Red Sox

Yankees reportedly land D.J. LeMahieu; are they out on Manny Machado?

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Yankees reportedly land D.J. LeMahieu; are they out on Manny Machado?

The New York Yankees are set to pay a new infielder eight figures -- but it's not Manny Machado.

The Yankees and free agent second baseman D.J. LeMahieu have agreed to a two-year contract worth $24 million, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Friday.

YES Network's Jack Curry was the first to report the news.

LeMahieu now is the second middle infielder to sign with the Yankees this offseason after Troy Tulowitzki. So, does this mean New York has given up hope of landing Machado in free agency after reportedly being on the superstar's shortlist?

Not entirely -- but it certainly doesn't help the club's chances.

The Yankees indeed will be stacked up the middle even if they don't sign Machado. LeMahieu has blossomed into one of baseball's best second basemen, winning three Gold Gloves and earning two All-Star nods for the Colorado Rockies since 2014. The 30-year-old hit just .276 last season but eclipsed the .300 mark in each of the previous three seasons and won the National League batting title in 2016.

New York has a talented young second baseman in Gleyber Torres but could move LeMahieu to shortstop while Didi Gregorious recovers from Tommy John surgery. LaMahieu also has experience at third base, so Brian Cashman could opt to trade Miguel Andujar to make room there.

As for Machado: The Philadelphia Phillies notably hired the All-Star's former third base coach and mentor on the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

In short: It's looking like the Boston Red Sox won't have to see their nemesis go their archrival.

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Jason Varitek, Alex Rodriguez were 'teammates' after Sox-Yankees brawl, and things got awkward

Jason Varitek, Alex Rodriguez were 'teammates' after Sox-Yankees brawl, and things got awkward

Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez were never destined to be close friends.

That much was confirmed almost 15 years ago, when on July 24, 2004, Varitek and A-Rod sparked one of the wildest moments of the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry.

You remember how it went down: Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo drilled Rodriguez with a fastball, Rodriguez took exception and Varitek confronted Rodriguez, shoving his glove in the Yankees slugger's face to set off a wild fracas.

 

The Athletic's Jen McCaffrey published an entertaining oral history of that famous brawl Friday that includes some terrific quotes, including what Varitek allegedly said to A-Rod that got him so heated.

"Him and ‘Tek are going face to face," Sox pitcher Curt Schilling recalled. "He says, 'Throw that s--- over the plate.' And ‘Tek says, 'Hey dude, we don’t hit .260 hitters.' And then that’s when you see Alex look at him and go, 'F--- you. F--- you.' "

But little did either player know that they actually would be teammates two years later on Team USA in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Here's Arroyo on asking Varitek if things got awkward between the two -- and the Sox catcher sharing a hilarious story.

When he got back I said, “Jason, how was it being on the same fricking team with Alex?” And he said, “Man, there was one game we were about to play and both of us ended up in the training room and no one else around, both taping up our wrists right next to each other.

And neither one of us spoke a word. We never spoke a word about it. We never acknowledged it. We never acted like we didn’t like each other, but we weren’t going to act friendly, either.” So he said it was the most awkward dead silence ever, taping up those wrists.

What we'd give to be a fly on that wall.

Both Varitek and A-Rod have come a long way since then -- the former is a special assistant in the Red Sox baseball operations department, while the latter has enjoyed a career renaissance as an MLB broadcaster -- but we'd guess they still don't send each other holiday cards.

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Mookie Betts is smoking hot and could reach a milestone only two others have seen in 70 years

Mookie Betts is smoking hot and could reach a milestone only two others have seen in 70 years

BOSTON -- We all agree that Mookie Betts is having a so-so year. He didn't deserve to make the All-Star Game, he hasn't carried the Red Sox like he did a year ago, and his production is down across the board.

And yet, if he continues on his current pace, he will score more runs this season than all but five players in the last 70 years.

If that's a down year, then sign the Red Sox the bleep up.

With so much attention on Rafael Devers maturing into a destroyer of men, we've managed to overlook one of the most significant developments of the last month -- Mookie is very quietly getting hot again.

He blasted his first homer of the month as part of a torrid July that has seen him hit .431 with 18 runs in 11 games. Those runs are important, because they're the one part of Betts' game that has not suffered a whit.

He leads the majors with 86 runs in 95 games, and at his current pace would finish with 145. With a little bit of luck, he could join Jeff Bagwell with the 2000 Astros and Ted Williams with the 1949 Red Sox as the only two to reach 150.

The way Devers is going out of the No. 2 hole, there's an outside shot the leadoff man will become only the 20th player ever to reach that 150 mark. As it is, he just joined Teddy Ballgame in the franchise record books for most consecutive games with a run at 13.

"I mean, yeah. I think when anybody scores, good things happen," Betts said. "But I think you need somebody to kind of get on base in front of Devers and (Xander Bogaerts), I think it's a good chance I'm going to score."

Betts is now hitting .284 with 14 homers and 44 RBIs. That's a far cry from last year's batting title, but as manager Alex Cora noted, Betts has taken his walks all year, which suggests a solid approach. His on-base percentage stands at .399, and nowadays every baserunner in front of the scorching Devers represents an RBI opportunity.

"Aw, man. It's been a lot of fun," Betts said. "I have one job and it's just to get on base and let him kind of take care of the rest. So it makes my job a little easier. Obviously I may get a couple more pitches to hit because nobody wants to face him and that's part of the game."

Since moving to the No. 2 hole on June 25 and pairing with Betts atop the order, Devers has been playing on another level. The 22-year-old is hitting .397 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 17 games, his OPS pushing 1.300.

Betts has been of the primary beneficiaries.

"It's been a long season, but things are kind of coming around," Betts said. "It seems I've learned what not to do."

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