Red Sox

Report: J.D. Martinez willing to hold out beyond beginning of spring training

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Report: J.D. Martinez willing to hold out beyond beginning of spring training

As the stalemate between the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez -- and any other suitors he may have -- dragged on, there always seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel: The beginning of spring training. Martinez, it was believed, would have to be signed by then, which meant SOMEthing would be happening in the days (or weeks) ahead.

Or maybe not.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported today that Martinez may not be holding to that timetable:

Miami acquaintances of Martinez say he is willing to “hold out,” certainly into spring training, for what he believes should be his market value. 

Heyman added:

Martinez, who has reportedly received a five-year offer from the Boston Red Sox and, sources suggest, at least one other offer, was thought at the outset of the offseason to be seeking a contract in the $200-million range. Two months later, with spring training rapidly approaching, Martinez's asking price hasn't dipped much, as the one-time All-Star is reportedly still seeking a six-year deal worth at least $180 million.

And that, in the end, may be too rich for the Red Sox' blood.

With the free-agent market almost completely stagnant, many teams appear to be waiting for prices to drop as players get anxious to line up work for 2018 and beyond. But Martinez's agent, Scott Boras, isn't an I'll-drop-my-price kind of guy, and it looks like his client is all in with that strategy.

So we wait. In this paralytic baseball offseason, what else is new?

As Pitch-Clock Era begins, don't forget about foul balls, David Price tweets

As Pitch-Clock Era begins, don't forget about foul balls, David Price tweets

A new era begins this week for Major League Baseball - The Pitch-Clock Era - at least in spring training games. And it sounds as if the Red Sox' David Price is no fan.

The 538 article Price linked to in the tweet actually observes that foul balls might be as much or more of a culprit in lengthening games. There have been nearly 12 percent more foul balls in the past twenty years, according to 538 research, with about half the increase in the number of pitches in 2017 and 2018 attributed to fouled off pitches.

And Price is correct in that the 20-second pitch clock will reset with a pitcher steps off or makes or fakes a pick-off throw.

The clock will be introduced in spring training games that began this week, but the umpires will not enforce it until beginning next week in games. The rules are akin to the ones the minor leagues have had in place for years.

  • The batter needs to be in the box with at least five seconds remaining on the clock
  • The pitcher has to begin his windup or motion or come to a set position before the 20-second timer expires. 
  • The pitch itself does not need to be thrown before the expiration of the timer. 
  • The clock isn't used on the first pitch of an at-bat and begins before the second pitch when the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher.
  • If there is a pickoff play, wild pitch or passed ball, the clock resets when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the catcher is in position.
  • If a pitcher fakes a pickoff throw or steps off with runners on, the clock is reset.
  • If there is a foul ball or other dead ball, the timer is not used on the next pitch.
  • If there’s a mound visit or the catcher exits the box for some reason, the clock is stopped and not used on the next pitch.
  • If an umpire calls time, the clock is not used on the next pitch.
  • A ball is awarded for a pitcher violation, a strike is awarded for a batter violation (i.e. if a hitter is not in the box with at least five seconds left on the clock).

So, the clock has started on David Price and the rest of MLB. After a week of non-enforcement, umps will then begin telling batters and pitchers that they would've been in violation but not penalizing them. Later in spring training, after any alterations in the rules following talks between MLB and its Players Association, umpires will start the ball and strike penalties.

As for the regular season, it won't be used yet. Though Commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to implement it unilaterally, he is seeking Players Association approval before doing so.

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Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis headline Red Sox lineup vs. Yankees

Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis headline Red Sox lineup vs. Yankees

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fresh off their win over Northeastern to open spring training games, the Red Sox get to play against major leaguers on Saturday.

The Yankees are in town for a 1:05 p.m. matchup at JetBlue Park. Here’s the Red Sox lineup. . .

1. Gorkys Hernández, LF
2. Sandy Leon, C
3. Rafael Devers DH
4. Rusney Castillo CF
5. Bryce Brentz RF
6. Michael Chavis 3B
7. Tzu-Wei Lin 2B
8. Josh Ockimey 1B
9. C.J. Chatham SS 
--
Josh Smith, RHP

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said earlier this week that Marcus Walden, Travis Lakins, Erasmo Ramirez, and “some hard-thrower from the minor leagues that’s going to shock everybody” are available out of the bullpen. That hard-thrower he mentioned turns out to be Brian Ellington, 26, a right-hander who actually has 97 games of major league experience, including 42 with the Miami Marlins last season.

Lakins will be the name to watch out of the pen on Saturday. Like Darwinzon Hernandez, who appeared Friday against Northeastern, he’s an intriguing prospect you’ll likely see in the major leagues sometime this season.

Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon will be the only regulars taking the field vs. the Yankees, but the team’s top prospect Michael Chavis will be worth watching. Chavis, the third baseman Saturday, will be moved around the infield throughout spring training as Cora figures out a way to eventually find him a major league roster spot.

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