the Red Sox have brought back a large majority of the 2018 roster that won a franchise-record 108 games and beat three 100-win opponents in the postseason.

Rounding out the rest of the division odds are the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, in that order. The Blue Jays aren't expected to compete for a playoff spot this season, but the potential arrival of top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as a full-time major league player should be an exciting storyline to follow. 

The Orioles are destined for another last-place finish and are +8000 (!) to win the division. No other team in baseball has worse odds to win its division. 

Check out the latest odds for the 2019 AL East crown (via OddsShark):

New York Yankees: +100
Boston Red Sox: +120
Tampa Bay Rays: +900
Toronto Blue Jays: +1800
Baltimore Orioles: +8000

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