Red Sox

Will Red Sox go over or under Vegas' 2020 MLB season season win total?

Will Red Sox go over or under Vegas' 2020 MLB season season win total?

Sportsbooks and oddsmakers in Las Vegas and across the nation have begun to release season win totals for the 2020 MLB campaign after the league announced earlier this week that there would be baseball this year after all.

The shortened schedule will include 60 regular season games for each team and begin July 23. 

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Caesars Sportsbook has set its win total (h/t ESPN), and the Los Angeles Dodgers lead the way at 37. The New York Yankees are next at 36.5 wins. 

The Boston Red Sox are 19th on the list at 30.5 wins, tied with the Milwaukee Brewers. So, oddsmakers are expecting the Red Sox to be about a .500 team this season.

It's not a bad prediction, either. The Red Sox still have a great lineup that should rank in the top five in runs scored among American League teams, but the team also has real concerns throughout its pitching staff. Starting pitching depth is suspect, and the bullpen has plenty of weak spots as well.

Boston's odds to win the 2020 World Series are +3000, and it also has +1300 odds to win the AL pennant, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

There's no question the Red Sox will be an underdog this season, and it's possible they thrive in this role. Despite some of the veteran departures over the last two offseasons, this Red Sox roster still has plenty of championship experience on it.

How a Brandon Workman trade makes sense for Red Sox and Cubs

How a Brandon Workman trade makes sense for Red Sox and Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have reached the Last Dance stage with their core roster, and a reckoning awaits.

The Boston Red Sox are entering the Middle School Dance phase of their rebuild, shyly inching towards the center of the gym in the hopes of finding a partner.

Could the two clubs be a match before the Aug. 31 trade deadline? They sure could, and here's the player who should most pique Chicago's interest: Brandon Workman.

Four years after ending a century-long World Series drought, the Cubs are rolling. They're 10-3 and have the most wins in the National League (though not technically the best record, since the Miami Marlins are somehow 6-1).

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They feature the best starting pitching in the National League (9-3, 2.83), and the Ian Happ-led offense ranks fourth in runs and second in homers.

They are, however, a contender with one glaring weakness: their bullpen. Cubs relievers own a 7.30 ERA, and their problems are particularly acute at the back of the 'pen, where closer Craig Kimbrel is pitching himself right out of a job. In four appearances covering 2.2 innings, Kimbrel has allowed seven runs on six hits and five walks, as well as two home runs. Perhaps most shockingly, he has struck out only two of 20 batters faced. Coming on the heels of an 0-4, 6.53 debut last season, Kimbrel claims he is working through his issues. However, he's starting to look like a lost cause.

The Cubs badly need a bullpen upgrade, and the Red Sox know they're probably going to lose Workman in free agency this winter. A trade to Chicago makes sense on multiple levels.

First, and most obviously, the Cubs need a reliable arm at the back end. Workman saved 16 games while going 10-1 last year, and he's got two saves so far this year. His mix of a dominant curveball and 95 mph fastball gives him the stuff to pitch in the late innings, and his makeup and demeanor lend him an air of unflappability that can play in the most intense glare of October, as he proved during the 2013 World Series.

So from a purely baseball perspective, Workman represents a clear upgrade. But there's a personal connection, too, because Cubs president Theo Epstein drafted Workman out of Texas in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft before signing him to an $800,000 bonus. Epstein oversaw Workman's first professional season in 2011, when he went 6-7 as a starter at Class-A Greenville, and Epstein took pride from afar in the contributions that his former farmhands made to the 2013 crown.

Furthermore, Cubs manager David Ross caught Workman that year, including his scoreless eighth inning in Game 6 of the World Series clincher vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Ross has seen Workman's mental toughness up close, such as during the 2014 season, when Workman went 1-10 before undergoing Tommy John surgery that ended up sidelining him for two full seasons.

In addition to those personal connections, there's also the big picture. Chicago's championship core of first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Javier Baez, left-hander Jon Lester, and outfielder Kyle Schwarber will hit free agency either this winter or next. Since winning it all, the group has lost an NLCS and a Wild Card game, and last year it missed the playoffs entirely.

The Cubs' window is closing, but the early returns on 2020 suggest they could be poised to make one last run. Their farm system isn't what it used to be, and the Red Sox need to be realistic about what kind of return they can expect for a relief rental in a season that has already been shortened by a pandemic, but perhaps there's a deal to be made for a second-tier prospect like right-hander Keegan Thompson or left-hander Jack Patterson.

MLB Power Rankings: The Red Sox are bad... but how bad?

MLB Power Rankings: The Red Sox are bad... but how bad?

We're now two weeks into the 2020 MLB season and well... the Boston Red Sox are who we thought they were.

The Red Sox have a 4-8 record as of Thursday's off day, putting them in last place in the American League East. They're coming off a surprising 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, which ended a four-game losing streak that spotlighted just how long this 60-game season is going to be. How's that for irony?

Without Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) and Eduardo Rodriguez (myocarditis), the starting pitching staff has been anchored by Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez. After that, it's a bunch of guys who leave fans hoping the game isn't out of reach by the third inning.

So yeah, the Red Sox are bad, but just how bad are they? Let's see how they stack up with the rest of the league...